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For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care:
No children run to lisp their fire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.
Oft did the harvest to their fickle yield, 25
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke !
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.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike th’ inevitable hour.

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 aisle' and fretted

vault The pealing anthem swells the note of praise. 40 Can storied urn or animated buft Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? Can Honour's voice provoke the filent dust, Or Flatt'ry footh the dull cold ear of Death? Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid

45 Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;

V. 39. ile.

Hands, that the rod of empire might have fway'd,
Or wak'd to extasy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er unroll; 50
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem

of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear :
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,

55 And waste its sweetness on the desert air. Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast The little Tyrant of his fields withstood; Some mute inglorious Milton here may reft, Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood. 60 Th' applause of listening fenates to command, The threats of pain and ruin to despise, To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land, And read their histry in a nation's eyes, Their lot forbad: nor circumscrib'd alone 65 Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd; Forbad to wade through laughter to a throne, And shut the


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 incense kindled at the Muse's flame. Far from the madding crowd's ignoble ftrife, Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray ;


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Along the cool sequefter'd vale of life

They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet ev'n these bones from insult to protect
Some frail memorial ftill erected nigh,
With uncouth rhimes and shapeless sculpture deck’d,
Implores the passing tribute of a figh.

Their name, their years, spelt by th’unletter'd muse,
The place of fame and elegy fupply ;
And many a holy text around the strews,
That teach the rustic moralift to die.
For who, to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd,
Left the warm precincts of the chearful day,
Nor cast one longing ling'ring look behind ?
On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Ev’n in our Alhes live their wonted Fires.
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 inquire 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. 100 · There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech, • That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,

90 • His lifless length at noontide would he stretch, . And pore upon the brook that babbles by. • Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn, 105

Mutt'ring 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 fav’rite tree; IIO • Another came ; nor yet beside the rill, • Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he; • The next with dirges due in fad array (115 • Slow thro' the church-way path we saw him born.' • Approach and read (for thou can't read) the lay, • Gravid on the stone, beneath yon aged thorn.'*



Here rests his head upon the lap of Fasih
A Youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown :

* Between this iine and the Epitaph, Mr. Gray originally inserted a very beautiful stanza, which was printed in fome of the first editions, but afterwards omitied; because he thought and in my own opinion very ju!lly) that it was 100 Jong a parenthesis in this place. The lines however, are, in themselves, exquisitely fine, and demand preservarion,

There scatter'd ofi, the earliest of the year,
By hands unseen are now'rs of violets found;
The redbreast loves to build and warble there,
And little footsteps lightly print the ground.



Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.
Large was his bounty, and his foul sincere,
Heav'n did a recompence as largely send :
He gave to Mis'ry all he had, a tear,
Hegain'd from Heav'n ('twas all he withd) a friend.
No farther seek his merits to disclose, 125
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose,)
The bosom of his Father and his God.

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