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For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her evening care;
No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke; How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile,
The short and simple annals of the poor.
The boast of Heraldry, the pomp of Power,
And all that Beauty, all that Wealth e'er gave,
Await, alike, the inevitable hour;
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
Can storied urn, or animated bust,
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery sooth the dull cold ear of Death?
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have swayed,
Or waked to ecstacy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of Time, did ne'er unrol;
Chill Penury repressed their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathomed 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 breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest;
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
The applause of listening senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes,
Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind;
The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride
With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
Along the cool sequestered vale of life,
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet even these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked, Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
Their names, their years, spelt by the unlettered Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply;
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.
For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing, anxious being e'er resigned,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind?
On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
Even from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
Even in our ashes live their wonted fires.
For thee, who, mindful of the unhonoured dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate;
If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,
Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
"Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn,
Brushing, with hasty steps, the dew away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.
There at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that bubbles by.
Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Muttering his wayward fancies he would rove;
Now drooping, woeful wan, like one forlorn,
Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love.
One morn I missed him on the accustomed hill,
Along the heath, and near his favourite tree;
Another came, nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he;
The next, with dirges due, in sad array,
Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne Approach and read, (for thou canst read,) the lay, Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."
HERE rests his head upon the lap of earth,
A Youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown;
Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy marked him for her own.
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere,
Heaven did a recompense as largely send;
gave to Misery all he had, a tear;
He gained from Heaven, 'twas all he wished, a friend. No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Or draw his frailties from their dread abode; (There they alike in trembling hope repose,) The bosom of his Father and his God.
CATO'S SOLILOQUY ON THE IMMORTALITY
OF THE SOUL.
It must be so-Plato, thou reasonest well!-
Else, whence this pleasing hope, this fond desire,
This longing after immortality?
Or whence this secret dread, and inward horror,
Of falling into nought? Why shrinks the Soul
Back on herself, and startles at destruction ?-
"Tis the Divinity that stirs within us:
'Tis Heaven itself that points out-a hereafter,
And intimates-Eternity to man.
Eternity!-thou pleasing-dreadful thought!
Through what variety of untried being,
Through what new scenes and changes must we pass !
The wide, the unbounded prospect lies before me;
But shadows, clouds, and darkness,
Here will I hold. If there's a Power above us, (And that there is, all Nature cries aloud
Through all her works,) He must delight in virtue :
And that which He delights in must be happy.
But when? or where? This world- -was made for Cæsar?
I'm weary of conjectures-this must end them.-
[Laying his hand on his sword.
Thus am I doubly armed. My death and life,
My bane and antidote, are both before me.
This in a moment brings me to an end;
But this informs me I shall never die.
The Soul, secured in her existence, smiles
At the drawn dagger, and defies its point.-
The stars shall fade away, the Sun himself
Grow dim with age, and Nature sink in years;
But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,
Unhurt amidst the war of elements,
The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds.
THIS shadow on the Dial's face,
That steals from day to day,
With slow, unseen, unceasing pace,
Moments, and months, and years away;
This shadow, which, in every clime,
Since light and motion first began,
Hath held its course sublime
It is the scythe of TIME:
-A shadow only to the eye;
Yet, in its calm career,
It levels all beneath the sky;
And still, through each succeeding year,
Right onward, with resistless power,
Its stroke shall darken every hour,
Till Nature's race be run,
And TIME's last shadow shall eclipse the sun.