Page:Gray - Le Cimetière de campagne, 1805.djvu/17

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But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page
Rich with the spoils of time did ne’er unroll ;
Chili 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 desert air.
Some village Hampden, that with dauntless 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 list’ning senates 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,
Their lot forbad : nor circumscrib’d alone
Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin’d ;
Forbad to wade thro’slaughter to a throne,
And shut the gates of mercy on mankind,
The struggling pangs of conscious truth to hide,
To quench the blushes of ingenuous shame,
Or heap the shrine of luxury and pride
With incense kindled at the muse’s flame.
Far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife
Their sober wishes never learn’d to stray ;
Along the cool, sequester’d vale of life,
They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.