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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 he 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 were College. He left Cambridge in 1738, and occu- less understood. The uniform life passed by this 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 situsman, with whom he had made a connexion at Eton, tion became vacant in Lord Bute's administration, 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," conferred fore his father's death. Gray, who now depended upon him; in return for which he wrote his "Ode chiefly upon his mother and aunt, left the law, and for Music," for the installation of that nobleman as returned to his retirement at Cambridge. In the chancellor of the university. This professorship, next year he had the misfortune to lose his dear though founded in 1724, had hitherto remained a friend West, also an Eton scholar, and son to the perfect sinecure; but Gray prepared himself to Chancellor of Ireland, which left a vacancy in his execute the duties of his office. Such, however, affections, that seems never to have been supplied. were the baneful effects of habitual indolence, that, 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 irregular favorite indulgence, in which his exquisite learning hereditary gout made more frequent attacks than 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, in fore the public. It was in 1751 that his celebrated the fifty-fifth year of his age. His remains were 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 way to the press. Few poems were ever so popular: it soon ran through eleven editions; was that we borrow too large a share from a single small 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


It is exclusively as a poet that we record the name of Gray; and it will, perhaps, be thought

In the manners of Gray there was a degree of to his character as a man of learning, since his aceffeminacy and fastidiousness which exposed him to quisitions were entirely for his own use, and prothe character of a fribble; and a few riotous young duced no fruits for the public, it has no claim to 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 thrown 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

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Scar'd at thy frown terrific, fly
Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
Wild Laughter, Noise, and thoughtless Joy,

And leave us leisure to be good. Light they disperse, and with them go The summer friend, the flattering foe; By vain Prosperity receiv'd,

To her they vow their truth, and are again believ'd.

Wisdom, in sable garb array'd,

Immers'd in rapturous thought profound,
And Melancholy, silent maid,

With leaden eye, that loves the ground,
Still on thy solemn steps attend:
Warm Charity, the general friend,
With Justice, to herself severe,
And Pity, dropping soft the sadly-pleasing tear.

When first thy sire to send on Earth

Virtue, his darling child, design'd, To thee he gave the heavenly birth,

And bade to form her infant mind.
Stern rugged nurse; thy rigid lore
With patience many a year she bore:
What sorrow was, thou bad'st her know,
And from her own she learn'd to melt at others' woe. The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,

The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn,
The swallow twittering from the straw-built shed,

No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

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THE Curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds:

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.

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 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,

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 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,

Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll; Chill Penury repress'd their noble rage,

And froze the genial current of the soul.

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With antic sports and blue-ey'd pleasures,
Frisking light in frolic measures;
Now pursuing, now retreating,
Now in circling troops they meet:
To brisk notes in cadence beating
Glance their many-twinkling feet.
Slow-melting strains their queen's approach declare:
Where'er she turns, the Graces homage pay,
With arts sublime, that float upon the air,
In gliding state she wins her easy way:
O'er her warm cheek, and rising bosom, move
The bloom of young Desire, and purple light of Love.


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!
The fond complaint, my song, disprove,
And justify the laws of Jove.

Say, has he given in vain the heavenly Muse?
Night, and all her sickly dews,
Her spectres wan, and birds of boding cry,
He gives to range the dreary sky:
Till down the eastern cliffs afar

Their feather-cinctur'd chiefs, and dusky loves.
Her track, where'er the goddess roves,
Glory pursue, and generous Shame,

Th' unconquerable mind, and Freedom's holy flame.

Hark, his hands the lyre explore!
Bright-ey'd Fancy, hovering o'er,
Scatters from her pictur'd urn

Thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.
But ah! 'tis heard no more-

Oh! lyre divine, what daring spirit
Wakes thee now? though he inherit

Hyperion's march they spy, and glittering shafts of Nor the pride, nor ample pinion,


Woods, that wave o'er Delphi's steep,
Isles, that crown th' Ægean deep,
Fields, that cool Ilissus laves,

That the Theban eagle bear,
Sailing with supreme dominion

In climes beyond the solar road,
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.
And oft, beneath the odorous shade

Of Chili's boundless forests laid,

She deigns to hear the savage youth repeat,
In loose numbers wildly sweet,

Or where Mæander's amber waves
In lingering labyrinths creep,
How do your tuneful Echoes languish
Mute, but to the voice of Anguish?
Where each old poetic mountain

Inspiration breath'd around:
Every shade and hallow'd fountain

Murmur'd deep a solemn sound:
Till the sad Nine, in Greece's evil hour,

Thine too these golden keys, immortal boy!
This can unlock the gates of Joy;

Of Horror that, and thrilling fears,
Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic tears."


Far from the Sun and summer-gale,
In thy green lap was Nature's darling* laid,
What time, where lucid Avon stray'd,

Nor second he,t that rode sublime

Upon the seraph-wings of Ecstasy,
The secrets of th' abyss to spy.

He pass'd the flaming bounds of place and time :
The living throne, the sapphire-blaze,
Where angels tremble, while they gaze,
He saw; but, blasted with excess of light,
Clos'd his eyes in endless night.

