TO THE Dear Memory of my Honoured Friend Thomas Gunston Esq Who Died November 11. 1700. When he had just Finish't his Seat at NEWINGTON.
1 OF blasted Hopes and of short withering Joys
2 Sing Heavenly Muse. Try thine Ethereal Voice
3 In Funeral Numbers and a doleful Song;
4 GUNSTON the Just, the Generous, and the Young,
5 GUNSTON the Friend is dead. O Empty Name
6 Of Earthly Bliss! 'Tis all an Airy Dream,
7 All a Vain Thought! Our Soaring Fancies rise
8 On treacherous Wings; and Hopes that touch the Skies[Page 224]
9 Drag but a longer Ruine thro' the downward Air,
10 And plunge the falling Joy but deeper in Despair.
11 How did our Souls stand flatter'd and prepar'd
12 To shout him welcome to the Seat he rear'd!
13 There the Dear Man should see his Hopes Compleat,
14 Smiling and tasting every lawful Sweet
15 That Peace and Plenty brings, while numerous Years
16 Roll'd happy Circles round the Joyful Spheres:
17 Revolving Suns should still renew his strength,
18 And draw th' uncommon Thread to an unusual Length.
19 But hasty Fate thrusts her dread Shears between,
20 Cuts the Young Life off, and shuts up the Scene.
21 Thus Airy Pleasure dances in our Sight
22 And spreads fair Images of Gay Delight
23 T' allure our Souls, till just within our Arms
24 The Vision dies, and all the painted Charms
25 Flee quick away from the pursuing Sight,
26 Till they are lost in Shades, and mingle with the Night. [Page 225]
27 Muse, stretch thy Wings and thy sad Journey bend
28 To the fair*
* The House. Fabrick that thy Dying Friend
29 Built Nameless: 'Twill suggest a thousand things
30 Mournful and Soft as my Urania Sings.
31 How did he lay the deep†
† The Foundations. Foundations strong,
32 Marking the Bounds, and rear the‖
‖ The Walls. Walls along
33 Solid and Lasting; there a numerous Train
34 Of Happy GUNSTON's might in Pleasure reign
35 While Nations perish and long Ages run,
36 Nations unborn, and Ages unbegun:
37 Not Time it self should waste the Blest Estate,
38 Nor the Tenth Race rebuild the Ancient Seat:
39 How fond our Fancies are! The Founder Dies
40 Childless: His Sisters weep, and close his Eyes,
41 And wait upon his Herse with never-ceasing Cries.
42 Lofty and Slow it moves unto the Tomb,
43 While weighty Sorrow nods on every Plume;[Page 226]
44 A Thousand Groans his dear Remains convey
45 To his cold Lodging in a Bed of Clay,
46 His Countries Sacred Tears well-watering all the Way.
47 See the dull Wheels roll on the Sable Load,
48 But no dear Son to tread the Mournful Road,
49 And fondly kind drop his young Sorrows there,
50 The Father's Urn bedewing with a Filial Tear.
51 O had he left us One behind to play
52 Wanton about the Painted*
* The Hall. Hall, and say
53 "This was my Father's, with Impatient Joy
54 In my fond Arms I'de clasp't the Smiling Boy,
55 And call'd him my Young Friend: But Awful Fate
56 Design'd the mighty Stroke as lasting as 'twas great.
57 And must this Building then, this costly Frame
58 Stand here for Strangers? Must some unknown Name
59 Possess these†
† The Rooms. Rooms, the Labours of my Friend?
60 Why were these Walls rais'd for this hapless End? [Page 227]
61 Why these Apartments all adorn'd so Gay?
62 Why his rich Fancy lavish't thus away?
63 Muse, view the*
* The Paintings. Paintings, how the hovering Light
64 Plays o're the Colours in a wanton Flight,
65 And mingled Shades wrought in by soft Degrees
66 Give a sweet Foyl to all the Charming Piece;
67 But Night, Eternal Night hangs black around
68 The dismal Chambers of the hollow Ground,
69 And Solid Shades unmingled round his Bed
70 Stand Hideous: Earthy Fogs embrace his Head,
71 And noysom Vapours glide along his Face
72 Rising perpetual. Muse, forsake the place,
73 Flee the raw Damps of the unwholsome Clay,
74 Look to his Airy spacious Hall, and say
75 How has he chang'd it for a loathsome Cave,
76 Confin'd and Crowded in a narrow Grave!
77 Th' Unhappy House looks desolate and mourns,
78 And every†
† The Doors. Door groans doleful as it turns;
