1787 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Chatterton

B—, "An Elegy on the Death of Chatterton" New Lady's Magazine 2 (September 1787) 489.



What worth, what genius, here we mourn,
As o'er thy tomb we pensive bend,
O thou! that didst so early spurn
A world that could not give one friend!

For thee the muses drop the tear,
While silent and unstrung's their lyre:
No more resounds their native sphere,
And faintly burns poetic fire.

No longer airy fancy, wild,
Roves through th' ideal world of things;
But, mourning here her darling child,
Bends o'er thy tomb her drooping wings.

While genius with prophetic eye
Surveys, dear youth! thy earthy bed;
And, mourning thy sad destiny,
Rests on thy stone his pensile head.

Lo! unrewarded merit here
(Still conscious of intrinsic worth)
Lets fall the sympathizing tear,
And pours unnumber'd sorrows forth!

But vain the griefs that here disclose
The anguish of the bleeding heart;
Since they ne'er from thy soft repose
Can wake thee, or new life impart.
Castle Hedingham, Essex.