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In ling’ring pain, in death resign'd.
2. Whom what awaits, &c. L. 11.
The construction here is a little hard, and creates obscurity, which is always least to be pardoned in an epitaph.
This is as perfectin its kind as the foregoing Sonnet. Sir William Williams, in the expedition to Aix, was on board the Magnanime with Lord Howe; and was deputed to receive the capitulation.
1. The most popular of all our Author's publications; it ran through eleven editions in a very short space of time; was finely translated into Latin by Messrs. Ansty and Roberts : and in the same year another, though I think inferior, version of it was published by Mr. Lloyd. The reader has been informed in the Memoirs, of the time and manner of its first publication. He originally gave it only the simple title of “Stanzas written in a Country Church-yard.” I persuaded him first to call it an Elegy, because the subject authorized him so to do; and the alternative measure, in which it was written, seemed peculiarly fit for that species of composition. I imagined too that so capital a poem, written in this measure, would as it were appropriate it in future to writings of this sort ; and the number of imitations which have since been made of it (even to satiety) seem to prove that my notion was well founded. In the first manuscript copy othis exquisite poem, I find the conclusion different from that which he afterward composed; and though his after-thought was unquestionably the best, yet there is a pathetic melancholy in the four rejected stanzas, which highly claims preservation. Ishall therefore give them as a variation in their proper place.
2. The knell of parting day. L. 1. IMITATION. squilla dilontano a Che paia 'l giorno pianger, che simuore. Dante. Purg. l. 8. G. 3. Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife. L.73.
The thoughtless world to majesty may bow,
But more to innocence their safety owe,
And thou, who mindful of th’ unhonour’d dead,
By night and lonely contemplation led
Hark! how the sacred calm, that breathes around,
In still small accents whispering from the ground,
z No more, with reason and thyself at strife,
Pursue the silent tenor of thy doom. And here the poem was originally intended to conclude, before the happy idea of the hoary-headed swain, &c. suggested itself to him. 1 cannot help hinting to the reader, that I think the third of these rejected stanzas equal to any in the whole Elegy.
4. Ev’n in our ashes live their wonted fires. L. 92.
Ch'i veggio nel pensier, dolce mio fuoco,
Rimaner doppo noipien difaville.
- V ARIATION.
Thus it stood in the first and some following editions, and I think rather better; for the authority of Petrarch does not destroy the appearance of quaintness in the other: the thought, however, is rather obscurely expressed in both readings. He means to say, in plain prose, that we wish to be remembered by our friends after our death in the same manner as when alive we wished to be remembered by them in our absence: this would be expressed clearer, if the metaphorical term fires was rejected, and the line run thus:
Awake and faithful to her first desires.
I do not put this alteration down for the idlevanity of aiming to amend the pas
sage, but purely to explain it.
5. To meet the sun upon the upland lawn. L. 100.
After which, in his first manuscript, followed this stanza ;
I rather wonder that he rejected this stanza, as it not only has the same sort of Doric delicacy, which charms us peculiarly in this part of the poem, but also completes the account of his whole day; whereas, this evening scene being omitted, we have only his morning walk, and his noon-tide repose.
6. Grav'd on the stone beneath yon aged thorn. L. 116. und Between this line and the Epitaph, Mr.Gray originally inserted a very beautiful stanza, which was printed in some of the first editions, but afterward omitted; because he thought (and in my opinion very justly) that it was too long a parenld, thesis in this place. The lines however are, in themselves, exquisitely fine, and demand preservation. There scatter'd oft, the earliest of the year, By hands unseen are show’rs of violets found; ; - The redbreast loves to build and warble there, And little footsteps lightly print the ground. o 7. There they alike in trembling hope repose. L. 127. o do - 1 MITATION.
paventosa spene. Petrarch. Son. I 14. G.
NOT IN MB. MASON'S EDITION.
ON THE MARRIAGE OF HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS
IGN ARAE nostrám mentes, et inertia corda,
Scilicet ignorant lacrymas, saevosque dolores,
Tuque Oh! Angliacis, Princeps, spes optima regnis,
Netantum, ne finge metum; quid imagine captus
Cujus in adventum jam nunc tria regna secundos
Nascere, Lux major, qua sese Augusta Britanno
Sculptile sicut ebur, faciemgue arsisse venustam
* This was written, at the request of Miss Speed, to an old air of Geminiani: the thought from the French.