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DISTANT PROSPECT OF ETON COLLEGE.
[This was the first English production of Mr. Graythat appeared in print, and was published in folio, by Dodsley, in 1747. About the same time, at Mr. Walpole's request, Mr. Gray sat for his picture to Echart; in which, on a paper which he held in his hand, Mr. Walpole wrote the title of this Ode; and to intimate his own high and just opinion of it, as a first production, he added this line of Lucanby way of motto:
Nee licuit populis parvum te, Nile, videre.
Pharsalia, lib.x. 1.296.]
YE distant spires, ye antique towers,
That crown the wat'ry glade,
Her Henry's holy shade e;
Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,
His silver-winding way:
e King Henry the Sixth, founder of the College.
Ah, happy hills! ah, pleasing shade!
Ah, fields belov'd in vain!
A stranger yet to pain!
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
To breathe a second spring.
Say, Father Thames, for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race
The paths of pleasure trace;
The captive linnet which enthral?
Or urge the flying ball?
While some on earnest business bent
fAnd, redolent of joy and youth.
'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint
To sweeten liberty:
And unknown regions dare descry:
And snatch a fearful joy.
Gay hope is theirs by Fancy fed,
Less pleasing when possest; The tear forgot as soon as shed,
The sunshine of the breast: Theirs buxom Health of rosy hue, Wild Wit, Invention ever-new,
And lively Cheer, of Vigour born; The thoughtless day, the easy night, The spirits pure, the slumbers light,
That fly th' approach of morn.
Alas! regardless of their doom
The little victims play!
Nor care beyond to-day:
And black Misfortune's baneful tram I
Ah, show them where in ambush stand,
These shall the fury Passions tear,
The vultures of the mind,
And Shame that sculks behind;
That inly gnaws the secret heart;
And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,
The stings of Falsehood those shall try,
And hard Unkindness' alter'd eye ,
 And hard Unkindness' alter'd eye.
The elision here, observes Mr. Mason, is ungraceful,
and hurts this otherwise beautifulline: One of the same
kind in the second line of the first Ode makes the same
blemish; but I think they are the only two to be found in
And keen Remorse with blood defil'd,
Lo, in the Vale of Years beneath
A grisly troop are seen,
More hideous thin their Queen:
Those in the deeper vitals rage:
And slow-consuming Age.
To each his suff'rings: all are men,
this correct writer; and I mention them here that succeeding Poets may not look upon them as authorities. The judicious reader will not suppose that I would condemn all elisions of the genitive case, by this stricture on those which are terminated by rough consonants. Many there are which the ear readily admits, and which use has made familiar to it.
g And moody Madness lavghing wild.