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OPHELIA'S ORN, AN ELEGY.
TO MR. GRAVES. Through the dim vale of evening's dusky shade,
Near some lone fane, or yew's funereal green, What dreary forms has magic Fear survey'd !
What shrouded spectres Superstition seen! But you, secure, shall pour your sad complaint,
Nor dread the meagre phantom's wan array: What none but Fear's officious hand can paint,
What none but Superstition's eye survey. The glimmering twilight and the doubtful dawn
Shall see your step to these sad scenes return : Constant, as crystal dews impearl the lawn,
Shall Strephon's tear bedew Ophelia's urn. Sure nought unhallow'd shall presume to stray
Where sleep the relics of that virtuous maid; Nor aught unlovely bend its devious way
Where soft Ophelia's dear remains are laid. Haply thy Muse, as with unceasing sighs
She keeps late vigils on her urn reclin'd, May see light groups of pleasing visions rise,
And phantoms glide, but of celestial kind. Then Fame, her clarion pendant at her side, '
Shall seek forgiveness of Ophelia's shade • Why has such worth, without distinction, died ?
Why, like the desert's lily, bloom'd to fade? Then young Simplicity, averse to feign,
Shall, Anmolested, breathe her softer sigh, And Candour with unwonted warmth complain,
And Innocence indulge a wailful cry.
Then Elegance, with coy judicious hand,
Shall cull fresh flowerets for Ophelia's tomb; And Beauty chide the Fates' severe command,
That show'd the frailty of so fair á bloom ! And Fancy then, with wild ungovern'd wo,
Shall her lov'd pupil's native taste explain ; For mournful sable all her hues forego,
And ask sweet solace of the Muse in vain ! Ah! gentle forms! expect no fond relief;
Too much the sacred Nine their loss deplore: Well may ye grieve, nor find an end of griefYour best, your brightest, favourite is no more.
ELEGY, COMPLAINING HOW SOON THE PLEASING
NOVELTY OF LIFE IS OVER.
TO MR. JAGO.
This fairy scene that cheats our youthful eyes; The charm dissolves ; th' aërial music's pass'd;.
The banquet ceases, and the vision flies. Where are the splendid forms, the rich perfumes ?
Where the gay tapers, where the spacious dome? Vanish'd the costly pearls, the crimson plumes,
And we, delightless, left to wander home! Vain now are books, the sage's wisdom vain!
What has the world to bribe our steps astray ? Ere Reason learns by studied laws to reign,
The weaken’d passions, self-subdued, obey.
Scarce has the sun seven annual courses rolld,
Scarce shown the whole that Fortune can supply, Since not the miser so caress'd his gold
As I, for what it gave, was heard to sigh. On the world's stage I wish'd some sprightly part,
To deck my native fleece with tawdry lace! 'Twas life, 'twas taste, and-oh, my foolish heart !
Substantial joy was fix'd in pow'r and place. And you, ye works of Art ! allur'd mine eye,
The breathing picture and the living stone: 'Though gold, though splendour, Heav'n and Fate
deny, Yet might I call one Titian stroke my own! Smit with the charms of Fame, whose lovely spoil, | The wreath, the garland, fire the poet's pride, I trimm'd my lamp, consum'd the midnight oil
But soon the paths of health and fame divide ! Oft too I pray'd, 'twas Nature form’d the prayer,
To grace my native scenes, my rural home ; To see my trees express their planter's care,
And gay, on Attic models, raise my dome. But now 'tis o'er, the dear delusion's o'er!
A stagnant breezeless air becalms my soul ;
I scorn the palm before I reach the goal.
Bliss ev'n obtrusive courts the frolic mind;
Carless of favour, yet secure to find.
Then glows the breast, as opening roses fair;
More free, more vivid, than the linnet's wing Honest as light, transparent ev'n as air,
Tender as buds, and lavish as the spring. Not all the force of manhood's active might,
Not all the craft to subtle age assign’d, Not science shall extort that dear delight
Which gay delusion gave the tender mind. Adieu, soft raptures! transports void of care !
Parent of raptures, dear deceit! adieu ; And you, her daughters, pining with despair,
Why, why so soon her fleeting steps pursue! Tedious again to curse the drizzling day!
Again to trace the wintry tracts of snow ! Or, sooth'd by vernal airs, again survey blow!
The self-same hawthorns bud, and cowslips O life ! how soon of every bliss forlorn!
We start false joys, and urge the devious race; A tender prey ; that cheers our youthful morn, Then sinks untimely, and defrauds the chase.
ELEGY, IN MEMORY OF A PRIVATE FAMILY IN
The pealing bell awak'd a tender sigh;
A swelling tear distream’d from ev'ry eye.
So droop'd, I ween, each Briton's breast of old, 'When the dull curfew spoke their freedom fled; For, sighing as the mournful accent roll’d,
Our hope, they cried, 'our kind support, is dead !
'Twas good Palemon !-Near a shaded pool,
A group of ancient elms umbrageous rose; The flocking rợoks, by Instinct's native rule,
This peaceful scene for their asylum chose.
A few small spires, to gothic fancy fair,
_Amid the shades emerging struck the view; 'Twas here his youth respir'd its earliest air ;
'Twas here his age breath'd out its last adieu.
One favour'd son engag'd his tenderest care;
One pious youth his whole affection crown'd; In his young breast the virtues sprung so fair,
Such charms display'd,suchsweetsdiffus'd around. But whilst gay transport in his face appears,
A noxious vapour clogs the poison'd sky, Blasts the fair crop—the sire is drown'd in tears,
And, scarce surviving, sees his Cynthio die !