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With a new elegance of form, unknown
In pain to see the whole. Thrice happy meeting!
DEATH OF LADY COVENTRY.
Written in 1760.
THE midnight clock has toll'd-and, hark! the bell
Yes-Coventry is dead. Attend the strain,
Daughters of Albion! ye that, light as air, So oft have tripp'd in her fantastic train,
With hearts as gay, and faces half as fair:
For she was fair beyond your brightest bloom;
(This envy owns, since now her bloom is fled ;) Fair as the forms that, wove in Fancy's loom, Float in light vision round the poet's head.
Whene'er with soft serenity she smil❜d,
Or caught the orient blush of quick surprise, How sweetly mutable, how brightly wild,
The liquid lustre darted from her eyes!
Each look, each motion, wak'd a new-born grace, That o'er her form its transient glory cast; Some lovelier wonder soon usurp'd the place, Chas'd by a charm still lovelier than the last.
That bell again! It tells us what she is;
On what she was, no more the strain prolong: Luxuriant fancy, pause! an hour like this Demands the tribute of a serious song.
Maria claims it from that sable bier,
Where cold and wan the slumberer rests her head; In still small whispers to reflection's ear
She breathes the solemn dictates of the dead.
O catch the awful notes, and lift them loud!
Proclaim the theme, by sage, by fool, rever'd ; Hear it, ye young, ye vain, ye great, ye proud! 'Tis Nature speaks, and Nature will be heard.
Yes; ye shall hear, and tremble as ye hear,
The mental monitor shall wake and weep!
For say, than Coventry's propitious star,
What brighter planet on your births arose?
Early to lose! While borne on busy wing,
Nor fear, while basking in the meads of spring,
Think of her fate! revere the heavenly hand
That led her hence, though soon, by steps so slow; Long at her couch Death took his patient stand, And menac'd oft, and oft withheld the blow:
To give reflection time, with lenient art
Each fond delusion from her soul to steal; Teach her from folly peaceably to part,
And wean her from a world she lov'd so well.
Say, are ye sure his mercy shall extend
Nor think the Muse, whose sober voice you hear,
Or shades with horrors what with smiles should glow.
No-she would warm you with seraphic fire,
Nor sink and slumber in your cells of clay.
Know, ye were form'd to range yon azure field,
The sting from death, the victory from the grave!
Is this the bigot's rant? Away, ye vain,
Your hopes, your fears, in doubt, in dulness steep; Go sooth your souls, in sickness, grief, or pain, With the sad solace of eternal sleep!
Yet will I praise you, triflers as ye are,
More than those preachers of your fav'rite creed, Who proudly swell the brazen throat of war, Who form the phalanx, bid the battle bleed,
Nor wish for more; who conquer but to die.
The breeze of bliss that fills your silken sail!
On pleasure's glittering stream ye gayly steer
Is it for glory? That just fate denies;
Long must the warrior moulder in his shroud, Ere from her trump the heaven-breath'd accents rise, That lift the hero from the fighting crowd!
Is it his grasp of empire to extend?
To curb the fury of insulting foes? Ambition, cease! the idle contest end : 'Tis but a kingdom thou canst win or lose.
And why must murder'd myriads lose their all, (If life be all,) why desolation lower