1774 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Oliver Goldsmith

Samuel Jackson Pratt, in The Tears of Genius. Occasioned by the Death of Dr. Goldsmith (1774) 10-12.



And first, farewel to thee, my son, she cried,
Thou pride of Auburn's Dale — sweet bard, farewel.
Long for thy sake, the peasants tear shall flow,
And many a virgin-bosom heave with woe,
For thee shall sorrow sadden all the scene,
And every pastime, perish on the green;
The sturdy farmer shall suspend his tale,
The woodman's ballad shall no more regale,
No more shall Mirth, each rustic sport inspire,
But every frolic, every feat, shall tire.
No more the evening gambol shall delight,
Nor moonshine revels crown the vacant night,
But groupes of villagers (each joy forgot)
Shall form a sad assembly round the cot.
Sweet bard, farewel — and farewel, Auburn's bliss,
The bashful lover, and the yielded kiss;
The evening warble Philomela made,
The echoing forest, and the whispering shade,
The winding brook, the bleat of brute content,
And the blithe voice that "whistled as it went."
These shall no longer charm the plowman's care,
But sighs shall fill, the pauses of despair.

GOLDSMITH adieu! the "book-learn'd priest" for thee
Shall now in vain possess his festive glee,
The oft-heard jest in vain he shall reveal,
For now alas, the jest he cannot feel.
But ruddy damsels o'er thy tomb shall bend,
And conscious weep for their and virtue's friend:
The milkmaid shall reject the shepherd's song,
And cease to carol as she toils along:
All Auburn shall bewail the fatal day,
When from her fields, their pride was snatch'd away;
And even the matron of the cressy lake
In piteous plight, her palsied head shall shake,
While all adown the furrows of her face
Slow shall the lingering tears each other trace.

And, Oh my child! severer woes remain,
To all the houseless, and unshelter'd train:
Thy fate shall sadden many an humble guest,
And heap fresh anguish on the beggar's breast.
For dear wert thou to all the sons of pain;
To all that wander, sorrow, or complain.
Dear to the learned, to the simple dear,
For daily blessings mark'd thy virtuous year;
The rich receiv'd a moral from thy head,
And from thy heart the stranger found a bed.
Distress came always smiling from thy door;
For God had made thee agent to the poor;
Had form'd thy feelings on the noblest plan,
To grace at once, the Poet, and the Man.