« ПредишнаНапред »
What mourner ever felt poetic fires !
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 mansion 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-robed prelate paid,
And the last words that dust to dust conveyed!
While, speechless, o'er thy closing grave we bend,
Accept those tears, thou dear departed friend.
Oh, gone for ever! take this long adieu,
And sleep in peace, next thy loved 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 loved memorial part,
May shame afflict this alienated heart:
Of thee forgetful if I form a song,
My lyre be broken, and untuned my tongue:
My grief be doubled from thy image free,
And mirth a torment unchastised by thee.
Oh, let me range the gloomy aisles alone; Sad luxury! to vulgar minds unknown, Along the walls where speaking marbles show, What worthies form the hallowed mould below; Proud names, who once the reins of empire held: In arms who triumphed, or in arts excelled; Chiefs, graced with scars, or prodigal of blood : Stern patriots, who for sacred freedom stood; Just men, by whom impartial laws were given, And saints who taught, and led, the way to heaven; 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 conveyed A fairer spirit, or more welcome shade. In what new region to the just assigned 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, mixed with milder cherubim, to glow.
In hymns of love, not ill assayed below?
Or dost thou warn poor mortals left behind ?
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 loved, and still deplored by me,
In nightly visions seldom fails to rise,
Or, roused by fancy, meets my waking eyes.
If business calls, or crowded courts invite,
The unblemished statesman seems to strike my sight;
If in the stage I seek to sooth my care,
I meet his soul which breathes in Cato' there;
If pensive to the rural shades I
His shape o’ertakes me in the lonely grove;
'Twas there of just and good he reasoned strong,
Cleared some great truth, or raised some serious song:
There patient showed us the wide course to steer,
A candid censor, and a friend severe;
Then taught us how too live; and (oh! too high
The price for knowledge,) taught us how to die.
Thou hill, whose brow the antique structures grace, Reared by bold chiefs of Warwick's noble race; Why, once so loved, 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 noon-tide shadow, and thy evening breeze! His image thy forsaken bowers restore: Thy walks and airy prospects charm no more; No more the summer in thy glooms allayed, Thy evening breezes, and thy noon-tide shade.
From other ills, however fortune frowned,
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, murmured o'er his urn,
Betray that absence they attempt to mourn.
Oh! must I then, (now fresh my bosom bleeds,
And Craggg3 in death to Addison succeeds,)
The verse, begun to one lost friend prolong,
And weep a second in the unfinished song?
These works divine, which on his death-bed laid
To thee, O Craggs! the expiring sage conveyed:
Great, but ill-omened, monument of fame,
Nor he survived to give, nor thou to claim.
Swift after him thy social spirit flies,
And close to his, how soon! thy coffin lies.
Blessed pair; whose union future bards shall tell
In future tongues, each other's boast! farewell.
Farewell! whom joined in fame, in friendship tried,
No chance can sever, nor the grave divide.
Was born at Edinburgh, A.D. 1699. He died A.D. 1746. Blair's chief poem is The Grave, which contains many splendid passages, mixed with others of very inferior merit.
Invidious Grave! how dost thou rend in sunder
Whom love has knit and sympathy made one?
A tie more stubborn far than nature's band.
Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul!
Sweet' ner of life, and solder of society.
I owe thee much. Thou hast deserved from me
Far, far beyond what I can ever pay.
Oft have I proved the labours of thy love,
And the warm efforts of the gentle heart,
Anxious to please. Oh! when my friend and I
In some thick wood have wandered heedless on,
Hid from the vulgar eye, and sat us down
Upon the sloping cowslip-covered bank,
Where the pure limpid stream has slid along,
In grateful errors through the underwood
Sweet murmuring; methought the shrill-tongued thrush
Mended his song of love: the sooty blackbird
Mellowed his pipe, and softened every note;
The eglantine smelled sweeter, and the rose
Assumed a dye more deep; whilst every flower
Vied with its fellow-plant in luxury
Of dress. Oh! then the longest summer's day
Seemed too, too much in haste: still the full heart
Had not imparted half: 'twas happiness
Too exquisite to last. Of joys departed,
Not to return,-how painful the remembrance!
Dull grave,—thou spoilest the dance of youthful blood,
Strikest out the dimple from the cheek of mirth,
And every smirking feature from the face;
Branding our laughter with the name of madness.
Where are the jesters now? the man of health
Complexionally pleasant? Where the droll,
Whose every look and gesture was a joke
To clapping theatres and shouting crowds,
And made e'en thick-lipped musing melancholy
To gather up her face into a smile
Before she was aware? Ah! sullen now,
And dumb as the green turf that covers them.
Where are the mighty thunderbolts of war?
The Roman Cæsars', and the Grecian chiefs,
The boast of story? Where the hot-brained youth,
Who the tiara, at his pleasure, tore
From kings of all the then discovered globe;
And cried, forsooth, because his arm was hampered,
And had not room enough to do its work?
Alas! how slim, dishonourably slim,
And crammed into a space we blush to name!
Proud royalty! how altered in thy looks!
How blank thy features, and how wan thy hue!
Son of the morning! whither art thou gone?
Where hast thou hid thy many-spangled head,
And the majestic menace of thine eyes,
Felt from afar? Pliant and powerless now,
Like new-born infant bound up in his swathes!
Or victim, tumbled flat upon his back,
That throbs beneath the sacrificer's knife.
Mute must thou bear the strife of little tongues.
And coward insults of the base-born crowd,
That grudge a privilege thou never hadst,
But only hoped for in the peaceful grave,
Of being unmolested and alone.
Arabia's gums and odoriferous drugs,
And honours by the herald duly paid
In mode and form, even to a very scruple;
Oh, cruel irony! these come too late;
And only mock whom they were meant to honour.
Surely, there's not a dungeon slave that's buried
In the highway, unshrouded and uncoffined,
But lies as soft, and sleeps as sound as he.
Sorry pre-eminence of high descent,
Above the baser-born, to rot in state.
How shocking must thy summons be, O Death!
To him that is at ease in his possessions;
Who, counting on long years of pleasure here,
Is quite unfurnished for that world to come!
In that dread moment, how the frantic soul
Raves round the walls of her clay tenement,
Runs to each avenue, and shrieks for help,
But shrieks in vain! How wishfully she looks
On all she's leaving, now no longer hers!
A little longer, yet a little longer,
Oh, might she stay to wash away her stains,
And fit her for her passage! Mournful sight!
Her very eyes weep blood: and every groan
She heaves is big with horror ; but the foe,
Like a staunch murderer, steady to his purpose,
Pursues her close through every lane of life,
Nor misses once the track, but presses on;
Till forced at last to the tremendous verge,
At once she sinks to everlasting ruin.
Sure, 'tis a serious thing to die, my soul !
What a strange moment must it be, when near
Thy journey's end, thou hast the gulf in view!
That awful gulf, no mortal e'er repassed
To tell what's doing on the other side.
Nature runs back, and shudders at the sight,
And every lifestring bleeds at thoughts of parting !
For part they must: body and soul must part:
Fond couple; linked more close than wedded pair.
This wings its way to its Almighty source,
The witness of its actions, nor its Judge;