1817 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Cowper

Anonymous, "To the Memory of W. Cowper, Esq." Ladies' Weekly Museum [New York] NS 6 (19 July 1817) 189-90.



Cowper, the Bard of Heaven, is ever fled;
He spurns the shackles of inglorious clay,
And dares with white-rob'd Seraphim, to tread
The azure plains of empyrean day.

By Ouse the Naiads of the silver waves,
In many a sweet and wildly warbled strain,
Bemoan the Minstrel from their pearly caves,
And teach the murmuring echoes to complain.

The once-lov'd flowers, that on its borders grew,
And flourish'd fair beneath the poet's eye,
No longer with their beauties charm the view,
Unseen, unsung, they wither, and they die.

There oft he scann'd the Grecian's glowing page,
And reap'd amid the Ionian fields the bay,
Or left the converse of his fav'rite sage,
To weave a lighter and less labour'd lay.

He felt that glowing impulse of the heart,
That trusts its honors to the voice of fame;
He dar'd his numbers to mankind impart,
And snatch'd the meed of never-dying fame.

He left the prospects giddy life display'd,
The road that Fortune pointed to her goal,
And bade for ever from his vision fade
Each object that enthrals th' aspiring soul.

Go, gentle Bard! to sweet ambrosial bowers,
In yonder sky a sweeter lay to sing,
While joys extatic lead the rosy hours
That Peace encircles with her dove-like wing.