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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 levelled tribes of nobles at a blow,
I next deplored the famed paternal pair,
Too soon to ashes turned, and empty air:
The heroes next, whom snatched into the skies
All Belgia saw, and followed with her sighs;
But thee far most I mourned, regretted most,
Winton's chief shepherd, and her worthiest boast!
Poured out in tears I thus complaining said:
"Death, next in power to him who rules the dead!
Is't not enough that all the woodlands yield
To thy fell force, and every verdant field;
That lilies, at one noisome blast of thine,
And even 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 wingèd 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! armed 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 mourned, the star of evening stood,
Now newly risen above the western flood,
And Phoebus from his morning goal again
Had reached the gulfs of the Iberian main.
I wished repose, and, on my couch reclined,
Took early rest, to night and sleep resigned:
When-Oh for words to paint what I beheld!
I seemed to wander in a spacious field,
Where all the champaign glowed 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 dressed Alcinous' garden half so gay.
A silver current, like the Tagus, rolled
O'er golden sands, but sands of purer gold;
With dewy airs Favonius fanned the flowers,
With airs awakened 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 fixt surveyed,
At once, with looks that beamed 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 psaltry's sound the angelic band arose;
Then night retired, and, chased by dawning day,
The visionary bliss pass'd all away.
I mourned my banished 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,
With Doris and her nymphs, and all the throng
Of azure gods, to speed thee safe along.
But rather to ensure thy happier haste,
Ascend Medea's chariot, if thou mayst ;
Or that whence young Triptolemus of yore
Descended, welcome on the Scythian shore.
The sands that line the German coast descried,
To opulent Hamburga turn aside!
So called, if legendary fame be true,
From Hama, whom a club-armed Cimbrian slew.
There lives, deep-learn'd and primitively just,
A faithful steward of his Christian trust,
My friend and favourite inmate of my heart,
That now is forced to want its better part.
What mountains now, and seas alas how wide,
From me this other, dearer self divide !
Dear as the sage renowned for moral truth
To the prime spirit of the Attic youth;
Dear as the Stagyrite to Ammon's son,
His pupil, who disdained the world he won;
Nor so did Chiron or so Phoenix shine
In young Achilles' eyes as he in mine.
First led by him through sweet Aonian shade,
Each sacred haunt of Pindus I surveyed;
And, favoured by the Muse whom I implored,
Thrice on my lip the hallowed stream I poured.
But thrice the sun's resplendent chariot, rolled
To Aries, has new-tinged his fleece with gold,
And Chloris twice has dressed the meadows gay,
And twice has summer parched their bloom away,
Since last delighted on his looks I hung,
Or my ear drank the music of his tongue.
Fly, therefore, and surpass the tempest's speed;
Aware thyself that there is urgent need!
Him, entering, thou shalt haply seated see
Beside his spouse, his infants on his knee;
Or turning, page by page, with studious look,
Some bulky father, or God's holy book;
Or ministering (which is his weightiest care)
To Christ's assembled flock their heavenly fare.
Give him, whatever his employment be,
Such gratulation as he claims from me ;
And, with a down-cast eye and carriage meek
Addressing him, forget not thus to speak.
"If, compassed round with arms, thou canst attend
To verse, verse greets thee from a distant friend.
Long due, and late, I left the English shore;
But make me welcome for that cause the more!
Such from Ulysses, his chaste wife to cheer,
The slow epistle came, though late, sincere.
But wherefore this? why palliate I the deed
For which the culprit's self could hardly plead?
Self-charged, and self-condemned, his proper part
He feels neglected, with an aching heart.
But thou forgive ! delinquents who confess,
And pray forgiveness, merit anger less;
From timid foes the lion turns away,
Nor yawns upon or rends a crouching prey;
Even pike-wielding Thracians learn to spare,
Won by soft influence of a suppliant prayer;
And Heaven's dread thunderbolt arrested stands
By a cheap victim and uplifted hands.
Long had he wished to write, but was withheld,
And writes at last, by love alone compelled;
For Fame, too often true when she alarms,
Reports thy neighbouring fields a scene for arms
Thy city against fierce besiegers barred,
And all the Saxon chiefs for fight prepared.
Enyo wastes thy country wide around,
And saturates with blood the tainted ground;
Mars rests contented in his Thrace no more,
But goads his steeds to fields of German gore;
The ever verdant olive fades and dies,
And Peace, the trumpet-hating goddess, flies,-
Flies from that earth which justice long had left,
And leaves the world of its last guard bereft.
