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HYMN ON SOLITUDE.
HAIL, mildly-pleasing Solitude!
Oh! how I love with thee to walk,
Amid the long withdrawing vale
Descending angels bless thy train, The virtues of the sage and swain; Plain Innocence, in white array'd, Before thee lifts her fearless head: Religion's beams around thee shine, And cheer thy gloom with light divine: About thee sports sweet Liberty;
And rapt Urania sings to thee.
Oh! let me pierce thy secret cell, And in thy deep recesses dwell. Perhaps from Norwood's oak-clad hill, When Meditation has her fill,
I just may cast my careless eyes Where London's spiry turrets rise, Think of its crimes, its cares, its pain, Then shield me in the woods again.
Written in a Country Church-yard.
THE Curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
Save where the beetle wheels his drony flight,
Save that, from yonder ivy-mantled tower,
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 rade 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,
Oft did the harvest to their sickle 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!
Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power,
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault,
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise. 1
Can storied urn or 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 sway'd, Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ampler page
Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear; Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness in the desert air.
Some village Hampden, that with dauntless breast
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
The applause of listening senates to command,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their history in a nation's eyes,