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Then, waking to the sense of lasting pain,
With mutual tears the nuptial couch they stain;
And that fond love, which should afford relief,
Does but increase the anguish of their grief:
While both could easier their own sorrows bear,
Than the sad knowledge of each other's care.
Yet may you rather feel that virtuous pain,
Than sell your violated charms for gain,
Than wed the wretch whom you despise or hate,
For the vain glare of useless wealth or state.
E'en in the happiest choice, where favouring Heaven
Has equal love and easy fortune given,
Think not, the husband gained, that all is done;
The prize of happiness must still be won:
And oft the careless find it to their cost,
The lover in the husband may be lost;
The Graces might alone his heart allure;
They and the Virtues meeting must secure.
Let e'en your prudence wear the pleasing dress
Of care for him, and anxious tenderness;
From kind concern about his weal or wo,
Let each domestic duty seem to flow.
The household sceptre if he bids you bear,
Make it your pride his servant to appear:
Endearing thus the common acts of life,

The mistress still shall charm him in the wife;
And wrinkled age shall unobserved come on,
Before his eye perceives one beauty gone:
E'en o'er your cold, your ever-sacred urn,
His constant flame shall unextinguished burn.
Thus I, Belinda, would your charms improve,
And form your heart to all the arts of love.
The task were harder, to secure my own
Against the power of those already known;
For well you twist the secret chains that bind
With gentle force the captivated mind;
Skilled every soft attraction to employ,
Each flattering hope, and each alluring joy;
I own your genius, and from you receive
The rules of pleasing, which to you I give.

[Prologue to the Tragedy of Coriolanus-Spoken by Mr Quin.]

I come not here your candour to implore
For scenes whose author is, alas! no more;
He wants no advocate his cause to plead ;
You will yourselves be patrons of the dead.
No party his benevolence confined,

No sect-alike it flowed to all mankind.

He loved his friends-forgive this gushing tear:
Alas! I feel I am no actor here-

He loved his friends with such a warmth of heart,
So clear of interest, so devoid of art,

Such generous friendship, such unshaken zeal,
No words can speak it, but our tears may tell.
O candid truth! O faith without a stain!
O manners gently firm, and nobly plain !
O sympathising love of others' bliss-
Where will you find another breast like his !
Such was the man: the poet well you know;
Oft has he touched your hearts with tender wo;
Oft in this crowded house, with just applause,
You heard him teach fair Virtue's purest laws;
For his chaste muse employed her heaven-taught lyre
None but the noblest passions to inspire;
Not one immoral, one corrupted thought,
One line which, dying, he could wish to blot.
O may to-night your favourable doom
Another laurel add to grace his tomb:
Whilst he, superior now to praise or blame,
Hears not the feeble voice of human fame.
Yet if to those whom most on earth he loved,
From whom his pious care is now removed,
With whom his liberal hand, and bounteous heart,
Shared all his little fortune could impart :

If to those friends your kind regard shall give
What they no longer can from his receive,
That, that, even now, above yon starry pole,
May touch with pleasure his immortal soul.

To the 'Castle of Indolence,' Lyttelton contributed the following excellent stanza, containing a portrait of Thomson:

A bard here dwelt, more fat than bard beseems,
Who, void of envy, guile, and lust of gain,
On virtue still, and nature's pleasing themes,
Poured forth his unpremeditated strain:
The world forsaking with a calm disdain,
Here laughed he careless in his easy seat;
Here quaffed encircled with the joyous train,
Oft moralising sage: his ditty sweet

He loathed much to write, ne cared to repeat.

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on by Milton's father; but though a 'respectable citizen,' the parent of Gray was a man of harsh and violent disposition. His wife was forced to separate from him; and it was to the exertions of this excellent woman, as partner with her sister in a millinery business, that the poet owed the advantages of a learned education, first at Eton, and afterwards at Cambridge. The painful domestic circumstances of his youth gave a tinge of melancholy and pensive reflection to Gray, which is visible in his poetry. At Eton, the young student had made the friendship of Horace Walpole, son of the prime minister; and when his college education was completed, Walpole induced him to accompany him in a tour through France and Italy. They had been about a twelvemonth together, exploring the natural beauties, antiquities, and picture galleries of Rome, Florence, Naples, &c., when a quarrel took place between them at Reggio, and the travellers separated, Gray returning to England. Walpole took


