Page images
PDF
EPUB

Forbad to wade through slaughter to a

throne, And shut the gates of mercy on man

kind,

The struggling pangs of conscious trutn

to hide, To quench the blushes of ingenuous

shame, Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride With incense kindled at the Muse's

flame.

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble

strife Their sober wishes never learned to

stray; Along the cool, sequestered vale of life They kept the noiseless tenor of their

way.

Yet ev'n these bones from insult to pro

tect Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhimes and shapeless sculp

ture decked, Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, their years, spelt by th' un

lettered 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 re

signed, Left the warm precincts of the cheerful

day, Nor cast one longing ling'ring look

behind ?

On some fond breast the parting soul

relies, Some pious drops the closing eye re

quires; 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' unhonored

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.

“There at the foot of yonder nodding

beech, That wreathes its old fantastic roots

so high, His listless length at noon-tide would

he stretch, And pore upon the brook that bab

bles by.

Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in

scorn, Mutt'ring his wayward fancies he would rove,

Now drooping, woful-wan, like one for

lorn,

Or crazed with care, or crossed in

hopeless love.

One morn I missed him on the 'cus

tomed hill, Along the heath and near his fav’rite

tree; Another came; nor yet beside the rill, Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood

was he;

The next with dirges due in sad array Slow through the church-way path

we saw him borne. Approach and read (for thou can'st

read) the lay, 'Graved on the stone beneath yon

aged thorn.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

Here rests his head upon the lap of

Earth
A Youth, to Fortune and to Fame

unknown.
Fair Science frowned not on his humble

birth, And Melancholy marked him for her

own,

Large was his bounty, and his soul sin

cere, Heav'n did a recompense as largely

send; He gave to Misery all he had, a tear, He gained from Heav’n ('twas all he

wished) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread

abode,
( There they alike in trembling hope re-

pose, ) The Bosom of his Father and his God.

-Thomas Gray.

« PreviousContinue »