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And keen Remorse with blood defiled,
And moody Madness laughing wild

Amid severest woe.




Lo, in the vale of years beneath,

A griesly troop are seen,
The painful family of Death,

More hideous than their queen:
This racks the joints; this fires the veins;
That every labouring sinew strains;

Those in the deeper vitals rage;
Lo, Poverty, to fill the band,
That numbs the soul with icy hand,

And slow-consuming Age.
To each his suff'rings; all are men,

Condemned alike to groan-
The tender for another's pain,

Th' unfeeling for his own.
Yet, ah, why should they know their fate?
Since sorrow never comes too late,

And happiness too swiftly flies,
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss,

'Tis folly to be wise. 1742.




HYMN TO ADVERSITY Daughter of Jove, relentless power,

Thou tamer of the human breast,
Whose iron scourge and tort'ring hour

The bad affright, afflict the best!
Bound in thy adamantine chain,
The proud are taught to taste of pain,

And purple tyrants vainly groan
With pangs unfelt before, unpitied and alone.

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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
With patience many a year she bore;

What sorrow was thou bad'st her know,
And from her own she learned to melt at others' woe.



Scared at thy frown terrific, fly

Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
Wild Laughter, Noise, and thoughtless Joy,

And leave us leisure to be good:
Light they disperse, and with them go
The summer friend, the flatt'ring foe;

By vain Prosperity received,
To her they vow their truth and are again believed.


Wisdom in sable garb arrayed,

Immersed in rapt'rous thought profound,
And Melancholy, silent maid,

With leaden eye that loves the ground,
Still on thy solemn steps attend;
Warm Charity, the gen'ral friend,

With Justice, to herself severe,
And Pity, dropping soft the sadly-pleasing tear.



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.






In vain to me the smiling mornings shine,

And redd’ning Phæbus lifts his golden fire;
The birds in vain their amorous descant join,

Or cheerful fields resume their green attire:
These ears, alas! for other notes repine;

A different object do these eyes require;
My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine,

And in my breast the imperfect joys expire.
Yet morning smiles the busy race to cheer,

And new-born pleasure brings to happier men;
The fields to all their wonted tribute bear;

To warm their little loves the birds complain:
I fruitless mourn to him that cannot hear,

And weep the more because I weep in vain.

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The hapless nymph with wonder saw;
A whisker first, and then a claw,

With many an ardent wish,
She stretched, in vain, to reach the prize:
What female heart can gold despise,

What cat's averse to fish?


Presumptuous maid! with looks intent
Again she stretched, again she bent,

Nor knew the gulf between:
(Malignant Fate sat by, and smiled)
The slipp'ry verge her feet beguiled,

She tumbled headlong in.


Eight times emerging from the flood,
She mewed to ev'ry wat'ry god,

Some speedy aid to send.
No dolphin came, no Nereid stirred,
Nor cruel Tom nor Susan heard:

A fav’rite has no friend!


From hence, ye beauties, undeceived,
Know one false step is ne'er retrieved,

And be with caution bold.
Not all that tempts your wand'ring eyes
And heedless hearts is lawful prize,

Nor all that glisters gold.



The curfew tolls the knell of parting day;

The lowing herd wind slowly o'er the lea;
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,

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,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,

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?

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