79 The Pillars languish, and each lofty Wall
80 Stately in Grief, laments the Master's Fall[Page 228]
81 In drops of Briny Dew; the Fabrick bears
82 His faint Resemblance and renews my Tears.
83 Solid and square it rises from below;
84 A Noble Air without a Gaudy Show
85 Reigns thro' the Model, and adorns the Whole,
86 Manly and Plain just like the Builders Soul.
87 O how I love to view the Stately Frame,
88 That dear Memorial of the best-lov'd Name!
89 Then could I wish for some prodigious Cave
90 Vast as his Seat, and silent as his Grave,
91 Where the tall Shades stretch to the hideous Roof,
92 Forbid the Day, and guard the Sun-beams off;
93 Thither, my willing Feet, shou'd ye be drawn
94 At the gray Twilight, and the early Dawn;
95 There sweetly sad shou'd my soft Minutes roll,
96 Numbring the Sorrows of my drooping Soul.
97 But these are Airy Thoughts! Substantial Grief
98 Grows by those Objects that should yield Relief;
99 Fond of my Woes I heave my Eyes around,
100 My Grief from every Prospect courts a Wound;[Page 229]
101 Views the green Gardens, views the Smiling Skies,
102 Still my Heart sinks, and still my Cares arise;
103 My wandring Feet round the dear Mansion rove,
104 And there to sooth my Sorrows I indulge my Love.
105 Oft have I laid the Awful Calvin by,
106 And the sweet Cowley, with Impatient Eye
107 To see those Walls, pay the sad Visit there,
108 And drop the Tribute of an hourly Tear:
109 Still I behold some Melancholy Scene,
110 With many a Pensive Thought, and many a Sigh between.
111 Two Days ago we took the Evening Air,
112 I, and my Grief, and my Urania there;
113 Say, my Urania, how the Western Sun
114 Broke from Black Clouds, and in full Glory shone
115 Gilding the Roof, then dropt into the Sea,
116 And sudden Night devour'd the sweet remains of Day
117 Thus the dear Youth just rear'd his shining Head
118 From Obscure Shades of Life, and sunk among the Dead. [Page 230]
119 The rising Sun adorn'd with all his Light
120 Smiles on these Walls again: But endless Night
121 Reigns uncontroul'd where the dear GUNSTON lies,
122 He's set for ever, and must never rise.
123 Then why these Beams, Unseasonable Star,
124 These lightsome Smiles descending from afar
125 To greet a Mourning House? In vain the Day
126 Breaks thro' the*
* The Windows. Windows with a joyful Ray,
127 And marks a shining Path along the Floors
128 Bounding the Evening and the Morning Hours;
129 In vain it bounds 'em: While vast Emptiness
130 And hollow Silence reigns thro' all the Place,
131 Nor heeds the cheerful change of Nature's Face.
132 Yet Natures Wheels will on without controul,
133 The Sun will rise, the tuneful Spheres will roll,
134 And the two Nightly Bears walk round and watch the Pole.
135 See while I spèak, high on her Sable Wheel
136 Old Night comes rolling up the Eastern Hill:[Page 231]
137 Troops of dark Clouds prepare her way; behold,
138 How their brown Pinions Edg'd with Evening Gold
139 Spread Shaddowing o're the House, and glide away
140 Slowly pursuing the declining Day;
141 O're the broad*
* The Roof. Roof they fly their Circuit still,
142 Thus Days before they did, and Days to come they will;
143 But the Black Cloud that Shaddows o're his Eyes
144 Hangs there immoveable, and never flies:
145 Fain would I bid the Envious Gloom be gone,
146 Ah fruitless Wish! how are his Curtains drawn
147 For a long Evening that despairs the Dawn!
148 Muse, view the†
† The Turret. Turret: Just beneath the Skies
149 Lonesome it stands, and fixes both mine Eyes
150 As it would ask a Tear. O Sacred Seat,
151 Sacred to Friendship! O Divine Retreat!
152 Here did I hope my happy Hours t' employ,
153 And fed beforehand on the promis'd Joy,
154 When weary of the noisy Town, my Friend
155 From Mortal Cares retiring shou'd ascend[Page 232]
156 And lead me thither. We*
* Our Conversation there. alone wou'd sit,
157 Free and secure of all Intruding Feet:
158 Our Thoughts shou'd stretch their longest Wings and rise,
159 Nor bound their Soarings by the lower Skies:
160 Our Tongues shou'd aim at everlasting Themes,
161 And speak what Mortals dare, of all the Names
162 Of Boundless Joys and Glories, Thrones, and Seats
163 Built high in Heaven for Souls: We'd trace the Streets
