« PreviousContinue »
And keen Remorse with blood defiled,
Amid severest woe.
Lo, in the vale of years beneath,
A griesly troop are seen,
More hideous than their queen:
Those in the deeper vitals rage;
And slow-consuming Age.
Condemned alike to groan-
Th' unfeeling for his own.
And happiness too swiftly flies,
'Tis folly to be wise. 1742.
HYMN TO ADVERSITY Daughter of Jove, relentless power,
Thou tamer of the human breast,
The bad affright, afflict the best!
And purple tyrants vainly groan
When first thy sire to send on earth
Virtue, his darling child, designed, To thee he gave the heav'nly birth,
And bade to form her infant mind.
Stern, rugged nursel thy rigid lore
What sorrow was thou bad'st her know,
Scared at thy frown terrific, fly
Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
And leave us leisure to be good:
By vain Prosperity received,
Wisdom in sable garb arrayed,
Immersed in rapt'rous thought profound,
With leaden eye that loves the ground,
With Justice, to herself severe,
Oh, gently on thy suppliant's head,
Dread goddess, lay thy chast'ning hand! Not in thy Gorgon terrors clad,
Nor circled with the vengeful band (As by the impious thou art seen), With thund'ring voice and threat'ning mien,
With screaming Horror's funeral cry, Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty:
Thy form benign, O goddess, wear,
Thy milder influence impart; Thy philosophic train be there,
To soften, not to wound, my heart; The gen'rous spark extinct revive, Teach me to love and to forgive,
Exact my own defects to scan, What others are to feel, and know myself a man. 1742.
ON THE DEATH OF RICHARD WEST
In vain to me the smiling mornings shine,
And redd’ning Phæbus lifts his golden fire;
Or cheerful fields resume their green attire:
A different object do these eyes require;
And in my breast the imperfect joys expire.
And new-born pleasure brings to happier men;
To warm their little loves the birds complain:
And weep the more because I weep in vain.
The hapless nymph with wonder saw;
With many an ardent wish,
What cat's averse to fish?
Presumptuous maid! with looks intent
Nor knew the gulf between:
She tumbled headlong in.
Eight times emerging from the flood,
Some speedy aid to send.
A fav’rite has no friend!
From hence, ye beauties, undeceived,
And be with caution bold.
Nor all that glisters gold.
ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD
The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea;
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r
The moping owl does to the moon complain Of such as, wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
Molest her ancient solitary 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 forever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn,
The swallow twitt'ring 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 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 pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, Awaits 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 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? Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flatt'ry soothe the dull cold ear of Death?