1816 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Kirke White

Anonymous, "On reading the Remains of Henry Kirke White" The Monthly Magazine 40 (January 1816) 516-17.



Oh White, so oft lamented! fain my Muse,
Though humble, would pour forth the silent plaint
For thee, who blest with science and with truth,
Truth more than mortal, yet wast early doom'd
To feed insatiate Death; could nought avail
But for a space to stop his dread career,
Not all a mother's tears, nor all the pray'rs
Which kindred genius wafted to the skies
In thy behalf? No, earth was ill fit for thee;
For what was there thy lot but poverty,
And fell disease, by slow and secret steps
Consuming thy worn form; and, when at last
The well-earn'd laurel round thy brow was bound,
And Pity kindly from her heav'nly throne
Look'd down with placid eye, 'twas then the fiend,
Too eager for his prey, let fly the shaft
And pierc'd his noble victim; but thy fame
E'en Death destroy'd not, for, while Genius claims
The votive tribute from th' admiring throng,
Thy orb will shine conspicuously bright
'Mid youthful satellites; — that despairing band
Who, stung to madness by the bitter taunts
Of a cold, heartless, ill-requiting world,
Swallow'd the poisonous draught, and durst appear,
Unsummon'd, unprepared, before his Judge,
"With all his imperfections on his head."
Heart-broken Chatterton! or, he whose fame
For youthful poesy thine alone excels,
Worgan, who mourns in plaintive strains his friend,
The virtuous Ambrose.