1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Dermody

Henry Kirke White, "Ode, written on the Death of Dermody the Poet" Monthly Mirror 14 (October 1802) 252-53.



Child of misfortune! Offspring of the Muse!
Mark like the meteor's gleam his mad
With hollow cheeks and haggard eye,
Behold he shrieking passes by:
I see, I see him near:
That hollow scream, that deepening groan;
It rings upon mine ear.

Oh come, ye thoughtless, ye deluded youth,
Who clasp the syren pleasure to your breast,
Behold the wreck of genius here,
And drop, oh drop the silent tear
For Dermody at rest:
His fate is yours, then from your loins
Tear quick the silken vest.

Saw'st thou his dying bed! Saw'st thou his eye,
Once flashing fire, despair's dim tear distil;
How ghastly did it seem;
And then his dying scream:
Oh God! I hear it still:
It sounds upon my fainting sense,
It strikes with deathly chill.

Say, didst thou mark the brilliant poet's death;
Saw'st thou an anxious father by his bed,
Or pitying friends around him stand:
Or didst thou see a mother's hand
Support his languid head:
Oh none of these — no friend o'er him
The balm of pity shed.

Now come around, ye flippant sons of wealth,
Sarcastic smile on genius fallen low:
Now come around who pant for fame,
And learn from hence, a poet's name
Is purchased but by woe:
And when ambition prompts to rise,
Oh think of him below.

For me, poor Moralizer, I will run,
Dejected, to some solitary state:
The muse has set her seal on me,
She set her seal on Dermody,
It is the seal of fate:
In some lone spot my bones may lie,
Secure from human hate.

Yet ere I go I'll drop one silent tear,
Where lies unwept the poet's fallen head:
May peace her banners o'er him wave;
For me in my deserted grave
No friend a tear shall shed:
Yet may the lily and the rose
Bloom on my grassy bed.