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Ah, happy hills! ah, pleasing shade!

Ah, fields belov'd in vain!

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

I feel the gales that from ye blow
A momentary bliss bestow,

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

Say, Father THAMES, for thou hast seen Full many a sprightly race

Disporting on thy margent green

The paths of pleasure trace;
Who foremost now delight to cleave,
With pliant arm, thy glassy wave?

The captive linnet which enthral?
What idle progeny succeed
To chase the rolling circle's speed,
Or urge the flying ball?

(f) And, redolent of joy and youth.
And bees their honey redolent of spring.

Dryden's Fable on the Pythag. System.

While some on earnest business bent

Their murm'ring labours ply 'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint

To sweeten liberty:

Some bold adventurers disdain

The limits of their little reign,

And unknown regions dare descry: Still as they run they look behind, They hear a voice in every wind,

And snatch a fearful joy.

Gay hope is theirs by Fancy fed,
Less pleasing when possest;
The tear forgot as soon as shed,
The sunshine of the breast:
Theirs buxom Health, of rosy hue,
Wild Wit, Invention ever-new,

And lively Cheer, of Vigour born; The thoughtless day, the easy night, The spirits pure, the slumbers light, That fly th' approach of morn.

Alas! regardless of their doom
The little victims play!

No sense have they of ills to come,
Nor care beyond to-day.

Yet see, how all around 'em wait
The Ministers of human fate,

And black Misfortune's baleful train! Ah, show them where in ambush stand, To seize their prey, the murd'rous band! Ah, tell them they are men!

These shall the fury Passions tear,
The vultures of the mind,.
Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,

And Shame that sculks behind;
Or pining Love shall waste their youth,
Or Jealousy, with rankling tooth,

That inly gnaws the secret heart; And Envy wan, and faded Care, Grim-visag'd comfortless Despair, And Sorrow's piercing dart.

Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Then whirl the wretch from high,
To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,

And grinning Infamy.

The stings of Falsehood those shall try,
And hard Unkindness' alter'd eye [4],

That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow;
And keen Remorse with blood defil'd,
And moody Madness laughing wild (g)
Amid severest woe.

Lo, in the Vale of Years beneath
A grisly troop are seen,

The painful family of Death,

More hideous than their Queen:

[4] And hard Unkindness' alter'd


The elision here, observes Mr. Mason, is ungraceful, and hurts this otherwise beautiful line: One of the same kind in the second line of the first Ode makes the same blemish; but I think they are the only two to be found in this correct writer; and I mention them here that succeeding Poets may not look upon them as authorities. The judicious reader will not suppose that I would condemn all elisions of the genitive case, by this stricture on those which are terminated by rough consonants. Many there are which the ear readily admits, and which use has made familiar to it.

(g) And moody Madness laughing wild.

And Madness laughing in his ireful mood.
Dryden's Fable of Palamon and Arcite.

This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
That every labouring sinew strains,

Those in the deeper vitals rage:
Lo, Poverty, to fill the band,
That numbs the soul with icy hand,
And slow-consuming Age.

To each his suff'rings: all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan;

The tender for another's pain,

Th' unfeeling for his own.

Yet, ah! why should they know their fate,
Since sorrow never comes too late,

And happiness too swiftly flies?
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more ;-where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise.

[It has been well remarked by a Writer in the Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. Ixviii. p. 481. that for this beautiful and affecting Ode, we may have been indebted to the following passage in Walton's Life of Sir Henry Wotton:

"How useful was that advice of a holy monk, who persuaded his friend to perform his customary devotions in a constant place, because in that place we usually meet with those very thoughts which possessed us at our last being there; and I find it thus far experimentally true,

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