1819 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Smith of Covent Garden

John Taylor Esq., "On William Smith, Esq. who lately died, in his 89th Year, at Bury St. Edmund's" The Sun (2 October 1819).



Here SMITH now rests, who acted well his part;
Mere human errors mark'd his life and Art,
Yet were his merits of no common kind,
For Nature had adorned his form and mind.
Oxford of learning gave an ample store,
Genius, experience, judgment taught him more,
And e'en when GARRICK charmed a wond'ring age,
SMITH threw a lustre o'er the rival stage,
Conspicuous for the skill he then displayed,
Or with the Tragic or the Comic maid.
At length, when Summer veiled her radiant fire,
Reflecting Autumn warned him to retire,
Yet, propped by Health, he scarcely felt decay,
And Winter cheered him with the glow of May.
TIME kept aloof, as if inclined to spare
A work that NATURE formed with partial care,
And when resolved no longer to delay,
He gently wafted lingering life away.
His mournful Widow placed this tablet here,
And paid the tribute of a silent tear,
Soothed by the hope, when her brief scene is o'er,
To meet in purer realms and part no more.