Page images

For them no more the blazing hearth shall

Or bufy housewife ply her evening-care :
No children run to lisp their fire's return,
Or climb his knees, the envied kiss to share.

[ocr errors]

Oft did the harvest to their fickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has

broke ;
How jocund did they drive their team a-field!
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy


Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obfcure ;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful fmile,
The short and simple annals of the poor.

[ocr errors]

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er
Await alike th' inevitable hour. [gave
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 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 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

Or wak'd 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 in the desart air.


Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless

The little Tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's


Th' applause of lift'ning fenates to com

The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their hift'ry in a nation's eyes,


Their lot forbade; nor circumscrib'd alone Their growing virtues, but their crimes

confin'd; Forbade to wade thro' 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

ftrife, 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 rhimes and shapeless sculp

ture deck's, Implores the palling tribute of a figh.


Their name, their years, spelt by th' uniet

ter'd Muse, The place of Fame and Elegy supply : And

many a holy text around the strews, That teach the ruftic moralist to die.

For who, to dumb Forgetfulness a prey, This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd, Left the warm precincts of the chearful day, Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind?

On some fond breast the parting fouļ 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 enquire thy fate;

Haply some hoary-headed Swain may fay, • Oft have we seen him at the


of dawn

*“ Ch'i veggio nel pensier, dolce mio fuoco " Fredda una lingua, et dụe begli occhi

chiusi « Rimaner doppo noi pien di faville."

Petrarch, Son. 160.

« PreviousContinue »