1825 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

James Gates Percival

R., "To Percival" Rural Repository [Hudson NY] 1 (2 April 1825) 174.



Bard of the mournful lyre,
Attune thy soft and melancholy lay
To mourn the ravage of misfortune dire
O'er the frail fabric of our earthly day.

Sing of the fate of man,
His stay on earth and future destiny;
Mourn o'er his transient life — at best a span,
And chaunt his dirge beneath the willow tree.

Sing of the cares of earth,
That chequer life with anguish and with toil—
That sear the flowers of bright and joyous birth,
And drown our joys in sorrow and turmoil.

Columbia's sweetest bard,
Thy pensive numbers floating far and free,
Although they merit freemen's warm regard,
Their minstrel languishes in penury.

But uncomplaining still,
No voice of wail forth issues from thy harp
Mourning thine own misfortunes, stern and chill,
Though sorrows pierce thee pungently and sharp.

But o'er the blighted gem
Of love and hope, thy plaintive lyre is strung,
And from it sounds a solemn requiem;
A funeral song o'er faded life is sung.

Ah! minister sad, thy lay
Ere long will cease to be a lay of grief,
For cold neglect will blight thy cheerless day
And in the grave thy soul will find relief.