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Reluctant now I touch the trembling string,
Bereft of him who taught me how to sing ;
And these sad accents, murmur'd o'er his urn,
Betray that absence they attempt to mourn.
Oh! must I then (now fresh my bosom bleeds,
And Craggs in death to Addison succeeds)
The verse, begun to one lost friend, prolong,
And weep a second in th’ unfinish'd song !
These works divine, which, on his death-bed laid,
To thee, oh Craggs, th' expiring sage convey’d;
Great, but ill-omen'd, monument of fame,
Nor he survived to give, nor thou to claim.
Swift after him thy social spirit flies,
And close to his, how soon! thy coffin lies.
Bless'd pair! whose union future bards shall tell
In future tongues : each other's boast! farewell,
Farewell! whom join'd in fame, in friendship tried,
No chance could sever, nor the grave divide.
ALEXANDER POPE. 1688–1744.
Ye nymphs of Solyma! begin the song :
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.
The mossy fountains and the sylvan shades,
The dreams of Pindus and th’ Xonian maids,
Delight no more. Oh thou my voice inspire
Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire!
Rapt into future times, the bard begun!
A virgin shall conceive, a virgin bear a Son!,
From Jesse's root behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies :
Th' ethereal spirit o'er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic dove.
Ye Heavens! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly shower!
The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient frauds shall fail ;
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale;
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-robed Innocence from heaven descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise th' expected morn!
Oh, spring to light, auspicious babe, be born!
See, Nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the incense of the breathing spring :
See lofty Lebanon his head advance,
See nodding forests on the mountains dance:
See spicy clouds from lowly Sharon rise,
And Carmel's flowery top perfume the skies!
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers;
Prepare the way! a God, a God appears!
A God, a God! the vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim the approaching Deity.
Lo, earth receives him from the bending skies ;
Sink down, ye mountains, and ye valleys, rise;
With heads declined, ye cedars, homage pay ;
Be smooth, ye rocks; ye rapid floods, give way!
The Saviour comes ! by ancient bards foretold :
Hear him, ye deaf; and all ye blind, behold!
He from thick films shall purge the visual ray,
And on the sightless eyeball pour the day :
Tis he th' obstructed paths of sound shall clear,
And bid new music charm th' unfolding ear:
The dumb shall sing, the lame his crutch forego,
And leap exulting like the bounding roe.
No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear;
From every face he wipes off every tear.
In adamantine chains shall death be bound,
And hell's grim tyrant feel th' eternal wound.
As the good shepherd tends his fleecy care,
Seeks freshest pasture and the purest air;
Explores the lost, the wandering sheep directs,
By day o'ersees them, and by night protects;
The tender lambs he raises in his arms,
Feeds from his hand and in his bosom warms;
Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage,
The promised father of the future age.
No more shall nation against nation rise,
Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes,
Nor fields with gleaming steel be cover'd o'er,
The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more:
But useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad falchion in a ploughshare end.
Then palaces shall rise; the joyful son
Shall finish what his short-lived sire begun;
Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield,
And the same hand that sow'd, shall reap the field.
The swain in barren deserts with surprise
Sees lilies spring, and sudden verdure rise ;
And starts, amid the thirsty wilds to hear
New falls of water murmuring in his ear.
On risted rocks, the dragon's late abodes,
The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods.
Waste sandy valleys, once perplex'd with thorn,
The spiry fir and shapely box adorn:
To leafless shrubs the flowery palms succeed,
And odorous myrtle to the noisome weed.
The lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant mead,
And boys in flowery bands the tiger lead :
The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
And harmless serpents lick the pilgrim's feet.
The smiling infant in his hand shall take
The crested basilisk and speckled snake ;
Pleased, the green lustre of the scales survey,
And with their forky tongue shall innocently play.
Rise, crown'd with light, imperial Salem, rise !
Exalt thy towery head, and lift thy eyes !
See a long race thy spacious courts adorn;
See future sons and daughters, yet unborn,
In crowded ranks on every side arise,
Demanding life, impatient for the skies!
See barbarous nations at thy gates attend,
Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend;
See thy bright altars throng'd with prostrate kings,
And heap'd with products of Sabean springs.
For thee Idumea's spicy forests blow,
And seeds of gold in Ophir's mountain glow.
See heaven its sparkling portals wide display,
And break upon thee in a flood of day!
No more the rising sun shall gild the morn,
Nor evening Cynthia fill her silver horn;
But lost, dissolved in thy superior rays,
One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze
O’erflow thy courts : the Light himself shall shine
Reveal'd, and God's eternal day be thine!
The seas shall waste, the skies in smoke decay,
Rocks fall to dust, and mountains melt away;
But fix'd his word, his saving power remains ;
Thy realm for ever lasts, thy own Messiah reigns!,
Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound, Content to breathe his native air
In his own ground. Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire; Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire. Bless'd who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years slide soft away, In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day, Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix'd; sweet recreation, And innocence, which most does please,
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
Thus unlamented let me die,
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
ELEGY TO THE MEMORY OF AN UNFORTUNATE LADY.
What beck’ning ghost along the moonlight shade
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade ?
"Tis she! But why that bleeding bosom gored,
Why dimly gleams the visionary sword?
Oh ever beauteous, ever friendly! tell,
Is it in heaven a crime to love too well ?
To bear too tender or too firm a heart,
To act a lover's or a Roman's part ?
Is there no bright reversion in the sky
For those who gently think or bravely die ?
Why bade ye else, ye powers! her soul aspire
Above the vulgar flight of low desire ?
Ambition first sprung from your bless'd abodes,
The glorious fault of angels and of gods :
Thence to their images on earth it flows,
And in the breast of kings and heroes glows.
Most souls, 'tis true, but peep out once an age,
Dull, sullen prisoners in the body's cage :
Dim lights of life, that burn a length of years,
Useless, unseen, as lamps in sepulchres ;
Like Eastern kings, a lazy state they keep,
And close confined to heir own palace sleep.
From these perhaps (ere Nature bade her die) Fate snatch'd her early to the pitying sky. As into air the purer spirits flow, And separate from their kindred dregs below; So flew the soul to its congenial place, Nor left one virtue to redeem her race.
But thou, false guardian of a charge too good, Thou, mean deserter of thy brother's blood!