1817 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Henry Kirke White

G., "To the Memory of Henry Kirke White, the English Poet" The Portico [Baltimore] 3 (June 1817) 504-05.



Dear Child of Genius! generous Son of Worth!
A distant friend would o'er thee shed a tear,
Reclining near thy consecrated earth,
Would sing in strains of friendship o'er thy bier;
But vain th' attempt, 'twere hardihood to dare,
Since in thy praise the lion poet sung,
Since swept in undulations through the air
His lyre's wild notes; while as they swelled along,
Caus'd every breast to feel what can't be told in song.

Selene's ray, gleams o'er the grassy grave,
The Zephyr's breath but gently branches wave,
And mournfully the cypress branches wave,
Seeming, in moanings low, to plain for thee,
But thou hast gone, Elysian fields to see,
And taste the joys thy virtues well deserv'd:
On high thy happy soul soar'd joyfully,
As thou from virtue ne'er below hast swerv'd,
Thou died'st sweet Henry, like the early rose,
Which cruel Boreas cuts untimely down;
Ere to the day its full luxuriance blows,
It sinks beneath th' oppressing cold wind's frown,
And yet its coming fragrance all must own:
All wish its loveliness complete to know,
But in its breast the canker has his throne,
And silent undermines the bud below:
Then come the blasts, and far the leaves are strown.

Or like the snowy crest upon a stone,
Left by the icy finger'd winter there:
Which short remains, unmelted and alone,
And adds a coolness to the vernal air,
The sun himself doth seem this crest to spare,
The snow, his beams unharm'd, reflects away;
Yet from the earth, the stone doth drink his glare,
Melting internally the snow; till gay
The sun beams o'er the stone in scintillations play.
Henry! farewell! and at this humble tomb,
While science droops, her face with grief o'erspread:
See Piety, Hope's "beamy smile" return,
As soft she whispers "Henry is not dead."
His soul, 'tis true, has to his maker fled,
But while earth lasts, shall live my Henry's name,
His life was christian — christian his death-bed;
His works on earth shall long preserve his fame,
Until Earth itself, the whole of time shall claim.