1813 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Kirke White

Jeremiah Holmes Wiffen, "Henry's Harp; a Tribute to the Memory of Henry Kirke White" Poems by Three Friends (1813) 4-7.



Why sleeps the tuneful harp that bore
The mournful song of Henry's pains;
Why does that tuneful harp no more,
Re-vibrate his melodious strains?

Is the bold hand which touch'd the strings,
Cold as the ice on Lapland's shore?
The mind which soared on eagle wings,
Say does it sleep to wake no more?

Lo! the sons of Genius wander,
Sorrowing for a brother's doom;
Where Granta's silver streams meander,
Sad, they weep o'er Henry's tomb.

Their sorrow tells us he no more
Shall wake the song of many woes;
He's landed on that silent shore,
Where every grief shall find repose.

Where no Critic's "painful duty"
Shall check the warblings of his lyre,
Where no haughty frown of Beauty
Can damp the youthful Poet's fire.

Death has ended all his troubles,
Bid his bosom sorrow cease,
Freed him from Life's empty bubbles,
Whisper'd to his spirit peace.

To silence hush'd his lyre's sweet notes,
Though here no more the Minstrel sings,
Through milder skies his music floats,
In brighter worlds he tunes his strings.

E'en angels bend to catch the sounds
That echo through yon vaulted sky,
As Henry's tuneful harp resounds
Its tones of seraph melody.

On earth he lov'd the ways of Heaven,
And kissed his father's chastening rod;—
Now to full perfection risen,
He mingles with the sons of God.

And if a mortal's praise can move
The minstrels of that hallow'd throne,
Hear it, bless'd shade, from one who loves
Thy sweetly soothing, solemn song.

One who often in thy pages,
Loves in each glowing line to trace
The fire of youth, the lore of ages,
A Dryden's strength — a Thomson's grace.

Pages o'er which, by feeling led,
Many a one shall sigh to see
Thy sorrows traced, and sighing shed
The tear of sensibility.

They shall live 'midst Critics' quarrels,
Vain to crush them, each endeavour;
Fame has crowned them with her laurels,
Genius bids them bloom for ever.