Rev. Josiah Relph

Thomas Sanderson, "Elegy to the Memory of the Rev. Josiah Relph" Sanderson, Original Poems (1800) 183-87.

I ask'd of a Shepherd who press'd
A bank where the primroses blow,
Whose cares had not sadden'd his breast,
Though AGE had indented his brow—

I ask'd him to shew me the seat,
The arbour where CORYDON play'd,
Whose warblings so sweetly did meet
The chorus that came from the glade.

"That arbour" (he said with a sigh)
"With chaplets of Sorrow is crown'd,
Since the pipe, that bade Rapture be nigh,
No more spreads the magic of sound!

"Can the sun, when it crimsons the hill,
Or gilds, with rich lustre, the lawn—
Can the soft-soothing voice of the rill
Delight when our CORYDON'S gone!

"Beneath yon rude thorn he repos'd,
When SPRING had enamell'd each scene;
When SUMMER, in splendour, had clos'd,
And AUTUMN had mellow'd the green.

"In Winter so wild and so drear,
In woodlands depriv'd of their shade,
He roam'd 'mid the waste of the year,
And mourn'd o'er each flow'ret decay'd!

"Where dew-dropping willows complain
To streamlets that wander beneath,
The ECHOES repeated his strain,
While the MUSES were twining his wreath.

"The first time he breath'd on his reed,
And gave its wild notes to the wind,
The Swains of the valley decreed
A garland — the type of his mind.

"The pink and the lily were there—
The laurel (the emblem of fame)—
The rose that can vie with the FAIR,
But, in blushes, renounces its claim.

"Still sacred to GRIEF be the bow'rs
That rise on the verge of yon grove,
Where INNOCENCE gathers her flow'rs,
To weave the fond garlands of LOVE:

"There CORYDON'S health did decline,
Like lilies that droop in the dale;
There SORROW did sprinkle his shrine,
Like dew that descends on the vale!

"What bosom refuses to mourn,
Beside the green leaf of his yew?
He gave us a lesson to learn,
As, dying, he bade us adieu!

"Sunk in the shade lies the pride of the grove,
When the beam fades at eve on yon height;
But we saw all his virtues improve,
When the ray of his life set in night.

"REMEMBRANCE shall dwell on his lay,
That chas'd every woe but DESPAIR;
That sooth'd, at the fall of the day,
So sweetly the vigils of CARE.

"On the breast of yon stream, as it flows,
Shall the tribute of sorrow be shed;
While the yew drops the dews from its boughs,
To impearl the green turf of his bed!"

The Shepherd then rose on his crook,
As the shades of the Ev'ning were near:
In silence he paus'd on a brook,
And I bade him farewell with a tear!