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For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd, 90 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 ;
Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires.
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate, 100 Haply some hoary-headed swain may say
“Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn. “There at the foot of yonder nodding beech, 105
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by. “Him have we seen the greenwood side along,
While o'er the heath we hied, our labour done, 110 Oft as the woodlark piped her farewell song,
With wistful eyes pursue the setting sun. “Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove; Now drooping, woful-wan, like one forlorn, 115
Or crazed with care, or cross'd in hopeless love. “Que morn I miss'd him on the 'custom'd hill,
Along the heath, and near his favourite tree:
Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
up the lawn, nor at the wood was he: 120 “The next, with dirges due in sad array
Slow through the church-yard path we saw him borne. Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay,
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."
HERE rests his head upon the lap of Earth
A Youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown: Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere;
130 He gave to Misery (all he had) a tear,
He gain'd from Heaven('twas all he wish’d)a Friend. No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode, (There they alike in trembling hope repose,) 135 The bosom of his Father and his God.
ODE ON THE SPRING.
Fair Venus' train, appear,
And wake the purple year!
The untaught harmony of Spring :
While, whispering pleasure as they fly,
Their gather'd fragrance fling.
Where'er the oak's thick branches stretch
A broader, browner shade,
O'er-canopies the glade,
(At ease reclined in rustic state) How vain the ardour of the Crowd, How low, how little are the Proud,
How indigent the Great!
Still is the toiling hand of Care;
The panting herds repose :
The busy murmur glows !
And float amid the liquid noon :
Quick glancing to the sun.
To Contemplation's sober eye
Such is the race of Man;
Shall end where they began.
In Fortune’s varying colours drest :
Brush'd by the hand of rough mischance,
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 't is May.
ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF ETON COLLEGE.
YE distant spires, ye antique towers,
That crown the watery glade, Where grateful Science still adores
Her HENRY'S * holy shade; And ye, that from the stately brow
5 Of Windsor's heights the expanse
10 Ah happy rills ! ah pleasing shade!
Ah fields beloved in vain!
• King Henry the Sixth, founder of the College.
Where once my careless childhood stray'd,
A stranger yet to pain !
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
To breathe a second spring.
Say, father Thames, (for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race,
The paths of pleasure trace,)
The captive linnet which enthrall ?
Or urge the flying ball ?
While some on earriest business bent,
Their murmuring labours ply
To sweeten liberty;
And unknown regions dare descry:
And snatch a fearful joy.
Gay hope is theirs, by Fancy fed,
Less pleasing when possest;