Thomas Gray

Ode for Music

Poem by Thomas Gray


" Hence, avaunt, ('tis holy ground)
Comus, and his midnight crew,
And Ignorance with looks profound,
And dreaming Sloth of pallid hue,
Mad Sedition's cry profane,
Servitude that hugs her chain,
Nor in these consecrated bowers
Let painted Flatt'ry hide her serpent-train in flowers.


Nor Envy base, nor creeping Gain,
Dare the Muse's walk to stain,
While bright-eyed Science watches round:
Hence, away, 'tis holy ground! "


From yonder realms of empyrean day
Bursts on my ear th' indignant lay:
There sit the sainted sage, the bard divine,
The Few, whom Genius gave to shine

Thro' every unborn age, and undiscover'd clime.
Rapt in celestial transport they: (accomp.)
Yet hither oft a glance from high
They send of tender sympathy.
To bless the place, where on their opening soul
First the genuine ardour stole.
'Twas Milton struck the deep-ton'd shell,
And, as the choral warblings round him swell,
Meek Newton's self bends from his state sublime,
And nods his hoary head, and listens to the rhyme.


" Ye brown o'er-arching groves,
That contemplation loves,
Where willowy Camus lingers with delight!
Oft at the blush of dawn
I trod your level lawn,
Oft woo'd the gleam of Cynthia silver-bright
In cloisters dim, far from the haunts of Folly,
With Freedom by my side, and soft-eyed Melancholy. "


But hark! the portals sound, and pacing forth
With solemn steps and slow,
High Potentates, and Dames of royal birth,
And mitred Fathers in long order go:
Great Edward, with the lilies on his brow
From haughty Gallia torn,
And sad Chatillon, on her bridal morn
That wept her bleeding Love, and princely Clare,
And Anjou's Heroine, and the paler Rose,
The rival of her crown and of her woes,
And either Henry there,
The murther'd Saint and the majestic Lord,
That broke the bonds of Rome.
(Their tears, their little triumphs o'er, (accomp.)
Their human passions now no more,
Save Charity, that glows beyond the tomb)
All that on Granta's fruitful plain
Rich streams of regal bounty pour'd,
And bad these awful fanes and turrets rise,
To hail their Fitzroy's festal morning come;
And thus they speak in soft accord
The liquid language of the skies:


" What is grandeur, what is power?
Heavier toil, superior pain.
What the bright reward we gain?
The grateful mem'ry of the Good.
Sweet is the breath of vernal shower,
The bee's collected treasures sweet,
Sweet music's melting fall, but sweeter yet
The still small voice of Gratitude. "


Foremost and leaning from her golden cloud
The venerable Marg'ret see!
" Welcome, my noble Son, (she cries aloud)
To this, thy kindred train, and me:
Pleas'd in thy lineaments we trace
A Tudor's fire, a Beaufort's grace. "


" Thy liberal heart, thy judging eye,
The flow'r unheeded shall descry,
And bid it round heav'n's altars shed
The fragrance of its blushing head:
Shall raise from earth the latent gem
To glitter on the diadem. "


" Lo! Granta waits to lead her blooming band,
Not obvious, not obtrusive, she
No vulgar praise, no venal incense flings;
Nor dares with courtly tongue refin'd
Profane thy inborn royalty of mind:
She reveres herself and thee.
With modest pride to grace thy youthful brow,
The laureate wreath, that Cecil wore, she brings,
And to thy just, thy gentle hand,
Submits the Fasces of her sway,
While Spirits blest above and Men below
Join with glad voice the loud symphonious lay. "

Grand Chorus.

" Thro' the wild waves as they roar,
With watchful eye and dauntless mien
Thy steady course of honour keep,
Nor fear the rocks, nor seek the shore:
The star of Brunswick smiles serene,
And gilds the horrors of the deep. "