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POEMS

OF

THOMAS GRAY.

ODE.ON THE SPRING.

Lo! where the rosy-bosom'd 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, wbispering pleasure as they fly,
Cool Zephyrs through the clear blue sky

Their gather'd fragrance fling.
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 reclin'd in rustic state)
How vain the ardour of the crowd,
How low, how little are the proud,

How indigent the great!
Still is the toiling hand of Care :
The panting herd's 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 gayly-gilded trim

Quick-glancing to the Sun 3.

To Contemplation's sober eye's

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: Brush'd by the hand of rough Mischance; Or chill'd by Age, their airy dance

They leave in dust to rest. Methinks I hear in accents low

The sportive kind reply;
“ Poor moralist! and what art thou ?

A solitary Ay !
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 'tis May.”

ODE ON THE DEATH OF A FAVOURITE CAT,

DROWNED IN A TUB OF GOLD FISHES.

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Twas on a lofty vase's side,
Where China's gayest art had dy'd

The azure flowers that blow;
Demurest of the tabby kind,
The pensive Selima reclin'd,

Gaz'd on the lake below.
Her conscious tail her joy declar'd;
The fair round face, the snowy beard,

The velvet of her paws,
Her coat, that with the tortoise vies,
Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes,

She saw; and purr'd applause.
4 While insects from the threshold preach, &c.

M. Green, in the Grotto.
Dodsley's Miscellanies, vol. v. p. 161.
L

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VOL. XIV.

146

Still bad she gaz'd; but ’midst the tide

Say, father Thames, for thou hast seen Two angel forms were seen to glide,

Full many a sprightly race The Genii of the stream:

Disporting on thy margent green Their scaly armour's Tyrian hue

The paths of pleasure trace, Through richest purple to the view

Who foremost now delight to cleare Betray'd a golden gleam.

With pliant arm thy glassy wave?

The captive linnet which enthrall ? The hapless nymph with wonder saw:

What idle progeny succeed A whisker first, and then a claw,

To chase the rolling circle's speed,
With many an ardent wish,

Or urge the flying ball?
She stretch'd in vain to reach the prize;
What female heart can gold despise ?

While some on earnest business bent
What cat's averse to fish?

Their murmuring labours ply

'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint Presumptuous maid! with looks intent

To sweeten liberty ; Again she stretch'd, again she bent,

Some bold adventurers disdain Nor knew the gulf between.

The limits of their little reign, (Malignant Fate sate by, and smil'd)

And unknown regions dare descry: The slippery verge her feet beguild,

Still as they run they look behind, She tumbled headlong in.

They hear a voice in every wind,

And snatch a fearful joy.
Eight times emerging from the flood
She mew'd to every watry god,

Gay Hope is theirs, by Fancy fed,
Some speedy aid to send.

Less pleasing, when possest; No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirr'd;

The tear forgot as soon as shed, Nor cruel Tom, nor Susan heard,

The sunshine of the breast : A favourite has no friend !

Theirs buxom health, of rosy hue;

Wild wit, invention ever new, From hence, ye beauties, undeceivd,

And lively cheer of vigour born;
Know, one false step is ne'er retriev'd,

The thoughtless day, the easy night,
And be with caution bold.
Not all, that tempts your wandering eyes

The spirits pure, the slumbers light,

That fly th' approach of morn.
And heedless hearts, is lawful prize;
Not all that glisters, gold.

Alas, regardless of their doom,

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

Nor care beyond to day.
ODE

Yet see how all around tbem wait

The ministers of human fate,
ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF ETON COLLEGE. And black Misfortune's baleful train,

Ah, show them where in ambush stand
Ανθρωπος» ικανή πρόφασις εις το δυςυχείν.

To seize their prey, the murderous band !
Menander.

Ah, tell them, they are men!
Ye distant spires, ye antique towers,

These shall the fury passions tear,
That crown the watry glade,

The vultures of the mind,
Where grateful Science still adores

Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,
Her Henry's ' holy shade;

And Shame that skulks bebind;
And ye, that from the stately brow

Or pining Love, shall waste their youth,
Of Windsor's heights th’ expanse below

Or Jealousy, with rankling tooth,
Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,

That inly gnaws the secret heart,
Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers among And Envy wan, and faded Care,
Wanders the hoary Thames along

Grim-visag'd comfortless Despair,
His silver-winding way.

