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Offspring of folly and of noise,
Fantastic train of airy joys,
Cease, cease your vain delusive lore,
And tempt my serious thoughts no more,
Ye horrid forms, ye gloomy throng,
Who hear the bird of midnight's song;
Thou too, Despair, pale spectre, come
From the self-murderer's haunted tomb,
While sad Melpomene relates,
How we're afflicted by the fates.

What's all this wished-for empire, life?
A scene of misery, care, and strife;
And, make the most, that's all we have
Betwixt the cradle and the grave.
The being is not worth the charge;
Behold the estimate at large.
Our youth is silly, idle, vain,

is full of care and pain :
From wealth accrues anxiety ;
Contempt and want from poverty:
What trouble business has in store!
How idleness fatigues us more!
To reason the ignorant are blind;
The learned's eyes are too refined ;
Each wit deems every wit his foe;
Each fool is naturally so ;
And every rank and every station
Meet justly with disapprobation.
Say, man, is this the boasted state,
Where all is pleasant, all is great ?
Alas! another face you'll see,
Take off the veil of vanity;
To aught in pleasure, aught in power,
Has wisdom any gift in store,
To make thee stay a single hour ?

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In sleep's serene oblivion laid,

I safely pass'd the silent night;
At once I see the breaking shade,

And drink again the morning light.
New-born-I bless the waking hour,

Once more, with awe, rejoice to be;
My conscious soul resumes her power,

And springs, my gracious God, to thee.

Oh! guide me through the various maze

My doubtful feet are doom'd to tread;
And spread thy shield's protecting blaze,
When dangers press around my


A deeper shade will soon impend,

A deeper sleep my eyes oppress;
Yet still thy strength shall me defend,

Thy goodness still shall deign to bless.
That deeper shade shall fade away,

That deeper sleep shall leave my eyes ;
Thy light shall give eternal day ;

Thy love the rapture of the skies !



Amid the tumult’s rage remember mercy !
Stain not a righteous cause with guiltless blood !
Warn our brave friends, that we unsheathe the sword,
Not to destroy, but save! nor let blind zea,
Or wanton cruelty e'er turn its edge
On age or innocence! or bid us strike
Where the most pitying angel in the skies,
That now looks on us from his blest abode,
Would wish that we should spare.



When nature joins a beauteous face
With shape, and air, and life, and grace,
To every imperfection blind,
I spy no blemish in the mind.
When wit flows pure from Stella's tongue,
Or animates the spritely song,
Our hearts confess the power divine,
Nor lightly prize its mortal shrine.
Good nature will a conquest gain,
Though wit and beauty sigh in vain :
When generous thoughts the breast inspire,
I wish its rank and fortunes higher.
When Sidney's charms again unite
To win the soul and bless the sight,
Fair, and learn'd, and good, and great!
An earthly goddess is complete.
But when I see a sordid mind
With affluence and ill-nature joined,
And pride without a grain of sense,
And without beauty, insolence,
The creature with contempt I view.

CLXXXV. GRAY, 1716—1771.

ELEGY IN A COUNTRY CHURCUYARD. The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herds wind 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, Save where the beetle wheels his drony 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 mouldering 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 ;
Nor 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 harrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke:
How jocund did they drive their teams 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 mem’ry 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 wak'd to ecstasy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of tiine, 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.
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 forbade: nor circumscrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined :
Forbade 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 tenor 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 d.
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

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