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ON THE BACKWARDNESS OF SPRING.
By the late Mr. Richard West.
Dear Gray, that always in
Possessest far the better part,
What mean these sudden blasts that rise
And drive the Zephyrs from the skies?
O join with mine thy tuneful lay,
And invocate the tardy May.
Come, fairest Nymph, resume thy reign !
Bring all the Graces in thy train !
With balmy breath and flowery tread,
Rise from thy soft ambrosial bed ;
Where, in elysian slumber bound,
Embow'ring myrtles veil thee round.
Awake, in all thy glories drest,
Recall the Zephyrs from the west ;
Restore the sun, revive the skies,
At mine, and Nature's call, arise !
Great Nature's self upbraids thy stay,
And misses her accustom'd May.
See ! all her works demand thy aid;
The labours of Pomona fade :
A plaint is heard from ev'ry tree;
Each budding flow'ret calls for thee;
The birds forget to love and sing;
With storms alone the forests ring.
Come, then, with Pleasure at thy side,
Diffuse thy vernal spirit wide ;
Create, where'er thou turn'st thine eye,
Peace, Plenty, Love, and Harmony:
Till ev'ry being share its part,
And Heaven and Earth be glad at heart.
ON THE DEATH OF MR. GRAY.
Me quoque Musarum studium sub nocte sileuti
Artibus assuetis solicitare solet.
ENOUGH of fabling, and th’unhallow'd haunts Of Dian' and of Delia, names profane, Since not Diana nor all Delia's train Are subjects that befit a serious song ; For who the bards among May but compare with thee, lamented Gray! Whose pensive, solemn lay, Drew all the list’ning shepherds in a ring, Well pleased to hear thee sing Thy moving notes, on sunny hill or plain, And catch new grace from thy immortal strain. O wood-hung Menaï, and ye sacred groves Of Delphi, we still venerate your names, Whose awful shades inspired the Druids' dreams. Your recess, though imagined, Fancy loves, And through these long-lost scenes delighted roves : So future bards perhaps shall sing of Thames, And as they sing shall say, 'Twas there of old where mused illustrious Gray! By Isis' banks his tuneful lays would suit To Pindar's lofty lyre, or Sappho's Lesbian lute. Oft would he sing, when the still Eve came on, Till sable Night resumed her ebon throne, And taught us, in his melancholic mood, To scorn the great, and love the wise and good; Told us, 'twas virtue never dies, And to what ills frail mankind open lies; How safe through life's tempestuous sea to steer, Where dang'rous rocks, and shelves, and whirlpools
And when fair Morn arose again to view,
A fairer landscape still he drew,
That blooms like Eden in his charming lays,
The hills and dales, and Heav'n's cerulean blue,
Brighten’d o'er all by Sol's resplendent rays.
The musky gale, in rosy vale,
And gilded clouds on azure hills,
The fragrant bow'rs, and painted flow'rs,
And tinklings of the silver rills;
The very insects, that in sunbeams play,
Turn useful monitors in his grave moral lay.
But, ah ! sad Melancholy intervenes,
And draws a cloud o'er all these shining scenes.
"Tis her, alas! we often find
The troubler of each great unbounded mind,
And, leagued with her associate Fear,
Will tremble lest the turning sphere,
And sinking earth, and reeling planets run
In dire disorder with the falling sun.
But now, great Bard, thy life of pain is o'er;
'Tis we must weep, though thou shalt grieve no more.
Through other scenes thou now dost rove,
And clothed with gladness walk'st the courts above,
And listen'st to the heavenly choir,
Hymning their God, while seraphs strike the lyre.
Safe with them in those radiant climes of bliss,
Thou now enjoy'st eternal happiness.
ON THE DEATH OF MR. GRAY.
By the Earl of Carlisle.
What spirits 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 !
+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 (bear!
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 fire,
To harmony he struck the golden lyre ;
To harmony each hill and valley rung!
The bird of Jove, as when Apollo sung, * Alluding to Mr. Gray's Elegy written in a Country Churchyard. + The Bard, a Pindaric Ode. The Progress of Poetry, a Pindaric Ode.
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.
•0, 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 ;
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 fills with harmony the realms above!
* Ode on a distant Prospect of Eton College.
Hymn to Adversity.