The Illustrated London Reading Book eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 275 pages of information about The Illustrated London Reading Book.

    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 waked 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 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.

    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 hist’ry in a nation’s eyes,

    Their lot forbade:  nor circumscribed alone
    Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;
    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 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 names, 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;
    Ev’n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,
    Ev’n 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,

[Illustration]

    Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
    “Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn,
    Brushing with hasty steps the dew away,
    To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
The Illustrated London Reading Book from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook