« PreviousContinue »
The gracious stream, that cheers the letter'd world, 192
Is not the noisy gift of Summer's noon,
Whose sudden current, from the naked root,
Washes the little soil which yet remain'd,
And only more dejects the blushing flowers :
No, 'tis the soft-descending dews at eve,
The silent treasures of the vernal year,
Indulging deep their stores, the still night long ;
Till, with returning morn, the freshen'd world
Is fragrance all, all beauty, joy, and song.
Still let me view him in the pleasing light
Of private life, where pomp forgets to glare,
And where the plain unguarded soul is seen.
There with that truest greatness he appear’d,
Which thinks not of appearing ; kindly veild
In the soft graces of the friendly scene,
Inspiring social confidence and ease.
As free the converse of the wise and good,
As joyous, disentangling every pow'r,
And breathing mix'd improvement with delight,
As when, amid the various-blossom'd Spring,
Or gentle-beaming Autumn's pensive shade,
The philosophic mind with Nature talks.
Say ye, his sons, his dear remains, with whom
The father laid superfluous state aside,
Yet rais'd your filial duty thence the more,
With friendship rais'd it, with esteem, with love
Beyond the ties of blood, -oh! speak the joy,
The pure serene, the cheerful wisdom mild,
The virtuous spirit, which his vacant hours,
In semblance of amusement, through the breast
Infus’d! And thou, O Rundle !1 lend thy strain,
Thou darling friend ! thou brother of his soul !
· Dr Rundle, late Bishop of Derry, in Ireland.
In whom the head and heart their stores unite ;
Whatever Fancy paints, Invention pours,
Judgment digests, the well-tun’d bosom feels,
Truth, natural, moral, or divine, has taught,
The Virtues dictate, or the Muses sing.
Lend me the plaint which to the lonely main,
With Memory conversing, you will pour,
As on the pebbled shore you, pensive, stray,
Where Derry's mountains a bleak crescent form,
And mid their ample round receive the waves,
That, from the frozen pole resounding, rush
Impetuous. Though from native sunshine driv’n,
Driv’n from your friends, the sunshine of the soul,
By sland 'rous zeal, and politics infirm,
Jealous of worth; yet will
Yet will you triumph in your glorious fate,
Whence Talbot's friendship glows to future times,
Intrepid, warm ; of kindred tempers born ;
Nurs’d, by experience, into slow esteem,
Calm confidence unbounded, love not blind,
And the sweet light from mingled minds disclos'd,
From mingled chymic oils as bursts the fire.
I too remember well that cheerful bowl
Which round his table flow'd. The serious there
Mix'd with the sportive, with the learn'd the plain ;
Mirth soften'd wisdom, candour temper'd mirth ;
And wit its honey lent, without the sting.
Not simple Nature's unaffected sons,
The blameless Indians, round their forest-cheer,
In sunny lawn or shady covert set,
Hold more unspotted converse : nor, of old,
Rome's awful consuls, her dictator-swains,
As on the product of their Sabine farms
They far'd, with stricter virtue fed the soul :
Nor yet in Athens, at an Attic meal,
Where Socrates presided, fairer truth,
More elegant humanity, more grace,
Wit more refin'd, or deeper science reign'd.
But far beyond the little vulgar bounds
Of family, or friends, or native land,
By just degrees, and with proportion'd flame,
Extended his benevolence : a friend
To human-kind, to parent Nature's works.
Of free access, and of engaging grace,
Such as a brother to a brother owes,
He kept an open judging ear for all,
And spread an open countenance, where smil'd
The fair effulgence of an open heart ;
While on the rich, the poor, the high, the low,
With equal ray, his ready goodness shone :
For nothing human foreign was to him.
Thus to a dread inheritance, my Lord,
And hard to be supported, you succeed :
But, kept by virtue, as by virtue gain'd,
It will, through latest time, enrich your race,
When grosser wealth shall moulder into dust,
And with their authors in oblivion sunk
Vain titles lie, the servile badges oft
Of mean submission, not the meed of worth.
True genuine honour its large patent holds
Of all mankind, through every land and age,
Of universal Reason's various sons,
And ev’n of God himself, sole perfect Judge !
Yet know, these noblest honours of the mind
On rigid terms descend : the high-plac’d heir,
Scann'd by the public eye, that, with keen gaze,
Malignant seeks out faults, cannot through life,
Amid the nameless insects of a court,
Unheeded steal; but, with his sire compar'd,
He must be glorious, or he must be scorn'd.
This truth to you, who merit well to bear
A name to Britons dear, th' officious Muse
May safely sing, and sing without reserve.
Vain were the plaint, and ignorant the tear,
That should a Talbot mourn. Ourselves, indeed,
Our country robb’d of her delight and strength,
We may lament. Yet let us, grateful, joy,
That we such virtues knew, such virtues felt,
And feel them still, teaching our views to rise
Through ever-brightening scenes of future worlds.
Be dumb, ye worst of zealots ! ye that, prone
To thoughtless dust, renounce that generous hope,
Whence every joy below its spirit draws,
And every pain its balm : a Talbot's light,
A Talbot's virtues, claim another source
Than the blind maze of undesigning blood ;
Nor, when that vital fountain plays no more,
Can they be quench'd amid the gelid stream.
Methinks I see his mounting spirit, freed
From tangling earth, regain the realms of day,
Its native country, whence, to bless mankind,
Eternal Goodness on this darksome spot
Had ray'd it down a while. Behold! approv'd
By the tremendous Judge of heav'n and earth,
And to th' Almighty Father's presence join'd,
He takes his rank, in glory and in bliss,
Amid the human worthies. Glad around
Crowd his compatriot shades, and point him out,
With joyful pride, Britannia's blameless boast.
Ah! who is he that with a fonder eye
Meets thine enraptur'd ?—'Tis the best of sons !
The best of friends !_Too soon is realiz'd
TO THE MEMORY OF THE LORD TALBOT.
That hope which once forbade thy tears to flow!
Meanwhile the kindred souls of every land
(IIowe'er divided in the fretful days
Of prejudice and error), mingled now
In one selected, never-jarring state,
Where God himself their only Monarch reigns,
Partake the joy ; yet, such the sense that still
Remains of earthly woes, for us below,
And for our loss, they drop a pitying tear.
But cease, presumptuous Muse, nor vainly strive
To quit this cloudy sphere that binds thee down :
"Tis not for mortal hand to trace these scenes,
Scenes that our gross ideas grovelling cast
Behind, and strike our boldest language dumb.
Forgive, immortal shade! if aught from earth,
From dust, low-warbled, to those groves can rise
Where flows celestial harmony, forgive
This fond superfluous verse. With deep-felt voice,
On every heart impress'd, thy deeds themselves
Attest thy praise. Thy praise the widow's sighs,
And orphan's tears embalm. The good, the bad,
The sons of justice and the sons of strife,
All who or freedom or who interest prize,
A deep-divided nation's parties all,
Conspire to swell thy spotless praise to Heaven.
Glad Heaven receives it, and seraphic lyres
With songs of triumph thy arrival hail.
How vain this tribute, then ! this lowly lay!
Yet naught is vain which Gratitude inspires.
The Muse, besides, her duty thus approves
To Virtue, to her country, to mankind,
To ruling Nature, that, in glorious charge,
As to her priestess, gives it her, to hymn
Whatever good and excellent she forms.