Page images
PDF
EPUB

Say, my Urania, how the western Sun
Broke from black clouds, and in full glory shone
Gilding the roof, then dropp'd into the sea,
And sudden night devour'd the sweet remains of
day:

Thus the bright youth just rear'd his shining head
From obscure shades of life, and sunk among the
The rising Sun adorn'd with all his light [dead.
Smiles on these walls again: but endless Night
Reigns uncontrol'd where the dear Gunston lies;
He's set for ever, and must never rise,
Then why these beams, unseasonable star,
These lightsome smiles descending from afar,
To greet a mourning house? In vain the day
Breaks through the windows with a joyful ray,
And marks a shining path along the floors,
Bounding the evening and the morning hours;
In vain it bounds them: while vast emptiness
And hollow silence reign through all the place,
Nor heed the cheerful change of Nature's face.
Yet Nature's wheels will on without control,
The Sun will rise, the tuneful spheres will roll,
And the two mighty Bears walk round and watch
the pole.

See while I speak, high on her sable wheel
Old Night advancing climbs the eastern hill :
Troops of dark clouds prepare her way; behold
How their brown pinions edg'd with evening gold
Spread shadowing o'er the house, and glide away,
Slowly pursuing the declining day;

O'er the broad roof they fly their circuit still, Thus days before they did, and days to come they will;

But the black cloud that shadows o'er his eyes,
Hangs there unmoveable, and never flies:
Fain would I bid the envious gloom be gone;
Ah fruitless wish! how are his curtains drawn
For a long evening that despairs the dawn!

Muse, view the turret: just beneath the skies
Lonesome it stands, and fixes my sad eyes,
As it would ask a tear. O sacred seat,
Sacred to Friendship! O divine retreat!
Here did I hope my happy hours t' employ,
And fed before-hand on the promis'd joy,
When weary of the noisy town, my friend
From mortal cares retiring, should ascend
And lead me thither. We alone would sit
Free and secure of all intruding feet: [rise,
Our thoughts would stretch their longest wings, and
Nor bound their soarings by the lower skies:
Our tongues should aim at everlasting themes,
And speak what mortals dare, of all the names
Of boundless joys and glories, thrones and seats
Built high in Heaven for souls: we'd trace the
streets

Of golden pavement, walk each blissful field,
And climb and taste the fruits the spicy moun-

tains yield;

Then would we swear to keep the sacred road,
And walk right upwards to that blest abode :
We'd charge our parting spirits there to meet,
There hand in hand approach th' Almighty seat,
And bend our heads adoring at our Maker's feet.
Thus should we mount on bold adventurous
wings

In high discourse, and dwell on heavenly things,
While the pleas'd hours in sweet succession move,
And minutes measur'd as they are above,
By ever-circling joys and ever-shining love.

Anon our thoughts should lower their lofty flight,
Sink by degrees, and take a pleasing sight,
A large round prospect of the spreading plain,
The wealthy river and his winding train,
The smoky city and the busy men.
How we should smile to see degenerate worms
Lavish their lives, and fight for airy forms
Of painted Honour, dreams of empty sound,
Till Envy rise, and shoot a second wound
At swelling Glory: straight the bubble breaks,
And the scenes vanish, as the man awakes;
Then the tall titles insolent and proud
Sink to the dust, and mingle with the crowd.

Man is a restless thing: still vain and wild,
Lives beyond sixty, nor outgrows the child:
His hurrying lusts still break the sacred bound
To seek new pleasures on forbidden ground,
And buy them all too dear. Unthinking fool,
For a short dying joy to sell a deathless soul!
"Tis but a grain of sweetness they can sow,
And reap the long sad harvest of immortal woe.
Another tribe toil in a different strife,
And banish all the lawful sweets of life,
To sweat and dig for gold, to hoard the ore,
Hide the dear dust yet darker than before,
And never dare to use a grain of all the store.

