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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,
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
Grav'd 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 frown'd uot 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,
A distant Prospect of Eton College.
E distant Spires ! ye antique Tow'rs!
That crown the watry 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.
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 bus'ness 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 mord.
Atas! regardless of their doom,
The little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come,
Nor care beyond to-day;
Yet see how all around 'em wait
The ministers of human fate,
And black Misfortune's baleful train!
Ah ! shew them where in ambush stand,
To seize their prey, the murd'rous band !
Ah! tell them they are men. These shall the fury passions tear,
The vulturs of the mind,
Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,
And Shame, that skulks behind ;
Or pining Love shall waste their youth,
Or Jealousy, with rankling tooth,
That inly gnaws the secret heart!
And Envy wan, and faded Care,
Grim-visag'd, comfortless Despair,
And Sorrow's piercing dart. Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Then whirl the wretch from high,
To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,
And grinding Infamy :
The stings of Falsehood those shall try,
And hard Unkindness' alter'd eye,
That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow;
And keen Remorse, with blood defild,
And moody Madness laughing wild
Amid severest woe.
Lo! in the vale of years beneath,
A grisly troop are seen,
The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their queen :
This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
That ev'ry lab'ring sinew strains,
Those in the deeper vitals rage;
Lo! Poverty, to fill the band,
That numbs the soul with icy hand,
And slow.consuming Age.
To each his suff'rings; all are men
Condemn'd alike to groan,
The tender for another's pain,
Th' unfeeling for his own.
Yet ah! why should they know their fate,
Since Sorrow never comes too late,
Aud Happiness too swiftly flies ?
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss
'Tis folly to be wise.
To Adversity. DAUGHTER of Jove, relentless pow's,
Thou tamer of the human breast,
Whose iron scourge and tort'ring hour
The bad affright, afflict the best!
Bound in thy adamantine chain,
The proud are taught to taste of pain !
And purple tyrants vainly groan
With pangs unfelt before, unpity'd and alone.
When first thy sire to send on earth
Virtue, his darling child, design'd,
To thee he gave the heav'nly birth,
And bade to form her infant mind :
Stern rugged nurse! thy rigid lore
With patience many a year she bore;
What sorrow was thou bad'st her know,
And, from her own, she learnt to melt at others' woe.
Scar'd at thy frown terrific, fly
Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
With Laughter, Noise, and thoughtless Joy,
And leave us leisure to be good.
Light they disperse ; and with them go
The summer friend, the flatt'ring foe;
By vain Prosperity receiv'd,
To her they vow their truth, and are again believ'd.
Wisdom, in simple garb array'd,
Immers'd in rapt'rous thought profound, And Melancholy, silent maid,
With leaden eye, that loves the ground Still on thy solemn steps attend; Warm Charity, the gen'ral friend, With Justice, to herself severe, And Pity, dropping soft the sadly-pleasing tear. Oh! gently on thy suppliant's head,
Dread Goddess ! lay thy chast'ning hand, Not in thy Gorgon terrors clad,
Nor circled with thy vengeful band : (As by the impious thou art seen) With thund'ring voice and threat'ning mien, With screaming Horror's funeral cry, Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty. Thy form benign, O Goddess! wear,
Thy milder influence impart, Thy philosophic train be there,
To soften, not to wound my heart: The gen'rous spark extinct revive; Teach me to love and to forgive; Exact my own defects to scan, What others are to feel, and know myself a man.
I. 1. 'RO
UIN seize thee, ruthless King!
Confusion on thy banners wait; Tho' fann'd by conquest's crimson wing, They mock the air with idle state. Helm nor hauberk's twisted mail, Nor e'en thy virtues, tyrant! shall avail To save thy secret soul from nightly fears; From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears !"