1729 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Richard Steele

Pensilvania, "To the Memory of Sir Richard Steele, inscrib'd to the Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Walpole" Daily Journal (10 October 1729).



Great STEELE the FRIEND is dead! O empty Name
Of Earthly Bliss! 'tis all an airy Dream!
Receive what Tears to Friendship's Loss belong,
With Funeral Numbers, and a doleful Song.
Friendship! thou Tyrantess whose cruel Throne,
Heaps on poor Mortals Sorrows not their own:
And yet who courts thee not? Who would be free?
Who can be said to live! unblest by thee?

To mourn his Loss, what Numbers shall I chuse?
The first Instructor of my Infant Muse:
From him I learnt to touch the tuneful Strings,
And how to soar on his Triumphant Wings!
Lur'd by the Musick of his charming Song,
And taught by the Maxims from his Silver Tongue.

When STEELE submitted to the Pow'r of Death,
No common Mortal then resign'd his Breath.
His Generous Manly Deeds profusely kind,
Declar'd the Gracefull Virtues of his Mind;
There have I seen the various Passions move,
Truth, Goodness, Honour, Harmony, and Love!
At other's Grief, he sharpest Pain has known,
And for another's Wants, forgot his own,
H—y! and all th' inglorious Rebel Train!
Strove to corrupt his Faith, — but strove in vain:
He was above their little Arts of State,
And wou'd not wound his Peace, to mend his Fate.

Worth, great like his! deserv'd the PATRIOT'S Care;
(For blushing Merit must be nourish'd there)
When pour'd to You, he breath'd a lasting Flame,
And dy'd with blessings on thy Noble Name!
By You distinguish'd! he enrich'd our Land!
Honour'd with Favours from YOUR bounteous Hand;
To You his daring Loyalty was known,
Was just, and warm, his Zeal how like Your Own!