1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Collins

John Scott of Amwell, "Stanzas written at Medhurst, in Sussex, on the Author's return from Chichester, where he had attempted in vain to find the Burial-place of Collins" Poetical Works (1782) 323-25.



To view the beauties of my native land,
O'er many a pleasing distant scene I rove;
Now climb the rock, or wander on the strand,
Or trace the hill, or penetrate the grove.

From Baia's hills, from Portsea's spreading wave,
To fair Cicestria's lonely walls I stray;
To her fam'd Poet's venerated grave,
Anxious my tribute of respect to pay.

O'er the dim pavement of the solemn fane,
'Midst the rude stones that crowd the adjoining space,
The sacred spot I seek, but seek in vain;
In vain I ask — for none can point the place.

What boots the eye whose quick observant glance
Marks every nobler, ever fairer form?
What the skill'd ear that sound's sweet charms intrance,
And the fond breast with generous passion warm?

What boots the power each image to pourtray,
The pow'r with force each feeling to express?
How vain the hope that thro' Life's little day,
The soul with thought of future fame can bless?

While Folly frequent boasts the insculptur'd tomb,
By Flatt'ry's pen inscrib'd with purchas'd praise;
While Rustic Labor's undistinguish'd doom
Fond Friendship's hand records in humble phrase;

Of Genius oft, and Learning worse the lot,
For them no care, to them no honour shown;
Alive neglected, and when dead forgot,
Even COLLINS slumbers in a grave unknown.

Flow, Lavant flow! along thy sedgy shore,
Bear the fraught vessel from the neighbouring main!
Enrich thy sons! — But on thy banks no more
May lofty Poet breathe his tuneful strain!