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O bid our vain endeavors cease, 115

Still as they run they look behind, Revive the just designs of Greece, They hear a voice in every wind, Return in all thy simple state,

And snatch a fearful joy.

40 Confirm the tales her sons relate!

Gay hope is theirs by fancy fed,

Less pleasing when possessed;

The tear forgot as soon as shed,
THOMAS GRAY (1716–1771)

The sunshine of the breast:

Theirs buxom health of rosy hue, ODE ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF Wild wit, invention ever-new, ETON COLLEGE

And lively cheer of vigor born;

The thoughtless day, the easy night, Ye distant spires, ye antique towers, The spirits pure, the slumbers light, That crown the watry glade,

That fly the approach of morn.
Where grateful Science still adores
Her Henry's holy Shade;

Alas, regardless of their doom,
And ye, that from the stately brow 5 The little victims play!
Of Windsor's heights the expanse below

No sense have they of ills to come,
Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,

Nor care beyond to-day: Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers

Yet see how all around 'em wait

55 among

The Ministers of human fate, Wanders the hoary Thames along

And black Misfortune's baleful train! His silver-winding way:

Ah, show them where in ambush stand

To seize their prey the murth'rous band! Ah, happy hills, ah, pleasing shade,

Ah, tell them, they are men!
Ah, fields beloved in vain,
Where once my careless childhood strayed,

These shall the fury Passions tear,
A stranger yet to pain!

The vultures of the mind, I feel the gales, that from ye blow,


Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,
A momentary bliss bestow,

And Shame that skulks behind;
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
My weary soul they seem to sooth,

Or pining Love shall waste their youth, 65 And, redolent of joy and youth,

Or Jealousy with rankling tooth, To breathe a second spring.

That inly gnaws the secret heart,

And Envy wan, and faded Care, Say, Father Thames, for thou hast seen

Grim-visaged, comfortless Despair,

And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Full many a sprightly race
Disporting on thy margent green
The paths of pleasure trace,

Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Who foremost now delight to cleave

Then whirl the wretch from high,

25 With pliant arm thy glassy wave?

To bitter Scorn a sacrifice, The captive linnet which enthrall?

And grinning Infamy. What idle progeny succeed

The stings of Falsehood those shall try, 75 To chase the rolling circle's speed,

And hard Unkindness' altered eye, Or urge the flying ball?

That mocks the tear it forced to flow; 30

And keen Remorse with blood defiled, While some on earnest business bent And moody Madness laughing wild Their murm'ring labors ply

Amid severest woe.

80 'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint

Lo, in the vale of years beneath To sweeten liberty;

A griesly troop are seen, Some bold adventurers disdain


The painful family of Death, The limits of their little reign,

More hideous than their Queen: And unknown regions dare descry: This racks the joints, this fires the veins, 85



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e'er gave,

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, Let not Ambition mock their useful toil, The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the

Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;

30 The plowman homeward plods his weary Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful way,

smile, And leaves the world to darkness and to The short and simple annals of the poor. me.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, Now fades the glimmering landscape on And all that beauty, all that wealth the sight,

5 And all the air a solemn stillness holds, Awaits alike the inevitable hour.

35 Save where the beetle wheels his droning The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

flight, And drowsy tinklings lull the distant Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the folds;


If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower raise, The moping owl does to the moon com- Where through the long-drawn aisle and plain

fretted vault Of such, as wandering near her secret The pealing anthem swells the note of bower,


40 Molest her ancient solitary reign.

Can storiedurn or animated bust Beneath those rugged elms, that yew- Back to its mansion call the fleeting tree's shade,

breath? Where heaves the turf in many a mould- Can Honor's voice provoke the silent ering heap,

dust, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid, 15 Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of The rude forefathers of the hamlet Death? sleep.

1 pictured.


Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid 45 Far from the madding crowd's ignoble Some heart once pregnant with celestial strife, fire;

Their sober wishes never learned to Hands, that the rod of empire might have stray; swayed,

Along the cool sequestered vale of life 75 Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre. They kept the noiseless tenor of their

way. But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page

Yet even these bones from insult to proRich with the spoils of time did ne'er tect, unroll;


Some frail memorial still erected nigh, Chill Penury repressed their noble rage, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpAnd froze the genial current of the soul. ture decked,

Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. 80 Full many a gem of purest ray serene, The dark unfathomed caves of ocean Their name, their years, spelt by the unbear:

lettered muse, Full many a flower is born to blush un- The place of fame and elegy supply;

55 And many a holy text around she strews, And waste its sweetness on the desert That teach the rustic moralist to die. air.

For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey, 85 Some village Hampden, that with daunt- This pleasing anxious being e'er reless breast

signed, The little tyrant of his fields withstood; Left the warm precincts of the cheerful Some mute inglorious Milton here may day, rest,

Nor cast one longing lingering look Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's behind? blood.


On some fond breast the parting soul reThe applause of listening senates to com- lies, mand,

Some pious drops the closing eye reThe threats of pain and ruin to despise, quires; To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land, Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature And read their history in a nation's cries, eyes,

Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires.



Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed alone

65 Their growing virtues, but their crimes

confined; Forbade to wade through slaughter to a

throne, And shut the gates of mercy on man


For thee, who mindful of the unhonored

dead Dost in these lines their artless tale re

late; If chance, by lonely contemplation led, 95 Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy


The struggling pangs of conscious truth

to hide, To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,

70 Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride With incense kindled at the Muse's


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




would rove,




the roar.

