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Some with vile copper-prize exalt on high,
And some entice with pittance small of praise;
And other some with baleful sprig she frays.
Even aosent, she the reins of power doth hold,
While with quaint arts the giddy crowd she sways;
Forewarned, if little bird their pranks behold,

'T will whisper in her ear, and all the scene unfold.

Lo! now with state she utters her command; Eftsoons the urchins to their tasks repair; Their books of stature small they take in hand, Which with pellucid horn secured are, To save from finger-wet the letters fair. The work so gay, that on their back is seen, St. George's high achievements does declare ; On which each wight that has y-gazing been, Kens the forth-coming rod — unpleasing sight, I ween.

Ah! luckless he, and born beneath the beam

Of evil star! it irks me whilst I write ;
As erst the bard by Mulla's silver stream,*
Oft, as he told of deadly, dolorous plight,
Sighed as he sung, and did in tears indite;
For, brandishing the rod, she doth begin
To loose the brogues, the stripling's late delight;
And down they drop; appears his dainty skin,
Fair as the furry coat of whitest ermilin.

O ruthful scene! when from a nook obscure,
His little sister doth his peril see;
All playful as she sat, she grows demure,
She finds full soon her wonted spirits flee ;
She meditates a prayer to set him free;
Nor gentle pardon could this dame deny -
If gentle pardon could with dames agree-
To her sad grief that swells in either eye,
And wrings her so that all for pity she could die.

* Spenser.

No longer can she now her shrieks command;
And hardly she forbears, through awful fear,
To rushen forth, and with presumptuous hand
To stay harsh justice in its mid career.
On thee she calls, on thee, her parent dear, -
Ah! too remote to ward the shameful blow!
She sees no kind domestic visage near,

And soon a flood of tears begins to flow,
And gives a loose, at last, to unavailing woe.

But ah! what pen his piteous plight may trace?
Or what device his hard laments explain
The form uncouth of his disguiséd face-
The pallid hue that dyes his looks amain

The plenteous shower that does his cheek distain?
When he, in abject wise, implores the dame,
He hopeth aught of sweet reprieve to gain;

Or when from high she levels well her aim,

And, through the thatch, his cries each falling stroke proclaim!

But now Dan Phoebus gains the middle sky,

And liberty unbars her prison door ;

And, like a rushing torrent, out they fly;
And now the grassy cirque have covered o'er
With boisterous revel, rout and wild uproar;
A thousand ways in wanton rings they run.
Heaven shield their short-lived pastimes, I implore;
For well may freedom, erst so dearly won,
Appear to British elf more gladsome than the sun.

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Gray was educated at Cambridge, by the aid of his mother's exertions as a milliner, and on leaving college, he accompanied Horace Walpole, son of the premier, on a tour through France and Italy. After this, he returned to the university, and took his degree in civil law, but did not follow the profession. He fixed his residence at Cambridge, and there passed the greater part of his remaining life, in the enjoyment of its libraries and its cultivated society. His Letters, descriptive of occa

sional excursions into the country, are remarkable for their elegance, precision, and humor. The Elegy Written in a Country Church-yard has been the most popular of his poems. Gray was offered the situation of poet-laureate, but did not accept the appointment.

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ELEGY WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCH-YARD.

THE curfew tolls the knell of parting day;

The lowing herds 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 sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,

Save where the beetle wheels his drony flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;

Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wandering 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 mouldering heap,
Each in his narrow cell forever laid,

The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,

The swallow twittering 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 sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.

Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield;

Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team a-field!
How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy 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 the inevitable hour;

The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where, through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn, or animated bust,

Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honor's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattery soothe 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 swayed, Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.

But Knowledge, to their eyes, her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll;
Chill Penury repressed their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem, of purest ray serene,

The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear; Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air.

Some village 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.

The applause of listening senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes,

Their lot forbade; nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;
Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut 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 Muse's flame.

Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
Along the cool, sequestered vale of life

They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

Yet even these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial, still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their names, their years, spelt by the unlettered Muse, The place of fame and elegy supply:

And

many a holy text around she strews,

That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who, to dumb Forgetfulness a prey,

This pleasing, anxious being e'er resigned; -
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind?

On some fond breast the parting soul relies;

Some pious drops the closing eye requires ; Even from the tomb the voice of nature cries;

Even in our ashes live their wonted fires.

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