Behold, where Dryden's less presumptuous car,
Wide o'er the fields of Glory bare

To him the mighty mother did unveil
Her awful face: the dauntless child
Stretch'd forth his little arms, and smil'd.
"This pencil take," she said, "whose colors clear
Richly paint the vernal year:

* Shakspeare.

Two coursers of ethereal race,‡

With necks in thunder cloth'd, and long-resounding


Left their Parnassus, for the Latian plains.
Alike they scorn the pomp of tyrant-power,

And coward Vice, that revels in her chains.
When Latium had her lofty spirit lost,
They sought, oh Albion! next thy sea-encircled coast.

Yet oft before his infant eyes would run
Such forms as glitter in the Muse's ray
With orient hues, unborrow'd of the Sun:
Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way
Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate,
Beneath the good how far-but far above the great.


Lo! where the rosy-bosom'd Hours,
Fair Venus' train appear,
Disclose the long-expecting flowers,

And wake the purple year!
The attic warbler pours her throat,
Responsive to the cuckoo's note,

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
A broader, browner shade;
Where'er the rude and moss-grown beech
O'er-canopies the glade,

Beside some water's rushy brink
With me the Muse shall sit, and think
(At ease reclin'd in rustic state)
How vain the ardor of the crowd,
How low, how little are the proud,
How indigent the great!

Still is the toiling hand of Care:
The panting herds repose:

Yet hark, how through the peopled air

The busy murmur glows!

† Milton.

Meant to express the stately march and sounding energy of Dryden's rhymes.

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While bright-ey'd Science watches round:
Hence, away, 'tis holy ground!"

From yonder realms of empyrean day
Bursts on my ear th' indignant lay:
There sit the sainted sage, the bard divine,
The few, whom genius gave to shine
Through every unborn age and undiscover'd clime.
Rapt in celestial transport they,

Yet hither oft a glance from high
They send of tender sympathy

To bless the place, where on their opening soul
First the genuine ardor stole.

"Twas Milton struck the deep-ton'd shell,

"Ye brown o'er-arching groves,
That Contemplation loves,
Where willowy Camus lingers with delight!
Oft at the blush of dawn

I trod your level lawn,

Oft woo'd the gleam of Cynthia silver-bright
In cloisters dim, far from the haunts of Folly,
With Freedom by my side, and soft-ey'd Melan-

But hark! the portals sound, and pacing forth
With solemn steps and slow,

High potentates and dames of royal birth,
And mitred fathers, in long order go:
Great Edward,* with the lilies on his brow,
From haughty Gallia torn,

And sad Chatillon,t on her bridal morn

"HENCE, avaunt, ('tis holy ground,)

Comus and his midnight-crew,
And Ignorance with looks profound,
And dreaming Sloth of pallid hue,
Mad Sedition's cry profane,
Servitude that hugs her chain,
Nor in these consecrated bowers

† Mary de Valentia, Countess of Pembroke, daughter
Let painted Flattery hide her serpent-train in flowers. of Guy de Chatillon, Comte de St. Paul in France: of
Nor Envy base, nor creeping Gain,
Dare the Muse's walk to stain,

whom tradition says, that her husband, Audemar de Valentia, Earl of Pembroke, was slain at a tournament on the day of his nuptials. She was the foundress of Pembroke College or Hall, under the name of Aula Marie de Valentia.

That wept her bleeding love, and princely Clare,t

And Anjou's heroine, and the paler rose,{}
The rival of her crown and of her woes,
And either Henry¶ there,

The murder'd saint, and the majestic lord,
That broke the bonds of Rome.
(Their tears, their little triumphs o'er,
Their human passions now no more,
Save Charity, that glows beyond the tomb,)
All that on Granta's fruitful plain
Rich streams of regal bounty pour'd,
And bade these awful fanes and turrets rise,
To hail their Fitzroy's festal morning come;

And thus they speak in soft accord
The liquid language of the skies.

"What is grandeur, what is power?
Heavier toil, superior pain.
What the bright reward we gain?
The grateful memory of the good.
Sweet is the breath of vernal shower,
The bee's collected treasure's sweet,
Sweet music's melting fall, but sweeter yet
The still small voice of Gratitude."

* Edward the Third; who added the fleur-de-lis of France to the arms of England. He founded Trinity College.

Elizabeth de Burg, Countess of Clare, was wife of John de Burg, son and heir of the Earl of Ulster, and daughter of Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, by Joan of Acres, daughter of Edward the First. Hence the poet gives her the epithet of princely. She founded Clare-Hall.

§ Margaret of Anjou, wife of Henry the Sixth, foundress of Queen's College. The poet had celebrated her con jugal fidelity in a former ode.

Elizabeth Widville, wife of Edward the Fourth (hence called the paler rose, as being of the house of York.) She added to the foundation of Margaret of Anjou.

And, as the choral warblings round him swell,
Meek Newton's self bends from his state sublime,
And nods his hoary head, and listens to the rhyme. | College.

¶ Henry the Sixth and Eighth. The former the founder of King's, the latter the greatest benefactor to Trinity

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