1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Amelia Opie

M., "To Mrs. Opie, after perusing her elegant Tribute to the Memory of the Duke of Bedford" Morning Chronicle (12 Octoer 1802).



Sweet are the flowers which o'er the untimely grave,
Of Patriot Nobles, or th' illustrious brave,
The favour'd votaries of the Muse supply,
Who scatter honours that can never die.
What; tho' the dear lov'd partner of thy heart
May haply boast a more alluring art;
Can with his pencil's magic colours trace
The eye's bright beam, and soul-illumin'd face;
To varying passions just expression give,
And bid the form ador'd uninjur'd live—
Tho' much I venerate the grand design,
Yet are those pow'rs inferior far to thine.
For O 'tis thine in numbers chaste, refin'd,
To pour thy full instruction on the mind.
Breath o'er the cold damp grave perennial bloom,
And virtue raise immortal from the tomb.
Pardon a Muse, who strives in feeble lays
Around thy brow to weave the wreath of praise;
Who shrinks, confus'd thy dazzling path to view,
Nor dares thy course with falt'ring steps pursue.
Yet, as the skilful gard'ner will dispose
His oak and haw-thorn mix'd in friendly rows;
On each bestow an equal share of toil;
Till, soon transplanted to a different soil,
One, bold aspiring, tow'rs Britannia's pride,
The other humbly decks the woodland side;
That we still view with rapture and surprise,
While this can scarce attract the wand'ring eyes—
So, in our nursery of tender years,
When no proud rivalship the bosom fears,
Oft thro' the flowery paths of life we stray'd,
Oft the same games in sportive humour play'd.
But now (this season o'er) in riper age
New objects court us, and new scenes engage.
'Tis thine to shine in vivid-colours bright—
While I but boast the glow-worm's glimm'ring light.
Around thee Fashion, Elegance and Taste:
I in the lowly vale of life am plac'd.
Our hopes, our views, no longer are the same;
Nor more by distance sever'd, than by Fame.