1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Beattie

Anonymous, "Ode on the Death of James Beattie, L.L.D." The Port Folio NS 1 (15 March 1806) 159-60.



High on a rock that frowns o'er Eden's wave,
A youthful minstrel stood, in wild despair;
Loose flow'd his vest, and careless sorrow gave
His auburn ringlets to th' unconcious air!
Rude were his features, and his bosom bare;
Tears quench'd his eyes, that glisten'd erst with fire;
And as he tun'd the echoing notes of care,
Grief seem herself to animate his lyre,
To rouse the feeling swain, and every verse inspire.

"Mourn Edwin, mourn, thy rev'rend guardian dead!
He who thy breast from false desires redeem'd!
Cold is the hand which then thy footsteps led,
Clos'd are those eyes whence heav'nly pity beam'd,
Silent the heart which in his features gleam'd,
And mute, for ever mute, the genial tongue,
That tongue which inspiration's image seem'd,
Whilst on his lips celestial doctrines hung
And revelation will'd, the music that he sung!

"The warbling groves — the garniture of fields,
The solemn night — the blaze of perfect day!
All that the healthful dew of morning yields,
And all that echoes to the evening lay;
No more their Beattie's rural charms display!
For me — whose wand'ring heart his maxims drew,
From fancy's paths to reason's purer way;
Here, on his recent tomb I fix my view,
And pour my endless sighs, and weep my soul's adieu!

"Yet no! — hark! 'tis his voice! 'let those their doom
Deplore — whose hope is still their dark sojourn;
But lofty souls, who look beyond the tomb,
Can smile at fate, and wonder how they mourn!
Shall endless darkness shroud the stranger's bourne?
Shall man be born to vegetate in vain?
No! — Heav'n's immortal spring shall yet return,
And man's majestic beauty bloom again,
Bright thro' th' eternal years of love's triumphant reign!'"