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Ah happy hills, ah pleafing fhade,
Ah fields belov'd in vain,
Where once my careless childhood stray'd,
A ftranger yet to pain!
I feel the gales, that from ye blow,
A momentary blifs bestow,
As waving fresh their glad fome wing,
My weary foul they feem to footh,
And, redolent of joy and youth,
To breathe a second spring.
SAY, Father THAMES (for thou hast seen Full many a fprightly race,
Difporting on thy margent green,
The paths of pleasure trace)
Who foremost now delight to cleave
With pliant arm thy glassy wave?
The captive linnet which enthrall?
What idle progeny fucceed
To chafe the rolling circle's fpeed,
Or urge the flying ball?
While fome, on earnest business bent,
Their murm'ring labours ply
'Gainft graver hours, that bring constraint
To sweeten liberty:
Some bold adventurers difdain
The limits of their little reign,.
And unknown regions dare defcry:
Still as they run they look behind,
They hear a voice in every wind,
And fnatch a fearful joy.
Gay hope is theirs by fancy fed,
Lefs pleasing when poffeft;
The tear forgot as foon as shed,
The funshine of the breaft:
Theirs buxom health of rofy hue,
Wild wit, invention ever new,
And lively cheer of vigour born
The thoughtless day, the easy night,
The fpirits pure, the flumbers light,
That fly th' approach of morn.
Alas, regardless of their doom,
The little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come,
No care beyond to day:
Yet fee how all around them wait,
The Minifters of human fate,
And black Misfortune's baleful train!
Ah, fhew them where in ambush ftand
To seize their prey the murth'rous band!
Ah, tell them, they are men!
Thefe fhall the fury Paffions tear,
The vultures of the mind,
Disdainful Anger, pallid fear,
And Shame that skulks behind;
Or pining Love shall waste their youth,
Or Jealoufy with rankling tooth,
That inly gnaws the fecret heart,
And Envy wan, and faded Care,
Grim-vifag'd comfortless Despair,
And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this fhall tempt to rife,
Then whirl the wretch from high,
To bitter Scorn a facrifice,
And grinning Infamy.
The ftings of Falsehood those shall try,
And hard Unkindness' alter'd eye,
That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow;
And keen Remorfe with blood defil'd,
And moody Madness laughing wild
Amid fevereft woe.
Lo, in the vale of years beneath A grifly troop are seen,
The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their queen :
This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
That every labouring finew ftrains,
Thofe in the deeper vitals rage:
Lo, Poverty, to fill the band,
That numbs the foul with icy hand,
And flow-confuming Age.
To each his fuff'rings: all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan ;
The tender for another's pain,
Th' unfeeling for his own.
Yet ah! why should they know their fate?
Since forrow never comes too late,
And happiness too fwiftly flies:
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; where ignorance is blifs,
'Tis folly to be wife.
'HE curfew tolls the knell of parting day, The lowing herd wind flowly o'er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the fight,
And all the air a folemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowfy tinklings lull the diftant folds;
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r,
The mopeing owl does to the moon complain
Of fuch, as wand'ring near her fecret bow'r,
Moleft her ancient folitary reign.
Beneath thofe ragged elms, that yew-tree's fhade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould'ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet fleep.
The breezy call of incenfe-breathing Morn,
The swallow twitt'ring from the ftraw-built shed,
The cock's fhrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or bufy housewife ply her evening care:
No children run to lifp their fire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied blifs to fhare.
Oft did the harvest to their fickle yield,
The furrow oft the ftubborn glebe has broke:
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow'd the woods beneath their fturdy ftroke!
Let no ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obfcure;
Nor grandeur hear with a difdainful fmile,
The short and fimple annals of the poor.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er
Await alike th' inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If Mem❜ry o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where thro' the long-drawn ifle and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem fwells the note of praise.
Can ftoried urn or animated buft,
Back to its manfion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour's voice provoke the filent duft,
Or flatt'ry footh the dull cold ear of Death?
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celeftial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or wak'd to extacy the living lyre.