1788 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Headley

William Lisle Bowles, "Verses to the Memory of Henry Headley, of Norwich" Gentleman's Magazine 58 (December 1788) 1104.



Sad, o'er her fainting Favourite Fancy sigh'd,
When, in life's opening morn, Eugenius died!
Ah, long had pining Sickness left her trace,
Silent and pale, o'er each decaying grace;
Whilst Resignation, musing on the grave,
To his wan eye a sadder sweetness gave.
Nor ceas'd he yet to stray, where, winding wild,
The Muse's path his drooping steps beguil'd,
Intent to rescue some neglected rhime,
Lone-blooming, from the mournful waste of Time;
Or mark each scatter'd sweet, that seem'd to smile
Like flowers upon the long-forsaken pile.
Far from the murmuring crowd, unseen he sought
The charms congenial to his sadden'd thought.
When the grey morn illum'd the mountain's side,
To hear the sweet bird's earliest song he hied:
When meekest eve to the fold's distant bell
Listen'd, and bade the woods and vales farewell,
Musing in tearful mood, he oft was seen,
The last that linger'd o'er the fading green.—
The waving wood, high o'er the cliff reclin'd,
The murmuring water-fall, the winter's wind,
His heart with kindred music seem'd to suit,
Like sad airs touching soft the mourning lute.
Nor deem Affection's genuine spirit dead,
Tho' from the world's hard gaze his feelings fled.
Firm was his friendship, and his faith sincere,
And warm as Pity's his unheeded tear,
That wept the ruthless deed, the poor man's fate,
By Fortune's storms left cold and desolate.
Farewell — yet this humble tribute paid
To all thy virtues, from that social shade
Where once we sojourn'd. — I, alas, remain,
To mourn the hours of youth (yet mourn in vain)
That fled neglected. — Wisely thou hast trod
The better path, and that high meed, which God
Ordain'd to Virtue, towering from the dust,
Shall bless thy labours — Spirit, pure and just!