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For me, whene'er all-conquering Death shall spread
His wings around my unrepining head,
I care not; though this face be seen no more
The world will pass as cheerful as before,
Bright as before the day-star will appear, 75
The fields as verdant, and the skies as clear;
Nor storms nor comets will my doom declare,
Nor signs on earth, nor portents in the air ;
Unknown and filent will depart my breath,
Nor Nature e'er take notice of my death. 89
Yet some there are (ere spent my vital days)
Within whose breasts my tomb I wish to raise.
Lov'd in my life, lamented in
Their praise would crown me as their precepts mend:
To them may these fond lines my name endear, 85
Not from the Poet but the Friend sincere.

my end,

1

O DE

ON A

DISTANT PROSPECT

OF

ETON COLLEGE.

BY THOMAS GRAY, ESQ.

"Ανθρωπος έκανή πρόφασις εις το δυσυχείν.

MENANDER

5

Y

e distant spires, ye antique towers,
That crown the wat'ry glade,
Where grateful Science still adores
Her Henry's + holy Shade;
And ye, that from the stately brow
Of WINDSOR's heights th' expanse below
Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,
Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers among
Wanders the hoary Thames along
His filver-winding way.

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Ah happy hills, ah pleasing fhade,
Ah fields belov’d in vain,

Born 1716; dyed 1771.
+ King Henry the fixth, founder of the college.

15

Where once my careless childhood stray'd,
A ftranger yet to pain !
I feel the gales, that from ye blow,
A momentary bliss bestow,
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
My weary soul they seem to footh,
And, redolent of joy and youth,
To breathe a second spring.

20

Say, Father THAMES, for thou haft seen
Full many a sprightly race
Disporting on thy margent green
The paths of pleasure trace,
Who foremost now delight to cleave
With pliant arm thy glasly wave?
The captive linnet which enthrall ?
What idle progeny succeed
To chace the rolling circle's speed,
Or urge the flying ball ?

25

30

While some on earnest business bent
Their murm'ring labours ply
'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint
To sweeten liberty :
Some bold adventurers disdain
The limits of their little reign,
And unknown regions dare descry:
Still as they run they look behind,

35

They hear a voice in every wind,
And snatch a fearful joy.

40

Gay hope is theirs by fancy fed,
Less pleasing when pofseft ;
The tear forgot as soon as shed,
The sunshine of the breast :
Theirs buxom health of rosy hue;
Wild wit, invention ever-new,
And lively chear of vigour born;
The thoughtless day, the easy night,
The spirits pure, the slumbers light,
That Ay th' approach of morn.

45

50

55

Alas, regardless of their doom,
The little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come,
Nor care beyond to-day :
Yet see how all around 'em wait
The Ministers of human fate,
And black Misfortune's baleful train!
Ah, shew them where in ambush stand
To seize their prey the murth'rous band !
Ah, tell them, they are men !

60

These shall the fury Passions tear,
The vultures of the mind,
Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,
And Shame that sculks behind;

65

Or pineing Love fhall waste their youth,
Or Jealousy with rankling tooth,
That inly gnaws the secret heart,
And Envy wan, and faded Care,
Grim-visag'd comfortless Despair,
And Sorrow's piercing dart.

79

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Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Then whirl the wretch from high,
To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,
And grinning Infamy ;
The stings of Fallhood those shall try,
And hard Unkindness' alter'd eye,
That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow;
And keen Remorse, with blood defil'd,
And moody Madness laughing wild
Amid feverest woe.

75

89

Lo, in the vale of years beneath
A griesly troop are seen,
The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their Queen :
This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
That every labouring finew strains,
Those in the deeper vitals rage :
Lo, Poverty, to fill the band,
That numbs the soul with icy hand,
And Now-consuming Age.

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