Happy the man that knows the value just
Of earthly things, nor is enslav'd to dust.
'Tis a rich gift the skies but rarely send
To favourite souls. Then happy thou, my friend,
For thou hadst learnt to manage and command
The wealth that Heaven bestow'd with liberal hand:
Hence this fair structure rose; and hence this seat
Made to invite my not unwilling feet:
In vain 'twas made! for we shall never meet,
And smile, and love, and bless each other here:
The envious Tomb forbids thy face t' appear,
Detains thee, Gunston, from my longing eyes,
And all my hopes lie buried, where my Gunston
lies.

Come hither, all ye tenderest souls, that know The heights of fondness and the depths of woe; Young mothers, who your darling babes have found

Untimely murder'd with a ghastly wound;
Ye frighted nymphs, who on the bridal bed
Clasp'd in your arms your lovers cold and dead;
Come, in the pomp of all your wild despair,
With flowing eye-lids and disorder'd hair,
Death in your looks; come, mingle grief with me,
And drown your little streams in my unbounded

sea.

You sacred mourners of a nobler mould, Born for a friend, whose dear embraces hold Beyond all Nature's ties; you that have known Two happy souls made intimately one, And felt a parting stroke: 'tis you must tell The smart, the twinges, and the racks 1 feel: This soul of mine that dreadful wound has borne, Off from its side its dearest half is torn, The rest lies bleeding, and but lives to mourn. Oh infinite distress! such raging grief Should command pity, and despair relief. Passion, methinks, should rise from all my groans, Give sense to rocks, and sympathy to stones.

Ye dusky woods and echoing hills around, Repeat my cries with a perpetual sound:

Be, all ye flowery vales, with thorns o'ergrown,
Assist my sorrows, and declare your own;
Alas! your lord is dead. The humble plain
Must ne'er receive his courteous feet again:
Mourn, ye gay smiling meadows, and be seen
In wintery robes, instead of youthful green;
And bid the brook, that still runs warbling by,
Move silent on, and weep his useless channel dry.
Hither, methinks, the lowing herd should come,
And moaning turtles murmur o'er his tomb:
The oak shall wither, and the curling vine
Weep his young life out, while his arms untwine
Their amorous folds, and mix his bleeding soul
with mine.

Ye stately elms, in your long order mourn2;
Strip off your pride, to dress your master's urn:
Here gently drop your leaves instead of tears:
Ye elms, the reverend growth of ancient years,
Stand tall and naked to the blust'ring rage
Of the mad winds; thus it becomes your age
To show your sorrows. Often ye have seen
Our heads reclin'd upon the rising green;
Beneath your sacred shade diffus'd we lay,
Here Friendship reign'd with an unbounded sway;
Hither our souls their constant offerings brought,
The burthens of the breast, and labours of the
thought;

Our opening bosoms on the conscious ground
Spread all the sorrows and the joys we found,
And mingled every care; nor was it known
Which of the pains and pleasures were our own;
Then with an equal hand and honest soul
We share the heap, yet both possess the whole,
And all the passions there through both our bo-
soms roll.

By turns we comfort, and by turns complain,
And bear and ease by turns the sympathy of pain.
Friendship! mysterious thing, what magic powers
Support thy sway, and charm these minds of ours?
Bound to thy foot we boast our birth-right still,
And dream of freedom, when we've lost our will,
And chang'd away our souls: at thy command,
We snatch new miseries from a foreign hand,
To call them ours; and, thoughtless of our case,
Plague the dear self that we were born to please.
Thou tyranness of minds, whose cruel throne
Heaps on poor mortals sorrows not their own;
As though our mother Nature could no more
Find woes sufficient for each son she bore,
Friendship divides the shares, and lengthens out

the store.

Yet we are fond of thine imperious reign,
Proud of thy slavery, wanton in our pain,

And chide the courteous hand when Death dissolves the chain.

