[Page 325]

THE TOMB of SHAKESPEAR.

A VISION.

1 WHAT time the jocund rosie-bosom'd HOURS
2 Led forth the train of PHOEBUS and the SPRING,
3 And ZEPHYR mild profusely scatter'd flowers
4 On Earth's green mantle from his musky wing,
5 [The] MORN unbarr'd th' ambrosial gates of light,
6 Westward the raven-pinion'd Darkness flew,
7 The Landscape smil'd in vernal beauty bright,
8 And to their graves the sullen Ghosts withdrew.
9 The nightingale no longer swell'd her throat
10 With love-lorn plainings tremulous and slow,
11 And on the wings of Silence ceas'd to float
12 The gurgling notes of her melodious woe:
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13 The God of sleep mysterious visions led
14 In gay procession 'fore the mental eye,
15 And my free'd soul awhile her mansion fled,
16 To try her plumes for immortality.
17 Thro' fields of air, methought, I took my flight,
18 Thro' ev'ry clime, o'er ev'ry region pass'd,
19 No paradise or ruin 'scap'd my sight,
20 HESPERIAN garden, or CIMMERIAN waste.
21 On AVON'S banks I lit, whose streams appear
22 To wind with eddies fond round SHAKESPEAR'S tomb,
23 The year's first feath'ry songsters warble near,
24 And vi'lets breathe, and earliest roses bloom.
25 Here FANCY sat, (her dewy fingers cold
26 Decking with flow'rets fresh th' unsullied sod,)
27 And bath'd with tears the sad sepulchral mold,
28 Her fav'rite offspring's long and last abode.
29 Ah! what avails, she cry'd, a Poet's name?
30 Ah! what avails th' immortalizing breath
31 To snatch from dumb Oblivion other's fame?
32 My darling child here lies a prey to Death!
33 Let gentle OTWAY, white-rob'd PITY'S priest,
34 From grief domestic teach the tears to flow,
35 Or SOUTHERN captivate th' impassion'd breast
36 With heart-felt sighs and sympathy of woe.
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37 For not to these his genius was confin'd,
38 Nature and I each tuneful pow'r had given,
39 Poetic transports of the madding mind,
40 And the wing'd words that waft the soul to heaven:
41 The fiery glance of th' intellectual eye,
42 Piercing all objects of creation's store,
43 Which on this world's extended surface lie;
44 And plastic thought that still created more.
45 O grant, with eager rapture I reply'd,
46 Grant me, great goddess of the changeful eye,
47 To view each Being in poetic pride,
48 To whom thy son gave immortality.
49 Sweet FANCY smil'd, and wav'd her mystic rod,
50 When strait these visions felt her pow'rful arm,
51 And one by one succeeded at her nod,
52 As vassal sprites obey the wizard's charm.
53 First a celestial form
a Ariel in the Tempest.
(of azure hue
54 Whose mantle, bound with brede aetherial, flow'd
55 To each soft breeze its balmy breath that drew)
56 Swift down the sun-beams of the noon-tide rode.
57 Obedient to the necromantic sway
58 Of an old sage to solitude resign'd,
59 With fenny vapors he obscur'd the day,
60 Launch'd the long lightning, and let loose the wind.
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61 He whirl'd the tempest thro' the howling air,
62 Rattled the dreadful thunderclap on high,
63 And rais'd a roaring elemental war
64 Betwixt the sea-green waves and azure sky.
65 Then, like heav'n's mild embassador of love
66 To man repentant, bade the tumult cease,
67 Smooth'd the blue bosom of the realms above,
68 And hush'd the rebel elements to peace.
69 Unlike to this in spirit or in mien
70 Another form
b Caliban in the Tempest.
succeeded to my view;
71 A two-legg'd brute which Nature made in spleen,
72 Or from the loathing womb unfinish'd drew.
73 Scarce cou'd he syllable the curse he thought,
74 Prone were his eyes to earth, his mind to evil,
75 A carnal fiend to imperfection wrought,
76 The mongrel offspring of a Witch and Devil.
77 Next bloom'd, upon an ancient forest's bound,
78 The flow'ry margin
c Fairy-land from the Midsummer night's dream.
of a silent stream,
79 O'er-arch'd by oaks with ivy mantled round,
80 And gilt by silver [CYNTHIA'S] maiden beam.
81 On the green carpet of th' unbended grass,
82 A dapper train of female fairies play'd,
83 And ey'd their gambols in the watry glass,
84 That smoothly stole along the shad'wy glade.
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85 Thro' these the queen TITANIA pass'd ador'd,
86 Mounted aloft in her imperial car,
87 Journeying to see great OBERON her lord
88 Wage the mock battles of a sportive war.
89 Arm'd cap-a-pee forth march'd the fairy king,
