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And so God save our noble King,
And guard us from long-winded lubbers, That to eternity would sing,
And keep my Lady from her rubbers.
WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD.
THE Curfew tolls the knell of parting day,*
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight, And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight, And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds.
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
squilla di lontano
Che paia ' giorno pianger, che si muore.
Dante Purgat, 1. 8.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering 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,
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their harrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke: How jocund did they drive their team afield! How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye Proud, impute to these the fault,
Can storied urn, or animated bust,
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery sooth 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 sway'd, Or wak'd to ecstacy the living lyre:
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
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 on the desert air.
Some village Hampden, that, with dauntless breast,
The' applause of list'ning senates to command,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes,
Their lot forbade : nor circumscrib'd alone
The struggling pangs of conscious Truth to hide,
*Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife, 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
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
Their name,their years,spelt by the’unletter'd Muse,
⚫ Between this and the preceding stanza, in Mr. Gray's first MS, of the Poem, were the four following:
The thoughtless world to Majesty may bow,
But more to innocence their safety owe,
Than Pow'r or Genius e'er conspir'd to bless.
And thou who, mindful of the' unhonour'd Dead,
To wander in the gloomy walks of fate:
Hark! how the sacred calm that breathes around,
No more, with reason and thyself at strife,
And here the Poem was originally intended to conclude, before the happy idea of the hoary-headed swain, &c. suggested itself to him.
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 lingering 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.t
For thee, who, mindful of the' unhonour'd dead,
Some kindred spirit shall enquire thy fate?—
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, That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, His listless length at noon-tide would he stretch, And pore upon the brook that babbles by.
Ch'i veggio nel pensier, dolce mio fuoco,
Fredda una lingua, et due begli occhi chiusi
Petrarch, Son. 169.
Variation:-Awake and faithful to her wonted fires. Variation:-On the high brow of yonder hanging lawn. After which, in the first manuscript, followed this stanza : Him have we seen the greenwood side along,
While o'er the heath we hied, our labour done,
With wistful eyes pursue the setting sun