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Ah happy hills, ah pleasing shade,
Ah fields belov'd in vain,
Where once my careless childhood stray'd,
A stranger yet to pain !
I feel the gales, that from ye blow,
A momentary bliss bestow,
As waving fresh their glad fome wing,
My weary soul they seem to sooth,
And, redolent of joy and youth,
To breathe a second spring.
Say, Father THAMES (for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race,
Disporting on thy margent green,
The paths of pleasure trace)
Who foremost now delight to cleave
With pliant arm thy glaffy wave?
The captive linnet which enthrall ?
succeed To chase the rolling circle's speed, Or urge the flying ball ?
While some, on earnest business bent,
Their murm'ring labours ply
'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint
To sweeten liberty:
Some bold adventurers disdain
The limits of their little reign,
And unknown regions dare descry:
Still as they run they look behind,
They hear a voice in every wind,
And snatch a fearful joy.
Gay hope is theirs by fancy fed,
Less pleasing when pofleft;
The tear forgot as soon as shed,
The sunshine of the breaft:
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 flumbers light,
That fly th' approach of morn.
Alas, regardless of their doom,
The little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come,
No care beyond to day:
Yet see how all around them wait,
The Ministers of human fate,
And black Misfortune's baleful train!
Ah, sew them where in ambuh stand
To seize their prey the murth’rous band !
Ah, tell them, they are men !
These shall the fury Passions tear,
The vultures of the mind,
Disdainful Anger, pallid fear,
And Shame that skulks behind;
Or pining Love shall waste their youth,
Or Jealousy with rankling tooth,
That inly gnaws the secret heart,
And Envy wan, and faded Care,
Grim-vifag'd comfortless Despair,
And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Then whirl the wretch from high,
To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,
And grinning Infamy.
The stings of Falsehood those shall try,
And hard Unkindness' alter'd eye,
That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow;
And keen Remorse with blood defil'd,
And moody Madness laughing wild
Amid fevereit woe.
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 every labouring finew strains,
Those in the deeper vitals rage:
Lo, Poverty, to fill the band,
That numbs the foul with icy hand,
And Now-consuming Age.
To each his fuff'rings : all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan;
The tender for another's pain,
Th’un feeling for his own.
Yet ah! why lould they know their fate?
Since forrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly fies:
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more ; where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise.
THE curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly o’er the lea, The ploughman homeward plods his weary way, And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the fight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the diftant folds;
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r,
The mopeing owl does to the moon complain
Of such, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
Moleft her ancient folitary reign.
Beneath those ragged elms, that yew-tree's shade,
Where heaves the curf 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 shed,
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 evening care :
No children run to lisp their fire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied bliss to share.
Oft did the harvest to their fickle yield,
The furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke:
How jocund did they drive their team afield !
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke !
Let no 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 pow'r,
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 ille and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
Can ftoried urn or animated bust,
Back to its manfion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour's voice provoke the filent duft,
Or flatt’ry footh the dull cold ear of Death?
Perhaps in this neglected fpot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire ;
Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or wak'd to extacy the living lyre.