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126 ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
Save where the beetle wheels his drony flight,
Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, Each in his narrow cell forever 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 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 teams afield! How bowed 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.
ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD. 127
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth, e'er gave, Await alike the inevitable hour;
The paths of glory lead but to the grave,
Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
Can storied urn, or animated bust,
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? Can honor'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;
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Chill Penury repressed their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul,
Full many a gem, of purest ray serene,
The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear; Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its fragrance on the desert air.
Some village Hampden,* that with dauntless breast
*An English patriot, who resisted King Charles the First's usurpation of power.
ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD.
The applause of listening senates to command,
Their lot forbade; nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined; Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne, And shut the gates of mercy on mankind;
The struggling pangs of conscious Truth to hide,
With incense kindled at the Muses' flame.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet e'en these bones from insult to protect,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
Their name, their years, spelt by the unlettered Muse,
And many a holy text around she strews,
For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing, anxious being e'er resigned, Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day, Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind?
ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD.
On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
For thee, who, mindful of the unhonored dead,
Some kindred spirit should inquire thy fate,
Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech, That wreathes its old, fantastic roots so high, His listless length at noontide would he stretch, And pore upon the brook that babbles by.
"Hard by yon wood, now smiling, as in scorn, Muttering his wayward fancies, he would rove; Now drooping, woful-wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love.
"One morn I missed him on the 'customed hill, Along the heath, and near his favorite 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 canst read) the lay,
YE MARINERS OF ENGLAND.
"There scattered oft, the earliest of the year,
By hands unseen, are showers of violets found; The redbreast loves to build and warble there, And little footsteps lightly print the ground."
Here rests his head upon the lap of earth,
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere ;
He gained from Heaven ('t was all he wished) a friend.
No further seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode, (There they alike in trembling hope repose,) The bosom of his Father and his God.
YE MARINERS OF ENGLAND. - Campbell.
YE Mariners of England!
That guard our native seas;
Whose flag has braved, a thousand years,
The battle and the breeze:
Your glorious standard launch again,
To match another foe!
And sweep through the deep,
While the stormy tempests blow ;