1799 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Horace Walpole

Anonymous, "Left in the Park Chapel of Houghton-Hall, Norfolk, where Sir Robert Walpole, Lord George and Horatio Walpole, are buried" General Evening Post (29 August 1799).



Long for three* favour'd Heirs of deathless fame,
As many nations have confirm'd their claim;
And thrice three Muses — all the sacred Nine—
With lavish incense, have adorn'd the shrine;
And shall not one of England's Bards be found,
To mark with awful verse the holy ground,
Where three of British birth, and high renown,
All of one noble stock, and all our OWN,
Enrich the Tomb? — the first, of skill profound,
The subtle polities of Man to sound,
To trace his mazy nature to its source,
Explore his shallows, try his depth and force;
And good as wise — the next — let ev'ry art
That faithful Nature aids, and ev'ry heart
His bounty warm'd, in grateful sighs declare
He felt for all the Poor a father's care,
Taught the glad Horn of Plenty to expand,
And pour'd a broader blessing o'er the land.
Taste, learning, elegance, the last endear,
And his least honour to have died a Peer.

In the cold vault, shall these neglected lie
While pomp's vast pyramids assault the sky?
Yes, let those poor ones who have nought but birth,
To mark they e'er had being here on earth,
The marble blazon, tell, with vain parade,
The scoffing world — HERE WE PROUD WORMS ARE LAID!
But for the learn'd, and wise, the brave and just,
Weak is the column, feeble is the bust;
Superfluous e'en the Muse! and yonder hall,
Its towers sublime, its solid base, shall fall;
While all that Virtue, all that Genius gave,
Immortal powers! shall triumph o'er the Grave;
Their words, their works, their deeds embalm THEM best,
And REAR A MONUMENT IN EV'RY BREAST.

* Three Poets, in three distant ages born, &c. &c.
DRYDEN'S EPITAPH ON MILTON.