(At ease reclin'd in rustic state)
How vain the ardour of the crowd,
How low, how little are the proud,
How indigent the great!

Still is the toiling hand of Care;
The panting herds repose:

Yet, hark, how thro' the peopled air

Var. V. 19. "How low, how indigent the proud,
How little are the great!"


So these lines appeared in Dodsley. The variation, as Mason informs us, was subsequently made to avoid the point "little and great."

imbrown'd the noontide bowers." "And breathes a browner horror o'er the woods," Pope. Eloisa, 170. W.-Thomson. Cast. of Ind. i. 38: " Or Autumn's varied shades imbrown the walls."

V. 13. "A bank o'ercanopied with luscious woodbine." Mids. N. Dr. act ii. sc. 2.


"The beech shall yield a cool safe canopy." Fletcher. Purpl. Is. i. v. 30. And T. Warton's note on Milton's Comus, v. 543.

V. 15. "The rushy-fringed bank." Comus. Luke.

V. 22. "Patula pecus omne sub ulmo est." Pers. Sat. iii. 6. W.-But Gray seems to have imitated Pope. Past. ii. 86:

"The lowing herds to murmuring brooks retreat,

To closer shades the panting flocks remove:

"Jam pastor umbras cum grege languido

Rivumque fessus quærit." Hor. lib. III. Od. xxix. 21. V. 23. Thomson. Autumn, 836: "Warn'd of approaching winter, gather'd, play the swallow-people." And Walton.

Complete Angler, p. 260: "Now the wing'd people of the sky shall sing." Add Beaumont. Psyche, st. lxxxviii. p. 46: "Every tree empeopled was with birds of softest throats." so Alciphr. Ep. p. 341. Sýμov öλov opvewv. and Max. Tyr. See Reiske's note, p. 82.

The busy murmur glows!
The insect-youth are on the wing,
Eager to taste the honied spring,

And float amid the liquid noon :
Some lightly o'er the current skim,
Some shew their gayly-gilded trim
Quick-glancing to the sun.

To Contemplation's, sober eye

Such is the race of Man:

And they that creep, and they that fly,

Shall end where they began.

Alike the Busy and the Gay
But flutter thro' life's little day,

In Fortune's varying colors drest:




V. 24. Thus Milton. Par. R. iv. 248: "The sound of bees' industrious murmur. "" Wakefield quotes Thomson. Spr. 506: "Thro' the soft air the busy nations fly." And, 649: "But restless hurry thro' the busy air." Compare also Pope. T. of Fame, 294.

V. 25. "Some to the sun their insect-wings unfold."

Pope. Rape of the Lock, ii. 59. W. This expression may have been suggested by a line in Green's Hermitage, quoted in Gray's Letter to Walpole: (see note at ver. 31.)

"From maggot-youth thro' change of state

They feel, like us, the turns of fate."

V. 26. See Milton, as quoted by Wakefield: Il Pen. 142, Lycid. 140, Sams. Ag. 1066.

V. 27. "Nare per æstatem liquidam," Georg. iv. 59. Gray. To which, add Georg. i. 404; and Æn. v. 525; x. 272. "There I suck the liquid air." Milton. Comus, v. 980.

V. 30. "Sporting with quick glance, shew to the sun their wav'd coats dropp'd with gold," Par. L. vii. 410. Gray.-See also Pope, Hom. Il. ii. 557; and Essay on Man, iii. 55.

V. 31. "While insects from the threshold preach," Green, in the Grotto. Dodsley, Misc. v. p. 161. Gray. -Gray, in a

Brush'd by the hand of rough Mischance,
Or chill'd by Age, their airy dance

They leave, in dust to rest.

Methinks I hear, in accents low,

The sportive kind reply:

Poor moralist! and what art thou?
A solitary fly!