the blame of this difference on himself, as he was vain and volatile, and not disposed to trust in the better knowledge and the somewhat fastidious tastes and habits of his associate. Gray went to Cambridge, to take his degree in civil law, but without intending to follow up the profession. His father had died, his mother's fortune was small, and the poet was more intent on learning than on riches. He had, however, enough for his wants. He fixed his residence at Cambridge; and amidst its noble libraries and learned society, passed the greater part of his remaining life. He hated mathematical and metaphysical pursuits, but was ardently devoted to classical learning, to which he added the study of architecture, antiquities, natural history, and other branches of knowledge. His retired life was varied by occasional residence in London, where he revelled among the treasures of the British Museum; and by frequent excursions to the country on visits to a few learned and attached friends. At Cambridge Gray was considered as an unduly fastidious man, and this gave occasion to practical jokes being played off upon him by his fellow-inmates of St Peter's college, one of whicha false alarm of fire, by which he was induced to descend from his window to the ground by a ropewas the cause of his removing (1756) to Pembroke In 1765 he took a journey into Scotland,


Gray's Window, St Peter's college, Cambridge. and met his brother poet Dr Beattie, at Glammis castle. He also penetrated into Wales, and made a journey to Cumberland and Westmoreland, to see the scenery of the lakes. His letters describing these excursions are remarkable for elegance and precision, for correct and extensive observation, and for a dry scholastic humour peculiar to the poet. On returning from these agreeable holidays, Gray set himself calmly down in his college retreat-pored over his favourite authors, compiled tables of chronology or botany, moralised on all he felt and all

he saw' in correspondence with his friends, and occasionally ventured into the realms of poetry and imagination. He had studied the Greek poets with such intense devotion and critical care, that their spirit and essence seem to have sunk into his mind, and coloured all his efforts at original composition. At the same time, his knowledge of human nature, and his sympathy with the world, were varied and profound. Tears fell unbidden among the classic flowers of fancy, and in his almost monastic cell, his heart vibrated to the finest tones of humanity. Gray's first public appearance as a poet was made in 1747, when his Ode to Eton College was published by Dodsley. Two years afterwards, his Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard was printed, and immediately became popular. His Pindaric Odes appeared in 1757, but met with little success. His name, however, was now so well known, that he was offered the situation of poet-laureate, vacant by the death of Colley Cibber. Gray declined the appointment; but shortly afterwards he obtained the more reputable and lucrative situation of Professor of Modern History, which brought him in about £400 per annum. For some years he had been subject to hereditary gout, and as his circumstances improved, his health declined. While at dinner one day in the college hall, he was seized with an attack in the stomach, which was so violent, as to resist all the efforts of medicine, and after six days of suffering, he expired on the 30th of July 1771, in the fifty-fifth year of his age. He was buried, according to his desire, by the side of his mother, at Stoke, near Eton-adding one more poetical association to that beautiful and classic district of England.

The poetry of Gray is all comprised in a few pages, yet he appears worthy to rank in quality with the first order of poets. His two great odes, The Progress of Poesy, and The Bard, are the most splendid compositions we possess in the Pindaric style and measure. They surpass the odes of Collins in fire and energy, in boldness of imagination, and in condensed and brilliant expression. Collins is as purely and entirely poetical, but he is less commanding and sublime. Gray's stanzas, notwithstanding their varied and complicated versification, flow with lyrical ease and perfect harmony. Each presents rich personification, striking thoughts, or happy imagery

Sublime their starry fronts they rear.

'The Bard' is more dramatic and picturesque than "The Progress of Poesy,' yet in the latter are some of the poet's richest and most majestic strains. As for example, the sketch of the savage youth of Chili:

In climes beyond the solar road,

Where shaggy forms o'er ice-built mountains roam, The muse has broke the twilight gloom,

To cheer the shivering native's dull abode.
And oft beneath the odorous shade

Of Chili's boundless forests laid,
She deigns to hear the savage youth repeat,
In loose numbers wildly sweet,
Their feather-cinctured chiefs and dusky loves.
Her track, where'er the goddess roves,
Glory pursue and generous shame,
The unconquerable mind and Freedom's holy flame.
Or the poetical characters of Shakspeare, Milton,
and Dryden :--

Far from the sun and summer gale,

In thy green lap was Nature's darling laid,
What time, where lucid Avon strayed,
To him the mighty mother did unveil


Her awful face: the dauntless child
Stretched forth his little arms, and smiled.
'This pencil take,' she said, 'whose colours clear
Richly paint the vernal year:

Thine, too, these golden keys, immortal boy!
This can unlock the gates of Joy;

Of Horror that, and thrilling Fears,

Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic Tears.'
Nor second he, that rode sublime

Upon the seraph-wings of Ecstacy,
The secrets of the abyss to spy.

He passed the flaming bounds of space and time:
The living throne, the sapphire-blaze,
Where angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw; but blasted with excess of light,
Closed his eyes in endless night.

