Stanzas to the Memory of the Honourable Edward James Eliot
Weep'st thou, vain Muse, when blood-stain'd chiefs expire?
Mourn'st thou when purple tyrants quit the earth?
Nor wakes thy fond regret, nor breathes thy lyre
One pensive strain to mild departed worth?
Yes — Friendship's sigh, and Virtue's artless tear,
Eliot, on thy untimely fate attend;
With heart-felt sympathy, with grief sincere,
Like them, the Muse shall mourn for Virtue's friend.
But, ah! What verse can paint the genuine grace,
The modest dignity, unform'd by art;
The soft complacence that illum'd thy face,
And flow'd spontaneous from thy gentle heart?
That face, which still express'd, in manhood's prime,
The native candour of ingenious youth;
That faithful heart, which, unsubdued by time,
Still fondly cherish'd pure, unshaken truth.
Hence, tyrant Death! Nor boast thy baleful pow'r,
To fend the sacred bands of virtuous love.
His Harriot lost, his soul from that sad hour,
Dwelt with her spirit in the realms above.
Blest pair! No more, ye friends, ye parents, weep!
Let brighter thought your sorrowing minds employ.
Trust the prophetic Muse! "They do not sleep:"
Unsullied Virtue claims immortal joy.
Originally published in "The Gentleman's Magazine" (Vol. 67, Part 2, Oct. 1792, pg. 871)