1804 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmund Burke

William Perfect, "Lines written at Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire" European Magazine 45 (March 1804) 225.



Behold yon fane, where, sunk in Nature's bed,
Both Burke and Waller mingle with the dead:
Waller, whose Muse perpetuates his name,
Thro' ev'ry age, to never dying fame:
Exalted Bard! whose sad sepulchral pile
Neglected moulders o'er the hallow'd soil,
If genius e'er inspir'd one grateful thought,
By glowing admiration fondly taught,
Hither repair, and just to all that's good,
With wit, and sense, and eloquence endued,
Restore, re-decorate his falling urn;
The chissel's force decay'd shall taste discern,
And not resist dilapidating time?
Omitted, were unexpiated crime.
Congenial hearts, of affluent aid posses'd,
Friends to departed worth — 'tis yours confess'd,
With new embellishments to deck the shrine
Of him whose verse was harmony divine,
The boast, the pride, and minion of the Nine.
The task be your's — then I'll your praise rehearse,
And bless th' occasion of my casual verse.
And might I farther this request extend,
You who can literature's cause befriend,
See where, without a stone, neglected lies
Puissant Burke, incomparably wise!
Whose mental energies and learned page
With sapient truths inspire the hoary sage:
He on whose words the list'ning senates hung,
And caught conviction from his magic tongue.
Such was the man who spoke nor wrote in vain,
Transcending Cicero's admired strain;
And such the man whom now sepulchral fame
Denies the last small tribute of a name.
Then let the sculptor imitate his bust,
And save his portrait from corroding dust:
The weeping Virtues group'd should all attend;
The Graces too dejected should appear;
And Elocution's hand support his bier:
And when again it proves the trav'ller's lot
To visit Beaconsfield — distinguish'd spot,
And musing i' the church-yard, glooms explore,
Whose confines cover an unusual store
Of all that once could dignify the man
Within the circle of life's little span.
To meet the charge will yield me transport pure,
Long as existent transport can endure.
Happy that accident the change had wrought,
And warm'd my bosom with the pious thought,
Of urging claims remembrance just should pay
To those whose merits never can decay.