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[This is supposed to have been written about the year 1742, the time when Mr. Gray returned to Cambridge.]
HAIL, Horrors, hail! ye ever gloomy bowers,
Ye gothic fanes, and antiquated towers,
Where rushy Camus' slowly-winding flood
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
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 I forsook thy fond embrace.
successful do'st thou still oppose
Thy leaden Ægis 'gainst our ancient foes?
Still stretch, tenacious of thy right divine,
The massy sceptre o'er thy slumb'ring 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 unfurl'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 Schoolman's glory, and the Churchman's
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 with barbaric pride; **** a team of harness'd monarchs bend
* * * ** *
EDUCATION AND GOVERNMENT.
- Πόταγ ̓ ᾧ γαθέ; τὰν γὰρ ἀοιδὰν
Οὔτι πω εἰς Αίδαν YE τὸν ἐκλελάθον]α φυλαξεῖς.
As sickly plants betray a niggard earth,
Whose barren bosom starves her gen'rous birth, Nor genial warmth, nor genial juice retains, Their roots to feed, and fill their verdant veins:
* In a Note in his Roman History, Mr. Gibbon says, "Instead of "compiling Tables of Chronology and Natural History, why did not "Mr. Gray apply the powers of his genius to finish the philosophic "poem of which he has left such an exquisite specimen?"
And as in climes, where Winter holds his reign,
The soil, tho' fertile, will not teem in vain,
Forbids her gems to swell, her shades to rise,
Nor trusts her blossoms to the churlish skies:
So draw Mankind in vain the vital airs,
Unform'd, unfriended, by those kindly cares,
That health and vigour to the soul impart,
Spread the young thought, and warm the opening
So fond instruction on the growing powers
Of nature idly lavishes her stores,
If equal Justice with unclouded face
Smile not indulgent on the rising race,
And scatter with a free, tho' frugal hand,
Light golden showers of plenty o'er the land:
But Tyranny has fix'd her empire there,
To check their tender hopes with chilling fear,
And blast the blooming promise of the year.
This spacious animated scene survey,
From where the rolling Orb, that gives the day,
His sable sons with nearer course surrounds
To either pole, and life's remotest bounds.