Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

The virgin multitude that daily meets,
Radiant with gold and beauty, in thy streets,
Outnumbers all her train of starry fires
With which Diana gilds thy lofty spires.
Fame says that, wafted hither by her doves,
With all her host of quiver-bearing loves,
Venus, preferring Paphian scenes no more,
Has fix'd her empire on thy nobler shore.
But, lest the sightless boy enforce my stay,
I leave these happy walls while yet I may.
Immortal Moly shall secure my heart
From all the sorcery of Circaean art,
And I will e'en repass Cam's reedy pools
To face once more the warfare of the schools.
Meantime accept this trifle! rhymes though few,
Yet such as prove thy friend's remembrance true!

ELEGY II.

ON THE DEATH OF THE UNIVERSITY BEADLE At CAMBRIDGE.

Thee, whose refulgent staff and summons clear Minerva's flock long time was wont to obey, Although thyself a herald, famous here, The last of heralds, Death, has snatch'd away. He calls on all alike, nor even deigns To spare the office that himself sustains.

Thy locks were whiter than the plumes display'd
By Leda's paramour in ancient time;

But thou wast worthy ne'er to have decay'd,
Or, JEson-like, to know a second prime.

Worthy, for whom some goddess should have won

New life, oft kneeling to Apollo's son.

Commission'd to converse with hasty call

The gowned tribes, how graceful wouldst thou

So stood Cyllenius erst in Priam's hall, [stand! Wing-footed messenger of Jove's command!

And so Eurybates, when he address'd

To Peleus' son, Atrides' proud behest.

Dread queen of sepulchres! whose rigorous laws
And watchful eyes run through the realms below,

Oh, oft too adverse to Minerva's cause!
Too often to the muse not less a foe!

Choose meaner marks, and with more equal aim

Pierce useless drones, earth's burthen, and its
shame!

Flow, therefore, tears for him from every eye,
All ye disciples of the muses, weep!

Assembling all in robes of sable dye, Around his bier lament his endless sleep!

And let complaining Elegy rehearse

In every school her sweetest, saddest verse.

ELEGY III.

ON THE DEATH OF THE BISHOP
OF WINCHESTER.

Silent I sat, dejected, and alone, Making in thought the public woes my own, When first arose the image in my breast Of England's suffering by that scourge, the pest!How Death, his funeral torch and scythe in hand, Entering the lordliest mansions of the land, Has laid the gem-illumined palace low, And level'd tribes of nobles at a blow. I next deplored the famed paternal pair, Too soon to ashes turn'd and empty air!The heroes next, whom snatch'd into the skies All Belgia saw, and follow'd with her sighs;But thee far most I mourn'd, regretted most, Winton's chief shepherd, and her worthiest boast!Pour'd out in tears I thus complaining said!"Death, next in power to him who rules the dead!Is it not enough that all the woodlands yield To thy fell force, and every verdant field;That lilies, at one noisome blast of thine, And e'en the Cyprian queen's own roses pine;That oaks themselves, although the running rill Suckle their roots, must wither at thy will;That all the winged nations, even those Whose heaven-directed flight the future shows,

And all the beasts that in dark forests stray,
And all the herds of Proteus are thy prey.
Ah envious! arm'd with powers so unconfined!
Why stain thy hands with blood of human kind?
Why take delight, with darts that never roam,
To chase a heaven-born spirit from her home?

While thus I mourn'd, the star of evening stood,
Now newly risen above the western flood,
And Phoebus from his morning goal again
Had reach'd the gulfs of the Iberian main.
I wish'd repose, and, on my couch reclined,
Took early rest, to night and sleep resign'd:
When—Oh for words to paint what I beheld!
I seem'd to wander in a spacious field,
Where all thechampaign glow'd with purple light,
Like that of sunrise on the mountain height;
Flowers over all the field, of every hue
That ever Iris wore, luxuriant grew.
Nor Chloris, with whom amorous zephyrs play,
E'er dress'd Alcinous' garden half so gay,
A silver current, like the Tagus, roll'd
O'er golden sands, but sands of purer gold;
With dewy airs Favonius fann'd the flowers,
With airs awaken'd under rosy bowers.
Such, poets feign, irradiate all o'er
The sun's abode on India's utmost shore.

While I that splendour, and the mingled shade Of fruitful vines, with wonder fix'd survey'd, At once, with looks that beam'd celestial grace, The seer of Winton stood before my face.

His snowy vesture's hem descending low
His golden sandals swept, and pure as snow
New fallen shone the mitre on his brow.
Where'er he trod, a tremulous sweet sound
Of gladness shook the flowery scene around:
Attendant angels clap their starry wings,
The trumpet shakes the sky, all ether rings;
Each chants his welcome, folds him to his breast,
And thus a sweeter voice than all the rest:
"Ascend, my son! thy father's kingdom share!
My son! henceforth be freed from every care!"

So spake the voice, and at its tender close
With psaltery's sound the angelic band arose;
Then night retired, and, chased by dawning day,
The visionary bliss pass'd all away.
I mourn'd my banish'd sleep with fond concern;
Frequent to me may dreams like this return!

ELEGY IV.
TO HIS TUTOR THOMAS YOUNG,

CHAPLAIN TO THE ENGLISH FACTORY AT HAMBURGH.

Hence my epistle—skim the deep—fly o'er
Yon smooth expanse to the Teutonic shore!
Haste—lest a friend should grieve for thy delay—
And the gods grant that nothing thwart thy way!
I will myself invoke the king who binds
In his Sicanian echoing vault the winds,

« ForrigeFortsett »