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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 list'ning 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 circumscrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd; 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 tenor of their way.
Yet ev’n these bones from insult to protect
Some frail Memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture
deck'd, Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. Their name, their years, spelt 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 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 spirits 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 noon-tide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by. Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove; Now drooping, woful-wan, like one forlorn,
Or craz’d with care, or cross'd in hopeless love. One morn I miss'd him on th' accustom'd hill,
Along the heath, and near his favourite 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
Grav'd on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.
A youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown:
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.
Heav'n did a recompense as largely send :
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 bis God. Gray.
ELEGY ON THE UNTIMELY DEATH OF A CERTAIN
Funereal pomp the scanty tear supplies,
Lo! here the brave and the puissant lies.'
When humbler Alcon leaves his drooping friends,
Pageant nor plume distinguish Alcon's bier ; The faithful Muse with votive song attends,
And blots the mournful numbers with a tear. He little knew the sly penurious art, [know;
That odious art which Fortune's favourites Form'd to bestow, he felt the warmest heart,
But envious Fate forbade him to bestow. He little knew to ward the secret wound;
He little knew that mortals could ensnare :
To sing her glories, and to paint her fair!
An unforeseen disaster thin'd his fold;
And for his friend his very crook was sold.
From winds protect them, and with food supply : Ah! helpless they, to ward the threaten'd pain,
The meagre famine, and the wintry sky!
He lov'd a nymph; amidst his slender store
He dar'd to love ; and Cynthia was his theme : He breath'd his plaints along the rocky shore,
They only echo'd o'er the winding stream.
His nymph was fair! the sweetest bud that blows
Revives less lovely from the recent shower ; So Philomel enamour'd eyes the rose ;
Sweet bird ! enamour'd of the sweetest flower.
He lov'd the Muse; she taught him to complain;
He saw his timorous loves on her depend : He lov'd the Muse, although she taught in vain;
He lov'd the Muse, for she was Virtue's friend.
She guides the foot that treads on Parian floors;
She wins the ear when formal pleas are vain; She tempts patricians from the fatal doors.
Of Vice's brothel forth to virtue's fare.
He wish'd for wealth, for much he wish'd to give;
He griev'd that virtue might not wealth obtain: Piteous of woes, and hopeless to relieve,
The pensive prospect sadden'd all his strain.
I saw him faint ! I saw him sipk to rest !
Like one ordain'd to swell the vulgar throng; As though the Virtues had not warm'd his breast,
As though the Muses not inspir'd his tongue.
I saw his bier ignobly cross the plain ;
Saw peasant hands the pious rite supply : The generous rustics mourn'd the friendly swain, But Pow'r and Wealth's unvarying cheek was
Such Alcon fell; in meagre want forlorn ! (where?
Where were ye then, ye powerful patrons ! Would ye the purple should your limbs adorn, Go wash the conscious blemish with a tear.