Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works



          WITH copious eulogy in prose or rhyme
          Graven on the tomb we struggle against Time,
          Alas, how feebly! but our feelings rise
          And still we struggle when a good man dies:
          Such offering BEAUMONT dreaded and forbade,
          A spirit meek in self-abasement clad.
          Yet 'here' at least--though few have numbered days
          That shunned so modestly the light of praise--
          His graceful manners, and the temperate ray
          Of that arch fancy which would round him play,              10
          Brightening a converse never known to swerve
          From courtesy and delicate reserve;
          That sense, the bland philosophy of life,
          Which checked discussion ere it warmed to strife--
          Those rare accomplishments, and varied powers,
          Might have their record among sylvan bowers.
          Oh, fled for ever! vanished like a blast
          That shook the leaves in myriads as it passed;--
          Gone from this world of earth, air, sea, and sky,
          From all its spirit-moving imagery,                         20
          Intensely studied with a painter's eye,
          A poet's heart; and, for congenial view,
          Portrayed with happiest pencil, not untrue
          To common recognitions while the line
          Flowed in a course of sympathy divine;--
          Oh! severed, too abruptly, from delights
          That all the seasons shared with equal rights;--
          Rapt in the grace of undismantled age,
          From soul-felt music, and the treasured page
          Lit by that evening lamp which loved to shed                30
          Its mellow lustre round thy honoured head;
          While Friends beheld thee give with eye, voice, mien,
          More than theatric force to Shakspeare's scene;--
          If thou hast heard me--if thy Spirit know
          Aught of these bowers and whence their pleasures flow;
          If things in our remembrance held so dear,
          And thoughts and projects fondly cherished here,
          To thy exalted nature only seem
          Time's vanities, light fragments of earth's dream--
          Rebuke us not!--The mandate is obeyed                       40
          That said, "Let praise be mute where I am laid;"
          The holier deprecation, given in trust
          To the cold marble, waits upon thy dust;
          Yet have we found how slowly genuine grief
          From 'silent' admiration wins relief.
          Too long abashed thy Name is like a rose
          That doth "within itself its sweetness close;"
          A drooping daisy changed into a cup
          In which her bright-eyed beauty is shut up.
          Within these groves, where still are flitting by            50
          Shades of the Past, oft noticed with a sigh,
          Shall stand a votive Tablet, haply free,
          When towers and temples fall, to speak of Thee!
          If sculptured emblems of our mortal doom
          Recall not there the wisdom of the Tomb,
          Green ivy risen from out the cheerful earth,
          Will fringe the lettered stone; and herbs spring forth,
          Whose fragrance, by soft dews and rain unbound,
          Shall penetrate the heart without a wound;
          While truth and love their purposes fulfil,                 60
          Commemorating genius, talent, skill,
          That could not lie concealed where Thou wert known;
          Thy virtues 'He' must judge, and He alone,
          The God upon whose mercy they are thrown.
                                                         Nov. 1830.



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