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No cold or unperforming hand
Was arm'd by Heaven with this command.
Then drew the lawgivers around,
From the dread bonds of many an age,
For not a conqueror's sword,
Nor the strong powers to civil founders known, Were his but truth by faithful search explor'd, And social sense, like seed, in genial plenty sown. Wherever it took root, the soul (restor'd To freedom) freedom too for others sought. Not monkish craft, the tyrant's claim divine, Not regal zeal, the bigot's cruel shrine, Could longer guard from reason's warfare sage; Not the wild rabble to sedition wrought, Nor synods by the papal genius taught, Nor St. John's spirit loose, nor Atterbury's rage.
But where shall recompense be found?
And her triumphal throne! The shade
Wears the bright heroine her expected spoils.
Yet born to conquer is her power:
Like some great spirit fam'd in ages old.
While thus our vows prolong
Thy steps on Earth, and when by us resign'd Thou join'st thy seniors, that heroic throng Who rescued or preserv'd the rights of human-kind, O! not unworthy may thy Albion's tongue Thee still, her friend and benefactor, name : O! never, Hoadly, in thy country's eyes, May impious gold, or pleasure's gaudy prize, Make public virtue, public freedom, vile; Nor our own manners tempt us to disclaim That heritage, our noblest wealth and fame, Which thou hast kept entire from force and factious guile.
upon him; in return for which he wrote his "Ode for Music," for the installation of that nobleman chancellor of the university. This professorship though founded in 1724, had hitherto remained a perfect sinecure; but Gray prepared himself execute the duties of his office. Such, howeve were the baneful effects of habitual indolence, the
THOMAS GRAY, a distinguished poet, was the son [laureate, vacant by the death of Cibber, was offered of a money-scrivener in London, where he was to Gray, but declined by him. In the same year be born in 1716. He received his education at Eton-published two odes, "On the Progress of Poesy." school, whence he was sent to the university of and "The Bard," which were not so popular as his Cambridge, and entered as a pensioner at St. Peter's Elegy had been, chiefly, perhaps, because they wer College. He left Cambridge in 1738, and occu- less understood. The uniform life passed by thi pied a set of chambers in the Inner Temple, for eminent person admits of few details, but the trans the purpose of studying the law. From this inten-action respecting the professorship of modern history tion he was diverted by an invitation to accompany at Cambridge, a place worth four hundred pounds Mr. Horace Walpole, son of the celebrated states- a year, is worthy of some notice. When the situa man, with whom he had made a connexion at Eton, tion became vacant in Lord Bute's administratie in a tour through Europe. Some disagreement, it was modestly asked for by Gray, but had already of which Mr. Walpole generously took the blame, been bespoken by another. On a second vacancy caused them to separate in Italy; and Gray return-in 1768, the Duke of Grafton being now in power, ed to England in September, 1741, two months be- it was, "unsolicited and unsuspected," conferre. fore his father's death. Gray, who now depended chiefly upon his mother and aunt, left the law, and returned to his retirement at Cambridge. In the next year he had the misfortune to lose his dear friend West, also an Eton scholar, and son to the Chancellor of Ireland, which left a vacancy in his affections, that seems never to have been supplied. From this time his residence was chiefly at Cam-with a mind replete with ancient and modern know bridge, to which he was probably attached by an in- ledge, he found himself unable to proceed farther satiable love of books, which he was unable to grati- than to draw a plan for his inauguration speech fy from his own stores. Some years passed in this But his health was now declining; an irregul favorite indulgence, in which his exquisite learning hereditary gout made more frequent attacks and poetic talents were only known to a few friends; formerly; and at length, while he was dining in the and it was not till 1747, that his "Ode on a distant College-hall, he was seized with a complaint in the Prospect of Eton College" made its appearance be- stomach, which carried him off on July 30, 1771, fore the public. It was in 1751 that his celebrated the fifty-fifth year of his age. His remains wer Elegy written in a Country Church-yard," chiefly deposited, with those of his mother and aunt, in the composed some years before, and even now sent church-yard of Stoke-Pogis, Buckinghamshire. into the world without the author's name, made its It is exclusively as a poet that we record the way to the press. Few poems were ever so popu- name of Gray; and it will, perhaps, be though lar: it soon ran through eleven editions; was that we borrow too large a share from a single sm translated into Latin verse, and has ever since borne volume; yet this should be considered as indicative the marks of being one of the most favorite pro- of the high rank which he has attained, compared ductions of the British Muse. with the number of his compositions. With respect
In the manners of Gray there was a degree of to his character as a man of learning, since his s effeminacy and fastidiousness which exposed him to quisitions were entirely for his own use, and pr the character of a fribble; and a few riotous young duced no fruits for the public, it has no claim men of fortune in his college thought proper to particular notice. For though he has been called make him a subject for their boisterous tricks. He by one of his admirers "perhaps the most learned made remonstrances to the heads of the society man in Europe," never was learning more throws upon this usage, which being treated, as he thought, away. A few pieces of Latin poetry are all that he without due attention, he removed in 1756 to Pem-has to produce.
