1790 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Gray

Helen Maria Wiliams, "Characters of English Poets: Gray" Universal Magazine 87 (November 1790) 257.



When disappointment's sick'ning pain,
With chilling sadness numbs my breast,
That feels its dearest hope was vain,
And bids its fruitless struggles rest;
When those for whom I wish to live,
With cold suspicion wrong my aching heart;
Or, doom'd from those for ever lov'd to part,
And feel a sharper pang than death can give.

Then with the mournful bard I go,
Whom "melancholy mark'd her own,"
While tolls the curfew, solemn, slow,
And wander amid graves unknown;
With yon pale orb, lov'd poet come!
While from those elms long shadows spread,
And where the lines of light are shed,
Read the fond record of the rustic tomb!

Or let me o'er old Conway's flood
Hang on the frowning rock, and trace
The characters, that, wove in blood,
Stamp'd the dire fate of Edward's race;
Proud tyrant, tear thy laurel'd plume;
How poor thy vain pretence to deathless fame!
The injur'd muse records thy lasting shame,
And she has pow'r to "ratify thy doom."