Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

ENCOMIUM ON JOSEPH WARTON,

FROM MANT'S VERSES TO HIS MEMORY,

O rowers of Venta, and thou gentle stream,
Itchin, ye bending vales, and breezy downs,
You best his praise can witness :-Oft he climb'd
In morn of life your fir-crown'd hill, and roam'd
Your osierd meads, and pac'd your cloisters dim;
You to meridian fame beheld him rise
Circled with Wykeham's sons, and you bebeld
How Wykeham’s grateful sons the tribute paid
Of filial love, and cheer'd his closing day.

For well was Warton lov'd, and well deserv'd!
Whether he led the faltering step of youth
To offer incense at the Muse's shrine;
Or, justly stern, check'd with forbidding frown
Impetuous vice; or with approving smile
Cherish'd the hopes of Virtue's modest bud;
Strong to convince, and gentle to persuade,
His tongue drop'd manna,' and his ardent eye
Sparkled with temper'd rage, or beam'd with joy,
Boundless : nor wonder; for within his heart
Dwelt pure affection, and the liberal glow
Of charity, join'd to each native grace,
Which the sweet Muse imparts to those she loves.
His was the tear of pity, soft as showers
That fall on April meadows, his the rapid

1

Impassion'd thought, quick as the lightning's glance,
And warm as summer suns: and every flower
Of Poësy, which by the laurelld spring
Of Aganippe, or that Roman stream
Tiber, or Tuscan Arno, breath'd of old,
Its fragrance sweet; and every flower, which since
Hath drunk the dew beside the banks of Thames,
Met in his genial breast and blossom'd there.

Happy old man! for therefore didst thou seek
Ecstatic vision by the haunted stream
Or grove of fairy : then thy nightly ear
(As from the wild notes of some hairy harp)
Thrill'd with strange music; if the tragic plaints
And sounding lyre of those Athenians old,
Ricb-minded poets, fathers of the stage,
Rous'd thee enraptur’d; or the pastoral reed
Of Mantuan Tityrus charm'd; or Dante fierce,
Or more inajestic Homer swell’d thy soul,
Or Milton's muse of fire.
Happy old man! Yet not in vain to thee
Was Fancy's wand committed : not in vain
Did Science fill thee with her sacred lore :
But if of fair and lovely aught
Of good and virtuous in her hallow'd walls, (years,
Through the long space of thrice twelve glorious
Thy Venta nurturd; if transplanted thence
To the fair banks of Isis and of Cam,
It brighter shone; and baply thence again,
Thence haply spread its influence through the land,
That be thy praise. Be it thy praise, that thou
Didst bathe the youthful lip in the fresh spring,
• The pure well-head of Poesy,' didst point,
Like thine own lov'd Longinys, to the steep
Parnassian crag, and led'st thyself the way;

Be it thy praise, that thou didst clear the path
Which leads to Virtue's fane; not her of stern
And stoic aspect dark, till Virtue wears
The gloom of Vice; but such as warms the heart
To acts of love, and peace, and gentleness,
And tenderest charity ; such as around
Thy earthly passage shed her cheerful light,
And such as Wykeham best might love to view.

So thine allotted station didst thou fill,
And now art passed to thy peaceful grave,
In age and honours ripe. Then not for thee
Pour we the tear of sorrow, not with strains
Like those despondent, which the Doric bard
Wept for his Bion, do we tend on thee :
For other hopes are ours, and other views,
Brighter and happier scenes! No earthly chains
Shall in this dreary prison-house confine
Spirits of light; nor shall the heaven-born mind
Oblivious linger in the silent cave
Of endless hopeless sleep. But as the Sun,
Who drove his fierce and fiery-tressed steeds
Glorious along the vault of Heaven, at length
Sinks in the bosom of the western wave;
Anon from forth the chambers of the east
To run his giant course; so didst thou set,
So mayst thou rise in glory!

[merged small][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ElőzőTovább »