Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
 
Hymn to Adversity
By Thomas Gray (1716–1771)
 
  DAUGHTER of Jove, relentless power,
    Thou tamer of the human breast,
  Whose iron scourge and torturing hour
    The bad affright, afflict the best!
  Bound in thy adamantine chain,        5
  The proud are taught to taste of pain,
  And purple tyrants vainly groan
With pangs unfelt before, unpitied and alone.
 
  When first thy sire to send on earth
    Virtue, his darling child, designed,        10
  To thee he gave the heavenly birth,
    And bade to form her infant mind.
  Stern rugged nurse! thy rigid lore
  With patience many a year she bore:
  What sorrow was, thou bad’st her know,        15
And from her own she learned to melt at others’ woe.
 
  Scared at thy frown terrific, fly
    Self-pleasing Folly’s idle brood,
  Wild Laughter, Noise, and thoughtless Joy,
    And leave us leisure to be good.        20
  Light they disperse, and with them go
  The summer friend, the flattering foe;
  By vain Prosperity received,
To her they vow their truth, and are again believed.
 
  Wisdom in sable garb arrayed,        25
    Immersed in rapturous thought profound,
  And Melancholy, silent maid,
    With leaden eye that loves the ground,
  Still on thy solemn steps attend:
  Warm Charity, the general friend,        30
  With Justice, to herself severe,
And Pity, dropping soft the sadly-pleasing tear.
 
  Oh! gently on thy suppliant’s head,
    Dread goddess, lay thy chastening hand!
  Not in thy Gorgon terrors clad,        35
    Not circled with the vengeful band
  (As by the impious thou art seen)
  With thundering voice, and threatening mien,
  With screaming Horror’s funeral cry,
Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty:        40
 
  Thy form benign, oh goddess, wear,
    Thy milder influence impart,
  Thy philosophic train be there
    To soften, not to wound, my heart.
  The generous spark extinct revive        45
  Teach me to love, and to forgive,
  Exact my own defects to scan,
What others are to feel, and know myself a Man.
 
 
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