1810 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Kirke White

C. S. D., "Ode: occasioned by reading the Life and Remains of Henry Kirke White" Poetical Magazine 2 (1810) 331-33.



Yes, Henry! round thy brow
The cypress wreath has twin'd;
Thy cradle Disappointment sought,
Of deepest green her chaplet brought,
But flung the flow'rs behind!
As childhood grew,
The heav'nly dew
Gemm'd the dark sickly leaves, and mellow'd ev'ry hue.

Yes, Henry! round thy brow
The cypress wreath was twin'd;
But, ere thy youthful temples swell'd,
Ere yet the conscious weight impell'd
The warfare of the mind,
With partial love
Fair Science wove
Amid its leaves the pride of the Athenian grove.

Her brightest warmest rays
Delighted Genius shed;
And, while on Granta's banks thou stray'd,
The sacred beams collected play'd—
A Halo round thy head;
Such as of old,
With liquid gold,
Did on Ilyssus' banks the Grecian Bard infold.

Yes, Henry! round thy brow
Was twin'd the cypress wreath;
But Fancy mark'd its sombre gloom,
'Mid the dark leaves her roses bloom,
And sweetest fragrance breathe.
Those leaves shall fade,
But undecay'd
Young Fancy's rose shall live, by native Taste display'd.

Oh! say not Fancy fades
Where Disappointment treads;
'Tis when Affliction's sharpest dart
Has deeply pierc'd th' ingenuous heart
Her softest balm she sheds.
'Twas thine to know
This deadly foe,
And thine to feel the balm which Fancy's flow'rs bestow.

The joys, the cares, of life,
What are they to the mind?
Shall restless passions forge the chain?
Shall grov'lling thoughts of sordid gain
Th' immortal spirit bind?
Oh! child of Heav'n,
To thee is giv'n
In Fancy's strain the spell by which those chains are riv'n.

But Fancy's strain will cease,
However sweet it flow;
Her highest flight, her boldest theme,
Is but a sweet delusive dream,
A respite from our wo!
Life's hopes and fears,
Its smiles and tears,
Again inthrall the mind, and load our riper years.

Then, child of Heav'n! be wise,
Tho' Fancy's pow'r may cease,
Tho' Genius cannot rend the chain,
Tho' Wit and Science strive in vain,
Religion whispers peace!
Her heav'nly voice
Controls thy choice;
She bids thy hopes aspire — she bids thy soul rejoice.

Religion's pow'r alone
Can rend those sordid ties;
Alone can free thy struggling soul,
Thy doubts dispel, thy fears control,
And led thee to the skies!
From grief and care,
From Folly's snare,
She guards her sacred charge, and timely cries — Beware!

And, Henry! round thy brow
Her heav'nly wreath was twin'd;
The chaplet Disappointment gave
She buried in an early grave,
But left her flow'rs behind:
The cypress gloom
May shroud thy tomb,
But round thy brows her wreath of amaranth shall bloom.