Tag Archives: elegy

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “Lines on a Friend Who Died of a Frenzy Fever Induced by Calumnious Reports”

“Lines on a Friend Who Died of a Frenzy Fever Induced by Calumnious Reports”


EDMUND! thy grave with aking eye I scan,
And inly groan for Heaven’s poor outcast, Man!
‘Tis tempest all or gloom: in early youth
If gifted with the Ithuriel lance of Truth
He force to start amid her feign’d caress                                             5
VICE, siren-hag! in native ugliness,
A Brother’s fate will haply rouse the tear,
And on he goes in heaviness and fear!
But if his fond heart call to PLEASURE’S bower
Some pigmy FOLLY in a careless hour,                                                 10
The faithless guest shall stamp th’ inchanted ground
And mingled forms of Mis’ry rise around:
Heart-fretting FEAR, with pallid look aghast,
That courts the future woe to hide the past;
REMORSE, the poison’d arrow in his side;                                            15
And loud lewd MIRTH, to Anguish close allied:
Till FRENZY, fierce-ey’d child of moping pain,
Darts her hot lightning flash athwart the brain.

Rest,injur’d shade! Shall SLANDER squatting near
Spit her cold venom in a DEAD MAN’S ear?                                          20
‘Twas thine to feel the sympathetic glow
In Merit’s joy, and Poverty’s meek woe;
Thine all, that cheer the moment as it flies,
The zoneless CARES, and smiling COURTESIES.
Nurs’d in thy heart the firmer Virtues grew,                                          25
And in thy heart they wither’d! Such chill dew
Wan INDOLENCE on each young blossom shed;
And VANITY her filmy net-work spread,
With eye that roll’d around in asking gaze,
And tongue that traffick’d in the trade of praise.                                 30
Thy follies such! the hard world mark’d them well—
Were they more wise, the PROUD who never fell?
Rest, injur’d shade! the poor man’s prayer of praise
On heaven-ward wing thy wounded soul shall raise.

As oft at twilight gloom thy grave I pass,                                                35
And sit me down upon its recent grass,
With introverted eye I contemplate
Similitude of soul, perhaps of — Fate!
To me hath Heaven with bounteous hand assign’d
Energic Reason and a shaping mind,                                                      40
The daring ken of Truth, the Patriot’s part,
And Pity’s sigh, that breathes the gentle heart—
Sloth-jaundic’d all! and from my graspless hand
Drop Friendship’s precious pearls, like hour glass sand.
I weep, yet stoop not! the faint anguish flows,                                     45
A dreamy pang in Morning’s fev’rish doze.

Is this pil’d Earth our Being’s passless mound?
Tell me, cold grave! is Death with poppies crown’d?
Tir’d Centinel! mid fitful starts I nod,
And fain would sleep, though pillow’d on a clod!                                 50


Title  Frenzy  “Mental derangement; delirium” (OED); Calumnious  “Slanderous, defamatory” (OED).

1  aking  Aching.

2  inly  Inwardly.

4  Ithuriel  Angel from John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1667); associated with truth.

9  bower  “A vague poetic word for an idealized abode” (OED).

13  pallid  “Pale, esp. from illness, shock, etc.” (OED).

18  athwart  “Across in various directions” (OED).

27  Wan  “Faded, sickly… unhealthily pale” (OED); INDOLENCE  “Love of ease… slothfulness” (OED).

41  ken  “Mental perception, recognition” (OED).

49  Centinel  “Sentinel; one who or something which keeps guard” (OED).

50  clod  “A lump of earth or clay adhering together” (OED).

Source: Poems on Various Subjects (London, 1796), pp. 32-35.  [Google Books]

Edited by M. Seydel


Edward Cobden, “A Letter to a Friend, on the Death of his Cow”


“A Letter to a Friend, on the Death of his Cow”


Tu semper urges flebilibus modis
Raptam Juvencam, nec tibi vespere
Surgente decedunt amores,
Nec rapidum fugiente solem.       Hor[ace].

 “You, with incessant Wails, deplore,
That gentle Mully is no more:
Ev’ning and Morn bring no Relief,
No Milking to assuage your Grief.”

This Moment, Brother, I receiv’d
The News, at which I’m much aggriev’d,
That she, your Favourite of late,
Dear Mully, has resign’d to Fate:
Mully, from whose indulgent Side                                 5
You were so lavishly supply’d
With what might decently afford
A Dish successive on the Board.

