1774 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Gray

Samuel Jackson Pratt, in The Tears of Genius. Occasioned by the Death of Dr. Goldsmith (1774) 13-15.



THEE too, thou favourite of the moral strain,
Pathetic GRAY; for thee does GENIUS mourn:
Science and Taste, thy early fate shall plain,
And Virtue drop a tear into thy urn.

Oft as Night's curtain closes on the day,
And twilight robes the clouds in duskier hue,
A love-lone visit to thy tomb I pay,
While all the parent trembles at the view.

For how to the unconscious worm a prey,
So dear a child as thee can I resign?
Ah, how can GENIUS e'er forget her GRAY?
Poet of Nature; all my powers, were thine!

On thy blest name, with melted heart I dwell,
Some kindred drops, a loss like thine, demands;
Thou, who could once for others, wail so well,
Now take THY tribute from a mother's hands.

Tho' the grav'd tomb, and cloud aspiring bust
To Cam's clear margin, call not back thy breath,
Yet shall fair Fame immortalize thy dust,
And GENIUS snatch thee from the realms of death.

Oft as I reach the spot where thou art laid;
Thou, whose bright sense could boast "celestial fire,"
Those hands, I cry, the Muses scepter sway'd,
"And wak'd to extacy the living lyre."

One morn I miss'd thee from the favourite tree,
And anxious search'd the brook, the lawn, the grove;
Another came, but ah, it was not thee!
Oh the keen tortures of a parent's love!

Next, thro' the sculptur'd porch I saw thee borne
In slow procession by the sable train,
I saw thy corpse entomb'd beneath the thorn,
And o'er thy ashes sigh'd this funeral strain.

EPITAPH.
Here low in dust, a son of Science lies,
By fame distinguished, and to Genius dear;
Forgive the fault, ye cynically wise,
If on his grave the parent sheds a tear.

Long shall the Muses mourn their pensive friend,
Long shall a mother's bosom throb with woe,
O'er his lov'd tomb the duteous swains shall bend,
And Albion's daughters long bewail the blow.