Abbildungen der Seite

There passengers shall stand, and pointing say,
(While the long fun'rals blacken all the way) 40
“Lo! these were they, whose souls the furies steeled,
“And cursed with hearts unknowing how to yield.” "
Thus unlamented pass the proud away,
The gaze of fools, and pageant of a day !
So perish all, whose breast ne'er learned to glow 45
For others' good, or melt at others' woe.”
What can atone, oh ever-injured shade 1
Thy fate unpitied, and thy rites unpaid?
No friend's complaint, no kind domestic tear
Pleased thy pale ghost, or graced thy mournful bier. 50
By foreign hands thy dying eyes were closed,’
By foreign hands thy decent limbs composed,"

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

By foreign hands thy humble grave adorned,
By strangers honoured, and by strangers mourned:
What though no friends in sable weeds appear, 55
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn' a year,
And bear about the mockery of woe
To midnight dances, and the public show P
What though no weeping loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polished marble emulate thy face? 60
What though no sacred earth allow thee room,
Nor hallowed dirge be muttered o'er thy tomb P
Yet shall thy grave with rising flow'rs be dressed,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast:”
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow, 65
There the first roses of the year shall blow;
While angels with their silver wings” o'ershade
The ground, now sacred" by thy reliques made."

* The poet in the previous couplet has employed the word “mourn” to signify genuine regret. In this verse it is put for the act of wearing mourning, -the appearing in the “sable weeds,” which are “the mockery of woe” when the sorrow is not real.

* Dryden, Virg. Ecl. x. 51: How light would lie the turf upon my


A. Philips in his third Pastoral :
The flow'ry turf lie light upon thy breast.

This thought was common with the
* Tasso's description of an angel in
the translation of Fairfax, i. 14:
Of silver wings he took a shining pair
Fringed with gold.—WAKEFIELD.
* The expression has reference to
ver. 61. “No sacred earth allowed
her room,” but her remains have
“made sacred” the common earth in
which she was buried.
* Such a poem as Pope's Elegy,
deeply serious and pathetic, rejects
with disdain all fiction. Upon that

account the passage from ver. 59 to ver. 68 deserves no quarter; for it is not the language of the heart, but of the imagination indulging its flights at ease, and by that means is eminently discordant with the subject. It would be a still more severe censure if it should be ascribed to imitation, copying indiscreetly what has been said by others.-LoRD KAMEs. The ghost of the injured person appears to excite the poet to revenge her wrongs. He describes her character, execrates the author of her misfortunes, expatiates on the severity of her fate, the rites of sepulture denied her in a foreign land. Then follows, “What though no weeping,” &c. Can anything be more naturally pathetic Yet the critic tells us he can give no quarter to this part of the poem. Well might our poet's last wish be to commit his writings to the candour of a sensible and reflecting judge, rather than to the malice of every short-sighted and malevolent critic.—WARBURTON.

So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name, What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame. 70 How loved, how honoured once, avails thee not, To whom related, or by whom begot; A heap of dust alone remains of thee; 'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall bel'

Poets themselves must fall like those they sung, 75 Deaf the praised ear, and mute the tuneful tongue.” Ev’n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays, Shall shortly want the gen'rous tear he pays; Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part, And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart, 80 Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er, The muse forgot, and thou beloved no more

* When Pope describes the retribution which is to fall upon the imperious relatives of the unfortunate lady, he says, Thus unlamented pass the proud away;

The persecutors who have hunted you into the grave, shall one day share your fate.

and it is to these same relations, whose pride was their vice, that he reverts in the line,

'Tis all thou art, and all the proud shall be.

* R. Herrick, in a Meditation for his Mistress :

You are the queen all flow'rs among,
But die you must, fair maid, ere long,
As he, the maker of this song.

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »