1797 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Mason

Brooke Boothby, "To the Memory of the Rev. William Mason, written in the late Lord Harcourt's Flower Garden at Nuneham" Poetical Register for 1808-09 (1812) 287-88.



These roseate bowers, these sun-bright glades,
A poet's eye design'd;
Bade yon dark paths, through tufted shades,
In leafy labyrinths wind.
He found undress'd the rustic child,
Of lovely form, neglected, wild,
And modest robes well-suited gave;
No art conceals her genuine face
Her airy step, her simple grace,
No pedant rules enslave.

Here the gay warbler swells his throat,
Rejoicing in the spring;
Tunes to his mate the love-taught note,
Or woos on transient wing.
Here, queen of Nature's fairest reign,
Pleas'd Flora leads her laughing train,
Fresh from the dewy lap of May;
Or wrapp'd in fragrant slumber lies,
Or waking, spreads her golden eyes,
To drink the orient day.

With all the pride of summer crown'd,
This little Eden glows;
And Memory o'er the hallow'd ground
A mellower lustre throws.
Friends who to weep his loss remain,
And youths enamour'd of his strain,
To Mason's shrine by Fancy led,
Oft in yon shadowy cave are seen,
Oft pacing slow these alleys green
With soft and pensive tread.

Oft at high noon the listening ear,
While stillness breathes around,
Aerial harpings seems to hear,
Of more than mortal sound.
When evening sheds her grateful gloom,
To bend upon this vacant tomb,
Sweet Melancholy steals along;
Sighs to the breeze in murmurs low,
Or pours a deeper note of woe,
On Philomel's sad song.

Blest poet of a happier age!
Though mute thy tuneful lay,
Long shall survive thy sacred page,
Beyond life's little day.
Smote by rude Time, in tangles torn,
When these forsaken groves shall mourn,
No more responsive to thy praise;
Thy moral pure, thy lofty strain,
Shall o'er the maddening passions reign,
The soul to virtue raise.