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But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of Time did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury reprefs'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the foul.
Full many a gem of pureft ray ferene,
The dark unfathom'd caves of Ocean bear:
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village Hampden, that with dauntless breaft,
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may reft,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
Th' applause of lift'ning fenates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a fmiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes,
Their lot forbade: nor circumfcrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd;
Forbade to wade through flaughter to a throne,
And fhut the gates of mercy on mankind.
The ftruggling pangs of confcious Truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous Shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incenfe kindled at the Mufe's flame.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble ftrife,
Their fober wishes never learn'd to ftray;
Along the cool fequefter'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet ev❜n these bones from infult to protect
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhimes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the paffing tribute of a figh.
Their name, their years, fpelt by th' unletter'd Mufe,
The place of fame and elegy fupply;
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the ruftic moralift to die.
For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,
This pleafing anxious being e'er refign'd,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor caft one longing ling'ring look behind?
On fome fond breaft the parting foul relies,
Some pious drops the clofing eye requires ;
Ev'n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Ev'n in our afhes live their wonted fires.
For thee, who mindful of th' unhonour'd Dead
Doft in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred Spirit shall inquire thy fate,
Haply fome hoary-headed fwain may say,
• Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn,
• Brushing with hafty steps the dew away
To meet the fun upon the upland lawn.
There at the foot of yonder nodding beech, • That wreathes its old fantastic roots fo high, • His liftless length at noontide would he ftretch, And pore upon the brook that bubbles by.
Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in fcorn,
Mutt'ring his wayward fancies he would rove;
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or craz'd with care, or crofs'd in hopeless love.
• One morn I miss'd him on the custom'd hill,
• Along the heath and near his favourite tree;
Another came; nor yet befide the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he :
• The next with dirges due in fad array
• Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne.
Approach and read (for thou canft read) the lay, • Grav'd on the stone, beneath yon aged thorn.'
ERE refts his head upon the lap of Earth
A Youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown:
Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.
Large was his bounty, and his foul fincere,
Heav'n did a recompence as largely fend:
He to Mis'ry all he had, a tear,
He gain'd from Heav'n ('twas all he wish'd) a friend.
No farther feek his merits to difclofe,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,
(There they alike in trembling hope repose,)
The bofom of his Father and his God.
ARK where its fimple front yon manfion rears,
The nursery of men for future years!
Here callow chiefs and embryo ftatesmen lie,
And unfledg'd poets short excurfions try:
While Merfey's gentle current, which too long
By fame neglected, and unknown to fong,
Between his rufhy banks, (no poet's theme)
Had crept inglorious, like a vulgar ftream,
Reflects th' afcending feats with conscious pride,
And dares to emulate a claffic tide.
Soft mufic breathes along each op'ning shade,
And fooths the dashing of his rough cascade.
With myftic lines his fands are figur'd o'er,
And circles trac'd upon the letter'd shore.
Beneath his willows rove th' inquiring youth,
And court the fair majestic form of truth.
Here nature opens all her secret springs,
And heav'n-born fcience plumes her eagle-wings;
Too long had bigot rage, with malice fwell'd,
Crush'd her ftrong pinions, and her flight withheld;
Too long to check her ardent progress ftrove:
So writhes the ferpent round the bird of Jove;
Hangs on her flight, reftrains her tow'ring wing,
Twifts its dark folds, and points its venom'd fting.
Yet ftill (if aught aright the Muse divine)
Her rifing pride fhall mock the vain defign;
On founding pinions yet aloft shall soar,
And thro' the azure deep untravell'd paths explore.
Where science smiles, the Mufes join the train;
And gentleft arts and pureft manners reign.
Ye generous youth who love this ftudious fhade,
How rich a field is to your hopes difplay'd!
Knowledge to you unlocks the claffic page;
And virtue bloffoms for a better
Oh golden days! oh bright unvalued hours!
What blifs (did ye but know that blifs) were yours?
With richest ftores your glowing bofoms fraught,
Perception quick, and luxury of thought;
The high defigns that heave the labouring foul,
Panting for fame, impatient of controul;
And fond enthusiastic thought, that feeds
On pictur❜d tales of vaft heroic deeds;
And quick affections, kindling into flame
At virtue's, or their country's honour'd name;
And fpirits light, to every joy in tune;
And friendship, ardent as a fummer's noon;
And generous fcorn of vice's venal tribe;
And proud difdain of intereft's fordid bribe;
And confcious honour's quick inftinctive sense;
And fmiles unforc'd; and easy confidence;
And vivid fancy; and clear fimple truth ;
And all the mental bloom of vernal youth.
How bright the scene to fancy's eye appears, Thro' the long perspective of diftant years,