When Pudding enters, all are pleas’d,
Their Bowels seem already eas’d;                                10
And if the Butter richly flow,
Glibly the luscious Morsels go.

Happy’s the Table then partakes
Of tender Custards, frail Cheese-cakes,
Or Syllabub, by Artists beat                                           15
To an obliging, empty Cheat.
Too like the Kisses of the Fair,
So light, you almost nothing share;
So tempting, that you can’t forebear.

The Dinner with perfuming Cheese                      20
Is nobly crown’d. Now each of these,
All understanding Housewives know,
Their Essence to a Dairy owe.

A thousand Pleasures, inter Meals,
The Monarch of a Dairy feels:                                        25
With purest Cream now softens Tea,
Now calls for Posset-Drink, and Whey:
Commands Variety of Good,
Either for Physic, or for Food.
With friendly Visits always pleas’d,                               30
He unprovided can’t be seiz’d:
A hearty Welcome ne’er refuses,
Nor gives, instead of that, Excuses.

If, when the Day declines, by Hap
Some unexpected Guests should rap,                        35
And tarry, till the Heifer roars
For Susan, to unload her Stores;
His open Soul, dispos’d to treat
With Dainties exquisitely sweet
A Portion small of gen’rous Wines                               40
With grated Spice and Sugar joins,
Then summons Sue to stream upon’t
Milk smoking from the native Font:
Forwith ambrosial Curds arise,
Beneath while flowing Nectar lies.                              45
They lade or suck (there’s little Odds)
Immortal Medley, fit for Gods!

I might, in counting Blessings, tire;
All which in Mully now expire.

But here imprudently I dwell                                50
On what you recollect too well,
Not suffer’d by your grateful Mind
To lye in this Account behind.
Severe’s your Fate, must be allow’d!
Stupid the Mortal is, that wou’d                                   55
Be unconcern’d in such a Case:
Yet that you gently screw your Face,
Nor take this over-much to Heart,
Resistless Reasons I’ll impart.

Consider, willingly, or no,                                        60
You must endure th’ uneasy Blow.
Then why disconsolately grieve
At what no Conduct can retrieve?
Then lodge this Truth within your Breast,
All Things are order’d for the best.                                 65
Misfortunes from the Stars are sent
In Kindness, more than Punishment.

You say, You had not valu’d half
So much the Loss, but from a Calf
Up the fond Simpleton you brought,                              70
And sucking with your Finger taught:
That long Acquaintance with each Feature
Had much endear’d you to the Creature.

This makes the Affirmation plain,
Which I endeavour’d to maintain,                                   75
That you too warmly lov’d the Brute,
And often stole a sly Salute:
Pretending, with a cunning Fetch,
The Flavour of her Breath to catch.
If so, the Fates have this design’d                                    80
To raise and elevate your Mind
This World’s Uncertainty to show,
And wean you from Concerns below.

This, or whatever be the Reason,
Assure yourself, she dy’d in Season.                               85
Beside, had I this Loss sustain’d,
I had with Justice more complain’d,
Who have, except my Mully, little
For Conversation, or for Vittle.
But, though you are of her bereft,                                  90
Unnumber’d Blessings still are left.
The Charms of an engaging Spouse,
And Plenty smiling round your House.
Your Tulips in the Spring appear,
And Children blooming all the Year.                               95
Then comfort up a fleeting Life;
Since Mully’s gone, e’en kiss your Wife.
This, your Affliction to relieve,
Is what Advice a Friend can give.

If, deaf to Admonition, still                                         100
Your Thoughts lye brooding o’er the Ill;
Rather than endless you repine
Your Fav’rite lost, I’ll lend you mine;
Who, tho’ her usual Bounty, now
She’s near her Time, refuse to flow,                                 105
(She keeping in a leathern Bottle
Her Liquor for the groaning Twattle)
And will your Expectations bilk,
If much they hanker after Milk,
Yet is her Company as good                                              110
As when a Virgin she was woo’d:
And with her Sister, in my Eye,
She might for Wit and Beauty vie:
You’ll hardly one in Thousands find
More suited to relieve your Mind.                                    115
’Twill probably assist your Case,
Oft to survey her comely Face.
And when her rival Lowings ring,
It may some Consolation bring.

