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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 hom,
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 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. 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,
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 1 Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death 1 Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart, once pregnant with celestial fire;
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll;
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 sweetness on the desert air. Some village Hampden, that, with dauntless breast,
The little Tyrant of his fields withstood; Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood. The 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 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,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame, Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame. Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray; Along the cool sequestered vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way. Yet eVn these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. Their name, their years, spelt by the unlettered muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply: And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die. 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 1 On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Ev'n in our Ashes live their wonted Fires.
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
Some kindred Spirit shall inquire thy fate; Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
"Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn, Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn. 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 favourite 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 churchyard path we saw him borne; Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay,
Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."
Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth,
Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heaven did a recompence as largely send; He gave to Misery all he had, a tear;
He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wished) 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 bosom of his Father and his God.
Tell me not of Arthur's table,
As a vague, uncertain rhyme;
Only true our deeds of crime?
Dimly mirrored from afar,
Like a midnight without star 1
Sires of future generations,
We are sons of ages gone,
Varying as they journey on.
Of the parent stock of old;
Not less true, and not less bold.
Every warrior in his glory,
Every patriot in his fame,
In some well-remembered name;
Though the deeds have passed from sight;
Floating in its own clear light.
As each star, which in the distance
Feebly, faintly, glimmers here,
Brightening its peculiar sphere;
Through time's shadowy vaults below,
To the truths from whence they flow.
THE HOMES OF ENGLAND.—Mrs. Hemans.
The stately Homes of England,
How beautiful they stand!
O'er all the pleasant land!
Through shade and sunny gleam,
Of some rejoicing stream.
The merry Homes of England!
Around their hearths by night,
Meet in the ruddy light!
Or childhood's tale is told;
Some glorious page of old.
The blessed Homes of England!
How softly on their bowers Is laid the holy quietness
That breathes from Sabbath hours! Solemn, yet sweet, the church-bell's chime
Floats through their woods at morn; All other sounds, in that still time,
Of breeze and leaf are born.