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The little victims play! No sense have they of ills to come , No care beyond to-day: Yet see how all around them 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 ! Ab, tell them, they are men!
These shall the fury Passions tear, The vultures of the mind, Disdainful Anger , pallid Fear, And Shame that skulks bebind; Or pining Love shall waste their youth, Or Jealousy with rankling tooth, That inly knaws the secret heart, And Envy wan, and faded Care , Grim-visag'd comfortless Despair, And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise, Then whirl the wretch from high, To bitter Scorn a sacrifice, And grinning Infamy. The stings of Falshood thosc shall try, And hard Unkindness' alter'd eye, That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow; And keen Remorse with blood defild, And moody Madness laughing wild Amid severest woe.
Lo, in the vale of years beneath A grisly troop are seen, The painful family of Death, More hideous than their queen: This racks the joints, this fires the reins, That every labouring sinew strains, Those in the deeper vitals rage : . . Lo, Poverty , to fill the band, That numbs the soul with icy hand, And slow-consuming Age.
To each his suff'rings : all are men,
| C H A P. 1. Elegy written in a Country Church
; . Vard.
I ne curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea; .. The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me. Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight, And all the air a solemn stillness holds ; Save where the beetle wheels his drony flight, And drowsy tinklinga lull the distant folds ; Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r , The mopeing owl does to the moon complain . Of such , as wand'ring near her secret bow'r, Molest her ancient solitary reign. Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Where heaves the turf in niany a mould'ring heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid, The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep. The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn, The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-built shed, The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn, No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed. For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn, Or busy housewife ply her evening care: No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.
Th' applause of list’ning senates to command,
deck'd, Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. Their names, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd
Muse , The place of fame and elegy supply; And many a holy text around she strews, That teach the rustic moralist to die. For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey, This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd, Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day, Nor cast one longing ling’ring look behind? On some fond breast the parting soul 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 inquire thy fate,
Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn, · Brushing with hasty steps the dew away
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn. . . There at the foot of yonder nodding beech , · That wreaths its old fantastic roots so high, · His listless length at noontide would he stretch, ? And pore upon the brook that bubbles by. ? Hard by yon wood, now smiling, as in scorn, · Mutt'ringh is wayward fancies he would rove; · Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn, · Or craz’d with care, or crossd in hopeless love. One morn I miss'd him on th' accustom'd hill,
Along the heath, and hear his favourite tree; ' Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he: · The next with dirges due in sad array, Slow through the church-way path we saw him
borne: " Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay, · Grav'd on the stone, beneath yon aged thorn.'
1ERI 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, Heav'n did a recompence as largely send: He gave to Mis'ry all he had, a tear, He gain'd from Heav'n ('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 ) The bosom of his Father and his God. GRAT.