Such kindly Visit she shall pay,                                    120
While this Vexation wears away.
But if her young one’s troublesome,
When she’s deliver’d, send them home.
And should you, when (or quickly after)
I lend my Jewel, spare your Daughter,                               125
In harmless Waggery and Play
Engag’d, we’d cheat the sultry Day,
And banish Sorrow far away.
And in this sweet Exchange, tho’ short,
I’ll pawn my Gown and Cassock for’t,                                 130
The lovely Patty shan’t be hurt.
The smiling Charge I’ll safe resign
Again, when Mully shall be mine.

Should Mully’s Issue prove a Nancy,
And, with her Looks, attract your Fancy,                            135
Return the Mother home for Food,
Keep Nan, in Patty’s place, for good.
Thrice happy both! when thus supply’d,
You with a Heifer, I, a Bride.

If, Neighbour, you shall be requir’d                              140
To dignify the Brute expir’d,
And rear some monumental Stones,
Where dying she bequeath’d her Bones;
Which near the Crib we may suppose,
The Work let this Inscription close.                                      145

The Epitaph.

Here, where she oft was stroak’d and fed,
All that remains of Mully’s laid;
Enclos’d within this narrow Bound,
That rang’d the whole Enclosure round.
Her Fate, with Sorrow, is deplor’d,                                       150
Who gave us Pleasure when she roar’d.
Her welcome Plaints kept me alive;
O could she now by mine survive!


 Epigraph  The source is Horace’s Odes, Book 2.9, lines 9-12.  However, Cobden has replaced the phrase “Mysten Ademptum” at line 10, with “Raptam Juvencam” (“raped heifer”).  Cobden’s rather loose translation follows.

15  Syllabub  “A drink or dish made of milk (frequently as drawn from the cow) or cream, curdled by the admixture of wine, cider, or other acid, and often sweetened and flavoured” (OED).

27  Posset-Drink  “A drink made from hot milk curdled with ale, wine, or other liquor, flavoured with sugar, herbs, spices, etc.” (OED).

78  Fetch  “A contrivance, stratagem” (OED).

89  Vittle  “Food or provisions of any kind” (OED).

94  Your Tulips  “The Clergyman was a Florist” [Author’s note].

107  Twattle  “Idle talk, chatter, babble” (OED).

118  Lowings  “The deep resonant vocal sound characteristically made by a cow” (OED).

126  Waggery  “The action or disposition of a wag; drollery, jocularity; in early use chiefly, mischievous drollery, practical joking” (OED).

130  Cassock  “A long close-fitting frock or tunic worn by Anglican clergymen, originally along with and under the gown” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1748), pp. 87-95.  [Google Books]

Edited by Josiah Taylor

John Gay, “Panthea. An Elegy”


“Panthea. An Elegy”


Long had Panthea felt Love’s secret smart,
And hope and fear alternate rul’d her heart;
Consenting glances had her flame confest.
(In woman’s eyes her very soul’s exprest)
Perjur’d Alexis saw the blushing maid,                                             5
He saw, he swore, he conquer’d and betray’d:
Another love now calls him from her arms,
His fickle heart another beauty warms;
Those oaths oft’whisper’d in Panthea’s ears,
He now again to Galatea swears.                                                     10
Beneath a beech th’ abandon’d virgin laid,
In grateful solitude enjoys the shade;
There with faint voice she breath’d these moving strains,
While sighing Zephyrs shar’d her am’rous pains.

Pale settled sorrow hangs on upon my brow,                       15
Dead are my charms; Alexis, breaks his vow!
Think, think, dear shepherd, on the days you knew,
When I was happy, when my swain was true;
Think how thy looks and tongue are form’d to move,
And think yet more—that all my fault was love.                           20
Ah, could you view me in this wretched state!
You might not love me, but you could not hate.
Could you behold me in this conscious shade,
Where first thy vows, where first my love was paid,
Worn out with watching, sullen with despair,                              25
And see each eye swell with a gushing tear?
Could you behold me on this mossy bed,
From my pale cheek the lively crimson fled,
Which in my softer hours you oft’ have sworn,
With rosie beauty far out-blush’d the morn;                                30
Could you untouch’d this wretched object bear,
And would not lost Panthea claim a tear?
You could not sure—tears from your eyes would steal,
And unawares thy tender soul reveal.
Ah, no!—thy soul with cruelty is fraught,                                      35
No tenderness disturbs thy savage thought;
Sooner shall tigers spare the trembling lambs,
And wolves with pity hear with their bleating dams;
Sooner shall vultures from their quarry fly,
Than false Alexis for Panthea sigh.                                                  40
Thy bosom ne’er a tender thought confest,
Sure stubborn flint had arm’d thy cruel breast;
But hardest flints are worn by frequent rains,
And the soft drops dissolve their solid veins;
While thy relentless heart more hard appears,                            45
And is not soften’d by a flood of tears.

