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Their lot forbade; nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined; Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne, And shut the gates of mercy on mankind:
The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
With incense kindled at the muse's flame.
Far from the madding erowd's ignoble strife,
They kept the noiseless tenour of their way.
Yet e'en these bones from insult to protect
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Their name, their years, spelt by the unletter'd Muse,
And many a holy text around she strews,
For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires ; E'en from the tomb the voice of nature cries, E'en in our ashes live their wonted fires.
For thee who, mindful of the unhonour'd dead,
Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
66 There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, His listless length at noontide would he stretch, And pore upon the brook that babbles by.
"Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn, Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove, Now drooping, woful, wan, like one forlorn.
Or crazed with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.
"One morn I miss'd him on the accustom'd hill, Along the heath and near 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 Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."
HERE rests his head upon the lap of Earth,
Large was his bounty and his soul sincere ;
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) The bosom of his Father and his God.
ODE ON THE SPRING. **
BY THE SAME.
Lo! where the rosy-bosom'd Hours,
Where'er the oak's thick branches stretch
Beside some water's rushy brink
With me the Muse shall sit, and think
(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;
Yet, hark, how through the peopled air
And float amid the liquid noon :
To Contemplation's sober eye
Such is the race of Man;
And they that creep, and they that fly,
Shall end where they began.
Alike the busy and the gay
But flutter through life's little day,
In fortune's varying colours dress'd; 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
Poor moralist! and what art thou?
A solitary fly!
Thy joys no glittering female greets,
No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,