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THOMAS GRAY.

ELEG Y.
Written in a Country Church-Yard.
THE curfew tolls the knell of parting day,

The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimm'ring landscape on the sight,

And all the air a solemn stillness holds, • Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,

And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds. Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r The moping owl does to the moon complain Of such as, wand'ring near her secret bow'r, Molest her ancient solitary reign. Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring 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 twitt'ring from the straw-built shed, The cock's 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 ev'ning care ; No children run to lisp their sire's return, Or climb his knees the envy'd kiss to share. Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield, Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; How jocund did they drive their team afield !, How bow'd 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 pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike th' inevitable hour:
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye Proud ! impute to these the fault,
If Mem'ry o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where, thro' the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honor's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flatt'ry 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 sway'd,
Or wak'd to ecstasy the living lyre.

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of Time, did ne'er unroll :
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd 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. '

Th' applause of list'ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their hist'ry in a nation's eyes,
Their lot forbad; nor circumscrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd;
Forbad to wade thro' 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 madding crowd's ignoble strife, Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray; Along the cool sequester'd vale of life They kept the noiseless tenor of their way. Yet e'en these bones from insult to protect, Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck's, Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd 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 resign'd, Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day, Nor cast one longing ling'ring look behind ? On some fond breast the parting soul relies, Some pious drops the closing eye requires ; E'en from the tomb the voice of nature cries, E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires. , For thee, who mindful of th' unhonor'd dead, Dost in these lines their artless tale relate, If chance, by lonely Contemplation led, Some kindred spirit shall enquire thy fate, Haply some hoary-headed swain may say, “ Oft have we seen him, at the peep of dawn, Brushing with hasty steps the dews away, , To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.

There at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
That wreaths its old fantastic root so high,
His listless length at noon-tide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that bubbles by.

Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Mutt'ring his wayward fancies, he would rove:
Now drooping, woeful wan! like one forlorn,
Or craz'd with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.
One morn I miss'd him on the custom'd hill,
Along the heath, and near his fav'rite tree;
Another came; nor yet beside the rill, a
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he!
The next, with dirges due, in sad array,
Slow thro' the churchway-path we saw him borne:
Approach, and read (for thou canst read) the lay
Gray'd on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."

THE EPITAPH.
HERE rests his head upon the lap of earth,
1. A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown:
Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere;
Heav'n did a recompense as largely send :
He gave to mis'ry all he had, a tear;
He gain'd from Heav'n ('twas all he wish'd) a friend.
No further seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
There they alike in trembling hope repose)
The bosom of his Father and his God.

ODE.
A distant Prospect of Eton College.
VE distant Spires! ye antique Tow'rs!

1 That crown the wat'ry glade Where grateful Science still adores

Her Henry's holy shade;
And ye that from the stately brow
Of Windsor's heights th' expanse below

Of grove, of lawn, of mead, survey ;
Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers, among
Wanders the hoary Thames along
His silver winding way.

L ?

Ah happy bills! ah pleasing shade!

Ah fields belov'd in vain !
Where once my careless childhood stray'd,

A stranger yet to pain !
I feel the gales that from ye blow
A momentary bliss bestow,

As waving fresh their gladsome wing
My weary soul they seem to soothe,
And, redolent of joy and youth,

To breathe a second spring.
Say, father Thames ! for thou hast seen.

Full many a sprightly race,
Disporting on thy margent green, -

The paths of pleasure trace,
Who foremost now delight to cleave
With pliant arm thy glassy wave?

The captive linnet which enthral?
What idle progeny succeed
To chase the rolling circle's speed,

Or urge the flying ball ?
While some, on earnest business bent,

Their murm ring labors ply 'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint,

To sweeten liberty ;
Some bold adventurers disdain
The limits of their little reign,

And unknown regions dare descry: -
Still as they run they look behind,
They hear a voice in ev'ry wind,

And snatch a fearful joy.
Gay hope is theirs, by fancy fed,

Less pleasing when possest!
The tear forgot as soon as shed,

The sunshine of the breast; Theirs buxom health of rosy hue, Wild wit, invention ever new,

And lively cheer of vigor born; The thoughtless day, the easy night, The spirits pure, the slumbers light. That fly th' approach of morn.

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