120 The Chieftain's gripe his throat compressed,

His knee was planted on his breast;
His clotted locks * he backward threw,
Across his brow his hand he drew,

From blood and mist * to clear his sight, 125 Then gleamed aloft * his dagger bright!

But hate and fury * ill supplied
The stream of life's exhausted tide,
And all too late the advantage came

To turn the odds of deadly game ;
130 For, while the dagger gleamed on high,

Reeled soul and sense, reeled brain and eye.
Down came the blow, but in the heath
The erring * blade found bloodless sheath !

The struggling foe may now unclasp 135 The fainting chief's relaxing * grasp ;

Unwounded from the dreadful close,
But breathless all, Fitz-James arose.

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Erring, straying from the mark.


Relaxing, loosening.





The curfew * tolls the knell of parting * day, Curfero, the evening
The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea,

bell rung in England

during Norman times The ploughman homeward plods * bis weary to warn the people to way,

put out all fires and And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

lights at eight o'clock.

Parting, departing. 5 Now fades the glimmering * landscape on the untilled meadow.

Lea, grass-land, an sight,

Plods, walks as if And all the air a solemn stillness holds,

very tired. Save where the beetle wheels his droning * away.

Glimmering, fading flight,

Droning, humming And drowsy tinklings * lull the distant

Drowsy tinklings, &c., the sound of bells

tied round the necks Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tower of some of the sheep.

The moping * owl does to the moon complain Moping, dull, gloomy.
Of such as, wandering near her secret bower,
Molest * her ancient solitary reign.

Molest, injure, disBeneath those rugged * elms, that yew-tree's Rugged, rough, of shade,

uneven surface. Where heaves the turf in many a moulder

ing heap, 15 Each in his narrow cell for ever laid, The rude forefathers of the hamlet * sleep. lage.

Hanilet, a small vib

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sweet air of the morn


the mo

household duties.








Breezy call, &c., fresh The breezy call* of incense-breathing morn,

The swallow twittering from the straw-built ing.

shed, Clarion, a narrow- The cock's shrill clarion,* or the echoing horn, tubed trumpet

No more shall rouse them from their lowly 20 Horn, the hunter's horn heard early in

For them no more the blazing hearth shall

Ply, &c., attend to 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, 25 Furrow, the trench Their furrow * oft the stubborn glebe * has made by the plough.

broke; Glebe, land for culti.

[afield ! * vating.

How jocund* did they drive their team
Jocund, cheerful, How bowed the woods beneath their sturdy
Team, two or more

stroke !
horses, or other beasts
of burden, harnessed Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,

Their homely joys, and destiny * obscure; Afield, on towards the

Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile Destiny, our state of

The short and simple annals * of the poor. life. Annals, the account of what takes place The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, from year to year. And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er

gave, Inevitable, sure to Await alike the inevitable

hour :

35 happen.

The paths of glory lead but to the grave. Impute, to blame.

Nor you, ye proud, impute* to these the fault, Anthem, a sacred

If Memory o'er their tomb no trophies raise, song Storied urn, a vessel Where through the long-drawn aisle and fretted containing the ashes vault of the deado person. The pealing anthem * swells the note of praise. 40

story of his life written upon it. Bust, a representa- Can storied urn or animated bust

Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? solid substance.

Can Honour's voice provoke * the silent dust, Provoke, here means Or Flattery soothe the dull cold ear of to call forth.

Death ?
Pregnant, full of.
Celestial fire, the di-
vine spirit of poetry. Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid

45 Rod of empire, the

Some heart once pregnant * with celestial sceptre, marking the power given to sovereigns to or Hands that the rod of empire * might have govern.

swayed, Ecstasy, great joy. Lyre, a kind of harp.

Or waked to ecstasy * the living lyre.*




tion of the head and shoulders in some

fire ; *







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But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page, Ample, large, wide,

full. Rich with the spoils * of time, did ne'er

Spoils, things taken unroll ;

from an enemy, here Chill Penury * repressed * their noble rage, means knowledge ac

quired through predeAnd froze the genial* current of the soul.

Penury, poverty. Full * many a gem, of purest ray serene, Repressed, stopped, The dark unfathomed * caves of ocean bear :


Genial, gay, cheerful. Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, Full, &c., very many. And waste its sweetness on the desert air. Unfathomed, un

sounded, depth not

known Some village Hampden,* that with dauntless Hampden (John) breast

lived in the reign of

Charles I. He would The little tyrant of his fields withstood ;

not pay the tax of Some mute inglorious Milton,* here may ship money," and

became one of the rest,

leaders of the insurSome Cromwell,* guiltless of his country's rection. blood.

Milton (John) was one the greatest Eng

lish poets who ever The applause * of listening senates * to com- lived mand,

Cromwell, the great

leader in the rebellion The threats of pain and ruin to despise,

against Charles I.; To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land,

afterwards And read their history in a nation's eyes,


Lord Protector.
Applause, praise.

