1811 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Thomas Percy

Jane West, "To the Memory of the Right Rev. Thomas Percy" Gentleman's Magazine 81 (November 1811) 460.



If Fancy sculpture o'er the Poet's dust
A guardian Genius jealous of its trust;
If civic crowns the Patriot's worth record,
Or palms denote the servant of the Lord;
Let Percy's urn these blended symbols claim,
To mark the Poet's, Saint's, and Patriot's name:
He with nice taste the Minstrel's harp restrung,
And prais'd the feudal chiefs from whom he sprung:
Grav'd in his youth on Britain's classic page,
A mild Maecenas in his happy age:
By genius rais'd, to genius still a friend,
He grac'd the patronage he lov'd to lend;
Pleas'd to converse on Shenstone's flowing strain,
Great Johnson's depth, and Goldsmith's pleasant vein,
Till buried Sages seem'd to hover nigh,
And give the vision of an age gone by.

Yet higher praise is due to Percy's bier,
More than the filial or the grateful tear!
'Twas not enough that, kind and unreprov'd,
The needy blest him, and his kindred lov'd:
He, when Rebellion rous'd her murderous host,
Stood firm, a Christian Bishop at his post;
Preserv'd his flock from Faction's wild alarms,
And died at last a Patriarch in their arms:
True to the trust the Master-Shepherd gave,
He only dropt his crosier at the grave,
Nor let us wonder that his dying bed
Still like his life benign instruction shed;
When in full prospect of the mortal strife,
He took a tranquil retrospect of life;
Nor fear'd the vale his Saviour once had trod,
But saw in death a passport to his God.

Be such thy Pastors, Britain, and defy
The tempest brooding in thy darken'd sky;
Embrace thy brother Man in every zone,
Whate'er his faith; but firmly keep thy own,
Thy wise forefathers, when they made thee great,
Bound fast the Mitre to thy Regal State.
Gay Erin, oft the wily traitor's spoil,
Asks other Percys of her Sister-Isle,
Tho' hard to rule, and eager to contend,
Her own warm heart discern'd and lov'd her Friend;
Who taught her, by example's guiding light,
That man's best privilege is acting right.
November 7.