1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Chatterton

Anne Hunter, "To the Memory of Chatterton" Poems (1802) 21-22.



Ill-fated youth! thy ardent soul
Aim'd at the heights of deathless fame,
Sprang from beneath the world's controul,
And seiz'd unknown a poet's name.
O that some friendly hand had deign'd to guide
Thy genius in its course! and sooth'd thy erring pride.

I mark thy muse; her gothic lyre
Well suits the legendary lay;
While darting from her eyes of sire
She beams a visionary day:
Bright as the magic torch she early gave
To light thy ven'trous way, through fancy's secret cave.

There, as she taught thee to behold
Imagin'd deeds of distant years,
Embattled knights and barons bold,
Great Ella's griefs, or Juga's tears;
Rapid as thought arose the glowing scene,
Till poverty, despair, and death, rush'd in between.

Poet sublime! although no sculptur'd urn,
No monumental bust thy ashes grace;
No fair inscription teaches whom to mourn,
No cypress shades the consecrated place;
Thy name shall live on time's recording page,
The wonder and reproach of an enlighten'd age.