Behold where Dryden's less presumptuous car
Wide o'er the fields of glory bear

Two coursers of ethereal race,

feeling, with a touch of the gossip, and sometimes not over fastidious in his allusions and remarks. He was indolent, yet a severe student-hating Cam bridge and its college discipline, yet constantly residing there. He loved intellectual ease and luxury, and wished, as a sort of Mohammedan paradise, to 'lie on a sofa, and read eternal new romances of Marivaux and Crebillon.' Yet all he could say of Thomson's Castle of Indolence,' when it was first published, was, that there were some good verses in it! Akenside, too, whom he was so well fitted to appreciate, he thought often obscure, and even unintelligible.' As a poet, Gray studied in the school of the ancient and Italian poets, labouring like an artist to infuse part of their spirit, their melody, and even some of their expressions, into his inimitable Mosaic work, over which he breathed the life and fragrance of eternal spring. In his country tours, the poet carried with him a plano-convex mirror,

With necks in thunder clothed, and long-resounding which, in surveying landscapes, gathers into one


The 'Ode to Eton College,' the 'Ode to Adversity, and the far-famed Elegy,' present the same careful and elaborate finishing; but the thoughts and imagery are more simple, natural, and touching. A train of moral feelings, and solemn or affecting associations, is presented to the mind, in connection with beautiful natural scenery and objects of real life. In a letter to Beattie, Gray remarks-As to description, I have always thought that it made the most graceful ornament of poetry, but never ought to make the subject.' He practised what he taught; for there is always some sentiment or reflection arising out of the poet's descriptive passages. These are generally grave, tender, or pathetic. The cast of his own mind, and the comparative loneliness of his situation and studies, nursed a sort of philosophic spleen, and led him to moralise on the vanity of life. Byron and others have attached inordinate value to the Elegy,' as the main prop of Gray's reputation. It is, doubtless, the most frequently read and repeated of all his productions, because it is connected with ordinary existence and genuine feeling, and describes, in exquisite harmonious verse, what all persons must, at some time or other, have felt or imagined. But the highest poetry can never be very extensively popular. A simple ballad air will convey pleasure to a greater number of persons than the most successful efforts of accomplished musical taste and genius; and, in like manner, poetry which deals with subjects of familiar life, must find more readers than those inspired flights of imagination, or recondite allusions, however graced with the charms of poetry, which can only be enjoyed by persons of fine sensibility, and something of kindred taste and knowledge. Gray's classical diction, his historical and mythological personifications, must ever be lost on the multitude. Even Dr Johnson was tempted into a coarse and unjust criticism of Gray, chiefly because the critic admired no poetry which did not contain some weighty moral truth, or some chain of reasoning. To restrict poetical excellence to this standard, would be to blot out Spenser from the list of high poets, and to curtail Shakspeare and Milton of more than half their glory. Let us recollect with another poet-the author of the Night Thoughts-that 'a fixed star is as much in the bounds of nature as a flower of the field, though less obvious, and of far greater dignity.'

In the character of Gray there are some seeming inconsistencies. As a man, he was nice, reserved, and proud-a haughty retired scholar; yet we find him in his letters full of English idiom and English

confined glance the forms and tints of the surrounding scene. His imagination performed a similar operation in collecting, fixing, and appropriating the materials of poetry. All is bright, natural, and interesting-rich or magnificent-but it is seen but for a moment. Yet, despite his classic taste and models, Gray was among the first to welcome and admire the Celtic strains of Macpherson's Ossian; and he could also delight in the wild superstitions of the Gothic nations: in translating from the Norse tongue the Fatal Sisters and the Descent of Odin, he called up the martial fire, the rude energy and abruptness of the ancient ballad minstrels. Had his situation and circumstances been different, the genius of this accomplished and admirable poet would in all probability have expanded, so as to embrace subjects of wider and more varied interestof greater length and diversity of character.

The subdued humour and fancy of Gray are perpetually breaking out in his letters, with brief picturesque touches that mark the poet and man of taste. The advantages of travelling and of taking notes on the spot, he has playfully but admirably summed up in a letter to a friend, then engaged in making a tour in Scotland:-'Do not you think a man may be the wiser (I had almost said the better) for going a hundred or two of miles; and that the mind has more room in it than most people seem to think, if you will but furnish the apartments? I almost envy your last month, being in a very insipid situation myself; and desire you would not fail to send me some furniture for my Gothic apartment, which is very cold at present. It will be the easier task, as you have nothing to do but transcribe your little red books, if they are not rubbed out; for I conclude you have not trusted everything to memory, which is ten times worse than a lead pencil. Half a word fixed upon or near the spot is worth a cartload of recollection. When we trust to the picture that objects draw of themselves on our mind, we deceive ourselves; without accurate and particular observation, it is but ill-drawn at first, the outlines are soon blurred, the colours every day grow fainter, and at last, when we would produce it to anybody, we are forced to supply its defects with a few strokes of our own imagination.'

