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Hark, his hands the lyre explore!
Bright-eyed Fancy hovering o'er,
But ah! 'tis heard no more.
That the Theban eagle bear,
Through the azure deep of air :
Such forms as glitter in the Muse's ray
Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate, Beneath the good how far, but far above the great.
HYMN TO ADVERSITY.
DAUGHTER of Jove, relentless power,
Thou tamer of the human breast,
The bad affright, afflict the best!
When first thy sire to send on earth
Virtue, his darling child, design'd, To thee he gave the heavenly 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 learn'd to melt at others' wo. Scared at thy frown terrific, fly
Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
And leave us leisure to be good.
Wisdom, in sable garb array'd,
Immersed in rapturous thought profound,
With leaden eye that loves the ground,
Dread goddess, lay thy chastening hand!
Nor circled with the vengeful band
Thy form benign, oh goddess, wear,
Thy milder influence impart, Thy philosophic train be there
To soften, not to wound my heart. The generous 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.
ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD.
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 glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds :
The moping owl does to the moon complain Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
Disturb her ancient solitary reign. Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering 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 twittering 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 evening care: No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied 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 power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, Await alike the inevitable hour;
The paths of glory lead but to the grave. Now you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If Memory o'er their tombs no trophies raise, Where, through 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 Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery sooth 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 waked to ecstasy the living lyre.
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll;
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 listening senates to command,
The threats 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 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 tenour of their way. Yet ev'n these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected migh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. Their name, their years, spell’d 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, lingering look behind ? On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires ;
Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires.
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate,
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.