John Wall Callcott
(1766 - 1821)

Callcott : Ye distant spires : illustration

Ye distant spires
(A.T.T.B.)
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Published in Callcott's first collection of glees, etc. London, c.1790. A setting of the opening of Gray's Ode on a distant prospect of Eton College.
Lyrics: Thomas Gray

Ye distant spires, ye antique towers,
That crown the watery glade,
Where grateful science still adores
Her Henry's holy shade;
And ye, that from the stately brow
Of Windsor's heights the expanse below
Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,
Whose turf, whose shade, whose flowers among
Wanders the hoary Thames along
His silver-winding way.

Ah happy hills, ah pleasing shade,
Ah fields beloved in vain,
Where once my careless childhood strayed,
A stranger yet to pain!
I feel the gales, that from ye blow,
A momentary bliss bestow,
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
My weary soul they seem to soothe,
And, redolent of joy and youth,
To breathe a second spring.