164 Of Golden Pavement, walk each happy Field,
165 And climb and tast the Fruits the spicy Mountains yield:
166 Then would we swear to keep the Sacred Road,
167 And walk right upwards to the blest Abode:
168 We'd charge our parting Spirits there to meet,
169 There Hand in Hand approach th' Almighty's Seat,
170 And bend our Heads adoring at our Maker's Feet.
171 Thus should we mount on bold adventrous Wings,
172 In high Discourse, and dwell on Heavenly things,[Page 233]
173 While the pleas'd Hours in sweet Succession move,
174 And Minutes measur'd as they are above
175 By ever-circling Joys, and ever-shining Love.
176 Anon our Thoughts should lower their lofty Flight,
177 Sink by degrees, and take a pleasing Sight
178 A large round Prospect of the spreading Plain,
179 The Wealthy River, and his Winding Train,
180 The Smoaky City, and the Busie Men.
181 How we should smile to see degenerate Worms
182 Lavish their Lives, and fight for Airy Forms
183 Of Painted Honour, Dreams of empty sound,
184 Till Envy rise, and shoot a secret Wound
185 At swelling Glory; strait the Bubble breaks,
186 And the Scenes vanish as the Man awakes:
187 Then the tall Titles Insolent and Proud
188 Sink to the Dust, and mingle with the Crowd.
189 Man is a restless Thing: Still vain and wild,
190 Lives beyond Sixty, nor outgrows the Child:
191 His hurrying Lusts still break the Sacred Bound,[Page 234]
192 To seek new Pleasures on forbidden Ground,
193 And buy them all too dear. Unthinking Fool,
194 For a short dying Joy to sell a Deathless Soul!
195 'Tis but a Grain of Sweetness they can Sow,
196 And reap the long sad Harvest of Immortal Woe.
197 Another Tribe toyl in a different Strife,
198 And banish all the lawful Sweets of Life
199 To sweat and dig for Gold, to hoard the Oar,
200 Hide the dear Dust yet darker than before,
201 And never dare to use a Grain of all the Store.
202 Happy the Man that knows the Value just
203 Of Earthly Things, nor is enslav'd to Dust.
204 'Tis a rich Gift the Skies but rarely send
205 To Fav'rite Souls. Then happy thou, my Friend,
206 For thou hadst learnt to Manage and Command
207 The Wealth that Heaven bestow'd with Liberal Hand:
208 Hence this fair Structure rose; and hence this Seat
209 Made to invite my not unwilling Feet;
210 In vain 'twas made! for We shall never meet,[Page 235]
211 And Smile, and Love, and Bless each other here,
212 The Envious Tomb forbids thy Face t' appear,
213 Detains thee GVNSTON from my longing Eyes,
214 And all my hopes lie buried where my GVNSTON lies.
215 Come hither all ye tenderest Souls that know
216 The heights of Fondness and the depths of Woe,
217 Young Mothers, who your darling Babes have found
218 Untimely Murd'red with a ghastly Wound;
219 Ye frighted Nymphs, who on the Bridal Bed,
220 Claspt in your Arms your Lovers Cold and Dead,
221 Come; in the Pomp of all your wild Despair
222 With flowing Eyelids and disorder'd Hair,
223 Death in your Looks; come mingle Grief with me,
224 And drown your little Streams in my unbounded Sea.
225 You Sacred Mourners of a Nobler Mould
226 Born for a Friend, whose dear Embraces hold
227 Beyond all Natures Ties; you that have known
228 Two happy Souls made intimately One,[Page 236]
229 And felt a parting Stroke, 'tis you must tell
230 The Smart, the Twinges, and the Racks I feel:
231 This Soul of mine that dreadsul Wound has born,
232 Off from its Side its dearest Half is torn,
233 The Rest lies bleeding, and but lives to mourn.
234 Oh Infinite Distress! Such raging Grief
235 Shou'd command Pity, and despair Relief.
236 Passion methinks should rise from all my Groans,
237 Give Sense to Rocks, and Sympathy to Stones.
238 Ye dusky*
* The adjacent Country. Woods and ecchoing Hills around
239 Repeat my Cries with a perpetual Sound:
240 Be all ye flowry Vales with Thorns o'regrown,
241 Assist my Sorrows, and declare your own,
242 Alas! your Lord is dead. The humble Plain
243 Must ne're receive his Courteous Feet again:
244 Mourn ye gay smiling Meadows, and be seen
245 In Wintry Robes instead of Youthful Green:
246 And bid the†
† The Brook. Brook that still runs warbling by
247 Move silent on, and weep his useless Channel dry. [Page 237]
248 Hither methinks the lowing Herds shou'd come,
249 And moaning Turtles murmur o're his Tomb:
