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J. Green, Leicester Street, Leicester Square.
The Author of the following Monody to the memory of that distinguished character, Lord Erskine, had it in contemplation to publish Memoirs of him, blended with extracts from his celebrated and beautiful Speeches, and had obtained the permission of his Royal Highness the Duke of York, to allow the work to be inscribed to him.
Intelligence having been communicated to her, that Mr. Cooper, Barrister, had embarked in the same cause, and was about to offer to the world a voluminous and elaborate life of his Lordship, she had reason to imagine that the fulfilment of her intention would be very perilous, and the result precarious, and has therefore abandoned it
for the present. She trusts, however, that the Royal Duke will be graciously pleased to accept the only tribute of veneration and regard she can presume to offer; for the sake of the noble patriot and eloquent orator, whose extraordinary talents and virtues must excite universal and enthusiastic admiration from an enlightened and grateful people, she regrets that her simple but sincere effusions, are not better calculated to honour his memory, commemorate his virtues, and deplore his loss. To the illustrious patron of the fine and liberal arts, whose taste and sensibility of soul inspired an ardent and permanent friendship for Lord Erskine, who enjoyed the intellectual delight of his refined and elegant society in the princely bowers of Oatlands, she would fain bring an offering more expressive of the sense she entertains of the honour so graciously conferred on her, by
his condescending to patronize her literary pursuits: but however imperfect her effusions upon the melancholy occasion, she hopes his Royal Highness will believe that the exalted and liberal patronage extended to her humble efforts, will ever prove to her a source of much gratification.
A bright and holy lustre seems to emanate from the sacred desire of immortalizing the fame of so brilliant a character; may such pious and solemn emanations conspire to secure the permanent felicity, tranquillity, and glory, of the Royal Duke.
Ye bards departed! spirits of renown!
Ye that once charmed the earth with thrilling lay!
Whose temples blooming wreaths of myrtle crown!
Bend from your clouds of soft celestial grey,
A pilgrim to inspire--with one bright ray,
Who, in her heaviness of grief and woe,
With melody, would sing him passed away,
Sweet as Eolian harp, which wild winds blow,
Near Babylon's famed waters as they flow.
Ye generous group! that in ambrosial bowers
Tune golden harps with sweet mellifluous sound;
Ye lovely muses! whose celestial powers
With rapturous music charm the spheres around,
Pouring the balm of joy on sorrow's wound--
And thou, Urania, goddess bright! inspire
One beam divine! from amaranthine ground--
To touch, with warbling soft, the plaintive lyre,
A requiem sad, to tune with sacred fire.
And thou immortal, glorious spirit, hail!
Unto the heaven of heavens, thou sure hast pass'd,
Concealed from mortals with refulgent veil--
O could'st thou! on my invocation cast
One spark, of thy transcendant, beauteous taste!
That gifted eloquence, like crystal spring,
Sweet as the crimson morn, when the hours haste
To open day upon their purple wing--
Thy virtues then I gracefully might sing.
Cease, tears of veneration, cease to roll;
Be calm, sad grief--nor to the eye-lids start;
O cherish not a poignant grief of soul;
Be his exalted fame th' assuasive art,
The balm of Gilead! for the stricken heart:
That splendid sun! that no dark cloud can hide,
The fame of Erskine! never can depart.
Beloved thro' life, what faithful thousands vied
Their zeal to show,--and wept him when he died.
Behold! the injured to his banners fly--
His steps were thunder in the echoing hall;
The fire of battle filled his eagle eye!
Now closed, alas! beneath the funeral pall.
Death's angel did his blessed spirit call:--
No more that god-like eloquence shall charm,
As when he stood an adamantine wall,--
With inspiration blest, that hearts did warm,--
Shielding the oppressed with an out-stretch'd hand.
Had gloomy prison walls a tongue to speak,
They would describe the solitary tear,
That rolled adown the prisoner's pallid cheek,
Doomed galling chains, in bondage sad to bear--
Lo! Erskine comes; they hear his voice so dear,
Just like a sun-beam! through clouds rolling dark;
He comes to lighten their benighted sphere,
O'er the rude tempest steer their little bark,
Mercy, with Justice twined, his constant mark.
Rest, and the means that mortal life doth cherish,
Those balmy cordials that refresh the veins,
When trembling innocence was doomed to perish,
He heeded not--to break oppression's chains,--
To heal the sufferer's agonising pains;
Wipe from the circle of their social ties,
The maddening grief, in many a breast that reigns,
And fills, with bursting sorrow, kindred eyes
To calm the burning brain which rest denies.
For this the patriot rose with smiling morn,--
Bracing his nerves with pure salubrious gale,--
What time the sparkling gems of dew adorn
The simple wild-flowers; on the heath and vale;
Or studied o'er the lamp of midnight pale,--
Or in disturbed, and ever anxious sleep--
His soul would start, at persecution's tale,
As tiny Mab did o'er his bosom creep
With memory's wand, sad tears his couch did steep.
Fair Caledonia! in thy bosom nurs'd,
Who to his noble ancestors gave birth,
A shining beam! that from thy genius burst,
Where silver Tweed rolls on to join the Firth;
For ever sacred that high-favoured earth,
The guardian spirits of thy rugged land,
With joy beheld the graceful infant's mirth,
Presaged the talents that would bright expand,
And elevate him to supreme command.--
The dark blue rolling waves that guard thy shore
From lofty mountains, bore him far away,
In the tall ship new regions to explore;
He sails in youth--in wit and humour gay,
Old ocean's awful scenes, its frothy spray--
That dashed around him in tempestuous night,
When moon nor stars beamed not with silv'ry ray,
Shewed th' Eternal's majesty! and might,
Who brought in time his wond'rous powers to light.
The youthful scion! of a noble line,
Cast on the world--without or sire or friend;
Trusting in providence with grace divine:
His Lady mother Agnes--safe did blend
With care maternal--all that peace can lend;
Religion's precepts in his mind infused,
Taught her young beam, in childhood's age to bend
His knee in prayer--and as his lips effused
The praises due, sweet sounds his voice diffused.
His fortunes bear him where the savage wild
In sov'reign majesty of pomp and state--
A reed his sceptre--but his fondled child,
With grandeur's spell and dignity elate;
His subjects round him--giving power and weight
Of his unlettered eloquence, the page;
A heap of sticks--for such, alas! his fate,
That from his infancy to ripened age,
Learning doth not his vig'rous mind engage.
"Who in high mountains bade the river rise,
"Who bids the winds of winter loudly blow,
"Calms them again--beneath the summer skies?
"Who rears those lofty forests as they grow,
"With cooling shade--yet blasts with light'ning low?
"That Being high--who gave to you a shade,
"Beyond our waters--then, why come a foe,--
''Our pleasant lands to plunder and invade?
"With war's encroachment and destructive trade?"
Thus he, the feelings of the savage tribe,
With sweet simplicity and natural grace,
From past experience could well describe,
And shew that liberty maintains her place
In the rough savage, who the deserts pace,
Still jealous of encroachments on their woods:
Nature taught laws to this uncultured race:
Their empire mountains, and the sweeping floods:
And their defence with tomahawk he broods.
The noblest loyalty, did constant burn,
A sacred fire! within his generous breast,
That god-like feeling none aside could turn;
With holiest love and zeal his king he blest;
The patriotic virtues he possess'd,
Taught that pure love, that pillar of the state,
Should well be cherished, never be repress'd,
For that its genuine, and precious weight
Sweet harmony, and peace may well create.
Not the recording angels, who, above,
In heaven's page virtues and merits trace,
Take more delight in deeds benign of love,--
Than he--dread accusation to erase,
And from the soul the grasp of iron efface;
To administer that balsam, sweet and bright,
Refulgent mercy! with peculiar grace;
To banish scowling faction to dark night,
And do at once his king and country right.
'Twas not of praise to catch the floating sound,
The echo of applause charmed not his ear;
His witching eloquence, with brilliance crown'd
In full meridian polish--nervous, clear,
Spontaneous burst in freedom's cause most dear:
His splendid genius shone for nobler views,
Above, or empty praise, or servile fear;
Spirits celestial might such strains effuse,
Gracious and bright as Lebanon's soft dews.
The adoring husband! of his love bereaved,
Whom sacred, plighted vows could never bind,
By polished beauty! fatally deceived,
Light and fantastic, as the passing wind.
With treacherous friend, in perfidy combined!
To Erskine flies to have his woes redrest,--
Trusts to his god-like eloquence refined,
To tear the canker, from his tortured breast,
Deserted long, by peace and balmy rest.
Then with affecting pathos, soft and fine,
In silv'ry tones, soft as the new blown flower;
Sin he describes, which did of old entwine,
And cast its spell o'er Eden's blushing bower,
Withering its fragrance, like Volcanic shower:
That basilisk of polish, smooth and bright,
As turbid pestilence in air doth lour.
