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The Poetical Works of the late Christopher Anstey

With Some Account of the Life and Writings of the Author, By his son, John Anstey

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ON THE MUCH LAMENTED DEATH OF THE MARQUIS OF TAVISTOCK.
  
  
  
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ON THE MUCH LAMENTED DEATH OF THE MARQUIS OF TAVISTOCK.

Sunt lacrymæ rerum, et mentem mortalia tangunt. Virg.


129

Virtuous youth!
Thank Heav'n, I knew thee not—I ne'er shall feel
The keen regret thy drooping friends sustain;
Yet will I drop the sympathizing tear,
And this due tribute to thy memory bring;
Not that thy noble birth provokes my song,
Or claims such offering from the Muses shrine;
But that thy spotless undissembling heart,
Thy unaffected manners, all-unstain'd

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With pride of pow'r, and insolence of wealth;
Thy probity, benevolence, and truth,
(Best inmates of man's soul) for ever lost,
Cropt, like fair flow'rs, in life's meridian bloom,
Fade undistinguish'd in the silent grave.
O Bedford!—pardon, if a Muse unknown,
Smit with thy heart-felt grief, directs her way
To sorrow's dark abode, where thee she views,
Thee, wretched sire, and pitying hears thee mourn
Thy Russel's fate—“Why was he thus belov'd?
“Why did he bless my life?”—Fond parent, cease;
Count not his virtues o'er—Hard task!—Call forth
Thy firm hereditary strength of mind.
Lo! where the shade of thy great ancestor,
Fam'd Russel, stands, and chides thy vain complaint;

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His philosophic soul, with patience arm'd,
And Christian virtue, brav'd the pangs of death;
Admir'd, belov'd, he dy'd; (if right I deem)
Not more lamented than thy virtuous son:
Yet calm thy mind; so may the lenient hand
Of Time, all-soothing Time, thy pangs asswage,
Heal thy sad wound, and close thy days in peace.
See where the object of his filial love,
His mother, lost in tears, laments his doom:
Speak comfort to her soul:—
O! from the sacred fount, where flow the streams
Of heav'nly consolation, O! one drop,
To sooth his hapless wife; sharp sorrow preys
Upon her tender frame—Alas, she faints,—
She falls! still grasping in her hand
The picture of her Lord—All-gracious Heav'n!
Just are thy ways, and righteous thy decrees,
But dark and intricate; else why this meed
For tender faithful love; this sad return
For innocence and truth? Was it for this
By Virtue and the smiling Graces led,

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(Fair types of long succeeding years of joy),
She twin'd the votive wreath at Hymen's shrine,
So soon to fade and die?—Yet O! reflect,
Chaste partner of his life! you ne'er deplor'd
His alienated heart: (disasterous state!
Condition worse than death!) the sacred torch
Burnt to the last its unremitted fires!
No painful self-reproach hast thou to feel;
The conscious thought of every duty paid,
This sweet reflection shall support thy mind,
Be this thy comfort:—Turn thine eyes a-while,
Nor with that lifeless picture feed thy woe;
Turn yet thine eyes, see how they court thy smiles,
Those infant pledges of connubial joy!
Dwell on their looks,—and trace his image there:
And O! since Heav'n, in pity to thy loss,
For thee one future blessing has in store,
Cherish that tender hope—Hear Reason's voice;
Hush'd be the storms that vex thy troubled breast,
And angels guard thee in the hour of pain.
Accept this ardent pray'r; a Muse forgive,
Who for thy sorrow draws the pensive sigh,

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Who feels thy grief, tho' erst in frolic hour
She tun'd her comic rhymes to mirth and joy,
Unskill'd (I ween) in lofty verse, unus'd
To plaintive strains, yet by soft pity led,
Trembling revisits the Pierian vale;
There culls each fragrant flow'r, to deck the tomb
Where generous Russel lies.—