« PreviousContinue »
To the Memory of Mrs. TEMPEST*.
HYRSIS, the mufic of that murm'ring fpring, Is not fo mournful as the ftrains you fing. Nor rivers winding thro' the vales below, So fweetly warble, or fo fmoothly flow. Now fleeping flocks on their soft fleeces lie,
The moon, ferene in glory, mounts the iky,
While filent birds forget their tuneful lays,
Oh fing of Daphne's fate, and Daphne's praise !
Behold the groves that fhine with filver frost,
Their beauty wither'd, and their verdure loft.
Here fhall I try the sweet Alexis' strain,
That call'd the lift'ning Dryads to the plain?
Thames heard the numbers as he flow'd along,
And bad his willows learn the moving fong.
*This, which was our Author's favourite Paftoral, was written to the memory of Mrs. Tempeft, a lady of an ancient family in Yorkshire, and particularly admired by our Author's friend, Mr. Walsh, who having celebrated her in a Paftoral Elegy, defired his friend to do the fame, as appears from one of his letters, where he fays, "Your laft eclogue being on the same fubject with that of mine, on Mrs. Tempeft's death, &c." Her death happening on the night of the great form in 1792, gave a propriety to this eclogue, which in its general turn alludes to it. The Scene of this Paftoral lies in a grove, the Time at Midnight.
So may kind rains their vital moisture yield,
And fwell the future harveft of the field.
Begin; this charge the dying Daphne gave,
And faid, "Ye fhepherds, fing around my grave!"
Sing, while befide the fhaded tomb I mourn,
And with fresh bays her rural fhrine adorn.
Ye gentle Mufes, leave your cryftal spring,
Let Nymphs and Sylvans cypress garlands bring;
Ye weeping Loves, the ftream with myrtles hide,
And break your bows, as when Adonis dy'd;
And with your golden darts, now useless grown,
Infcribe a verse on this relenting stone :
"Let nature change, let heav'n and earth deplore,
"Fair Daphne's dead, and love is now no more!",
'Tis done, and Nature's various charms decay;
See gloomy clouds obfcure the chearful day!
Now hung with pearls the dropping trees appear,
Their faded honours scatter'd on her bier.
See, where on earth the flow'ry glories lie,
With her they flourish'd, and with her they die.
Ah! what avail the beauties Nature wore?
Fair Daphne's dead, and beauty is no more!
For her, the flocks refufe their verdant food,
The thirsty heifers feek the gliding flood.
The filver fwans her haplefs fate bemoan,
In notes more fad than when they fing their own;
In hollow caves fweet Echo filent lies,
Silent, or only to her name replies,
Her name with pleasure once fhe taught the fhore,
Now Daphne's dead, and pleafure is no more!
No grateful dews defcend from ev'ning skies,
Nor morning odours from the flow'rs arife;
No rich perfumes refresh the fruitful field,
Nor fragrant herbs their native incenfe yield.
The balmy Zephyrs, filent fince her death,
Lament the ceafing of a fweeter breath;
Th'industrious bees neglect their golden ftore;
Fair Daphne's dead, and sweetness is no more!
. No more the mounting larks, while Daphne fings,
Shall lift'ning in mid-air fufpend their wings;
No more the birds fhall imitate her lays,
Or hush'd with wonder, hearken from the fprays:
No more the ftreams their murmurs fhall forbear,
A fweeter mufic than their own to hear,
But tell the reeds, and tell the vocal shore,
Fair Daphne's dead, and mufic is no more!
Her fate is whisper'd by the gentle breeze,
And told in fighs to all the trembling trees;
The trembling trees, in ev'ry plain and wood,
Her fate remurmur to the filver flood;
The filver flood, fo lately calm, appears
Swell'd with new paffion, and o'erflows with tears;
The winds and trees and floods her death deplore,
Daphne, our grief! our glory now no more!
But fee! where Daphne wond'ring mounts on high,
Above the clouds, above the starry sky!
Eternal beauties grace the fhining scene,
Fields ever fresh, and groves for ever green
There while you reft in Amaranthine bow'rs,
Or from those meads felect unfading flow'rs,
Behold us kindly who your name implore,
Daphne, our Goddefs, and our grief no more!
How all things liften, while thy Muse complains! Such filence waits on Philomela's ftrains,
In fome ftill ev'ning, when the whisp'ring breeze
Pants on the leaves, and dies upon the trees.
To thee, bright goddess, oft' a lamb fhall bleed,
If teeming ewes encrease my fleecy breed.
While plants their fhade, or flow'rs their odours give,
Thy name, thy honour, and thy praise fhall live!
See pale Orion fheds unwholefome dews,
Arife, the pines a noxious fhade diffufe;
Sharp Boreas blows, and Nature feels decay,
Time conquers all, and we muft Time obey.
Adieu ye vales, ye mountains, ftreams, and groves,
Adieu ye fhepherds' rural lays and loves;
Adieu my flocks, farewell ye fylvan crew,
Daphne farewell, and all the world adieu* !
* These four laft lines allude to the feveral fubjects of the four Paftorals, and to the feveral fcenes of them, particularized before in each.