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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 name, 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 ? On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires; Even from the tomb the voice of nature cries,
Even in our ashes live their wonted fires.
For thee, who, mindful of the unhonoured dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate; If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire 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 wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by. “Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove, Now drooping woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love.
“ One morn I missed him on th' accustomed hill,
Along the heath, and near his favourite tree; Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;
“The next, with dirges due, in sad array,
Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne ;
Approach, and read, (for thou canst read,) the lay,
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.”
Here rests his head, upon the lap of earth,
A youth, to fortune and to fame unknown ; Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy marked him for her own.
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere;
Heaven did a recompense as largely send : He gave to misery all he had, a tear;
He gained from heaven, 't was all he wished, a friend.
No farther 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.
“Ruin seize thee, ruthless king!
Helm, nor hauberk’s' twisted mail,
On a rock, whose haughty brow
“ Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
i The hauberk was a texture of steel ringlets, or rings interwoven, forming a coat of mail, that sat close to the body, and adapted itself to every motion.
2 Gilbert de Clare, surnamed the Red, Earl of Gloucester and Hertford, son-in-law to King Edward...
8 Edmond de Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore.
Modred, whose magic song
On yonder cliffs, a grisly band,
Avengers of their native land:
“Weave the warp, and weave the woof,
The winding-sheet of Edward's race: Give ample room, and verge enough,
The characters of Hell to trace. Mark the year, and mark the night, When Severn shall re-echo with affright The shrieks of death, through Berkeley's roofs that ring,5 Shrieks of an agonizing king; She-wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs, That tear’st the bowels of thy mangled mate, From thee be born, who o’er thy country hangs The scourge of Heaven.? What terrors round him wait!
4 The shores of Carnarvonshire opposite to the Isle of Anglesea. 5 Edward the Second, cruelly butchered in Berkeley Castle. 6 Isabel of France, Edward the Second's adulterous queen. 7 Triumphs of Edward the Third in France.