90 A stouter warrior never took the field,
91 His threat'ning lance a hornet's horrid sting,
92 The sharded beetle's scale his sable shield.
93 Around their chief the elfin host appear'd,
94 Each little helmet sparkled like a star,
95 And their sharp spears in pierceless phalanx rear'd,
96 A grove of thistles, glitter'd in the air.
97 The scene then chang'd, from this romantic land,
98 To a bleak waste by bound'ry unconfin'd,
99 Where three smart sisters
d The witches in Macbeth.
of the weird band
100 Were mutt'ring curses to the troublous wind.
101 Pale Want had wither'd every furrow'd face,
102 Bow'd was each carcase with the weight of years,
103 And each sunk eye-ball from its hollow case
104 Distill'd cold rheum's involuntary tears.
105 Hors'd on three staves they posted to the bourn
106 Of a drear island, where the pendant brow
107 Of a rough rock, shagg'd horribly with thorn,
108 Frown'd on the boist'rous waves which rag'd below.
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109 Deep in a gloomy grot remote from day,
110 Where smiling Comfort never shew'd her face,
111 Where light ne'er enter'd, save one rueful ray
112 Discov'ring all the terrors of the place,
113 They held damn'd myst'ries with infernal state,
114 Whilst ghastly spectres glided slowly by,
115 The scritch-owl scream'd the dying call of fate,
116 And ravens croak'd their baleful augury.
117 No human footstep cheer'd the dread abode,
118 Nor sign of living creature could be seen,
119 Save where the reptile snake, or sullen toad,
120 The murky floor had soil'd with venom green.
121 Sudden I heard the whirlwind's hollow sound,
122 Each weïrd sister vanish'd into smoke.
123 Now a dire yell of spirits
e Ghosts in Macbeth, Richard III. &c.
underground
124 Thro' troubled Earth's wide yawning surface broke;
125 When lo! each injur'd apparition rose;
126 Aghast the murd'rer started from his bed;
127 Guilt's trembling breath his heart's red current froze,
128 And Horror's dew-drops bath'd his frantic head.
129 More had I seen but now the God of day
130 O'er earth's broad breast his flood of light had spread,
131 When Morpheus call'd his fickle dreams away,
132 And on their wings each bright illusion fled.
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133 Yet still the dear ENCHANTRESS of the brain
134 My waking eyes with wishful wand'rings sought,
135 Whose magic will controuls th' ideal train,
136 The ever-restless progeny of THOUGHT.
137 Sweet pow'r, I said, for others gild the ray
138 Of Wealth, or Honor's folly-feather'd crown,
139 Or lead the madding multitude astray
140 To grasp at air-blown bubbles of renown.
141 Me (humbler lot!) let blameless bliss engage,
142 Free from the noble mob's ambitious strife,
143 Free from the muck-worm miser's lucrous rage,
144 In calm Contentment's cottag'd vale of life.
145 If frailties there (for who from them is free?)
146 Thro' Error's maze my devious footsteps lead,
147 Let them be frailties of humanity,
148 And my heart plead the pardon of my head.
149 Let not my reason impiously require
150 What heav'n has plac'd beyond its narrow span,
151 But teach it to subdue each fierce desire,
152 Which wars within its own small empire, man.
153 Teach me, what all believe, but few possess,
154 That life's best science is ourselves to know,
155 The first of human blessings is to bless,
156 And happiest he who feels another's woe.
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157 Thus cheaply wise, and innocently great,
158 While Time's smooth sand shall regularly pass,
159 Each destin'd atom's quiet course I'll wait,
160 Nor rashly break, nor wish to stop the glass.
161 And when in death my peaceful ashes lie,
162 If e'er some tongue congenial speaks my name,
163 Friendship shall never blush to breathe a sigh,
164 And great ones envy such an honest fame.

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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): THE TOMB of SHAKESPEAR. A VISION.
    Themes: poetry; literature; writing; visions; nature
    Genres: heroic quatrain
    References: DMI 27308

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    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. V. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 325-332. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.005)

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    The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.