« PreviousContinue »
Alike the Busy and the Gay
In Fortune's varying colours drest: Brush'd by the hand of rough Mischance, Or chill'd by Age, their airy dance
They leave, in dust to rest.
Methinks I hear, in accents low,
The sportive kind reply:
A solitary fly!
No painted plumage to display:
We frolic while 'tis May.'
THE DEATH OF A FAVOURITE CAT,
DROWNED IN A TUB  OF GOLD FISHES.
'Twas on a lofty vase's side,
The azure flowers, that blow;
Gaz'd on the lake below.
Her conscious tail her joy declar'd;
The velvet of her påws,
She saw; and purr'd applause.
 Mr. Walpole, after the death of Mr. Gray, placed the China vase in question (for it was not a tub) on a pedestal at Strawberry-Hill, with a few lines of the Ode for its inscription.
'Twas on this Vase's lofty side, &c.
Still had she gaz'd; but ʼmidst the tide Two angel forms were seen to glide ,
The Genii of the stream: Their scaly armour's Tyrian hue Thro' richest purple to the view
Betray'd a golden gleam.
The hapless Nymph with wonder saw: A whisker first, and then a claw,
With many an ardent wish, She stretch'd, in vain, to reach the prize, What female heart can gold despise?
What Cat's averse to fish?
Presumptuous Maid! with looks intent Again she stretch'd, again she bent,
Nor knew the gulf between. (Malignant Fate sat by, and smild) The slipp'ry verge her feet beguild,
She tumbled headlong in.
 Var.-Two beauteous forms.
First edition in Dodsley's Misc.
Eight times emerging from the flood,
Some speedy aid to send.
A Fav'rite has no friend!
From hence, ye Beauties, undeceiv'd, Know, one false step is ne'er retriev'd,
And be with caution bold. Not all that tempts your wand'ring eyes And heedless hearts is lawful prize,
Nor all that glisters gold.
DISTANT PROSPECT OF ETON COLLEGE.
"Ανθρωπος' ικανή πρόφασις εις το δυςυχέιν. .
(This was the first English production of Mr. Gray that appeared in
print, and was published in folio, by Dodsley, in 1747. About the same time, at Mr. Walpole's request, Mr. Gray sat for his picture to Echart; in which, on a paper which he held in his hand, Mr. Walpole wrote the title of this Ode; and to intimate his own high and just opinion of it, as a first production, he added this line of Lucan by way of motto: Nec licuit populis parvum te, Nile, videre.
Pharsalia, lib. x. l. 296.]
YE distant spires, ye antique towers,
That crown the wat’ry glade, Where grateful Science still adores
Her Henry's holy shade (e); And ye, that from the stately brow Of Windsor's heights th'
Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey, Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers among Wanders the hoary Thames along
His silver-winding way:
re) King Henry the Sixth, founder of the College.