THE Curfew tolls the knell of parting day,
The lowing herd wind slowly oer the lea,
homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.
Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds;
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled towr
The moping owl does to the moon complain
as, wandring near her secret bowr,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-trees shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mouldring
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude Forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing Morn,
The swallow twittring from the straw-built shed,
cocks 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:
children run to lisp their sires 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:
jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bowd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the poor.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of powr,
And all that beauty, all that wealth eer gave,
alike th inevitable hour:
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye Proud, impute to These the fault,
If Memory oer their Tomb no Trophies raise,
through the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
Can storied urn or animated bust
Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?
voice provoke the silent dust,
Or Flattry soothe the dull cold ear of death?
Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid
Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire;
that the rod of empire might have swayd,
Or waked to ecstasy the living lyre.
But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did neer unroll;
Penury repressd their noble rage,
And froze the genial current of the soul.
Full many a gem of purest ray serene
The dark unfathomd caves of ocean bear:
Full many a
flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
Some village Hampden that with dauntless breast
The little tyrant of his fields withstood,
mute inglorious Milton, here may rest,
Some Cromwell guiltless of his countrys blood.
Th applause of listning senates to command,
The threats of pain and ruin to despise,
scatter plenty oer a smiling land,
And read their history in a nations eyes,
Their lot forbade: nor circumscribed alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confined;
to wade through slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,
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