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company being no-wise unwelcome in the cheerfal circle. He likewise remembers, that he was then used to accompany bis father in his visits to Mr. Gray and his aunt, Mrs. Rogers, at West End; that he has often been at home when those visits were returned; and that on these occasions, the author of the Ode to Eton College would frequently take pleasure in gratifying the young Etonian by the gift of a shilling, or half a crown; “which (adds the gallant admiral) was at that time no inconsiderable present.” But a circumstance, which, from its singalarity, made a stronger impression upon his mind than even this claim upon his gratitude, affords a substantial proof that the social ease, from which the ghostly female champions of false decorum, a few years before, had inferred a lamentable decay of manners, had undergone no change that could give them cause for triumph. He relates that he has “ more than once" been an eye witness of the potent effect wrought by the exuberant spirits of the “ witty amazon,” in prevailing upon the poet, instead of being conducted by a muse, or mounted on bis Pegasus, to trust himself to her guidance, along the parish lanes, in a butcher's cart; which unusual spectacle could hardly have failed to stir the surprise and surmises of “ the ploughman," yet delaying “ homeward to plod his weary way.” We may conclude from this frolic, that the policy which determined “ the first marching of the troops,” proceeded from no cause more probable than from her hostility to the stern character of • the drawing-room of fierce Queen Mary.” On the other hand, it must be confessed that the poet thus gave ample proof of the sincerity of his ejaculation, “ Alas! who would not wish to please her!" But that his gallantry had no deeper root than the complaisance of friendship he seems to proclaim, not only in his letter to Mr. Walpole, but in another to Dr. Wharton, written shortly after the incident of the Long Story. “My heart,” says he,“ is no less yours than it has long been; and the last thing in the world that will throw it into tumult is a fine lady. Another erroneous surmise of the same nature might be formed on hearing (what nevertheless is true) that the beaqtiful rondeau which appears in the latter editions of his works,
was inspired by “the wish to please" this lady. The fact is, however, that it was produced (and probably about this time) on a request she made to the poet one day, when he was in company with Mr. Walpole, that she might possess something from his pen, written on the subject of love. We collect from the Memoirs by Mason, that the society of neighbourhood between the lady and the poet must have closed abont the year 1758, at which time the death of his aunt, Mrs. Rogers, determined the final departure of the latter from Stoke. A circumstance connected with that occasion contributes some evidence of the general activity of his mind. The Rev. Mr. Duckworth, who beld the living of Stoke until his death in the year 1794, remarked that the difficulty experienced by Gray in relinquishing the tenure of the premises to which he had succeeded, and from the concern of wbich he was anxious to relieve himself, was finally surmounted by means of his own knowledge of law.
The local poems by which Gray has impressed a classical stamp upon Stoke are, The Elegy written in a Country Churchyard, The Long Story, both written in 1750, and bis Ode to Eton College, written before, in the year 1742; in which year were also written the Ode to Spring, the Hymn to Adversity, and the Sonnet on the Death of Mr. West, (the first certainly, and the two last probably) at Stoke.
It was in the year 1780 that (Miss Speed, now) Countess de Viry enabled the lover of poetry to see in print the Rondeau, and another small amatory poem of Gray, called Thyrsis, by presenting them to the Rev. Mr. Leman, of Suffolk, while on a visit at her castle in Savoy. She died there in 1783.
POEMS AND FRAGMENTS.
ON THE PLEASURE ARISING FROM
Left unfinished by Mr. Gray. With additions by Mr. Mason,
distinguished by inverted commas.
Now the golden morn aloft
Waves her dew-bespangled wing,
She wooes the tardy spring :
New-born flocks, in rustic dance,
Frisking ply their feeble feet; Forgetful of their wintry trance
The birds his presence greet:
But chief, the sky-lark warbles high
Rise, my soul! on wings of fire,
Rise the rapt'rous choir among; Hark! 'tis nature strikes the lyre,
And leads the gen'ral song: “ Warm let the lyric transport flow,
Warm as the ray that bids it glow; • And animates the vernal grove
With health, with harmony, and love."
Yesterday the sullen year
Saw the snowy whirlwind fly;
The herd stood drooping by :
Smiles on past misfortune's brow
Soft reflection's hand can trace ; And o'er the cheek of sorrow throw
A melancholy grace; While hope prolongs our happier hour Or deepest shades, that dimly lower, And blacken round our weary way, Gilds with a gleam of distant day.