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• The next, with dirges due in sad array

Slow through the church-way path we

saw him

borne :

Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay

Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.'

The Epitaph
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.

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 hope repose,) The bosom of his Father and his God.

Gray, 1750.

152 Written in Northampton



I AM! yet what I am who cares, or knows ?

My friends forsake me like a memory lost.
I am the self-consumer of my woes ;

They rise and vanish, an oblivious host,
Shadows of life, whose very soul is lost.
And yet I am, I live—though I am toss'd

Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,

Into the living sea of waking dream,
Where there is neither sense of life, nor joys,

But the huge shipwreck of my own esteem
And all that's dear. Even those I loved the best
Are strange-nay, they are stranger than the rest.

I long for scenes where man has never trod

For scenes where woman never smiled or weptThere to abide with my Creator, God,

And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept, Full of high thoughts, unborn. So let me lie, The grass below; above, the vaulted sky.



Why fadest thou in death,

Oh yellow waning tree?
Gentle is autumn's breath,

And green the oak by thee.

But with each wind that sighs

The leaves from thee take wing ;
And bare thy branches rise
Above their drifted ring.


154 Stanzas written in dejection near



The sun is warm, the sky is clear,

The waves are dancing fast and bright,
Blue isles and snowy mountains wear

The purple noon's transparent might,

The breath of the moist earth is light
Around its unexpanded buds ;

Like many a voice of one delight,
The winds, the birds, the ocean floods,
The City's voice itself, is soft like Solitude's.


I see the Deep's untrampled floor

green and purple seaweeds strown;
see the waves upon

the shore,
Like light dissolved in star-showers, thrown:

I sit upon the sands alone ;-
The lightning of the noontide ocean

Is flashing round me, and a tone
Arises from its measured motion,
How sweet ! did any heart now share in my emotion.


Alas! I have nor hope nor health,

Nor peace within nor calm around, Nor that Content surpassing wealth

The sage in meditation found,

And walk'd with inward glory crown'dNor fame, nor power, nor love, nor leisure.

Others I see whom these surroundSmiling they live, and call life pleasure ;To me that cup has been dealt in another measure.


Yet now despair itself is mild,

Even as the winds and waters are ;
I could lie down like a tired child,

And weep away the life of care
Which I have borne and yet must bear,

Till death like sleep might steal on me,
And I might feel in the warm air


cold, and hear the sea Breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony....


My cheek

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SWIFTLY walk o'er the western wave,

Spirit of Night!
Out of the misty eastern cave,
Where, all the long and lone daylight,
Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear,
Which make thee terrible and dear,–

Swift be thy flight!


Wrap thy form in a mantle gray,

Star-inwrought !
Blind with thine hair the eyes of Day ;
Kiss her until she be wearied out,
Then wander o'er city, and sea, and land,
Touching all with thine opiate wand-

Come, long-sought !


When I arose and saw the dawn,

I sigh'd for thee;
When light rode high, and the dew was gone,
And noon lay heavy on flower and tree,
And the weary Day turn'd to his rest,
Lingering like an unloved guest,

I sigh'd for thee.


Thy brother Death came, and cried,

Wouldst thou me ?
Thy sweet child Sleep, the filmy-eyed,
Murmur'd like a noontide bee,
Shall I nestle near thy side ?
Wouldst thou me ?-And I replied,

No, not thee!


Death will come when thou art dead,

Soon, too soon-
Sleep will come when thou art fled ;
Of neither would I ask the boon
I ask of thee, beloved Night-
Swift be thine approaching flight,
Come soon, soon!



Ode to a Nightingale


My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains

My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains

One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness,-
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,

In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,

Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

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