1719 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Joseph Addison

James Heywood, "On the Death of the Hon. Joseph Addison, Esq;" 1719; Heywood, Poems and Letters on Several Subjects (1724) 3-5.



Farewel, thou darling Fav'rite of the Stage,
Farewel, thou greatest Genius of the Age;
Permit my Muse, among the rest, to mourn,
And shed a Tear upon thy peaceful Urn.

Such was his Genius, such his sterling Wit,
Such soft, such charming tuneful Words he writ,
And in each Line such Beauty does impart,
He charms the Ear, and captivates the Heart.
Not Young's, nor Pope's, nor Congreve's Pen can tell,
How much our English Maro did excell:
They may in nervous Lines thy Praise rehearse,
In sublime Numbers, and harmonious Verse:
But which of our great British Bards can show,
Or paint this Loss, this dismal Scene of Woe?
Whene'er he writ, how was his Pen inspir'd
With flowing Fancy, and with Rapture fir'd;
That in these cynic and censorious Days,
The most ill-natur'd Momus gave him Praise.

In strong and tow'ring Thoughts he did display,
The martial Acts of BLENHEIM'S wond'rous Day.
Whene'er his CATO on the Stage appears,
Each tender Heart will drop some grateful Tears:
When Booth his soft majestick Voice does raise,
Loud Peals of Thunder-claps proclaim thy Praise.

O ADDISON! I could as soon rehearse,
And paint thy Virtues, as to praise thy Verse;
Not only Wonders in thy Lines we find,
But shining Virtues beautify'd thy Mind;
Goodness without Alloy thy Soul possess'd,
And Godlike Acts thy happy Temper bless'd.

How many rich, and nobly born, do die,
Which in the gloomy Shades forgotten lie,
That leave no Traces of their Names behind,
Vanish like Clouds before a northern Wind.
Tho' in his native Dust, he cannot die,
But live Immortal by his Poetry.
His matchless Virtues will record his Name,
And After-Ages will extol his Fame.