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WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1746.
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,
By all their country's wishes blest!
When Spring, with dewy fingers cold,
Returns to deck their hallow'd mould,
She there shall dress a sweeter sod,
Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.
By Fairy hands their knell is rung,
By forms unseen their dirge is sung;
Their Honour comes, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the turf that wraps their clay,
And Freedom shall awhile repair,
To dwell a weeping hermit there!
ON THE DEATH OF COL. CHARLES ROSS, IN THF ACTION AT FONTENOY.
Written May, 1745.
WHILE, lost to all his former mirth,
Britannia's genius bends to earth,
And mourns the fatal day :
While stain'd with blood he strives to tear
Unseemly from his sea-green hair
The wreaths of cheerful May:
The thoughts which musing Pity pays,
And fond Remembrance loves to raise,
Your faithful hours attend:
Still Fancy, to herself unkind,
Awakes to grief the soften'd mind,
And points the bleeding friend.
By rapid Scheld's descending wave
His country's vows shall bless the grave,
Where'er the youth is laid:
That sacred spot the village hind
With every sweetest turf shall bind,
And Peace protect the shade.
O'er him, whose doom thy virtues grieve,
Aerial forms shall sit at eve,
And bend the pensive head;
And, fall'n to save his injur'd land,
Imperial Honour's aweful hand
Shall point his lonely bed!
The warlike dead of every age,
Who fill the fair recording page,
Shall leave their sainted rest :
And, half-reclining on his spear,
Each wondering chief by turns appear
To hail the blooming guest.
Old Edward's sons, unknown to yield, Shall crowd from Cressy's laurel'd field, And gaze with fix'd delight:
Again for Britain's wrongs they feel,
Again they snatch the gleamy steel,
And wish th' avenging fight.
But, lo! where, sunk in deep despair,
Her garments torn, her bosom bare,
Impatient Freedom lies!
Her matted tresses madly spread,
To every sod which wraps the dead,
She turns her joyless eyes.
Ne'er shall she leave that lowly ground,
Till notes of triumph bursting round
Proclaim her reign restor❜d:
Till William seek the sad retreat,
And, bleeding at her sacred feet,
Present the sated sword.
If, weak to soothe so soft an heart,
These pictur'd glories nought impart,
To dry thy constant tear :
If yet, in Sorrow's distant eye,
Expos'd and pale thou see'st him lie,
Wild war insulting near:
Where'er from time thou court'st relief,
The Muse shall still, with social grief,
Her gentlest promise keep :
E'en humble Harting's cottag'd vale
Shall learn the sad repeated tale,
And bid her shepherds weep.
Ir aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song,
May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear,
Like thy own solemn springs,
Thy springs, and dying gales ;
O nymph reserv'd, while now the bright-hair'd Sun
Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,
With brede ethereal wove,
Now air is hush'd, save where the weak-ey'd bat,
With short shrill shriek flits by on leathern wing,
Or where the beetle winds
His small but sullen horn,
As oft he rises 'midst the twilight path,
Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum:
Now teach me, maid compos'd,
To breathe some soften'd strain,
Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkening vale,
May not unseemly with its stillness suit,
As, musing slow, I hail
Thy genial lov'd return!
For when thy folding-star arising shows
His paly circlet, at his warning lamp
The fragrant hours, and elves
Who slept in buds the day,
And many a nymph who wreathes her brows with
And sheds the freshening dew, and lovelier still,
The pensive pleasures sweet
Prepare thy shadowy car.
Then let me rove some wild and heathy scene,
Or find some ruin 'midst its dreary dells,
Whose walls more aweful nod
By thy religious gleams.
Or if chill blustering winds, or driving rain,
Prevent my willing feet, be mine the hut,
That from the mountain's side
Views wilds and swelling floods,
And hamlets brown, and dim-discover'd spires,
And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all
Thy dewy fingers draw
The gradual dusky veil.
While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont,
And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve!
While Summer loves to sport
Beneath thy lingering light:
While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves,
Or Winter, yelling through the troublous air,
Affrights thy shrinking train,
And rudely rends thy robes:
So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,
Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling Peace,
Thy gentlest influence own,
And love thy favourite name!