ELEGY, To the Memory of Mr. THOMAS PHILLIPS of Fairford.
1 NO more I hail the morning's golden gleam;
2 No more the wonders of the view I sing:
3 Friendship requires a melancholy theme;
4 At her command the awful lyre I string.
5 Now as I wander thro' this leafless grove,
6 Where the dark vapours of the ev'ning rise,
7 How shall I teach the chorded shell to move;
8 Or stay the gushing torrents from my eyes?
9 Philips, great master of the boundless lyre,
10 Thee would the grateful muse attempt to paint;
11 Give me a double portion of thy fire,
12 Or all the pow'rs of language are too faint.
13 Say what bold number, what immortal line
14 The image of thy genius can reflect?
15 O, lend my pen what animated thine,
16 To shew thee in thy native glories deckt.
17 The joyous charms of Spring delighted saw,
18 Their beauties doubly glaring in thy lay:
19 Nothing was Spring which Phillips did not draw,
20 And ev'ry image of his muse was May.
21 So rose the regal hyacinthal star;
22 So shone the pleasant rustic daisied bed;
23 So seem'd the woodlands less'ning from afar;
24 You saw the real prospect as you read.
25 Majestic Summer's blooming flow'ry pride
26 Next claim'd the honour of his nervous song;
27 He taught the stream in hollow trills to glide,
28 And lead the glories of the year along.
29 When golden Autumn, wreath'd in ripen'd corn,
30 From purple clusters press'd the foamy wine,
31 Thy genius did his sallow brows adorn,
32 And made the beauties of the season thine.
33 Pale rugged Winter bending o'er his tread,
34 His grizzled hair bedropt with ioy dew;
35 His eyes, a dusky light, congeal'd and dead;
36 His robe, a tinge of bright etherial blue:
37 His train, a motley'd, sanguine, sable cloud,
38 He limps along the russet dreary moor;[Page 68]
39 Whilst rising whirlwinds, blasting, keen, and loud,
40 Roll the white surges to the sounding shore.
41 Nor were his pleasures unimprov'd by thee:
42 Pleasures he has, tho' horridly deform'd:
43 The silver'd hill, the polish'd lake, we see,
44 Is by thy genius fix'd, preserv'd, and warm'd.
45 The rough November has his pleasures too;
46 But I'm insensible to every joy:
47 Farewel the laurel, now I grasp the yew,
48 And all my little powers in grief employ.
49 In thee each virtue found a pleasing cell,
50 Thy mind was honour, and thy soul divine:
51 With thee did ev'ry power of genius dwell:
52 Thou wert the Helicon of all the nine.
53 Fancy whose various figure-tinctur'd vest,
54 Was ever changing to a different hue:
55 Her head, with varied bays and flow'rets drest,
56 Her eyes, two spangles of the morning dew.
57 In dancing attitude she swept thy string,
58 And now she soars and now again descends,
59 And now reclining on the Zephyr's wing,
60 Unto the velvet-vested mead she bends.
61 Peace, deck'd in all the softness of the dove,
62 Over thy passions spread her silver plume:
63 The rosy vale of harmony and love,
64 Hung on thy soul in one eternal bloom.
65 Peace, gentlest, softest of the virtues, spread
66 Her silver pinions, wet with dewy tears,
67 Upon her best distinguish'd poet's head,
68 And taught his lyre the music of the spheres.
69 Temp'rance, with health and beauty in her train,
70 And massy-muscled Strength in graceful pride,
71 Pointed at scarlet Luxury and Pain,
72 And did at every chearful feast preside.
73 Content, who smiles at all the frowns of fate,
74 Fann'd from idea ev'ry seeming ill;
75 In thy own virtue, and thy genius great,
76 The happy muse laid anxious troubles still.
77 But see! The sick'ned glare of day retires,
78 And the meek ev'ning shades the dusky grey:
79 The west faint glimmers with the saffron fires,
80 And, like thy life, O Phillips! dies away.
81 Here, stretch'd upon this heav'n ascending hill,
82 I'll wait the horrors of the coming night;[Page 70]
83 I'll imitate the gently-plaintive rill,
84 And by the glare of lambent vapours write.
85 Wet with the dew the yellow'd hawthorns bow;
86 The loud winds whistle thro' the echoing dell;
87 Far o'er the lea the breathing cattle low,
88 And the shrill shriekings of the screech-owl swell.
89 With rustling sound the dusky foliage flies,
90 And wantons with the wind in rapid whirls:
91 The gurg'ling riv'let to the valley hies,
92 And lost to sight, in dying murmurs curls.
93 Now as the mantle of the ev'ning swells
94 Upon my mind, I feel a thick'ning gloom!
95 Ah! Could I charm, by friendship's potent spells,
96 The soul of Phillips from the deathy tomb!
97 Then would we wander thro' the dark'ned vale,
98 In converse such as heav'nly spirits use,
99 And borne upon the plumage of the gale,
100 Hymn the Creator, and exhort the muse.
101 But horror to reflection! Now no more
102 Will Phillips sing, the wonder of the plain,[Page 71]
103 When doubting whether they might not adore,
104 Admiring mortals heard the nervous strain.
105 A mad'ning darkness reigns thro' all the lawn,
106 Naught but a doleful bell of death is heard,
107 Save where into an hoary oak withdrawn,
108 The scream proclaims the curst nocturnal bird.
109 Now, rest my muse, but only rest to weep,
110 A friend made dear by every sacred tye!
111 Unknown to me be comfort, peace, or sleep,
112 Phillips is dead, 'tis pleasure then to die!