Page images

How loved! how honour'd thou! yet be not vain:

And sure thou art not, for I hear thee say, All this, my friends, I owe to Homer's strain,

On whose strong pinions I exalt my lay. What from contending cities did he gain?

And what rewards his grateful country pay? None, none were paid ; why then all this for me? These honours, Homer, had been just to thee.




Of Leinster, famed for maidens fair,

Bright Lucy was the grace;
Nor e'er did Liffy's limpid stream

Reflect so sweet a face:
Till luckless love and pining care

Impair'd her rosy hue,
Her coral lips, and damask cheeks,

And eyes of glossy blue.
Oh! have you seen a lily pale,

When beating rains descend ?
So drooped the slow-consuming maid,

Her life now near its end.
By Lucy warn’d, of flattering swains

Take heed, ye easy fair :
Of vengeance due to broken vows,

Ye perjured swains, beware.
Three times, all in the dead of night,

A bell was heard to ring;
And, shrieking at her window thrice,

The raven flapp'd his wing.
Too well the lovelorn maiden knew

The solemn boding sound :
And thus, in dying words, bespoke

The virgins weeping round:

[ocr errors]

“I hear a voice you cannot hear,

Which says I must not stay;
I see a hand you cannot see,

Which beckons me away.
By a false heart and broken vows,

In early youth I die:
Was I to blame, because his bride

Was thrice as rich as I ?

" Ah, Colin! give not her thy vows,

Vows due to me alone :
Nor thou, fond maid, receive his kiss,

Nor think him all thy own.
To-morrow, in the church to wed,

Impatient, both prepare !
But know, fond maid, and know, false man,

That Lucy will be there! “ Then bear my corse, my comrades, bear,

This bridegroom blithe to meet,
He in his wedding-trim so gay,

I in my winding-sheet."
She spoke, she died, her corse was borne

The bridegroom blithe to meet,
He in his wedding-trim so gay,

She in her winding sheet.
Then what were perjured Colin's thoughts ?

How were these nuptials kept?
The bridesmen flock'd round Lucy dead,

And all the village wept.
Confusion, shame, remorse, despair,

At once his bosom swell:
The damps of death bedew'd his brow,

He shook, he groan'd, he fell.
From the vain bride, ah, bride no more!

The varying crimson fled,
When, stretch'd before her rival's corse,

She saw her husband dead.

Then to his Lucy's new-made grave,

Convey'd by trembling swains,
One mould with her, beneath one sod,
For ever he remains.

Oft at this grave the constant hind

And plighted maid are seen;
With garlands gay and true-love knots,

They deck the sacred green:
But, swain forsworn, whoe'er thou art,

This hallow'd spot forbear;
Remember Colin's dreadful fate,

And fear to meet him there.

IF, dumb too long, the drooping Muse hath stay'd,
And left her debt to Addison unpaid,
Blame not her silence, Warwick, but bemoan,
And judge, oh judge, my bosom by your own.
What mourner ever felt poetic fires !
Slow comes the verse that real wo inspires :
Grief unaffected suits but ill with art,
Or flowing numbers with a bleeding heart.

Can I forget the dismal night that gave
My soul's best part for ever to the grave!
How silent did his old companions tread,
By midnight lamps, the mansions of the dead,
Through breathing statues, then unheeded things,
Through rows of warriors, and through walks of

kings! What awe did the slow, solemn knell inspire ; The pealing organ, and the pausing choir; The duties by the lawn-robed prelate paid, And the last words that dust to dust convey'd ! While speechless o'er thy closing grave we bend, Accept these tears, thou dear departed friend.

Oh, gone for ever; take this long adieu ;
And sleep in peace, next thy loved Montague.
To strew fresh laurels, let the task be mine,
A frequent pilgrim at thy sacred shrine ;
Mine with true sighs thy absence to bemoan,
And grave with faithful epitaphs thy stone.
If e'er from me thy loved memorial part,
May shame afflict this alienated heart;
Of thee forgetful if I form a song,
My lyre be broken, and untuned my tongue.
My grief be doubled from thy image free,
And mirth a torment, unchastised by thee.

Oft let me range the gloomy aisles alone,
Sad luxury! to vulgar minds unknown,
Along the walls where speaking marbles show
What worthies form the hallow'd mould below;
Proud names, who once the reins of empire held;
In arms who triumph'd, or in arts excell'd;
Chiefs, graced with scars and prodigal of blood;
Stern patriots, who for sacred freedom stood;
Just men, by whom impartial laws were given;
And saints who taught and led the way to heaven.
Ne'er to these chambers, where the mighty rest,
Since their foundation came a nobler guest;
Nor e'er was to the bowers of bliss convey'd,
A fairer spirit or more welcome shade.

In what new region to the just assign'd, What new employments please the unbodied mind? A winged Virtue, through th' ethereal sky, From world to world unwearied does he fly? Oi curious trace the long laborious maze Of Heaven's decrees, where wondering angels gaze ? Does he delight to hear bold seraphs tell How Michael battled and the dragon fell; Or, mix'd with milder cherubim, to glow In hymns of love, not ill essay'd below? Or dost thou warn poor mortals left behind, A task well suited to thy gentle mind ?

[ocr errors]

Oh! if sometimes thy spotless form descend,
To me thy aid, thou guardian genius, lend !
When rage misguides me, or when fear alarms,
When pain distresses, or when pleasure charms,
In silent whisperings purer thoughts impart,
And turn from ill a frail and feeble heart;
Lead through the paths thy virtue trod before,
Till bliss shall join, nor death can part us more.

That awful form, which, so the heavens decree,
Must still be loved and still deplored by me;
In nightly visions seldom fails to rise,
Or, roused by Fancy, meets my waking eyes ;
If business calls, or crowded courts invite,
Th’umblemish'd statesman seems to strike my sight;
If in the stage I seek to sooth my care,
I meet his soul which breathes in Cato there;
If pensive to the rural shades I rove,
His shape o'ertakes me in the lonely grove;
'Twas there of just and good he reason'd strong,
Cleard some great truth, or raised some serious

song : There patient show'd us the wise course to steer, A candid censor, and a friend severe; There taught us how to live ; and (oh! too high The price for knowledge) taught us how to die.

Thou hill, whose brow the antique structures grace,
Reard by bold chiefs of Warwick's noble race,
Why, once so loved, whene'er thy bower appears,
O'er my dim eyeballs glance the sudden tears!
How sweet were once thy prospects fresh and fair,
Thy sloping walks and unpolluted air!
How sweet the glooms beneath thy aged trees,

Thy noontide shadow and thy evening breeze!
His image thy forsaken bowers restore ;
Thy walks and airy prospects charm no more ;
No more the summer in thy glooms allay'd,
Thy evening breezes, and thy noonday shade.

From other hills, however Fortune frown'd,
Some refuge in the Muse's art I found :

[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »