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ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUN

TRY CHURCHYARD

T

HE curfew tolls the knell of

parting day, The lowing herd winds

slowly 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 sight, And all the air a solemn stillness

holds, Save where the beetle wheels his droning

flight, And drowsy tinklings lull the distant

folds;

Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower The moping owl does to the moon

complain Of such as, wand'ring near her secret

bower,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.

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Beneath those rugged elms, that yew

tree's shade, Where heaves the turf in many a

mould’ring heap, Each in his narrow cell forever laid, The rude Forefathers of the hamlet

sleep.
The breezy call of incense- breathing

Morn,
The swallow twitt’ring from the straw-

built shed,
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing

horn, No more shall rouse them from their

lowly bed. For them no more the blazing hearth

shall burn, Or busy housewife ply her evening

care; No children run to lisp their sire's re

turn, Or climb his knees the envied kiss to

share. 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!

Let not Ambition mock their useful

toil, Their homely joys, and destiny ob

scure; Nor Grandeur hear, with a disdainful

smile, The short and simple annals of the

poor.

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of

power, And all that beauty, all that wealth

e'er gave,

Await like the inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the

grave.

Nor you, ye Proud, impute to these the

fault, If Mem'ry o'er their tomb no trophies raise,

Where thro' the long-drawn aisle and

fretted vault The pealing anthem swells the note of

praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting

breath? Can Honour's voice provoke the silent

dust, Or Flatt'ry soothe the dull, cold ear of

Death?

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid Some heart once pregnant with celes

tial fire; Hands that the rod of empire might have

swayed, Or waked to ecstacy the living lyre.

But Knowledge to their eyes her ample

page Rich with the spoils of time did ne'er

unroll; Chill Penury repressed their noble rage, And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem of purest ray serene The dark unfathomed caves of ocean

bear; Full many a flower is born to blush un

seen And waste its sweetness on the desert

air. Some village-Hampden that with daunt

less breast The little tyrant of his fields with

stood;

Some mute, inglorious Milton here may

rest, Some Cromwell guiltless of his coun

try's blood. Th’ applause of list’ning senates to com

mand, The threats of pain and ruin to de

spise, To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land, And read their history in a nation's

eyes. Their lot forbad ; circumscribed

alone Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;

nor

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