Ah, what is love! Panthea’s joys are gone,
Her liberty, her peace, her reason flown!
And when I view me in the watry glass,
I find Panthea now, not what she was.                                           50
As northern winds the new-blown roses blast,
And on the ground their fading ruins cast;
As sudden blights corrupts the ripen’d grain,
And of its verdure spoil the mournful plain;
So hapless love on blooming features preys,                               55
So hapless love destroys our peaceful days.

Come, gentle sleep, relieve these weary’d eyes,
All sorrow in thy soft embraces dies:
There, spite of all thy perjur’d vows, I find
Faithless Alexis languishingly kind;                                                 60
Sometimes he leads me by the mazy stream,
And pleasingly deludes me in my dream;
Sometimes he guides me to the secret grove,
Where all our looks, and all our talk is love.
Oh, could I thus consume each tedious day,                               65
And in sweet slumbers dream my life away;
But sleep, which now no more relieves these eyes,
To my sad soul the dear deceit denies.

Why does the sun dart forth his cheerful rays?
Why do the woods resound with warbling lays?                          70
Why does the rose her grateful fragrance yield,
And the yellow cowslips paint the smiling field?
Why do the streams with murm’ring musick flow,
And why do groves their friendly shade bestow?
Let sable clouds the cheerful sun deface,                                    75
Let mournful silence seize the feather’d race;
No more, ye roses, grateful fragrance yield,
Droop, droop, ye cowslips, in the blasted field;
No more, ye streams, with murm’ring musick flow,
And let not groves a friendly shade bestow:                                80
With sympathizing grief let nature mourn,
And never know the youthful spring’s return;
And shall I never more Alexis see?
Then what is spring, or grove or stream to me?

Why sport the skipping lambs on yonder plain?                  85
Why do the birds their tuneful voice strain?
Why frisk those heifers in cooling grove?
Their happier life is ignorant of love.

Oh! lead me to some melancholy cave,
To lull my sorrow in a living grave;                                                90
From the dark rock where dashing waters fall,
And creeping ivy hangs the craggy wall,
Where I may waste in tears my hours away,
And never know the seasons or the day.
Die, die, Panthea—fly in this hateful grove,                                 95
For what is life without the Swain I love?


Title  Panthea  This name means “of all gods” in Greek.

1  smart  “Mental suffering, sorrow” (OED).

10  Galatea  “In Greek mythology, a Nereid who was loved by the Cyclops Polyphemus. Galatea, however, loved the youth Acis” (Britannica).

14  Zephyrs  Greek god of gentle winds.

18  swain  “Lover” (OED).

39  quarry  Here a reference to the vulture’s “prey” or carrion (OED).

42  flint  “Hard stone” (OED).

45  hard  “Unyielding” (OED).

49  watry glass  Water serving as a mirror.

51  northern winds  Refers to Boreas, Greek god of the cold northern winds.

61  mazy  “Twisting” (OED).

70  warbling  “Singing with sweet quavering notes” (OED).

72  cowslips  “Well-known plant in pastures and grassy banks, blossoming in spring” (OED).

87  heifers  “Young cows” (OED).

92  craggy  “Hard and rough” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions: Volume 2 (London, 1737), pp. 109-113. [Google Books]

Edited by Joanna Tran





Elizabeth Carter, “On the DEATH of Mrs. Rowe”


“On the DEATH of Mrs. Rowe”


Oft’ did Intrigue its guilty Arts unite,
To blacken the Records of female Wit:
The tuneful Song lost ev’ry modest Grace,
And lawless Freedoms triumph’d in their Place:
The Muse, for Vices not her own accus’d,                                             5
With Blushes view’d her sacred Gifts abus’d;
Those Gifts for nobler Purposes assign’d,
To raise the Thoughts, and moralize the Mind;
The chaste Delights of Virtue to inspire,
And warm the Bosom with seraphic Fire;                                              10
Sublime the Passions, lend Devotion Wings,
And celebrate the first great CAUSE of Things.

