1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Dermody

Peter L. Courtier, "On Visiting the Tomb of Dermody" Poetical Register for 1802 (1803) 243-44 &n.



Still, Red Breast, o'er the tuneful dead,
That sweetly-soothing dirge prolong;
For his, who owns this earthy bed,
His was as sad, as sweet a song!

Unhappy Bard! the scene is past;
At length, thy mortal struggle's o'er;
But, oh! with that untimely blast,
Thy raptur'd strains are heard no more.

Beside the turf that wraps thy clay,
Shall kindred memory fondly wake,
And, spite of all thy foes can say,
Shall love thee for the Muse's sake.

O! take from one, who knows to scan
The ardent soul, the dark career;
Who feels for erring, wretched man,
O! take this tributary tear.

Here, where no more rude cares molest,
But earth's sad sufferer's calmly sleep;
Here, where the "weary are at rest,"
Shall Genius oft her vigils keep.

And Pity, with a beaming eye,—
—Forgot the faults that laid thee low—
O'er thy cold grave shall deeply sigh,
And mourn thy pilgrimage of woe.

Still, Red Breast, o'er the tuneful dead,
That sweetly-soothing dirge prolong;
For his, who owns this earthy bed,
His was as sad, as sweet a song.

These lines were composed, at the tomb of the poet, on the 8th of September, 1802. The apostrophe to the robin is not a fiction, "conjured up to serve occasion of poetic pomp;" that sweet bird, "most musical, most melancholy," was indeed warbling in a tree near the grove of poor DERMODY! Whether by accident or design I know not; but never were the remains of a bard deposited in a spot more calculated to inspire a contemplative mind with congenial and interesting feelings.