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ON THE DFATH OF MR GRAY.
By the Earl of Carlisle.
WHAT spirit's that which mounts on high,
Borne on the arms of every tuneful Muse?
His white robes flutter to the gale:
They wing their way to yonder opening sky,
In glorious state through yielding clouds they sail*
And scents of heavenly flowers on earth diffuse.
What avails the poet's art?
What avails his magic hand? Can he arrest Death's pointed dart,
Or charm to sleep his murderous band?
Well I know thee, gentle shade!
That tuneful voice, that eagle eye—
Quick bring me flowers that ne'er shall fade,
The laurel wreath that ne'er shall die;
With every honour deck his funeral bier,
For he to every Grace and every Muse was dear'
The listening Dryad, with attention still,
On tiptoe oft would near the poet steal,
To hear him sing upon the lonely hill
Of all the wonders of th' expanded vale,
The distant hamlet, and the winding stream,
The steeple shaded by the friendly yew,
Sunk in the wood the sun's departing gleam,
The grey-robed landscape stealing from the view.
♦Or wrapt in solemn thought, and pleasing woe,
O'er each low tomb he breathed his pious strain,
A lesson to the village swain,
And taught the tear of rustic grief to flow !—
* Ailudinjj to Mr. Gray's Elegy written in a Country Church-jard.
•But soon with bolder note, and wilder flight,
O'er the loud strings his rapid hand would run:
Mars hath lit his torch of war,
Ranks of heroes fill the sight!
Hark! the carnage is begun!
And see the furies through the fiery air [bcar»
O'er Cambria's frighten'd land the screams of horror
+Now, led by playful Fancy's hand, O'er the white surge he treads with printless feet,
To magic shores he flies, and fairy land, Imagination's blest retreat.
Here roses paint the crimson way,
No setting sun, eternal May.
Wild as the priestess of the Thracian fane,
When Bacchus leads the madd'ning train,
His bosom glowing with celestial iire,
To harmony he struck the golden lyre;
To harmony each hill and valley rung!
The bird of Jove, as when Apollo iung,
To melting bliss resign'd his furious soul,
With milder rage his eyes began to roll,
The heaving down his thrilling joys confest, Till by a mortal's hand subdued he sunk to rest. JO, guardian angel of our early day,
Henry, thy darling plant must bloom no more! By thee attended, pensive would he stray, [shore.
Where Thames, soft-murmuring, laves his winding Thou bad'st him raise the moralizing song,
Through life's new seas the little bark to steer; The winds are rude and high, the sailor young;
Thoughtless, he spies no furious tempest near,
Till to the poet's hand the helm you gave,
From hidden rocks an infant crew to save!
•Ye fiends who rankle in the human heart,
Delight in woe, and triumph in our tears,
Your dreadful reign:
Prepare the iron scourge, prepare the venom'd dart,
Adversity no more with lenient air appears j
The snakes that twine about her head
Again their frothy poison shed;
For who can now her whirlwind flight control,
Her threatening rage beguile?
He who could still the tempest of her soul,
And force her livid lips to smile,
To happier seats is fled!
Now seated by his Thracian sire,
At the full feast of mighty Jove
To heavenly themes attunes his lyre,
And nils with harmony the realms above t
TO THE MEMORY OF MR. GRAY.
Extracted from the third book of
MASON'S 'ENGLISH GARDEN.
CLOSED is that curious ear by death's cold hand,
That mark'd each error of my careless strain
With kind severity; to whom my muse
Still loved to whisper, what she meant to sing
In louder accent; to whose taste supreme
She first and last appeal'd, nor wish'd for praise,
Save when his smile was herald to her fame.
• Hymn to Adversity.
Yes, thou art gone; yet friendship's falt'ring tongue
Invokes thee still; and still, by fancy soothed,
Fain would she hope hor Gray attends the call.
Why then, alas' in this my fav'rite haunt.,
Place I the urn, the bust, the sculptured lyre,
Or fix this votive tablet, fair inscribed
With numbers worthy thee, for they are thine?
Why, if thou hear'st me still, these symbols sad
Of fond memorial? Ah I my pensive soul!
He hears me not, nor ever more shall hear
The theme his candour, not his taste, approved.
Oft,' smiling as in scorn/ oft would he cry,
'Why waste thy numbers on a trivial art,
That ill can mimic ev'n the humblest charms
Of all-majestic Nature V At the word
His eye would glisten, and his accents glow
With all the Poet's frenzy, * Sov'reign queen!
Jiehold, and tremble, while thou view'st her state
Throned on the heights of Skiddaw: call thy art
To build her such a throne ; that art will feel
Iio.w vain her best pretensions. Trace her march
Amid the purple crags of Borrowdale;
And try like those to pile thy range of rock
In rude tumultuous chaos. See! she mounts
Her Naiad car, and, down Lodore's dread cliff
Falls many a fathom, like the headlong bawl
My fabling fancy plunged in Conway's flood;
Yet not like him to sink in endless night:
For, on its boiling bosom, still she guides
Her buoyant shell, and leads the wave along j
Or spreads it broad, a river, or a lake,
As suits her pleasure ; will thy boldest song
E'er brace the sinews of enervate art
To such dread daring ? will it ev'n direct
Her hand to emulate those softer charms
That deck the banks of Dove, or call to birth
The bare romantic crags, and copses green,
That sidelong grace her circuit, whence the rilla,
Bright in their crystal purity, descend
To meet their sparkling queen ? around each fount
The hawthorns crowd, and knit their blossornM spray*
To keep their sources sacred. Here, even here,
Thy art, eapch active sinew stretch'd in vain,
Would perish in its pride. Far rather thou
Confess her scanty power, correct, control,
Tell her how far, nor farther, she may go I
And rein with reason's curb fantastic taste.'
Yes, I will hear thee, dear lamented shade,
And hold each dictate sacred. What remains
Unsung shall so each leading rule select
As if still guided by thy judgment sage;
While, as still modell'd to thy curious ea-r,
Flow my melodious numbers; so shall praise,
If aught of praise the verse I weave may claim,
From just posterity reward my song.
ON THE DEATH OF MR. GRAY.
FAIR are the gardens of the Aonian mount,
And sweet those blooming flow'rs
Which paint the Maiden's bow'rs;
And clear the waters of the gurgling fount!
Swift they wind through chequer'd allies;
Huddling down to th' open valleys;
Where the quick ripple in the sunbeams plays,
Turning to endless forms each glance of twinkling