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Thus some magician, fraught with potent skill,
Transforms and moulds each varied mass at will ;
Calls animated forms of wondrous birth,
Cadmean offspring, from the teeming earth,
Unceres the ponderous tombs, the realms of night,
And calls their cold inhabitants to light;
Or, as he traverses a dreary scene,
Bids every sweet of nature there convene,
Huge mountains skirted round with wavy woods,
The shrub-deck'd lawns, and silver-sprinkled floods,
Whilst flow'rets spring around the smiling land,
And follow on the traces of his wand.
· Such prospects, lovely Auburn! then, be thine,
And what thou canst of bliss impart be mine;
Amid thy humble shades, in tranquil ease,
Grant me to pass the remnant of my days.
Unfetter'd from the toil of wretched gain,
My raptured muse shall pour her noblest strain,
Within her native bowers the notes prolong,
And, grateful, meditate her latest song.
Thus, as adown the slope of life I bend,
And move, resign’d, to meet my latter end,
Each worldly wish, each worldly care repress’d,
A self-approving heart alone possess'd,
Content, to bounteous Heaven I 'll leave the rest.'
Thus spoke the Bard: but not one friendly power With nod assentive crown'd the parting hour; No eastern meteor glared beneath the sky, No dextral omen: Nature heaved a sigh Prophetic of the dire, impending blow, The presage of her loss, and Britain's woe.
Already portion’d, unrelenting fate
Had made a pause upon the number'd date;
Behind stood Death, too horrible for sight,
In darkness clad, expectant, pruned for flight;
Pleased at the word, the shapeless monster sped,
On eager message to the humble shed,
Where, wrapt by soft poetic visions round,
Sweet slumbering, Fancy's darling son he found.
At his approach the silken pinion'd train,
Affrighted, mount aloft, and quit the brain,
Which late they fann'd. Now other scenes than dales
Of woody pride, succeed, or flowery vales :
As when a sudden tempest veils the sky,
Before serene, and streaming lightnings fly,
The prospect shifts, and pitchy volumes roll
Along the drear expanse, from pole to pole;
Terrific horrors all the void invest,
Whilst the arch spectre issues forth confest.
The Bard beholds him beckon to the tomb
Of yawning night, eternity's dread womb;
In vain attempts to fly, th' impassive air
Retards his steps, and yields him to despair;
He feels a gripe that thrills through every vein,
And panting struggles in the fatal chain.
Here paused the fell destroyer, to survey
The pride, the boast of man, his destined prey;
Prepared to strike, he pois'd aloft the dart,
And plunged the steel in Virtue's bleeding heart;
Abhorrent, back the springs of life rebound,
And leave on Nature's face a ghastly wound,
A wound enrolld among Britannia's woes,
That ages yet to follow cannot close.
O Goldsmith ! how shall Sorrow now essay To murmur out her slow, incondite lay? In what sad accents mourn the luckless hour, That yielded thee to unrelenting power; Thee, the proud boast of all the tuneful train That sweep the lyre, or swell the polish'd strain ? Much-honored Bard ! if my untutor’d verse Could pay a tribute worthy of thy hearse, With fearless hands I'd build the fane of praise, And boldly strew the never-fading bays. But, ah! with thee my guardian genius fled, And pillow'd in thy tomb his silent head: Pain'd Memory alone behind remains, And pensive stalks the solitary plains, Rich in her sorrows; honors without art She pays in tears redundant from the heart. And say,
what boots it o'er thy hallow'd dust To heap. the graven pile, or laurell’d bust; Since by thy hands already raised on high, We see a fabric tow’ring to the sky; Where, hand in hand with Time, the sacred lore Shall travel on, till Nature is no more ?
ADIEU, sweet Bard ! to each fine feeling true,
Thy virtues many, and thy foibles few,-
Those form’d to charm e'en vicious minds, and these
With harmless mirth the social soul to please.
Another's woe thy heart could always melt;
None gave more free, for none more deeply felt.
Sweet Bard, adieu ! thy own harmonious lays
Have sculptured out thy monument of praise :
Yes, these survive to Time's remotest day;
While drops the bust, and boastful tombs decay.
Reader, if number'd in the Muse's train,
Go, tune the lyre, and imitate his strain;
But, if no poet thou, reverse the plan,
Depart in peace, and imitate the man.
TO THE REV. HENRY GOLDSMITH.
Dear Sir, I am sensible that the friendship between us can acquire no new force from the ceremonies of a dedication; and perhaps it demands an excuse thus to prefix your name to my attempts, which you decline giving with your
But as a part of this poem was formerly written to you from Switzerland, the whole can now, with propriety, be only inscribed to you.
It will also throw a light upon many parts of it, when the reader understands, that it is addressed to a man who, despising fame and fortune, has retired early to happiness and obscurity, with an income of forty pounds a-year.
I now perceive, my dear brother, the wisdom of your humble choice. You have entered upon a sacred office, where the harvest is great, and the laborers are but few; while you have left the field of ambition, where the laborers are many and the harvest not worth carrying away. But of all kinds of ambition — what from the refinement of the times, from