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Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r,
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Molest her ancient folitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap, Each in his narrow cell forever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep,
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twitt'ring 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;
Or climb his knees, the envied kiss to share.
Oft did the harvest to their fickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke !
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
The short and fimple annals of the poor.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'rg,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave Await alike th' inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye proud, impate to these the fault,
If mem’ry o'er their tomb no trophies raise, Where through the long-drawn ifle and fretted vaults
The pealing anthem swells the note of praife.
Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its manfion call the fleeting. breath? Can Honour's voice provoke the filent dust,
Or Flatt'ry footh the dull cold ear of Death:
Perhaps this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire ; : Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or wak'd to ecstasy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unrol; Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage,
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 Aower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness in the desert air,
Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of the fields withstood; Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood.
Th’applause of lift'ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise, To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their hist'ry in a nation's eyes.
Their lot forbade ; nor circumscrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd; Forbade to wade through Naughter 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 thrine of luxury and pride
With incense kindled at the muse's flame.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their fober 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 infult to protect
Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhimes and shapeless sculpture deck’dy
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
Their name, their years, spelt by the unletter'd Mufe,
The place of Fame and Elegy fupply: And many a holy text around the strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.
For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleafing anxious being e'er refign’d, Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing ling'ring look behind !
On some fond breast the parting foul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires ; Ev’n from the tomb the voice of nature cries,
Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires.
For thee who, mindful of th’unhonour'd dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate, If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred Spirit fhall inquire thy fate,
Haply fome hoary-headed fwain may say,
“ Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn " Brushing with hafty 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 fo high, « His liftlefs length at noontide would he stretch,
5* And pore upon the brook that babbles by.
64 Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
“ Mütt'ring his wayward fancies he would rove, “ Now drooping, woeful'wan, like one forlorn,
“ Or craz'd with care, or crofs'd in hopeless love.
" One morn I miss'd on th’accustom'd hill,
“ Along the heath and near his fay’rite tree; “ Another came ; nor yot beside the rill,
“ Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he:
“ The next, with dirges due, in sad array,
6. Slow thro’the church-way path we saw him borne. “ Approach, and read (for thou can'st' read) the lay,
* Gray'd on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.”
Ε Ρ Ι Τ Α Ρ Η.
Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A Youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown. Fair Science frown'd not 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 fromHeav'n, 'twas all he wish!d, a Friend..