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Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wand'ring 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 mould'ring heap
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-built fhed,
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her ev'ning carè ;
No children run to lisp their fire's return,
Or climb his knees, the envied kiss to share,
Oft did the harveft to their sickle yield;
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive the teams a-field !
How bow'd the woods beneath their Iturdy 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 mem'ry o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where, thro' the long-drawn aifle and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
Can storied urn, or animated buft,
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can honour's voice provoke the filent dust?
Or fatt'ry footh 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 ecstasy the living lyre.
But knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unrol;
Chill penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Somevillage Hampden, that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
Th' applause of lift'ning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their hiftry in a nation's eyes,
Their lot forbadenor circumscrib'd alone Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd; Forbad to wade through slaughter to a throne, And fhut the gates of mercy on mankind;
The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of luxury and pride,
With incense kindled at the muses' flame.
Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray ;
Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.
Yet c'en these bones, from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhimes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the passing tribute of a figh.
Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd mure,
Their place of fame and elegy supply;
And many a holy text around the strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.
For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd;
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing ling'ring look behind?