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In mortal bosoms this unquenchcd hope,
That breathes from day to day sublimer things,
And mocks possession? wherefore darts the mind,
With such resistless ardor, to embrace
Majestic forms; impatient to be free;
Spurning the gross control of wilful might;
Proud of the strong contention of her toils;
Proud to be daring? Who but rather turns
To heaven's broad fire his unconstrained view,
Than to the glimmering of a waxen flame*
Who that, from Alpine heights, his laboring eye
Shoots round the wild horizon, to survey
Nilus or Ganges rolling his bright wave

Through mountains, plains, through empires black with shade,

And continents of sand; will turn his gaze

To mark the windings of a scanty rill

That murmurs nt his feet? The high-born soul

Disdains to rest her heaven-aspiring wing

Beneath its native quarry. Tired of earth

And this diurnal scene, she springs aloft

Through fields of air; pursues the flying storm;

Rides on the volley d lightning through the heavens;

Or, yoked with whirlwinds, and the northern blast.

Sweeps the long tract of day. Then high she soars

The blue profound, and hovering round the sun,

Bcliolds him pouring the redundant stream

Of light; beholds his unrelenting sway

Bend the reluctant planets to absolve

The fated rounds of time. Thence far effused,

She darts her swiftness up the long career

Of devious comets; through its burning signs

Exulting measures the perennial wheel

Of nature, and looks back on all the stars,

Whose blended light, as with a milky zone,

Invests the orient. Now amazed she views

Th' empyreal waste, where happy spirits hold,

Beyond this concave heaven, their calm abode;

And fields of radiance, whose unfading light

Has travell'd the profound six thousand years,

Nor yet arrives in sight of mortal things.

E'en on the barriers of the world untired

She meditates th' eternal depth below;

Till, half recoiling, down the headlong steep

She plunges; soon o'erwhelm'd and swallow'd up

In that immense of being. There her hopes

Rest at the fated goal. For from the birth

Of mortal man, the sovereign Maker said,

That not in humble nor in brief delight,

Not in the fading echoes of renown,

Power's purple rubes, nor pleasure's flowery lap,

The soul should find enjoyment: but from these

Turning disdainful to an equal good,

Through all th' ascent of things enlarge her view,

Till every bound at length should disappear,

And infinite perfection close the scene.


Then tell me, fox ye know,
Does beauty ever deign to dwell where health
And active use are strangers? Is her charm
Confess'd in aught, whose most peculiar ends
Are lame and fruitless? Or did nature mean
This pleasing call the herald of a lie;
To hide the shame of discord and disease,
And catch with fair hypocrisy the heart
Of idle faith? O no: with better cares
Th' indulgent mother, conscious bow infirm
Her offspring tread the paths of good and ill,
By this illustrious image, in each kind
Still most illustrious where the object holds
Its native powers most perfect, she by this
Illumes the headstrong impulse of desire,
And sanctifies his choice. The generous glebe,
Whose bosom smiles with verdure, the clear tract
Of streams delicious to the thirsty soul,
The bloom of ncctar'd fruitage ripe to sense,
And every charm of animated things,
Are only pledges of a state sincere,
Th' integrity and order of their frame,
When all is well within, and every end
Accomplish'd. Thus was beauty sent from heaven,
The lovely ministress of truth and good
In this dark world: for truth and good are one,
And beauty dwells in them, and they in her,
With like participation. Wherefore, then, *
O sons of earth! would yo dissolve the tie?
O wherefore, with a rash, impetuous aim,
Seek ye those flowery joys with which the hand
Of lavish fancy paints each flattering scene
Where beauty seems to dwell, nor once inquire
Where is the sanction of eternal truth,
Or where the seal of uudeceiiful good,
To save your search from folly I Wanting these,
Lol beauty withers in your void embrace,
And with the glittering of an idiot's toy
Did fancy mock your vows.


Thus doth beauty dwell
There most conspicuous, e'en in outward shape,
Where dawns the high expression of a mind:
By steps conducting our enraptured search

1 Our poet la exceedingly infelicitous in giving, as an UlustraUon of this One subject, the historical fact of toe assassination of Julius Caesar by Brutus and the rest of the conspirators. In a moral point of .lew, it was an atrocious murder, utterly unjustifiable: and In a political point of view, B was highly inexpedient. For however unscrupulous Caesar was In bis means to attain power; when obtained, tow men have used It with more wisdom or clemency. In every great quality bow superior was be to the hollow-hearted, sclllsb Augustus i Tbe former, for instance, spared Cicero, his enemy, and tbe main stay of the party of Pompey; the latter sacrificed bun, though professedly a friend, to the vengeance of Antony.


To that eternal origin, whose power,

Through all th' unbounded symmetry of things,

Like rays effulging from the parent sun,

This endless mixture of her charms diffused.

Mind, mind alone, (bear witness, earth and heaven!)

The living fountains in itself contains

Of beauteous and sublime: here, hand in hand,

Sit paramount the graces; here enthroned,

Celestial Venus, with divinest airs,

Invites the soul to never-fading joy.

Look then abroad through nature, to the range

Of planets, suns, and adamantine spheres,

Wheeling unshaken through the void immense j

And speak, 0 man! does this capacious scene

With half that kindling majesty dilate

The strong conception, as when Brutus rose

Refulgent from the stroke of Cesar's fate,

Amid the crowd of patriots; and Ins arm

Aloft extending, like eternal Jove,

When guilt brings down the thunder, call'd aloud

On Tully's name, and shook his crimson steel,

And bade the father of his country hail?

