A POEM to the Memory of THOMAS, late Marquiss of WHARTON, Lord Privy Seal.
1 VAIN are these pomps, thy funeral rites to grace,
2 And blazon forth thy long Patrician race;
3 These banners mark'd with boasted feats of old,
4 And streamers waving with distinguish'd gold.
5 Proud hieroglyphics! where are darkly shown
6 Thy brave forefathers merits, not thy own.
7 Herald forbear! these painted honours give
8 To names that only in thy paint can live.
9 Thy colours fade near this illustrious clay,
10 And all thy gaudy gildings die away.
* The marquiss turn inter'd at Winchindon on the 22d of April 1715. The total eclipse of the sun happening whilst his remains were on the road, stopped the procession. heaven displeas'd thy fond attempt upbraids,
12 And claims the province thy bold hand invades;
13 Untimely darkness gathering round the skies,
14 Blackens the morn to grace his obsequies.
15 The sick'ning sun shines dim, and in the sight
16 Of gazing crowds, resigns his waning light;
17 Mark how he labours with relapse of night![Page 317]
18 How his diminish'd face a crescent seems,
19 Like Cynthia newly silver'd with his beams.
20 But as in full eclipse his light expires,
21 Back to its source our gelid blood retires;
22 Chill'd with surprize, our trembling joints unbrace,
23 And pale confusion sits on every face.
24 The bleating flocks, no more the shepherd's care,
25 Stray from those folds to which they wou'd repair.
26 Home to his young the raven wings his way,
27 And leaves untasted his yet bleeding prey.
28 While tow'ring larks their rival notes prolong,
29 They drop benighted in their morning song.
30 Darkness and horror reign o'er earth and skies,
31 And nature for awhile with WHARTON dies.
32 O! speak, refulgent parent of the day!
33 With beamy eye who dost the globe survey;
34 Thou radiant source of wit's diviner fire!
35 Thou truest judge of what thou dost inspire!
36 Say, hast thou seen in any age, or clime,
37 Since thy bright race began to measure time,
38 So great a genius rise? in ev'ry part
39 So form'd by nature, finish'd so by art?
40 Such manly sense, with so much fire of mind?
41 Judgment so strong, to wit so lively join'd?
42 No prepossession sway'd his equal soul,
43 Steady to truth she pointed as her pole:
44 Convinc'd of varying in the least degrees,
45 Her pliant index she reclaim'd with ease.[Page 318]
46 Early thro' custom's and prescription's yoke,
47 Tyrants of weaker souls, his reason broke.
48 Good sense revering from the meanest hand,
49 He durst authority in robes withstand.
50 Determin'd always on maturer thought,
51 Still by new reasons, to new measures brought;
52 Firm, but not stubborn; thoughtful, not involv'd;
53 Swift to perform what slowly he resolv'd.
54 No tempests rag'd within his peaceful breast,
55 Where kindling passion reason soon supprest.
56 'Midst all events his firmness he maintain'd,
57 Struggled with great, but slighter ills disdain'd.
58 Thus what philosophers could only preach,
59 His inborn virtue did in practice reach.
60 Nature design'd him master of address;
61 None knew it more, nor seem'd to know it less.
62 It work'd like magic on your yielding heart,
63 Sure was the charm, but secret was the art.
64 In human nature most exactly learn'd,
65 The artful man he through his masque discern'd.
66 With chosen baits that every temper take,
67 He knew of knave or fool good use to make.
68 His easy breeding free from form and rules,
69 That stiffen the civility of fools,
70 Of various turn, for all occasions fit,
71 Was squar'd with judgment, and well touch'd with wit.
72 Free of access, from affectation clean,
73 Great without pride, nor when familiar, mean.[Page 319]
74 Obliging always with good-natur'd sense,
75 Nor apt to give nor apt to take offence.
76 Nor fond when kind, nor harsh when most severe,
77 Betwixt extremes he justly knew to steer.
78 In conversation wond'rous was his art
79 To guard his own, and sift another's heart.
80 To mirth and wit he led the cheerful way,
81 Reserv'dly open and discreetly gay;
82 Nor could the softest hour his secret soul betray.
83 Bright as the youngest, as the oldest wise,
84 In both extremes, alike he gave surprize.
85 In body active, yet his sprightly mind
86 Within that body felt herself confin'd. —
87 When thoughts important claim'd no longer place,
88 Then building, planting, and the speedy race,
89 Paintings, and books successive took their round,
90 No blanks of time were in his journal sound.
91 Skill'd in the ends of his existence, he
92 To be unuseful thought was not to be.
93 Polite his taste of arts, but vain was art
94 Where nature had so greatly done her part.
95 Through tiresome mediums we at truth arrive;
96 His easy knowledge seem'd intuitive.
97 No copy'd beauties meanly form'd his mind,
98 By heav'n a great original design'd.
99 The seeds of science in his blood were sown,
100 Born with philosophy, 'twas all his own†
† The poet design'd by this to cover the marquiss's want of literature, for he studied men and the world more than books..