And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ah, happy hills, ah, pleasing shade,

Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Ah, fields belov'd in vain,

Then whirl the wretch from high,
Where once my careless childhood stray'd, To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,
A stranger yet to pain

And grinning Infamy,
I feel the gales, that from ye blow,

The stings of Falsehood those shall try,
A momentary bliss bestow,

And hard Unkindness' alter'd eye,
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,

That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow;
My weary soul they seem to sooth,

And keen Remorse, with blood defil'd,
And, redolent of joy and youth ?,

And moody Madness 3 laughing wild
To breathe a second spring.

Amid severest woe.

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Madness laughing in his ireful mood.
Dryden's Fable of Palamon and Arcite.

1 King Henry the Sixth, founder of the college.
2 And bees their honey redolent of spring.

Dryden's Fable on the Pythag. System.

Lo, in the vale of years beneath

(As by the impious thou art seen) A grisly troop are seen,

With thundering voice, and threatening mien, The painful family of Death,

With screaming Horrour's funeral cry, More hideous than their queen:

Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty. This racks the joints, this fires the veins, That every labouring sinew strains,

Thy form benign, oh, goddess, wear, Those in the deeper vitals rage:

Thy milder influence impart, Lo, Poverty, to fill the band,

Thy philosophic train be there That numbs the soul with icy hand,

To soften, not to wound, my heart. And slow-consuming Age.

The generous spark extinct revive,

Teach me to love and to forgive, To each his sufferings: all are men,

Exact my own defects to scan, Condemnd alike to groan;

What others are, to feel, and know myself a man. The tender for another's pain,

The anfeeling for his own.
Yet ah! why should they know their fate!
Sice sorrow never comes too late,

ELEGY
And happiness too swiftly Aies.

WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD. Thought would destroy their Paradise. No more; where ignorance is bliss,

The curfew tolls' the knell of parting day,
Tis folly to be wise.

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

And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
HYMN TO ADVERSITY,

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,

And all the air a solemn stillness holds, zija

Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
Τον φρονείν βρoίες εδώ-
σανία, τα πάθει μαθών

And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds:
Θέλει κυρίως έχειν.
Escbýlus, in Agamemnone.

Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tower,

The moping owl does to the Moon complain DAUCHTER of Jove, relentless power,

Of such as, wandering near her secret bower, Thou tamer of the human breast,

Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Whose iron scourge, and torturing hour,
The bad affright, afflict the best!

Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Bound in thy adamantine chain

Where heaves the turfin many a mouldering heap, The proud are taught to taste of pain,

Each in his narrow cell for ever laid, And purple tyrants vainly groan

The rude forefatbers of the hamlet sleep.. With pangs unfelt before, unpitied, and alone.

The breezy call of incense,breathing Morn, When first thy sire to send on Earth

The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed, Virtue, his darling child, design'd,

The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing hom, To thee he gave the heavenly birth,

No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed. And bade to form her infant mind.

For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn, Stern rugged nurse; thy rigid lore

Or busy housewife ply her evening care: With patience many a year she bore:

No children run to lisp their sire's return, What sorrow was, thou bad'st her know,

Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share. And from her own she learn'd to melt at others woe.

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield, Scar'd at thy frown terrific, fly

'Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; Self-pleasing Polly's idle brood,

How jocund did they drive their team afield! Wild Laughter, Noise, and thoughtless Joy,

How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke! And leave us leisure to be good. Light they disperse, and with them go

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil, The summer friend, the flattering foe;

Their homely joys, and destiny obscure; By vain Prosperity receiv'd,

Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile, To her they vow their truth, and are again believ'd. The short and simple annals of the poor. Wisdom, in sable garb array'd,

The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, Immers'd in rapturous thought profound,

And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gare, And Melancholy, silent maid,

Await alike th' inevitable hour,
With leaden eye, that loves the ground,

The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Still on thy solemn steps attend :
Warm Charity, the general friend,

Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
With Justice, to herself severe,

If Meniory o'er their tomb no trophies raise, And Pity, dropping soft the sadly-pleasing tear.