broke-hall. In the next year, the office of poet
HYMN TO ADVERSITY.
Τὸν φρονεῖν βροζὺς ὁδώσανζα, τῷ πάθει μαθὼν Θέντα κυρίως έχειν.
Eschylus, in Agamemnone.
DAUGHTER of Jove, relentless power,
With pangs unfelt before, unpitied, and alone.
When first thy sire to send on Earth
WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
The moping owl does to the Moon complain Of such as, wandering near her secret bower, Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree's shade, Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn,
And from her own she learn'd to melt at others' woe. The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
Scar'd at thy frown terrific, fly
Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
Wild Laughter, Noise, and thoughtless Joy,
Light they disperse, and with them go
To her they vow their truth, and are again believ'd.
Wisdom, in sable garb array'd,
Immers'd in rapturous thought profound,
With leaden eye, that loves the ground,
And Pity, dropping soft the sadly-pleasing tear.
Oh, gently on thy suppliant's head,
Dread goddess, lay thy chastening hand! Not in thy gorgon terrors clad,
Nor circled with the vengeful band, (As by the impious thou art seen,) With thundering voice, and threatening mien, With screaming Horror's funeral cry, Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty.
Thy form benign, oh, goddess! wear,
Thy philosophic train be there,
To soften, not to wound, my heart. The generous spark extinct revive, Teach me to love and to forgive, Exact my own defects to scan,
What others are, to feel, and know myself a man.
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke ; How jocund did they drive their team a-field! How bow'd 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 th' inevitable hour,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? Can Honor's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery soothe 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 sway'd, Or wak'd to ecstacy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,
With antic sports and blue-ey'd pleasures,
Slow-melting strains their queen's approach declare:
Man's feeble race what ills await, Labor and Penury, the racks of Pain, Disease, and Sorrow's weeping train,
And Death, sad refuge from the storms of Fate!
Say, has he given in vain the heavenly Muse?
Her spectres wan, and birds of boding cry,
Hyperion's march they spy, and glittering shafts of
In climes beyond the solar road,
Thine too these golden keys, immortal boy!
Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic tears."
Nor second he,† that rode sublime
Upon the seraph-wings of Ecstasy,
He pass'd the flaming bounds of place and time:
Behold, where Dryden's less presumptuous car,
Two coursers of ethereal race,t
With necks in thunder cloth'd, and long-resounding pace.
Hark, his hands the lyre explore!
Thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.
Oh! lyre divine, what daring spirit
Where shaggy forms o'er ice-built mountains roam, Through the azure deep of air:
The Muse has broke the twilight gloom
To cheer the shivering native's dull abode.
She deigns to hear the savage youth repeat,
In loose numbers wildly sweet,
Their feather-cinctur'd chiefs, and dusky loves.
Th' unconquerable mind, and Freedom's holy flame.
Woods, that wave o'er Delphi's steep,
Or where Mæander's amber waves
How do your tuneful Echoes languish
Murmur'd deep a solemn sound:
Left their Parnassus, for the Latian plains.
They sought, oh Albion! next thy sea-encircled coast.
Far from the Sun and summer-gale,
In thy green lap was Nature's darling* laid,
To him the mighty mother did unveil
Her awful face: the dauntless child
"This pencil take," she said, "whose colors clear Richly paint the vernal year:
Yet oft before his infant eyes would run
Beneath the good how far-but far above the great.
ODE ON THE SPRING.
Lo! where the rosy-bosom'd Hours,
The untaught harmony of Spring: While, whispering pleasure as they fly, Cool zephyrs through the clear blue sky Their gather'd fragrance fling.
Where'er the oak's thick branches stretch
(At ease reclin'd in rustic state)
Still is the toiling hand of Care:
The panting herds repose:
Yet hark, how through the peopled air
Meant to express the stately march and sounding energy of Dryden's rhymes.