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And, would the noble Duchess deign*
Though stiff his hand, his voice though weak,
He could make music to her ear.
And then, he said, he would full fain
He never thought to sing again.
It was not framed for village churls,*
He had played it to King Charles* the Good 80
And much he wished, yet feared, to try
Amid the strings his fingers strayed,
Each blank * in faithless memory void,
ODE ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF ETON COLLEGE.* Gray.
THOMAS GRAY (1716-1771) was born in London. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge, where he became Professor of Modern History. Gray left few works, but these are of the most perfect finish. Chief poems: The Elegy, Ode to Eton College, The Bard, and the Ode to Adversity.
YE distant spires, ye antique* towers,
5 And ye that from the stately brow
Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers among,
Ah, happy hills, ah, pleasing shade,
Where once my careless childhood strayed,
A stranger yet to pain!
I feel the gales that from you blow
A momentary bliss * bestow,
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
To breathe a second spring.
Say, Father Thames, for thou hast seen
25 Who foremost now delight to cleave,
The captive linnet which enthral?
What idle progeny * succeed
Or urge the flying ball?
While some on earnest business bent,
Henry's, Henry VI. was founder of the college.
Windsor Castle, one of the royal resid
Hoary, being of a whitish colour. Thames, the chief river in England, rises in the Cotswold Hills, and flows into the German Ocean.
Margent, the border or edge; here it means the banks of the river.
Enthral, to enslave.
'Gainst graver hours that bring constraint*
To sweeten liberty;
• Eton College on the Thames, near Windsor, is a preparatory college for the Universities
That mocks the tear it forced to flow;
Lo, in the vale of years beneath
A grisly troop are seen,
The painful family of death,
More hideous than their queen:
This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
That ev'ry labouring sinew strains,
Lo, poverty, to fill the band,
That numbs the soul with icy hand;
To each his suffering; all are men,
The tender for another's pain,
Th' unfeeling for his own.
Yet ah! why should they know their fate?
And happiness too swiftly flies;
Thought would destroy their paradise—
Keen, sharp, cutting Remorse, the gnawing pain of guilt. Moody, gloomy, angry.
THE DESERTED VILLAGE.-Goldsmith.
OLIVER GOLDSMITH (1728-1774) was born in Ireland, and attended Trinity College, Dublin. After a roving life, for some time spent on the Continent, he settled in London, living at one time as usher in a school. He died in distress and debt. The union of perfect refinement with perfect simplicity is the chief characteristic of his works. Chief works: The Traveller, and The Deserted Village, among his poems; and The Citizen of the World, and The Vicar of Wakefield, among his prose writings.
SWEET Auburn! * loveliest village of the plain,
Where smiling Spring its earliest visit paid,
Auburn, the "village" here described probably is Lissoy, in West Meath, in Ireland, where
the poet spent his
Swain, a peasant,
tinuous sound of many distant
How often have I paused on every charm ;—
The decent church that topped the neighbouring
The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
And still, as each repeated pleasure tired,
The matron's* glance that would those looks re- 30 prove ;
These were thy charms, sweet village! sports like
With sweet succession, taught e'en toil to please. Sweet was the sound, when oft, at evening's close,
The village mur Up yonder hill the village murmur rose;
Sober, solemn looking, grave,
Vacant, empty, silly, ignorant. It may also mean
here that the mind was free
from care, and
consequently was light and gay.
Copse, a wood of
These all, in sweet confusion, sought the shade, And filled each pause the nightingale had made. Near yonder copse,* where once the garden smiled, 45 And still where many a garden flower grows wild, There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,* Mansion, house. The village preacher's modest mansion * rose.
small trees. Disclose, show, point out.