« AnteriorContinuar »
LESSON LXXVIII. Elegy in a Country Church-Yard.--GRAY. 1 The curfew tolls—the knell of parting day;
The lowing herd winds slowly o’er the lea; The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
2 Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds ;
And drowsy tinklings lull.the distant folds;
3 Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
The moping owl does to the moon complain Of such, as wandering near her secret bower,
Molest her ancient, solitary reign.
4 Beneath those rugged elins, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
5 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.
6 For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care ; No childron run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees, the envied kiss to share.
7 Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield;
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke : How jocund did they drive their team afield !
How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke
8 Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys and destiny obscure Nor grandeur hear with a disdainful smile,
The short and simple annals of the poor.
9 The boast of heraldry, the pomp and power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
10 Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
11 Can storied urn, or animated bust,
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Or Flattery soothe the dull, cold ear of death?
12 Perhaps, in ihis neglected spot, is laid
Some heart, once pregnant with celestial fire ;
Or waked 10 ecstacy the living lyre.
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll ;
And froze the genial current of the soul.
14 Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear ;
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
15 Some village Hampden, that, with dauntless breast,
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood.
16 The applause of listening senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
And read their history in a nation's eyes
17 Their lot forbade : nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined ;-Forbade to wade through slanghter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind;
18 The struggling pangs of conscious Truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous Shame;
With incense kindled at the muse's flame.
19 Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray :
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
20 Yet even these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial, still, erected nigh,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
21 Their names, their years, spelled by the unlettered muse
The place of fame and elegy supply;
That teach the rustic moralist to die.
22 For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing, anxious being e'er resigned, -
Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind ?
23 On some fond breast the parting soul relies :
Some pious drops the closing eye requires :
Even in our ashes live their wonted fires
24 For thee, who, mindful of the unhonored dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate ;25 Haply, some hoary-headed swain may say,
«Oft have we seen him, at the peep of dawn,
26 “ There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
Ånd pore upon the brook that babbles by.
27 “Hard by yon wood, now smiling, as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies, he would rove;
Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love.
28 “ One morn I missed him on the accustomed hill,
Along the heath, and near his favorite tree:
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood, was he:
29 “ The next, with dirges due, and 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.”
30 Here rests his head upon the lap of earth
A youth, to fortune and to fame unknown:
And Melancholy marked him for her own.
31 Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere :
Heaven did a recompense as largely send :-
32 No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Nor draw his frailties from their dread abode,(There they, alike, in trembling hope, repose,)
The bosom of his Father and his God.
The Prodigal Son.-BIBLE 1 And he said, A certain man had iwo sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the por tion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far coun try, and there wasted his substance with riotous living And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land ; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have 2 filled himself with the husks that the swine did eat; and no man gave unto him. And when he came to bimself, he said, How many hired servånts of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against Heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had
compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 3 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against
Heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him ; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again ; he was lost and is found And they began to be merry.
Now his elder son was in the field; and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the ser4 vants and asked what these things meant. And he said
unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound And he was angry, and would not go in; therefore came his father out, and entreated him. And he answering, said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time ihy commandment; and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends : but as soon as this thy son was come, which