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Lo, in the vale of years beneath
A grisly troop are seen,
More hideous than their Queen:
Those in the deeper vitals rage:
And slow-consuming Age.
To each his sufferings; all are men,
Condemned alike to groan,
The unfeeling for his own.
And happiness too swiftly fies?
'Tis folly to be wise.
HYMN TO ADVERSITY
Daughter of Jove, relentless power,
Thou tamer of the human breast,
The bad affright, afflict the best!
And purple tyrants vainly groan
When first thy sire to send on earth
Virtue, his darling child, designed, To thee he gave the heavenly birth,
And bade to form her infant mind. Stern, rugged nurse! thy rigid lore With patience many a year she bore;
What sorrow was thou bad'st her know, And from her own she learned to melt at other's woe. Scared at thy frown terrific, fly
Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
And leave us leisure to be good :
By vain Prosperity received, To her they vow their truth and are again believed.
Wisdom in sable garb arrayed,
Immersed in rapturous thought profound,
With leaden eye, that loves the ground,
With Justice, to herself severe,
Oh, gently on thy suppliant's head,
Dread goddess, lay thy chastening hand! Not in thy Gorgon terrors clad,
Nor circled with the vengeful band (As by the impious thou art seen), With thundering voice and threatening mien,
With screaming Horror's funeral cry, Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty:
Thy form benign, O goddess, wear,
Thy milder influence impart; Thy philosophic train be there
To soften, not to wound, my heart;
Exact my own defects to scan,
WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, Each in his narrow cell forever laid,
The rude 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 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 bowed 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 authem 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 swayed,
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 repressed their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathomed 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 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.
Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed 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 learned to stray; Along the cool sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet even these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
Their names, their years, spelt by th' unlettered 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 resigned, 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 ; Even from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Even in our ashes live their wonted fires.
For thee, who mindful of th' unhonoured dead
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate, If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate.