1791 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. John Wesley

William Hamilton Reid, "A Monody on the late Rev. Mr. J. Wesley" European Magazine 20 (August 1791) 145-46.



Say, shall the learn'd, the pious, or the brave,
Descend unmourn'd, unhonour'd, to the grave?
Not while their worth the votive verse inspires,
"E'en in their ashes live their wonted fires;"
Nor yet shall sorrow sink th' obsequent strain,
As tho' we sigh'd, as tho' our hopes were vain.
The Saint just crown'd affords the tear relief,
His rich reversion mitigates our grief;
His life instructive still directs our way,
So some should preach, so others should obey.
Not to one realm his labours were confin'd,
The world his fold, his flock all human kind!
And when on earth he could no further go,
He sought the wretched in the mines below;
There doom'd by toil their earthly bread to gain,
No Sabbath taught the heav'nly to obtain;
That, spent profanely, or in boist'rous joy,
Was giv'n to save, but tended to destroy!
Lost men! whom no kind hand e'er stretch'd to save.
Ransom'd for life, yet lying in the grave.
Till WESLEY call'd! Then 'gan th' unequal strife,
Then burst these graves! then rose the dead to life!
Then rag'd the Infernal Powers, but left their prey,
The heirs of glory and eternal day.
But yet no menace did the aliens win,
Conviction urg'd, persuasion led them in;
And 'twas for these reproach he ne'er let fall;
Tho' some he lov'd, as men he honour'd all;
Their Saviour's messenger, divinely mild,
Strong as a host, and humble as a child.
Thus did the Pastor every hour engage,
Nor ceas'd his efforts with declining age;
But, still employ'd, some duty gave delight,
His deeds all day were orisons by night.—
And as in praise, his last, last pulse did flow,
Angels had wept, or Death defer'd the blow,
Had they not known, as for the best, decreed,
What loud Hosannas to the throne succeed;
Then sculptur'd monuments no honour give,
But grav'd upon the heart, the just for ever live.