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FROM THE ELEGY ON SPRING.
Now spring returns: but not to me returns
The vernal joy my better years have known;
Dim in my breast life's dying taper burns,
And all the joys of life with health are flown.
Starting and shiv'ring in th' inconstant wind,
Meagre and pale, the ghost of what I was, Beneath some blasted tree I lie reclin'd,
And count the silent moments as they pass:
The winged moments, whose unstaying speed
No art can stop, or in their course arrest;
Whose flight shall shortly count me with the dead,
And lay me down in peace with them that rest.
Oft morning dreams presage approaching fate;
And morning dreams, as poets tell, are true. Led by pale ghosts, I enter death's dark gate, And bid the realms of light and life adieu.
I hear the helpless wail, the shriek of woe;
I see the muddy wave, the dreary shore, The sluggish streams that slowly creep below, Which mortals visit, and return no more.
Farewell, ye blooming fields! ye cheerful plains!
Enough for me the churchyard's lonely mound, Where melancholy with still silence reigns,
And the rank grass waves o'er the cheerless ground.
There let me wander at the close of eve,
When sleep sits dewy on the labourer's eyes; The world and all its busy follies leave,
And talk with wisdom where my Daphnis lies.
There let me sleep forgotten in the clay,
When death shall shut these weary aching eyes, Rest in the hopes of an eternal day,
Till the long night is gone, and the last morn arise.
Now sober Industry, illustrious power!
Hath rais'd the peaceful cottage, calm abode
Of innocence and joy; now, sweating, glides
The shining ploughshare; tames the stubborn soil;
Leads the long drain along th' unfertile marsh;
Bids the bleak hill with vernal verdure bloom,
The haunt of flocks; and clothes the barren heath
With waving harvests, and the golden grain.
Fair from his hand, behold the village rise,
In rural pride, 'mong intermingled trees!
Above whose aged tops, the joyful swains
At even-tide, descending from the hill,
eye enamour'd, mark the many wreaths
Of pillar'd smoke, high-curling to the clouds.
The street resounds with labour's various voice,
Who whistles at his work. Gay on the green,
Young blooming boys, and girls with golden hair,
Trip nimble-footed, wanton in their play,
The village hope. All in a rev'rend row,
Their grey-hair'd grandsires, sitting in the sun,
Before the gate, and leaning on the staff,
The well-remember'd stories of their youth
Recount, and shake their aged locks with joy.
How fair a prospect rises to the eye,
Where beauty vies in all her vernal forms,
For ever pleasant, and for ever new!
Swells th' exulting thought, expands the soul,
Drowning each ruder care: a blooming train
Of bright ideas rushes on the mind.
Imagination rouses at the scene,
And backward, through the gloom of ages past,
Beholds Arcadia, like a rural queen,
Encircled with her swains and rosy nymphs,
The mazy dance conducting on the green.
Nor yield to old Arcadia's blissful vales
Thine, gentle Leven! green on either hand
Thy meadows spread, unbroken of the plough,
With beauty all their own. Thy fields rejoice
With all the riches of the golden year..
Fat on the plain, and mountain's sunny side,
Large droves of oxen, and the fleecy flocks
Feed undisturb'd, and fill the echoing air
With music, grateful to the master's ear.
The traveller stops, and gazes round and round
O'er all the scenes, that animate his heart
With mirth and music. Even the mendicant,
Bowbent with age, that on the old gray stone,
Sole sitting, suns him in the public way,
Feels his heart leap, and to himself he sings.
BORN 1723.-DIED 1767.
DR. JAMES GRAINGER, the translator of Tibullus, was for some time a surgeon in the army: he afterwards attempted, without success, to obtain practice as a physician in London, and finally settled in St. Kitt's, where he married the governor's daughter. The novelty of West Indian scenery inspired him with the unpromising subject of the Sugar-cane, in which he very poetically dignifies the poor negroes with the name of "Swains." He died on the same island, a victim to the West Indian fever.
O SOLITUDE, romantic maid,
Whether by nodding towers you tread,
Or haunt the desart's trackless gloom,
Or hover o'er the yawning tomb,
Or climb the Andes' clifted side,
Or by the Nile's coy source abide,
Or starting from your half-year's sleep
From Hecla view the thawing deep,
Or, at the purple dawn of day,
Tadmor's marble wastes survey,
You, recluse, again I woo,
And again your steps pursue.
Plum'd Conceit himself surveying,
Folly with her shadow playing,
Purse-proud, elbowing Insolence,
Bloated empiric, puff'd pretence,
Noise that through a trumpet speaks,
Laughter in loud peals that breaks,
Intrusion with a fopling's face,
(Ignorant of time and place)
Sparks of fire dissension blowing,
Ductile, court-bred Flattery, bowing,
Restraint's stiff neck, Grimace's leer,
Squint-ey'd Censure's artful sneer,
Ambition's buskins, steep'd in blood,
Fly thy presence, Solitude.
Sage Reflection bent with years,
Conscious Virtue void of fears,
Muffled Silence, wood-nymph shy,
Meditation's piercing eye,
Halcyon Peace on moss reclin'd,
Retrospect that scans the mind,
Rapt earth-gazing Reverie,
Blushing artless Modesty,
Health that snuffs the morning air,
Full-ey'd Truth with bosom bare,
Inspiration, Nature's child,
Seek the solitary wild.
You, with the tragic muse retir'd,
The wise Euripides inspir'd,