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Ye distant spires, ye antique towers,
That crown the wat’ry glade,
Where grateful Science still adores
Her Henry's holy shade;
And ye, that from the stately brow
Of Windsor's heights th' expanse below
Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,
Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers among
Wanders the hoary Thames along
Ah, happy hills, ah, pleasing shade,
Ah, fields belov’d in vain,
Where once my careless childhood stray'd,
A stranger yet to pain!
I feel the gales, that from ye blow,
A momentary bliss bestow,
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
My weary soul they seem to soothe,
And, redolent of joy and youth,
To breathe a second spring.
Say, father Thames, for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race
Disporting on thy margent green
The paths of pleasure trace,
Who foremost now delight to cleave
With pliant arm thy glassy wave ?
The captive linnet which enthral ?
What idle progeny succeed
To chase the rolling circle's speed,
Or urge the flying ball ?
While some on earnest business bent
Their murmuring labours ply 'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint
To sweeten liberty;
Some bold adventurers disdain
The limits of their little reign,
And unknown regions dare descry:
Still as they run they look behind,
They hear a voice in every wind,
And snatch a fearful joy.
Gay Hope is theirs, by Fancy fed,
Less pleasing, when possest; The tear forgot as soon as shed,
The sunshine of the breast: Theirs buxom health, of rosy hue; Wild wit, invention ever new,
And lively cheer of vigour born; The thoughtless day, the easy night, The spirits pure, the slumbers light,
Alas, regardless of their doom,
The little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come,
Nor care beyond to-day.
Yet see how all around them wait
The ministers of human fate,
And black Misfortune's baleful train,
Ah, show them where in ambush stand
To seize their prey, the murderous band !
Ah, tell them, they are men !
These shall the fury passions tear,
The vultures of the mind, Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,
And Shame that skulks behind ; Or pining Love, shall waste their youth, Or Jealousy, with rankling tooth,
That inly gnaws the secret heart, And Envy wan, and faded Care, Grim-visag'd comfortless Despair,
And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Then whirl the wretch from high, To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,
And grinning Infamy. The stings of Falsehood those shall try, And hard Unkindness' alter'd eye,
That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow; And keen Remorse, with blood defild, And moody Madness laughing wild
Amid severest woe.
Lo, in the vale of years beneath
A grisly troop are seen The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their queen:
This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
That every labouring sinew strains,
Those in the deeper vitals rage:
Lo, Poverty, to fill the band,
That numbs the soul with icy hand,
To each his sufferings : all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan;
The tender for another's pain,
The unfeeling for his own.
Yet ah! why should they know their fate?
Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies.
Thought would destroy their Paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise.
AWAKE, Æolian lyre, awake,
And give to rapture all thy trembling strings.
From Helicon's harmonious springs
A thousand rills their mazy progress take;
The laughing flowers that round them blow,
Drink life and fragrance as they flow.
Now the rich stream of music winds along,
Deep, 'majestic, smooth, and strong,
Through verdant vales, and Ceres' golden reign :
Now rolling down the steep amain,
Headlong, impetuous, see it pour:
The rocks, and nodding groves, rebellow to the roar.
Oh! sovereign of the willing soul,
Parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs,
Enchanting shell! the sullen cares,
And frantic passions, hear thy soft control :
On Thracia's hills the lord of war
Has curb’d the fury of his car,
And dropp'd his thirsty lance at thy command;
Perching on the scepter'd hand
Of Jove, thy magic lulls the feather'd king
With ruffled plumes, and flagging wing:
Quench'd in dark clouds of slumber lie
Thee the voice, the dance, obey,
Temper'd to thy warbled lay,
O'er Idalia's velvet-green
The rosy-crowned Loves are seen,
On Cytherea's day,
With antic sports and blue-ey'd pleasures,
Frisking light in frolic measures ;
Now pursuing, now retreating,
Now in circling troops they meet. ·
To brisk notes in cadence beating
Glance their many-twinkling feet.
Slow-melting strains their queen's approach declare :
Where'er she turns, the Graces homage pay,
With arts sublime, that float upon the air,
In gliding state she wins her easy way:
O'er her warm cheek, and rising bosom, move
The bloom of young Desire, and purple light of Love.
Man's feeble race what ills await,
Labour and Penury, the racks of Pain,
Disease, and Sorrow's weeping train,
And Death, sad refuge from the storms of Fate!
The fond complaint, my song, disprove,
And justify the laws of Jove.
Say, has he given in vain the heavenly Muse ?
Night, and all her sickly dews,
Her spectres wan, and birds of boding cry,
He gives to range the dreary sky:
Till down the eastern cliffs afar
Hyperion's march they spy, and glittering shafts of war.
In climes beyond the solar road,
Where shaggy forms o'er ice-built mountains roam,
The Muse has broke the twilight gloom
To cheer the shivering native's dull abode.
And oft, beneath the odorous shade
Of Chili's boundless forests laid, ·
She deigns to hear the savage youth repeat,
In loose, riumbers wildly sweet,
Their feather-cinctur'd chiefs, and dusky loves.
Her track, where'er the goddess roves,
Glory pursue, and generous shame,