Impressed with the opinion he here inculcates, the poet was a careful note-taker, and his delineations are all fresh and distinct. Thus, he writes in the following graceful strain to his friend Nicholls, in commemoration of a tour which he made to Southampton and Netley Abbey:-'My health is much improved by the sea, not that I drank it or bathed in it, as the common people do:

no, I only walked by it, and looked upon it. The climate is remarkably mild, even in October and November; no snow has been seen to lie there for these thirty years past; the myrtles grow in the ground against the houses, and Guernsey lilies bloom in every window; the town clean and wellbuilt, surrounded by its old stone-walls, with their towers and gateways, stands at the point of a peninsula, and opens full south to an arm of the sea, which, having formed two beautiful bays on each hand of it, stretches away in direct view, till it joins the British Channel; it is skirted on either side with gently-rising grounds, clothed with thick wood, and directly cross its mouth rise the high lands of the Isle of Wight at some distance, but distinctly seen. In the bosom of the woods (concealed from profane eyes) lie hid the ruins of Netley Abbey ; there may be richer and greater houses of religion, but the abbot is content with his situation. See there, at the top of that hanging meadow, under the shade of those old trees that bend into a half circle about it, he is walking slowly (good man!), and bidding his beads for the souls of his benefactors, interred in that venerable pile that lies beneath him. Beyond it (the meadow still descending) nods a thicket of oaks that mask the building, and have excluded a view too garish and luxuriant for a holy eye; only on either hand they leave an opening to the blue glittering sea. Did you not observe how, as that white sail shot by and was lost, he turned and crossed himself to drive the tempter from him that had thrown that distraction in his way? I should tell you that the ferryman who rowed me, a lusty young fellow, told me that he would not for all the world pass a night at the abbey (there were such things near it), though there was a power of money hid there. From thence I went to Salisbury, Wilton, and Stonehenge; but of these I say no more; they will be published at the university press.

P. S.-I must not close my letter without giving you one principal event of my history, which was, that (in the course of my late tour) I set out one morning before five o'clock, the moon shining through a dark and misty autumnal air, and got to the sea-coast time enough to be at the sun's levee. I saw the clouds and dark vapours open gradually to right and left, rolling over one another in great smoky wreaths, and the tide (as it flowed gently in upon the sands) first whitening, then slightly tinged with gold and blue; and all at once a little line of insufferable brightness that (before I can write these five words) was grown to half an orb, and now to a whole one, too glorious to be distinctly seen. It is very odd it makes no figure on paper; yet I shall remember it as long as the sun, or at least as long as I endure. I wonder whether anybody ever saw it before? I hardly believe it.'

Much as has since been written on the lake country, nothing can exceed the beauty and finish of this miniature picture of Grassmere:-Passed by the little chapel of Wiborn, out of which the Sunday congregation were then issuing. Passed a beck [rivulet] near Dunmailrouse, and entered Westmoreland a second time; now begin to see Helmcrag, distinguished from its rugged neighbours not so much by its height, as by the strange broken outline of its top, like some gigantic building demolished, and the stones that composed it flung across each other in wild confusion. Just beyond it opens one of the sweetest landscapes that art ever attempted to imitate. The bosom of the mountains spreading here into a broad basin, discovers in the midst Grassmere water; its margin is hollowed into small bays with bold eminences, some of them rocks, some of soft turf, that half conceal and vary the figure of the

little lake they command. From the shore a low promontory pushes itself far into the water, and on it stands a white village with the parish church rising in the midst of it; hanging inclosures, corn fields, and meadows green as an emerald, with their trees, hedges, and cattle, fill up the whole space from the edge of the water. Just opposite to you is a large farm-house, at the bottom of a steep smooth lawn embosomed in old woods, which climb half way up the mountain's side, and discover above them a broken line of crags, that crown the scene. Not a single red tile, no glaring gentleman's house or garden walls, break in upon the repose of this little unsuspected paradise; but all is peace, rusticity, and happy poverty, in its neatest and most becoming attire.'

