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Job, and the Psalms, is pointed out with judge ment and taste in the Spectators,
The sense in this stanza is also carried on from that which is before it; and the poet continues to enumerate the errours and mean conduct of those, who seek for power by concealing their own sense of right and wrong, and by flattering the great.
Shrine,an enclosure, containing the figure of some object of worship. Heaping the shrine of luxury with incense kindled' at the muses' flame, means, metaphorically, the flattery which poets offer to those who live in splendour.
Ignoble. The poet justly calls the usual pursuits of ambition and avarice ignoble ; that is, mean and base. And he calls those pursuits the or ignoble strife," or mean competition of the
« madding crowd ;" who follow ambition and avarice, with an eagerness almost equal to madness.
Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray, never wandered beyond their own business."
Sequester’d'vale. ---Sequestered means retired; and“ Sequestered vale of life,” an humble situation, not raised to the heights of grandeur or wealth. . .
Tenour-mean's a steady course.
Kept the noiseless tonour of their way;-pura sued a quiet, unnoticed course of life. ..
. XIX, "6 Yet ev’n these bones from insult to protect, , Some frail memorial still erected nigh, With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck's, Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
XX. . ? “Their name, their years, spelt by th’unletter'd musc, The place of fame and elegy supply; And many a holy text around she strews, That teach the rustic moralist to die. .
XXI. - in
The poet seems here to have finished the reflections that at first occurred to him from the view of the churchyard, and to begin a new train of thoughts, suggested by the ordinary tomb-stones that struck his view. He says, even these poor villagers wish to have some tokens of their existence raised over their graves, of frail or perishable materials ; often of wood, of rude workmanship, inscribed only with their names and ages, in place of the pompous inscriptions, and elegiac or mournful verses, which are usually put upon the monuments of the rich and great. Sometimes, he says, the combs of the poor are inscribed with texts of Scripture, to teach those who read them, the necessity of death, and the hopes of another world. For, says he, no human being departs from life without thinking with fondness and regret upon some friend, whom he leaves behind him in this world. And even after death, men wish that their memory should excite feelings of tenderness and affection.
Precincts of the cheerful day.--The word precinct mean's boundary.
Parting soul relies; – that is, depends upon some person who was fond of them for the last marks of kindness, and requires, that is, wants the consolation of sympathy from those whoin they loved.
Pious dropsemaffectionate tears. The original meaning of piety is the love of children towards their parents--It is now used to express the love and veneration of mankind towards God.
Even in their ashes live their wonted fires. The ancients, instead of burying dead bodies in the ground, burnt them upon large piles of wood, and preserved the ashes of their friends in urns. Hence the word ashes is frequently used to represent the dead; and the inscriptions upon the tombs seem to express the feelings and passions of the dead, and to call upon the living for sympathy.
“ Haply some hoary-headed swain may say,
« There, at the foot of yonder nodding beeches That wreathes it's old fantastic róóts so high vi! His listless length at noontide would he stretch,
And pore upon the brook that babbles by i Kindredi spirit. -- A person of similar dispositioni i . . . .
. . Brushing the dew away brings before thie mind a picture of early morning, when the clear drops of dew hang on every blade of grass-; -- and
Meeting the sun upon the upland lawn-marks the verymoment of sunrise...!:...in
That iwreathès iit's old fantastic roofs so highWhen trees grow upon banks, the earth frequently moulders away from their roots, and then the roots appear, in various twining forms; far above the surface of the ground wherë they were planted.
Listless ;--Without energy ; without any determinate design.-To list, means to wish or choose.'"