For lo! the tyrant prostrate on the dust,

And Rome again is free!


What then is taste, but these internal powers Active, and strong, and feelingly alive To each fine impulse? a discerning sense Of decent and sublime, with quick disgust From things deform'd, or disarranged, or gross In species? This, nor gems, nor stores of gold, Nor purple state, nor culture can bestow; But God alone, when first his active hand Imprints the secret bias of the soul. He, mighty Parent! wise and just in all, Free as the vital breeze or light of heaven, Reveals the charms of nature. Ask the swain Who joxirneys homeward from a summer day's Long labor, why, forgetful of his toils And due repose, he loiters to behold The sunshine gleaming as through amber clouds, O'er all the western sky; full soon, I ween, His rude expression and untutor'd airs, Beyond the power of language, will unfold The form of beauty smiling at his heart, How lovely! how commanding! But though Heaven In every breast hath sown these early seeds Of love and admiration, yet in vain, Without fair culture's kind parental aid, Without enlivening suns, anil genial showers, And shelter from the blast, in vain we hope The tender plant should rear its blooming head, Or yield the harvest promised in its spring.

Nor yet will every soil with equal stores

Repay the tiller's labor: or attend

His will, obsequious, whether to produce

The olive or the laurel. Different minds

Incline to different objects: one pursues

The vast alone, the wonderful, the wild;

Another sighs for harmony and grace,

And gentlest beauty. Hence, when lightning fires

The arch of heaven, and thunders rock the ground,

When furious whirlwinds rend the howling air,

And ocean, groaning from his lowest bed,

Heaves his tempestuous billows to the sky;

Amid the mighty uproar, while below

The nations tremble, Shakspeare looks abroad

From some high cliff superior, and enjoys

The elemental war. But Waller longs,

All on the margin of some flowery stream,

To spread his careless limbs amid the cool

Of plantain shades, and to the listening deer

The tale of slighted vows and love's disdain

Resound soft-warbling all the livelong day:

Consenting zephyr sighs; the weeping rill

Joins in his plaint, melodious; mute the grovesj

And hill and dale with all their echoes mourn.

Such and so various are the tastes of men.


O! blest of Heaven, whom not the languid songs Of luxury, the siren! not the bribes Of sordid wealth, nor all the gaudy spoils Of pageant honor, can seduce to leave Those ever-blooming sweets, which, from the store Of nature, fair imagination culls To charm th' enliven'd soul! What though not all Of mortal offspring can attain the heights Of envied life; though only few possess Patrician treasures or imperial state; Yet nature's care, to all her children just, With richer treasures and an ampler state, Endows, at large, whatever happy man Will deign to use them. His the city's pomp, The rural honors his. Whate'er adorns The princely dome, the column and the arch. The breathing marbles and tho sculptured gold, Beyond the proud possessor's narrow claim, His tuneful breast enjoys. For him, the Spring Distils her dews, and from the silken gem Its lucid leaves unfolds: for him, the hand Of Autumn unges every fertile branch With blooming gold, and blushes like the mom. Each passing hour sheds tribute from her wings; And still new beauties meet his lonely walk, And loves unfelt attract him. Not a breeze Flies o'er th*? meadow, not a cloud imbibes


The setting sun's effulgence, not a strain

From all the tenants of tho warbling shade

Ascends, but whence his bosom can partake

Fresh pleasure unreproved. Nor thence partakes

Fresh pleasure only: for th' attentive mind,

By this harmonious action on her powers,

Becomes herself harmonious: wont so oft

In outward things to meditate the charm

Of sacred order, soon she seeks at home

To find a kindred order to exert

Within herself this elegance of love,

This fair inspired delight: her tempered powers

Refine at length, and every passion wears

A chaster, milder, more attractive mien.

But if to ampler prospects, if to gaze

On nature's form, where, negligent of all

These lesser graces, she assumes the port

Of that eternal majesty that weigh'd

The world's foundations; if to these the mind

Exalts her daring eye; then mightier far

Will be the change, and nobler. Would the forms

Of servile custom cramp her generous powers?

Would sordid policies, the barbarous growth

Of ignorance and rapine, bow her down

To tame pursuits, to indolence and fear 1

Lo! she appeals to nature, to the winds

And rolling waves, the sun's unwearied course,

The elements and seasons: all declare

For what th' eternal Maker has ordain'd

The powers of man: we feel within ourselves

His energy divine: he tells the heart,

He meant, he made us to behold and love

What he beholds and loves, the general orb

Of life and being; to be great liko him,

Beneficent and active. Thus the men

Whom nature's works can charm, with Got! himself

Hold converse; grow familiar, day by day,

With his conceptions, act upon his plan;

And form to his the relish of their souls.

THOMAS GRAY. 1716—1771.

Tins most eminent poet and distinguished scholar was born in London in * 1716. After receiving the first portion of his classical education at Eton, he entered the University of Cambridge, where he continued five years; after which he travelled, as companion with Horace Walpole, through France and part of Italy. At Reggio, however, these ill-assorted friends parted in mutual dislike, and Gray proceeded alone to Venice, and there remained only till ho was provided with the means of returning to England. As to the cause of the separation, Walpole was afterwards content to bear the blame. "Gray," said he, » was too serious a companion for me: he was for antiquities, &c, while 1 was for perpetual balls and plays; the fault was mine."

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