To the Memory of the same LADY,
A MONODY. A. D. 1747.
Ipse cavâ solans aegrum testudine amorem,
Te dulcis conjux, te solo in littore secum,
Te veniente die, te decedente canebat.
1 AT length escap'd from ev'ry human eye,
2 From ev'ry duty, ev'ry care,
3 That in my mournful thoughts might claim a share,
4 Or force my tears their flowing stream to dry,
5 Beneath the gloom of this embow'ring shade,
6 This lone retreat, for tender sorrow made,
7 I now may give my burden'd heart relief,
8 And pour forth all my stores of grief,
9 Of grief surpassing ev'ry other woe,
10 Far as the purest bliss, the happiest love
11 Can on th' ennobled mind bestow,
12 Exceeds the vulgar joys that move
13 Our gross desires, inelegant, and low.
14 Ye tufted groves, ye gently-falling rills,
15 Ye high o'ershadowing hills,
16 Ye lawns gay-smiling with eternal green,
17 Oft have you my LUCY seen![Page 68]
18 But never shall you now behold her more:
19 Nor will she now with fond delight
20 And taste refin'd your rural charms explore.
21 Clos'd are those beauteous eyes in endless night,
22 Those beauteous eyes where beaming us'd to shine
23 Reason's pure light, and Virtue's spark divine.
24 Oft would the Dryads of these woods rejoice
25 To hear her heav'nly voice,
26 For her despising, when she deign'd to sing,
27 The sweetest songsters of the spring:
28 The woodlark and the linnet pleas'd no more;
29 The nightingale was mute,
30 And ev'ry shepherd's flute
31 Was cast in silent scorn away,
32 While all attended to her sweeter lay.
33 Ye larks and linnets now resume your song,
34 And thou, melodious Philomel,
35 Again thy plaintive story tell.
36 For death has stopt that tuneful tongue,
37 Whose musick could alone your warbling notes excel.
38 In vain I look around
39 O'er all the well-known ground
40 My LUCY'S wonted footsteps to descry;
41 Where oft we us'd to walk,
42 Where oft in tender talk
43 We saw the summer sun go down the sky;[Page 69]
44 Nor by yon fountain's side,
45 Nor where its waters glide
46 Along the valley, can she now be found:
47 In all the wide-stretch'd prospect's ample bound
48 No more my mournful eye
49 Can aught of her espy,
50 But the sad sacred earth where her dear relicks lie.
51 O shades of H—y, where is now your boast?
52 Your bright inhabitant is lost.
53 You she preferr'd to all the gay resorts
54 Where female vanity might wish to shine,
55 The pomp of cities, and the pride of courts.
56 Her modest beauties shun'd the publick eye:
57 To your sequester'd dales
58 And flow'r-embroider'd vales
59 From an admiring world she chose to fly;
60 With Nature there retir'd, and Nature's GOD,
61 The silent paths of wisdom trod,
62 And banish'd every passion from her breast,
63 But those, the gentlest and the best,
64 Whose holy flames with energy divine
65 The virtuous heat enliven and improve,
66 The conjugal, and the maternal love.
67 Sweet babes, who, like the little playful fawns,
68 Were wont to trip along these verdant lawns[Page 70]
69 By your delighted Mother's side,
70 Who now your infant steps shall guide?
71 Ah! where is now the hand whose tender care
72 To ev'ry Virtue would have form'd your Youth,
73 And strew'd with flow'rs the thorny ways of Truth?
74 O loss beyond repair!
75 O wretched Father left alone
76 To weep their dire misfortune, and thy own!
77 How shall thy weaken'd mind, oppress'd with woe,
78 And drooping o'er thy LUCY'S grave,
79 Perform the duties that you doubly owe,
80 Now she, alas! is gone,
81 From folly, and from vice, their helpless age to save?
82 Where were ye, Muses, when relentless Fate
83 From these fond arms your fair disciple tore,
84 From these fond arms that vainly strove
85 With hapless ineffectual Love
86 To guard her bosom from the mortal blow?
87 Could not your fav'ring power, Aonian maids,
88 Could not, alas! your pow'r prolong her date,
89 For whom so oft in these inspiring shades,
90 Or under Campden's moss-clad mountains hoar,
91 You open'd all your sacred store,
92 Whate'er your ancient sages taught,
93 Your ancient bards sublimely thought,
94 And bade her raptur'd breast with all your spirit glow?
95 Nor then did Pindus' or Castalia's plain,
96 Or Aganippe's fount your steps detain,
97 Nor in the Thespian vallies did you play;
98 Nor then ona
a The Mincio runs by Mantua, the birth-place of VIRGIL. Mincio's bank
99 Beset with osiers dank,
100 Nor whereb
b The Clitumnus is a river of Umbria, the residence of PROPERTIUS. Clitumnus rolls his gentle stream,
101 Nor where through hanging woods
c The Anio runs through Tibur or Tivoli, where HORACE had a villa. Anio pours his floods,
103 Nor yet whered
d The Meles is a river of Ionia, from whence HOMER, supposed to be born on its banks, is called Melisigenes. Meles, ore
