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An E L E G v. Written in a country church-yard.
The curseu tolls the knell of parting day,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a sulemn stillness holds;
Or drowsy tincklings lull the distant folds.
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r
Of such as, wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's made,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude fore-fathers ef the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-buik 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,
No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their surrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team a sield!
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
Let not ambition mock their usesul toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Forgive, ye proud, th' involuntary fault,
If memory to these no trophies raife, Where through the long-drawn ifle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the notes of praise.
Can storied urn, or animated bust,
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial sire,
Hands that the reins of empire might have swayM,
But knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Chill penury reprefs'd their noble rage,
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,
And watte its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Th' applause of list'ning senates to command,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
Their lot forbad; nor circumscrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes consin'd i
Forbad to wade through slaughter to a throne,
The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
Or heap the shrine of luxury and pride
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strise,
Along the cool sequester'd vale of lise
They kept the noifeless tenor of their way.
Yet e'en these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With nncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply; And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.
Eor who to dumb forgetsulness a prey,
Left the warm precincts of the chearsul day,
On fome fond breast the parting foul relies,
Ev'n from the tomb the voice of nature cries,
For thee, who mindsul of th' unhonoui'd dead
If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Haply, fome hoary-headed swain may fay,
< Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
* There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
'That wreathes its old fantastic roots fo high,
« His listless length at noon-tide would he stretch,
* And pore upon the brook that babbles by.
« Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn, « Mutt'ring his wayward fancies'he would rove,
* Now drooping, woesul wan, like one forlorn,
'Or craz'd with care, or crose'd in hopeless love.
'One morn I mifs'd him on th' accustom'd bill, '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 fad array,
« Slow through the church-way path we faw him borne. « Approach and read (for thou can'llread) the lay,
« Grav'd on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.
'There scatter'd oft, the earliest of the year,
'By hands unseen, are show'rs of violets found;
'The red-bnjast loves to build and warble there,
'Here rests his head upon the lap of earth
• Fair science frown'd not on his humble birth,
• 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:
'He gain'd from heav'n ftwasallhe wisti'd) a friend.
« No farther seek his merits to disclose,
« Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
« (There they alike in trembling hope repose) « The bofom of his father and his God.'
We have already observed that any dreadsul catastrophe is a proper subject for Elegy; and what can be more fo than a civil war, where the fathers and children, the dearest relations and friends, meet each other in arms ? We have on this subject a most affecting Elegy, intituled the Tears <of Scotland, ascribed to Dr. Smolkt, and set to music by Mr. Qfviald, just after the late rebellion.
The Tears »/" Scotland. Written in"the Year 1746.
Mourn, hapless Caledonia, mourn
Thy sons, for valour long renown'd, Lie slaughter'd on their native ground; Thy hospitable roofs no more • Invite the stranger to the door; In smoaky ruins sunk they lie, The monuments of cruelty.
The wretched owner sees afar His all become the prey of war; Bethinks him of his babes and wife, Then smites his breast, and curses lise. Thy swains are famish'd on the rocks, Where once they sed their wanton flocks: Thy ravish'd virgins shriek in vain; Thy infants perifh on the plain.
What boots it then, in every clime, Thro' the wide spreading waste of time, Thy martial glory, crown'd with praife, Still shone with undiminifh'd blaze? Thy tow'ring spirit now is broke, Thy neck is bended to the yoke. What foreign arms could never quell, By civil rage, and rancour sell.
The rural pipe, and merry lay,