Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
To the Earl of Warwick, on the Death of Mr. Addison
By Thomas Tickell (1686–1740)
IF, dumb too long, the drooping Muse hath stayed,
And left her debt to Addison unpaid;
Blame not her silence, Warwick, but bemoan,
And judge, oh judge, my bosom by your own.
What mourner ever felt poetic fires?        5
Slow comes the verse, that real woe inspires:
Grief unaffected suits but ill with art,
Or flowing numbers with a bleeding heart.
  Can I forget the dismal night, that gave
My soul’s best part for ever to the grave!        10
How silent did his old companions tread,
By mid-night lamps, the mansions of the dead,
Thro’ breathing statues, then unheeded things,
Thro’ rows of warriors, and thro’ walks of kings!
What awe did the slow solemn knell inspire;        15
The pealing organ, and the pausing choir;
The duties by the lawn-robed prelate payed;
And the last words, that dust to dust conveyed!
While speechless o’er thy closing grave we bend,
Accept these tears, thou dear departed friend,        20
Oh gone for ever, take this long adieu;
And sleep in peace, next thy loved Montagu!
  To strew fresh laurels let the task be mine,
A frequent pilgrim, at thy sacred shrine,
Mine with true sighs thy absence to bemoan,        25
And grave with faithful epitaphs thy stone.
If e’er from me thy loved memorial part,
May shame afflict this alienated heart;
Of thee forgetful if I form a song,
My lyre be broken, and untun’d my tongue,        30
My griefs be doubled, from thy image free,
And mirth a torment, unchastised by thee.
  Oft let me range the gloomy isles alone
(Sad luxury! to vulgar minds unknown)
Along the walls where speaking marbles show        35
What worthies form the hallow’d mould below:
Proud names, who once the reins of empire held;
In arms who triumph’d, or in arts excelled;
Chiefs, graced with scars, and prodigal of blood;
Stern patriots, who for sacred freedom stood;        40
Just men, by whom impartial laws were given;
And saints, who taught, and led, the way to heaven.
Ne’er to these chambers, where the mighty rest,
Since their foundation, came a nobler guest,
Nor e’er was to the bowers of bliss conveyed        45
A fairer spirit, or more welcome shade.
  In what new region, to the just assigned,
What new employments please th’ unbodied mind?
A winged Virtue, through th’ ethereal sky,
From world to world unwearied does he fly?        50
Or curious trace the long laborious maze
Of heaven’s decrees, where wondering angels gaze?
Does he delight to hear bold Seraphs tell
How Michael battled, and the Dragon fell?
Or, mixed with milder Cherubim, to glow        55
In hymns of love, not ill essayed below?
Or dost thou warn poor mortals left behind,
A task well suited to thy gentle mind?
Oh, if sometimes thy spotless form descend,
To me thy aid, thou guardian Genius, lend!        60
When rage misguides me, or when fear alarms,
When pain distresses, or when pleasure charms,
In silent whisperings purer thoughts impart,
And turn from ill a frail and feeble heart;
Lead through the paths thy virtue trode before,        65
’Till bliss shall join, nor death can part us more.
  That awful form (which, so ye heavens decree,
Must still be loved and still deplored by me)
In nightly visions seldom fails to rise,
Or, rous’d by fancy, meets my waking eyes.        70
If business calls, or crowded courts invite,
Th’ unblemished statesman seems to strike my sight;
If in the stage I seek to soothe my care,
I meet his soul, which breathes in Cato there;
If pensive to the rural shades I rove,        75
His shape o’ertakes me in the lonely grove:
’Twas there of Just and Good he reasoned strong,
Cleared some great truth, or raised some serious song;
There patient showed us the wise course to steer,
A candid censor, and a friend severe;        80
There taught us how to live; and (oh! too high
The price for knowledge) taught us how to die.

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