To dim the azure and refulgent light,
And o'er Cerulean sweetness cast dark night.
Harmonious his fine voice entered the soul,
Mild as the gale of blue morning in spring,--
Comes sweeping o'er ocean, with waves as they roll,
As the nightingale Cicero! sweet did he sing:--
Yet like thunder! his high notes terror did bring.
Fair justice and truth! he robed with new grace,
Exalted them ever on Seraphim wing,
They glowed in his rhetoric, beamed in his face,
And with Erskine those attributes ever kept pace.
In his dignified office, candid and clear,--
Like angels, his virtues ever must plead:
His meekness unfeigned all hearts must revere,
Nor envy the honours that bloomed on his head;
Where wreaths of high fame bright genius had spread,
Wreaths of renown that shall never decay--
To immortal renown his talents are wed;
And tho' his fine spirit has now passed away,
The hearts of true Britons due homage will pay.
Yes, they will mourn him with a grateful sigh;
Their eyes no more on his loved form shall dwell;
Nor seek a glance from his expressive eye,
In Scotia's land the sad, funereal knell!
Hath tolled his solemn, and his last farewell!
His hallowed relics in his native isle
Repose--guarded from fairy charm, or spell,
Flown is for ever that endearing smile,--
Which magic-like, could sorrow's tear beguile.--
His honours gave he, to the world again,
His blessed part to an approving heaven;
In peace he sleeps, free from all care or pain,
Not like that child of honour, Wolsey! driven,
Broken by storms, in life's extremest even,
To beg, in supplicating, humble tones,
Of earthly dignities--and riches riven--
A little earth, as covering for his bones;--
Such boon he begs with dying tears and groans.
Nor like great Wolsey, on a sea too wide,
Beyond his depth, for glory did he seek;
Then with repentant sighs lament his pride,
Broken--and he, forsaken, old, and weak,
Tear, chasing tear, adown his furrowed cheek.
Warning his Cromwell from ambition's sin,
By which the angels did obedience break:
"More than corruption, honesty doth win,
"With gentle peace let every day begin."
His noble motto was, "God and the right."
Truth and his country, and his king combined;
No fear he knew--no monarch's frown could fright
The rectitude and candour, that refined
The upright virtues of his honest mind;
The ways of glory long beloved he trod,--
Lofty as eagle! sweet as summer wind!
His guide, his conscience--and his fear, his God,
Before the world's applause, or prince's nod.
Nor like great Bacon! when in office high,
Could envious tongues with breach of faith accuse;
No speck was seen o'er the bright space to fly,
To dim the exhalations, that diffuse
O'er his career, clear and transcendant hues;
That god-like gift was his; high state to bear
"Pillars of honour" could not change his views:
The chain of dignity he well could wear,
The robe of state--the seals of Albion fair.
Ye grateful orphans! now your incence bring,
And shed your showers of tears upon his grave;
Cull the choice flowers of the young breath of spring
Ye, whom he stretched his fostering hand to save!
And to the Care of heavenly science! gave;
Nurtured, and taught in those protecting walls,
From vice and ignorance, that madly rave
From the dread whirl-pool; that like syren calls,
In which rash youth, untaught, too often falls.
Oh! he was ever your benignant friend!
The angel pity glowing in his soul;
To every tale of woe he ear did lend,
And much delighted, hastened to console,
Then let your tears for him in torrents roll;
Strew sweetest roses o'er his hallow'd tomb;
Mourn the sad breaking of the silver bowl!
Tho' full of years, untimely seems his doom;
A brilliant star that did the world illume.
Ye tender mothers! who your children brought,
For this asylum, famed to intercede;
And found its noble benefactor fraught
With holiest feelings, which your cause did plead
To every plaint, and suit giving kind heed;
Did ye not find him gentle to the poor?
Courteous and mild, a steady friend in need--
No stern repulses met ye, at his door--
Then drop a tear, his setting to deplore.
And thou, unhappy youth! at thy return,
Crossing again the dark-blue stormy wave;
What pensive grief thy generous breast will burn,
Whilst memory clings around his hallow'd grave;
Whilst ocean's breakers white, in sadness rave,
As if in concert with thy bosom's woe;
Alas! alas! why did he danger brave,
His love for thee! and duty bade him go,
And laid his honoured head in silence low.
The drooping muse! here pauses, sad with grief,
Rent with dire anguish at the sad event;--
Mourns that his fleeting days have been so brief,
Like common mortals! that his lamp is spent,
Tho' not like lovely flower, just blooming; bent,
Yet his bright genius shone like golden eve!
