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Though fools spurn Hymen's gentle powers, 25
By sweet experience know,
A paradise below.
Our babes shall richest comforts bring;
Whence pleasures ever rise;
And train them for the skies.
While they our wisest hours engage,
And crown our hoary hairs ;
And recompense our cares.
No borrow'd joys! they 're all our own,
Or by the world forgot:
And bless our humble lot.
Our portion is not large, indeed,
For Nature's calls are few !
And make that little do.
We'll therefore relish with content
Nor aim beyond our power; For if our stock be very small, 'Tis prudence to enjoy it all,
Nor lose the present hour.
To be resign'd when ills betide,
And pleased with favours given;
Whose fragrance smells to heaven.
We'll ask no long-protracted treat,
But when our feast is o’er,
The relics of our store.
Thus hand in hand through life we'll go;
With cautious steps we'll tread;
And mingle with the dead :
While Conscience, like a faithful friend,
And cheer our dying breath ;
And smooth the bed of death.
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds :
The moping owl does to the moon complain 10 Of such, as wandering near her secret bower
Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Bids every fierce tumultuous passion cease;
A grateful earnest of eternal peace.
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldering 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 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, 25
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: 30 How jocund did they drive their team a-field !
How bow'd 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 35
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,
45 Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath ? Can Honour'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; 50 Hands, that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre :
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll,
55 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. 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 ; 70 Forbade to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind;
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
With incense kindled at the Muse's 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 tenour of their way: 80 Yet ev'n these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial, still erected nigh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck'd,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh. Their name, their years, spelt by the unletter'd Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply; And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.