1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Thomas Warton

Rev. J. G., "Elegiac Ode, on the Death of T. Warton Esq. Poet Laureat" Newcastle Chronicle (31 July 1790).



Hail, mournful Muse! thy tribute bring
In verse sublime Tom's praise to sing;
(His powers, alas! no more)
For ah! the tuneful Bard is dead,
And drooping low his laurell'd head,
That held of Odes a score.

He's gone, alas! how hard the doom,
To pass stern Pluto's dreary gloom,
Thro' sulphur, fire, and smoke!
Where all the Odes that e'er he sung,
Can't silence Cerb'rus' triple tongue,
Nor e'er one smile provoke.

No more can Thou, like peals of thunder,
Astound the Court with gaping wonder,
At his harmonious lays;
Now, hush'd is ev'ry heart-felt strain,
That tickled oft the soul to pain,
When sung in George's praise.

The King, who saw "with rapture wild,"
Tom "mould his Harp to manners mild,"
His drooping heart to chear;
No more shall hear his warbling note,
Round fair St. James's Palace float,
In accents smooth and clear.

"No more to strike us with amaze,
Tom's tropes of adulation blaze,"
In verse of true sublime:
No more we hear loud blasts of fame,
Wild, blustring out great George's name,
In his immortal rhime.

Sweet Bard! how blest with ev'ry art,
That charm'd the ear, and won the heart
Of thy all-gracious King!
A lasting honour crowns thy head;
Thy verse yet lives, tho' thou art dead;—
For — thus thy praise I'll sing.

"'Twas Tom, who sung so sweet an air,—
Charm'd Lady Mayoress, and Lord May'r,
With his delightful metre:
Who thought (and really they're believers)
He equall'd marrow-bones and cleavers;"
So sings the tuneful Peter.

But, now he's dead — thro' boundless skies,
To heav'n Tom's warbling spirit flies,
Melodious ev'n in death:
He, like a Swan, beneath the reeds
Of rivers gliding thro' the meads,
Resign'd his "lyric breath."

Thy much-lov'd Muse, illustrious shade!
With artless grace laments thee, dead;—
Her harp neglected lies;
No more with harmony she sings;
No longer sweeps the sounding strings,
That echo thro' the skies.

Beneath the willows, that o'erlook
The waters of yon silent brook;—
A melancholy shade!
In sadness lost — with tearful eyes,
Pale, pensive, and forlorn — she cries,
Alas! Tom Warton's dead!!!

Just are thy tears, Parnassian Queen!
Tom's match no more thou'lt find, I ween,
'Mongst all the rhyming throng:
The laurels Phoebus did consign
To Tom, belov'd by all the Nine,
Renown'd in lyric song.
Worsall.