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To the Right Hon. the Earl of Warwick, on the - Death of Mr. Addison.
IF, dumb too long the drooping Muse hath stay’d,
And left her debt to Addison unpaid,
Blame not her silence, Warwick but bemoan,
And judge, oh judge my bosom, by your own |
What mourner ever felt poetic fires 2
Slow comes the verse that real woe inspires;
Grief unaffected suits but ill with art,
Or flowing numbers with a bleeding heart.
Can I forget the dismal night that gave
My soul's best part for ever to the grave
How silent did his old companions tread,
By midnight lamps, the mansions of the dead,
Through breathing statues, then unheeded things,
Through rows of warriors and through walks of kings!
What awe did the slow solemn knell inspire,
The pealing organ and the pausing choir,
The duties by the lawn-rob’d prelate paid,
And the last words that dust to dust convey'd
While speechless o'er thy closing grave we bend,
Accept these tears, thou dear departed friend
Oh, gone for ever ! take this long adieu,
And sleep in peace next thy lov'd Montague.
To strew fresh laurels let the task be mine,
A frequent pilgrim at thy sacred shrine ;
Mine with true sighs thy absence to bemoan,
And grave with faithful epitaphs thy stone.
If e'er from me thy lov'd memorial part,
May shame afflict this alienated heart 1
Of thee forgetful if I form a song,
My lyre be broken, and untun'd my tongue;
My grief be doubled, from thy image free,
And mirth a tornment, unchastis'd by thee!
Oft let me range the gloomy aisles alone,
Sad luxury to vulgar minds unknown;
Along the wails where speaking marbles show • What worthies form the hallow'd mould below: Proud names! who once the reins of empire held, In arms who triumph'd, or in arts excell’d; Chiefs, grac'd with scars and prodigal of blood, Stern patriots, who for sacred freedom stood, Just men, by whom impartial laws were giv'n, And saints, who taught and led the way to Heav'n' Ne'er to these chambers, where the mighty rest, Since their foundation came a nobler guest, Nor e'er was to the bowers of bliss convey’d . A fairer spirit, or more welcome shade. In what new region to the just assign'd, What new employments please the unbodied mind? A winged Virtue through the ethereal sky From world to world unwearied does he fly, Or curious trace the long laborious maze Of Heaven's decrees where wondering angels gaze? Does he delight to hear bold seraphs tell How Michael battled, and the dragon fell; Or, mix'd with milder cherubim, to glow In hymns of love, not ill essay’d below 2 Or dost thou warn poor mortals left behind 2 A task well suited to thy gentle mind. Oh if sometimes thy spotless form descend, To me thy aid, thou guardian Genius! lend. When rage misguides me, or when fear alarms, When pain distresses, or when pleasure charms, In silent whisperings purer thoughts impart, And turn from ill a frail and feeble heart; Lead through the paths thy virtue trod before, Till bliss shall join nor death can part us more. That awful form which, so the Heavens decree, Must still be lov’d and still deplored by me, In nightly visions seldom fails to rise, Or, rous’d by fancy, meets my waking eyes. If business calls, or crowded courts invite, The unblemish'd statesman seems to strike my sight; If in the stage I seek to soothe my care, I meet his soul, which breathes in Cato, there;
If pensive to the rural shades I rove,
IHis shape o'ertakes me in the lonely grove ;
"Twas there of just and good he reason'd strong,
Clear'd some great truth, or rais’d some serious song;
There patient show'd us the wise course to steer,
A candid censor and a friend sincere;
There taught us how to live, and (oh too high
The price for knowledge) taught us how to die.
Thou Hill! whose brow the antique structures grace,
Rear'd by bold chiefs of Warwick's noble race,
Why, once so lov’d, whene'er thy bower appears,
O'er my dim eye-balls glance the sudden tears!
How sweet were once thy prospects, fresh and fair, ,
Thy sloping walks and unpolluted air!
How sweet the glooms beneath thy aged trees,
Thy noontide, shadow and thy evening breeze 1
His image thy forsaken bowers restore,
Thy walks and airy prospects charm no more ;
INo more the summer, in thy glooms allay’d,
Thy evening breezes and thy noonday shade.
From other ills, however Fortune frown'd,
Some refuge in the Muse's art I found;
Reluctant now. I touch the trembling string,
Bereft of him who taught me how to sing;
And these sad accents, murmur'd o'er his urn,
Betray that absence they attempt to mourn.
O ! must I then (now fresh my bosom bleeds,
And Craggs, in death, to Addison succeeds)
The verse begun to one lost friend prolong,
And weep a second in the unfinish’d song
These works divine which on his death-bed laid
To thee, O Craggs the expiring Sage convey'd,
Great but ill-omen'd monument of fame,
Nor he surviv'd to give, nor thou to claim:
Swift after him thy social spirit flies,
And close to his, how soon! thy coffin lies.
Blest pair whose union future bards shall tell
In future tongues: each other's boast, farewell
Farewell! whom join’d in fame, in friendship tried,
No chance could sever, nor the grave divide.
COLIN AND LUCY.
OF Leinster, fam'd for maidens fair,
Bright Lucy was the grace,
Nor e'er did Liffy's limpid stream
Reflect so sweet a face;
Till luckless love and pining care
Impair’d her rosy hue,
Her coral lips and damask cheeks,
And eyes of glossy blue.
Oh! have you seen a lily pale
When beating rains descend?
So droop'd the slow-consuming maid,
Her life now near its end.
Three times all in the dead of night A bell was heard to ring,
And, shrieking at her window thrice, The raven flapp'd his wing.
Too well the lovelorn maiden knew
The solemn boding sound,
And thus in dying words bespoke
The virgins weeping round:
“I hear a voice you cannot hear,
Which says, I must not stay;
I see a hand you cannot see,
Which beckons me away.
“By a false heart and broken vows,
In early youth I die.
Was I to blame because his bride
Was thrice as rich as I?
* To-morrow in the church to wed Impatient both prepare;
But know, fond maid! and know, false man! That Lucy will be there.
• Then bear my corse, my comrades, bear,
This bridegroom blithe to meet, *
He in his wedding-trim so gay,
I in my winding-sheet.’
She spoke; she died. Her corse was borne
The bridegroom blithe to meet,
He in his wedding-trim so gay,
She in her winding-sheet.
Then what were perjur’d Colin's thoughts?
How were these nuptials kept 2
The bridesmen flock'd round Lucy dead,
And all the village wept.
Confusion, shame, remorse, depair,
At once his bosom swell;
The damps of death bedev'd his brow,
He shook, he groan'd, he fell.
From the vain bride, ah! bride no more
The varying crimson fled,
When stretch'd before her rival's corse
She saw her husband dead.
Then to his Lucy's new-made grave Convey'd by trembling swains,
one mould with her, beneath one sod, For ever he remains.
oft at this grave the constant hind
And plighted maid are seen ;
With garlands grey and truelove-knots
They deck the sacred green.