1785 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Gray

Bryan Waller, "Stanzas on seeing the Head of Gray in Westminster-Abbey" Morning Post and Daily Advertiser (26 February 1785).



Rest, mighty shade! avaunt, unhallowed crew;
Ye sons of mirth and riot haste away:
Stranger! with awe this sacred fabric view,
Where silence sleeps — for ever sleeps with Gray.

How frail is life! — how vast the human soul!
Late have we seen him on strong pinions rise;
In spite of envy and detraction's scowl,
Soar with the Theban Eagle to the skies!

Ah! who shall now attempt Pindaric strain!
Who tune to extacy th' Aeolian lyre!
Who shall with rapture lead the muse's train!
Who kindle in the breast its latent fire!

Let vulgar minds call forth the swelling bust,
Mausolean tomb, and monumental stone;
Thy fame shall tow'r when these are turn'd to dust,
Virtue and genius hail thee for their own.