1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Hardinge

Surbiton, "Twickenham Meadows. Addressed to G. H. Esq." The St. James's Chronicle (21 September 1802).



As with fond eyes I view the meads
Where Thames his fav'rite current leads,
How chang'd their once-lov'd beauties seem!
Immers'd in weeds the glassy stream*
Show'd like a foul and stagnant lake,
Where wad'ling ducks their pastime take.
Th' enchanting Castle's fairy bow'rs,**
Encircled once with gayest flow'rs,
Now look'd thro' boughs that veil the light,
The gloomy residence of night.

I sigh, and with a heart-felt groan,
Exclaim aloud — What joys are flown!
Eventful Time! thy scenes arise,
Thy visions pass before my eyes.
Fair Stream! that shines thro' yonder glade
Of groves that form a Sylvan shade;
My native Thames — Oh bend to me!
Explain from whence, the change I see.
Say — why deprest thy current flows,
That once so gay and proudly rose?
Thou that wert wont to win thy way,
With sprightly undulating play,
Why now in weeds thy bosom hide,
And pensive thus in sadness glide?

The rev'rend Father rear'd his head,
A wreath funereal round it spread;
And wouldst thou know, the God reply'd,
Why humbled thus my wonted pride?
It is — that Genius leaves my shore,
Genius to me — returns no more.
Hence sunk thro' grief my stream appears,
These sedges but conceal my tears;
With smiling bosom can I rise?
When Hardinge's fled — and Cambridge dies.
Sept. 14, 1802.

* The River was remarkably low.
** Ragman's Castle, once the residence of George Hardinge, Esq.