Lines To The Memory Of My Dear Brother, W.T.P. Carr, Esq.

A poem by John Carr

- manibus date lilia plenis:
Purpureos spargam flores.

Aeneid, lib. vi.


Tho' no funereal grandeur swell my song,
Nor genius, eagle-plum'd, the strain prolong, -
Tho' Grief and Nature here alone combine
To weep, my William! o'er a fate like thine, -
Yet thy fond pray'r, still ling'ring on my ear,
Shall force its way thro' many a gushing tear:
The Muse, that saw thy op'ning beauties spread,
That lov'd thee living, shall lament thee dead!
Ye graceful Virtues! while the note I breathe,
Of sweetest flow'rs entwine a fun'ral wreath, -
Of virgin flow'rs, and place them round his tomb,
To bud, like him, and perish in their bloom!
Ah! when these eyes saw thee serenely wait
The last long separating stroke of Fate, -
When round thy bed a kindred weeping train
Call'd on thy voice to greet them, but in vain, -
When o'er thy lips we watch'd thy fault'ring breath -
When louder grief proclaim'd th'approach of death, -
Thro' ev'ry vein an icy horror chill'd,
Colder than marble ev'ry bosom thrill'd.
Unsettled still, tho' exercis'd to grieve,
Scarce would my mind the alter'd sight believe;
Familiar scenes a transient calm inspire,
Poor flutt'ring Fancy fann'd the vain desire,
'Till with sad proof thy wasted relics rise,
And restless Nature pours uncall'd-for sighs.
Ah! long, my William! shall thy picture rest,
Time shall not wear it, imag'd in my breast;
Yes, thou shall live while fond remembrance lives,
'Till he who mourns thee asks the line he gives.
No common joy, no fugitive delight,
Regret like this could in my breast excite;
For then my sorrow had been less severe,
And tears less copious had bedew'd the bier.
From the same breast our milky food we drew,
Entwin'd affection strengthen'd as we grew;
Why further trace? The flatt'ring dream is o'er -
Thy transient joys and sorrows are no more!
All, all are fled! - And, ah! where'er I turn,
Insulting Death directs me to thy urn,
Throws his cold shadows round me while I sing.
Damps ev'ry nerve, and slackens ev'ry string.
So, when the Moon trims up her waning fire,
Sweep the night-breezes o'er th'Aeolian lyre;
Ling'ring, perchance, some wild pathetic sound
Lulls the lorn ear, and dies along the ground.
Ye kindred train! who, o'er the parting grave,
Have mourn'd the virtues which ye could not save.
Ye know how Mem'ry, with excursive pow'r,
Extracts a sweet from ev'ry faded hour; -
From scenes long past, regardless of repose,
She feeds her tears, and treasures up her woes.
Thou tuneful, mute, companion[A] of my care!
Where now thy notes, that linger'd in the air?
That linger still! - Vain thy harmonious store, -
Thy sweet persuasive triumphs are no more.
Thy mournful image strikes my wand'ring eye;
Sad, near thy silent strings, I sit and sigh.
Cold is that band which Music form'd her own,
When ev'ry chord resign'd its sweetest tone.
Ah! long, fair source of rapture, shall thou rest,
Silent and sad, neglected and unprest,
'Till years, lov'd shade! superior pow'rs resign,
Or raise one note more eloquent than thine.
Tho' with'ring Sickness mark'd thee in the womb,
And form'd thy cradle but to form thy tomb,
Yet, like a flow'r, she bade thee reach thy prime,
The fairer victim for the stroke of Time.
When fond Invention vainly sought thine ease,
The wave salubrious and the morning breeze, -
When even Sleep, sweet Sleep! refus'd thy call,
Sleep! that with sweet refreshment smiles on all, -
When, till the morn, thine eyes, unclos'd and damp,
Trac'd thy sad semblance in the glimm'ring lamp, -
When from thy face Health's latest relic fled,
Where Hope might flatter, with reluctant tread, -
Still, darting forward from the weight of woe,
Thy soul with all its energy would glow;
Still with the purest passion wouldst thou prove
The glow of friendship and the warmth of love.
And ah! to sacred Memory ever nigh,
Thy wit and humour claim the passing sigh:
When, thro' the hour, with unresisted skill,
I've seen thee mould each feature to thy will, -
When friends drew round thee with attentive ear,
Pleas'd with the raill'ry which they could not fear.
Oh! how I've heard thee, with concealing art,
Join in the song, tho' sorrow rent thy heart;
How have I seen thee too, with venial guile,
O'er many an anguish force the faithless smile, -
Seen suffering Nature check each sigh, each fear,
To rob maternal fondness of a tear!
Alas! those scenes are past! - Vain was the pray'r
That ask'd of Fate to soften and to spare;
Ah! vain, if wit and virtue could not save
Thy youthful honours from an early grave.
But yet, if here my warm fraternal love
May claim alliance with the realms above;
If kindred Nature, with perpetual bloom,
Transplanted springs, and lives beyond the tomb;
Thy pitying soul shall smile upon my grief,
Shall feel a pang that wishes not relief;
In visions still shall shield me as I go,
Along this gloomy wilderness of woe;
Shall still regard me with peculiar pride,
On earth my brother, and in heav'n my guide!
Methinks I see thee reach th' empyrean shore,
And heav'n's full chorus hails one angel more;
While 'mid the seraph-forms that round thee fly,
Thy father meets thee with ecstatic eye!
He springs exulting from his throne of rest,
Extends his arms, and clasps thee to his breast!

[Footnote A: The piano-forte, on which he excelled.]

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