e The Ilissus is a river at Athens. Ilissus stray,
104 Ill does it now beseem,
105 That, of your guardian care bereft,
106 To dire disease and death your darling should be left.
107 Now what avails it that in early bloom,
108 When light fantastic toys
109 Are all her sex's joys,
110 With you she search'd the wit of Greece and Rome?
111 And all that in her latter days
112 To emulate her ancient praise[Page 72]
113 Italia's happy genius could produce;
114 Or what the Gallic fire
115 Bright-sparkling could inspire,
116 By all the Graces temper'd and refin'd;
117 Or what in Britain's isle,
118 Most favour'd with your smile,
119 The pow'rs of reason and of fancy join'd
120 To full perfection have conspir'd to raise?
121 Ah what is now the use
122 Of all these treasures that enrich'd her mind,
123 To black oblivion's gloom for ever now consign'd?
124 At least, ye Nine, her spotless name
125 'Tis yours from death to save,
126 And in the temple of immortal Fame
127 With golden characters her worth engrave.
128 Come then, ye virgin sisters, come,
129 And strew with choicest flow'rs her hallow'd tomb.
130 But foremost thou, in sable vestment clad,
131 With accents sweet and sad,
132 Thou, plaintive Muse, whom o'er his Laura's urn
133 Unhappy Petrarch call'd to mourn,
134 O come, and to this fairer Laura pay
135 A more impassion'd tear, a more pathetick lay.
136 Tell how each beauty of her mind and face
137 Was brighten'd by some sweet, peculiar grace!
138 How eloquent in ev'ry look
139 Thro' her expressive eyes her soul distinctly spoke![Page 73]
140 Tell how her manners by the world refin'd
141 Left all the taint of modish vice behind,
142 And made each charm of polish'd courts agree
143 With candid Truth's simplicity,
144 And uncorrupted Innocence!
145 Tell how to more than manly sense
146 She join'd the soft'ning influence
147 Of more than female tenderness:
148 How in the thoughtless days of wealth and joy,
149 Which oft the care of others' good destroy,
150 Her kindly-melting heart,
151 To ev'ry want, and ev'ry woe,
152 To guilt itself when in distress
153 The balm of pity would impart,
154 And all relief that bounty could bestow!
155 Ev'n for the kid or lamb that pour'd its life
156 Beneath the bloody knife,
157 Her gentle tears would fall,
158 Tears from sweet Virtue's source, benevolent to all.
159 Not only good and kind,
160 But strong and elevated was her mind:
161 A spirit that with noble pride
162 Could look superior down
163 On Fortune's smile, or frown;
164 That could without regret or pain
165 To virtue's lowest duty sacrifice
166 Or int'rest's or ambition's highest prize;
167 That injur'd or offended never try'd[Page 74]
168 Its dignity by vengeance to maintain,
169 But by magnanimous disdain,
170 A wit that temperately bright,
171 With inoffensive light
172 All pleasing shone, nor ever past
173 The decent bounds that Wisdom's sober hand,
174 And sweet Benevolence's mild command,
175 And bashful Modesty before it cast.
176 A prudence undeceiving, undeceiv'd,
177 That nor too little, nor too much believ'd,
178 That scorn'd unjust Suspicion's coward fear,
179 And without weakness knew to be sincere.
180 Such LUCY was, when in her fairest days
181 Amidst th' acclaim of universal praise,
182 In life's and glory's freshest bloom
183 Death came remorseless on, and sunk her to the tomb.
184 So where the silent streams of Liris glide,
185 In the soft bosom of Campania's vale,
186 When now the wintry tempests all are fled,
187 And genial Summer breathes her gentle gale,
188 The verdant orange lifts its beauteous head:
189 From ev'ry branch the balmy flow'rets rise,
190 On ev'ry bough the golden fruits are seen;
191 With odours sweet it fills the smiling skies,
192 The wood-nymphs tend it, and th' Idalian queen:
193 But in the midst of all its blooming pride[Page 75]
194 A sudden blast from Apenninus blows,
195 Cold with perpetual snows:
196 The tender blighted plant shrinks up its leaves, and dies.
