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By foreign hands thy humble grave adorn'd,
By strangers honor'd, and by strangers mourn'd!
What though no friends in sable weeds appear,
Grieve for an hour, perhaps, then mourn a year,
And bear about the mockery of woe
To midnight dances and the public show ?
What though no weeping Loves thy ashes grace,
Nor polish'd marble emulate thy face?
What though no sacred earth-allow thee room,
Nor hallow'd dirge be mutter'd o'er thy tomb ?
Yet shall thy grave with rising flowers be dress'd,
And the green turf lie lightly on thy breast :
There shall the morn her earliest tears bestow;
There the first roses of the year shall blow ;
While angels with their silver wings o'ershade
The ground, now sacred by thy relics made.
So peaceful rests, without a stone, a name, What once had beauty, titles, wealth, and fame. How loved, how honor'd 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 be !
Poets themselves must fall, like those they sung, Deaf the praised ear, and inute the tuneful tongue Ev’n he, whose soul now melts in mournful lays, Shall shortly want the generous tear he pays ; Then from his closing eyes thy form shall part, And the last pang shall tear thee from his heart, Life's idle business at one gasp be o'er, The Muse forgot, and thou beloved no more!
IN IMITATION OF VIRGIL'S POLLIO.
YE Nymphs of Solyma! begin the song:
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong.
The mossy fountains and the sylvan shades,
'The dreams of Pindus and th’ Aonian maids,
Delight no more-- Thou my voice inspire,
Who touch'd Isaiah's hallow'd lips with fire !
Rapt into future times, the bard begun:
A virgin shall conceive, a virgin bear a son!
From Jesse's root behold a branch arise,
Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies :
Th’ ethereal spirit o’er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic Dove.
Ye Heavens! from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly shower!
The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid,
From storms a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient frauds shall fail
; Returning Justice lift aloft her scale ; Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend, And white-robed Innocence from Heaven descend, Swift fly the years, and rise th' expected morn! Oh spring to light, auspicious Babe, be born! See, Nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring, With all the incense of her breathing spring:
See lofty Lebanon his head advance,
See nodding forests on the mountains dance:
See spicy clouds from lowly Sharon rise,
And Carmel's flowery top perfume the skies!
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers ;
Prepare the way! a God, a God appears !
A God, a God! the vocal hills reply,
The rocks proclaim th' approaching Deity.
Lo earth receives him from the bending skie's;
Sink down, ye mountains; and ye vallies, rise;
With heads declined, ye cedars, homage pay;
Be smooth, ye rocks; ye rapid floods, give way!
The Savior comes! by ancient bards foretold ;
Hear him, ye deaf; and all ye blind, behold;
He from thick films shall purge the visual ray,
And on the sightless eyeball pour the day :
'Tis he th' obstructed paths of sound shall clear,
And bid new music charm th’ unfolding ear :
The dumb shall sing, the lame his crutch forego,
And leap exulting like the bounding roe.
No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear,
From every face he wipes off every tear.
In adamantine chains shall Death be bound,
And hell's grim tyrant feel th' eternal wound.
As the good shepherd tends his fleecy care,
Seeks freshest pasture and the purest air ;
Explores the lost, the wandering sheep directs,
By day o’ersees them and by night protects :
The tender lambs he raises in his arms,
Feeds from his hand and in his bosom warms;
Thus shall mankind his guardian care engage,
The promised father of the future age.
No more shall nation against nation rise,
Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes,
Nor fields with gleaming steel be cover'd o'er;.
The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more;
But useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad falchion in a plowshare end.
Then palaces shall rise ; the joyful son
Shall finish what his short-lived sire begun;
Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield,
And the same hand that sow'd, shall reap the field.
The swain, in barren deserts, with surprise,
Sees lilies spring, and sudden verdure rise ;
And starts, amidst the thirsty wilds to hear
New falls of water murmuring in his ear.
On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes,
The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods.
Waste sandy vallies, once perplex'd with thorn,
The spiry fir and shapely box adorn:
To leafless shrubs the flowery palms succeed,
And odorous myrtle to the noisome weed.
The lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant mead,
And boys in flowery bands the tiger lead:
The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
And harmless serpents lick the pilgrim's feet.
The smiling infant in his hand shall take
The crested basilisk and speckled snake,
Pleased, the green lustre of the scales survey,
And with their forky tongues shall innocently play.
Rise, crown'd with light, imperial Salem, rise !
Exalt thy towering head and lift thy eyes !
See a long race thy spacious courts adorn;
See future sons and daughters yet unborn
In crowding ranks on every side arise,
Demanding life, impatient for the skies !
See barbarous nations at thy gates attend,
Walk in thy light, and in thy temple bend;
See thy bright altars throng'd with prostrate kings,
And heap'd with products of Sabæan springs !
For thee Idume's spicy forests blow,
And seeds of gold in Ophir's mountains glow.
See heaven its sparkling portals wide display,
And break upon thee in a flood of day!
No more the rising sun shall gild the morn,
Nor evening Cynthia fill her silver horn;
But, lost dissolv'd in thy superior rays,
One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze,
O’erflow thy courts : the Light himself shall shine
Reveal'd, and God's eternal day be thine !
The seas shall waste, the skies in smoke decay,
Rocks fall to dust, and mountains melt away ;
But fix'd his word, his saving power remains !
Thy realm for ever lasts, thy own Messiah reigns !
BY ALEXANDER POPE, ESQ. Written when the Author was about twelve years old..
HAPPY the man whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound, Content to breathe his native air,
In his own ground. Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire ; Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter fire.