250 The Oak shou'd wither, and the curling*
* The Trees. Vine
251 Weep his Young Life out, while his Arms untwine
252 Their Amorous Folds, and mix his Bleeding Soul with mine.
253 Ye stately Elms in your long Order mourn,
254 Strip off your Pride to dress your Master's Urn:
255 Here gently drop your Leaves instead of Tears;
256 Ye Elms, the Reverend Growth of Ancient Years,
257 Stand tall and naked to the Blustring Rage
258 Of the mad Winds; thus it becomes your Age
259 To show your Sorrows. Often ye have seen
260 Our Heads reclin'd upon the rising Green;
261 Beneath your Sacred Shade diffus'd we lay,
262 Here Friendship reign'd with an unbounded sway:
263 Hither our Souls their constant Off'rings brought,
264 The Burthens of the Breast, and Labours of the Thought;
265 Our opening Bosoms on the Conscious Ground
266 Spread all the Sorrows, all the Joys we found,[Page 238]
267 And mingled every Care; nor was it known
268 Which of the Pains or Pleasures were our own;
269 Then with an equal Hand and honest Soul
270 We share the Heap; yet both possess the Whole,
271 And all the Passions there thro' both our Bosoms roll.
272 By turns We Comfort, and by turns Complain,
273 And Bear and Ease by turns the Sympathy of Pain.
274 Friendship! Mysterious Thing, what Magick Powers
275 Support thy Sway, and charm these Minds of ours?
276 Bound to thy Foot we boast our Birth-right still,
277 And dream of Freedom when we've lost our Will,
278 And chang'd away our Souls: At thy Command
279 We snatch new Miseries from a Foreign Hand
280 To call them ours, and thoughtless of our Ease
281 Plague the dear Self that we were born to please.
282 Thou Tyranness of Minds, whose Cruel Throne
283 Heaps on poor Mortals Sorrows not their own;
284 As tho' our Mother Nature cou'd no more
285 Find Woes sufficient for each Son she bore,
286 Friendship divides the Shares, and lengthens out the Store. [Page 239]
287 Yet are we fond of thine Imperious Reign,
288 Proud of the Slavery, wanton in our Pain,
289 And chide the courteous Hand when Death dissolves the Chain.
290 Vertue, forgive the Thought! The raving Muse
291 Wild and despairing knows not what she does,
292 Grows mad in Grief, and in her Savage Hours
293 Affronts the Name she Loves and she adores.
294 She is thy Votaress too; and at thy Shrine
295 O Sacred Friendship! offer'd Songs Divine
296 While GUNSTON liv'd, and both our Souls were thine.
297 Here to these Shades at solemn Hours we came
298 To pay Devotion with a mutual Flame,
299 And roll'd in Pleasures, while the Evening Breeze
300 Fann'd the Leaves gently, sporting thro' the Trees,
301 And the declining Sun with sloping Wheels
302 Roll'd down the Golden Day behind the Western Hills.
303 Mourn ye young*
* The Gardens. Gardens, ye unfinish't Gates,
304 Ye Green Inclosures and ye growing Sweets,
305 Lament, for ye our Midnight Hours have known,
306 And watch'd us walking by the silent Moon
307 In Conference Divine, while Heavenly Fire
308 Kindling our Breasts did all our Thoughts inspire
309 With Joys almost Immortal; then our Zeal
310 Blaz'd and burnt high to reach th' Ethereal Hill,
311 And Love refin'd like that above the Poles
312 Threw both our Arms round one anothers Souls
313 In Rapture and Embraces. Oh forbear,
314 Forbear, my Song! this is too much to hear,
315 Too dreadful to repeat; such Joys as these
316 Fled from the Earth for ever!
317 Oh for a general Grief! let all things share
318 Our Woes that knew our Loves. The Neighbouring†
† The Air. Air
319 Let it be laden with Immortal Sighs,
320 And tell the Gales, that every Breath that flies[Page 241]
321 Over these Fields shou'd murmur and complain,
322 And kiss the fading Grass, and propagate the Pain.
323 Weep all ye Buildings, and ye*
* The Groves. Groves around
324 For ever Weep, This is an endless Wound
325 Vast and Incurable. Ye Buildings knew
326 His Silver Tongue, ye Groves have heard it too:
327 At that dear Sound no more shall ye rejoyce,
328 And I no more must hear the Charming Voice,
329 Wo to my drooping Soul! that Heavenly Breath
330 That could speak Life lies now congeal'd in Death;
331 While on his folded Lips all Cold and Pale
332 Eternal Chains and heavy silence dwell.
333 Yet my fond Hope would hear him speak again;
