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ODE.

The following Ode is founded on a tradition current in Wales, that EDWARD the First, when he compleated the conquest of that country, ordered all the Bards, that fell into his hands, to be put to death.

I. 1.
1 'RUIN seize thee, ruthless King!
2 'Confusion on thy banners wait,
3 'Tho' fann'd by Conquest's crimson wing
4 'They mock the air with idle state.
5 'Helm, nor Hauberk's twisted mail,
6 'Nor even thy virtues, Tyrant, shall avail
7 'To save thy secret soul from nightly fears,
8 'From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears!'
9 Such were the sounds, that o'er the crested pride
10 Of the first Edward scatter'd wild dismay,
11 As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side
12 He wound with toilsome march his long array.
13 Stout Gloster stood aghast in speechless trance:
14 To arms! cried Mortimer, and couch'd his quiv'ring lance.
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I. 2.
15 On a rock, whose haughty brow
16 Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
17 Robed in the sable garb of woe,
18 With haggard eyes the Poet stood;
19 (Loose his beard, and hoary hair
20 Stream'd, like a meteor, to the troubled air)
21 And with a Master's hand, and Prophet's fire,
22 Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre.
23 'Hark, how each giant-oak, and desart cave,
24 'Sighs to the torrent's aweful voice beneath!
25 'O'er thee, oh King! their hundred arms they wave,
26 'Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe;
27 'Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day,
28 'To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyn's lay.
I. 3.
29 'Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
30 'That hush'd the stormy main:
31 'Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed:
32 'Mountains, ye mourn in vain
33 'Modred, whose magic song
34 'Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-top'd head.
35 'On dreary Arvon's shore they lie,
36 'Smear'd with gore, and ghastly pale:
37 'Far, far aloof th' affrighted ravens sail;
38 'The famish'd Eagle screams, and passes by.
39 'Dear lost companions of my tuneful art,
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40 'Dear, as the light, that visits these sad eyes,
41 'Dear, as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,
42 'Ye died amidst your dying country's cries
43 'No more I weep. They do not sleep.
44 'On yonder cliffs, a griesly band,
45 'I see them sit, they linger yet,
46 'Avengers of their native land:
47 'With me in dreadful harmony they join,
48 'And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line.
II. 1.
49 "Weave the warp, and weave the woof,
50 "The winding-sheet of Edward's race,
51 "Give ample room, and verge enough
52 "The characters of hell to trace.
53 "Mark the year, and mark the night,
54 "When Severn shall re-echo with affright
55 "The shrieks of death, thro' Berkley's roofs that ring,
56 "Shrieks of an agonizing King!
57 "She-Wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs,
58 "That tear'st the bowels of thy mangled Mate,
59 "From thee be born, who o'er thy country hangs
60 "The scourge of Heav'n. What Terrors round him wait!
61 "Amazement in his van, with Flight combin'd,
62 "And Sorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind.
II. 2.
63 "Mighty Victor, mighty Lord,
64 "Low on his funeral couch he lies!
65 "No pitying heart, no eye afford
66 "A tear to grace his obsequies.
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67 "Is the sable Warriour fled?
68 "Thy son is gone. He rests among the Dead.
69 "The Swarm, that in thy noon-tide beam were born,
70 "Gone to salute the rising Morn.
71 "Fair laughs the Morn, and soft the Zephyr blows,
72 "While proudly riding o'er the azure realm
73 "In gallant trim the gilded Vessel goes;
74 "Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm;
75 "Regardless of the sweeping Whirlwind's sway,
76 "That, hush'd in grim repose, expects his evening-prey.
II. 3.
77 "
* Richard the Second, (as we are told by Archbishop Scroop, Thomas of Walsingham, and all the older Writers,) was starved to death. The story of his assassination by Sir Piers of Exon, is of much later date.
Fill high the sparkling bowl,
78 "The rich repast prepare,
79 "Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast:
80 "Close by the regal chair
81 "Fell Thirst and Famine scowl
82 "A baleful smile upon their baffled Guest.
83 "Heard ye the din of battle bray,
84 "Lance to lance, and horse to horse?
85 "Long Years of havock urge their destined course,
86 "And thro' the kindred squadrons mow their way.
87 "Ye Towers of Julius, London's lasting shame,
88 "With many a foul and midnight murther fed,
89 "Revere his Consort's faith, his Father's fame,
90 "And spare the meek Usurper's holy head.
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91 "Above, below, the rose of snow,
92 "Twined with her blushing foe, we spread:
93 "The bristled Boar in infant-gore
94 "Wallows beneath the thorny shade.
95 "Now Brothers, bending o'er th' accursed loom,
96 "Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his doom.
III. 1.
97 "Edward, lo! to sudden fate
98 "(Weave we the woof. The thread is spun)
99 "
* Eleanor of Castile, died a few years after the conquest of Wales. The heroic proof she gave of her affection for her Lord is well known. The monuments of his regret, and sorrow for the loss of her, are still to be seen in several parts of England.
Half of thy heart we consecrate,
100 "(The web is wove. The work is done.)"
101 'Stay, oh stay! nor thus forlorn
102 'Leave me unblessed, unpitied, here to mourn:
103 'In yon bright track, that sires the western skies,
104 'They melt, they vanish from my eyes.
105 'But oh! what solemn scenes on Snowdon's height
106 'Descending slow their glitt'ring skirts unroll?
107 'Visions of glory, spare my aching sight,
108 'Ye unborn Ages, crowd not on my soul!
109 'No more our long-lost Arthur we bewail,
110 'All hail
Accession of the line of Tudor.
, ye genuine Kings, Britannia's Issue, hail!
III. 2.
111 'Girt with many a Baron bold,
112 'Sublime their starry fronts they rear;
113 'And gorgeous Dames, and Statesmen old
114 'In bearded majesty, appear.
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115 'In the midst a Form divine!
116 'Her eye proclaims her of the Briton-Line;
117 'Her lyon-port, her awe-commanding face,
118 'Attemper'd sweet to virgin-grace.
119 'What strings symphonious tremble in the air,
120 'What strains of vocal transport round her play!
121 'Hear from the grave, great Taliessin
* Taliessin, Chief of the Bards, flourish'd in the VIth Century. His works are still preserved, and his memory held in high veneration among his Countrymen.
, hear;
122 'They breathe a soul to animate thy clay.
123 'Bright rapture calls, and soaring, as she sings,
124 'Wave in the eye of Heav'n her many-colour'd wings.
III. 3.
125 'The verse adorn again
126 'Fierce War, and faithful Love,
127 'And Truth severe, by fairy Fiction drest.
128 'In buskin'd measures move
129 'Pale Grief, and pleasing Pain,
130 'With Horrour, Tyrant of the throbbing breast.
131 'A Voice, as of the Cherub-Choir,
132 'Gales from blooming Eden bear;
133 'And distant warblings lessen on my ear,
134 'That lost in long futurity expire.
135 'Fond impious Man, think'st thou, yon sanguine cloud,
136 'Rais'd by thy breath, has quench'd the Orb of day?
137 'To-morrow he repairs the golden flood,
138 'And warms the nations with redoubled ray.
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139 'Enough for me: With joy I see
140 'The different doom our Fates assign.
141 'Be thine Despair, and scepter'd Care,
142 'To triumph, and to die, are mine.'
143 He spoke, and headlong from the mountain's height
144 Deep in the roaring tide he plung'd to endless night.

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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): ODE.
    Author: Thomas Gray
    Themes: politics; poetry; literature; writing; history
    Genres: ode
    References: DMI 24574

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    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. VI. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 326-332. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.006) (Page images digitized by the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive from a copy in the archive's library.)

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