« PreviousContinue »
quests; that he wants nothing of u's, and is content that we should pro'sper and be at peace, because we are so distant from his throne ? Has he not alre'ady told us/ that we must emb'ark in his ca'use ? Has he not himself declared w'ar-forus/ against En ́gland ? Will it be said, he wants not to co'nquer us, but only wishes us to be his allies ? Alliîes of Fraụnce ! Is there a m’an/ who does not shudder at the tho’ught ? Is there on'e/ who had not rather struggle no'bly, and perish under her o^pen-enmity, than be crushed by the embrace of her frie'ndship,- her alliance ? To show you the haoppiness* of her alli'ance, I will not carry you back to Ve’nice, Switzerland, Holland. Their expiring groans are almost forgotten amidst l'ater oʻutrages. Spain, Spa'in is the al’ly/ to whom I would direct-you. Are you lovers of treachery, per fidy, rapa'city, and m'assacre ? Then aspire after the ho'nour/ which Spain has foʻrfeited, and become the all'y of Fra'nce.
Let me here obse'rve, that the contrast of Eng'land with France (in point of morals and religion) is one ground of hoʻpe (to the devout m'ind) in these d'ark/ and tro’ubled tim’es. On this s’ubject, I have heard but one'-opinion from good m'en, who have visited the two coun'tries. The cha'racter of En°gland/ is to be estimated parti'cularly from what may be called the middle class of soʻciety (the most numerous class in al} na'tions, and mor'e numerous and influ’ential in En“gland/ than in any other na'tion of E'urope. The w'arm pie'ty, the 'a'ctive bene volence, and the indepe'ndent and ma‘nly thi'nking (which are found in this class) do encourage me in the beli'ef, that En ́gland/ will not be forsaken by Go'd/ in her solemn str’uggle!
I feel myself bound to all n’ations/ by the ties of a common na'ture, a common Father, and a common Sa’viour. But/ I feel a pecu^liar-interest in En°gland; for I beli'eve, that ther^e/ Christi'anity is exerting its be'st influences on the human ch'aracter;
that there/ the perfections of human na'ture (w'isdom, vir'tue, and pi'ety) are foste'red by excellent instit’utions, and are producing the delightful fruits of domestic ha'ppi
Happiness” here is spoken ironically, and hence pronounced with the rising circumflex.
to Though the note of admiration is generally pronounced with the falling voice, yet when much pathos is expressed, as in the above beautiful example, the rising inflection will produce the more effect.
ness, social oʻrder, and general prospe'rity. It is a hoʻpe
5th April, 1810.
Winding up, or concluding tone.
ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD.
The lowing he'rd/ winds slowly o'er the lea;
And leaves the woʻrld—to dar'kness, and to m'e. j
And all the air/ a solemn stillness hoʻlds;
The moping o'wl/ does to the moon complain
Mole'st ber an'cient/ soli'tary-reign.
Bids every fier'ce/ tumultuous passion ce'ase ;
A grateful ear'nest/ of eternal peace !
(Where heaves the tur'f'in many a mouldering he'ap,) Ea'ch/ in his narrow c'ell/ for ever la'id,
The rude forefa'thers/ of the hamlet sle'ep.
* The observance of the cæsural pause (which generally occurs at the fourth, but extends sometimes to the sixth or seventh syllable) is essentially necessary to the proper reading of any poetry ; but, in Gray's beautiful Elegy, it is absolutely indispensable! It occurs in the first verse at “tolls," "herd,” “homeward,” and “world ;” and the inflections upon the whole, at the end of each line, generally correspond with those in the FIRST VERSE, as here marked.
The breezy c'all/ of incense-br'eathing mor'n,
The swallow/ twittering from the straw-built sh'ed, The cock's shrill cla'rion, or the echoing hor'n,
No mor'e shall rous'e-them/ from their lo^wly b’ed. For the'm no more/ the blazing hearth shall bur'n,
Or busy house wife/ ply her evening ca're ; No children ru'n; to lisp their sire's retur'n,
Or climb his kn'ees/ the envied ki'ss/ to shar'e. Oft did the harvest/ to their si'ckle yield;
Their furrow of t/ the stubborn glebe has broke : How jocund did they driv'e/ their team a-field !
