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How rude soe'er th' exterior form we find,
Howe'er opinion tinge the varied mind,
Alike to all, the kind, impartial Heav'n
The sparks of truth and happiness has giv’n:
With sense to feel, with memory to retain,
They follow pleasure, and they fly from pain;
Their judgment mends the plan their fancy draws,
The event presages, and explores the cause;
The soft returns of gratitude they know,
By fraud elude, by force repel the foe;
While mutual wishes, mutual woes endear
The social smile and sympathetic tear.
Say, then, thro' ages by what fate confind
To different climes seem different souls assign'd?
Here measur’d laws and philosophic ease
Fix, and improve the polish'd arts of peace;
There industry and gain their vigils keep,
Command the winds, and tame the unwilling deep:
Here force and hardy deeds of blood prevail;
There languid pleasure sighs in every gale.
Oft o'er the trembling nations from afar
Has Scythia breath'd the living cloud of war;
And, where the deluge burst, with sweepy sway
Their arms, their kings, their gods were rollid away.
As oft have issued, host impelling host,
The blue-eyed myriads from the Baltic coast.
The prostrate South to the Destroyer yields
Her boasted titles, and her golden fields :
With grim délight the Brood of winter view
A brighter day, and Heav'ns of azure hue,
Scent the new fragrance of the breathing rose,
And quaff the pendent vintage as it grows.
Proud of the yoke, and pliant to the rod,
Why yet does Asia dread a monarch's nod,
While European freedom still withstands
Th’ encroaching tide that drowns her lessening
And sees far off with an indignant groan
Her native plains, and empires once her own?
Can opener skies and suns of fiercer flame
O’erpower the fire that animates our frame;
As lamps, that shed at eve a cheerful ray,
Fade and expire beneath the eye of day?
Need we the influence of the Northern star
To string our nerves and steel our hearts to war?
And, where the face of Nature laughs around,
Must sick'ning Virtue fly the tainted ground?
Unmanly thought! what seasons can controul,
What fancied zone can circumscribe the soul,
Who, conscious of the source from whence she
By Reason's light, on Resolution's wings,
Spite of her frail companion, dauntless goes
O'er Lybia's deserts and thro' Zembla's snows?
She bids each slumb'ring energy awake,
Another touch, another temper take,
Suspends the inferior laws that rule our clay:
The stubborn elements confess her sway;
Their little wants, their low desires, refine,
And raise the mortal to a height divine.
Not but the human fabric from the birth
Imbibes a flavour of its parent earth.
As various tracts enforce a various toil,
The manners speak the idiom of their soil.
An iron-race the mountain-cliffs maintain,
Foes to the gentler genius of the plain:
For where unwearied sinews must be found
With side-long plough to quell the flinty ground,
To turn the torrent's swift-descending flood,
To brave the savage rushing from the wood,
What wonder, if to patient valour trainid,
They guard with spirit what by strength they gain’d?
And while their rocky ramparts round they see,
The rough abode of want and liberty,
(As lawless force from confidence will grow)
Insult the plenty of the vales below?
What wonder, in the sultry climes, that spread,
Where Nile redundant o'er his summer-bed
From his broad bosom life and verdure flings,
And broods o’er Ægypt with his wat'ry wings,
If with advent'rous oar and ready sail
The dusky people drive before the gale;
Or on frail floats to neighb'ring cities ride,
That rise and glitter o'er the ambient tide
[Mr. Gray's Elegy in the Country Church-Yard, before it appeared in
print, was handed about in manuscript; and amongst other eminent personages who saw and admired it, was the Lady Cobham, who resided at the Mansion-House at Stoke-Pogeis. The performance induced her to wish for the author's acquaintance ; and Lady Schaub and Miss Speed, then at her house, undertook to effect it. These two ladies waited upon the author at his aunt's solitary mansion, where he at that time resided; and not finding him at home, they left their
Mr. Gray, surprised at such a compliment, returned the visit. And as the beginning of this acquaintance wore a little of the face of romance, he soon after gave a fanciful and pleasant account of it in the following copy of verses, which he entitled A Long Story.]
In Britain's isle, no matter where,
An ancient pile of building stands : The Huntingdons and Hattons there
Employ'd the power of Fairy hands
 The mansion-house at Stoke-Pogeis, then in the possession of Vis. countess Cobham. The house formerly belonged to the Earls of Huptingdon and the family of Hatton.