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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 311 pages of information about English Poets of the Eighteenth Century.

  SONNET WRITTEN IN A BLANK LEAF OF DUGDALE’S ‘MONASTICON’

  Deem not devoid of elegance the sage,
  By Fancy’s genuine feelings unbeguiled,
  Of painful pedantry the poring child,
  Who turns, of these proud domes, th’ historic page,
  Now sunk by Time, and Henry’s fiercer rage. 
  Think’st thou the warbling Muses never smiled
  On his lone hours?  Ingenuous views engage
  His thoughts, on themes, unclassic falsely styled,
  Intent.  While cloistered Piety displays
  Her mouldering roll, the piercing eye explores
  New manners, and the pomp of elder days,
  Whence culls the pensive bard his pictured stores. 
  Nor rough nor barren are the winding ways
  Of hoar antiquity, but strown with flowers.

  SONNET WRITTEN AT STONEHENGE

  Thou noblest monument of Albion’s isle! 
  Whether by Merlin’s aid from Scythia’s shore,
  To Amber’s fatal plain Pendragon bore,
  Huge frame of giant-hands, the mighty pile,
  T’ entomb his Britons slain by Hengist’s guile: 
  Or Druid priests, sprinkled with human gore,
  Taught ’mid thy massy maze their mystic lore: 
  Or Danish chiefs, enriched with savage spoil,
  To Victory’s idol vast, an unhewn shrine,
  Reared the rude heap:  or, in thy hallowed round,
  Repose the kings of Brutus’ genuine line;
  Or here those kings in solemn state were crowned: 
  Studious to trace thy wondrous origin,
  We muse on many an ancient tale renowned.

  SONNET TO THE RIVER LODON

  Ah! what a weary race my feet have run,
  Since first I trod thy banks with alders crowned,
  And thought my way was all through fairy ground,
  Beneath thy azure sky and golden sun,
  Where first my Muse to lisp her notes begun! 
  While pensive Memory traces back the round,
  Which fills the varied interval between;
  Much pleasure, more of sorrow, marks the scene. 
  Sweet native stream! those skies and suns so pure
  No more return, to cheer my evening road! 
  Yet still one joy remains:  that not obscure
  Nor useless, all my vacant days have flowed,
  From youth’s gay dawn to manhood’s prime mature;
  Nor with the Muse’s laurel unbestowed.

THOMAS GRAY

  ODE ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF ETON COLLEGE

  Ye distant spires, ye antique towers,
  That crown the watery glade,
  Where grateful Science still adores
  Her Henry’s holy shade;
  And ye, that from the stately brow
  Of Windsor’s heights th’ expanse below
  Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,
  Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers among
  Wanders the hoary Thames along
  His silver-winding way.

  Ah, happy hills! ah, pleasing shade! 
  Ah, fields beloved in vain! 
  Where once my careless childhood strayed,
  A stranger yet to pain! 
  I feel the gales that from ye blow,
  A momentary bliss bestow,
  As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
  My weary soul they seem to soothe,
  And, redolent of joy and youth,
  To breathe a second spring.

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