1726 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Leonard Welsted

Thomas Cooke, "To Mr. Welsted, on the Death of his Daughter" 1726; Tales, Epistles, Odes, Fables (1729) 42-44.



While on the winding Banks of Thames I rove,
Or chuse, for Silence more profound, the Grove,
Or in the flowry Vale inamour'd stray,
Where Innocence and Truth direct the Way,
While charm'd sublimely by the various Scene,
The Muse propitious, and the Mind serene,
What to a Mortal, so divinely bless'd,
Can strike so deeply as a Friend distress'd!
E'en now dejected I thy Lot deplore;
And the gay Prospect can delight no more.
In vain to me the gilded Landskips rise,
While the Tears fall from my Horatio's Eyes.

Well is my Soul for Friendship form'd, or Love;
In Consort to my Friend my Passions move.
E'en now the sovereign Balm, that never fail'd,
That always o'er the heavy Heart prevail'd,
That ever charm'd Me in the mournful Hour,
E'en thy own Lays my Friend have loss'd their Powr.

O! how I long to let our Sorrows flow,
And mingle, in the tender Strife of Woe!
'Tis done; and lo! the Debt of Nature's pay'd:
Soft ly the Dust, and happy rest the Maid!
And now the last, the pious, Tear is shed,
The unavailing Tribute to the dead,
No longer let thy faithful Friends complain;
See, they demand Thee to themselves again.
Petronius now allures thy Soul to Ease,
A happy Man, by Nature form'd to please;
Whose Virtues well may call Horatio Friend;
Whom Love, and Mirth dispelling Care, attend;
In him, to full Perfection met, we see
All that the wise and gay can wish to be;
In the sad Hour from him I find Relief,
With him forget that I have Cause for Grief.
Haste to enjoy the Hours I've heard you prize,
Those Hours known only to the good and wise;
To sacred Friendship be thy Days assign'd;
Be to thy-self, and thy Associates, kind:
Of if the Soul, all resolute in Woe,
Still bids the wakeful Eye of Sorrow flow,
Make Reason, the great Guide of Life, thine Aid:
Say, is the Phrenzy grateful to the Maid?
Or could the virgin Shade perceive Thee mourn,
Would She embody'd to thy Arms return?
What ever Cause my Friend concludes her Date,
The Course of Nature, or the Work of Fate,
Let this the Burden of thy Heart relieve,
'Tis Weakness, or Impiety, to grieve.
What tho her Charms might savage Rage compose,
And vy in Sweeteness with the Syrian Rose,
What tho her Mind beseem'd her Angel's Face,
Where ev'ry Virtue met, and ev'ry Grace,
Yet think, my Friend, the heavy falling Showr,
Without Distinction lays the lovely'st Flowr.
Trace ev'ry Age, in ev'ry Age you find
A thousand weeping Fathers left behind;
The common Lot of all is fall'n to Thee,
What was, what is, and what shall always be.
To Dust reduc'd shall thy Zelinda ly;
And know thy self, thy dearer self, shall dy;
Know this, and stop the Fountain of thine Eyes,
Excess of Sorrow ill becomes the wise.
August, 1726.