1772 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Nathaniel Evans

Elizabeth Graeme, "On the Death of Nathaniel Evans" Evans, Poems (1772) xxvii-viii.



Slow to yon Grave approaches Strephon's Bier—
Why down each Cheek descends the tender Tear?
When, unreclaim'd, the Vicious fall, we weep;
But with the virtuous Dead each Woe should sleep;
For Heav'n ordain'd, that Death should boast his Reign,
Ere the purg'd Soul celestial Heights can gain.

Yet such a Train of dawning Virtues join'd,
To grace, in bright Assemblage, Strephon's Mind,
Our Loss we mourn, nor think that such alone
Are those a gracious Saviour deigns to own—
That Thought, that cheering Thought, ye ancient Pair,
Must calm your Woe, and wipe the falling Tear;
There's nought besides can mitigate your Grief;
No human Hand can minister Relief—
A Son, a darling Son, your Maker gave!
Behold him breathless in yon gloomy Grave!
With every Virtue opening fair to View;
Lost to the World — A Season lost to you!
As some fair Plant in blooming Verdure gay,
Refresh'd with Rain, beneath the solar Ray,
Kindly unfolds to shade its natal Earth,
In grateful Tribute for its genial Birth;
Till, from the North, some chilling Blast descends—
Instant, the Plant, beneath its Fury, bends,
Struggles awhile, and then — drops quite away
To fell Destruction a fair blooming Prey.
The Parent Soil, left desolate and bare,
Shrinks with each Ruffle of th' inclement Air.

Thus fell, ye mournful Pair, your Ages' Prop;
Yet still Religion gives this cheering Hope,
That, when some Years have rolled their Cares away,
Your Souls, transported to the Realms of Day,
Shall join your Strephon, who kept full in Sight
Those sacred Mansions of eternal Light.

A manly, modest Piety inform'd
His searching Spirit, and his Bosom warm'd:
Blest with a Judgment, steady, strong and clear,
That shunn'd alike the Giddy and Severe,
He scorn'd to drag stern Superstition's Chain,
Or mingle with th' enthusiastic Train!
JEHOVAH'S Justice fill'd his Soul with Awe,
Yet from EMANUEL'S Love he learnt to draw
That heav'nly Peace, which taught his Soul to sing—
His dying Soul — O Death, where is thy Sting?
O Grave, the Victor! where is now thy Boast?
Come, JESUS, come — in Thee their Pangs are lost!