1786 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Chatterton

Henry Headley, "Ode to the Memory of Chatterton" Poems (1786) 34-35.



Ill-fated youth, adieu; was thine a breast
Where fell Despair might fix her dark resolve,
To mar thy simple heart,
And snatch thee from the world?
Whilst Fancy finds a friend, and Genius charms,
With eagle eye, and high-aspiring thought,
Thy sainted memory
Shall ever sacred live.
When Spring, with scanty vest and maiden smile,
Leads on the sprightly months and infant year,
Her tears of morning dew
Shall wet thy deathbed cold:
When jocund Summer with her honied breath
(Sweetening the golden grain and blithsome gale)
Displays her sun-burnt face
Beneath the hat of straw.
The lily's hanging head, the pansy pale,
(Poor Fancy's lowly followers) in meek
Attire, shall deck thy turf
And withering lie with thee.
When sober Autumn with lack-lustre eye
Shakes with a chiding blast the yellow leaf,
And hears the woodman's song
And early sportsman's foot,
And naked Winter, like a Pilgrim grey,
Of veriest rude aspect and joyless brow,
Calls for the carol wild
And trims the social fire,
Remembrance oft in Pity's pensive ear,
At silent eve shall sorrowing toll thy knell,
And tell to after-days
Thy tale, thy luckless tale.