And had th' eternal! age immortal lent,
E'en like Methusalem, thousands would grieve
That brilliant meteor should this planet leave.
Milton, th' immortal bard! of soul sublime,
With holy grief! his Lycidas did weep;--
His plaintive requiem, in sweet silver chime,
Hallowed the friend engulphed in foamy deep:
With tears of anguish did his manes steep,--
Whilst sighs symphonious, deep as angry wind,
Reproached the Nereides who unmoved did sleep
In beds of amber, and rich coral lined,--
Which raised a whirlwind in his lofty mind.
His harmony divine! could not assuage,--
In tones melodious of soft minstrelsy,
'Gainst the huge dolphins! loud he vents his rage,
And every god, and goddess of the sea--
Sweeter than honey from the golden bee:--
The lovely mermaids softly doth he chide,--
And when his anguish rages furiously,--
Like Hallelujahs do his numbers glide,
From angels' harps or souls beatified.
And aged Ossian! bard of high renown,
Whose whiten'd locks fly on the rustling breeze,
With memory sweet, did beam on friends gone down,
And chide the white waves on the roaring seas:
The echoing hall, his saddened spirit flies,
Where rolling waters dash against the rock,
When midnight sleep; spirits of men doth seize,
Then airy phantoms--misty visions mock!
And thoughts of days gone by, the poet shock.--
Oh Ossian! didst thou from thy golden cloud
Behold the dark waves toss this son of fame;--
Hear the rude billows dash with fury loud,
Whilst roaring winds from dark Erebus came?--
Could my sad lyre with Milton's force exclaim,
'Gainst the fierce elements my soul should rave--
With all that poet's melody and flame,
Th' illustrious patriot! hurried to his grave,
Too distant far, near ocean's sparry cave.
Why rests he, not beneath our hallowed fane,--
Albion methinks should claim his honoured bones;
Where the courts echoed with his heavenly strain,
Dwelling with rapture on his silv'ry tones,
Whose truths sublime! might melt e'en hearts like stones,
Then melancholy sadness might enjoy
That pensive pleasure, there to calm its groans,
Enwrapt in meditation's mood employ,
Away from tumult, peace without alloy.
Not as in youth, when life's balsamic flood
With many a raging tempest did contend,
When health and vigour undiminished stood,
But now, alas! they brought him to his end,
He felt disease his noble heart-strings rend,
And back to Annandale resigned he trod;
The awful moment well he did portend,
And bowed to meet the summons of his God,
Who gently touched him with affliction's rod.
And sent his harbingers to bear away
The patriot's spirit to celestial bowers,
Angels who bore him to eternal day,
To bathe in essence of ambrosial showers:
New light to cast upon his wond'rous pow'rs:
To renovate those youthful tones so sweet,
To cull of rhetoric unfading flowers:
Whilst beauteous cherubs guide his stranger feet,
And with soft smiles to those blest regions greet.
Whilst smiling faith! presents the golden crown,
Due to those talents, he so well did use,
Encreas'd tenfold, splendid, he lays them down,
The faithful servant! who did well diffuse
The gifts his Lord bestowed, with noblest views,
Till death he followed her; nor turned aside--
The monitor within--firm did he choose,
Let who would praise him, censure or deride,
Conscience and faith, were still his bosom's guide.
Now will he see that horse, of shining white,
Mounted by one all glorious! high, and true,
Whose eyes are brilliant, flame in beauty bright,
On whose fine head! are crowns of sparkling hue;
His vesture seems, as dipp'd in gory dew:
Followed by armies, in fine linen clad,--
Mounted on horses white, a chosen crew,--
Scenes of pure glory, shall his vision glad,--
Unmixed with mortal follies, empty, sad.--
Whilst at the Eternal's altar, angels cast
Incense divine from censers of pure gold,
Whose odorous perfumes sweeten the rich blast,
Whilst clouds of smoke ascend in columns roll'd,
Mingled with praise, and garments white enfold
Those forms divine! who worship near the throne,
And their celestial adoration hold--
Of him, the first, the everlasting one!
Whose works sublime! are known in heaven alone.
There new Jerusalem! that city bright,--
Whose walls are jasper, richest pearls its gates:
Of precious stones, and glory is her light,
Clear as fine crystal! like no earthly states,
Streets of pure gold, which heaven alone creates;
Like glass transparent! polished finely o'er:
Twelve are its gates, at each an angel waits,
And brilliant gems bedeck the glittering floor,
Topaz, rich sapphire, amethyst, and more.
