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'There at the foot of yonder nodding beech, That wreaths its old fantastic roots so high, His listless length at noontide 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 crazed with care, or cross'd in hopeless love. 'One morn I miss'd him on the custom'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 [borne,—

Slow through the church-way path we saw him Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay, Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.'


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.

1 Before the Epitaph, Mr. Gray originally inserted a very beautiful stanza, which was printed in some of the first editions, but afterwards omitted because he thought that it was too long a parenthesis in this place. The lines however are, in themselves, exquisitely fine, and demand preservation.

There scatter'd oft, the earliest of the year,

By hands unseen are showers of violets found;
The redbreast loves to build and warble there,

And little footsteps lightly print the ground.

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heaven did a recompense as largely send:
He gave to Misery (all he had) a tear,

He gain'd from Heaven ('twas all he wish'd) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,

Or draw his frailties from their dread abode (There they alike in trembling 2 hope repose), The bosom of his Father and his God.


paventosa speme.

Petrarch, Son. 114.

Posthumous Poems and Fragments.



Now the golden Morn aloft
Waves her dew-bespangled wing,
With vermeil cheek and whisper soft
She woos the tardy Spring:
Till April starts, and calls around
The sleeping fragrance from the ground;
And lightly o'er the living scene
Scatters his freshest, tenderest green.

New-born flocks, in rustic dance,
Frisking ply their feeble feet;
Forgetful of their wintry trance

The birds his presence greet:
But chief, the skylark warbles high
His trembling thrilling ecstasy;
And, lessening from the dazzled sight,
Melts into air and liquid light.

Rise, my Soul! on wings of fire,

Rise the rapturous choir among; Hark! 'tis Nature strikes the lyre, And leads the general song:

I Left unfinished by Mr. Gray: with additions, in brackets, by Mr. Mason. The first idea of this Ode was taken from M. Gresset's Epitre à ma Sœur.'

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(Warm let the lyric transport flow, Warm as the


that bids it glow; And animates the vernal grove With health, with harmony, and love.] Yesterday the sullen year

Saw the snowy whirlwind fly;
Mute was the music of the air,

The herd stood drooping by :
Their raptures now that wildly flow,
No yesterday nor morrow know;
'Tis Man alone that joy descries
With forward and reverted eyes.
Smiles on past Misfortune's brow

Soft Reflection's hand can trace;
And o'er the cheek of Sorrow throw

A melancholy grace; While Hope prolongs our happier hour, Or deepest shades, that dimly lower And blacken round our weary way, Gilds with a gleam of distant day. Still, where rosy Pleasure leads, See a kindred Grief

pursue; Behind the steps that Misery treads

Approaching Comfort view:
The hues of bliss more brightly glow,
Chastised by sabler tints of woe;
And blended form, with artful strife,
The strength and harmony of life.
See the Wretch, that long has toss'd

On the thorny bed of pain,
At length repair his vigour lost,

And breathe, and walk again :

The meanest floweret of the vale,
The simplest note that swells the gale,
The common sun, the air, the skies,
To Him are opening Paradise.
Humble Quiet builds her cell

Near the source whence Pleasure flows; She eyes the clear crystalline well,

And tastes it as it goes.
[While far below the maddening crowd
Rush headlong to the dangerous flood,]
Where broad and turbulent it sweeps,
And perish in the boundless deeps.
Mark where Indolence and Pride,

[Sooth'd by Flattery's tinkling sound,] Go, softly rolling, side by side,

Their dull but daily round:
[To these, if Hebè's self should bring
The purest cup from Pleasure's spring,
Say, can they taste the flavour high
Of sober, simple, genuine Joy?
Mark Ambition's march sublime

Up to Power's meridian height;
While pale-eyed Envy sees him climb,

And sickens at the sight. Phantoms of Danger, Death, and Dread, Float hourly round Ambition's head; While Spleen, within his rival's breast, Sits brooding on her scorpion nest. Happier he, the Peasant, far, From the


of Passion free, That breathes the keen yet wholesome air

Qf rugged Penury.


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