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# In vain to me the smiling mornings shine,
“ And redd'ning Phchus lifts his golden fre:
“ The birds in vain their am'rous descant join,
" Or cheerful fields resume their green attire:
“ These ears, alas! for other nutes repine;
A different object do these eyes require;
"My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine,
“ And in my breast th' imperfect joys expire;
“ Yet morning smiles the busy race to cheer,
“ And new-born pleasure brings to happier men;
• The fields to all their wonted tribute bear;
“ To warm their little loves the birds complain :
I fruitless mourn to him that cannot hear;
“ And weep the more because I weep in vain.”

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Mr. Gray now applied his inind very sedulously to poetical composition: his Ode to Spring was written. early in June to his friend Nir. West, before he received the melancholy news of his death: how our Poet's mind was affected by that melancholy incident, is evidently demonstrated by the lines quoted; the impression, indeed, appears to have been too deep to be soon effaced; and the tenor of the subjects which called for the exertions of his poetical talents subsequent to the production of this Ode, corroborates that observation; these were his Prospect of Eton, and his Ode to Aduersity. It is also supposed, that he began his Elegy in a Country Church-y about the same time. He passed some weeks at Stoke near Windsor, where his mother and aunt resided, and in that pleasing retirement finished several of his most celebrated Poems.

From thence he returned to Cambridge, which from this period, was his chief residence during the remainder of his life.

In 1742, he was admitted to the degree of Bachelor in the Civil Law. His attention to the classics did not wholly engross his time; for he found leisure to advert to the ignorance and dulness with which he

was surrounded, though situated in the centre of learning. There is only a fragment remaining of what he had written on this subject from which it may be inferred, that it was intended as an Hymn to Ignorance; many of the lines are so pointed in signification, and harmonious in versification, that they will be admitted to display his poetical talents with more brilliancy than appears in many of his lyric productions,

Hail, horrors, hail! ye ever gloomy bowers,
Ye gothic fanes, and antiquated towers!
Where rushy Camus' slowly-winding food
Perpetual draws his humid train of mud:
Glad I revisit thy neglected reign:
Oh, take me to thy peaceful shade again.
But chiefly thee, whose influence breath'd from high,
Augments the native darkness of the sky;
Ah, Ignorance! soft salutary power!
Prostrate with filial reverence I adore.
Thrice hath Hyperion roll'd his annual race,
Since weeping 1 forsook thy fond embrace,
Oh, say, successful dost thou still appose
Thy leaden ügis 'gainst our ancient foes?
Still stretch, tenacious of thy right divine,
The massy sceptre o'er thy slumbering line?
And dews Lethean thro' the land dispense,
To steep in slumbers each benighted sense?
If any spark of wit's delusive ray
Break out, and flash a momentary day,
With damp cold touch forbid it to aspire,
And huddle up in fogs the dangerous fire.
Oh, say,---She hears me not, but, careless grown,
Lethargic nods upon her ebon throne.
Goddess! awake, arise: alas! my fears!
Can powers immortal feel the force of years?
Not thus of old, with ensigns wide unfuri'd,
She rode triumphant o'er the vanquish'd world:
Fierce nations own'd her unresisted might;
And all was ignorance, and all was night;

Oh sacred age! Oh times for ever lost!
(The schoolmar's glory, and the churchman's boast,)
For ever gone.--yet still to fancy new,
Her rapid wings the transient scene pursue,
And bring the buried ages back to view.

High on her car, behold the grandam ride,
Like old Sesostris withi barbaric pride;
***** a team of harness'd monarchs bend.

*****

In 1714 he seems to have given up his attention to the Muses. Mr. Walpole, desirous of preserving what he had already written, as well as perpetuating the merit of their deceased friend West, endeavoured to prevail with Gray, to whom he had previously become reconciled, to publish his own. Poems, together with

productions united, would not suffice to fill even a small volume.

In 1747 Gray became acquainted with Mr. Mason, then a scholar of St. John's College, and afterwards Fellow of Pembroke-Hall. Mr. Mason, who was a man of great learning and ingenuity, had written the year before, his “ Monody on the death of Pope." and bis “ Il Bellicoso,” and “Il Pacefico;" and Gray revised these pieces at the request of a friend. This laid the foundation of a friendship that terminated but with life: and Mr. Mason, after the death of Gray, testified bis regard for him, by superintending the publication of his works.

The same year he wrote a little Ode on the Death of a favourite Cat of Mr. Walpole's: the following year he produced an effort of much more importance; the Fragment of an Essay on the Alliance of Education and Government.

In 1750 he put the finishing stroke to his Elegy written in a Country Church-yard, which was come inunicated first to his friend Mr. Walpole, and by him to many persons of rank and distinction. This beautiful production introduced the author to the

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favour of Lady Cobham, and gave occasion to a singular composition, called, A Long Story: in which various effusions of wit and bumour are very happily interspersed.

The Elegy having found its way into the “ Maga. zine of Magazines,” the author wrote to Mr. Walpole, requesting he would put it in the hands of Mr. Dodsley, and order him to print it immediately, in order to rescue it from the disgrace it miglit have in. curred by its appearance in a Magazine. The Elegy was the most popular of all our author's productions ; it ran through eleven editions, and was translated into latin by Anstey and Roberts; and in the same year a version of it was published by Lloyd.

Gray finished his Ode on the Progress of Poetry early in 1755. The Bard also was begun about the same time; and the following beautiful Fragment on the Pleasure arising from Vicissitude, the next year. The merit of the two fortner pieces was not immediately perceived, nor generally acknowledged. Garrick wrote a few lines in their praise. Lloyd and Colman wrote, in concert, two Odes, to “ Oblivion" and “Obscurity,” in which they were ridiculed with much ingenuity,

“ Now the golden morn aloft
· Waves her dew-bespangled wing,
“ With vermil cheek, and whisper soft,
“ She wooes the tardy spring;
“ Till April starts, and calls around
" The sleeping fragrance from the ground,
“ And lighily o'er the living scene
" Scatters his freshest, tenderest green.

16 New-born flocks, in rustic dance,
" Frisking ply their feeble feet;
« Forgetful of their wint'ry trance,
“ The birds his presence greet:
« But chief the sky-lark warbles high
* His trembling, thrilling ecstasy;

“ And, less'ning from the dazzled sight,
“ Melts into air and liquid light.

" Yesterday the sullen year
“Saw the snowy whirlwind fly;
“ Mute was the music of the air,
“ The herd stood drooping by:
“ The raptures now, that wildly Aow,
No yesterday nor morrow know;
“ 'Tis man alone that joy descries
“ With forward and reverted eyes.

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“ Smiles on past misfortune's brow
“ Soft reflection's hand can trace,
“ And o'er the cheek of sorrow throw
" A melancholy grace:
“ While hope prolongs our happier hour;
“ Our deepest shades, that dimly lower,
“ And blacken round our weary way,
** Gilds with a gleam of distant day.

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* Still where rosy pleasure leads,
“ See a kindred grief pursue,
“ Behind the steps that misery treads
“ Approaching comfort view:
“ The hues of bliss more brightly glow,
“ Chastis'd by sabler tints of woe;
“ And blended form, with artful strife,
" The strength and harmony of life.

“ See the wretch that long has tost
." On the thorny bed of pain,

* At length repair his vigour lost,
" And breathe and walk again.
" The meanest flow'ret of the vale,
« The simplest note that swells the gale,
“ The common sun, the air, the skies,
“ To him are opening Paradise."

Our author's reputation as a poet, was so high, that

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