1729 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Richard Steele

Joseph Mitchell, "The Monument" (1729) 1-5.



Crown'd with the Wreath of universal Praise,
In Peace and Honour, and with Length of Days,
The Bard, the Patriot, Soldier, and the Sage,
The Friend of Men, and Glory of our Age,
The peerless Steele his Spirit hath resign'd,
And left in Tears a wretched World behind.
Yes, He too, subject to imperial Fate,
Is fal'n! Alas! how transient mortal State!
But are the Muses all, at once, struck dumb?
Yet unadorn'd remains the silent Tomb?

Is Pope confounded with uncommon Woe?
No more does Young's high Inspiration flow?
Quite is the laurel'd Eusden's Lyre unstrung?
And Tickell's Harp on rueful Willows hung?
Ungenerous Tribe! — But let the Sons of Verse,
Whose studied Elegiacs would prove Farce,
Continue silent, as the gloomy Grave—
Walpole, who lives but to support and save,
Alone, will better do the Hero Right,
And fix his Friend in everlasting Light.

A Monument, becoming thy great Mind,
Wou'd pay, at once, the Vows of All Mankind.
And, while It kept alive his Worth and Fame,
Who wou'd not bless the kind Preserver's Name?
Honours to Steele wou'd thy own Glory raise,
And grave on every grateful Heart thy Praise:
Faction and Malice Then wou'd turn thy Friends--
Such Rev'rence on such Godlike Deeds attends!

And sure, O Steele, (if Souls from Flesh set free
Their Friends' last, pious, Offices can see)
Thou'dst look on This illustrious Instance, pleas'd;
And boast, among the Shades, that It was rais'd,
(In Honour of thy Merit, Mind, and Pen)
By th' ablest Judge and truest Friend of Men.
Well, to the dead, may Walpole stretch his Care,
Whose great Protection all the living share.

But had'st thou liv'd in letter'd Greece of old,
Thy Statue had been form'd of massy Gold,
Thy Self among thy Country's Gods enroll'd!
Nor wou'd the Genius of the ancient Rome
Been satisfy'd to lodge Thee in a Tomb,
But, with the Honours due to Patriot Flame,
The Publick had immortaliz'd thy Name.

Be hush, my Muse, and Providence revere—
Steele was reserv'd to act the Hero Here,
In doubtful Days for Liberty to stand,
Maintain the British Rights, and Save the Land.
Like Hercules, to rid our Earth He rose
Of publick Monsters and domestic Foes,
By Reason's Force to vindicate the Law,
And make the Sons of Slavery stand in Awe;
Nor breath'd a Vice or Folly in the Crowd,
By his facetious Satyr unsubdu'd.