Where through the long drawn aisle and fretted vault,

The peeling anthem swells the note of praise. Oh, gently on thy suppliant's head, Dread goddess, lay thy chastening hand!

squilla di lontano Not in thy gorgon terrour's clad,

Che paia 'l giorno pianger, che si muore. Nor circled with the vengeful band,

Dante. Purgat. l. 8.

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178

Can storied urn or animated bust

For thee, who, mindful of th' unhonour'd dead, Back to its mansion call the flecting breath? Dost in these lines their artless tale relate; Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust, If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,

Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death? Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,

Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid

Haply some boary-headed swain may say,
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire; « Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd, Brushing with hasty steps the dews away
Or wak’d to ecstasy the living lyre,

To meet the Sun upon the upland lawn.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page, “ There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll;

That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high, Chill Penury repress'd their poble rage,

His listless length at noontide would be stretch,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

And pore upon the brook that bubbles by.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear ;

“Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn, Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,

Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove, And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Now drooping woful wan, like one forlorn,

Or craz'd with care, or cross'd in hopeless love
Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;

“ One morn I miss'd him on the custom'd hill, Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,

Along the heath and near bis favourite tree; Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.

Another came; nor yet beside the rill,

Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;
Th’ applause of listening senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,

“ The next with dirges due in sad array [borne. To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,

Slow through the church-way path we saw him And read their history in a nation's eyes, Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay,

Gravid on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.”
Their lot forbad; por circumscribd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd;

THE EPITAPH.
Forbad to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind. Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth,

A youth to fortune and to fame unknown,
The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide, Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,

To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame, And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame,

Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,

Heaven did a recompense as largely send : 'Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,

He gave to Misery all he had, a tear; [friend. Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray ;

He gain'd from Heaven ('twas all he wish'd) a Along the cool sequester'd vale of life They kept the noiseless tenour of their way. No further seek his merits to disclose,

Or draw his frailties from their dread abode, Yet er'n these bones from insult to protect, (There they alike in trembling hope repose 3) Some frail memorial still erected nigh,

The bosom of his father and his God. With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture

deck d,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh,
Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd Muse,

THE PROGRESS OF POESY,
The place of fame and elegy supply:

A PINDARIC ODE.
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

Φωται το συνεοισιν. ές

Δε το ταν έρμηνέων χατίζει
For who, to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,

Pindar. Olym. ii.
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd,
Loft the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing lingering look behind ?

ADVERTISEMENT.
On some fond breast the parting soul relies,

Some pious drops the closing eye requires; When the author first published this and the fol-
Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries, lowing ode, he was adviserl, even by bis friends,
Ev'n in our ashes live their wonted fires ?

to subjoin some few explanatory notes; but had

too much respect for the understanding of his • Ch'i veggio nel pensier, dolce mio fuoco,

readers to take that liberty.
Fredda una lingua, et due begli occhi chiusi
fimauer doppo noi pien di faville.
Petrarch, Son. 169,

preventosa speme. Petrarch. Son. 114.

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O’er her warm cheek, and rising bosom, move THE PROGRESS OF POESY.

The bloom of young Desire, and purple light of

Love.
I.

II.
Awake, Æolian lyre, awake',
And give to rapture all thy trembling strings.

Man's feeble race what ills await?,
From Helicon's harmonious springs

Labour, and Penury, the racks of Pain,
A thousand rills their mazy progress take; Disease, and Sorrow's weeping train,
The laughing flowers that round them blow,

And Death, sad refuge from the storms of Fate ! Dripk life and fragrance as they flow.

