(WRITTEN MAY, 1832.)
All, as he left it!--even the pen,
So lately at that mind's command,
Carelessly lying, as if then
Just fallen from his gifted hand.
Have we then lost him? scarce an hour,
A little hour, seems to have past,
Since Life and Inspiration's power
Around that relic breathed their last.
Ah, powerless now--like talisman
Found in some vanished wizard's halls,
Whose mighty charm with him began,
Whose charm with him extinguisht falls.
Yet, tho', alas! the gifts that shone
Around that pen's exploring track,
Be now, with its great master, gone,
Nor living hand can call them back;
Who does not feel, while thus his eyes
Rest on the enchanter's broken wand,
Each earth-born spell it worked arise
Before him in succession grand?
Grand, from the Truth that reigns o'er all;
The unshrinking truth that lets her light
Thro' Life's low, dark, interior fall,
Opening the whole, severely bright:
Yet softening, as she frowns along,
O'er scenes which angels weep to see--
Where Truth herself half veils the Wrong,
In pity of the Misery.
True bard!--and simple, as the race
Of true-born poets ever are,
When, stooping from their starry place,
They're children near, tho' gods afar.
How freshly doth my mind recall,
'Mong the few days I've known with thee,
One that, most buoyantly of all,
Floats in the wake of memory;
When he, the poet, doubly graced,
In life, as in his perfect strain,
With that pure, mellowing power of Taste,
Without which Fancy shines in vain;
Who in his page will leave behind,
Pregnant with genius tho' it be,
But half the treasures of a mind,
Where Sense o'er all holds mastery:--
Friend of long years! of friendship tried
Thro' many a bright and dark event;
In doubts, my judge--in taste, my guide--
In all, my stay and ornament!
He, too, was of our feast that day,
And all were guests of one whose hand
Hath shed a new and deathless ray
Around the lyre of this great land;
In whose sea-odes--as in those shells
Where Ocean's voice of majesty
Seems still to sound--immortal dwells
Old Albion's Spirit of the Sea.
Such was our host; and tho', since then,
Slight clouds have risen 'twixt him and me,
Who would not grasp such hand again,
Stretched forth again in amity?
Who can, in this short life, afford
To let such mists a moment stay,
When thus one frank, atoning word,
Like sunshine, melts them all away?
Bright was our board that day--tho' one
Unworthy brother there had place;
As 'mong the horses of the Sun,
One was, they say, of earthly race.
Yet, next to Genius is the power
Of feeling where true Genius lies;
And there was light around that hour
Such as, in memory, never dies;
Light which comes o'er me as I gaze,
Thou Relic of the Dead, on thee,
Like all such dreams of vanisht days,
Brightly, indeed--but mournfully!