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Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire ; Hands that the rod of empire might have sway'd,
Or wak'd 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 repress'd their noble rage,
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 flow'r is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness in the desert air.
Th’applause of list’ning 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 circumscrib'd alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd; 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 learn’d to stray ; Along the cool sequester'd vale of life
They kept the noiseless tenour of their way.
Yet e'en 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 th' 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.
For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd, Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing ling’ring look behind ?
On some fond breast the parting soul relies ;
Some pious drops the closing eye requires : E'en from the tomb the voice of nature cries;
E’en in our ashes live their wonted fires.
For thee who, mindful of th' unhonour'd dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate, If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate;
Haply some hoary-headed swain shall say,
“Oft have we seen him, at the peep of dawn, Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.
There, at the foot of yonder nodding beach,
That wreathes its old fantastic roots on high, His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by.
“ Him have we seen the greenwood side along,
While o'er the heath we hied, our labour done, Oft as the woodlark pip'd her farewell song,
With wistful eyes pursue the setting sun.
“ Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in scorn,
Mutt'ring his wayward fancies, he would rove ; Now drooping, woful-wan, like one forlorn,
Or craz’d with care, or cross'd in hopeless love.
“ One morn I miss'd him on the 'custom’d hill,
Along the heath, and near his favourite tree: Another came; nor yet beside the rill,
Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he:
“ The next, with dirges due, in sad array,
Slow through the churchyard path we saw him borne: Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay,
Gravid on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.”
Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth,
A youth to fortune and to fame unknown; Fair Science frown'd not on his humble birth,
And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.
Large was his bounty, and his soul sincere —
Heav'n did a recompense as largely send : He gave to mis’ry (all he had) a tear ;
He gain’d from heav'n ('twas all he wish’d) a friend.
No farther seek his merits to disclose,
Nor draw his frailties from their dread abode (Where they alike in trembling hope repose)
The bosom of his Father and his God.
CROMWELL, I did not think to shed a tear
And sleep in dull cold marble, when no mention