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HYMN ON SOLITUDE.
Hail, mildly-pleasing Solitude!
Oh! how I love with thee to walk,
A thousand shapes you wear with ease, And still in every shape you please. Now, wrapt in some mysterious dream, A lone philosopher you seem; Now quick from hill to vale you fly, And now you sweep the vaulted sky. A shepherd next, you haunt the plain, And warble forth your oaten strain. A lover now, with all the grace Of that sweet passion in your face : Then, calm'd to friendship, you assume The gentle-looking Hartford's bloom, As, with her Musidora, she (Her Musidora fond of thee)
Amid the long withdrawing vale
Thine is the balmy breath of morn, Just as the dew-bent rose is born; And while meridian fervours heat, Thine is the woodland dumb retreat: But chief when evening scenes decay, And the faint landscape swims away, Thine is the doubtful soft decline, And that best hour of musing thine.
Descending angels bless thy train, The virtues of the sage and swain ; Plain Innocence, in white array'd, Before thee lifts her fearless head : Religion's beams around thee shine, And cheer thy gloom with light divine : About thee sports sweet Liberty ; And rapt Urania sings to thee.
Oh! let me pierce thy secret cell, And in thy deep recesses dwell. Perhaps from Norwood's oak-clad hill, When Meditation has ber fill, I just may cast my careless eyes Where London's spiry turrets rise, Think of its crimes, its cares, its pain, Then shield me in the woods again.
Written in a Country Church-yard.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds ;
Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
The moping owl does to the moon complain Of such as, wandering near her secret hower,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rade forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed, The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care; No children run to lisp their sire’s return, Or climb his knee the envied kiss to share.
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; How jocund did they drive their team a-field !
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure; Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, Await alike the inevitable hour;
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If memory o’er their tomb no troplies raise, Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise. !
Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death?
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire; Hands that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ampler page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unroll; Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear; Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness in the desert air.
Some village Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of the fields withstood; Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood.
The applause of listening senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise, To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes,