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Monody On The Death Of Dr. Warton



Oh! I should ill thy generous cares requite
Thou who didst first inspire my timid Muse,
Could I one tuneful tear to thee refuse,
Now that thine aged eyes are closed in night,
Kind Warton! Thou hast stroked my stripling head,
And sometimes, mingling soft reproof with praise,
My path hast best directed through the maze
Of thorny life: by thee my steps were led
To that romantic valley, high o'erhung
With sable woods, where many a minstrel rung
His bold harp to the sweeping waterfall;
Whilst Fancy loved around each form to call
That fill the poet's dream: to this retreat
Of Fancy, (won by whose enticing lay
I have forgot how sunk the summer's day),
Thou first did guide my not unwilling feet;
Meantime inspiring the gay breast of youth
With love of taste, of science, and of truth.
The first inciting sounds of human praise,
A parent's love excepted, came from thee;
And but for thee, perhaps, my boyish days
Had all passed idly, and whate'er in me
Now live of hope, been buried.
I was one,
Long bound by cold dejection's numbing chain,
As in a torpid trance, that deemed it vain
To struggle; nor my eyelids to the sun
Uplifted: but I heard thy cheering voice;
I shook my deadly slumber off; I gazed
Delighted 'round; awaked, inspired, amazed,
I marked another world, and in my choice
Lovelier, and decked with light! On fairy ground
Methought I buoyant trod, and heard the sound
As of enchanting melodies, that stole,
Stole gently, and entranced my captive soul.
Then all was life and hope! 'Twas thy first ray,
Sweet Fancy, on the heart; as when the day
Of Spring, along the melancholy tract
Of wintry Lapland, dawns; the cataract,
From ice dissolving on the silent side
Of some white precipice, with paly gleam
Descends, while the cold hills a slanting beam
Faint tinges: till, ascending in his pride,
The great Sun from the red horizon looks,
And wakes the tuneless birds, the stagnant brooks,
And sleeping lakes! So on my mind's cold night
The ray of Fancy shone, and gave delight
And hope past utterance.
Thy cheering voice,
O Warton! bade my silent heart rejoice,
And wake to love of nature; every breeze,
On Itchin's brink was melody; the trees
Waved in fresh beauty; and the wind and rain,
That shook the battlements of Wykeham's fane,
Not less delighted, when, with random pace,
I trod the cloistered aisles; and witness thou,
Catherine, upon whose foss-encircled brow
We met the morning, how I loved to trace
The prospect spread around; the rills below,
That shone irriguous in the gleaming plain;
The river's bend, where the dark barge went slow,
And the pale light on yonder time-worn fane!
So passed my days with new delight; mean time
To Learning's tender eye thou didst unfold
The classic page, and what high bards of old,
With solemn notes, and minstrelsy sublime,
Have chanted, we together heard; and thou,
Warton! wouldst bid me listen, till a tear
Sprang to mine eye: now the bold song we hear
Of Greece's sightless master-bard: the breast
Beats high; with stern Pelides to the plain
We rush; or o'er the corpse of Hector slain
Hang pitying;--and lo! where pale, oppressed
With age and grief, sad Priam comes; with beard
All white he bows, kissing the hands besmeared
With his last hope's best blood!
The oaten reed
Now from the mountain sounds; the sylvan Muse,
Reclined by the clear stream of Arethuse,
Wakes the Sicilian pipe; the sunny mead
Swarms with the bees, whose drowsy lullaby
Soothes the reclining ox with half-closed eye;
While in soft cadence to the madrigal,
From rock to rock the whispering waters fall!
But who is he, that, by yon gloomy cave,
Bids heaven and earth bear witness to his woe!
And hark! how hollowly the ocean-wave
Echoes his plaint, and murmurs deep below!
Haste, let the tall ship stem the tossing tide,
That he may leave his cave, and hear no more
The Lemnian surges unrejoicing roar;
And be great Fate through the dark world thy guide,
Sad Philoctetes!
So Instruction bland,
With young-eyed Sympathy, went hand in hand
O'er classic fields; and let my heart confess
Its holier joy, when I essayed to climb
The lonely heights where Shakspeare sat sublime,
Lord of the mighty spell: around him press
Spirits and fairy-forms. He, ruling wide
His visionary world, bids terror fill
The shivering breast, or softer pity thrill
Ev'n to the inmost heart. Within me died
All thoughts of this low earth, and higher powers
Seemed in my soul to stir; till, strained too long,
The senses sunk.
Then, Ossian, thy wil
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:59 min read
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William Lisle Bowles

William Lisle Bowles was an English poet and critic In 1783 he won the chancellors prize for Latin verse In 1789 he published in a small quarto volume Fourteen Sonnets which were received with extraordinary favour not only by the general public but by such men as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Wordsworth The Sonnets even in form were a revival a return to an older and purer poetic style and by their grace of expression melodious versification tender tone of feeling and vivid appreciation of the life and beauty of nature stood out in strong contrast to the elaborated commonplaces which at that time formed the bulk of English poetry more…

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    "Monody On The Death Of Dr. Warton" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2022. Web. 20 Jan. 2022. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/40896/monody-on-the-death-of-dr.-warton>.

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