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ON A DISTANT
PROSPECT OF ETON COLLEGE.
"Ανθρωπος, ικανή πρόφασις εις το δυστυχείν.
Ye distant spires, ye antique towers,
That crown the wat’ry glade,
Her Henry's' holy shade;
Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,
His silver-winding way:
Ah, happy hills ! ah, pleasing shade!
Ah, fields belov’d in vain!
A stranger yet to pain!
King Henry the Sixth, founder of the College,
As waving fresh their gladsome wing, My weary soul they seem to sooth, And, redolent of joy and youth,
To breathe a second spring.
Say, father Thames, for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race
The paths of pleasure trace;
The captive linnet wbich enthral?
Or urge the flying ball ?
While some on earnest business bent,
Their murm'ring labours ply 'Gainst graver hours that bring constraint
To sweeten liberty:
And unknown regions dare descry:
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 sosy hue,
And lively cheer, of vigour born;
That fly th' approach of morn.
The little victims play;
Nor care beyond to-day:
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 skulks bebind; 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 Falsebood those sball try
That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow;
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 :
Those in the deeper vitals rage :
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.
And happiness too swiftly flies ?