Virtue, forgive the thought! the raving Muse, Wild and despairing, knows not what she does, Grows mad in grief, and in her savage hours Affronts the name she loves and she adores. She is thy votaress too; and at thy shrine, O sacred Friendship! offer'd songs divine While Gunston liv'd, and both our souls were thine. Here to these shades at solemn hours we came, To pay devotion with a mutual flame,

"There was a long row of tall elms then standing where some years after the lower garden was Made.

Partners in bliss. Sweet luxury of the mind!
And sweet the aids of sense! Each ruder wind
Slept in its caverns, while an evening breeze
Fann'd the leaves gently, sporting through the trees:
The linnet and the lark their vespers sung,
And clouds of crimson o'er th' horizon hung;
The slow-declining Sun with sloping wheels
Sunk down the golden day behind the western hills,

Mourn, then, ye gardens, ye unfinish'd gates,
Ye green enclosures, and ye growing sweets,
Lament; for ye our midnight hours have knowIL,
And watch'd us walking by the silent Moon
In conference divine, while heavenly fire
Kindling our breasts did all our thoughts inspire
With joys almost immortal; then our zeal
Blaz'd and burnt high to reach th' ethereal hill,
And love refin'd, like that above the poles,
Threw both our arms round one another's souls
In rapture and embraces. Oh forbear,
Forbear, my song! this is too much to hear,
Too dreadful to repeat; such joys as these
Fled from the Earth for ever!-

Oh for a general grief! Let all things share
Our woes, that knew our loves: the neighbouring air
Let it be laden with immortal sighs,

And tell the gales, that every breath that flies
Over these fields should murmur and complain,
And kiss the fading grass, and propagate the pain.
Weep, all ye buildings, and, the groves around,
For ever weep: this is an endless wound,
Vast and incurable. Ye buildings knew
His silver tongue, ye groves have heard it too:
At that dear sound no more shall ye rejoice,
And I no more must hear the charming voice:
Woe to my drooping soul! that heavenly breath,
That could speak life, lies now congeal'd in death;
While on his folded lips all cold and pale
Eternal chains and heavy silence dwell.

Yet my fond hope would hear him speak again,
Once more at least, one gentle word, and then
Gunston aloud I call. In vain I cry
Gunston aloud; for he must ne'er reply.
In vain I mourn, and drop these funeral tears,
Death and the Grave have neither eyes nor ears:
Wandering I tune my sorrows to the groves,
And vent my swelling griefs, and tell the winds
our loves;

While the dear youth sleeps fast, and hears them not;

He hath forgot me: in the lonesome vault,
Mindless of Watts and Friendship, cold he lies,
Deaf and unthinking clay.-

But whither am I led? This artless grief
Hurries the Muse on, obstinate and deaf
To all the nicer rules, and bears her down
From the tall fabric to the neighbouring ground:
The pleasing hours, the happy moments past
In these sweet fields, reviving on my taste,
Snatch me away resistless with impetuous haste.
And reach the turret thou hast left so long:
Spread thy strong pinions once again, my song,
O'er the wide roof its lofty head it rears,
Long waiting our converse; but only hears
The noisy tumults of the realms on high;
The winds salute it whistling as they fly,
Or jarring round the windows; rattling showers
Lash the fair sides; above, loud thunder roars,

TO THE MEMORY OF

But still the master sleeps; nor hears the voice Of sacred Friendship, nor the tempest's noise : An iron slumber sits on every sense,

[thence. In vain the heavenly thunders strive to rouse it

One labour more, my Muse, the golden sphere
Seems to demand. See through the dusky air
Downward it shines upon the rising Moon;
And, as she labours up to reach her noon,
Pursues her orb with repercussive light,

