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With unreluctant grandeur, gives, not yields
His soul sublime; and closes with his fate.
How our hearts burnt within us at the scene!
Whence this brave bound o'er limits fixt to man?
His God sustains him in his final hour!
His final hour brings glory to his God!
Man's glory Heaven vouchsafes to call her own.
We gaze, we weep; mixt tears of grief, of joy!
Amazement strikes! devotion bursts to flame!
Christians adore! and Infidels believe !
As some tall tower, or lofty mountain's brow, Detains the Sun, illustrious, from its height; While rising vapours, and descending shades, With damps and darkness, drown the spacious vale; Undampt by doubt, undarken'd by despair, Philander, thus, augustly rears his head, At that black hour, which general horrour sheds On the low level of th' inglorious throng:
Sweet Peace, and heavenly Hope, and humble Joy,
Divinely beam on his exalted soul;
`Destruction gild, and crown him for the skies,
With incommunicable lustre bright.
NIGHT THE THIRD.
TO HER GRACE THE DUCHESS OF PORTLAND.
Ignoscenda quidem, scirent si ignoscere manes.
VIRG FROM dreams, where thought in fancy's maze runs
To reason, that heaven-lighted lamp in man,
Once more I wake; and at the destin'd hour,
Punctual as lovers to the moment sworn,
I keep my assignation with my woe.
O! lost to virtue, lost to manly thought,
Lost to the noble sallies of the soul!
Who think it solitude to be alone.
Communion sweet! communion large and high!
Our reason, guardian angel, and our God!
Then nearest these, when others most remote ;
And all, ere long, shall be remote, but these.
How dreadful, then, to meet them all alone,
A stranger! unacknowledg'd! unapprov'd!
Now woo them; wed them; bind them to thy breast;
To win thy wish, creation has no more.
Or if we wish a fourth, it is a friend –
But friends, how mortal! dangerous the desire !
Take Phoebus to yourselves, ye basking bards
Inebriate at fair Fortune's fountain-head;
And reeling through the wilderness of joy;
Where Sense runs savage, broke from Reason's chain!
And sings false peace, till smother'd by the pall.
My fortune is unlike; unlike my song;
Unlike the deity my song invokes.
I to Day's soft-ey'd sister pay my court,
(Endymion's rival!) and her aid implore;
Now first implor'd in succour to the Muse.
Thou, who didst lately borrow Cynthia's form And modestly forego thine own! O thou, Who didst thyself, at midnight hours, inspire! Say, why not Cynthia patroness of song?
* At the Duke of Norfolk's masquerade,
As thou her crescent, she thy character
Assumes; still more a goddess by the change.
Are there demurring wits, who dare dispute
This revolution in the world inspir'd?
Ye train Pierian! to the lunar sphere,
In silent hour, address your ardent call
For aid immortal; less her brother's right.
She, with the spheres harmonious, nightly leads
The mazy dance, and hears their matchless strain,
A strain for gods, denied to mortal ear.
Transmit it heard, thou silver queen of Heaven!
What title, or what name, endears the most!
Cynthia! Cyllené! Phœbe! or dost hear
With higher gust, fair Portland of the skies?
Is that the soft enchantment calls thee down,
More powerful than of old Circean charm?
Come; but from heavenly banquets with thee bring
The soul of song, and whisper in my ear
The theft divine; or in propitious dreams [breast
(For dreams are thine) transfuse it through the
Of thy first votary. But not thy last;
If, like thy namesake, thou art ever kind.
And kind thou wilt be; kind on such a theme;
A theme so like thee, a quite lunar theme,
Soft, modest, melancholy, female, fair!
A theme that rose all-pale, and told my soul
'T was night; on her fond hopes perpetual night;
A night which struck a damp, a deadlier damp,
Than that which smote me from Philander's tomb.
Narcissa follows, ere his tomb is clos'd.
Woes cluster; rare are solitary woes;
They love a train, they tread each other's heel;
Her death invades his mournful right, and claims
The grief that started from my lids for him:
Scizes the faithless, alienated tear,
Or shares it, ere it falls. So frequent death,
Sorrow he more than causes, he confounds;
For human sighs his rival strokes contend,
And make distress, distraction. Oh Philander!
What was thy fate? A double fate to me;
Portent, and pain! a menace, and a blow!
Like the black raven hovering o'er my peace,
Not less a bird of omen, than of prey.
It call'd Narcissa long before her hour;
It call'd her tender soul, by break of bliss,
From the first blossom, from the buds of joy;
Those few our noxious fate unblasted leaves
In this inclement clime of human life.
Sweet harmonist! and beautiful as sweet!
And young as beautiful! and soft as young!
And gay as soft! and innocent as gay!
And happy (if aught happy here) as good!
For fortune fond had built her nest on high.
Like birds quite exquisite of note and plume,
Transfixt by fate (who loves a lofty mark),
How from the summit of the grove she fell,
And left it unharmonious! All its charms
Extinguisht in the wonders of her song!
Her song still vibrates in my ravish'd ear,
Still melting there, and with voluptuous pain
(0 to forget her!) thrilling through my heart!
Song, beauty, youth, love, virtue, joy; this group Of bright ideas, flowers of Paradise,
As yet unforfeit ! in one blaze we bind,
Kneel and present it to the skies; as all
We guess of Heaven: and these were all her own,
And she was mine; and I was-was!
Gay title of the deepest misery!
As bodies grow more ponderous, robb'd of life;
Good lost weighs more in grief, than gain'd in joy,
Like blossom'd trees o'erturn'd by vernal storm,
Lovely in death the beauteous ruin lay;
And if in death still lovely, lovelier there,
Far lovelier! pity swells the tide of love.
And will not the severe excuse a sigh?
Scorn the proud man that is asham'd to weep;
Our tears indulg'd indeed deserve our shame,
Ye that e'er lost an angel! pity me.
Soon as the lustre languish'd in her eye,
Dawning a dimmer day on human sight;
And on her cheek, the residence of spring,
Pale omen sat; and scatter'd fears around
On all that saw, (and who would cease to gaze,
That once had seen?) with haste, parental haste,
I flew, I snatch'd her from the rigid North,
Her native bed, on which bleak Boreas blew,
And bore her nearer to the Sun; the Sun
(As if the Sun could envy) check'd his beam,
Deny'd his wonted succour; nor with more
Regret beheld her drooping, than the bells
Of lilies; fairest lilies, not so fair!
Queen lilies! and ye painted populace!
Who dwell in fields, and lead ambrosial lives!
In morn and evening dew, your beauties bathe,
And drink the Sun; which gives your cheeks to