1751
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Untitled, "Ah me! the luckless chime."]

Academiae Cantabrigiensis Luctus in Obitum Frederici Celsissimi Walliae Principis.

Rev. John Image


An imitation of Milton's Lycidas, of sorts, notable for its archaisms. This poem is preceded by one entitled "An Aunciente Prophecie" printed in black-letter type, perhaps by John Image also. The university presses often used these sumptuous commemorative volumes to demonstrate their exotic types, though it is doubtful that many at court could decipher odes in Arabic.

William Lyon Phelps: "Many of the early imitations came from Cambridge and Oxford men, some of them hardly out of their teens, an evidence that youngsters with literary ambitions were turning for inspiration to the wells of old English poetry" Beginnings of the English Romantic Movement (1893) 61.



Ah me! the luckless chime
I little counted, for I simply thought;
Nor deem'd, that Heav'n did note
The wrecks of Time!
But ah! the hour is past!
The hour, which never cease to weep
Fair Liberty, all light of wing;
The Muses, ever wont to sing;
All as they pensive tread the mountain-steep!
And could I bid all peace to thy fair Shade—
A Greet, of stop too high for shepherd's straw,
Whose uncouth yearnings use an humbler strain;
I would the bold full-passion'd plain',
Sacred to Wonder, and to Sorrow too!
Wou'd I might sweep the antic wilde,
'Mong holy tow'rs, by Time unpil'd;
Whose reliques, shew'd in moon-beam light,
Pity might teare to Sickness quite!
—Or view the princely heaped tomb,
That Wonder deigns to look upon,
The Pyramid — whence might be sought
Tall Metaphor, and gloomy Thought,
And toily Plan that Grief hath wrought!

—Or to some mountain I wou'd up,
Where torrents tumble from the top;
Now peep at sky, in fiery show;
Now see the high-voic'd waves below!
While peopled hulks are whembling by,
And store of fragments beating high,
I'd catch a new-felt sympathy!
The grain might then full well proportion'd be;
Not simply sullen shou'd it move,
But bolt, as thunder from above!
Or like the light'ning it shou'd blaze,
Full fancy fire the orb in which it plays!
The Muse shou'd then — a Mourner come;
All sable-clad shou'd slow stalk on,
In stately sad solemnity!

But well I ween,
Thy Passing dirged by the starry tribe,
All as thou mak'st full wing, to gladly gain
Yon higher seat of Fame!
What boots thee then an earthly fame beside!
Yet O! let this fair Eulogy be taught,
Which kings may blush to hear "twas Peace he sought,
A Prince, who bold in Faith, to Fame's tribunal came;
Car'd to be good — the rest he left to Fame."

[Sig. X-Xv]