Just as young virgins! haste to deck a bride,
T' enchant her husband, on the bridal morn,
So new Jerusalem is beautified
With light resplendent, heaven to adorn;
A splendid city! full of glory born;
No temple there, for incense, or to pray,
Unlike this earth, by sad convulsions torn;
There God! himself eternally doth stay,--
God and the lamb, the temple and the day.--
And that magnificent, resplendent sea,
Pure glass resembling, mingled with red fire,
Where holy angels sing Christ's victory,
And in full chorus tune their rapturous lyre;
Singing the lamb, who did on earth expire;
Now clothed in majesty at God's right hand,
Who doth their Hallelujahs sweet inspire;
As on the glassy, polished sea they stand,
Whilst purple pinions round their forms expand.
Spirits immortal! clothed in sapphire clouds,
With beauteous rainbows! glittering o'er their heads,
Faces like sun, who mists, nor darkness shrouds,
But in refulgence light eternal spreads,
And o'er their flowery way; rich essence sheds,
Like fiery pillars are their polished feet,
Stealing from roses shades of blushing red,
Emerald and jasper, sardine stones all meet,
Midst brilliant lamps, his blessed soul to greet.
O! thou eternal pow'r, the sad heart shaken
To heal with comfort, and to calm is thine;
By thee in bitterness never forsaken,
"To err, is human; to forgive, divine;"
O'er the vast deep thy wings in grandeur shine;
Thee, Neptune, and the wat'ry gods obey,
Sea lions green thou dost at will confine,
Thou in thy wisdom callest man away;
Beyond thy summons mortals cannot stay.
Ye sylphs and dryads! with mellifluous voice,
That flit thro' Oatlands' shades at dewy eve;
Where royal Frederic! did his soul rejoice,
In sympathy with him, his transit grieve;--
Wreaths to his mem'ry of sweet flowers weave;--
When Hesperus in mildness soft doth stream,
And seems to mourn that fate did so bereave,
Then with your prince deplore the bright sun-beam,
Dear to his soul--now vanished like a dream.
Mourn sylvan goddesses that rove unseen,
O'er venerable Dryburgh's hills and bowers;
When in her stateliness, night's silver queen,
Casts mellow shadows o'er the blushing flowers;
Where wit and humour, bathed in nectar'd showers,
The gifted Erskine! when a graceful child,
Where taste and judgment! both infused their powers;
And vigorous genius! like the mountains wild,
With inspiration came, and feelings mild.
Mourn, winding Tweed, in thy romantic pride,
Whilst the wind murmurs softly o'er thy breast,
And the wrapt Caledonian, near thy side,
Dwells on the patriot, sunk to endless rest;
In sweet refulgence of his virtues blest,
Mourn, lovely Naiads, of the crystal spring,
Soft as Favonius, from the balmy west,
And thou, sweet Philomel, more plaintive sing,
And droop in pensive woe thy lonely wing.
Ocean, thou world of wonders! let thy waves,
Mourn, that old Neptune, bid thy fury rage;
Ye graceful Nereides, in your coral caves,
Why did ye not his chains of wrath assuage;
Regarding thus, th' illustrious patriot's age?--
Tritons and mermaids! every sea-god weep,
The glory and delight, of Albion's page!
Did through the surges of the furious deep,
Sink to a placid, and regretted sleep.
Thou breeze-swept hill! that crownest Augusta's spires,
When spring's sweet zephyrs wanton o'er thy brow;
Ye shades that cherished his immortal fires;
Where oft his breast, with sacred light did glow;
Burning with rays that heaven did richly throw;
The sufferings of his fellow men to heal:
Let your majestic trees more softly blow;
The stranger's beast there, in his generous zeal,
The herbage cropt, mercy in age to feel.
Ye generous Britons! ye I need not tell
To bind his memory round your bosom's core;
With pious love to weep a last farewell,
Or tune your harps his transit to deplore;
His name, his fame, the grateful must adore;
Both joy and sorrow, shall remembrance give,
The essence of his virtues round us soar.
Immortally shall God, like Erskine! live,
And veneration's holy claims receive.
And when arrives, the last dread judgment-day!
When the loud trumpet bids the dead arise!
Resplendent justice! then shall be his stay,
She, whom he cherished with her eagle eyes,--
And Mercy sweet! that angel of the skies,--
Shall graceful throw th' ethereal veil aside,
With fond delight range round the hallowed prize,
The servant well approved! whose faith was tried,
Shall shine in splendour, richly glorified.
J. Green, Leicester Street, Leicester Square.