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In adamantine chains shall death be bound,
Waste sandy valleys, once perplex'd with thorn,
Rise, crown'd with light, imperial SALEM, rise ! Exalt thy tow'ry head, and lift thy eyes ! See a long race thy spacious courts adorn; See future sons and daughters, yet unborn, In crowding ranks on ev'ry side arise, Demanding life, impatient for the skies ! See barb'rous nations at thy gates attend, Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend; See thy bright altars throng'd with prostrate kings, And heap'd with product of Sabæan springs! For thee Idumé’s spicy forests blow, And seeds of gold in Ophir’s mountains glow. See Heav'n its sparkling portals wide display, And break upon thee in a flood of day!
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, to these impute the fault,
If mem'ry o'er their tomb no trophies raise, Where thro' the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise. Can story'd 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?
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid .
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire; Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or wak’d to ecstasy the living lyre. But knowledge to their eyes her ample page, · Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll; Chill penury repress'd their noble rage, · And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear; Full many a flow'r is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood; Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
Th’applause of list’ning senates to command, • The threats of pain and ruin to despise, . To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land, .
And read their hist'ry in a nation's eyes, Their lot forbad: nor circumscrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confind; Forbad to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut 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 incense kindled at the Muse's flame.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learnt to stray; Along the cool sequester'd vale of life :
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way. Yet e’en these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail menjorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck’d, Implores the passing tribute of a sigh,
Their names, their years, spelt by th’unletter'd Musé,
The place of fame and elegy supply; And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die. For who to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign’d, Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing ling’ring look behind? On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires,
Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires.
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
Some kindred spirit shall enquire thy fate, Haply some 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 sun upon the upland lawn. “ There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
“ That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, “ His listless length at noon-tide would he stretch,
“ And pore upon the brook that babbles by.