To the Right Honourable the Earl of WARWICK, &c. On the Death of Mr. ADDISON.
1 IF, dumb too long, the drooping Muse hath stay'd,
2 And left her debt to Addison unpaid;
3 Blame not her silence, Warwick, but bemoan,
4 And judge, oh judge, my bosom by your own,
5 What mourner ever felt poetick fires!
6 Slow comes the verse, that real woe inspires:
7 Grief unaffected suits but ill with art,
8 Or flowing numbers with a bleeding heart.
9 Can I forget the dismal night, that gave
10 My soul's best part for-ever to the grave!
11 How silent did his old companions tread,
12 By midnight lamps, the mansions of the dead,
13 Thro' breathing statues, then unheeded things,
14 Thro' rows of warriors, and thro' walks of kings!
15 What awe did the slow solemn knell inspire;
16 The pealing organ, and the pausing choir;
17 The duties by the lawn-rob'd prelate pay'd;
18 And the last words, that dust to dust convey'd!
19 While speechless o'er thy closing grave we bend,
20 Accept these tears, thou dear departed friend,[Page 23]
21 Oh gone for ever, take this long adieu;
22 And sleep in peace, next thy lov'd Montagu!
23 To strew fresh laurels let the task be mine,
24 A frequent pilgrim at thy sacred shrine;
25 Mine with true sighs thy absence to bemoan,
26 And grave with faithful epitaphs thy stone.
27 If e'er from me thy lov'd memorial part,
28 May shame afflict this alienated heart;
29 Of thee forgetful if I form a song,
30 My lyre be broken, and untun'd my tongue,
31 My grief be doubled, from thy image free,
32 And mirth a torment, unchastis'd by thee.
33 Oft let me range the gloomy isles alone,
34 (Sad luxury! to vulgar minds unknown)
35 Along the walls where speaking marbles show
36 What worthies form the hallow'd mould below:
37 Proud names, who once the reins of empire held;
38 In arms who triumph'd; or in arts excell'd;
39 Chiefs, grac'd with scars, and prodigal of blood;
40 Stern patriots, who for sacred freedom stood;
41 Just men, by whom impartial laws are given;
42 And saints, who taught, and led the way to heav'n.
43 Ne'er to these chambers, where the mighty rest,
44 Since their foundation, came a nobler guest;
45 Nor e'er was to the bowers of bliss convey'd
46 A fairer spirit, or more welcome shade.
47 In what new region, to the just assign'd,
48 What new employments please th' unbody'd mind?[Page 24]
49 A winged virtue, through th' etherial sky,
50 From world to world unweary'd does he fly,
51 Or curious trace the long laborious maze
52 Of heav'n's decrees, where wond'ring angels gaze?
53 Does he delight to hear hold seraphs tell
54 How Michael battled, and the dragon fell?
55 Or, mix'd with milder cherubim, to glow
56 In hymns of love, not ill essay'd below?
57 Or dost thou warn poor mortals left behind,
58 A task well suited to thy gentle mind?
59 Oh, if sometimes thy spotless form descend,
60 To me thy aid, thou guardian genius, lend!
61 When age misguides me, or when fear alarms,
62 When pain distresses, or when pleasure charms,
63 In silent whisp'rings purer thoughts impart,
64 And turn from ill a frail and feeble heart;
65 Lead through the paths thy virtue trod before,
66 'Till bliss shall join, nor death can part us more.
67 That aweful form (which, so the heav'ns decree,
68 Must still be lov'd, and still deplor'd by me)
69 In nightly visions seldom fails to rise,
70 Or rous'd by fancy, meet my waking eyes.
71 If business calls, or crowded courts invite,
72 Th' unblemish'd statesman seems to strike my sight;
73 If in the stage I seek to sooth my care,
74 I meet his soul which breathes in Cato there;
75 If pensive to the rural shades I rove,
76 His shape o'ertakes me in the lonely grove:[Page 25]
77 'Twas there of just and good he reason'd strong,
78 Clear'd some great truth, or rais'd some serious song;
79 There patient show'd us the wise course to steer,
80 A candid censor and a friend sincere;
81 There taught us how to live; and (oh! too high
82 The price for knowledge) taught us how to die.
83 Thou hill, whose brow the antique structures grace,
84 Rear'd by bold chiefs of Warwick's noble race,
85 Why, once so lov'd, when-e'er thy bower appears,
86 O'er my dim eye-balls glance the sudden tears!
87 How sweet were once thy prospects fresh and fair,
88 Thy sloping walks and unpolluted air!
89 How sweet the glooms beneath thy aged trees,
90 Thy noon-tide shadow, and the evening breeze!
91 His image thy forsaken bowers restore;
92 Thy walks and airy prospects charm no more;
93 No more the summer in thy glooms allay'd,
94 Thy evening breezes, and thy noon-day shade.
95 From other ills, however fortune frown'd,
96 Some refuge in the Muse's art I found;
97 Reluctant now I touch the trembling string,
98 Bereft of him, who taught me how to sing;
99 And these sad accents, murmur'd o'er his urn,
100 Betray that absence they attempt to mourn.
101 Oh! must I then (now fresh my bosom bleeds,
102 And Craggs in death to Addison succeeds)
103 The verse, begun to one lost friend prolong,
104 And weep a second in th' unfinish'd song!
105 These words divine, which, on his death-bed laid,
106 To thee, O Craggs, th' expiring sage convey'd,
107 Great, but ill-omen'd monument of fame,
108 Nor he surviv'd to give, nor thou to claim.
109 Swift after him thy social spirit flies,
110 And close to his, how soon! thy coffin lies.
111 Blest pair! whose union future bards shall tell
112 In future tongues: each other's boast! farewel.
113 Farewel! whom join'd in fame, in friendship try'd,
114 No chance could sever, nor the grave divide.