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The mother, lovely, though with grief opprest,
Reclined his dying head upon her breast.
The mournful family stood all around;
One groan was heard, one universal sound :
All were in foods of tears and endless sorrow drowned.
So dire a sadness sate on every look,
Even Death repented he had given the stroke.
He grieved his fatal work had been ordained,
But promised length of life to those who yet remained.
The mother's and her eldest daughter's grace,
It seems, had bribed him to prolong their space.
The father bore it with undaunted soul,
Like one who durst his destiny control;
Yet with becoming grief he bore his part,
Resigned his son, but not resigned his heart.
Patient as Job; and may he live to see,
Like him, a new increasing family!
Such is my wish, and such my prophecy;
For yet, my friend, the beautious mould remains ;
Long may she exercise her fruitful pains !
But, ah! with better hap, and bring a race
More lasting, and endued with equal grace!
Equal she may, but farther none can go;
For he was all that was exact below.
Damon, behold yon breaking purple cloud;
Hearst thou not hymns and songs divinely loud ?
There mounts Amyntas; the young cherubs play
About their godlike niate, and sing him on his way.
He cleaves the liquid air; behold, he flies,
And every moment gains upon the skies.
The new come guest admires the etherial state,
The sapphire portal, and the golden gate ;
And now admitted in the shining throng,
He shows the passport which he brought along.
His passport is his innocence and grace,
Well known to all the natives of the place.
Now sing, ye joyful angels, and admire
Your brother's voice that comes to mend your quire;
Sing you, while endless tears our eyes bestow ;
For like Amyntas none is left below.
ON THE DEATH OF A VERY YOUNG GENTLEMAN.*
He who could view the book of destiny,
And read whatever there was writ of thee,
O charming youth, in the first opening page,
So many graces in so green an age,
Such wit, such modesty, such strength of mind,
A soul at once so manly and so kind,
Would wonder, when he turned the volume o'er,
And after some few leaves should find no more,
Nought but a blank remain, a dead void space,
A step of life that promised such a race. +
We must not, dare not think, that Heaven began
A child, and could not finish him a man;
Reflecting what a mighty store was laid
Of rich materials, and a model made :
The cost already furnished ; so bestowed,
As more was never to one soul allowed :
Yet after this profusion spent in vain,
Nothing but mouldering ashes to remain,
I guess not, lest I split upon the shelf,
Yet, durst I guess, Heaven kept it for himself,
And giving us the use, did soon recall,
Ere we could spare, the mighty principal.
Thus then he disappeared, was rarified,
For 'tis improper speech to say he died :
He was exhaled ; # his great Creator drew
His spirit, as the sun the morning dew.
'Tis sin produces death; and he had none,
But the taint Adam left on every son.
He added not, he was so pure, so good,
'Twas but the original forfeit of his blood;
And that so little, that the river ran
More clear than the corrupted fount began.
* The history of this poem, as of the preceding one, is unknown. It was first published with the preceding, and with the epitaph on young Mr. Rogers," which follows, in the fifth volume of the “Miscellany Poems," in 1704, after Dryden's death. The resemblance of some passages to passages in "Eleonora" might lead to the inference that it was written about the same time as that poem. + Compare in "Eleonora," 291-6:
“ Her fellow saints with busy care will look
For her blest name in Fate's eternal book ;
And, pleased to be outdone, with joy will see
Numberless virtues, endless charity :
But more will wonder at so short an age
To find a blank beyond the thirtieth page." 1 Compare in "Eleonora," 303-5 :
* So was she soon exhaled, and vanished hence,
A short sweet odour, of a vast expense.
She vanished, we can scarcely say she died."
Nothing remained of the first muddy clay;
The length of course had washed it in the way:
So deep, and yet so clear, we might behold
The gravel bottom, and that bottom gold.
As such we loved, admired, almost adored,
Gave all the tribute mortals could afford.
Perhaps we gave so much, the powers above
Grew angry at our superstitious love ;
For when we more than human homage pay,
The charming cause is justly snatched away.
Thus was the crime not his, but ours alone;
And yet we murmur that he went so soon,
Though miracles are short and rarely shown.
Hear then, ye mournful parents, and divide
That love in many which in one was tied.
That individual blessing is no more,
But multiplied in your remaining store.
The flame's dispersed, but does not all expire :
The sparkles blaze, though not the globe of fire.
Love him by parts in all your numerous race,
And from those parts form one collected grace;
Then, when you have refined to that degree,
Imagine all in one and think that one is He.
OF gentle blood, his parents' only treasure,
Their lasting sorrow and their vanished pleasure,
Adorned with features, virtues, wit, and grace,
A large provision for so short a race:
More moderate gifts might have prolonged his date,
Too early fitted for a better state :
But, knowing Heaven his home, to shun delay
He leaped o'er age and took the shortest way.
OF BARNINGHAM, IN NORFOLK.*
So fair, so young, so innocent, so sweet,
So ripe a judgment, and so rare a wit,
Require at least an age in one to meet.
In her they met ; but long they could not stay,
'Twas gold too fine to fixt without allay.
Heaven's image was in her so well exprest,
Her very sight upbraided all the rest;
Too justly ravished from an age like this,
Now she is gone, the world is of a piece.
SONGS, ODES, AND LYRICAL PIECES.