ELEGY I. ON THE Death of S. FOOTE, Esq.
1 AH! what avails the fancied Lore of Man,
2 Or all the envied Gifts the Gods bestow?
3 His Wisdom Folly, Length of Time a Span,
4 His Life is Vanity, his Death is Woe!
5 Could Wit protect, had Genius power to save,
6 Did they immortal Life with Fame impart,
7 Alexis ne'er had known a dreary Grave,
8 Death ne'er had drench'd an Arrow in his Heart.
9 Mourn, mourn, ye Spirits, who delight in Mirth;
10 In yonder Tomb Alexis breathless lies;
11 The Soul of Wit, that gave your Laughter Birth,
12 Inhabits, once again, her native Skies.
13 How fix'd those Features which so well pourtray'd
14 The Cobweb Virtues of the canting Saint;
15 How dull those Eyes that could so well upbraid,
16 And Mimas' Vice in Mimas' Manner paint.
17 Weep, ye who bend beneath the savage Rod
18 Of stern Oppression, spurning human Laws,
19 Your Champion, cover'd by yon senseless Sod,
20 Hears not your Griefs, or sure he'd plead your Cause.
21 Rejoice, ye Sons of Rapine; Io! your Foe,
22 Who dragg'd your dark Misdeeds to public Shame,
23 Your scourge is fled, no longer shall ye know
24 The Stings of guilty Terrot at his Name.
25 Where's now the pliant Muscle big with Whim,
26 The Eye that fill'd with Laughter ev'ry Face,
27 The various Voice, the oft-distorted Limb,
28 And all the mirth-fed Features of Grimace?
29 How ghastly now his Grin! No latent Spark
30 Of new-found Wit sheds Dimples o'er his Cheek;
31 No heavy Blockhead dreads himself the Mark
32 On whom the biting Gibe shall shortly break.
33 Where now the Shouts that Theatres have rent,
34 While Laughter roar'd and begg'd to be reliev'd?
35 Ah! where the Plaudits every Hand has sent,
36 When Humour brought forth all that Wit conceiv'd?
37 Mourn, every MUSE, in Elegiac Song,
38 In Metre melancholic let if flow;
39 Adown the doleful Breeze your Griefs prolong
40 In Wails, and Sighs, and Tears, shrill sad and slow.
41 But oh! THALIA, be thy Sorrows loud,
42 Tho' all-unus'd to Accents so severe;
43 Ah! shed the Drop most precious o'er his Shroud,
44 For sure a Son like him deserves a Tear.
45 Full well he once was known thy dear Delight;
46 Thou ne'er deny'd'st whate'er he deign'd to ask,
47 Thy choicest Pen was his whene'er he'd write,
48 And his, whene'er he'd act, thy choicest Mask.
49 Ye shagged SATYRS leave the deep Recess,
50 The dark close Woodland, and the braky Dell;
51 Quit every pointed Weapon of Redress,
52 Hear! shriek and hear! your Fav'rite's passing Bell.
53 No more we catch your Meaning from his Eye,
54 No more he wields the many-barbed Dart,
55 Or guides your galling Arrows as they fly,
56 To strike the guilty Sinner thro' the Heart.
57 Ye light-wing'd SPRITES, who sport in Fancy's Dome,
58 With Freaks and Bounds in antic Circles play,
59 Attend your kindred Genius to his Home,
60 Proclaim him welcome to the Realms of Day.
61 Ye SYLPHS, who down the Sun-beams love to flit,
62 And round the Poet's Temples Laurel twine,
63 Or, jocund, on the dancing Ignis sit,
64 Or quaff from azure Streams aetherial Wine,
65 Forsake your Sports; and, if you know to weep,
66 If e'er your silken Lids sustain such Dew,
67 Here pour your Tears, — behold, in endless Sleep,
68 The Swain who all your Haunts and Frolics knew!
69 Ye FAUNS and FAIRIES, wheresoe'er ye rove,
70 O'er Hill, o'er Dale, or mid the Virgin Throng;
71 Ye NYMPHS, ye DRYADS, of the Brook, the Grove,
72 Who sing so sweet in many a witching Song;
