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Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day!
So perish all, whose breasts ne'er learned to glow
For others' good, or melt at others' woe.
What can atone, (oh, ever, injured shade!)
Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid ?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful bier
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed,
By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed;
By foreign hands thy humble grave adorned,
By strangers honoured and by strangers mourned.
What though no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
And bear about the mockery of woe
To midnight dances, and the public show ?
What though no weeping Loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polished marble emulate thy face?
What though no sacred earth allow the room,
Nor hallowed dirge be muttered o'er thy tomb ?
Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be drest,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast :
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow,
There the first roses of the year shall blow;
While angels with their silver wings o'ershade
The ground now sacred by thy reliques made.
So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name,
What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame.
How loved, how honoured once, avails thee not,
To whom related, or by whom begot:
A heap of dust alone remains of thee;
'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be!
Poets themselves must fall like those they sung,
Deaf the praised ear, and mute the tuneful tongue.
E’en he whose soul now melts in mournful lays,
Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays:
Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part,
And the last pang shall tear thee from bis heart :
Life's idle business at one gasp be o’er,
The muse forgot and thou beloved no more !
6. ODE ON SAINT CECILIA'S DAY. Descend, ye
Nine! descend and sing:
The breathing instruments inspire,
Wake into voice each silent string,
And sweep the sounding lyre!
In a sadly pleasing strain
Let the warbling lute complain :
Let the loud trumpet sound,
Till the roofs all around
The shrill echoes rebound :
While in more lengthen'd notes and slow,
The deep, majestic, solemn organs blow.
Hark! the numbers soft and clear
Gently steal upon the ear;
Now louder and yet louder rise,
And fill with spreading sound the skies : Exulting in triumph now swell the bold notes, In broken air, trembling, the wild music floats:
Till by degrees, remote and small,
The strains decay,
And melt away,
In a dying, dying fall.
By music, minds an equal temper know,
Nor swell too high, nor sink too low.
If in the breast tumultuous joys arise,
Music her soft, assuasive voice applies :
Or, when the soul is press’d with cares,
Exalts her in enlivening airs :
Warriors she fires with animating sounds :
Pours balm into the bleeding lover's wounds:
Melancholy lifts her head,
Morpheus rouses from his bed,
Sloth unfolds her arms and wakes,
Listening Envy drops her snakes :
Intestine war no more our passions wage,
And giddy factions hear away their rage.
But when our country's cause provokes to arms,
How martial music every bosom warms !
So when the first bold vessel dared the seas,
High on the stern the Thracian raised his strain,
While Argos saw her kindred trees
Descend from Pelion to the main.
Transported demi-gods stood round,
And men grew heroes at the sound,
Inflamed with glory's charms;
Each chief his sevenfold shield displayed
And half-unsheathed the shining blade ;
And seas, and rocks and skies, rebound,
To arms! to arms! to arms!
But when through all the infernal bounds,
Which flaming Phlegethon surrounds,
Love, strong as death, the poet led
To the pale nations of the dead,
What sounds were heard,
What scenes appear’d,
O’er all the dreary coasts !
Fires that glow,
Shrieks of woe,
And cries of tortured ghosts.
But hark! he strikes the golden lyre;
And see! the tortured ghosts respire,
See shady forms advance !
Thy stone, O Sisyphus, stands still,
Ixion rests upon his wheel,
And the pale spcetres dance !
The Furies sink upon their iron beds,
And snakes, uncurled, hang listening round their heads,
By the streams that ever flow,
By the fragrant winds that blow
O'er the Elysian flowers :
By those happy souls who dwell
In yellow meads of Asphodel,
Ör Amaranthine bowers,
By the heroes' armed shades,
Glittering through the gloomy glades :
By the youths that die for love,
Wandering in the myrtle grove
Restore, restore Eurydice to life;
O take the husband, or return the wife!
He sung, and hell consented
To hear the poet's prayer ;
Stern Proserpine relented,
ħim back the fair;
Thus song could prevail
O’er death and o'er hell,
A conquest how hard, and how glorioue !
Though fate had fast bound her,
With Styx nine times round her,
Yet music and love were victorious.
But soon, too soon, the lover turns his eyes ;
Again she falls, again she dies, she dies !
How wilt thou now the fatal sisters move!
No crime was thine, if 'tis no crime to love.
Now under hanging mountains,
Besides the falls of fountains,
Or where Hebrus wanders,
Rolling in meanders,
He makes his moad :
And calls her ghost,
For ever, ever, ever lost!
Now with furies surrounded,
He trembles and glows,
Amidst Rhodope's snows :
Bee wild as the winds, o'er the desert he flies;
Hark! Hæmus resounds with the Bacchanal's cries-
Yet e’en in death Eurydice he sung,
Eurydice still trembled on his tongue,
Eurydice the woods,
Eurydice the floods,
Eurydice the rocks, and hollow mountains rung.
Music the fiercest grief can charm
And fate's severest rage disarm :
Music can soften pain to ease,
And make despair and madness please :
Our joys below it can improve
And antedate the bliss above,
This the divine Cecilia found,
And to her Maker's praise confin’d the sound.
When the full organ joins the tuneful choir,
The immortal powers incline their ear : Borne on their swelling notes our souls aspire, While solemn airs improve the sacred fire ;
And angels lean from heaven to hear. Of Orpheus now no more let poets tell,
To bright Cecilia greater power is given :
His numbers rais’d a shade from hell,
Hers lift the soul to heaven.
7, THE DYING CHRISTIAN TO HIS SOUT:.
Vital spark of heavenly flame!
Quit, oh quit this mortal frame :
Trembling, hoping, lingering, flying,
Oh the pain, the bliss of dying !
Cease, fond Nature, cease thy strife,
And let me languish into life.
Hark! they whisper! angels say,
“Sister spirit, come away!”.
What is this absorbs me quite ?
Steals my senses, shuts my sight,
Drowns my spirit, draws iny breath ?
Tell me, my soul, can this be death ?
The world recedes : it disappears !
Heaven opens on my eyes ! my ears
With sounds seraphic ring :
Lend, lend your wings ! I mount ! I fly!
O grave! where is thy victory ?
• death! where is thy sting ?
8. THE MESSIAH.
Ye nyinphs of Solyma, begin the song !
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.