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A DISTANT PROSPECT
"Ανθρωπος έκανή πρόφασις εις το δυσυχείν.
Ye distant spires, ye antique towers,
King Henry the Sixth, Founder of the College.
Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,
Ah happy hills! ah pleasing shade!
Say, Father THAMES, for thou hast seen
While some on earnest business bent Their murm’ring labours ply 'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint To sweeten liberty: Some bold adventurers disdain The limits of their little reign, And unknown regions dare descry: Still as they run they look behind, They hear a voice in every wind, And snatch a fearful joy.
Gay hope is theirs by fancy fed,
Alas, regardless of their dooin,
Yet see how all around 'em wait
These shall the fury Passions tear, The vultures of the mind, Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear, And Shame that sculks behind; Or pining Love shall waste their youth, Or Jealousy with rankling tooth, That inly gnaws the secret heart, And Envy wan, and faded Care, Grim-visag'd comfortless Despair, And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise, Then whirl the wretch from high, To bitter Scorn a sacrifice, And grinning infamy. The stings of Falshood those shall try, And hard Unkindness' alter'd eye, That mocks the tear it forc'd to flow; And keen Remorse with blood defild,
And moody Madness laughing wild
Lo, in the vale of years beneath A griesly troop are seen, The painful family of Death, More hideous than their Queen: This racks the joints, this fires the veins, That every labouring sinew strains, Those in the deeper vitals rage: Lo, Poverty, to fill the band, That numbs the soul with icy hand, And slow-consuming Age.
To each his suff'rings: all are men, Condemn'd alike to groan; The tender for another's pain, Th’unfeeling for his own. Yet ah! why should they know their fate? Since sorrow never comes too late, And happiness too swiftly flies. Thought would destroy their paradise. No more; where ignorance is bliss, 'Tis folly to be wise.