The fond complaint, my song, disprove, Now the rich stream of music winds along,

And justify the laws of Jove. Deep, majestic, smooth, and strong,

Say, has he given in vain the heavenly Muse ? Through verdant vales, and Ceres' golden reign:

Night, and all her sickly dews, Now rolling down the steep amain,

Her spectres wan, and birds of boding cry, Headlong, impetuous, see it pour :

He gives to range the dreary sky: The rocks, and nodding groves, rebellow to the roar. Till down the eastern cliffs afar 8

[war. Ob! sovereign of the willing soul",

Hyperion's march they spy, and glittering shafts of Parent of sweet and solemn-breathing airs, Enchanting shell! the sullen cares,

9 In climes beyond the solar 10 road, And frantic passions, hear thy soft control:

Where shaggy forms o'er ice-built mountains roam, On Thracia's hills the lord of war

The Muse has broke the twilight gloom
Has curb'd the fury of his car,

To cheer the shivering native's dull abode.
And dropp'd his thirsty lance at thy command: And oft, beneath the odorous shade
Perching on the scepter'd hand 3

Of Chili's boundless forests laid,
Of Jove, thy magic lulls the feather'd king

She deigns to hear the savage youth repeat With ruffled plumes, and flagging wing :

In loose numbers wildly sweet Quench'd in dark clouds of slumber lie

Their feather-cinctur'd chiefs, and dusky loves, The terrour of his beak, and lightning of his eye.

Her track, where'er the goddess roves,

Glory pursue, and generous Shame, Thee the voice, the dance, obey,

Th’unconquerable mind, and Freedom's holy flame. Temper'd to thy warbled lay, O'er Idalia's velvet-green

Woods, that wave o'er Delphi's steep ", The rosy-crowned Loves are seen,

Isles, that crown th' Ægean deep, On Cytherea's day,

Fields, that cool Ilissus laves, With antic sports and blue-ey'd pleasures,

Or where Mæander's amber waves Frisking light in frolic measures;

In lingering labyrinths creep, Now pursuing, now retreating,

How do your tuneful Echoes languisb
Now in circling troops they meet :

Mute, but to the voice of Anguish?
To brisk notes in cadence beating
Glance their many-twinkling feets.
Slow melting strains their queen's approach declare: Λάμπει δ' επί πορφυρέησι.
Where'er she turns, the Graces homage pay. Παρείησι φως έριωτώ.
With arts sublime, that float upon the air,

Phrynichus, apud Athenæum. In gliding state she wins her easy way :

7 To compensate the real and imaginary ills of

life, the Muse was given to mankind by the same " Awake, my glory: awake, lute and harp. Providence that sends the day, by its cheerful pre

David's Psalms.

sence, to dispel the gloom and terrours of the Pindar styles his own poetry with its musical accom- night. paniments, Αίολης μολπη, Αιόλιδες χορδαί, Αιολίδων αντα!

8 Or seen the morning's well-appointed star dia7. Æolian song, Æolian strings, the breath of

Come marching up the eastern hills afar. the Eolian flute.

Cowley. The subject and simile, as usual with Pindar, are united. The various sources of poetry, which gives

9 Extensive influence of poetic genius over the life and lustre to all its touches, are here described; remotest and most uncivilized nations : its conits quiet majestic progress enriching every subject nection with liberty, and the virtues that naturally (otherwise dry and barren) with a pomp of diction attend on it. (See the Erse, Norwegian, and Welsh and luxuriant harmony of numbers; and its more fragments, the Lapland and American songs.] rapid and irresistible course, when swoln and hur

10 Extra anvi solisque vias

Virgil. ned away by the conflict of tumultuous passions.

Tutta lontana dal camin dei sole.

Petrarch. Canzon 2. * Power of harmony to calm the turbulent sallies of the soul. The thoughts are borrowed from

" Progress of poetry from Greece to Italy, and the first Pythian of Pindar.

from Italy to England. Chaucer was not unac* This is a faint imitation of some incomparable The earl of Surrey, and sir Thomas Wyatt, had

quainted with the writings of Dante, or of Petrarch. lines in the same ode.

travelled in Italy, and had formed their taste there;' * Power of harmony to produce all the graces of Spenser imitated the Italian writers; Milton immotion in the body.

proved on them: but this school expired soon after 1 Μαρμαρυγας θηείτο ποδων θαύμαζε δε θυμώ. the Restoration, and a new one arose on the French

Homer, Od. . model, which has subsisted ever since.

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