1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Dermody

S. O. [Lady Morgan?], "Elegiac Frament to the Memory of Thomas Dermody" Walker's Hibernian Magazine (December 1802) 755-56.



Thy silent wing, oh! TIME, hath chas'd away
Some feath'ry hours of frolic youth's fleet joy,
Since first I hung upon the melting lay,
Or shar'd the raptures of a "Minstrel Boy."

Since first I caught the day's reflected light,
That GENIUS emanated from his soul;
Or distant follow'd his enthusiast flight,
Or from his fairy dreams a vision stole.

His bud of life was thus but in its spring,
Mine but a germ in nature's bloomy wreath;
He taught my timid muse t' expand her wing,
I taught his heart its first fond sigh to breathe.

And as the sweetly various verse he wove,
The minstrel swore his kindling fancy stole
Her inspirations from the lip of Love,
That gave his lifeless strain a vital soul.

For Fancy o'er his cradled visions threw
The seeds of Poesy's immortal flowers,
Gem'd his young laurel with Aonian dew,
And shed her influence o'er his earliest hours.

In soothe he was not one of common mould,
His burning soul on Thought's fleet pinions borne,
Now sought its kindred heaven sublimely bold;
Now stopp'd the woes of kindred man to mourn.

In his dark eye the light of Genius shone,
Thro' the transcendant dew of Pity's tear;
And Sorrow claim'd the minstrel as her own,
By the sad shade she taught his smile to wear.

Ev'n from his birth the muse's matchless boy,
She gave his lisping strains melodious flow;
And proudly own'd him with a mother's joy,
Yet still he call'd himself "the child of woe."

For still the world each finer transport chill'd,
That steals the feeling's nerve, or Fancy's dream;
And when each pulse to Rapture's pressure thrill'd,
Experience stampt the soul-alluring beam.

And oh, too oft by Passion's whirlwind driven,
Far from cold Prudence's level paths to stray;
He thought th' illusive light a ray from heaven,
That lur'd him on the Pleasure's devious way.

To bliss abandon'd — now pursu'd by Woe,
The world's sad outcast — now the world's proud gaze;
The vine or yew alternate breath'd his brow;
The soldier's laurel, or the poet's lays.

Example's baneful force — Temptation's will—
Guided the wand'rings of his pilgrim years;
Passion's warm child, deceiv'd by Fortune's smile,
That steep'd each glance of joy in Misery's tears.

The sport of Destiny, Creation's heir,
From realm to realm, from clime to clime he stray'd;
Check'd by no guardian tie, no parent's care,
His heart's wild pulse to Nature's touch ne'er play'd.

Yet vain did Absence wave th' oblivious wand,
One spark still glimmering on his breast to chill;
Illum'd by Sympathy's enthusiastic hand,
That erst awak'd his lyre's responsive thrill.

Tho' o'er Eternity's unbounded space,
The passing thrill of many a year had toll'd,
And weeping Mem'ry each sad change could trace,
"And Alps between us rose and oceans roll'd."

Yet still the laws immutable and true,
To Nature's potent voice — Attraction's laws—
Each spirit to its kindred spirit drew,
Of sweet effects, the fond and final cause.

But when long cherish'd Hope repos'd it soul,
Upon the bosom of awaken'd Joy;
Death from the arms of new born pleasures stole,
And embryo bliss Anthemoe's "Minstrel Boy."

Oh, had she hover'd o'er the couch of death,
Or cheer'd with genial glance thy closing eye;
Recall'd with tender cares thy fleeting breath,
Or caught with tear strain'd lip thy last faint sigh,

It would have been the "luxury of woe,"
And haply thou wouldst not reluctant meet
Thy final hour in soft Affection's glow,
Or change for fev'rish life a death so sweet.