These glorious Tasks were Philomela’s Part,
Who charms the Fancy, and who mends the Heart.
In her was ev’ry bright Distinction join’d,                                                15
Whate’er adorns, or dignifies the Mind:
Hers ev’ry happy Elegance of Thought,
Refin’d by Virtue, as by Genius wrought.
Each low-born Care her pow’rful Strains controul,
And wake the nobler Motions of the Soul.                                              20
When to the vocal Wood or winding Stream,
She hymn’d th’ Almighty AUTHOR of its Frame,
Transported Echoes bore the Sounds along,
And all Creation listen’d to the Song:
Full, as when raptur’d Seraphs strike the Lyre;                                       25
Chaste, as the Vestal’s consecrated Fire;
Soft as balmy Airs, that gently play
In the calm Sun-set of a vernal Day;
Sublime as Virtue; elegant as Wit;
As Fancy various; and as Beauty sweet.                                                   30
Applauding Angels with Attention hung,
To learn the heav’nly Accents from her Tongue:
They, in the midnight Hour, beheld her rise
Beyond the Verge of sublunary Skies;
Where, rapt in Joys to mortal Sense unknown,                                       35
She felt a Flame as extatic as their own.

O while distinguish’d in the Realms above,
The blest Abode of Harmony and Love,
Thy happy Spirit joins the heav’nly Throng,
Glows with their Transports, and partakes their Song,                            40
Fixt on my Soul shall thy Example grow,
And be my Genius and my Guide below;
To this I’ll point my first, my noblest Views,
Thy spotless Verse shall regulate my Muse.
And O forgive, tho’ faint the Transcript be,                                                45
That copies an Original like thee:
My justest Pride, my best Attempt for Fame,
That joins my own to Philomela’s Name.


Title Mrs. Rowe Elizabeth Singer Rowe (1674-1737), respected poet, essayist, and fiction writer.

10 seraphic Fire “Rapturous; ecstatically devout” (OED).

13 Philomela Rowe’s pseudonym early in her career. In Greek mythology, Philomela became associated with the nightingale’s song, symbolic of pure poetry.

14 Fancy Imagination.

25 Seraphs “Supernatural beings associated with the presence of God” (OCB).

26 Vestal’s A reference to the vestal virgins “who had charge of the sacred fire in the temple of Vesta at Rome” (OED).

28 vernal Summer.

35 rapt “To carry away in spirit; to enrapture, transport” (OED). The copy text reads “rap’d,” a printer’s error that was corrected to “rapt” only in the fourth edition of 1789.

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions. The Second Edition (London,1766), pp. 10-12. [Google Books]

Edited by Sally Mejia

William Farquhar, “Death, a Poem”


 “Death, a Poem”


