The Alliance of Education and Government. A Fragment

Essay I.

... πόταγ᾽, ᾽γαθέ· τὰν γὰρ ἀοιδάνοὔτι πω εἰς Ἀΐδαν γε τὸν ἐκλελάθοντα ϕυλαξεῖς.

Theoc[ritus, Idyll i. 62-63].
1 As sickly plants betray a niggard earth,
2 Whose barren bosom starves her generous birth,
3 Nor genial warmth nor genial juice retains
4 Their roots to feed and fill their verdant veins;
5 And as in climes, where winter holds his reign,
6 The soil, though fertile, will not teem in vain,
7 Forbids her gems to swell, her shades to rise,
8 Nor trusts her blossoms to the churlish skies:
9 So draw mankind in vain the vital airs,
10 Unformed, unfriended, by those kindly cares
11 That health and vigour to the soul impart,
12 Spread the young thought and warm the opening heart.
13 So fond Instruction on the growing powers
14 Of nature idly lavishes her stores,
15 If equal Justice with unclouded face
16 Smile not indulgent on the rising race,
17 And scatter with a free though frugal hand
18 Light golden showers of plenty o'er the land:
19 But Tyranny has fixed her empire there,
20 To check their tender hopes with chilling fear,
21 And blast the blooming promise of the year.
22 This spacious animated scene survey
23 From where the rolling orb, that gives the day,
24 His sable sons with nearer course surrounds,
25 To either pole and life's remotest bounds.
26 How rude so e'er the exterior form we find,
27 Howe'er opinion tinge the varied mind,
28 Alike to all the kind impartial heaven
29 The sparks of truth and happiness has given:
30 With sense to feel, with memory to retain,
31 They follow pleasure and they fly from pain;
32 Their judgement mends the plan their fancy draws,
33 The event presages and explores the cause.
34 The soft returns of gratitude they know,
35 By fraud elude, by force repel the foe;
36 While mutual wishes, mutual woes, endear
37 The social smile and sympathetic tear.
38 Say then, through ages by what fate confined
39 To different climes seem different souls assigned?
40 Here measured laws and philosophic ease
41 Fix and improve the polished arts of peace.
42 There Industry and Gain their vigils keep,
43 Command the winds and tame the unwilling deep.
44 Here force and hardy deeds of blood prevail;
45 There languid pleasure sighs in every gale.
46 Oft o'er the trembling nations from afar
47 Has Scythia breathed the living cloud of war;
48 And, where the deluge burst, with sweepy sway
49 Their arms, their kings, their gods were rolled away.
50 As oft have issued, host impelling host,
51 The blue-eyed myriads from the Baltic coast.
52 The prostrate south to the destroyer yields
53 Her boasted titles and her golden fields:
54 With grim delight the brood of winter view
55 A brighter day and heavens of azure hue,
56 Scent the new fragrance of the breathing rose,
57 And quaff the pendent vintage, as it grows.
58 Proud of the yoke and pliant to the rod,
59 Why yet does Asia dread a monarch's nod,
60 While European freedom still withstands
61 The encroaching tide, that drowns her lessening lands,
62 And sees far off with an indignant groan
63 Her native plains and empires once her own?
64 Can opener skies and suns of fiercer flame
65 O'erpower the fire that animates our frame,
66 As lamps, that shed at even a cheerful ray,
67 Fade and expire beneath the eye of day?
68 Need we the influence of the northern star
69 To string our nerves and steel our hearts to war?
70 And, where the face of nature laughs around,
71 Must sickening Virtue fly the tainted ground?
72 Unmanly thought! what seasons can control,
73 What fancied zone can circumscribe the Soul,
74 Who, conscious of the source from whence she springs,
75 By Reason's light on Resolution's wings,
76 Spite of her frail companion, dauntless goes
77 O'er Libya's deserts and through Zembla's snows?
78 She bids each slumbering energy awake,
79 Another touch, another temper take,
80 Suspends the inferior laws that rule our clay:
81 The stubborn elements confess her sway;
82 Their little wants, their low desires, refine,
83 And raise the mortal to a height divine.
84 Not but the human fabric from the birth
85 Imbibes a flavour of its parent earth:
86 As various tracts enforce a various toil,
87 The manners speak the idiom of their soil.
88 An iron-race the mountain-cliffs maintain,
89 Foes to the gentler genius of the plain:
90 For where unwearied sinews must be found
91 With sidelong plough to quell the flinty ground,
92 To turn the torrent's swift-descending flood,
93 To brave the savage rushing from the wood,
94 What wonder if, to patient valour trained,
95 They guard with spirit what by strength they gained;
96 And while their rocky ramparts round they see,
97 The rough abode of want and liberty,
98 (As lawless force from confidence will grow)
99 Insult the plenty of the vales below?
100 What wonder in the sultry climes, that spread
101 Where Nile redundant o'er his summer-bed
102 From his broad bosom life and verdure flings,
103 And broods o'er Egypt with his watery wings,
104 If with adventurous oar and ready sail,
105 The dusky people drive before the gale,
106 Or on frail floats to distant cities ride,
107 That rise and glitter o'er the ambient tide.

Text

  • TEI/XML [chunk] (XML - 234K / ZIP - 24K) / ECPA schema (RNC - 357K / ZIP - 73K)
  • Plain text [excluding paratexts] (TXT - 4.6K / ZIP - 2.6K)

About this text

Title (in Source Edition): The Alliance of Education and Government. A Fragment
Author: Thomas Gray
Themes:
Genres: heroic couplet; fragment

Text view / Document view

Source edition

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

Editorial principles

Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been silently 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 3.0.

Other works by Thomas Gray