Imatges de pÓgina

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.

The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,

The swallow, twittering 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 sickle yield;

Their harrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke. How jocund did they drive their team a-field! How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!

Let not ambition mock their useful toil,

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 power,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike the inevitable hour!

The paths of glory lead but to the grave!

Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
If memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where, through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem swells the notes of praise.

Can storied urn, and animated bust,

Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can honour's voice provoke the silent dust?
Or flattery soothe the dull cold ear of death?

Perhaps, in this neglected spot, is laid

Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire, Hands that the rod of empire might have swayed, Or waked to ecstacy the living lyre.

But knowledge to their eyes her ample page,
Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unrol.
Chill penury repressed their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.

Full many a gem, of purest ray serene,

The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear! Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air!



Be wise to-day: 'tis madness to defer.
Next day the fatal precedent will plead,-
Thus on,- till wisdom is pushed out of life.
Procrastination is the thief of time;

Year after year it steals, till all are fled,
And to the mercies of a moment, leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene.
Of man's miraculous mistakes, this bears
The palm, that all men are about to live,-
For ever on the brink of being born.


pay themselves the compliment, to think They one day shall not drivel; and their pride, On this reversion, takes up ready praise,At least their own,-their future selves applauds. How excellent that life they ne'er will lead !

Time lodged in their own hands is folly's vails;
That lodged in fate's to wisdom they consign.
The thing they can't but purpose, they postpone.
"Tis not in folly not to scorn a fool;

And scarce in human wisdom to do more.

All promise is poor dilatory man ;

And that through every stage. When young, indeed,
In full content we sometimes nobly rest,
Unanxious for ourselves, and only wish-

As duteous sons-our fathers were more wise.
At thirty, man suspects himself a fool,
Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan;
At fifty, chides his infamous delay,
Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve,
In all the magnanimity of thought;

Resolves and re-resolves, then dies the same!
And why! Because he thinks himself immortal.
All men think all men mortal but themselves;
Themselves, when some alarming shock of fate
Strikes through their wounded hearts the sudden dread;
But their hearts, wounded like the wounded air,
Soon close; where past the shaft, no trace is found,
As from the wing no scar the sky retains,
The parted wave no furrow from the keel.*
So dies, in human hearts, the thought of death,
Even with the tender tear which nature sheds
O'er those we love; we drop it in their grave.


*See the Apocrypha - Wisdom of Solomon, Ch. 5. V. 10, 11, 12.




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