And streaming gold repays the paler beams of night:
But not one ray can reach the darksome grave,
Or pierce the solid gloom that fills the cave
Where Gunston dwells in death. Behold it flames
Like some new meteor with diffusive beams
Through the mid-heaven, and overcomes the stars;
"So shines thy Gunston's soul above the spheres,"
Raphael replies, and wipes away my tears.
"We saw the flesh sink down with closing eyes,
We heard thy grief shriek out, He dies, He dies.
Mistaken grief! to call the flesh the friend!
On our fair wings did the bright youth ascend,
All Heaven embrac'd him with immortal love,
And sung his welcome to the courts above.
Gentle Ithuriel led him round the skies,
The buildings struck him with immense surprise;
The spires all radiant and the mansions bright,
The roof high-vaulted with ethereal light:
Beauty and strength on the tall bulwarks sate
In heavenly diamond; and for every gate
On golden hinges a broad ruby turns,
Guards off the foe, and as it moves it burns;
Millions of glories reign through every part;
Infinite power, and uncreated art,

Stand here display'd, and to the stranger show
How it outshines the noblest seats below.
The stranger fed his gazing powers awhile
Transported: then, with a regardless smile,
Glanc'd his eye downward through the crystal floor,
And took eternal leave of what he built before."

Now, fair Urania, leave the doleful strain;
Raphael commands: assume thy joys again.
In everlasting numbers sing, and say,

"Gunston has mov'd his dwelling to the realms of day;

Gunston the friend lives still: and give thy groans away."

1

AN ELEGY ON MR. THOMAS GOUGE.

TO MR. ARThur shallet, MERCHANT.

WORTHY SIR,

THE subject of the following elegy was high in your esteem, and enjoyed a large share of your affec tions. Scarce doth his memory need the assistance of the Muse to make it perpetual; but when she can at once pay her honours to the venerable dead, and by this address acknowledge the favours she bas received from the living, it is a double pleasure to,

sir,

your obliged humble servant,

I. WATTS.

THE REVEREND MR. THOMAS GOUGE, Who died Jan. 8th, 1699-1700,

Ye virgin souls, whose sweet complaint Could teach Euphrates not to flow, Could Sion's ruin so divinely paint, Array'd in beauty and in woe: Awake, ye virgin souls, to mourn, And with your tuneful sorrows dress a prophet's O could my lips or flowing eyes

[urn.

But imitate such charming grief,
I'd teach the seas, and teach the skies,
Wailings, and sobs, and sympathies:
Nor should the stones or rocks be deaf;
Rocks shall have eyes, and stones have ears,
While Gouge's death is mourn'd in melody and
tears.

Heaven was impatient of our crimes,
And sent his minister of Death

To scourge the bold rebellion of the times,
And to demand our prophet's breath;

He came commission'd for the Fates
Of awful Mead, and charming Bates;

There he essay'd the vengeance first, [to dust.
Then took a dismal aim, and brought great Gouge
Great Gouge to dust! how doleful is the sound!
How vast the stroke is! and how wide the wound!
O painful stroke distressing death!
A wound unmeasurably wide;

No vulgar mortal died

When he resign'd his breath.
The Muse that mourns a nation's fall
Should wait at Gouge's funeral,

Should mingle majesty and groans,
Such as she sings to sinking thrones,
And in deep-sounding numbers tell,
How Sion trembled when this pillar fell.
Sion grows weak, and England poor,
Nature herself with all her store
Can furnish such a pomp for Death no more.
The reverend man let all things mourn;
Sure he was some ethereal mind,
Fated in flesh to be confin'd,

And order'd to be born.

His soul was of th' angelic frame,

The same ingredients, and the mould the same,
When the Creator makes a minister of flame;
He was all form'd of heavenly things;
Mortals, believe what my Urania sings,
For she has seen him rise upon his flamy wings.

How would he mount, how would he fly
Up through the ocean of the sky,

Tow'rd the celestial coast!
With what amazing swiftness soar,
Till Earth's dark ball was seen no more,
And all its mountains lost!

