1811 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Thomas Percy

Arsenius, "A Strain, occasion'd by the Death of Bp. Percy" Gentleman's Magazine 81 (November 1811) 460-61.



Young Genius by old Lagan's stream
Pour'd mildly soft a lay of pleasure;
And sweetly thrill'd the happy theme
In music's most canorious measure.

Her Sister-Spirits heard the song,
Ascending now — and now descending,
And in its magic notes along,
Inspiring tones divinely blending.

The Sylvan Nymphs all flock'd around,
Fair wreaths of bloom their brows entwining;
And here and there, along the ground,
The list'ning Naiads lay reclining.

The Sciences next join'd the throng,
Their starry garments rich adorn'd
With gems that wont to Greece belong,
When Fame and Genius there sojourn'd.

Now higher rose the dulcet strain,
Gay tip-toe Mirth and Joy to gladden,
And ev'ry fav'ring thought of pain
In Fancy's mental breast to deaden.

Still Genius swept the sounding lyre,
And sweet her songs on Lagan linger'd—
But soon Affliction ev'ry wire
Relax'd, that recent Pleasure finger'd.

The Muse of Elegy reclin'd
Upon a bank of dew-wet flowers,
And breath'd in sadd'ning notes her mind,
Awake to Memory's pensive powers.

"O, thou!" she cried, "of heavenly tongue,
Who once the path of Sorrow brighten'd,
Who Warkworth's Hermit sweetly sung,
Whose friendship, trouble's burthen lighten'd.

"Oh! art thou gone! for ever fled!
Enwrapt in Death's long dreamless slumbers;
Yes, thou to whom the orphan fled,
And the unfriending child of numbers.

"Oh! wilt thou ne'er again relieve
Misfortune's children, broken-hearted—
And must Ultonia's minstrels grieve
Their common sire and friend departed.

"'Twas thine to nurse the lowly stem,
Bedeck'd with Genius' humblest flowers,
And o'er the young ideal gem,
To sprinkle bright Pierian showers.

"Long, long the harp shall sing of thee,
Thou Sage, who wert by all respected,
And patriot fire no longer be
In Erin's Bards, when thou'rt neglected."

Naenia heard the uncheering tale,
Alive to relative sensation,
And o'er the daisy-speckled vale,
Convey'd to Genius the narration.

No more, alas! by Lagan's stream,
Now flows the sprightly lay of Pleasure—
Obscur'd is Joy's celestial beam,
And silent Musick's mirthful measure.

Oh! when shall trouble have an end?
When shall Affliction cease relenting?
And when shall Genius have a friend,
Resembling him she's now lamenting?
Belfast, Oct. 12.