1830 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Bp. Reginald Heber

J. W. Cunningham, "Elegy on Bishop Heber" Boston Recorder 15 (10 November 1830) 180.



He fell not in climbing the icy steep
Which ambition delights to scale;
For the deeds of his arm not a widow shall weep,
Or an orphan her father bewail;
It was not in piercing the mountain's side,
For the mine's forbidden treasure;
Or in pushing his bark o'er the shallow tide
Of bright but delusive pleasure.

Here honor and interest woo'd him to rest,
And spoke of the evils to come;
And love clasp'd him close to her cowardly breast,
And whispered the joys of his home;
But zeal for his Lord dissolved every chain
By which we endeavoured to bind him;
He paid every tear by tears back again,
But cast all our wishes behind him.

And he mounted the deck, and we saw him depart
From our breezy and verdant shore;
And we left him, in sadness and sickness of heart,
To think we might see him no more;
But he sought the far coast of the sultry land,
Where the sun never knows a cloud;
And he planted his foot on the burning strand,
And his head at the altar he bowed:

And his soul, by the solemn oath he bound,
To live and die for the Lord;
The idol temples to strew on the ground,
And to publish the life-giving Word;
And he preached it by day, and by dewy eve,
And when night had darkened the plain.
Ah! who shall the tale of his labors weave,
And, so, give us our brother again?

He fell, as he conquered; a sorrowing crowd
Of each people, and language, and tongue,
Pressed sadly around his cold grave, and, aloud
Their heart-broken obsequies sung:
"Our brother has fallen; and, low in the dust,
Do his earthly relics slumber;
But his spirit is gone to the land where the just
Surround the 'white throne' without number."

But his grave has a voice, and I hear it proclaim,
"Go forward, till day chases night;
Till all nations adore the unspeakable Name,
And the world's one wide ocean of light;
Till our God is enthroned on Judah's dark hills,
And sheathes His all-conquering sword;
Till the desolate earth with His glory He fills,
And all realms are the realms of the Lord."