Page images
PDF
EPUB

Low the dauntlefs Earl is laid,
Gor'd with many a gaping wound:
Fate demands a nobler head;
Soon a King shall bite the ground.

Long his lofs fhall Eirin weep,
Ne'er again his likeness fee;
Long her ftrains in forrow steep,
Strains of Immortality!

Horror covers all the heath,
Clouds of carnage blot the fun.
Sifters, weave the web of death;
Sifters, ceafe; the work is done.

Hail the task, and hail the hands!
Songs of joy and triumph fing!
Joy to the victorious bands;
Triumph to the younger King.

Mortal, thou that hear'ft the tale,
Learn the tenour of our song.
Scotland, thro' each winding vale
Far and wide the notes prolong.

Sifters, hence with spurs of speed:
Each her thundering faulchion wield;
Each beftride her fable steed.
Hurry, hurry to the field.

45

50

55

60

65

ELEGY

WRITTEN IN A

COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD.

BY THE SAME.

THE Curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind flowly o'er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the fight, 5
And all the air a folemn ftillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
The mopeing owl does to the moon complain 10
Of fuch as, wand'ring near her fecret bower,
Moleft her ancient folitary reign.

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's fhade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
15

The rude Forefathers of the hamlet fleep.
The breezy call of incenfe-breathing Morn,
The swallow twitt'ring from the ftraw-built shed,
The cock's fhrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more fhall roufe them from their lowly bed. 20

[ocr errors]

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or bufy housewife ply her evening care:
No children run to lifp their fire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.
Oft did the harvest to their fickle yield,
Their furrow oft the ftubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy ftroke!
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obfcure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and fimple annals of the poor.
The boaft of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike th' inevitable hour.

25

Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour's voice provoke the filent duft,
Or Flatt'ry footh the dull cold ear of Death?
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;

V. 39. ine.

30

35

The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye Proud, impute to These the fault,
If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn aifle' and fretted
vault

The pealing anthem fwells the note of praise. 40
Can ftoried urn or animated buft

45

Hands, that the rod of empire might have fway'd,
Or wak'd to extafy the living lyre.

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unroll; 50
Chill Penury reprefs'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the foul.
Full many a gem of pureft ray ferene,
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear :
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And wafte its sweetness on the defert air.
Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breaft
The little Tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood. 60
Th' applause of liftening fenates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a fmiling land,

65

And read their hist'ry in a nation's eyes,
Their lot forbad: nor circumfcrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd;
Forbad to wade through flaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,
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 incenfe kindled at the Mufe's flame.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble ftrife,
Their fober wishes never learn'd to stray;

55

[ocr errors]

Along the cool fequefter'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet ev❜n these bones from infult to protect
Some frail memorial ftill erected nigh,
With uncouth rhimes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the paffing tribute of a figh.

80

Their name, their years, fpelt by th' unletter'd mufe,
The place of fame and elegy supply;
And many a holy text around fhe ftrews,
That teach the rustic moralift to die.
For who, to dumb Forgetfulness a prey.
This pleasing anxious being e'er refign'd,
Left the warm precincts of the chearful day,
Nor caft one longing ling'ring look behind?
On fome fond breaft the parting foul relies,
Some pious drops the clofing eye requires ;
Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Ev'n in our Ashes live their wonted Fires.
For thee, who, mindful of th' unhonour'd Dead,
Doft in thefe lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred Spirit fhall inquire thy fate,
Haply fome hoary-headed Swain may say,
Oft have we feen him at the
peep of dawn
Brushing with hafty steps the dews away

To meet the fun upon the upland lawn.

There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech,

• That wreathes its old fantastic roots fo high,

[ocr errors]

75

85

90

95

100

« EelmineJätka »