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Beneath the trees, that with luxuriant shade
Thus broken, glides the busy year away,
prey, Within the grave my mortal part shall rest, And my soul rise, I trust, among the blest.
When first in leafy Wootton's lone retreat, The Muse's haunts my infant tongue would greet, I vow'd, if She but deign'd her favouring smile, No other passion should my steps beguile: But fickle to my hopes, by fits alone, Her glances on my humble prayers were thrown: Then mingled purposes, and changing mind, Uncertain as the courses of the wind, Left each new labour, ere 't was well begun, And this day's task was by the next undone!
Since torn, dear Native Spot, from thy embrace, Fate bade me in the worldling's paths to pace, Ere eighteen summers had matur'd a form, With every wild and youthful passion warm, In fields how wide, through what a varied scene Of pleasures, dangers, sufferings have I been! How little thought I, when for Granta's bowers I left thy falling leaves, and fading flowers, That ne'er again my hapless feet should roam Beneath thy shades, and claim them for my home. Ere yet a month from scenes so lovely torn, An honour'd parent to his grave was borne! Then, where the Hall with mirth and youth had
rung, And Beauty laugh’d, and talk'd, and danc'd, and
sung, The social circle ceas'd the day to cheer, And lonely Silence reign d for many a year.
Now 'mid the crowded throngs of men I felt The cruel blows that struggling Envy dealt; And innocent days, and peaceful nights, no more Were sooth'd with Fancy's dreams, and Learning's
lore. Ambition spread before my dazzled eyes An awful steep; yet bade me strive to rise. But hate to mingle in the clamorous fray, Where coarser spirits struggle for the sway; And dread of scorn, and pride that would not yield Against a meaner foe to take the field,
Oft as new ardours wak'd within my breast, Cross'd every step, and every chance supprest.
O years, that long had turn'd this hair to white, Ere yet my thirtieth winter took its flight: Still, as ye urg'd your mournful course anew, More dire in dangers, or in griefs ye grew! In thickest shades I hid my tearful form; There, chill'd without, I strove my heart to warm: E'en there did Malice, and revengeful Ire, Pierce the retreat, and dash the hallowed fire. O never, never were there bowers so deep, To which calumnious Hatred could not creep! Long countless days I toil'd, and sigh'd and
wept; Long nights in none but broken slumbers slept! But, hell-born Hatred, to thine iron heart No griefs will e'er a ray of pity dart. To break the bands of Friendship and of Love; The charms that soften sorrow to remove; To leave the victim thou hast sworn thy foe, Naked, defenceless, lonely to his woe, This is thy triumph! Human Misery Owes half her keenest sufferings to thee!
But will no transient beams of Sun invade This gloomy, and scarce penetrable shade? O lovely ray, thou com’st! thy cheering light I bail, to chase my spirit's lengthen'd night! Disperse, ye clouds! and let the day-star shine, And o'er the past no sad regrets shall pine!