תמונות בעמוד
PDF

AN ODE.

INSCRIBED TO THE MEMORY OF THE HONOUR-
ABLE COM, ONEL GEORGE VILLIERs,”

DRowNED IN THE RIVER PIAvA, IN THE couxTRY

of FRIUL1, MDCCIII. IN IMITATION OF

HORACE, ODE 28, LIB. I.

Te maris et terrae numeroque carentis arenae
Mensorem cohibent, Archyta, &c.

SAY, dearest Villiers, poor departed friend, (Since fleeting life thus suddenly must end) | Say, what did all thy busy hopes avail, That anxious thou from pole to pole didst sail; Ere on thy chin the springing beard began To spread a doubtful down, and promise man : What profited thy thoughts, and toils, and cares, In vigour more confirm’d, and riper years? To wake ere morning dawn to loud alarms, And march till close of night in heavy arms; To scorn the summer's suns and winter's snows, And search through every clime thy country's foes!

1 Colonel George Williers was in the marine service. When this accident happened to him he was accompanied by William Courtenay, Esq., son of Sir William Courtenay, a captain in his regiment, and both shared the same fate. They had been out on an excursion to see the country.

[ocr errors]

That thou mightst Fortune to thy side engage;
That gentle Peace might quell Bellona's rage;
And Anna's bounty crown her soldier's hoary age *
In vain we think that free-will'd man has power
To hasten or protract th' appointed hour.
Our term of life depends not on our deed :
Before our birth our funeral was decreed.
Nor aw’d by foresight, nor misled by chance,
Imperious Death directs his ebon lance;
Peoples great Henry's tombs, and leads up
Holbein’s dance.
Alike must every state, and every age
Sustain the universal tyrant's rage :
For neither William's power, nor Mary's charms,
Could, or repel, or pacify his arms:
Young Churchill” fell, as life began to bloom :
And Bradford’s “trembling age expects the tomb.
Wisdom and eloquence in vain would plead
One moment's respite for the learned head :
Judges of writings and of men have died;
Maecenas, Sackville, Socrates, and Hyde:
And in their various turns their sons must tread
Those gloomy journeys which their sires have led,

1 John Churchill, Marquis of Blandford, only son of John, Duke of Marlborough by Sarah his duchess. He died 10th March, 1702, aged 16, and was buried at King's College chapel, Cambridge.

2 Francis Newport, Earl of Bradford. He died 19th September, 1708.

[graphic]
[graphic]

The ancient sage, who did so long maintain That bodies die, but souls return again, With all the births and deaths he had in store, Went out Pythagoras, and came no more. And modern Asgyll," whose capricious thought Is yet with stores of wilder notions fraught, Too soon convinc'd, shall yield that fleeting breath, Which play’d so idly with the darts of death.

Some from the stranded vessel force their way; Fearful of Fate, they meet it in the sea: Some who escape the fury of the wave, Sicken on earth, and sink into a grave : In journeys or at home, in war or peace, By hardships many, many fall by ease. Each changing season does its poison bring, Rheums chill the winter, agues blast the spring :

1 John Asgyll, Esq., a lawyer of some eminence, but more remarkable for the very extraordinary publication here alluded to. He was a member of the English parliament for Bramber in Sussex. In the year 1700 he published a treatise, entitled, “An argument proving that according to the covenant of eternal life revealed in the scriptures, man may be translated hence into that eternal life without passing through death, although the human nature of Christ himself could not be thus translated till he had passed through death.” Being involved in many perplexing lawsuits, and much reduced in his circumstances, the House of Commons made this pamphlet a pretence for expelling him in September, 1707. His affairs afterwards continued to grow worse, and he passed the remainder of his life in the rules of the King's Bench, or Fleet. He died within the former on the 10th of November, 1738, when he was considerably above fourscore years of age.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Wet, dry, cold, hot, at the appointed hour,
All act subservient to the tyrant's power:
And when obedient nature knows his will,
A fly, a grapestone, or a hair can kill.
For restless Proserpine for ever treads
In paths unseen, o'er our devoted heads;
And on the spacious land, and liquid main,
Spreads slow disease, or darts afflictive pain:
Variety of deaths confirm her endless reign.
On curst Piava's banks the goddess stood,
Shew’d her dire warrant to the rising flood;
When what I long must love, and long must mourn,
With fatal speed was urging his return :
In his dear country to disperse his care,
And arm himself by rest for future war;
To chide his anxious friends' officious fears,
And promise to their joys his elder years.
Oh! destin'd head; and oh! severe decree;
Nor native country thou, nor friend shall see:
Nor war hast thou to wage, nor year to come:
Impending death is thine, and instant doom.
Hark! the imperious goddess is obey'd :
Winds murmur, snows descend, and waters spread;
Oh! kinsman, friend—Oh! vain are all the cries
Of human voice; strong destiny replies:
Weep you on earth : for he shall sleep below:
Thence none return; and thither all must go.
Whoe'er thou art, whom choice or business leads
To this sad river, or the neigbouring meads;
If thou mayst happen on the dreary shores,

[graphic]
[graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic]
[graphic][graphic]

To find the object which this verse deplores;
Cleanse the pale corpse with a religious hand
From the polluting weed and common sand;
Lay the dead hero graceful in a grave;
(The only honour he can now receive)
And fragrant mould upon his body throw :
And plant the warrior laurel o'er his brow:
Light lie the earth; and flourish green the bough.
So may just Heaven secure thy future life
From foreign dangers, and domestic strife
And when the infernal judge's dismal power
From the dark urn shall throw thy destin’d hour;
When yielding to the sentence, breathless thou
And pale shalt lie, as what thou buriest now ;
May some kind friend the piteous object see,
And, equal rites perform to that which once was
thee.

PROLOGUE, SPOKEN AT COURT BEFORE THE QUEEN, ON HER

MAJESTY's BIRTII DAY, MDCCIV.

SHINE forth, ye planets, with distinguish’d light,
As when ye hallow'd first this happy night:
Again transmit your friendly beams to earth :
As when Britannia joy’d for Anna's birth :
And thou, propitious star, whose sacred power
Presided o'er the monarch’s natal hour,

« הקודםהמשך »