1789 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Russell

Anonymous, Obituary in Bath Chronicle (21 May 1789).



SONNET, BY MR. RUSSEL.
Could then the Babes from yon unshelter'd cot
Implore thy passing charity in vain?
Too thoughtless Youth! what tho' thy happier lot
Insult their life of poverty and pain!
What tho' their Maker doom'd them thus forlorn
To brook the mockery of the taunting throng,
Beneath th' Oppressor's iron scourge to mourn,
To mourn, but not to murmur at his wrong!
Yet when their last late evening shall decline,
Their evening chearful, tho' their day distrest,
A Hope perhaps more heavenly-bright than thine,
A Grace by thee unsought, and unpossest,
A Faith more fix'd, a Rapture more divine
Shall gild their passage to eternal Rest.

Mr. Russel was the son of an eminent attorney at Beauminster, in Dorsetshire. After spending some years at a grammar-school in that county, he was removed to Winchester, and in 1780 elected fellow of New college, Oxford. In this situation he was eminently distinguished by his classical knowledge, and an extensive acquaintance with the best authors in the French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, and German languages. But his progress in literature was checked by a lingering illness, which terminated in a consumption of the lungs. He died at Bristol, July 31, 1788, in the 26th year of his age.