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Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes;
The glorious fault of angels and of gods:
Thence to their images on earth it flows,
And in the breast of kings and heroes glows.
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull sullen pris'ners in the body's cage;
Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres;
Like eastern kings, a lazy state they keep,
And close confin'd to their own palace sleep.
From these perhaps (ere Nature bade her die)
Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky.
As into air the purer spirits flow,
And sep'rate from their kindred dregs below;
So flew the soul to its congenial place,
Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good,
Thou mean deserter of thy brother's blood!
See on these ruby lips the trembling breath,
These cheeks, now fading at the blast of death;
Cold is that breast which warm'd the world before,
And those love-darting eyes must roll no more.
Thus, if eternal Justice rules the ball
Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall:
On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates;
There passengers shall stand and pointing say,
(While the long sun'rals blacken all the way)
“Lo! these were they whose souls the furies steel'd,
And curs'd with hearts unknowing how to yield.
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageants of a day !
So perish all whose breast ne'er learn'd to glow
For others' good, or melt at others' woe.”
What can atone (oh ever-injur'd shade!)
Thy fate unpity'd, and thy rites unpaid?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bier:
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs compos'd,
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd,
By strangers honour'd and by strangers mourn'd!
What though no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
And bear about the mockery of woe
To midnight dances and the public show;
What though no weeping love thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face;
What though no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb;
Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be dress'd,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast:
There shall the Morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year shall blow;
While angels with their silver wings o'ershade
The ground, now sacred by thy relics made.
So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame.
How lov’d, how honour'd once, avails thee not,
To whom related, or by whom begot;
A heap of dust alone remains of thee;
'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be
Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung,
Deaf the prais'd ear, and mute the tuneful tongue.
E’en he whose soul now melts in mournful lays,
Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays;
Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part,
And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart;
Life's idle bus'ness at one gasp be o'er,
The Muse forgot, and thou belov'd no more ?
Hesce, loathed Melancholy,
Of Ceberus and blackest Midnight born,
In Stygian cave forlorn,
'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights unholy,
Find out some uncouth cell,
Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous wings,
And the night raven sings;
There under ebon shades, and low-brow'd rocks,
As ragged as thy locks,
In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
But come thou goddess fair and free, In heav'n yelep'd Euphrosyne, And by men, heart-easing Mirth, Whom lovely Venus, at a birth, With two sister Graces more, To ivy-crowned Bacchus bore; Or whether (as some sages sing) The frolic wind that breathes the spring, Zephyr, with Aurora playing, As he met her once a Maying, There on beds of violets blue, And fresh-blown roses wash'd in dew, Fill'd her with thee, a daughter fair, So buxom, blithe, and debonair. Haste thee, Nymph, and bring with thee Jest and youthful Jollity, Quips and Cranks, and wanton Wiles, Nods and Becks, and wreathed Smiles, Such as hang on Hebe's cheek, And love to live in dimple sleek; Sport that wrinkled Care derides, Aud Laughter holding both his sides. Come, and trip it as you go On the light fantastic toe; And in thy right hand lead with thee The mountain nymph, sweet Liberty: And, if I give thee honour due, Mirth, admit me of thy crew, To live with her, and live with thee, In unreproved pleasures free;
To hear the lark begin his flight, And singing startle the dull night, From his watch-tower in the skies, Tili the dappled dawn doth rise; Then to come in spite of sorrow, And at my window bid good-morrow, Through the sweet-briar, or the vine, Or the twisted eglantine: While the cock with lively din Scatters the rear of darkness thin, And to the stack, or the barn-door, Stoutly struts his dames before; Oft list'ning how the hounds and horn Cheerly rouse the slumb'ring morn, From the side of some hoar hill, Through the high wood echoing shrill: Some time walking not unseen By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green, Right against the eastern gate, Where the great sun begins his state, Rob'd in flames and amber light, The clouds in thousand liveries dight; While the plowman near at hand Whistles o'er the furrow'd land, And the milk-maid singeth blithe, And the mower whets his scythe, And every shepherd tells his tale Under the hawthorn in the dale.