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Elegy On The Death Of Chatterton

When to the region of the tuneful Nine,
Rapt in poetic vision, I retire,
Listening intent to catch the strain divine
What a dead silence hangs upon the lyre!

Lo! with disorder'd locks, and streaming eyes,
Stray the fair daughters of immortal song;
Aonia's realm resounds their plaintive cries,
And all her murmuring rills the grief prolong.

O say! celestial maids, what cause of wo?
Why cease the rapture-breathing strains to soar?
A solemn pause ensues: then falters low
The voice of sorrow: 'Chatterton's no more!'

'Child of our fondest hopes! whose natal hour
Saw each poetic star indulgent shine;
E'en Phoebus' self o'erruled with kindliest power,
And cried: "ye Nine rejoice! the Birth is mine."

'Soon did he drink of this inspiring spring;
In yonder bower his lisping notes he tried;
We tuned his tongue in choir with us to sing,
And watch'd his progress with delight and pride.

'With doting care we form'd his ripening mind,
Blest with high gifts to mortals rarely known;
Taught him to range, by matter unconfined,
And claim the world of fancy for his own.

'The voice of Glory call'd him to the race;
Upsprung the wondrous Boy with ardent soul,
Started at once with more than human pace,
And urged his flight, impatient for the goal:

'Hope sung her siren lay; the listening Youth
Felt all his breast with rapturous frenzy fired,
He hail'd, and boasted, as prophetic truth,
The bright, triumphant vision Hope inspired:

'But short, alas, his transport! vain his boast!
The illusive dream soon vanishes in shade;
Soon dire Adversity's relentless host,
Neglect, Want, Sorrow, Shame, his peace invade:

'Glad Envy hisses, Ridicule and Scorn
Lash with envenom'd scourge his wounded pride;
Ah! see him, with distracted mien forlorn,
Rush into solitude his pangs to hide.

'There to the Youth, disguised like Hope, Despair
Presents the death-fraught chalice and retires:
In vain, alas! Religion cries, forbear!
Desperate he seizes, drains it, and expires.'
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

1:43 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 1,940
Words 337
Stanzas 11
Stanza Lengths 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4

Thomas Oldham

Thomas Oldham (4 May 1816, Dublin – 17 July 1878, Rugby) was an Anglo-Irish geologist. He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and studied civil engineering at the University of Edinburgh as well as geology under Robert Jameson. In 1838 he joined the ordnance survey in Ireland as a chief assistant under Joseph Ellison Portlock who was studying the geology of Londonderry and neighbourhood. Portlock wrote of him whenever I have required his aid … I have found him possessed of the highest intelligence and the most unbounded zeal He discovered radiating fans shaped impressions in the town of Bray in 1840. He showed this to the English palaeontologist Edward Forbes, who named it Oldhamia after him. Forbes declared them to be bryozoans, however later workers ascribed it to other plants and animals. For a while these were considered the oldest fossils in the world. He became Curator to the Geological Society of Dublin, and in 1845 succeeded John Phillips, nephew of William Smith, in the Chair of Geology at Trinity College, Dublin. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in June 1848. He married Louisa Matilda Dixon of Liverpool in 1850. He resigned in November that year and took a position as the first Superintendent of the Geological Survey of India. He was to be the first of the Irish geologists to migrate to the Subcontinent. He was followed by his brother Charles, William King Jr., son of William King the Professor of Geology at Queen's College, Galway; Valentine Ball and more than 12 other Irish geologists. In India he oversaw a mapping program that focussed on coal bearing strata. The team of geologists made major discoveries. Henry Benedict Medlicott coined the term "Gondwana Series" in 1872. Oldham's elder son Richard Dixon Oldham distinguished three types of pressure produced by earthquakes: now known as P (compressional), S (shear), and L (Love)-waves, based on his observations made after the Great Assam Earthquake of 1897. Richard showed in 1906 the arrival patterns of waves and suggested that the core of the earth was liquid. His younger son Henry became a reader in geography at Kings College, Cambridge. He also started the Paleontologia Indica, a series of memoirs on the fossils of India. For this work he recruited Ferdinand Stoliczka from Europe. Oldham resigned from his position in India in 1876 on the grounds of poor health and retired to Rugby in England. In recognition of his lifetime's "long & important services in the science of geology", including Palaeontographica Indica, he was awarded the Royal Society's Royal Medal. He died on 17 July 1878.  more…

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