1720 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Hughes

Judith Cowper Madan, "To the Memory of Mr. Hughes" 1720; Hughes, Poetical Works (1735) 1:lxv-lxviii.



Round HUGHES'S humble, tho' distinguish'd Urn,
The Muses, wreath'd with baleful Cypress, mourn;
In every Face a deep Distress appears,
Each Eye o'erflows with Tributary Tears:
Such was the Scene, when by the Gods requir'd,
Majestick Homer from the World retir'd:
Such Grief the Nine o'er Maro's Tomb bestow'd;
And Tears like these for Addison late flow'd.

Snatch'd from the Earth, above its trifling Praise,
Thee, HUGHES, to happier Climes thy Fate conveys;
Eas'd of its Load, thy gentle Spirit roves,
Through Realms refulgent, and Celestial Groves;
The Toils of Life, the Pangs of Death are o'er,
And Care, and Pain, and Sickness are no more.
O may the Spot that holds thy blest Remains,
(The noblest Spoil Earth's spacious Breast contains,)
Its Tribute pay; may richest Flow'rs around,
Spring lightly forth, and mark the sacred Ground;
There may thy Bays its stately Honours spread,
And o'er thy Urn Eternal Odours shed;
Immortal as thy Fame, and Verse, still grow,
Till These shall cease to live, and Thames to flow.

Nature subdu'd foretold the Great Decline,
And ev'ry Heart was plung'd in Grief, but Thine;
Thy Soul Serene, the Conflict did maintain,
And trac'd the Phantom Death, in Years of Pain;
Not Years of Pain thy steady Mind adorn'd,
By Judgment strengthen'd, and with Virtue arm'd;
Still like Thyself, when sinking Life ebb'd low,
Nor rashly dar'd, nor meanly fear'd the Blow;
Loose to the World, of ev'ry Grace possest,
Greatly resign'd, thou sought'st the Stranger, REST;
Firm as his Fate, so thy own Phocyas dy'd,
While the barb'd Arrow trembled in his Side.—
Drawn by thy Pen, the Theory we see;
The Practick Part, too soon! beheld in Thee.

Who now shall strike the Lyre with Skill Divine,
Who to harmonious Sounds, harmonious Numbers join?
Who the rapacious Tide of Vice controul,
And, while they charm the Sense, reform the Soul?
In whom the lovely Sister-Arts unite,
With Virtue, solid Sense, and boundless Wit?
Such was the Turn of thy exalted Mind,
Sparkling as polish'd Gems, as purest Gold refin'd.

Great Ruler of our Passions! who with Art
Subdu'd the fierce, and warm'd the frozen Heart,
Bid Glory in our Breasts with Temper beat,
And Valour, separate from Fev'rish Heat,
Love, in its turn, its genuine Lustre rise,
And, in Eudocia, bid in charm our Eyes.
Virtue distrest, thy happy Lines disclose,
With more of Triumph than a Conqueror knows;
Touch'd by thy Hand, our stubborn Tempers bend,
And flowing Tears the well-wrought Scene attend,
That Silent Eloquence thy Power approv'd,
The Cause is great, 'twas generous to be mov'd.

What Pleasure can the bursting Heart possess,
In the last Parting, and Severe Distress?
Can Fame, Wealth, Honour, Titles, Joy bestow,
And make the lab'ring Breast with Transport glow?
Those gaudy Trifles gild our Morning bright,
But O! how weak their Influence on our Night!
Then Fame, Wealth, Honour, Titles, vainly bloom,
Nor dart one Beam of Comfort on the Gloom;
But if the Struggling Soul a Joy receives,
'Tis in the just Applause, that conscious Virtue gives:
This blameless Pride the dying HUGHES possest,
Soften'd his Pain, sat lightly on his Breast,
And sooth'd his unoffending Soul to Rest.
Free from the Bigot's Fears, or Stoick's Pride,
Calm as our Christian Heroe liv'd, he dy'd.

As on the utmost Verge of Life he stood,
Ready to plunge, and seize th' immortal Good,
Collecting all his Rays diffus'd, in One,
His last great Work with heighten'd Lustre shone;
There his just Sentiments, transferr'd, we view'd,
But while our Eyes the shining Path perus'd,
And steep Ascent his steady Judgment gain'd,
The shining Path, alas! alone remain'd.—

So when the Sun to Worlds unknown retires,
How strong! how boldly shoot his parting Fires!
Larger his Setting Orb our Eyes confess,
Eager we gaze, and the full Glory bless;
As o'er the Heav'ns, Sublime, his Course extends,
With equal State, the Radiant Globe descends,
Sinks, in a Cloud of Gold, and Azure bright,
And leaves, behind, gay Tracks of beamy Light.