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But now Dan Phoebus gains the middle skie,
For well may Freedom erst so dearly won, Appear to British elf more gladsome than the Sun.
Enjoy, poor imps! enjoy your sportive trade,
Describing the sorrow of an ingenuous mind, on the melancholy event of a licentious amour.
See! cherries here, ere cherries yet abound,
WHY mourns my friend? why weeps his downcast
That eye where mirth, where fancy us'd to shine? Thy cheerful meads reprove that swelling sigh; Spring ne'er enamel'd fairer meads than thine
Nor had I bid these vernal sweets farewell.
See in each sprite some various bent appear! These rudely carol most incondite lay; Those sauntering on the green, with jocund leer Then had my bosom 'scap'd this fatal wound, Salute the stranger passing on his way; Some builden fragile tenements of clay; Some to the standing lake their courses bend, With pebbles smooth at duck and drake to play; Thilk to the huxter's savory cottage tend, In pastry kings and queens th' allotted mite to
* Shrewsbury cakes.
Art thou not lodg'd in Fortune's warm embrace?
That wins the friend, or that enchants the fair? "Damon," said he, "thy partial praise restrain;
Alas! his very praise awakes my pain,
And my poor wounded bosom bleeds the more.
"For oh! that Nature on my birth had frown'd, Or Fortune fix'd me to some lowly cell;
"But led by Fortune's hand, her darling child,
My youth her vain licentious bliss admir'd: In Fortune's train the syren Flattery smil'd, And rashly hallow'd all her queen inspir'd.
Here, as each season yields a different store,
"Of folly studious, e'en of vices vain,
Ah vices! gilded by the rich and gay!
Expense, and art, and toil, united strove;
School'd in the science of love's mazy wiles,
I cloth'd each feature with affected scorn;
Warm to deny, and zealous to disprove;
And seiz'd the minute of returning love.
"To thee, my Damon, dare I paint the rest?
Will yet thy love a candid ear incline?
Feels not the sharpness of a pang like mine.
Admir'd Salopia! that with venial pride
'Henry,' she said, 'by thy dear form subdu'd, See the sad relics of a nymph undone! I'find, I find this rising sob renew'd:
I sigh in shades, and sicken at the Sun
"Amid the dreary gloom of night, I cry,
When will the morn's once pleasing scenes return Yet what can orn's returning ray supply,
But foes that triumph, or but friends that mourn
Perhaps I was void of all thought.
Perhaps it was plain to foresee,
It banishes wisdom the while;
She is faithless, and I am undone ;
What it cannot instruct you to cure Beware how you loiter in vain
Amid nymphs of a higher degree: It is not for me to explain
How fair, and how fickle, they be.
Alas! from the day that we met,
What hope of an end to my woes? When I cannot endure to forget
The glance that undid my repose. Yet time may diminish the pain:
The flower, and the shrub, and the tree, Which I rear'd for her pleasure in vain, In time may have comfort for me. The sweets of a dew-sprinkled rose,
The sound of a murmuring stream, The peace which from solitude flows,
Henceforth shall be Corydon's theme. High transports are shown to the sight,
But we're not to find them our own; Fate never bestow'd such delight,
As I with my, Phyllis had known.
Erewhile, in sportive circles round
Pleas'd on his various freaks to dwell,
She tells with what delight he stood To trace his features in the flood; Then skipp'd aloof with quaint amaze, And then drew near again to gaze.
She tells me how with eager speed
His every frolic, light as air,
But knows my Delia, timely wise, How soon this blameless era flies? While violence and craft succeed; Unfair design, and ruthless deed!
Soon would the vine his wounds deplore.
No more those bowers might Strephon see
Each wayward passion soon would tear
Then mourn not the decrees of Fate, That gave his life so short a date; And I will join thy tenderest sighs, To think that youth so swiftly flies.
THOMAS GRAY was born in London, December composed several years before. It met with 26, 1716. He was educated at Eton and at immediate appreciation, went rapidly through Cambridge. At Eton he became intimate with eleven editions, and was translated into Latin. Horace Walpole, and after their college-days And its popularity has never waned. In 1757 were over they travelled together on the Conti- he published his "Pindaric Odes." The same nent. Gray studied law for a while; but after year he declined the Laureate-ship, which had the death of his father, in 1741, he gave it up become vacant by the death of Cibber. In 1768 and went to Cambridge to take the doctor's de- he was appointed to the chair of Modern Hisgree. There he spent the greater part of history at Cambridge. The professorship had been life. His passion was for books and for natural held as a sinecure, but Gray prepared to fulfil scenery. The one he found in the great libra- its duties. His good intentions, however, were ries, and for the other he rambled about in Wales, defeated by his natural indolence and by declinScotland, and the lake district of England. In ing health. He died of gout, on July 30, 1771, his travels he always carried a note-book, and and was buried at Stoke-Pogis, Buckinghamhis letters to his literary friends were filled with shire, in the churchyard which is the scene of descriptions of what he saw. In 1747 he pub- his Elegy. Gray wrote but little poetry (nearly lished his "Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton all his poems are in this collection), but what he College," whose closing lines are one of the did write is singularly perfect. In proportion most familiar of all quotations. In 1751 his to its quantity, it has probably furnished more "Elegy in a Country Churchyard" was pub- popular quotations than the works of any other lished anonymously. Portions of it had been writer of English verse.