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Now fades the glimmering landscape on the fight,
And all the air a folemn stillnefs holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his drony flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r
The mopeing owl does to the moon complain
Of fuch, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
Moleft her ancient, folitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring 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 fhed,
The cock's fhrill clarion, or the echoing horn
No more fhall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth fhall burn,
Or bufy houfwife ply her evening care:
No children run to lifp their fire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kifs to fhare.
Oft did the harvest to their fickle 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 deftiny obfcure;
Nor Grandeur hear, with a difdainful smile,
The short and simple annals of the poor.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike th' inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave,
Nor you, ye Proud, impute to These the fault,
If Mem'ry o'er their Tomb no Trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn ifle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem fwells the note of praise.
Can ftoried urn or animated buft
Back to its manfion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour's voice provoke the filent dust,
Or Flatt'ry footh 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 fway'd,
Or wak'd to extafy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of Time did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury reprefs'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the foul.
Full many a gem of pureft 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 defart air.
Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little Tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may reft,
Some Cromwell guiltlefs of his country's blood.
Th' applause of lift'ning fenates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a fmiling land,
And read their hift'ry in a nation's eyes
Their lot forbad: nor circumfcrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd;
Forbad to wade through flaughter to a throne,
And fhut 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 incenfe kindled at the Mufe's flame.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble ftrife,
Their fober wishes never learn'd to stray;
Along the cool fequefter'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet ev❜n these bones from infult to protect
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhimes and shapeless fculpture deck'd,
Implores the paffing tribute of a figh.
Their name, their years, fpelt by th' unletter'd Muse, The place of fame and elegy fupply:
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the ruftic moralift to dye.
For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er refign'd,
Left the warm precincts of the chearful day,
Nor caft one longing ling'ring look behind?
On fome fond breaft the parting foul relies,
Some pious drops the clofing eye requires;
'Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Ev'n in our Ashes live their wonted Fires.
For thee, who mindful of th' unhonour'd Dead
Doft in these lines their artless tale relate
If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred Spirit fhall inquire thy fate,
Haply fome 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 fun upon the upland lawn.
"There at the foot of yonder nodding beech • That rears its old fantastic roots fo high,
"His listless length at noon-tide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.