Senate, an assembly
Their lot forbade : nor circumscribed * alone for managing the af-

fairs of a country. Their growing virtues, but their crimes con

Lot forbade, denied

this privilege from Forbade to wade through slaughter to a their position in life. throne,

Circumscribe, to put

boundaries round And shut the gates of Mercy on mankind ; about a thing, to

confine. The struggling pangs of conscious truth * to Conscious truth, what

one knows and feels
To quench the blushes of ingenuous* shame, Ingenuous, frank,
Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride open, straightfor-

With incense kindled at the Muse's flame.
Far from the madding * crowd's ignoble strife, Madding, madden-
Their sober wishes never learned to stray; ing, distracting, vio

Along the cool sequestered * vale of life

Sequestered, lonely, They kept the noiseless tenor* of their way. set apart, private.

Tenor, here means

their course of life. Yet even these bones from insult to protect,

Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth * rhymes and shapeless sculpture Uncouth. rough.

Tribute, something
Implores the passing tribute * of a sigh. given or paid.



fined ;

to be true.



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Unlettered, not

Their name, their years, spelt by the unlearned.

lettered * Muse, Elegy here means The place of fame and elegy * supply; praise of the dead.

And many a holy text around she strews, Moralist, one who That teach the rustic moralist * to die. tries to learn lessons from what happens For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey, around us.

85 This pleasing, anxious being, e'er resigned ; Precinct, an enclos d Left the warm precincts* of the cheerful day,

Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind ? Parting, departing. On some fond breast the parting * soul relies, Pious, loving, affec- Some pious* drops the closing eye requires; 90

Even from the tomb the voice of Nature

Even in our ashes live their wonted fires.






For thee, who, mindful of the unhonoured

dead, Artless, simple, with- Dost in these lines their artless * tale relate ; out harm.

If chance, by lonely Contemplation led, Kindred spirit, one Some kindred spirit * shall inquire thy fate, having the same habits and ideas. Haply, perhaps.

Haply * some hoary-headed swain * may say, Swain, a peasant. “Oft have we seen him at the peep of dawn

Brushing with hasty steps the dews away, Lawn, a smooth piece To meet the sun upon the upland lawn.* 100 of grass-land.

“There, at the foot of yonder nodding beech, Fantastic, odd, curi. That wreathes its old fantastic

roots so ous,

high, Listless, heedless, His listless * length at noontide would he careless.

stretch, Pore, to


And pore * upon the brook that babbles by.
steadily, as a stu-
Hard by, close to,

“Hard by * yon wood, now smiling as in scorn, 105 near.

Muttering his wayward fancies he would

rove; Wan, pale, faint.

Now drooping, woful, wan,* like one forlorn, *
Forlorn, forsaken,
Crazed, one who is Or crazed * with care, or crossed in hopeless
deranged in mind.

“ One morn I missed him on the accustomed

hill, Heath, uncultivated

Along the heath * and near his favourite 110 land.

tree; RiN. a small running Another came, nor yet beside the rill, brook.

Nor up the lawn, nor at the wood was be ;



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“The next, with dirges * due, in sad array,* Dirge, a funeral ser.

vice. Slow through the church-way path we saw


procession, him borne :

order. 115 Approach and read (for thou canst read) the lay

Lay, the song or verse

carved on the stone; Graved on the stone beneath yon aged inscription. thorn."

Graved, carved on stone.





Epitaph, an inscrip

tion on a tomb. Here rests his head upon the lap of Earth,

A youth to Fortune and to Fame unknown ;

Fair Science frowned not on his humble birth, Melancholy, a gloomy 120 And Melancholy * marked him for her own. state of mind, sad

Large was his bounty,* and his soul sincere ; Bounty, what he gavo
Heaven did a recompense as largely send :

Sincere, truthful,
He gave to Misery (all he had), a tear;

pure. He gained from Heaven ('twas all he wished),

a friend. 125 No further seek his merits * to disclose, Merits, goodness.

Or draw his frailties * from their dread Frailties, weak. abode, *

abode, the (There they alike in trembling hope repose),

grave. The bosom of his Father and his God.



BREATHES there the man, with soul so dead,
Who never to himself hath said,

This is my own, my native land !”

Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned, 5 As home his footsteps he hath turned,

From wandering on a foreign strand ! *
If such there breathe, go, mark him well;
For him no Minstrel-raptures swell:

High though his title, proud his name, 10 Boundless his wealth as wish can claim;

Despite those titles, power, and pelf,*
The wretch, concentred * all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,

And, doubly dying, shall go down
15 To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,

Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.

Foreign strand, countries other than one's own native land.

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Pelf, riches.
Concentred, &c.,
thinking of no one
but himself, being
Renown, respect,
honour, fame.

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