[Ode on the Pleasure Arising from Vicissitude]

1 Now the golden Morn aloft
2 Waves her dew-bespangled wing;
3 With vermeil cheek and whisper soft
4 She wooes the tardy spring,
5 Till April starts, and calls around
6 The sleeping fragrance from the ground;
7 And lightly o'er the living scene
8 Scatters his freshest, tenderest green.
9 New-born flocks in rustic dance
10 Frisking ply their feeble feet;
11 Forgetful of their wintry trance
12 The birds his presence greet:
13 But chief the sky-lark warbles high
14 His trembling thrilling ecstasy
15 And, lessening from the dazzled sight,
16 Melts into air and liquid light.
17 Yesterday the sullen year
18 Saw the snowy whirlwind fly;
19 Mute was the music of the air,
20 The herd stood drooping by:
21 Their raptures now that wildly flow,
22 No yesterday nor morrow know;
23 'Tis man alone that joy descries
24 With forward and reverted eyes.
25 Smiles on past Misfortune's brow
26 Soft Reflection's hand can trace;
27 And o'er the cheek of Sorrow throw
28 A melancholy grace;
29 While Hope prolongs our happier hour,
30 Or deepest shades, that dimly lower
31 And blacken round our weary way,
32 Gilds with a gleam of distant day.
33 Still, where rosy Pleasure leads,
34 See a kindred Grief pursue;
35 Behind the steps that Misery treads,
36 Approaching Comfort view:
37 The hues of bliss more brightly glow,
38 Chastised by sabler tints of woe;
39 And blended form, with artful strife,
40 The strength and harmony of life.
41 See the wretch, that long has tossed
42 On the thorny bed of pain,
43 At length repair his vigour lost,
44 And breathe and walk again:
45 The meanest flowret of the vale,
46 The simplest note that swells the gale,
47 The common sun, the air and skies,
48 To him are opening Paradise.
49 Humble Quiet builds her cell
50 Near the source whence Pleasure flows;
51 She eyes the clear crystalline well
52 And tastes it as it goes.
53 Far below [...] the crowd.
54 Broad and turbulent it grows
55 [...] with resistless sweep
56 They perish in the boundless deep
57 Mark where Indolence and Pride,
58 Softly rolling side by side,
59 Their dull but daily round.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): [Ode on the Pleasure Arising from Vicissitude]
Author: Thomas Gray
Themes: fortune
Genres: ode

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Source edition

Gray, Thomas, 1716-1771. Thomas Gray: English poems. Web. Oxford: Thomas Gray Archive, 2002. http://www.thomasgray.org/texts/poems.shtml

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

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