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HE curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind flowly o’er the lea,
The plowman homewards plads his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the fight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his drony fight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds ;
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r
The mopeing owl does to the moon complain
Of such, as wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
Molest her ancient, folitary reign.
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 Forefathers of the hamlet Neep.
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 houswife ply her evening care:
No children run to lisp their fire's return,
Or climb his knees the envied kiss to share.
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow'd 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 pow'r,
* And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike th' inevitable hour.
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye Proud, impute to These the fault,
If Mem'ry o'er their Tomb no Trophies raise,
Where through the long-drawn ise and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
Can storied urn or animated buft
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flatt'ry footh 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 wak'd to extasy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of Time did ne'er unroll ;
Chill Penury repress’d their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul,
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 on the defart air..
Some village-Hampden, that with dauntlefs breast
The little Tyrant of his fields withstood
Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his country's blood.
Th' applause of liftning fenates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,
And read their hist'ry in a nation's eyes