1719 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Nicholas Rowe

Thomas Newcomb, "An Ode sacred to the Memory of N. Rowe, Esq." Musarum Lachrymae: or Poems to the Memory of Nicholas Rowe (1719) 41-62.



While o'er thy Hearse, with sad Surprize,
And solemn Grief the Muses mourn;
Permit a Stranger's flowing Eyes
To shed their Sorrows round thy Urn.

Just in the Bloom of all thy Fame,
Then to assert thy Native Sky;
Absolves Impartial Heaven from Blame,
And seems, as 'twas thy Choice, to Die.

Thus the great JULIUS ceas'd to Live,
Thro' vanquish'd Worlds his Eagles bore;
Thus clos'd his Fame, when Fate cou'd give,
And his bright Sword command no more.

With Smiles he views the glitt'ring Blade,
In that great Moment fond to Die;
When ROME beheld her Hero's Shade
But mount the fairer up the Sky.

What pensive Muse, now THOU art fled,
Shall o'er Pharsalia's Warriors mourn,
Whose Voice lament the Pious Dead,
And kindly weep o'er POMPEY'S Urn?

Whose soft relenting Verse shall swell
Each Roman Heart with conscious Woe;
Her Genius fled, ROME'S Sorrow tell,
And CAESAR dying o'er his Foe?

Round his great Rival's awful Head
He views a Glory still survive;
Sighing that Fame, and Virtue dead
He cou'd not own, or scorn'd alive!

Nor mingling with the God-like Host,
Who at Philippi greatly fell;
Each Roman thanks thy pious Ghost,
That sung his Arms, and Fate so well.

The Fields of Death once more to stain,
What future Hero will refuse?
Or Dying, dread One Moment's Pain,
To Live for ever in thy Muse?

But far, O! far before the rest,
Great CATO does his Arm extend;
And in his Smiles his Love confest,
Adores thy Shade, and calls THEE Friend.

Well pleas'd, with every Grace adorn'd,
So like his Own, a-mind to see!
And the great Homage which He scorn'd
To CAESAR'S Sword, He pays to THEE.

New Transport does his Breast dilate,
Within his Soul new Passions rise;
To view Rome's Wounds, and POMPEY'S Fate,
So kindly wept by ENGLISH Eyes.

While taught by Thee, Britannia's Isle
His Hero's Fall relenting views;
He seems beneath his Wounds to smile,
And CAESAR'S self at last subdues.

Africk's rich Desarts in thy Strains,
Ennobled with the Patriot's Doom;
Excel the flow'ry Latian Plains,
And LYBIA triumphs over Rome.

Whose grateful Sons to moan the Brave,
Despairing in thy Muse are seen;
Hiding each faithful Warrior's Grave
With friendly Tears, and blooming Green.

In Words like thine, had they a Choice
Once more above their Fate to try,
Thus, with their last expiring Voice,
Wou'd each lament his Rome, and Die.

Surprize or Joy alike to yield,
Thy various artful Muse was made;
To dress the Warrior for the Field,
Or paint the Lover in his Shade.

Now in the eager Chace of Fame,
With some brave Chief you upward fly;
Now sink, and teach some Virgin Name
In softer Numbers how to Die!

Those Forms, which to our wondring Mind
Thy Fancy paints, new Glories wear;
While Love and Friendship seem more kind,
And Beauty's self appears more Fair.

Such Force, fair Virtue does impart,
By Thee presented to our View;
It moves and melts each stubborn Heart,
Her Brightness cannot quite subdue.

While drest in Angels purest Light;
Her smiling Image does appear
Pleasing, as Beauty to the Sight,
Or Musick to the ravish'd Ear.

Wou'd she once more her Skies forsake,
What other Features cou'd she chuse?
What fairer Form the Goddess take
To bless Mankind, than from thy Muse?

Transported then with fond Surprize,
The lovely Guest we shou'd adore;
And wonder how our partial Eyes
Refus'd to own such Grace before!

'Till viewing those deceiving Charms,
Each Breast subdue, we all agree,
That Power which thus our Soul disarms,
Was not her own, but lent by Thee!

Greatness no more, with all her Train,
The virtuous Mind shall now beguile;
By Thee instructed to disdain,
When Glory calls, the Syren's Smile.

No more Renown and specious Fame,
Shall strive Ambition's Rage to hide;
Nor Honour be a treach'rous Name,
To shade the Tyrant's guilty Pride.

The Brave and Generous Breast to awe,
The Honest Upright Heart to gain;
The Coward's Hand his Sword shall draw,
The Courtier's Smiles be try'd in vain.

Against that Dread thy Scenes unfold,
To arm our Breasts in vain we try;
Soon as the Tragick Tale is told,
We Melt, We Languish, and We Dye.

The Soul a while her Ground maintains,
Each Death resolving to deride;
But when the Captive tells her Pains,
That Softness owns, she strove to hide.

To view her Rage direct the Dart,
Wakes in our Breast a kind Surprize;
Speaking the Frailty of our Heart,
By the soft Streams that fill our Eyes.

