1776 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

George Smith

D. F., Jun., "Elegy on the Death of Mr. G. Smith, Landscape-Painter, of Chichester, Sept. 7, 1776" London Magazine 46 (January 1777) 665.



Celestial Nine! your mournful strains unite,
With solemn music tune your sacred lyres,
And aid my feeble numbers to recite
How great a loss each plaintive breast inspires.

The loss of SMITH, whose merits well demand
The utmost skill of eloquence and verse,
To shield his mem'ry from oblivion's hand,
And to succeeding times his praise rehearse.

Yet why? his works alone shall spread his fame,
And tell his worth to every distant age,
Nor need such feeble efforts to proclaim
The truths that crown his own immortal page.

In him the sister arts united shone;
His pencil ev'n might Titian's skill outvie;
His tints, excell'd by nature's self alone,
At once astonish and delight the eye.

Thrice only, candidate for public fame,
His matchless skill the laurels thrice obtain'd;
His works the glory of the age became,
And endless honour for their master gain'd.

In native ease and innocence array'd,
His rural notes enraptur'd ev'ry ear;
And well the goodness of his heart portray'd
The man, the christian, and the friend sincere.

Nor less the charms of music, (heav'nly art!)
His skill display'd, in soft harmonious strains;
Strains that might ev'n dissolve the savage heart,
And bind the captive soul in pleasing chains.

Weep on, fair science! for thy favour'd son,
The last survivor of th' illustrious three;
Too soon, alas! the glorious prize he won,
And left disconsolate his friends and thee.

Let Britain too her heavy loss deplore:
A genius, whose unrivall'd works impart
Her num'rous graces to each distant shore,
And style her Queen of ev'ry noble art.

And thou, bright virtue! lend thy heav'nly aid;
With choicest gifts adorn his sacred shrine,
Who ne'er from thy delightful borders stray'd,
But trod th' unerring paths of truth divine.
Chichester, Sept. 20th, 1776.