Page images
PDF
EPUB

150

The Light of Other Days
Oft in the stilly night

Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Fond Memory brings the light
Of other days around me :

The smiles, the tears

Of boyhood's years,
The words of love then spoken ;
The
eyes

that shone,
Now dimm'd and gone,
The cheerful hearts now broken!
Thus in the stilly night

Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Sad Memory brings the light

Of other days around me.

When I remember all

The friends so link'd together
I've seen around me fall
Like leaves in wintry weather,

I feel like one

Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,

Whose lights are fled,

Whose garlands dead,
And all but he departed !
Thus in the stilly night

Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Sad Memory brings the light
Of other days around me.

Moore.

151* Elegy in a Country Churchyard The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,

The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea, The plowman 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,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,

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 wand'ring near her secret bower

Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,

Where heaves the turf in many a mould’ring heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,

The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn,

The swallow twitt'ring 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 knees 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 afield !

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 th' 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 trophies 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 ample 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 on the desert air.

fretted] carven.
storied urn] sepulchral urn inscribed with epitaph.
animated] life-like.

provoke] recall to life.

Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast

The little tyrant of his fields withstood, Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,

Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood.

Th' applause of list’ning 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,

Their lot forbad: nor circumscribed alone

Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined ; Forbad to wade through slaughter to a throne, And shut the gates

of

mercy on mankind;

[The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,

To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame, Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride

With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.]

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,

Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray ; Along the cool sequester'd vale of life

They kept the noiseless tenour of their way.

[Yet ev’n these bones from insult to protect

Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck's,

Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.]

Their name, their years, spelt by th’unletter'd Muse,

The place of fame and elegy supply : And many a holy text around she strews

That teach the rustic moralist to die.

(For who, to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,

This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd, Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,

Nor cast one longing lingering look behind ?

On some fond breast the parting soul relies,

Some pious drops the closing eye requires ; Ev’n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,

Ev’n in our ashes live their wonted fires.]

For thee, who, mindful of th' unhonour'd Dead,

Dost in these lines their artless tale relate; If chance, by lonely contemplation led,

Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,-

Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,

• Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn Brushing with hasty steps the dews away

To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.

"There at the foot of yonder nodding beech

That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, His listless length at noontide would he stretch,

And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,

Mutt'ring his wayward fancies he would rove, Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,

Or crazed with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.

One morn

I miss'd him on the custom'd hill,
Along the heath, and near his favourite tree;
Another came ; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor

up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

For thee, who] the poet addresses himself. in these lines] the Elegy.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »