« PreviousContinue »
this ; yet still it was uttered with something of a Cervantic tone ;- and as he spoke it, Eugenius could perceive a stream of lambent fire lighted up for a moment in his eyes;-faint picture of those flashes of his spirit, which (as Shakspeare said of his ancestor) were wont to set the table in a roar!
Eugenius was convinced from this, that the heart of his friend was broken ; he squeezed his hand, and then walked softly out of the room, weeping as he walked. Yorick followed Eugenius with his eyes to the door--he then closed them, and never opened them more.
He lies buried in a corner of his churchyard, under a plain marble slab, which his friend Eugenius, by leave of his executors, laid upon his grave, with no more than these three words of inscription ; serving both for his epitaph and elegy:
Ten times a day has Yorick's ghost the consolation to hear his monumental inscription read over with such a variety of plaintive tones, as denote a general pity and esteem for him : - a footway crossing the churchyard close by his grave, - not a passenger goes by without stopping to cast a look on it,--and sighing, as be walks on, Alas! poor YORICK!
Pity the sorrows of a poor old man,
Whose trembling limbs have horne him to your door,
Whose days are dwindied to the shortest span,
O give relief! and Heav'n will bless your store.
These tatter'd clothes my poverty bespeak, i.
These hoary locks proclaim my lengthen'd years;
And many a furrow in my grief-worn cheek
Has been the channel to a flood of tears.
Yon house, erected on the rising ground,
With tempting aspect drew me from my road;
For Plenty there a residence has found,
And Grandeur a magnificent abode.
Hard is the fate of the infirm and poor !
Here, as I crav'd a morsel of their bread,
A pamper'd menial drove me from their door,
To seek a shelter in an humbler shed.
O! take me to your hospitable dome;
Keen blows the wind, and piercing is the cold !
Short is my passage to the friendly tomb, .
For I am poor and miserably old.
Should I reveal the sources of my grief,
If soft bumanity e'er touch'd your breast,
Your hands would not withhold the kind relief,
And tears of pity would not be repress’d.
Heav'n sends misfortunes; why should we repine?
"Tis Heav'n has brought me to the state you see ;
And your condition may be soon like mine,
A little farm was my paternal lot,
Tben like the lark I sprightly hail'd the morn;
But ah! Oppression forc'd me from my cot,
My cattle died, and blighted was my corn.
My daughter, once the comfort of my age,
Lur'd by a villain from her native home,
Is cast abandon'd on the world's wide stage,
And doom'd in scanty poverty to roam.
My tender wife, sweet soother of my care !
Struck with sad anguish at the stern decree,
Fell, ling’ring fell, a victim to despair,
And left the world to wretchedness and me.
Pity the sorrows of a poor old man,,
Whose trembling limbs have borne him to your door,
Whose days are dwindled to the shortest span,
O! give relief! and Heav'n will bless your store.
ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF AN UNFORTUNATE LADY.
What beck’ning ghost, along the moonlight shade
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade ?
"Tis she !—but why that bleeding bosom gor'd,
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?
O, ever beauteous ! ever friendly! tell,
Is it in Heav'n a crime to love too well?
To bear too tender, or too firm a heart,
To act a Lover's or a Roman's part?
Is there no bright reversion in the sky,
For those who greatly think or bravely die?
Why bade ye else, ye pow'rs! her soul aspire
Above the vulgar flight of low desire ?
Ambition first sprung from your blest abodes;
The glorious fault of Angels and of Gods :
Thence to their images on earth it flows,
And in the breasts of kings and heroes glows.
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull sullen pris'ners in the body's cage :
Dim lights of life, that burn á length of years
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres;
Like Eastern kings a lazy state they keep,
And, close confind to their own palace, sleep.
From these perhaps (ere Nature bade her die)
Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky.
As into air the purer spirits flow, .
And sep’rate from their kindred dregs below;
So flew the soul to it's congenial place,
Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good,
Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood ! .
See on those ruby lips the trembling breath,
Those cheeks now fading at the blast of death: '
Cold is that breast wbich warm'd the world before,
And those love-darting eyes must roll no more.
Thus, if Eternal Justice rules the ball,
Thus shall your wives, and thus your children fall : :
On all the line a sudden vengeance waits,
And frequent hearses shall besiege your gates.
There passengers shall stand, and pointing say,
(While the long fun'rals blacken all the way)
Lo! these were they, whose souls the Furies steeld,
And curs’d with hearts unknowing how to yield.
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
So perish all, whose breast ne'er learn'd to glow
For others' good, or melt at others' wo.
What can atone (O, ever-injur'd shade!).
Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid ?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleas'd thy pale ghost, or grac'd thy mournful bièr;
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were clos'd,
By foreign hánds thy decent limbs compos’d, .
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd,
By strangers honour'd, and by strangers mourn'd!
What though no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
And bear about the mockery of wo
To midnight dances, and the public show:
What though no weeping Loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face;
What though no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb ;
Yet shall thy grave with rising flow'rs be dress’d,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast : *
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year shall blow; is
While Angels with their silver wings o'ershade'
The ground, now sacred by thy reliques made."
So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame,
How lov’d, how honour'd once, avails thee not,
To whom related, or by whom begot;
A heap of dust alone remains of thee,
Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be!
Poets themselves must fall like those they sung,
Deaf the prais'd ear, and mute the tuneful tongue.
Ev'n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays,
Shall shortly want the gen'rous tear he pays;
Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part,
And the last pang shall tear thiee from his heart;
Life's idle business at one gasp be oser,
The Muse forgot, and thou beloy'd no more! POPE.
O thou that, with surpassing glory crown'd,
Look’st from thy sole dominion like the God
Of this new world ; at whose sight, all the stars
Hide their diminish'd heads;, ta thee I call,
But with no friendly voice, and add thy name,.
O Sun, to tell thee how. I hate thy beams,
That bring to my remembrance from what state
I fell, how glorious once above thy, sphere!
Till pride, and worse ambition, threw me down,
Warring in Heav'n against Heav'n's, matchless King
Ah, wherefore? he deserv'd, no such return
From me, whom he created what I was
In that bright eminence, and with his good
Upbraided none : nor was his service bard.
What could be less than to afford him praise,
The easiest recompense, and pay him thanks :
How due! yet all his good prov'd ill in me,
And wrought but malice; lifted up so high,
I 'sdaiu'd subjection, and thought one step higher
Would set me highest, and in, a moment quit ,
The debt immense of endless gratitude,
So burdensome, still paying, still to owe;
Forgetful what from him I still receiv'd ;
And understood not that a grateful mind
By owing owes not, but still pays, at once
Indebted and discharg’d: what burden then?
O had his pow'rful destiny ordain'd
Me some inferior angel, I had stood
Then happy; no unbounded hope had rais'd
Ambition. Yet why not? some other pow'r