1783
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elegiac Stanzas, on the much-lamented Death of Major William Moore Caulfield.

Public Advertiser (4 April 1783).

Rev. John Newell Puddicombe


Ten irregular Spenserians (ababcC), signed "J. N. Puddiccombe, March 31." The poem offers condolences for the death of a young poet "who died at Brompton on the 23 instant": "Ah me! nor Innocence nor Truth can save, | Insatiate Death, from thy ferocious Pow'r! | Nor Wealth nor Grandeur can elude the Grave, | Or gain one supernumerary Hour!" The Public Advertiser printed several elegies for John Moore Caulfield.



Sure, if a Soul that ne'er indulg'd a Thought
But what an Angel's Breast itself might know,
A Soul that, by superior Virtue taught,
Spurn'd with Contempt each glittering Snare below,
And, conscious of its Greatness, dar'd aspire
To Scenes of Heavenly Bliss on Wings of Heavenly Fire:

If each internal Grace, each Charm sublime,
That with the Angel bids the Man compare;
If these are Praises which, in Spite of Time,
Shall flourish ever dazzling, ever fair,
Thy Name, lamented Youth, (for these were thine)
High on Truth's hallow'd Roll in deathless Pomp shall shine!

Though few thy Years, yet Wisdom to thy Soul
Already had unlock'd its copious Store:
There Filial Goodness reign'd without Controul:
Parental Fondness cou'd not wish for more!
Nature, in Wonder lost, around thy Head,
Saw the ripe Palm of Age its blooming Honours spread!

Oh! why has envious Death from mortal View
Snatch'd this inestimable Flow'r so soon!
At Morn it flourish'd, bright with vernal Dew—
Cut down and withered ere th' Approach of Noon!
Was it for Earth too fragrant, pure, and fair,
Fit only for the Skies, and born to blossom there?

Ah me! nor Innocence nor Truth can save,
Insatiate Death, from thy ferocious Pow'r!
Nor Wealth nor Grandeur can elude the Grave,
Or gain one supernumerary Hour!
Not the sweet Muse with her melodious Charm,
Nor Piety herself thy Fury can disarm.

Ye Sister Nymphs that haunt Castalia's Spring,
To every Stream and Grove proclaim his Doom,
To Strains of Sadness wake the melting String,
And hang with Cypress Wreaths his early Tomb,
Your Votary mourn, for you to him were dear,
And overwhelm his Shrine with many a grateful Tear.

Hail highly-favour'd Shade! thou hear'st no more
The Storms and Tumults of this World of Care;
Now safely landed on th' immortal Shore,
Seraphic Throngs their starry Wreaths prepare,
Their Palms and Vestments of unfading Light,
And lead thee to the Throne with nameless Glories bright.

Where sits that awful Pow'r, whose boundless Love
Was all thy Happiness — thy Heav'n below!
Nor this pure Effluence of the Joys above,
Could soothing Vice e'er tempt thee to forego;
Pleasure, soft warbling Syren, call'd in vain,
Still shunn'd thy callous Ear her bland insidious Strain.

Then not a Tear let sad Reflection rouse,
You on whom Heav'n, which seem'd to frown, has smil'd;
To whom that envied Title it allows,
The favour'd Parents of so lov'd a Child!
Suppress each plaintive Thought — each pious Sigh—
Nor wish the Saint one Moment from his kindred Sky:

'Tis there his spotless Soul receives the Crown,
To Virtue due, which soar'd beyond his Years!
Ah! what mistaken Zeal would call him down
To this inhospitable Vale of Tears,
T' exchange for mortal Pleasures (fleeting Shades!)
Celestial genuine Joys, and Bliss that never fades?

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