197 Arise, O Petrarch, from th' Elysian bowers,
198 With never-fading myrtles twin'd,
199 And fragrant with ambrosial flowers,
200 Where to thy Laura thou again art join'd;
201 Arise, and hither bring the silver lyre,
202 Tun'd by thy skilful hand,
203 To the soft notes of elegant desire,
204 With which o'er many a land
205 Was spread the same of thy disastrous love;
206 To me resign the vocal shell,
207 And teach my sorrows to relate
208 Their melancholy tale so well,
209 As may ev'n things inanimate,
210 Rough mountain oaks, and desart rocks, to pity move.
211 What were, alas! thy woes compar'd to mine?
212 To thee thy mistress in the blissful band
213 Of Hymen never gave her hand;
214 The joys of wedded love were never thine,
215 In thy domestic care
216 She never bore a share,
217 Nor with endearing art
218 Would heal thy wounded heart
219 Of ev'ry secret grief that fester'd there:[Page 76]
220 Nor did her fond affection on the bed
221 Of sickness watch thee, and thy languid head
222 Whole nights on her unwearied arm sustain,
223 And charm away the sense of pain:
224 Nor did she crown your mutual flame
225 With pledges dear, and with a father's tender name.
226 O best of wives! O dearer far to me
227 That when thy virgin charms
228 Were yielded to my arms,
229 How can my soul endure the loss of thee?
230 How in the world to me a desart grown,
231 Abandon'd, and alone,
232 Without my sweet companion can I live?
233 Without thy lovely smile,
234 The dear reward of ev'ry virtuous toil,
235 What pleasures now can pall'd Ambition give?
236 Ev'n the delightful sense of well-earn'd praise,
237 Unshar'd by thee, no more my lifeless thoughts could raise,
238 For my distracted mind
239 What succour can I find?
240 On whom for consolation shall I call?
241 Support me ev'ry friend,
242 Your kind assistance lend
243 To bear the weight of this oppressive woe.
244 Alas! each friend of mine,
245 My dear departed love, so much was thine,
246 That none has any comfort to bestow.[Page 77]
247 My books, the best relief
248 In ev'ry other grief,
249 Are now with your idea sadden'd all:
250 Each fav'rite author we together read
251 My tortur'd mem'ry wounds, and speaks of LUCY dead.
252 We were the happiest pair of human kind!
253 The rolling year its varying course perform'd,
254 And back return'd again,
255 Another and another smiling came,
256 And saw our happiness unchang'd remain;
257 Still in her golden chain
258 Harmonious Concord did our wishes bind:
259 Our studies, pleasures, taste, the same.
260 O fatal, fatal stroke,
261 That all this pleasing fabrick Love had rais'd
262 Of rare felicity,
263 On which ev'n wanton Vice with envy gaz'd,
264 And ev'ry scheme of bliss our hearts had form'd,
265 With soothing hope, for many a future day,
266 In one sad moment broke!
267 Yet, O my soul, thy rising murmurs stay,
268 Nor dare th' all-wise Disposer to arraign,
269 Or against his supreme decree
270 With impious grief complain.
271 That all thy full-blown joys at once should fade
272 Was his most righteous will, and be that will obey'd.
273 Would thy fond love his grace to her controul,
274 And in these low abodes of sin and pain
275 Her pure exalted soul
276 Unjustly for thy partial good detain?
277 No — rather strive thy grov'ling mind to raise
278 Up to that unclouded blaze,
279 That heav'nly radiance of eternal light,
280 In which enthron'd she now with pity sees
281 How frail, how insecure, how slight
282 Is ev'ry mortal bliss,
283 Ev'n love itself, if rising by degrees
284 Beyond the bounds of this imperfect state,
285 Whose fleeting joys so soon must end,
286 It does not to its sov'reign Good ascend.
287 Rise then, my soul, with hope elate,
288 And seek those regions of serene delight,
289 Whose peaceful path and ever open gate
290 No feet but those of harden'd Guilt shall miss.
291 There Death himself thy LUCY shall restore,
292 There yield up all his power e'er to divide you more.