With deaf’ning clamours in the slipp’ry shrouds,
That with the hurly Death itself awakes:
Can’st thou, O partial Sleep! give thy repose
To the wet seaboy in an hour so rude,
And in the calmest and the stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a King? Then, happy lowly clown!
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
* * * * *
ELEGY, WRITTEN IN A COUNTRY CHURCHYARD.
The curfew tolls the knell
of parting day,
The lowing herds Mind 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
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wand’ring 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 mould’ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing
The swallow twitt’ring 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
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke:
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow’d the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
Let not Ambition mock their
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 Pow’r,
And all that Beauty, all that Wealth e’er gave,
Await alike th’ inevitable hour—
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye proud, impute
to these the fault,
If Mem’ry o’er their tombs 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
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour’s voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flatt’ry sooth the dull, cold ear of Death?