The sublime scenery of the Grande Chartreuse, in Dauphiny (the subject of Gray's noble Alcaic ode), awakened all his poetical enthusiasm. Writing to his mother from Lyons, he says-'It is a fortnight since we set out hence upon a little excursion to Geneva. We took the longest road, which lies through Savoy, on purpose to see a famous monastery, called the Grande Chartreuse, and had no reason to think our time lost. After having travelled seven days very slow (for we did not change horses, it being impossible for a chaise to go post in these roads), we arrived at a little village among the mountains of Savoy, called Echelles; from thence we proceeded on horses, who are used to the way, to the mountain of the Chartreuse. It is six miles to the top; the road runs winding up it, commonly not six feet broad; on one hand is the rock, with woods of pine-trees hanging overhead; on the other a monstrous precipice, almost perpendicular, at the bottom of which rolls a torrent, that, sometimes tumbling among the fragments of stone that have fallen from on high, and sometimes precipitating itself down vast descents with a noise like thunder, which is still made greater by the echo from the mountains on each side, concurs to form one of the most solemn, the most romantic, and the most astonishing scenes I ever beheld. Add to this the strange views made by the crags and cliffs on the other hand, the cascades that in many places throw themselves from the very summit down into the vale and the river below, and many other particulars impossible to describe, you will conclude we had no occasion to repent our pains. This place St Bruno chose to retire to, and upon its very top founded the aforesaid convent, which is the superior of the whole order. When we came there, the two fathers who are commissioned to entertain strangers (for the rest must neither speak one to another, nor to any one else) received us very kindly, and set before us a repast of dried fish, eggs, butter, and fruits, all excellent in their kind, and extremely neat. They pressed us to spend the night there, and to stay some days with them; but this we could not do, so they led us about their house, which is, you must think, like a little city, for there are a hundred fathers, besides three hundred servants, that make their clothes, grind their corn, press their wine, and do everything among themselves. The whole is quite orderly and simple; nothing of finery; but the wonderful decency, and the strange situation, more than supply the place of it. In the evening we descended by the same way, passing through many clouds that were then forming themselves on the mountain's side.'

In a subsequent letter to his poetical friend West, Gray again adverts to this memorable visit: 'In our little journey up the Grande Chartreuse,' he says, I do not remember to have gone ten paces without an exclamation that there was no restraining. Not

a precipice, not a torrent, not a cliff, but is pregnant with religion and poetry. There are certain scenes that would awe an atheist into belief, without the help of other argument. One need not have a very fantastic imagination to see spirits there at noonday. You have Death perpetually before your eyes, only so far removed, as to compose the mind without frightening it.'

In turning from these exquisite fragments of description to the poetry of Gray, the difference will be found to consist chiefly in the rhyme and measure in loftiness of sentiment and vividness of expression, the prose is equal to the verse.

Hymn to Adversity.

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,
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,
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,

And from her own she learned to melt at others' wo.

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.

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,

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,

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,

Nor 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.

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; Teach me to love and to forgive; Exact my own defects to scan,

What others are, to feel, and know myself a man.

Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College.

Ye distant spires, ye antique towers,
That crown the watery glade,

Where grateful science still adores
Her Henry's* holy shade;

* King Henry VI., founder of the college.

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.

Say, Father Thames, for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly, race,
Disporting on thy margent green,

The paths of pleasure trace,
Who foremost now delight to cleave
With pliant arm thy glassy wave?
The captive linnet which inthral ?
What idle progeny succeed

To chase the rolling circle's speed,
Or urge the flying ball?

While some on earnest business bent
Their murmuring labours ply

'Gainst graver hours, that bring constraint
To sweeten liberty;

Some bold adventurers disdain
The limits of their little reign,
And unknown regions dare descry:
Still as they run, they look behind;
They hear a voice in every wind,
And snatch a fearful joy.

Gay hope is theirs, by fancy fed,

Less pleasing when possessed; The tear forgot as soon as shed,

The sunshine of the breast. Theirs buxom health of rosy hue, Wild wit, invention ever new, And lively cheer of vigour born;

The thoughtless day, the easy night,
The spirits pure, the slumbers light,
That fly the approach of morn.

Alas! regardless of their doom,
The little victims play;

No sense have they of ills to come,
Nor care beyond to day;
Yet see how all around 'em wait
The ministers of human fate,

And black Misfortune's baleful train.

Ah! show them where in ambush stand,
To seize their prey, the murth'rous band;
Ah, tell them they are men!

These shall the fury passions tear,
The vultures of the mind,
Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,

And shame that skulks behind;
Or pining love shall waste their youth,
Or Jealousy with rankling tooth,
That inly gnaws the secret heart;

And Envy wan, and faded Care,
Grim-visaged comfortless Despair,
And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Then whirl the wretch from high,
To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,

And grinning Infamy.

The stings of Falsehood those shall try,
And hard Unkindness' altered eye,



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