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For not alone they touch the village breast,
But filled in elder time th' historic page.
There Shakespear's self, with ev'ry garland crowned,
[

] In musing hour, his wayward Sisters found,

And with their terrors drest the magic scene; From them he sung, when, 'mid his bold design,

Before the Scot afflicted and aghast, The shadowy kings of Banquo's fated line

Through the dark cave in gleamy pageant passed. Proceed, nor quit the tales which, simply told,

Could once so well my answ'ring bosom pierce.
Proceed! in forceful sounds and colours bold,

The native legends of thy land rehearse;
To such adapt thy lyre and suit thy pow'rful verse.

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XII

In scenes like these, which, daring to depart
From sober truth, are still to nature true,

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And call forth fresh delight to Fancy's view,
Th’ heroic Muse employed her Tasso's art:
How have I trembled, when, at Tancred's stroke,

Its gushing blood the gaping cypress poured; When each live plant with mortal accents spoke,

195 And the wild blast upheaved the vanished sword! How have I sat, when piped the pensive wind,

To hear his harp, by British Fairfax strung;Prevailing poet, whose undoubting mind

Believed the magic wonders which he sung! Hence at each sound imagination glows; [

] Hence his warm lay with softest sweetness flows;

Melting it flows, pure, num'rous, strong, and clear, And fills th' impassioned heart, and wins th' harmonious

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ear.

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XIII

All hail, ye scenes that o'er my soul prevail,

Ye ( ] friths and lakes which, far away,

Are by smooth Annan filled or past'ral Tay Or Don's romantic springs; at distance, hail!

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The time shall come when I, perhaps, may tread

Your lowly glens, o'erhung with spreading broom, Or o'er your stretching heaths by fancy led : [

] Then will I dress once more the faded bow'r,

Where Jonson sat in Drummond's ( 1 shade, Or crop from Tiviot's dale each ( ]

And mourn on Yarrow's banks ( ] Meantime, ye Pow'rs that on the plains which bore

The cordial youth, on Lothian's plains, attend, Where'er he dwell, on hill or lowly muir,

To him I lose your kind protection lend, And, touched with love like mine, preserve my absent friend! 1749.

1788.

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THOMAS GRAY

ODE ON THE SPRING

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Lo, where the rosy-bosomed Hours,

Fair Venus' train, appear,
Disclose the long-expecting flowers,

And wake the purple year.
The Attic warbler pours her throat,
Responsive to the cuckoo's note,

The untaught harmony of spring;
While, whisp’ring pleasure as they fly,
Cool zephyrs through the clear blue sky

Their gathered fragrance fling.

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Where'er the oak's thick branches stretch

A broader, browner shade,
Where'er the rude and moss-grown beech

O'er-canopies the glade,
Beside some water's rushy brink
With me the Muse shall sit, and think

(At ease reclined in rustic state)
How vain the ardour of the crowd,
How low, how little are the proud,

How indigent the great!

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Still is the toiling hand of Care;

The panting herds repose;
Yet hark how through the peopled air

The busy murmur glows !
The insect youth are on the wing,
Eager to taste the honied spring

And float amid the liquid noon;
Some lightly o'er the current skim,
Some show their gaily-gilded trim

Quick-glancing to the sun.

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To Contemplation's sober eye

Such is the race of man;
And they that creep, and they that fly,

Shall end where they began:
Alike the busy and the gay
But flutter through life's little day,

In Fortune's varying colours drest;
Brushed by the hand of rough Mischance,
Or chilled by age, their airy dance

They leave, in dust to rest.

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Methinks I hear in accents low

The sportive kind reply:
"Poor moralist, and what art thou?

A solitary fy!
Thy joys no glittering female meets,
No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,

No painted plumage to display;
On hasty wings thy youth is flown,
Thy sun is set, thy spring is gone

We frolic while 't is May.

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1742.

1748.

ODE ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF ETON COLLEGE

Ye distant spires, ye antique towers,

That crown the wat’ry glade,
Where grateful Science still adores

Her Henry's holy shade;

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And ye that from the stately brow
Of Windsor's heights th' expanse below

Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,
Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers among
Wanders the hoary Thames along

His silver-winding way:

IO

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Ah, happy hills ! ah, pleasing shade!

Ah, fields beloved in vain!
Where once my careless childhood strayed,

A stranger yet to pain!
I feel the gales that from ye blow
A momentary bliss bestow,

As, waving fresh their gladsome wing,
My weary soul they seem to soothe,
And, redolent of joy and youth,

To breathe a second spring.

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Say, father Thames—for thou hast seen

Full many a sprightly race, Disporting on thy margent green,

The paths of pleasure trace, -
Who foremost now delight to cleave
With pliant arm thy glassy wave?

The captive linnet which enthral?
What idle progeny succeed
To chase the rolling circle's speed,

Or urge the flying ball?

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While some, on earnest business bent,

Their murm'ring labours ply
'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint

To sweeten liberty,
Some bold adventurers disdain
The limits of their little reign,

And unknown regions dare descry;
Still as they run they look behind,
They hear a voice in every wind,

And snatch a fearful joy.

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Gay hope is theirs, by fancy fed,

Less pleasing when possessed; The tear forgot as soon as shed;

The sunshine of the breast; Theirs buxom health of rosy hue, Wild wit, invention ever-new,

And lively cheer of vigour born; The thoughtless day, the easy night, The spirits pure, the slumbers light,

That fly th' approach of morn.

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Alas, regardless of their doom

The little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come,

Nor care beyond to-day :
Yet see how all around 'em wait
The ministers of human Fate,

And black Misfortune's baleful train!
Ah, show them where in ambush stand,
To seize their prey, the murth'rous band!

Ah, tell them they are men!

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These shall the fury Passions tear,

The vultures of the mind :
Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,

And Shame that sculks behind;
Or pining Love shall waste their youth,
Or Jealousy with rankling tooth,

That inly gnaws the secret heart,
And Envy wan, and faded Care,
Grim-visaged, comfortless Despair,

And Sorrow's piercing dart.

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Ambition this shall tempt to rise,

Then whirl the wretch from high,
To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,

And grinning Infamy.
The stings of Falsehood those shall try,
And hard Unkindness' altered eye,

That mocks the tear it forced to flow,

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