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ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY

CHURCHYARD. The curfew' tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,? The ploughman homeward plods & his weary

way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me. Now fades the glimmering 4 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 tower The moping owl does to the moon complain Of such as, wandering near her secret bower, Molest her ancient solitary reign. Beneath those rugged elms, that yew - tree's

shade, Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering

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heap,

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Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built

ghed,

The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed. 20

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For them no more the blazing hearth shall

burn,
Or busy housewife ply' her evening care:
No children run to list their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield, 25
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe 8 has broke ;
How jocundo 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 o of the poor.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp

of

power, And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave, Await alike the inevitable 11 hour :The paths of glory lead but to the grave. Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault, If Memory o'er their tomb no trophiesraise, Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted

vault The pealing anthem swells the note of praise. 40 Can storied urn or animated bust Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath ? Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust, Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of Death? Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire ;

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Hands that the rod of empire might have

swayed, Or waked to ecstasy 14 the living lyre. But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page, Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unrol; 50 Chill Penury 16 repressed " their noble rage, And froze the genial 18 current of the soul. Full many a gem, of purest ray serene, The dark unfathomed 19 caves of ocean bear; Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air. Some village Hampden,20 that with dauntless

breast The little tyrant of his fields withstood ; Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest, Some Cromwell,22 guiltless of his country's

blood. The applause of listening senates to command, The threats of pain and ruin to despise, To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land, And read their history in a nation's eyes, Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed 23 alone 65 Their growing virtues, but their crimes con

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fined ;

Forbade 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 ingenuoys a shame,

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Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.
Far from the madding 25 crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
Along the cool sequestered 26 vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet even these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture

decked, Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. Their name, their years, spelt by the unlettered

Muse, 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 resigned ; Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day, Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind ? On some fond breast the parting 28 soul relies, Some pious drops the closing eye requires ; 90 Even from the tomb the voice of Nature

cries, Even in our ashes live their wonted 29 fires, For thee, who, mindful of the unhonoured dead, Dost in these lines their artless tale relate; If chance, by lonely Contemplation led, Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,

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