Thomas Gray, "The Progress of Poesy" (1754), II. i.

Man's feeble race what ills await,
Labor, and Penury, the racks of Pain,
Disease, and Sorrow's weeping train,
And Death, sad refuge from the storms of Fate!
The fond complaint, my song, disprove,
And justify the laws of Jove.
Say, has he giv'n in vain the heav'nly Muse?

Gray comments: "To compensate the real and imaginary ills of life, the Muse was given to mankind by the same Providence that sends the day, by its cheerful presence, to dispel the glooms and terrors of the night." But Providence does not simply send the Muse (Poetry); the poet calls for her as well. This call is the issue here, because it is the poem itself. The desperate scene infuses the poem as much as the poem, in its "progress," will be brought to infuse the desperate scene. The only progress here is to a tighter knot, where sorrow and ease become inseparable.

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