1796 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Oliver Goldsmith

A Gentleman of Canada, "Elegy on the Death of Dr. Goldsmith" New York Magazine and Literary Repository NS 1 (October 1796) 551-52..



'Twas at the solemn silent hour of night,
A gloomy taper shed ambiguous light;
And where the hollow winds yon aspins wave,
The Muse, disorder'd, sought her Poet's grave;
While her unequal footsteps beat the ground,
The dreary church-yard echoed all around:
There, o'er her GOLDSMITH'S honour'd tomb reclin'd,
Her plaints bespoke the anguish of her mind;
Her gentle bosom heav'd with piteous sighs,
And gushing tears bedim'd her sparkling eyes:
While, at the mourner's side, untun'd, unstrung,
The once resounding lyre neglected hung.
And art thou gone, my darling son! she cried:
Ah! sure with thee thy mother's spirit died;
In thee the dearest of her votaries fell—
—Farewell, my GOLDSMITH! Oh my child, farewell!
No more shall I thy gentle soul inspire;
Alas! no longer shalt thou tune thy lyre:
No more thy song its sweetness shall impart,
In artless numbers, to the feeling heart:
Thy verse harmonious now no longer flows,
No more shalt thou describe thy AUBURN'S woes.
Who now can paint them? who, alas! can tell
How they've increas'd since AUBURN'S poet fell?

Yet shall thy works, immortal as thy name,
Through distant ages spread thy well-earn'd fame;
Bid sacred Sympathy its aid impart,
To raise thy altar in each gen'rous heart,
Which, like thy own, with manly feelings fraught,
A sad Remembrance prompts the busy thought,
Thy virtues and thy woes shall still revere,
And o'er thy frailties drop Oblivion's tear:
To expatiate those, through all thy chequer'd life,
(Where Fortune wag'd with thee a cruel strife)
Thy bounteous heart in generous pity rose,
To soothe the sorrows even of thy foes.
Peace to thy gentle shade, where'er it flies,
To mix with angels in its native skies!
There all its failings, all its faults forgiven,
Life ever blest within its native heaven!