Thy joys no glittering female meets,
No hive hast thou of hoarded sweets,

No painted plumage to display:
On hasty wings thy youth is flown ;
Thy sun is set, thy spring is gone —
We frolic while 'tis May.




letter to H. Walpole, says: (see Walpole's Works, vol. v. p. 395.) "I send you a bit of a thing for two reasons; first, because it is one of your favorites, Mr. M. Green; and next, because I would do justice: the thought on which my second Ode turns, (The Ode to Spring, afterwards placed first, by Gray,) manifestly stole from thence. Not that I knew it at the time, but having seen this many years before; to be sure it imprinted itself on my memory, and forgetting the author, I took it for my own. Then follows the quotation from Green's Grotto. Wakefield seems to have discovered the original of this stanza in some lines in Thomson. Summer, 342. V. 37. "The varied colours run," Thoms. Spring. Luke. V. 47.

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"From branch to branch the smaller birds with song Solac'd the woods, and spread their painted wings." Par. L. vii. 438. W. And so Thomson. Spring, 582; Virg. Georg. iii. 243; En. iv. 525; Claudian, xv. 3. 66 Pictisque plumis." Phædri Fab. iii. v. 18.

V. 49. Πάνθ ̓ ἅλιον ἄμμι δεδύκειν. Theocrit. Idyll. i. 102. W. Alexis ap. Stobum. lib. exv.: *Hôn vào ô Bios buòs 'Еолéраv йɣει. Plato has the same metaphorical expression :



[On a favourite cat called Selima, that fell into a China Tub with gold fishes in it, and was drowned, MS. Wharton. Walpole, after the death of Gray, placed the China Vase on a pedestal at Strawberry Hill, with a few lines of the Ode for its inscription.]

"TWAS on a lofty vase's side,
Where China's gayest art had dy'd

The azure flowers, that blow;

Var. V. 4. In the first edition the order of these lines was reversed:

"The pensive Selima reclin❜d,
Demurest of the tabby kind."

hμeis d'Ev dvoμaïç Tov Biov, de Legib. tom. ii. p. 770, ed. Serrani; and Aristotelis Poetica, cap. 35: καὶ τὸ γῆρας Ἑσπέραν Biov. Add Catull. ad Lesb. c. 5. v. 5. "Nobis, cum semel occidet brevis lux." Twining, in his translation of the Poetics, together with this line from Gray, has quoted Com. of Err. (last scene): "Yet hath my night of life some memory,' p. 108. It is a phrase very common among the old English poets. Herrick has,

"Sunk is my sight, set is my sun,

And all the loom of life undone."


and "My sun begins to set," Rowley's All's lost by Lust, p. 63, 4to. with many others.

*This Ode first appeared in Dodsley. Col. vol. ii. p. 274, with some variations; only one of which is given by Mason. They are all noticed in this edition, as they occur.

V. 3. This expression has been accused of redundance by

Demurest of the tabby kind,
The pensive Selima, reclin'd,

Gaz'd on the lake below.

Her conscious tail her joy declar'd;
The fair round face, the snowy beard,
The velvet of her paws,
Her coat, that with the tortoise vies,
Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes,
She saw; and purr'd applause.

Still had she gaz'd; but 'midst the tide
Two angel forms were seen to glide,

The Genii of the stream:

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Var. V. 14. First edit. "Two beauteous forms; "" a reading that appears to me preferable to the one now in the


Dr. Johnson and Wakefield. See Todd's Ed. of Comus, p. 139. Gray, however, could have defended it by the usage of the ancient poets. See Ovid. Metam. ix. 98: "Hunc tamen ablati domuit jactura decoris." And Statii Silv. II. v. 30: "Unius amissi tetigit jactura leonis." Ovid ad Liv. 185: "Jura silent, mutæque tacent sine vindice leges." In Jortin's Tracts, vol. i. p. 269, some examples of such redundant expressions are collected from the Greek and Latin poets. See on this subject also the notes of Burmann on Propertius, lib. iv. El. vii. v. 69; on Ovid. Met. ii. 66, and on Poem. Lotichii, lib. i. el. 8. 27. In the Prog. of Poesy, I. i. 5: "The laughing flowers that round them blow." "Azure flowers," v. Drummond. Mæliades. Luke.

V. 15. Thomson, in his Spring, v. 400, with equal beauty, speaking of fish:

in whose ample wave The little Naiads love to sport at large."

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