Eager our Souls to bring Relief,
Swift from their opening Bosom flow,
To sooth the mourning Parents Grief,
Or guard the Infant from the Blow.

So lively has each Nymph complain'd,
When Fate thy Muse despairing drew,
That tho' we know her Sorrows feign'd,
Yet still we weep, and think 'em true.

A while we argue to perswade
Our melting Eyes to hide their Woe,
Till to their View the lovely Maid
Reveals her Wounds, and bids 'em flow.

Thy artful Voice, with equal Ease,
Each diff'rent Passion can employ;
Now give us Pain, but to increase,
And from our Grief improve our Joy.

Who in your soft deceiving Strains
With those kind Conquerors agree;
Who threaten first the dreadful Chains,
Then set the trembling Captive free.

What Raptures does thy Verse infuse,
When Beauty does the Them inspire!
What Heat transports thy soaring Muse!
If Scenes of War thy Bosom Fire!

While for bright Fame, or gay Delight,
Each Hero you alike prepare,
Lead the fierce Warrior to the Flight,
Or the young Lover to the Fair.

Nature astonish'd at thy Art
Casts on thy Muse a jealous Eye;
Her Joys unable to impart,
Or longer please when thou art by.

The Artist thus, his Skill to grace,
Some beauteous breathing Form design'd,
Forsakes the Virgin's Cheek, to trace
Features more bright in his own Mind.

Each glowing Charm the Canvass fires,
Does with Delight the Nymph surprize,
Who owes that Beauty she admires,
More to his Pencil than her Eyes.

What, tho' our Lawrels fairer rise,
And from thy Ashes date their Bloom,
We pay too dearly for the Prize,
Thus sadly purchas'd by thy Doom.

Pity, ye Gods, that doubtful Dart
Which your mysterious Anger threw,
Shou'd give at once both Joy and Smart,
Augment our Fame and Sorrow too.

Just to the Skies, severely bright,
Their vengeful Light'nings oft employ,
And gild that Oak with fairer Light,
They mean next Moment to destroy.

How mournful is the only Choice,
Your Heavens afford our Breast to ease,
Or to lament thy Dying Voice,
Or never hope our own shou'd please.

Thus to the Heirs of bright Renown,
The Purple you a while deny,
Who, e'er they boast the Regal Crown,
Must view their King and Parent Dye.

Strange, that the Glories which we claim
From thy sad Fate, no Pleasures give,
The fair Encrease of all our Fame,
The only Cause for which we grieve.

See SHAKESPEAR'S Awful Reverend Shade
Rising, his Fav'rite to adore!
And binds thy Brows with Lawrel, made
By Fame, to shade his own before.

To thy Indulgence pleas'd to owe
The Terrors that his Muse imparts,
To swell our Eye, the Scenes of Woe,
The moving Dread to shake our Hearts.

The diff'rent Fates of all that reign
Distinguish'd in whose Muse appear,
What the good Men may hope to gain,
And what the daring Tyrant fear.

Whose Tragick Voice shall next presume
To fill our Breasts with sad Despair?
Or trembling for the Lover's Doom,
Or anxious for the Dying Fair?

To Tears, whose Sighs her Wrongs confess,
Our Eyes with soft Compassion flow;
Teaching thy Virgin's feign'd Distress,
To give our Bosom real Woe.

In vain we ask our Reason's Aid,
To stop our Tears, or ease our Pain;
To view thy Fair Repenting Maid,
Each Cheek must swell, each Heart complain.

O! sooth her Anguish! calm her Grief!
O! quickly to her Refuge fly!
O! bring the Fainting Fair Relief,
Or with her give us Leave to Dye!

Such moving Scenes thy Muse unfolds,
Constrain'd its Anguish to declare;
A Savage Heart each Bosom holds,
That can attend and not despair.

What Wonders does thy Verse contain,
What Magick thro' thy Numbers flows,
Pleas'd with our Grief, we then complain,
Then only, when we want our Woes.

No Eye those Sorrows does refuse,
Thy pensive Maids expiring give;
Scarce more delighted, when Thy Muse
Suspends their Fate, and bids 'em live.

Strange that our Cheeks shou'd grieve the more
When you the falling Tear restrain;
And to forbid us to deplore,
Shou'd only give us greater Pain.

Thus trembling for her Lover's Fate,
A while the Virgin's Sorrows flow;
Owning, to hear his Sighs abate
Her Joy, more painful than her Woe.

O, may each Muse with Sorrows meet!
Soft as thy own, thy Worth declare;
Since nothing but a Voice so sweet,
Can ever sing a Fame so Fair.

A second Life to thy Great Dead,
Thy kind Inspiring Numbers Gave;
Had We that Power, the Tears We shed
Had fell to wet some other Grave.

Thine, like each Fabled Hero's Age,
Thy self with Virtue didst Inspire;
And acting well on Life's frail Stage,
Dost with the same Applause retire.