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He, when his morning task is done,
Can slumber in the noontide Sun;
And hie him home, at evening's close,
To sweet repast, and calm repose.
He, unconscious whence the bliss,
Feels, and owns in carols rude,
That all the circling joys are his,
Of dear Vicissitude. From toil he wins his spirits light, From busy day, the peaceful night; Rich, from the very want of wealth, In Heaven's best treasures, Peace and Health.]
AN IMITATION FROM THE GODODIN'.
Have ye, seen the tusky Boar,
Or the Bull with sullen roar,
On surrounding foes advance?
So Caradoc bore his lance.
Conan's name, my lay, rehearse,
Build to him the lofty verse,
Sacred tribute of the Bard,
Verse, the Hero's sole reward!
As the flame's devouring force;
As the whirlwind in its course;
As the thunder's fiery stroke
Glancing on the shiver'd oak;
Did the sword of Conan mow
The crimson harvest of the foe.
THIRD in the labours of the Disc came on,
With sturdy step and slow, Hippomedon;
Artful and strong he poised the well known weight,
By Phlegyas warn'd, and fired by Mnestheus' fate,
That to avoid, and this to emulate.
His vigorous arm he try'd before he flung,
Braced all his nerves, and every sinew strung;
Then, with a tempest's whirl, and wary eye,
Pursued his cast, and hurl'd the orb on high:
The orb on high tenacious of its course,
True to the mighty arm that gave it force,
Far overleaps all bound, and joys to see
Its ancient lord secure of victory.
The theatre's green height and woody wall
Tremble ere it precipitates its fall;
The ponderous mass sinks in the cleaving ground,
While vales and woods and echoing hills rebound.
As when from Etna's smoking summit broke,
The eyeless Cyclops heaved the craggy rock;
Where ocean frets beneath the dashing oar,
And parting surges round the vessel roar;
"Twas there he aim'd the meditated harm,
And scarce Ulysses scaped his giant arm.
A tiger's pride the victor bore away,
With native spots and artful labour gay,
A shining border round the margin roll'd,
And calm'd the terrors of his claws in gold.
1 This was made by Mr. Gray while at Cambridge, in the year 1736, and at the age of twenty. Mr. Mason expressed his belief that it was Gray's first attempt in English Verse.
HYMN TO IGNORANCE.
HAIL, horrors, hail! ye ever gloomy bowers,
Ye gothic fanes, and antiquated towers,
Where rushy Camus' slowly winding flood
Perpetual draws his humid train of mud:
Glad I revisit thy neglected reign!
Oh, take me to thy peaceful shade again! [high
But chiefly thee, whose influence breathed from
Augments the native darkness of the sky;
Ah, Ignorance! soft salutary Power!
Prostrate with filial reverence I adore,
Thrice hath Hyperion roll'd his annual race,
Since weeping I forsook thy fond embrace.
Oh successful dost thou still oppose
Thy leaden ægis 'gainst our ancient foes?
Still stretch, tenacious of thy right divine,
The massy sceptre o'er thy slumbering line?
And dews Lethean through the land dispense
To steep in slumbers each benighted sense!
If any spark of wit's delusive ray
Break out, and flash a momentary day,
With damp, cold touch forbid it to aspire,
And huddle up in fogs the dangerous fire.
Oh say-she hears me not, but, careless grown,
Lethargic nods upon her ebon throne.
Goddess! awake, arise, alas my fears!
Can powers immortal feel the force of years?
Not thus of old, with ensigns wide unfurl'd,
She rode triumphant o'er the vanquish'd world;
This is supposed to have been written about the the time when Mr. Gray returned to Cambridge.
Fierce nations own'd her unresisted might,
And all was ignorance and all was night.
Oh! sacred age! Oh! times for ever lost!
(The schoolman's glory, and the churchman's
For ever gone-yet still to Fancy new, [boast.)
Her rapid wings the transient scene pursue,
And bring the buried ages back to view.
High on her car, behold the grandam ride Like old Sesostris with barbaric pride;
a team of harness'd monarchs bend
Πόταγ' ώ γαβέ: ταν
"Ουτι πω εις Αίδαν γε τον εκλελάθοντα φυλαξεις.
As sickly plants betray a niggard earth,
Whose barren bosom starves her generous birth,
Nor genial warmth, nor genial juice retains,
Their roots to feed, and fill their verdant veins ;
And as in climes, where Winter holds his reign,
The soil, though fertile, will not teem in vain,
Forbids her gems to swell, her shades to rise,
Nor trusts her blossoms to the churlish skies;
So draw mankind in vain the vital airs,
Unform’d, unfriended, by those kindly cares,
That health and vigour to the soul impart,
Spread the young thought, and warm the opening
So fond instruction on the growing powers
Of nature idly lavishes her stores,
If equal Justice with unclouded face
Smile not indulgent on the rising race,
And scatter, with a free though frugal hand,
Light golden showers of plenty o'er the land:
But Tyranny has fix'd her empire there,
To check their tender hopes with chilling fear,
And blast the blooming promise of the year.
This spacious animated scene survey,
From where the rolling orb, that gives the day,
His sable sons with nearer course surrounds,
To either pole, and life's remotest bounds.
How rude soe'er the exterior form we find,
Howe'er opinion tinge the varied mind,
Alike to all, the kind, impartial Heaven
The sparks of truth and happiness has given:
With sense to feel, with memory to retain,
They follow pleasure, and they fly from pain:
Their judgment mends the plan their fancy draws,
The event presages and explores the cause;
The soft returns of gratitude they know,
By fraud elude, by force repel, the foe:
While mutual wishes, mutual woes, endear
The social smile and sympathetic tear.
Say, then, through ages by what fate confined To different climes seem different souls assign'd? Here measured laws and philosophic ease Fix and improve the polish'd arts of peace;