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Nature! informer of the poet's art, Whose force alone can raise or melt the heart, Thou art his guide; each passion, every line, Whate’er he draws to please, must all be thine. Be thou his judge: in every candid breast, Thy silent whisper is the sacred test.
The Memory of an unfortunate Lady. What beckoning ghost along the moonlight shade Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade ? 'Tis she !- but why that bleeding bosom gored? Why dimly gleams the visionary sword ? Oh ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell, Is it, in Heaven, a crime to love too well? To bear too tender, or to 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 ?
Who bade ye else, ye powers! her soul aspire Above the vulgar flight of low desire ? Ambition first sprung from your bless'd 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 prisoners in the body's cage: Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres;
Like eastern kings a lazy state they keep,
From these, perhaps, (ere nature bade her die)
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, These cheeks now fading at the blast of Death; Cold is that breast which 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 funerals blacken all the way) Lo! these were they whose souls their furies steeld, And cursed 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 other's good, or melt at other's woe.
What can atone (oh, ever-injured shade!) Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid ? No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear, Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful bier. By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed, By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed, 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,
So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
Poets themselves must fall like those they sung, Deaf the praised ear, and mute the tuneful tongue. Even he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays, Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays; Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part, And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart; Life's idle business at one gasp be o’er, The Muse forgot, and thou be loved no more !
TO ROBERT EARL OF OXFORD AND
· MORTIMER'. Such were the notes thy once-loved poet sung, Till death untimely stopp'd his tuneful tongue. Oh, just beheld and lost! admired and mourn'd! With softest manners, gentlest arts, adorn'd! Bless'd in each science! bless'd in every strain! Dear to the Muse! to Harley dear-in vain!
For him thou oft hast bid the world attend, Fond to forget the statesman in the friend; For Swift and him despised the farce of state, The sober follies of the wise and great; Dexterous the craving, fawning crowd, to quit, And pleased to 'scape from flattery to wit. • Absent or dead, still let a friend be dear, (A sigh the absent claims, the dead a tear) Recall those nights that closed thy toilsome days, Still hear thy Parnell in his living lays; Who, careless now of interest, fame, or fate, Perhaps forgets that Oxford e'er was great; Or deeming meanest what we greatest call, Beholds thee glorious only in thy fall.
Sent to the Earl of Oxford with Dr. Parnell's Poems, published by our author after the Earl's imprisonment in the Tower, and retreat into the country, in the year 1721.
And sure if aught below the seats divine
In vain to deserts thy retreat is made,