101 Nor bribes nor threat'nings could his zeal abate
102 To serve his country, and avert her fate.
103 Firm to her laws and liberties he stood,
104 Submitting private views to public good.
105 Who could obsequious with the current swim,
106 Whigs might be call'd, but tories were to him.
107 Persons or parties he no longer knew,
108 When swerving once from honest, just, and true.
109 Oft has he stem'd the rage of impious times,
110 When patriot virtues bore the brand of crimes.
111 To check proud tyrants born, and factions awe,
112 But most devoted to good kings and law.
113 Twice his dear country was on ruin's brink,
114 Resolv'd to save her, or with her to sink,
115 His brave attempts successful twice he saw,
116 Once in wise BRUNSWICK, once in great NASSAU.
117 No bolder champion in religion's cause;
118 None fought more battles, nor with more applause.
119 To arms he flew as danger press'd her home,
120 And snatch'd the hopeless prey from France and Rome.
121 But as from conscience pure, religion springs,
122 He freedom press'd in unessential things.
123 Coercive laws, he rightly understood,
124 Might make men hypocrites, but never good.
125 All genuine virtue is by nature free;
126 And will, when forc'd, no longer virtue be.
127 Who justly would his eloquence declare,
128 Himself must WHARTON'S fertile genius share.[Page 321]
129 Would you conceive it? see how o'er the sands
130 Fair Thames advances where Augusta stands.
131 Gentle he flows, but with resistless force,
132 Not like the rapid Rhone's impetuous course;
133 Tho' deep, so clear are his transparent streams,
134 His bottom rising to his surface seems.
135 Full is his spreading current, but restrain'd.
136 And still within its flow'ry banks contain'd.
137 Alternate wealth his two extremes unfold,
138 Downwards he sends us bread, and upwards gold.
139 Flow, sweetest river! still thy course prolong!
140 Thus deep and clear, thus gentle, full and strong,
141 That distant ages may the image see
142 Of WHARTON'S flowing eloquence in thee.
143 So shall no torrents soil thy crystal stream,
144 Thou patriot's emblem, and thou poet's theme!
145 Ye nobles who surround the British throne,
146 Reflect its lustre, and improve your own;
147 You who resemble, in rich robes of state,
148 That majesty august on which you wait,
149 Witness how often his decisive sense,
150 His wit, his art, and copious eloquence,
151 Have singly won the question to his side,
152 Made Oxford blush, and St. John drop his pride;
153 Whilst every ear was with his accents charm'd,
154 As every breast was with his ardour warm'd:
155 Faction was touch'd and felt the secret force,
156 Dumb, and convicted, but without remorse,[Page 322]
157 Envy with rage contending in her face,
158 To see his triumph and her just disgrace.
159 Nor less in council did his weight appear,
160 The ablest statesman, as the brightest peer.
161 Thou mighty prince, who from perfidious power
162 Didst speed to save us in a timely hour;
163 Whilst beauty join'd with valour form'd thy train,
164 To grace our court, and raise our martial vein;
165 Whose rising beams made drooping Credit thrive,
166 Religion spring, fair Liberty revive:
167 Say, if thy chosen ministers, who sate
168 With thee to guide the great machine of state,
169 A more consummate character could boast,
170 Than that which Britain in her WHARTON lost.
171 Oh! had kind heaven (if prayers were not too late)
172 Another lustrum added to his date,
173 How would his head, his heart, his hand conspire,
174 To punish traitors as their crimes require!
175 To crush rebellion, bridle factious rage,
176 And quell the monsters of an impious age!
177 How would his bosom beat with joy to see,
178 Great GEORGE! the British legend true in thee!
179 To see thee o'er the vanquish'd dragon ride,
180 And free thy kingdoms from his rage and pride!
181 Whilst peace and plenty spread their golden wings
182 Around the best of men, the best of kings,
183 And every tide shall waft into thy ports
184 Wealth from all lands, and homage from all courts.
185 But sov'reign heav'n, whose ways are ever wise,
‖ He died a few months after the accession of GEORGE I. Just drew the glorious dawn before his eyes;
187 And for his happier son reserv'd the sight
188 Of Brunswick's power in its meridian light.
189 GEORGE shall in him prove honour, courage, truth,
190 And find the father in the pregnant youth.
191 Thus the great leader of the Hebrew bands,
192 Through opening billows and o'er burning sands,
193 From Egypt's yoke, and haughty Pharaoh's chains,
194 To Canaan's fruitful hills, and flow'ry plains,
195 From Pisgah's height the promis'd land descry'd;
196 More was forbid; he saw, rejoic'd, and dy'd.