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An E L E G Y. Written in a country church-yard.

The curfeu tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd winds flowly o'er the lea.

The plowman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness, and to me.

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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 fore-fathers of the hamlet sleep.

The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The fwallow twitt'ring from the straw-built fhed,

The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.

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Oft did the harvest to their fickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke ;

How jocund did they drive their team a field !
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke !

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The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,

Awaits alike th' inevitable hour,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.

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Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breaft

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Can storied urn, or animated buft,
Back to its manfion call the fleeting breath ?

Can honour's voice provoke the filent duft,
Or flatt'ry footh the dull cold ear of death ?

Perhaps in this neglećted spot is laid -
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire,

Hands that the reins of empire might have fway'd,
Or wak'd to extafy the living lyre.

Forgive, ye proud, th' involuntary fault, | |

But knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unro

Chill penury repress'd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the foul.

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The little tyrant of his fields withstood ;
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.

Th’ applaufe of lift'ning fenates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,

To fcatter plenty o'er a fmiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes

Their lot forbad ; nor circumscrib’d alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin’d;

Forbad to wade through flaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,

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For who to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleafing anxious being e'er resign'd,

Left the warm precincts of the chearful day,
Nor cast one longing, ling'ring look behind ?

Qn fome fond breast the parting foul relies,

_ Some pious drops the clofing eye requires ;

Ev'n from the tomb the voice of nature cries,
Awake and faithful to her wonted fires.

For thee, who mindful of th” unhonour'd dead
Dost in these lines their artlefs tale relate ;

If chance, by lonely contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit fhall inquire thy fate.

Haply, fome hoary-headed fwain may fay,
Oft have we feen him at the peep of dawn

* Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
“ To meet the fun upon the upland iawn.

* There at the foot of yonder nodding beech
! That wreathes its old fantastic roots fo high,

* His listless length at noon-tide would he stretch,
“ And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

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* One morn I miss'd him on th’ accustom'd hill,
* Along the heath, and near his fav'rite tree;

* Another came ; nor yet befide the rill,
* Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was he.

* The next with dirges due in fad array,
“ Slow through the church-way path we saw him borne.

• Approach and read (for thou can’st read) the lay,
Grav'd on the stone beneath yon aged thorn.

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• Here rests his head upon the lap of earth
“ A youth to fortune and to fame unknown:

* Fair science frown'd not on his humble birth,
• And melancholy mark'd him for her own.

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Large was his bounty, and his foul fincere,
“ Heav'n did a recompence as largely fend :
He gave to mis'ry (all he had) a tear :
He gain’d from heav'n ('twas all he wish’d) a friend.

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We have already observed that any dreadful catastrophe is a proper subjećt for Elegy ; and what can be more fo than a civil war, where the fathers and children, the dearest relations and friends, meet each other in arms ? We have on this subjeći a most affećting Elegy, intituled the Tears of Scotland, afcribed to Dr. Smollet, and fet to music by Mr. Q/wald, just after the late rebellion.

The Tears of ScoT LAN D. Written in the Year 1746, I.

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