334 Once more at least, one gentle Word; and then
335 GUNSTON aloud I call: In vain I cry
336 GUNSTON aloud; for he must ne're reply.
337 In vain I mourn, and drop these Funeral Tears,
338 Death and the Grave have neither Eyes nor Ears:[Page 242]
339 Wandring I tune my Sorrows to the Groves,
340 And vent my swelling Griefs, and tell the Winds our Loves;
341 While the dear Youth Sleeps fast and hears 'em not;
342 He has forgot me: In the lonesome Vault
343 Mindless of WATTS and Friendship there he lies
344 Deaf and Unthinking Clay.
345 But whither am I led? This Artless Grief
346 Hurries the Muse on obstinate and deaf
347 To all the nicer Rules, and bears her down
348 From the tall Fabrick to the Neighbouring Ground:
349 The pleasing Hours and the dear Moments past
350 In these sweet Fields reviving on my Tast
351 Snatch me away resistless with Impetuous hast.
352 Spread thy strong Pinions once again my Song,
353 And reach the*
* The Turret. Turret thou hast left so long:
354 O're the wide Roof its lofty Head it rears,
355 Waiting for our Converse; but only hears
356 The noisie Tumults of the Realms on high;
357 The Winds salute it Whistling as they fly,[Page 243]
358 Or jarring round the Windows; Rattling Showers
359 Lash the fair Sides, above loud Thunder roars,
360 But still the Master Sleeps; nor hears the Voice
361 Of Sacred Friendship, nor the Tempests noise:
362 An Iron Slumber sits on every Sence,
363 In vain the Heavenly Thunders strice to rouze it thence.
364 One Labour more, my Muse, the Golden*
* The Golden Ball. Sphere
365 Seems to demand: See thro' the Dusky Air
366 Downward it shines upon the rising Moon,
367 And as she labours up to reach her Noon,
368 The Ball pursues her Orb with streaming Light,
369 And shoots a Golden Dày on the Pale Queen of Night:
370 But not one Beam can reach the darksome Grave,
371 Or pierce the solid Gloom that fills the Cave
372 Where GUNSTON dwells in Death. My waking Eyes
373 Saw the last Midnight reigning o're the Skies,[Page 244]
374 And Old Bootes drove his shining Carr
375 Thro' the Midheaven: Behold the Glittering Sphere
376 Bright as a Burning Meteor born on high,
377 Or some new Comet glaring thro' the Sky
378 It flam'd and mingled with the larger Stars;
379 In vain (said I) the Golden Comet Glares,
380 In vain it stands; while with a dismal Fall
381 He sunk beneath the Ground that rais'd the Lofty Ball.
382 Now let me call the Joyful Day to mind;
383 'Twas a fair Morning; and the Blustring Wind
384 Slept in its peaceful Caverns, while he came
385 Gazing and pleas'd to see the Noble Frame
386 Crown'd with that shining Orb. "Stand there, he cries,
387 " Thou little Emblem of the boundless Skies
388 "Whither my Soul with fiery Passion tends;
389 The Emblem stands; and tells surviving Friends
390 Of the bright Palace and the Golden Throne
391 Where the Dear GUNSTON's better part is gone:[Page 245]
392 His eager Thoughts bent on their shining way
393 Let the Clay drop to mingle with the Clay;
394 But his great Soul beyond the Stars is fled:
395 Then why, my Heart, why should we Mourn him Dead?
396 Strangely, my Thoughts, ye let this cozening Grief
397 With a false Name impose on your Belief:
398 It saw the Flesh sink down with closing Eyes
399 To the cold Earth, and cry'd, 'tis GUNSTON Dies:
400 Mistaken Grief! to call the Flesh the Friend!
401 The Heavenly Court saw the Bright Youth ascend,
402 Flew to embrace him with Immortal Love,
403 And sung his Welcome to the Seats above.
404 The Building firm, and all the Mansions bright,
405 The Roof high-Vaulted with Aethereal Light:
406 Beauty and Strength on the tall Bulwarks Sate
407 In Heavenly Diamond: And for every Gate
408 On Golden Hinges a broad Ruby turns,
409 Guards off the Foe, and as it moves it burns.
410 Millions of Glories Reign thro' every part;
411 Infinite Power and Uncreated Art[Page 247]
412 Stand here display'd, and to the Stranger show
413 How it out-shines the Noblest Seats below;
414 The Stranger just look'd down, and Smil'd upon 'em too.
415 Come, my Urania, leave the doleful Strain,
416 Let Heavenly Notes resume their Joys again;
417 In Everlasting Numbers sing, and say,
418 "GUNSTON the Friend lives still, and wipe our Tears away.