1733 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Gay

Charles Coffey, "To the Memory of Mr. John Gay" Universal Spectator (27 January 1733).



He was, — but Words are wanting to say what,
Say all that's Bright and Gay, and he was that.

No more alas! shall witty Gay,
In pointed Satire Vice display;
And in a just peculiar Light,
Render it odious to the Sight.
No more shall he in Numbers shine,
The darling Fav'rite of the Nine:
Nor with his tuneful Sonnets charm;
And ev'ry Heart with Pity warm.

Soft Polly now forlorn may be;
And Macheath die on Tyburn Tree:
No more Reprieves his Life prolong,
Obtain'd by Sweetness of a Song:
The Poet's Lays have no no Force,
To stop the Law's impetuous Course.

Fond Kitty now may learn to write,
That she to Filbert may indite;
Her Tears no more can cause his Stay,
Enlisted he must march away;
Nor can her Beauty, Youth, or Love,
With Justices successful prove:
For he is gone, whose softer Art,
Cou'd melt the most obdurate Heart.

Poor black-ey'd Susan now may weep,
For William far upon the Deep;
For he is dead whose plaintive Strain
Cou'd calm the Winds, and sooth the Main.

No more shall we such Morals find,
To mend the Heart, and teach the Mind;
As in his Fables sweetly flow,
That Cure for ev'ry Ill below.

The Rabble now in ev'ry Street
May rudely justle all they meet;
Whilst Passengers aloud complain
Of publick Nusances in vain:
They now of him can only talk,
Whose Trivia taught 'em how to walk.

The mourning Nymphs, and joyless Swains,
May wander o'er the widow'd Plains,
And weep for him, whose rural Lay
Made Nature smile, and chear'd the Day.
The Pipe that sweetly lull'd to sleep
The sportive Lamb and bleating Sheep,
Is broke, alas! nor can he speak,
Who best describ'd the Shepherd's Week.

Then all ye Bards his Works rehearse,
To crown his never dying Verse;
Around his Tomb together throng,
And mourn his Exit in a Song.