1773 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Lyttelton

Anonymous, "A Threnodia on L—D L—n" General Evening Post (7 October 1773).



Ye Nymphs of Helicon, begin the lay,
And tune a solemn dirge: but chief, thou Muse,
Whose range extensive comprehends a world,
Clio! to distant ages give, what years
Revolving swift may not craze. Raise high
The breathing marble, strew the noble hearse,
And crown the honours of your Hero's head.

Lost to the world is H—y and her Lord!
Where now, ye green-rob'd Dryads, are ye fled,
To what sequester'd vale, or shady grove?
The murm'ring Naiads now no longer sport,
No longer babling tell the winding tale;
But from their long-frequented paths expell'd,
With hair dishevel'd now explore new haunts.

A L—n once liv'd, the hills resound,
Responsive Echo shrill repeats, "once liv'd;"
While universal Pan (accustom'd oft
In concert with the Graces to lead up
The festal dance) attended by the Hours,
A fun'ral distich plaits around his tomb.

Come, gentle Gales, cool Zephyrs flitting Breeze,
Fan with your odoriferous wings the pair,
The happy pair! Fair L—y and her Lord.
Sylvanus' offspring! bring your spreading shades,
Bow down your compliant boughs, with care secure
What ye contain, and feed th' endearing smiles,
Cou'd but a spark of Fire Celestial! that
In days of yore blaz'd from thy pen divine;
When near the downy bank, encompass'd round
With yielding willow and the mossy sedge,
Thy numbers flow'd mellifluent with the stream;
Might I but pluck the meanest shrub that grows
On Mount Parnassus! the the GENTLE youth
Should live immortal in my sounding verse,
And tow'ring hide his head among the clouds.

Vain is the wish, and fruitless the attempt,
Which hopes to give to Fame, in loftier strains,
In brass more durable, the polish'd bust.
O L—n! with what perfective grace,
On characters of gold, hast thou thyself
Engrav'd the verse that never dies? Thyself
Hast strew'd with choicest flow'rs the sacred tomb;
Thyself rehears'd the deeds which Henry wrought.

What art thou now? The Thracian Bard e'en fell,
Nor could the Muse defend her darling son.