How bowed the w’oods/ beneath their st’urdy stro'ke ! Let not ambition/ mock their useful to‘il,
Their homely joy's/, and destiny obsc'ure; Nor gra‘ndeur h'ear (with a disdainful s'mile)
The sho'rt and siîmple-annals/ of the poor. The bo‘ast of heraldry, the po'mp of power,
And all that bea'uty, all that we^alth e'er gʻave, Aw’ait, ali'ke, the ine vitable-hour :
The paths of glory-lead but to the grave. Nor you (ye pro’ud) impute to the'se the fa'ult,
If me'mory/ o'er their tombs no trophies rai'se, Wh'ere (through the long-drawn ais'le and fretted v'ault)
The pealing a'nthem/ swells the n'ote-of prai'se. Can storied ur'n, or animated b’ust,
Back to its man'sion/ call the fleeting br'eath ? Can honour's voi'ce/ provoke the silent d'ust,
Or flat tery/ sooth the d'ull col'd-ear of death? Perhaps/ in this/ neglected sp'ot is la'id/
Some heart/ once pregnant with celes'tial fi're ;
Or waked to ec'stacy/ the li'ving-lyre :
R'ich/ with the spoils of ti'me/, did ne'er unr'oll;
And froze the genial cur'rent) of the sou'l. Full many a ge'm/ of purest ray ser’ene,
The da'rk/ unfa thomed-caves/ of ocean b'ear :
Full many a flo'wer/ is born to blush unseen,
And waste its swe'etness/ on the des'ert-air.
The little tyrant of his fields/ withsto'od :
Some Croomwell/ guiltless of his cou'ntry's blood. The applause of listening se'nates/ to comm'and,
The threats of pai'n and ru'in/ to despise, To scatter plen'ty) o'er a smiling la’nd,
And read their his'tory/ in a nation's ey'es; Their l'ot forba'de ; nor circumscribed alon'e
Their growing vi’rtues/, but their cri°mes confined ;
And shut the gates of me'rcy/ on manki'nd;
To quench the blus'hes/ of ingenuous sh’ame ;
With incense kin'dled/ at the m'use's flame. Far from the madding crowd's/ ignoble str'ife;
Their sober wis'hes/ never learned to st‘ray ; Along the coʻol/ seques'tered-vale of l'ife
They kept the noiseless te'nor/ of their way. Yet even the'se boʻnes, (from insult to proʻtect,)
Some frail memori'al/ still erected nigʻh, With uncouth rhy'mes/ and shapeless sculpture deʼcked,
Implores the passing tr'ibute/ of a sig'h. Their na'me, their yeaors, (spelt by the unlet'tered m'use)
The place of faʼme/ and el'egy supply; And many a holy te'xt/ around she stre'ws,
That teach the rustic m'oralist/ to di'e. For wh’o (to dumb Forgetfulness a pr'ey)
This pleaʼsing/ anx'ious-being e'er resign'ed, Left the warm precincts of the cheerful da'y,
Nor cast one lo'nging, lingering lo'ok behind ? On som'e/ fon'd-breast/ the par ting-soul/ relie's,
Some pio'us-drops/ the clo^sing-eye req'uires ;
Even in our aʻshes/ live their wo'nted fi'res.
Do'st/ in these lin'es/ their artless tale relate,
If chanʼce, (by lonely contemplation l'ed)
Some kin' dred-spirit/ shall inquire thy fat'e ; Ha'ply (some hoary-headed swain/ may s'ay)
« Oft have we see'n-him/, at the peep of da'wn, Brush'ing (with hasty ste'ps) the de'ws a'way,
“ To meet the s'un/ upon the u'pland-law'n. “The're at the foo't/ of yonder nodding be'ech,
“ That wreathes its oʻld/ fanta'stic-roots so hi'gh, “ His listless len'gth/ at noon'tide/ would he str'etch,
“ And po're upon the bro'ok/ that babbles by. “Hard by yon wo'od, (now smiling as in sc'orn,)
Muttering his wayward fan'cies/, he would ro've ; “ Now drooʻping, wo'ful, w'an, (like on'e forloʻrn)
“ Or crazed with ca're/ or cros'sed/ in hopeless love'. “ One mo'rn I misse'd him/ on the accu'stomed hi'll,
“ Along the hea'th/, and near his favourite tr'ee/ ; “ Another cam'e/, nor yet beside the rill,
“ Nor up the law'n, nor at the woʻod/ was he': “ The ne'xt, (with dirges due, in sa'd ar ray,)
“Slow through the church-way pa'th/ we saw him bor'nem Approa'ch, and re’ad (for thoʻu-canst-read) the la'y, “'Grav'ed on the stone/ beneath yon a'ged tho'rn."
THE EPITAPH. .
Here rests his hea'd/ upon the la'p of ear'th,
A you'th to for tune) and to faʼme unkno'wn. Fair Sci'ence frow'ned not/ on his humble bir'th ;
And Melancholy-marked-him/ for her ow‘n. Large was his bou’nty/, and his s'oul sincer'e;
Heaven did a recompense, as largely se'nd, He gave to m'isery (a'll he ha d) a te'ar:
He gai'ned from He'aven ('twas a'll he wis hed) a frie'nd. No farther seek his me'rits/ to disclo'se,
Or draw his fra'ilties/ from their dread ab'ode, (There they ali'ke in trembling hope rep'ose,)
The bos om of his father and his God.
* The “Epitaph" should be read in a lower tone of voice, and in such a manner as a good reader would really employ when perusing an inscrip. tion in a church-yard.