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Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove; Now drooping, woeful-wan, like one forlorn,
Or craz'd with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.
• One 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,
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 can’st read) the lay,
Grav'd 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.
* Before the Epitaph, Mr. Gray originally inserted a very beautiful stanza, which was printed in some of the first editions, but afterwards omitted because he thought that it was too long a parenthesis in this place. The lines, however are, in themselves, exquisitely fine, and demand preservation.
There scatter'd oft, the earliest of the year,
By hands unseen are showers of violets found;
And little footsteps lightly print the ground.
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heav'n did a recompense as largely send: He gave to Misery (all he had) a tear, He gain'd from Heaven ('twas all he wish'd) a
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.
Petrarch. Son, 114.
POSTHUMOUS POEMS AND FRAGMENTS.
ON THE PLEASURE ARISING FROM VICISSITUDE.*
Now the golden Morn aloft
Waves her dew-bespangled wing,
She woos the tardy Spring :
Frisking ply their feeble feet;
The birds his presence greet:
Rise the rapturous choir among ;
And leads the general song:
* Left unfinished by Mr. Gray; with additions, in brackets, by Mr. Mason. The first idea of this Ode was taken from M. Gresset's Epitre à ma Sæur.' VOL. XXIX.
[Warm let the lyric transport fow,
Saw the snowy whirlwind fly;
The herd stood drooping by :
Soft Reflection's hand can trace ;
A melancholy grace ; While Hope prolongs our happier hour, Or deepest shades, that dimly lower And blacken round our weary way, Gilds with a gleam of distant day. Still, where rosy Pleasure leads,
See a kindred Grief pursue ;
Approaching Comfort view :
On the thorny bed of pain,
And breathe, and walk again :
The meanest floweret of the vale,
Near the source whence Pleasure flows; She eyes the clear crytalline well,
And tastes it as it goes.
Mark where Indolence, and Pride,
[Sooth'd by Flattery's tinkling sound,} Go, softly rolling, side by side,
Their dull, but daily round:
Mark Ambition's march sublime
Up to power's meridian height;
And sickens at the sight.
Happier he, the Peasant, far,
From the pangs of Passion free, That breathes the keen yet wholesome air
Of rugged Penury.