Scarce could the Muse pursue him with her sight:
But, angels, you can tell,

For oft you meet his wondrous flight,
And knew the stranger well;
Say, how be pass'd the radiant spheres,
And visited your happy seats,

1 Fsal. 137. Lament. i. 2, 3

FOL. XIIL

And trac'd the well-known turnings of the golden
And walk'd among the stars.
[streets,

[wheels

Tell how he climb'd the everlasting hills,
Surveying all the realms above,
Borne on a strong-wing'd Faith, and on the fiery
Of an immortal Love.

'T was there he took a glorious sight Of the inheritance of saints in light,

And read their title in their Saviour's right.
How oft the humble scholar came,
And to your songs he rais'd his ears

To learn th' unutterable name,

To view th' eternal base that bears

The new creation's frame.

The countenance of God he saw,

Full of mercy, full of awe,

The glories of his power, and glories of his grace:
There he beheld the wondrous springs

Of those celestial sacred things,

The peaceful gospel, and the fiery law

In that majestic face.

That face did all his gazing powers employ,

With most profound abasement and exalted joy,
The rolls of Fate were half unseal'd,

He stood adoring by;
The volume open'd to his eye,
And sweet intelligence he held

With all his shining kindred of the sky.

Ye seraphs, that surround the throne,
Tell how his name was through the palace known,
How warm his zeal was, and how like your own:
Speak it aloud, let half the nation hear,

And bold blasphemers shrink and fear 2:
Impudent tongues! to blast a prophet's name!
The poison sure was fetch'd from Hell,

Where the old blasphemers dwell,

To taint the purest dust, and blot the whitest fame!
Impudent tongues! You should be darted through,
Nail'd to your own black mouths, and lie
Useless and dead till slander die,

Till slander die with you.

"We saw him," said th' ethereal throng, "We saw his warm devotions rise, We heard the fervour of his cries, And mix'd his praises with our song: We knew the secret flights of his retiring hours, Nightly he wak'd his inward powers, Young Israel rose to wrestle with his God, And with unconquer'd force scal'd the celestial towers,

To reach the blessing down for those that sought

his blood.

Oft we beheld the Thunderer's hand
Rais'd high to crush the factious foe;

As oft we saw the rolling vengeanee stand
Doubtful t' obey the dread command,

Softly it ran its silver way,

Till warm devotion rais'd the current strong:
Then fervid zeal on the sweet deluge rode,
Life, love and glory, grace and joy,
Divinely roll'd promiscuous on the torrent-flood,
And bore our raptur'd sense away, and thoughts
and souls to God.

O might we dwell for ever there!
No more return to breathe this grosser air,
This atmosphere of sin, calamity, and care.
But heavenly scenes soon leave the sight
While we belong to clay,

Passions of terrour and delight
Demand alternate sway.

Behold the man, whose awful voice
Could well proclaim the fiery law,
Kindle the flames that Moses saw,

And swell the trumpet's warlike noise.

He stands the herald of the threatening skies,

Lo, on his reverend brow the frowns divinely rise,
All Sinai's thunder on his tongue, and lightning in

his eyes.

Round the high roof the curses flew,
Distinguishing each guilty head,

Far from th' unequal war the atheist fled, ́
His kindled arrows still pursue,

[spread.

His arrows strike the atheist through,
And o'er his inmost powers a shuddering horrour
The marble heart groans with an inward wound;
Blaspheming souls of harden'd steel

Shriek out amaz'd at the new pangs they feel,
And dread the echoes of the sound.
The lofty wretch, arm'd and array'd

In gaudy pride, sinks down his impious head,
Plunges in dark despair, and mingles with the dead.

