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By Mr. GRAY.
HE curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind flowly o'er the lea, The plowman homewards plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the fight,
And all the air a folemn ftillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his drony flight,
And drowfy tinklings lull the distant folds;
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r
The mopeing owl does to the moon complain
Of fuch, as wand'ring near her fecret bow'r,
Moleft her ancient, folitary 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 incenfe-breathing Morn,
The swallow twitt'ring from the ftraw-built shed,
The cock's fhrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more fhall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or bufy houfwife ply her evening care:
No children run to lifp their fire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kifs to fhare.
Oft did the harveft to their fickle 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 ftroke!
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a difdainful fmile,
The short and fimple annals of the poor.
The boaft of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
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 thro' the long-drawn ifle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem fwells the note of praise.
Can ftoried urn or animated buft
Back to its manfion call the fleeting breath;
Can Honour's voice provoke the filent duft,
Or Flatt'ry footh 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 fway'd,
Or wak'd to extafy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of Time did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury reprefs'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the foul.
Full many a gem of pureft ray ferene,
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its fweetnefs on the defart air.
Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast,
The little Tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltlefs of his country's blood.
Th' applaufe of lift'ning fenates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a fmiling land,
And read their hift'ry in a nation's eyes
Their lot forbad: nor circumfcrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd;
Forbad to wade through flaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,
The ftruggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the fhrine of Luxury and Pride
With incenfe kindled at the Mufe's flame.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their fober wishes never learn'd to stray;
Along the cool fequefter'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet ev❜n thefe bones from infult to protect
Some frail memorial ftill erected nigh,
With uncouth rhimes and fhapelefs fculpture deck'd,
Implores the paffing tribute of a figh.