“There at the foot of yonder nodding THE PROGRESS OF POESY

beech That wreathes its old fantastic roots so


I His listless length at noontide would he stretch,

The Strophe And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

Awake, Æolian lyre, awake,

And give to rapture all thy trembling Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in

strings. scorn,

From Helicon's harmonious springs Muttering his wayward fancies he

A thousand rills their mazy progress take:

The laughing flowers, that round them Now drooping, woeful wan, like one for- blow, lorn,

Drink life and fragrance as they flow. Or crazed with care, or crossed in hope- Now the rich stream of music winds along less love.

Deep, majestic, smooth, and strong,

Through verdant vales, and Ceres' golden “One morn I missed him on the customed

reign: hill,

Now rolling down the steep amain, Along the heath and near his favorite Headlong, impetuous, see it pour: tree;

The rocks and nodding groves rebellow to Another came; nor yet beside the rill, Nor

up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;

The Antistrophe “The next with dirges due in sad array

Oh! Sovereign of the willing soul, Slow through the church-way path we

Parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs, saw him borne. Enchanting shell! the sullen Cares

15 Approach and read (for thou can'st read)

And frantic Passions hear thy soft control.

On Thracia's hills the Lord of War,

115 Graved on the stone beneath yon aged Has curbed the fury of his car, thorn.”

And dropped his thirsty lance at thy


Perching on the sceptered hand

Of Jove, thy magic lulls the feathered king Here rests his head upon the lap of earth

With ruffled plumes, and flagging wing: A youth to fortune and to fame unknown. Quenched in dark clouds of slumber lie Fair Science frowned not on his humble

The terror of his beak, and lightnings of birth, And Melancholy marked him for her

The Epode

Thee the voice, the dance, obey, 25 Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere, Tempered to thy warbled lay.

Heaven did a recompense as largely send: O'er Idalia's velvet-green He gave to Misery all he had, a tear,

The rosy-crowned Loves are seen He gained from Heaven ('twas all he On Cytherea's day wished) a friend.

With antic Sports, and blue-eyed Pleasures,

30 No farther seek his merits to disclose,

125 Frisking light in frolic measures; Ör draw his frailties from their dread Now pursuing, now retreating, abode,

Now in circling troops they meet: (There they alike in trembling hope repose) To brisk notes in cadence beating

The bosom of his father and his God. Glance their many-twinkling feet. 35

the lay,


his eye.


I 20


Slow melting strains their Queen's ap- In lingering labyrinths creep,

70 proach declare:

How do your tuneful echoes languish,
Where'er she turns the Graces homage pay. Mute, but to the voice of Anguish?
With arms sublime," that float upon the Where each old poetic mountain

Inspiration breathed around:
In gliding state she wins her easy way: Every shade and hallowed fountain

75 O'er her warm cheek, and rising bosom, Murmured deep a solemn sound:


Till the sad Nine in Greece's evil hour The bloom of young desire, and purple Left their Parnassus for the Latian plains. light of love.

Alike they scorn the pomp of tyrant


And coward Vice, that revels in her

So The Strophe

When Latium had her lofty spirit lost, Man's feeble race what ills await, They sought, O Albion! next thy seaLabor, and Penury, the racks of Pain, encircled coast. Disease, and Sorrow's weeping train, And Death, sad refuge from the storms of

III Fate!

45 The fond complaint, my song, disprove,

The Strophe And justify the laws of Jove. Say, has he given in vain the heavenly In thy green lap was Nature's darling

Far from the sun and summer-gale, Muse?

laid, Night, and all her sickly dews,

What time, where lucid Avon strayed, 85 Her spectres wan, and birds of boding cry, He gives to range the dreary sky:

To him the mighty mother did unveil 51

Her awful face: the dauntless child Till down the eastern cliffs afar Hyperion's march they spy, and glittering Stretched forth his little arms, and smiled.

( shafts of war.

The Antistrophe
Richly paint the vernal year:

90 In climes beyond the solar road,

Thine too these golden keys, immortal Where shaggy forms o'er ice-built moun


This can unlock the gates of Joy; tains roam,

55 The Muse has broke the twilight-gloom,

Of Horror that, and thrilling Fears, To cheer the shivering native's dull abode.

Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic

tears. And oft, beneath the odorous shade Of Chili's boundless forests laid,

The Antistrophe She deigns to hear the savage youth repeat

60 Nor second he, that rode sublime 95 In loose numbers wildly sweet

Upon the seraph-wings of Ecstasy, Their feather-cinctured chiefs, and dusky The secrets of the Abyss to spy. loves.

He passed the flaming bounds of place Her track, where'er the Goddess roves,

and time: Glory pursue, and generous Shame, The living throne, the sapphire-blaze, The unconquerable mind, and Freedom's Where angels tremble, while they gaze, 100 holy flame.

65 He saw; but blasted with excess of light, The Epode

Closed his eyes in endless night.

Behold, where Dryden's less presumptuous Woods, that wave o'er Delphi's steep, car, Isles, that crown the Ægean deep,

Wide o'er the fields of glory bear Fields, that cool Ilissus laves,

Two coursers of ethereal race,

105 Or where Mæander's amber waves

With necks in thunder clothed, and long1 uplifted.

resounding pace.

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