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ODE ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF ETON
"Ανθρωπος, ικανή πρόφασις εις το δυστυχείν.
YE distant spires, ye antique towers,
That crown the wat’ry glade,
Her Henry's holy shade;
Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,
His silver-winding way:
Ah, happy hills! ah, pleasing shade!
Ah, fields belov'd in vain!
A stranger yet to pain!
As waving fresh their gladsome wing
To breathe a second spring.
Say, Father Thames, for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race
The paths of pleasure trace,
ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF ETON COLLEGE 9
Who foremost now delight to cleave
The captive linnet which enthral?
Or urge the flying ball ?
While some on earnest business bent
Their murm'ring labours ply
To sweeten liberty:
And unknown regions dare descry:
And snatch a fearful joy.
Gay hope is theirs by fancy fed,
Less pleasing when possest; The tear forgot as soon as shed,
The sunshine of the breast: Theirs buxom health of rosy hue, Wild wit, invention ever new,
And lively cheer of vigour born; The thoughtless day, the easy night, The spirits pure, the slumbers light,
That fly th' approach of morn.
Alas! regardless of their doom
The little victims play;
Nor care beyond to-day:
Yet see, how all around 'em wait
And black Misfortune's baleful train!
Ah, tell them, they are men!
These shall the fury Passions tear,
The vultures of the mind,
And Shame that skulk's behind;
That inly gnaws the secret heart;
And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Then whirl the wretch from high,
And grinning Infamy.
That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow;
Amid severest woe.
Lo! in the vale of
beneath A grisly troop are seen, The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their queen:
ON THE DEATH OF A FAVOURITE CAT
This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
Those in the deeper vitals rage:
And slow-consuming Age.
To each his suff'rings: all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan;
Th' unfeeling for his own.
And happiness too swiftly flies?
'Tis folly to be wise.
ODE ON THE DEATH OF A FAVOURITE CAT
DROWNED IN A TUB OF GOLD FISHES
'Twas on a lofty vase's side,
The azure flowers that blow;
The pensive Selima reclin'd,
Her conscious tail her joy declar'd;
The velvet of her paws,
Her coat, that with the tortoise vies,
She saw; and purr'd applause.
Still had she gaz'd; but ’midst the tide
The Genii of the stream:
Betray'd a golden gleam.
The hapless Nymph with wonder saw:
With many an ardent wish,
What Cat's averse to fish ?
Presumptuous maid! with looks intent
Nor knew the gulf between.
She tumbled headlong in.
Eight times emerging from the flood,
Some speedy aid to send.
A fav’rite has no friend!
From hence, ye beauties, undeceiv'd,