1784 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Scott of Amwell

Henry Lemoine, "Elegiac Verses, a Tribute to the Memory of the late worthy John Scott, Esq. of Amwell" Gentleman's Magazine 54 (June 1784) 454-55.



Come, thou queen of pensive strains,
Attune thy lyre to notes of woe;
Soft as when Philomel complains,
Let thy harmonious numbers flow.

From yonder tower with ivy crown'd,
Grim Melancholy speed thy way;
And Grief, with downcast eye profound,
Who pining shuns the chearful day.

The solemn yew and cypress twine,
To shade the spot where Damon lies;
Whilst thou, the saddest of the Nine,
Shall o'er his turf heave plaintive sighs.

He's gone! the pride of Amwell's plains,
The gentlest shepherd of the throng,
No more he chants his tuneful strains,
Nor echo emulates his song.

The Muses blithe forsake the groves,
Nor longer wander thro' the shades;
The smiling Graces, sporting Loves,
Abandon now the verdant glades.

Such is our lot, no state of life
From Death's corroding hand is free;
On pleasure's wings, or sunk in strife,
Alike is Death's severe decree.

On him indulgent Heaven bestow'd
The graces which improve the heart:
True genius in his bosom glow'd,
And nature was improv'd by art.

Well pleas'd in life his grot to raise,
To form the landscape, plant the grove,
Or strike the lyre, in virtue's praise,
And sing his hymeneal love.

Ye wights, life's bitters doom'd to share,
Now hapless mourn your pleader gone;
Expos'd to ev'ry adverse care,
No more shall chear your state forlorn:

For much it griev'd his soul, that you,
To Penury's chill hand resign'd,
Lost health or liberty should rue,
By stern neglect to carle consign'd.

His generous hand diffus'd around
The feelings of a liberal heart;
His pittance seal'd th' envenom'd wound,
And pity's balm allay'd their smart.

For never would his hand deny
What fate enabled to bestow;
Anxious to wipe from Sorrow's eye
The tears of indigence and woe.

Nor would he check the swelling tear,
When injur'd merit pin'd in pain;
When Genius droop'd to fell Despair,
How sympathetic every strain!

'Tis Heaven the generous flame inspires,
There meek-ey'd Pity rears her throne,
She warms our breasts with vivid fires,
We weep for sorrows not our own.

Disciples of the mimic art,
For you he pour'd th' instructive lay;
And, for the monitory part,
Your grateful homage solemn pay.

But still the useful page survives,
To future times preserv'd by Fame,
And in her shrine his memory lives,
That those unborn may lisp his name.

The chisell'd verse may deck the stone
That prostrates o'er the poet's dust;
But 'tis his worth, 'tis that alone,
Shall save him from Oblivion's rust.

But Hope a brighter scene displays,
She points to realms of endless day,
Where Virtue, like the solar blaze,
Reigns bright, but never knows decay.

Thither, my friend, and hap it may,
When Death has laid our bodies low,
To halcyon seasons wing our way,
Where Sharon's rose shall ever blow.