73 Come, FANCY'S OFFSPRING, every CHILD of VERSE,
74 Whatever Clime your printless Feet shall tread;
75 Assemble ALL, — alternate Griefs rehearse,
76 In solemn Song funereal Honours shed.
77 And as ye pass the Mountain, Mead, or Dell,
78 Where lavish Nature strews her Gifts profuse,
79 From Hawthorn's Point, Grub's Beard, or Lilly's Bell,
80 Collect the Sweets that most delight the Muse.
81 Bring every Spell and Charm, each Fruit and Flower,
82 Each Herb, each Plant to Poet fragrant found;
83 With all due Rites erect the Cypress Bower,
84 And bless the Turf, and consecrate the Ground.
85 Then while coy Phoebe grants her glimm'ring Beam,
86 And flitting Ghosts entrance the fearful Eye,
87 On broken Vows while Maids, forsaken, dream,
88 And start and weep with many a mournful Sigh;
89 While wanton Rear-Mouse winds her mazy Rout,
90 And squeaks, to list'ning Glow-Worm, antic Song;
91 Your Vigils keep — with shrill and sudden Shout
92 Scare each unhallow'd Foot from forth your Throng.
93 Enough, fair FANCY, lightly bound away; —
94 Advance PHILOSOPHY. Lo! TRUTH appears,
95 Who, with her sober Mien, and moral Lay,
96 Foretels the sad Events of future Years.
97 Young Ammon*
* Alexander the Great., once admir'd, belov'd, obey'd,
98 Grasp'd half the Globe, and daft the Hours away;
99 Crowns gave for Playthings, Slaves of Monarchs made,
100 Then dropt a little Lump of lifeless Clay.
101 Now what avails the fair historic Page,
102 Where all his Acts are blazon'd to the World?
103 What tho' th'Antipodes once selt his Rage,
104 And 'gainst the Poles his Thunderbolts were hurl'd?
105 Had he not better far, in peaceful Lore,
106 Turn'd o'er the moral Page, and smil'd serene,
107 Than, thus delighting in the Battle's Roar,
108 T'have made the shrieking World one tragic Scene?
109 Lost is his Valour; lost, to him, his Fame;
110 He heeds not, hears not, RUMOUR'S fickle Blast;
111 And all who live to hear and read his Name
112 Are posting after him with heedless Haste.
113 With fancied Dignity important grown,
114 Man acts as tho' his Follies were to last;
115 Builds, plants, or mounts, perhaps, a thorn-strew'd Throne,
116 Dies, rots, and gives the Worms a short Repast.
117 What melancholy Scenes salute his Eyes,
118 Prophetic Lessons of approaching Fate;
119 Still he pursues each Phantom as it flies,
120 And loses Happiness in finding State.
121 Blest be the Sons of Science, Nymph sublime!
122 She lures her Children to the calm Retreat,
123 And solves the Problem, and suggests the Rhyme,
124 And to the dulcet Sound directs the Feet.
125 She prompts the Song to Love, to Peace, and Joy;
126 The matchless Music of Content she chants;
127 Her heav'n-born Beauties ne'er her Lovers cloy,
128 She knows no Sorrows, for she feels no Wants.
129 She philosophic Temp'rance loves to chear,
130 And bids to shun, like Death, imagin'd Ills;
131 Their Sweets are bitter thro' the plenteous Year
132 Who know no Medium to their wayward Wills.
133 Blest be Alexis! Science loves the Name;
134 He well approv'd him of her darling Race;
135 And be that Wretch accurst who damns his Fame,
136 Or would his little Follies backward trace!
About this text
Title (in Source Edition): ELEGY I. ON THE Death of S. FOOTE, Esq.
Author: Thomas Holcroft
Genres: heroic quatrain; elegy
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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.