1779 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Langhorne

Abraham Portal, in "Elegy on the Death of Dr. Langhorne" Portal, Poems (1781) 31-32.



Dear, much-lov'd shade! forgive the selfish verse,
That thus, neglectful of thy sacred fame,
Sheds private sorrows round thy honour'd herse,
Whilst unadorn'd remains thy deathless name.

That task (to Amwell's tuneful master due,
Whose elegiac muse can well complain;
Or gentle Cartwright, whose soft numbers drew
The sons of pity round Constantia's fane)

Dare I, the lowest of the tuneful quire,
With voice unhallow'd and imperfect string,
Profanely touch? Ah! no, some worthier lyre,
Some sweeter Muse must those fair honors bring.

Yet, gentle bard, if from that shining sphere,
Where, to high praise, thy sacred numbers flow,
Thou canst to friendship's sigh incline thine ear,
And love the fond sincerity of woe,

Deem not disgraceful this heart-labour'd strain,
Tho' far beneath my lofty aim it rise;
Than praises drawn from friendship's hallow'd pain,
What purer incense can affect the skies?

But should each tongue, and ev'ry lyre be mute,
No grateful muse thy honor'd ashes mourn,
The Maids of Mem'ry would sustain thy lute,
Enwreath'd with flow'rs, and place it o'er thy urn.

Still on the banks of Eden's parent stream
The grateful Naiads shall thy songs rehearse,
Still wave his willows o'er thy golden dream,
And Elves bound lightly to thy magic verse....