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Broadside entitled 'Elegy on Thomas Smellie'




Ostendent terris HUNC tantým fata, nec ultrŗ
Esse sinent. ∆ NEID. Lib. vi. 870.

GRAY weeping vaults, and ever mouldering domes,
From whose worn sides the very sculptures die ;
In whose cold, dark, and ever silent wombs,
The dear, the good, the great, the honour'd lie

Thou hear'st not! object of my bursting heart;
Still first to hear when sorrow was the theme ;
Ere swiftly flew the sure unerring dart
That bade my bliss be like a morning dream.

Fair spreading hopes, with fond illusions fed,
How soon you have past, unconstant and unkind ;
The grass is waving on thy earthy bed,
And I am solitary here behind !

How oft deluded Expectation said,
Long be the light of Friendship's holy flame;
A thousand happy forms she anxious spread,
And talk'd of future Joys and future Fame :

But like a keen and bitter biting blast
That wastes the harvest ere the harvest day,
Thy heavy death o'er Expectation past,
And all my happiness fled far away.

Up rises Morn, clad in her orient bloom;
I feel no joy at her approaching light;
And Darkness falling, with her dreary gloom,
Brings not along the comforts of the night.

Still flows the eye that chearful hopes hath none;
No grief can rouse to life the crumbling clay;
No tears can animate the sapless bone,
Nor give the breathless form again to day.

Cold envious earth ! thou hid'st a scholar's breast,
That would have left admiring worlds behind ;
There virtue sleeps in dull oblivious rest,
That one day would have dignify'd mankind:

But long e'er Life hath reach'd her midway bound,
Fair starting o'er the hopeful morning dew,
Eclipsing darkness hath enveil'd thee round,
And heaven's bright azure stain'd with midnight's hue.

At Friendship's call, at Pity's bursting tear,
No more that bosom feels the generous glow;
Nor melts that heart when Misery's form is near,
That ever keenly felt a brother's woe.

Dim Winter's storms, and April's faithless gales,
And flaunting Summer, with her flowery head,
And Autumn, waving o'er her golden dales,
Shall waft no pleasures to thy silent bed:

For never dawns sweet Recollection there,
Nor dear Sensation lifts her chearful fight;
Destruction's banners fan the murky air,
And all is horror round, and all is night.

Why gone so soon ! we follow on a-pace ;
Why gone so soon, so much desir'd to stay ;
Towards the cold dwelling bends the unequal race,
But thou art gone before the expected day !

Too good ! too dear ! with every virtue blest ;
Friend of my heart, so early from me fled ;
Where now in yon all-hallow'd land of rest
Lifts thou on high thy gold-bespangl'd head :

Where, now remov'd from trouble and from care,
From Misery's pang, and Sorrow's tearful stound,
Fann'st thou aloft yon bright etherial air,
Where endless Happiness enfolds thee round ?

O ! if from fields of never-fading light,
Thou ever turn'st tow'rds poor Misfortune's cell,
Come but one glimpse before my longing sight,
Then for a little, gentle Shade ! farewell.

It creeps a-pace?nor long we wait behind ;
Short is the passage to the mouldering clay ;
Soon shall we meet, and parting none shall find,
And Death and Sorrow vanish both away.

O'er thy green turf, each lone revolving year,
I'll heave the sigh to early Merit due ;
And dreary shed poor Friendship's bootless tear,
For ne'er was one so hapless nor so true.

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Probable period of publication: 1810-1830   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.74(327)
Broadside entitled 'Elegy on Thomas Smellie'
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