1825 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Chatterton

R. W. Barker, "On Chatterton" Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction 6 (2 July 1825) 16.



Is there a breast the heaves the sigh
When worth and madness are but one?
Is there a sympathetic eye
That weeps for Genius' martyr'd son?
There is; and, injured Chatterton,
In fancy bending o'er thy bier,
That breast bewails what thou hast done,
That eye bestows the generous tear.

Ill-fated boy! the seraph strain
That breathed in beauty from thy lyre,
Awoke not oft, and woke in vain—
Misfortune quench'd the Muse's fire.
Could Misery's pang and Phrenzy's ire
Steal rapture from a soul like thine?
Could Death thy vernal form require,
Child of the soft and sky-born Nine?

Yes, Chatterton, though Science twined
Her fairest garland round thy brow,
Though Heaven taught thy minstrel-mind
What minstrel-minds alone can know,
Reproach, despair, and direst woe
Chill'd thy warm heart, and turn'd thy brain!
And, oh! the spoiler laid thee low,
The sweetest of the gifted train.

Beloved bard! if mortal prayer
Avails with Him who dwells on high,
Thy bright and beaming soul is there,
Thy spirit wanders in the sky!
And while the sparkling billows lie
Around the shore that gave thee birth,
Each heart shall feel thy melody,
Each pitying bosom own thy worth.
Norwich.