ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION
, "Lines occasioned by reading the following Stanza of Gray's Elegy" 1835 ca.; Poetical Works (1860) 94-97.
1742: Richard West
1755: Rev. William Mason
1757: Horace Walpole
1760 ca.: Rev. William Mason
1760: Edward Cooper
1760: Robert Lloyd
1765: James Beattie
1771: Earl of Carlisle
1771 ca.: Richard Cumberland
1771 ca.: Anonymous
1771: Bp. Richard Hurd
1771: R. H.
1772: Rev. John Ball
1772: James Boswell
1773: Rev. William Hayward Roberts
1773: H. S.
1774: Samuel Jackson Pratt
1775: Rev. John Langhorne
1775: Samuel Johnson
1775 ca.: Rev. John Langhorne
1775 ca.: William Cole
1775: J. P.
1777: Rev. Thomas Warton
1777: William Cowper
1778: M. Macgreggor, Esq.
1779: Rev. Vicesimus Knox
1780: Thomas Davies
1782: Rev. William Mason
1785: Rev. Bryan Waller
1788: Rev. Robert Greville
1790: Helen Maria Williams
1794: Robert Alves
1794: Thomas James Mathias
1795: Dr. Robert Anderson
1796: Rev. Richard Polwhele
1798: Edward Gardner
1802: Alexander Thomson
1802: Joseph Dennie
1803: Anna Seward
1804: George Dyer
1804: Rev. William Tooke
1806: Dr. John Aikin
1807: Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges
1807: Robert Southey
1807: Rev. Percival Stockdale
1807: Rev. Percival Stockdale
1808: Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges
1812: An Eminent Scholar
1813: Rev. William Cameron
1814: Thomas James Mathias
1815: Thomas James Mathias
1816: William Wordsworth
1818: William Hazlitt
1819: Richard Henry Dana
1820: Lord Byron
1820 ca.: Alexander Balfour
1821: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
1821: Rev. Henry Francis Cary
1822: Tobias Oldschool
1824: T. Z.
1824: Bryan Waller Procter
1825 ca.: Joseph Cradock
1829: Anna Brownell Jameson
1830: Rev. George Barrell Cheever
1834: Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges
1835 ca.: Charles Crocker
1845 ca.: Rev. John Moultrie
1880: Matthew Arnold
1882: Epes Sargent
1898: George Saintsbury
1830: Bernard Barton
1830: William Collins
1830: Henry Kirke White
1835 ca.: Thomas Gray
1835 ca.: Samuel Johnson
1835 ca.: James Thomson
"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."
And does the gem that lies in Ocean's caves,
Far, far beneath the ever-restless waves,
Emit less brilliant, or less pure, its rays,
When hidden deep from day, and mortal gaze,
Than when upon a Monarch's brow it gleams,
Or gilds the shrine of Beauty with its beams?
Or is the flower that in the desert blooms,
And the free wandering gale alone perfumes,
Less lovely, while unmark'd by human eye,
Less fragrant, while no footstep lingers nigh,
Than when in the parterre it gaily blows,
And admiration o'er its blossom glows?
O no! — still bright and beauteous, though unseen,
They light the deep, and cheer the barren scene;
E'en as the nightingale, in woods remote,
Pours forth, in many a wild and tender note,
Her plaintive song, — that is not sung in vain,
Though none but night and silence hear the strain.
'Tis thus with Genius (if beneath the sway
Of truth and virtue he pursue his way)
When chill Obscurity's dim shades surround
His lonely path; for 'mid the gloom profound
A light is kindled — an unearthly flame,
That wraps in splendour Nature's goodly frame.
Where'er his eye may stray, the freshest green,
The loveliest flowers, the purest rills are seen ;—
Streams, forests, meads, the mountains and the vales,
And each bright cloud that o'er the welkin sails,
To him appear, adorn'd by Fancy's hand,
In all the forms and hues of fairy-land;
While winds and waters, hill and dell combine
To solace him with harmony divine.
Still higher is his joy, when o'er his soul
Those scenes of future bliss and glory roll,
Which hope reveals, and Faith alone can see,
Bosom'd in limitless eternity.
With secret rapture thus he ponders o'er
Rich Nature's charms and Truth's exalted lore;
And, borne on high by Contemplation's aid,
Lives in a world which his own mind hath made,
A world far brighter, lovelier far than this,
And feels an earnest of transcendent bliss.
On one enjoying such a boundless store,
Fortune may frown — but he can not be poor;
She may, indeed, refuse that power to give,
Which bids in magic song his feelings live;
She may forbid, too, that his humble name
Should ever issue from the trump of Fame;
But would the boasted meed of fame bestow
On such a heart, a purer, warmer glow ?
Alas! too well we know how many a bard
Hath sought through life to win her fond regard,
And oft, amid his toils, the pangs hath borne
Of disappointment, and neglect, and scorn
And if, at last, she smil'd — what hath he found?
A fleeting shadow, and an empty sound.
O think not, then, when Genius fails to gain
Wide-spread renown, that he hath liv'd in vain!
He may a recompence much sweeter find,
In conscious dignity and peace of mind:
Nor useless deem his life, although the good
He does, be shrouded deep in solitude.
As in some lonely vale a nameless stream
Glides onward glistening in the solar beam,
And, secretly, with nourishment supplies
Herbs, trees, and flowers, that on its banks arise:
Thus calmly and obscurely pass his days,
Alike unmark'd by censure or by praise;
And when at last with Hope he sinks to rest,
O who shall say that he has not been blest?
He must be blest beyond the common lot—
Unhonour'd though he live, though Mem'ry know him not.