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POEMS

OF

THOMAS GRAY.

Odes.

ON THE SPRING.

Lo! where the rosy-bosom'd hours,

Fair Venus' train, appear,
Disclose the long expected flowers,

And wake the purple year!
The attic warbler pours her throat,
Responsive to the cuckoo's note,

The untaught harmony of Spring :
While, whispering pleasure as they fly,
Cool Zephyrs through the clear blue sky

Their gather'd fragrance fling.

Where'er the oak's thick branches stretch

A broader browner shade,
Where'er the rude and moss-grown beech

O'ercanopies the glade",

1

a bank O’ercanopied with lascious woodbine.

Shaksp. Mids. Night's Dream.

Beside some water's rushy brink
With me the Muse shall sit, and think

(At ease reclined in rustic state) How vain the ardour of the crowd, How low, how little are the proud,

How indigent the great!
Still is the toiling hand of Care,

The panting herds repose:
Yet hark, how through the peopled air

The busy murmur glows !
The insect youth are on the wing,
Eager to taste the honey'd spring,

And float amid the liquid noon?:
Some lightly o'er the current skim,
Some show their gaily gilded trim

Quick glancing to the Sun 3.
To Contemplation's sober eye +

Such is the race of man :
And they that creep, and they that fly,

Shall end where they began.
Alike the busy and the gay
But flutter through life's little day,

In Fortune's varying colours dress'd:
Brush'd by the hand of rough Mischance,
Or chill'd by Age, their airy dance

They leave, in dust to rest. ? Nare per æstatem liquidam

Virgil Georg. lib. 4. sporting with quick glance, Show to the sun their waved coats dropp'd with gold.

Milton's Paradise Lost, book 7. 4 While insects from the threshold preach, &c.

M. Green, in the Grotto.

3

Methinks I hear, in accents low,

The sportive kind reply:
Poor moralist! and what art thou?

A solitary fly!
Thy joys no glittering female meets,
No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,

No painted plumage to display:
On hasty wings thy youth is flown;
Thy Sun is set, thy spring is gone

We frolic while 'tis May.

ON

THE DEATH OF A FAVOURITE CAT,

DROWNED IN A TUB OF GOLD FISHES.

'Twas on a lofty vase's side, Where China's gayest art had dyed

The azure flowers, that blow; Demurest of the tabby kind, The pensive Selima, reclined,

Gazed on the lake below.

Her conscious tail her joy declared ;
The fair round face, the snowy beard,

The velvet of her paws,
Her coat, that with the tortoise
Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes

She saw; and purr'd applause.

Still had she gazed; but midst the tide
Two angel forms were seen to glide,

The Genii of the stream:
Their scaly armour's Tyrian hue
Through richest purple to the view

Betray'd a golden gleam.

The hapless nymph with wonder saw :
A whisker first, and then a claw,

With many an ardent wish,
She stretch'd, in vain, to reach the prize,
What female heart can gold despise ?

What Cat's averse to fish?

Presumptuous maid! with looks intent Again she stretch'd, again she bent,

Nor knew the gulf between: (Malignant Fate sat by, and smiled) The slippery verge her feet beguiled,

She tumbled headlong in.

Eight times emerging from the flood,
She mew'd to every watery god,

Some speedy aid to send.
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirr'd;
No cruel Tom nor Susan heard.

A favourite has no friend !

From hence, ye beauties, undeceived, Know, one false step is ne'er retrieved,

And be with caution bold. Not all that tempts your wandering eyes And heedless hearts, is lawful prize;

Nor all that glisters gold.

ON

A DISTANT PROSPECT OF ETON COLLEGE.

"Ανθρωπος ἱκανὴ πρόφασις εἰς τὸ δυςυχεῖν.

MENANDER.

YE distant spires, ye antique towers,
That crown the watery glade,
Where grateful Science still adores
Her Henry's holy shade';

And ye, that from the stately brow
Of Windsor's heights the' 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 hills! ah, pleasing shade!
Ah, fields beloved in vain!

Where once my careless childhood stray'd,
A stranger yet to pain!

ye

I feel the gales that from
A momentary bliss bestow,

blow

As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
My weary soul they seem to sooth,
And, redolent of joy and youth2,
To breathe a second spring.

1 King Henry the Sixth, founder of the College. 2 And bees their honey redolent of spring.

Dryden's Fable on the Pythag. System.

D

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