"Thus horror girds thee round. Meantime alone
Thou dwell'st, and helpless, in a soil unknown;
Poor, and receiving from a foreign hand
The aid denied thee in thy native land.
Oh ruthless country, and unfeeling more
Than thy own billow-beaten chalky shore !
Leav'st thou to foreign care the worthies given
By Providence to guide thy steps to heaven-
His ministers, commissioned to proclaim
Eternal blessings in a Saviour's name?
Ah then most worthy, with a soul unfed,
In Stygian night to lie for ever dead!
So once the venerable Tishbite strayed
An exiled fugitive from shade to shade,
When, flying Ahab and his fury wife,
In lone Arabian wilds he sheltered life;
So from Philippa wandered forth forlorn
Cilician Paul, with sounding scourges torn;
And Christ himself so left, and trod no more,
The thankless Gergesene's forbidden shore.
"But thou take courage! strive against despair! Quake not with dread, nor nourish anxious care! Grim war indeed on every side appears,
And thou art menaced by a thousand spears;
Yet none shall drink thy blood, or shall offend
Even the defenceless bosom of my friend
For thee the ægis of thy God shall hide;
Jehovah's self shall combat on thy side;
The same who vanquished under Sion's towers,
At silent midnight, all Assyria's powers;
The same who overthrew in ages past
Damascus' sons that laid Samaria waste!
Their king he filled and them with fatal fears
By mimic sounds of clarions in their ears,
Of hoofs, and wheels, and neighings from afar,
Of clashing armour, and the din of war.
"Thou, therefore, (as the most afflicted may,)
Still hope, and triumph o'er thy evil day!
Look forth, expecting happier times to come,
And to enjoy once more thy native home!"
ELEGY V.-ON THE APPROACH OF SPRING.
TIME, never wandering from his annual round,
Bids Zephyr breathe the spring, and thaw the ground;
Bleak winter flies, new verdure clothes the plain,
And Earth assumes her transient youth again.
Dream I, or also to the spring belong
Increase of genius, and new powers of song?
Spring gives them, and, how strange soe'er it seems,
Impels me now to some harmonious themes.
Castalia's fountain, and the forked hill
By day, by night, my raptured fancy fill;
My bosom burns and heaves, I hear within
A sacred sound that prompts me to begin.
Lo! Phoebus comes; with his bright hair he blends
The radiant laurel wreath; Phoebus descends.
I mount, and, undepressed by cumbrous cla
Through cloudy regions win my easy way.
Rapt through poetic shadowy haunts I fly;
The shrines all open to my dauntless eye,
My spirit searches all the realms of light,
And no Tartarean gulfs elude my sight.
But this ecstatic trance-this glorious storm
Of inspiration-what will it perform?
Spring claims the verse that with his influence glows,
And shall be paid with what himself bestows.
Thou, veiled with opening foliage, lead'st the throng
Of feathered minstrels, Philomel! in song;
Let us, in concert, to the season sing,
Civic and silvan heralds of the Spring!
With notes triumphant Spring's approach declare! To Spring, ye Muses, annual tribute bear! The Orient left and Æthiopa's plains,
The Sun now northward turns his golden reins;
Night creeps not now, yet rules with gentle sway,
And drives her dusky horrors swift away.
Now less fatigued, on this ethereal plain
Boötes follows his celestial wain ;
And now the radiant sentinels above,
Less numerous, watch around the courts of Jove,
For, with the night, force, ambush, slaughter fly,
And no gigantic guilt alarms the sky.
Now haply says some shepherd, while he views,
Recumbent on a rock, the reddening dews,
"This night, this surely, Phoebus missed the fair,
Who stops his chariot by her amorous care.'
Cynthia, delighted by the morning's glow,
Speeds to the woodland and resumes her bow
Resigns her beams, and, glad to disappear,
Blesses his aid who shortens her career.
"Come"-Phoebus cries-"Aurora, come-too late
Thou linger'st, slumbering, with thy withered mate!
Leave him, and to Hymettus top repair!
Thy darling Cephalus expects thee there."
The goddess, with a blush, her love betrays,
But mounts, and driving rapidly, obeys.
Earth now desires thee, Phoebus! and to engage
Thy warm embrace, casts off the guise of age;