« ZurückWeiter »
ON THE DEATH OF MR. AIKMAN*.
Oh, could I draw, my friend, thy genuine mind
• Mr. Aikman was born in Scotland, and designed for the profession of the law: but traveled to Italy, and returned a painter. He was patronized in Scotland by the Duke of_Ar. gyle, and afterwards met with encouragement to settle in Lon. don: but falling into a long and languishing disease, he died at his bouse in Leicester Fields, Jun 1731, aged Boyse wrote a panegyric upon him, and Mallet an epitaph. See Walpole's Anecdotes, vol. iv. p. 41.
Yet pay we just acknowledgment to Heaven, Though snatch'd so soon, that Aikman e'er was
given. A friend, when dead, is but removed from sight, Hid in the lustre of eternal light: Oft with the mind he wonted converse keeps In the lone walk, or when the body sleeps Lets in a wandering ray, and all elate Wings and attracts her to another state; And, when the parting storms of life are o'er, May yet rejoin him in a happier shore. As those we love decay, we die in part, String after string is sever'd from the heart; Till loosen'd life, at last but breathing clay, Without one pang, is glad to fall away. Unhappy he who latest feels the blow, Whose eyes have wept o'er every friend laid low; Dragg'd lingering on from partial death to death, Till dying, all he can resign is breath.
VERSES IN MEMORY OF HIS LADY.
WRITTEN AT SANDGATE CASTLE, 1763.
Nec tantum ingenio, quantum servire dolori. Propert.
LET others boast the false and faithless pride, No nuptial charm to know; or, known, to hide; With vain disguise from Nature's dictates part, For the poor triumph of a vacant heart;
My verse the god of tender vows inspires,
Dear silent partner of those happier hours That pass'd in Hackthorn's vales, in Blagdon's
bowers! If yet thy gentle spirit wanders here, Borne by its virtues to no nobler sphere; If yet that pity which, of life possess'd, Fill'd thy fair eye and lighten'd through thy breast; If yet that tender thought, that generous care, The gloomy power of endless night may spare;' Oh! while my soul for thee, for thee complains, Catch her warm sighs and kiss her bleeding strains. Wild, wretched wish! Can prayer, with feeble
breath, Pierce the pale ear, the statued ear of death ? Let patience pray, let hope aspire to prayer ! And leave me the strong language of despair! Hence, ye vain painters of ingenious woe, Ye Lytteltons, ye shining Petrarchs, go! I hate the languor of your lenient strain, Your flowery grief, your impotence of pain. Oh! had ye known, what I have known, to prove The searching flame, the agonies of love! Oh! had ye known how souls to souls impart Their fire, or mix the lifedrops of the heart! Not like the streams that down the mountain side Tunefully mourn, and sparkle as they glide; Not like the breeze that sighs at evening hour On the soft bosom of some folding flower; Your stronger grief, in stronger accents borne, Had soothed the breast with burning anguish torn. The voice of seas, the winds that rouse the deep, Far sounding floods that tear the mountain's steep;
Each wild and melancholy blast that raves Round these dim towers, and smites the beating
[breath, This soothes my soul—'tiş Nature's mournful 'Tis Nature struggling in the arms of Death!
See, the last aid of her expiring state, See Love, e'en Love has lent his darts to Fate *! Oh! when beneath his golden shafts I bled, And vainly bound his trophies round my head; When, crown'd with flowers, he led the rosy day, Lived to my eye, and drew my soul awayCould fear, could fancy, at that tender hour, See the dim grave demand the nuptial flower? There, there his wreaths dejected Hymen strew'd; And mourn'd their bloom unfaded as he view'd.
There each fair hope, each tenderness of life, Each nameless charm of soft obliging strife, Delight, love, fancy, pleasure, genius fled, And the best passions of my soul lie dead; All, all is there in cold oblivion laid, But pale remembrance bending o'er a shade.
O come, ye softer sorrows, to my breast! Ye lenient sighs, that slumber into rest! Come, soothing dreams, your friendly pinions
Ye holy sufferers, that in silence wait
* The lady died in childbed.
With you I'll waste the slow departing day, And wear with you the' uncolour'd hours away.
Oh! lead me to your cells, your lonely aisles, Where Resignation folds her arms and smiles ; Where holy Faith unwearied vigils keeps, And guards the urn where fair Constantia * sleeps: There, let me there in sweet oblivion lie, And calmly feel the tutor'd passions die.
ON HIS MOTHER.
Ah, scenes beloved! ah, conscious shades,
That wave these parent vales along ! Ye bowers where Fancy met the tuneful maids, Ye mountains vocal with my Doric song,
Teach your wild echoes to complain In sighs of solemn woe,
in broken sounds of pain. For her I mourn, Now the cold tenant of the thoughtless urn
For her bewail these strains of woe,
For her these filial sorrows flow, Source of my life, that led my tender years
With all a parent's pious fears, That nursed my infant thought, and taught my
mind to grow. Careful, she mark'd each dangerous way,
Where youth's unwary footsteps stray: She taught the struggling passions to subside;
Where sacred truth and reason guide, In virtue's glorious path to seek the realms of day.
* See Spectator, No. 164.