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Forbad to wade through slaughter to a

throne,

And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

The struggling pangs of conscious trutn 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 learned to

stray;

Along the cool, sequestered vale of life They kept the noiseless tenor of their

way.

Yet ev'n these bones from insult to protect

Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhimes and shapeless sculpture decked,

Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.

Their name, their years, spelt by th' un

lettered 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 resigned,

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 re

quires;

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' unhonored

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 may

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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 beech,

That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,

His listless length at noon-tide would he stretch,

And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

"Hard by yon wood, now smiling as in

scorn,

Mutt'ring his wayward fancies he would rove,

Now drooping, woful-wan, like one for

lorn,

Or crazed with care, or crossed in hopeless love.

"One morn I missed him on the 'customed hill,

Along the heath and near his fav'rite 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 church-way path we saw him borne.

Approach and read (for thou can'st read) the lay,

'Graved on the stone beneath yon aged thorn."

THE EPITAPH

Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth

A Youth, to Fortune and to Fame unknown.

Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth,

And Melancholy marked him for her

own,

Large was his bounty, and his soul sin

cere,

Heav'n did a recompense as largely send;

He gave to Misery all he had, a tear, He gained from Heav'n ('twas all he wished) a friend.

No farther seek his merits to disclose, Or draw his frailties from their dread abode,

(There they alike in trembling hope re

pose,)

The Bosom of his Father and his God.

-Thomas Gray.

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