1827 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Reginald Heber

J. M. Jun., "To the Memory of the Right Reverend Reginald Heber" Imperial Magazine 9 (May 1827) 468.



Not unto man, weak, erring man, is given,
Clearly to trace the ruling hand of Heaven;
God on his path has thrown an awful gloom,
We ne'er can penetrate this side the tomb.
Far from his country — victim of the clime—
Has HEBER sunk in manhood's vigorous prime;
Sunk but to rise — to wing his happy flight
Up to the fountain of all life and light,
And add another harp to that blest throng,
Who laud th' Almighty with undying song.

In youth hope whisper'd he was long to prove
The joys of friendship, and the charms of love.
Delusive vision! rous'd at duty's call,
He scorn'd earth's comforts, and renounc'd them all.
There was a wreath more glorious to be won,
Than that bestow'd by nymphs of Helicon.
He bade the lyre and rural shades adieu,
As Britain's shores receded from his view;
Assum'd the panoply of grace divine,
Warr'd 'gainst the Idol in its Indian shrine,
And, to the last with holy ardour fir'd,
Beneath the banners of the Cross expir'd!

Departed saint! the muses weep for thee;
Thine was the lyre of sacred minstrelsy!
Thine was the bosom which with pity glow'd,
For those who wander'd in destruction's road!
Thine was the mind with ev'ry virtue grac'd,
Strengthen'd by knowledge, and refin'd by taste!

Sublimely hast thou sung the beauteous plains,
Where Judah dwelt, where now the heathen reigns.
Musing with thee we tread the hillock's side,
Where once a Monarch and a Saviour died,
And view, distinct, in Oriental skies,
The domes and minarets of Salem rise!

Transient, indeed, has been thy life's career,
Yet long thy name shall India's sons revere,
And rank thee with her worthies; those who fell
In the grand conflict 'gainst the powers of hell.
Religion shall bestow her meed of praise
On thee who trod, from early youth, her ways;
Who, scorning death, and this vain world's applause.
A soul devoted to her sacred cause,
Genius too, bending o'er thy grave, shall mourn,
And twine the coronal that decks thine urn!
Truro.