1794 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Collins

Thomas Clubbs, "Dirge, to the Memory of Collins" St. James's Chronicle (11 January 1794).



Of wither'd leaves and ever greens,
Come, Village Maids, and weave a wreath;
A son of soul that green turf screens,
Light lie the hallow'd earth beneath.

The tansy pale, the lily fair,
Upon that hallow'd earth shall blow;
No berried nightshade flourish there,
Nor venom'd nettle dare to grow.

No fungus brown in dark midnight,
The passing night-mare fiend shall strew;
But virgin *glow-worms rob'd in light,
Impearl their lover's wings with dew.

Unhurt by wind, or rain, or snow,
The leaf shall there perpetual reign;
And ev'ry plant that there shall grow,
Sweet scents and healing virtue gain.

The female Fays around the grave,
In mystick rings shall mark the ground;
Lest where the tufts of high-grass wave,
The lurking snail or slug be found.

The busied red-breast there shall fly,
And mosses light and rose-leaves spread;
The bee unload his little thigh,
And insects **honey-dew be shed.

No frog shall croak, no owl shall scream,
No bat shall shake his shiv'ring wing;
But by pale Eve-star's twinkling beam,
The nest-robb'd nightingale shall sing.

And when the mother bird, forlorn,
Has wept away her mourning song,
Beetles shall wind the hollow horn,
And twilight chaffers buzz along.

* The male glow-worm is wing'd. It is the female that exhibits the phosphorescent appearance.
** It is observed by Rigby, in his Chemical Observations on Sugar, that the vine-fretter deposits a matter similar to the honey-dew upon the leaves of the vine: the same has been observed of an insect found upon the common hasie.