Lines On the Unfortunate Death of Henry Neele, Esq.
Love's soft imaginings, its flowers and stars
Are wove into a garland for the bard?
Sure sensibility like Lightning gleams
Most beauteous, but destroying. Ah! what hap,
What melancholy fate that but to this
Genius at last must come!
There is a light that cannot be
Quenched into nothing — so divine
It blazes on eternally.
And lives along the poet's line.
That light is in thy breathing lay.
As goodness pure, as glory bright.
And like a beacon far away
It cheers the lone heart's murky night.
There is a crown, the richest far —
O! pluck those sparkling wonders down.
Set in a circle many a star.
And that shall be the poet's crown.
That starry crown is on thy bust
Decreed by doom itself to thee,
It will not fall, like man to dust,
But like the sun glow deathlessly.
Soul of the minstrel! — gifted child!
Unfettered now, and unconfined.
That deed was wild, was passing wild —
The madness of a minstrel's mind.
Why was that longing to be free.
To break the link of being's chain.
To make thee wings, and dove-like flee
To the pure spirit's pure domain?
Was it that earth has fewer flowers
Than blush in groves of other spheres,
Or didst thou dream of rosier hours
In worlds beyond this world of tears
Was It that hope's soft rainbow hues
Like fleeting vapours melt away,
Or didst thou think joy's evening dews
Should on the heart perpetual stay?
Was It that earth's idolatry
Is not enough for minstrel high.
That pride forbears to bend the knee
When godlike genius passeth by?
Was it that friends are all untrue,
That smiles betray, the sorrows burn,
That storms obscure heaven's beauteous blue,
That memory is dead pleasure's urn?
Was it that love's night-born dream
Whereon we weep when all awake —
A parting ray, a sunny gleam
That leaves the cheated heart to break
Was is that "Fame's proud temple shines"
Too like futurity, afar, —
That grief dilates, that bliss declines.
That life and hope are — What they are?
Was it that heavenly minstrelsy
Ne'er finds a guerdon meet on earth,
That many a maddening woe may be
Concealed beneath the mask of mirth?
O! who can answer? yet one day
Will bring a sunbeam to thy tomb —
Till then, let sorrowing minstrels say
The world's unkindness worked thy doom.