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Yet lives there one whose heedless
eye Shall scorn thy pale shrine glimmering near ? With him, sweet bard ! may fancy die,
And joy desert the blooming year.
But thou lorn stream, whose sullen tide
No sedge-crowned sisters now attend, Now waft me from the green hill's side,
Whose cold turf hides the buried friend!
And see the fairy valleys fade,
Dun night has veiled the solemn view ! Yet once again, dear parted shade,
Meek nature's child, again adieu !
The genial meads, assigned to bless
Thy life, shall mourn thy early doom ! There hinds and shepherd girls shall dress
With simple hands thy rural tomb.
Long, long thy stone and pointed clay
Shall melt the musing Briton's eyes, Oh! vales, and wild woods, shall he say,
In yonder grave your Druid lies.
ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCH YARD.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o’er the lea, The plowman homewards plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds.
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
The moping owl does to the moon complain, Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew trees shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed, The cocks shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care : No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their harrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke ; How jocund did they drive their team a-field!
How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure; Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile,
The short and simple annals of the poor.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, Await alike the inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If memory o’er their tomb no trophies raise, Where through the long drawn aisle and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem swells the notes of praise.
Can storied urn and animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath ? Can honour's voice provoke the silent
dust, Or flattery soothe the dull cold ear of death ?
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid,
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire ; Hands, that the rod of empire might have swayed,
Or waked to ecstacy the living lyre :
But knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll, Chill penury repressed their noble
rage, And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear : Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village Hampden that with dauntless breast,
The little tyrant of his fields withstood, Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood.
The applause of listening senates to command,
The threat of pain and ruin to despise, To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes,
Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined; Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind :
The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame, Or heap the shrine of luxury and pride,
With incense kindled at the muse's flame.
Far from the maddening crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learnt to stray; Along the cool sequestered vale of life,
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet even these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculptures deckt,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
their years, spelt by th' unlettered Muse, The place of fame and elegy supply: And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.
For who to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing, anxious being e'er resigned, Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind ?