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Lie sunk and flatted in the sordid wave.
Sudden the ditches swell, the meadows swim ;
Red, from the hills, innumerable streams
Tumultuous roar, and high above its banks
The river lift, before whose rushing tide
Herds, flocks, and barvests, cottages and swains,
Roll mingled down : all that the winds had spar'd
In one wild moment ruin'd, the big hopes
And well-earn'd treasures of the painful year.
Fled to some eminence, the husbandman
Helpless beholds the miserable wreck
Driving along : his drowning ox at once
Descending, with his labours scatter'd round,
He sees; and instant o'er his shivering thought
Comes Winter unprovided, and a train
Of claimant children dear. Ye masters, then,
Be mindful of the rough laborious hand,
That sinks you soft in elegance and ease ;
Be mindful of those limbs in russet clad,
Whose toil to yours is warmth and graceful pride ;
And, oh, be mindful of that sparing board,
Which covers yours with luxury profuse,
Makes your glass sparkle and your sense rejoice,
Nor cruelly demand what the deep rains
And all-involving winds have swept away!
THROUGH the hush'd air the whitening shower descends,
At first thin wavering; till at last the flakes
Fall broad, and wide, and fast, dimming the day
With a continual flow. The cherish'd fields
Put on their winter robe of purest white.
'Tis brightness all, save where the new snow melts
Along the mazy current. Low the woods
Bow their hoar head; and ere the languid sun
Faint from the west emits his evening ray,
Earth's universal face, deep hid and chill,
Is one wide dazzling waste, that buries wide
The works of man. Drooping, the labourer-ox
Stands cover'd o’er with snow, and then demands
The fruit of all his toil. The fowls of heaven,
Tam’d by the cruel season, crowd around
The winnowing store, and claim the little boon
Which Providence assigns them. One alone,
The red-breast, sacred to the household gods,
Wisely regardful of th' embroiling sky,
In joyless fields and thorny thickets leaves
His shivering mates,
to trusted man
His annual visit. Half afraid, he first
Against the window beats; then, brisk, alights
On the warm hearth; then, hopping o'er the floor,
Eyes all the smiling family askance,
And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is;
Till, more familiar grown, the table crumbs
Attract his slender feet. The foodless wilds
Pour forth their brown inhabitants. The hare,
Though timorous of heart, and hard beset
By death in various forms, dark snares,
And more unpitying men, the garden seeks,
Urg'd on by fearless want. The bleating kind
Eye the bleak heaven, and next the glistening earth,
With looks of dumb despair; then, sad dispers’d,
Dig for the wither'd herb through heaps of snow.
Born A.D. 1716, died 1771.
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'sl holy shade ;
ye that from the stately brow
Of Windsor's heights the expanse below
Of grove, of lawn, of mead, survey;
King Henry VI., founder of the College.
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 stray'd,
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.
Say, father Thames !—for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race,
Disporting on thy margent green,
The paths of pleasure trace, -
Who foremost now delight to cleave
With pliant arm thy glassy wave?
The captive linnet which enthral ?
What idle progeny succeed
To chase the rolling circle's speed,
urge the flying ball ?
While some, on earnest bus'ness bent,
Their murmuring labours ply
'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint,
To sweeten liberty ;
Some bold adventurers disdain
The limits of their little reign,
And unknown regions dare descry:
Still as they run they look behind,
They hear a voice in every wind,
And snatch a fearful joy.
Gay hope is theirs, by fancy fed, -
Less pleasing when possess'd!
The tear forgot as soon as shed,
The sunshine of the breast;
Theirs buxom health of
rosy hue, Wild wit, invention ever new,
And lively cheer of vigour born; The thoughtless day, the easy night, The spirits pure, the slumbers light,
That fly the approach of morn.
Alas! regardless of their doom,
The little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come,
Nor care beyond to-day;
Yet see how all around 'em wait
The ministers of human fate,
And black Misfortune's baleful train !
Ah! shew them where in ambush stand,
To seize their prey, the murderous band !
Ah! tell them they are men.
These shall the fury passions tear,
The vultures of the mind:
Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,
And Shame, that skulks behind ;
Or pining Love shall waste their youth,
Or Jtalousy, with rankling tooth,
That inly gnaws the secret heart !
And Envy wan, and faded Care,
Grim-visaged, comfortless Despair,
And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Then whirl the wretch from high,
To bitter scorn a sacrifice,
And grinning Infamy:
The stings of Falsehood those shall try,
And hard Unkindness' alter'd eye,
That mocks the tear it forced to flow;
And keen Remorse, with blood defiled;
And moody Madness, laughing wild
Amid severest wo.
Lo! in the vale of years beneath,
A grisly troop are seen,
The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their queen :
This racks the joints, this fires the veins,
That every labouring sinew strains,
Those in the deeper vitals rage.
Lo! Poverty to fill the band,
That numbs the soul with icy hand;
And slow-consuming Age.
To each his sufferings : all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan,-
The tender for another's pain,
Th' unfeeling for his own.
Yet ah! why should they know their fate,
Since Sorrow never comes too late,
And Happiness too swiftly flies?
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more: where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise.
Elegy written in a Country Churchyard.
The curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind 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 droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower
The moping owl does to the moon complain
Of such as, wandering 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 mouldering heap, Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.