Now, Muse, assume a softer strain,
Now sooth the sinner's raging smart,
Borrow of Gouge the wondrous art
To calm the surging conscience, and assuage the
He from a bleeding God derives

Life for the souls that Guilt had slain,
And straight the dying rebel lives,

The dead arise again;

The opening skies almost obey

[pain;

His powerful song; a heavenly ray
Awakes despair to light, and sheds a cheerful day.
His wondrous voice rolls back the spheres,
Recalls the scenes of ancient years,
To make the Saviour known;
Sweetly the flying charmer roves
Through all his labours and his loves,

The anguish of his cross, and triumphs of his throne.
Come, he invites our feet to try

The steep ascent of Calvary,

And sets the fatal tree before our eye:

See here celestial sorrow reigns;
Rude nails and ragged thorns lay by,

While his ascending prayer upheld the falling blow." | Ting'd with the crimson of redeeming veins.

Draw the past scenes of thy delight,

My Muse, and bring the wondrous man to sight,
. Place him surrounded as he stood
With pious crowds, while from his tongue
A stream of harmony ran soft along,
And every ear drank in the flowing good:

2 Though he was so great and good a man, he did not escape censure.

In wondrous words he sung the vital flood
Where all our sins were drown'd,
Words fit to heal and fit to wound,
Sharp as the spear, and balmy as the blood.
In his discourse divine

Afresh the purple fountain flow'd;
Our failing tears kept sympathetic time,
And trickled to the ground,

While every accent gave a doleful sound,
Sad as the breaking heart-strings of th' expiring God.

Down to the mansions of the dead,
With trembling joy our souls are led,

The captives of his tongue;

There the dear Prince of light reclines his head,
Darkness and shades among.
With pleasing horrour we survey
The caverns of the tomb,
Where the belov'd Redeemer lay,
And shed a sweet perfume.
Hark, the old earthquake roars again
In Gouge's voice, and breaks the chain
Of heavy Death, and rends the tombs:
The rising God! he comes, he comes,

With throngs of waking saints, a long triumphing train.

See the bright squadrons of the sky,

Downward on wings of joy and haste they fly,

Meet their returning sovereign, and attend him high. A shining car the conqueror fills,

Form'd of a golden cloud;

Slowly the pomp moves up the azure bills,
Old Satan foams and yells aloud,

And gnaws th' eternal brass that binds him to the wheels.

The opening gates of bliss receive their King,
The Father-God smiles on his Son,

Pays him the honours he has won,

The lofty thrones adore, and little cherubs sing.
Behold him on his native throne,
Glory sits fast upon his head;

Dress'd in new light, and beamy robes,

His hand rolls-on the seasons, and the shining globes, And sways the living worlds, and regions of the dead.

Gouge was his envoy to the realm below,
Vast was his trust, and great his skill,
Bright the credentials he could show,
And thousands own'd the seal;

His hallow'd lips could well impart The grace, the promise, and command; He knew the pity of Immanuel's heart,

And terrours of Jehovah's hand. How did our souls start out, to hear The embassies of love he bare, While every ear in rapture hung Upon the charming wonders of his tongue! Life's busy cares a sacred silence bound, Attention stood with all her powers, With fixed eyes and awe profound, Chain'd to the pleasure of the sound, Nor knew the flying hours.

But O my everlasting grief!

Heaven has recall'd his envoy from our eyes, Hence deluges of sorrow rise,

Nor hope th' impossible relief.

Ye remnants of the sacred tribe

Who feel the loss, come share the smart, And mix your groans with mine: Where is the tongue that can describe Infinite things with equal art,

Or language so divine?

Our passions want the heavenly flame, Almighty Love breathes faintly in our songs, And awful threatenings languish on our tongues: Howe is a great but single name:

Amidst the crowd he stands alone;
Stands yet, but with his starry pinions on,
Drest for the flight, and ready to be gone.
Eternal God, command his stay,
Stretch the dear months of his delay;

O we could wish his age were one immortal day!
But when the flaming chariot's come,
And shining guards, t' attend thy prophet home,
Amidst a thousand weeping eyes,

Send an Elisha down, a soul of equal size, [skies:
Or burn this worthless globe, and take us to the

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »