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ELEGY IN A COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD.

247

Th' applause of listening senates to command,

The threats of pain and ruin to despise, To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,

And read their history in a nation's eyes.

Their lot forbade; nor circumscrib'd alone

Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd; Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,

And shut the gates of mercy on mankind :

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,

Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,

Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, 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 resigned, 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; Even from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,

Even in our ashes live their wonted fires.

248

ELEGY IN A COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD.

THE SAME CONTINUED.
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 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 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, woeful wan, like one forlorn,

Or craz'd 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 the lawn, nor at the wood, was he.

up

“ The next, with dirges due in sad array,

Slow thro' 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.”

THE EPITAPH.

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.

HOTSPUR'S DESCRIPTION OF A FOP.

249

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,

Heaven did a recompense as largely send; He gave to Misery 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.

Gray.

HOTSPUR'S DESCRIPTION OF A FOP.

I do remember when the fight was done,
When I was dry with rage and extreme toil,
Breathless and faint, leaning upon my sword,
Came there a certain lord, neat, trimly dress’d,
Fresh as a bridegroom; and his chin, new reap'd,
Show'd like a stubble-land at harvest home.
He was perfumed like a milliner;
And 'twixt his finger and his thumb he held
A pouncet-box, which ever and anon
He gave his nose, and took’t away again;
Who, therewith angry, when it next came there,
Took it in snuff;—and still he smiled and talk'd !
And, as the soldiers bore dead bodies by,
He called them untaught knaves, unmannerly,
To bring a slovenly unhandsome corse
Betwixt the wind and his nobility.
With many holyday and lady terms
He question’d me; among the rest, demanded
My prisoners in your majesty's behalf.
I then, all smarting, with my wounds being cold,
To be so pester'd with a popinjay,
Out of my grief and my impatience,
Answer'd neglectingly I know not what ;

250

THE CYPRESS WREATH.

He should, or he should not: for he made me mad,
To see him shine so brisk, and smell so sweet,
And talk so like a waiting gentlewoman,
Of guns, and drums, and wounds (God save the mark !)
And telling me the sovereign'st thing on earth
Was parmaceti for an inward bruise;
And that it was great pity, so it was,
That villanous saltpetre should be digg'd
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall fellow had destroyed
So cowardly; and, but for these vile guns,
He would himself have been a soldier.

Shakspeare.

THE CYPRESS WREATH.

O Lady, twine no wreath for me,
Or twine it of the

cypress

tree !
Too lively glow the lilies light,
The varnish'd holly's all too bright,
The May-flower and the eglantine
May shade a brow less sad than mine;
But, Lady, weave no wreath for me,
Or weave it of the cypress tree !

Let dimpled Mirth his temples twine
With tendrils of the laughing vine;
The manly oak, the pensive yew,
To patriot and to sage be due;
The myrtle bough bids lovers live,
But that Matilda will not give,
Then, Lady, twine no wreath for me,
Or twine it of the cypress tree !

Let merry England proudly rear
Her blended roses, bought so dear;

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Let Albin bind her bonnet blue
With heath and harebell dipp'd in dew;
On favour'd Erin's crest be seen
The flower she loves of emerald green-
But, Lady, twine no wreath for me,
Or twine it of the cypress tree.
Strike the wild harp, while maids prepare
The ivy meet for minstrel's hair;
And, while his crown of laurel leaves
With bloody hand the victor weaves,
Let the loud trump his triumph tell :
But when you hear the passing bell,
Then, Lady, twine a wreath for me,
And twine it of the cypress tree.
Yes ! twine for me the cypress bough;
But, O Matilda, twine not now !
Stay till a few brief months are past,
And I have look'd and lov'd my last !
When villagers my shroud bestrew
With pansies, rosemary, and rue-
Then, Lady, weave a wreath for me,
And weave it of the cypress tree.

Sir W. Scott.

LAVINIA.

The lovely young Lavinia once had friends ;
And fortune smil'd deceitful, on her birth;
For, in her helpless years, depriv'd of all,
Of every stay, save innocence and Heaven,
She, with her widowed mother, feeble, old,
And poor, liv'd in a cottage, far retir'd
Among the windings of a woody vale;
By solitude and deep surrounding shades,
But more by bashful modesty, conceal'd.

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