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Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste
An' weary winter comin' fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till, crash ! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.
That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble !
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble
An' cranreuch cauld !
But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane
In proving foresight may be vain :
The best laid schemes o mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.
Still thou art blest, compared wi' me !
The present only toucheth thee :
But, Och! I backward cast my e'e
On prospects drear !
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!
A WISH Mine be a cot beside the hill ; A bee-hive's hum shall soothe my ear ; A willowy brook that turns a mill, With many a fall shall linger near. The swallow, oft, beneath my
thatch Shall twitter from her clay-built nest ; Oft shall the pilgrim lift the latch, And share my meal, a welcome guest.
Around my ivied porch shall spring
Each fragrant flower that drinks the dew ;
And Lucy, at her wheel, shall sing
In russet-gown and apron blue.
The village-church among the trees,
Where first our marriage-vows were given,
With merry peals shall swell the breeze
And point with taper spire to Heaven.
If aught of oaten stop or pastoral song,
May hope, O pensive Eve, to soothe thine ear
Like thy own solemn springs,
Thy springs, and dying gales; O Nymph reserved,—while now the bright-hair'd Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,
With brede ethereal wove,
O’erhang his wavy bed ;
Now air is hush’d, save where the weak-eyed bat
With short shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing,
Or where the beetle winds
His small but sullen horn,
As oft he rises midst the twilight path,
Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum,-
Now teach me, maid composed,
To breathe some soften'd strain
Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkening vale,
May not unseemly with its stillness suit;
As, musing slow, I hail
Thy genial loved return.
For when thy folding-star arising shows
His paly circlet, at his warning lamp
The fragrant Hours, and Elves
Who slept in buds the day, And many a Nymph who wreathes her brows with
sedge And sheds the freshening dew, and, lovelier still,
The pensive Pleasures sweet,
Prepare thy shadowy car.
Then let me rove some wild and heathy scene;
Or find some ruin midst its dreary dells,
Whose walls more awful nod
By thy religious gleams.
Or, if chill blustering winds or driving rain
Prevent my willing feet, be mine the hut
That, from the mountain's side,
Views wilds, and swelling floods,
And hamlets brown, and dim-discover'd spires ;
And hears their simple bell; and marks o'er all
Thy dewy fingers draw
The gradual dusky veil. While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont, And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve !
While Summer loves to sport
Beneath thy lingering light ;
While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves ;
Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air,
Affrights thy shrinking train
And rudely rends thy robes;
So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,
Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling Peace,
Thy gentlest influence own,
And love thy favourite name !
ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY
CHURCHYARD The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea, The ploughman 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, wandering near her secret bower, Molest her ancient solitary reign. Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid, The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep. The breezy call of incense-breathing morn, The swallow twittering 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 return, 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 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 Loast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Awaits alike th' inevitable hour :-
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.
Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or flattery soothe the dull cold ear of death?
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire ;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or waked to extasy the living lyre :
But knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll ;
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,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood,
Some nute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood.
Th' applause of listening senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes
Their lot forbad: nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined ;
Forbad to wade thro' slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind ;