1830 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Collins

Charles Crocker, in "The Lavant" The Vale of Obscurity (1830) 53-55.



In all the countless throngs of former days,
Whose feet have prest thy banks, hath there appear'd
No Son of Song thy lapse obscure to praise:
Because, forsooth, no cataract was heard
Roaring amid thy course — no mountain rear'd
Its hoary crest above thee to the skies:
Because, forsooth, the world's contempt they fear'd,
Which might thy little Naiad's charms despise,
And view these meads and groves with undelighted eyes?

Yes, there was One, albeit, who breath'd thy name
In tuneful verse; for thou were not unknown
To him, whom Genius and poetic fame
In vain conspir'd to bless; — whose "frantic moan,"
More thrilling than the wild and tender tone
Of his own lyre, arose upon the wind
That swept thy marge, when, pensive and alone,
Amid these scenes, his worn and clouded mind
Gaz'd anxiously around, some resting-place to find.

He sought the abode of Peace: — but Genius gave
No light to guide the wanderer on his way:
Fame stood aloof, — was silent, and look'd grave;
And Fancy's flights but led him more astray;
E'en Learning shone but with a feeble ray,
And tardy Fortune could afford no aid:
At length, fair Truth, resplendent as the day,
Before his eyes the "best of books" display'd
And sunshine cheer'd his path e'en through Death's fearful shade.

Child of Misfortune! whose'er thou art,
That, lingering near, his sculptur'd form mayst see
Within yon sacred Pile; ere thou depart,
E'en though the Muse may not be dear to thee,
Shed o'er his grave the tear of sympathy;—
And may that peace which bless'd his life's decline,
(From all his woes and bitter anguish free,)
His hopes, his holy confidence be thine;
Affliction then may frown, — but thou wilt not repine.