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The ghostly prudes, with hagged face,
Already had condemnd the sinner. My Lady rose, and with a grace_
She smiled and bid him come to dinner. • Jesu-Maria! Madam Bridget,
Why, what can the Viscountess mean? (Cried the square hoods in woful fidget)
The times are alter'd quite and clean! • Decorum 's turn'd to mere civility;
Her air and all her manners show it.
[Here 500 Stanzas are lost.] And so God save our noble King,
And guard us from long-winded lubbers, That to eternity would sing,
And keep my Lady from her rubbers.
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.
squilla di lontano
Dante, Purgat, l. 8.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds, Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds. Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
The moping owl does to the moon complain Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
Molest 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 strawbuilt 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. Nor you, ye Proud, impute to these the fault,
If Memory o'er their tomb 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; Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul. Full many a gem
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.
The' applause of listening senates to command,
And read their history in a nation's eyes,
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
2 Between this and the preceding stanza, in Mr. Gray's first MS. of the Poem, were the four following:
The thoughtless world to Majesty may bow,
Than Power or Genius e'er conspired to bless.
To wander in the gloomy walks of fate;
No more, with reason and thyself at strife,
Giye anxious cares and endless wishes room;
And here the Poem was originally intended to conclude, before the happy idea of the hoary-headed swain, &c. suggested itself to him.
Yet e'en these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. [deck’d, Their name, their years, spell’d by the unletter'd
The place of fame and elegy supply: [Muse, 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 ; E'en from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
E'en in our ashes 3 live their wonted fires 4. For thee, who, mindful of the' unhonour'd dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate; If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate, Haply some hoary-headed swain may say, • Oft have we seen him at the
of dawn Brushing with hasty steps the dews away, To meet the Sun upon the upland lawn. 3 Ch'i veggio nel pensier, dolce mio fuoco,
Fredda una lingua, et due begli occhi chiusi
Petrarch, Son. 169. 4 Variation :Awake and faithful to her wonted fires. 5 Variation :-On the high brow of yonder hanging lawn. After which, in the first manuscript, followed this stanza: Him have we seen the greenwood side along,
While o'er the heath 'we hied, our labour done,
With wistful eyes pursue the setting sun.