1720 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Hughes

Anonymous, "To the Memory of John Hughes, Author of the Siege of Damascus" 1720 ca.; City Gazette And Daily Advertiser [Charleston] (25 April 1796).



O lost too early! and too lately known!
My love's intended marks receive in one;
Where new to ease, and recent from thy pains,
With ampler joy thou tread'st the blissful plains:
If there regardful of the ways of men,
Thou seest with pity, what thou once hast been,
O gentle shade! accept this humble verse,
Amidst the meaner honors of the thy hearse.

How does thy Phocyas warm Britannia's youth,
In arms to glory, and in love to truth!
O! if the muse of future aught presage,
These seeds shall ripen in the coming age;
Then youths renown'd for many a field well fought,
Shall own the glorious lessons thou hast taught;
Honor's strict laws shall reign in every mind,
And every Phocyas his Eudocia find.
O! yet be this the lowest of thy fame;
To form the hero, and instruct the dame;
I see the Christian, friend, relation, son,
Burn for the glorious course that thou hast run.

If aught we owe thy pencil, or thy lyre,
Of manly strokes, or of superior fire,
How must thy muse be ever own'd divine,
And in the sacred list unrival'd shine!
Nor joyous health was thine, nor downy ease,
To thee forbidden was the soft recess;
Worn with disease, and never-ceasing pain,
How firmly did thy soul her seat maintain!
Early thy side the mortal shaft received:
All, but the wounded hero, saw and griev'd:
No sense of smart, no anguish cou'd controul,
Or turn the generous purpose of his soul.
Witness the nobler arts, by Heav'n design'd
To charm the senses, and improve the mind;
How thro' your mazes, with incessant toil,
He urg'd his way to reap th' immortal spoil!
So fabled Orpheus tun'd his potent song,
Death's circling shades, and stygian glooms among.

Of thy great labors this the last and chief,
At once demands our wonder, and our grief:
Thy soul in clouded majesty 'till now,
Its finish'd beauties did but partly show:
Wond'ring we saw disclos'd the ample store,
Griev'd in that instant, to expect no more.

So in the evening of some doubtful day,
And clouds divided with a mingled ray,
Haply the golden sun unveils his light,
And his whole glories spreads at once to sight;
Th' enliven'd world look up with gladsome cheer,
Bless the gay scene, nor heed the night too near;
Sudden the lucid orb drops swiftly down
Thro' western skies to shine in worlds unknown.