To dignify the trifles of their brain,
The Muses heavenly aid whilst some invoke;
Be it my task, in solemn verse, to paint
The gloomy horrors which attendant wait
On Death, their king, whose still insatiate scythe,                                         5
The young, the gay, the rich, the wise, cuts off.
Young as I am, my breast has felt the shock
His direful stroke can give; my second sire,
The dear, dear guardian of my infant years,
E’er yet his worth I knew, Death’s ruthless arm                                            10
Snatch’d from my eager grasp, and ever hid
In dark recess of the gloomy grave.
Far, far away, amid the burning plains
Of Florida, while yet a child, my sire
From me, from his lov’d family, retir’d!                                                           15
But while an Uncle’s fondness still remain’d,
Scarce could we feel our loss—Death! cruel Death!
How could you pierce that heart, where virtue join’d
With mild benevolence, still smil’d to view
The peace, the pleasure, of his fellow men.                                                  20
But hold, my Muse, the elegiac strain
Departed virtue scorns, her worth is grav’d
Deep in the mem’ry of all human kind.
The pompous column, and the bust, She scorns,
And, conscious of her innate power to please,                                             25
For deathless fame leans on herself alone.
Death, thou’rt the touch-stone of all human Virtue!
If, with a cowardly, an unmanly fear
We fly thy stroke, then ‘tis, alas! too certain
Some future ill our conscience bids us dread.                                              30
But if, with firmness, thy near approach
Unmov’d we can behold; then are we sure
Self-approbation can alone support us
In that dread awful moment! when thy dart
Has pierc’d our panting breast, to separate                                                  35
These dear companions, who so long have liv’d
In perfect unity, in perfect peace.
Into the grave, as useless lumber, drops
Then senseless carcase; and the soul swift wings
Back to her great original, her flight.                                                              40
Thro’ life’s wild scenes where’er I thoughtful turn
Far as my eye can reach, ‘tis tumult all,
And maddest opposition; foe meets foe
With discord dire, and jarring interests clash
Loud as thro’ heaven’s wide arch the thunders roar,                                   45
O man! vile man! how long deceiv’d by vice,
With senseless folly wilt thou devious stray,
In paths unpleasing to thy Maker’s eye?
Hear how he calls, invites thee to his breast,
And offers endless pleasures to thy grasp.                                                     50
Thus by his prophets spoke th’ Eternal’s voice:
“ Come to my bosom, ye who loudly groan
Beneath the burthen which tyrannic sin
Has o’er you whelm’d, behold me ever glad,
The worst, the basest, of your race to save.”                                                      55
And shall mankind the gracious offer spurn?
Forbid it, virtue, gratitude, and love!
Man, youngest child of heaven, full often needs
To feel his father’s kind afflictive rod,
Which wounds to heal, as the physician’s probe                                           60
May pain the patient, while it aids his cure.
Did not afflictions, thro’ life’s chequerd scene,
Walk with kind hand to warn us of our end;
Man would forget he were to die at all,
And scorn the terrors of the gloomy grave.                                                   65
Hope, with contracted wing, no more would mount
To the empyrean heaven for endless bliss;
But, stooping, snatch the empty joys of sense,
And quick contracting all her broad desires,
Sit down, contented with the scanty joys                                                      70
Which the vile empire of the brute confers.
See the warm youth, even in his rosy bloom,
When mounting blood and passion fire his breast,
Pierc’d by thy dart, drops cold and lifeless down,
And moulders in the murky silent grave.                                                      75
Behold the beauteous maid, whose rosy cheek
Charms and attracts the roving eye of youth;
While something whispers to her heaving breast,
That Nature gave not her these softening powers
Her crimson cheek, her ruby lip, in vain.                                                       80
Even in the moment, when her raptur’d soul
Clings to the bosom of some darling youth,
Death, with one cruel stroke, forever blasts
Love’s dawning bliss, and stretches her a corse,
A cold pale corse, amid her weeping friends!                                                85
To grasp her much lov’d son, the mother spreads
Her anxious arms,—behold! he faints, he dies!
And stiffens in the cold embrace of death!
See, how to heaven she sorrowing lifts her eyes!
See, how her bosom heaves, thick beats her heart                                       90
With anguish, with parental fondness torn!
How vain, how fleeting, are the joys of time!
How idly foolish he who leans upon them
For steady comfort, or for endless bliss!
Behold, at one dire stroke of death’s huge scythe,                                         95
Fathers and sisters, friends and lovers, fall!


14 Florida Reference to the territory of North America named after Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon’s arrival in the area during the “season of flowers” (Britannica).

33 Self-approbation The feeling of self-satisfaction or “approval” (OED).

62 chequerd  “Diversified in character; full of constant alternation” (OED).

67 empyrean “The highest or most exalted part or sphere of heaven” (OED).

75 moulders “To decay to dust; to rot” (OED).

84 corse Archaic spelling of “corpse,” “a dead body” (OED).

 Source: William Farquhar, Poems on Several Occasions (Edinburgh, 1794), pp. 102-105. [Google Books]

 Edited by Joshua Navarro

Mary Darwall, “Elegy on a much lamented Friend, Who died in Autumn, 1759”


“ELEGY on a much lamented Friend, Who died in Autumn, 1759”


Yet the dull Death-bell smites my trembling Ear;
Yet Fancy sickens o’er Fidelia’s Bier;
Ye weeping Muses, wake the mournful Lyre!
Ye laughing Loves, and jocund Sports, retire!
Fantastic Mirth, and all the smiling Train                                                         5
Of fair Festivity, forsake the Plain!
While gloomy Grief, and ev’ry chearless Pow’r,
Throw darker Horrors o’er this Midnight Hour.
Vot’ries of Woe, your painful Dirges sing!
No more the Muse attunes the sprightly String.                                           10
All, all the Scenes of Joy and Beauty fly,
Clouds dim the Sun, and Tears bedew the Sky:
Fidelia’s Loss see Nature’s self bewail!
Weep in the Stream, and languish in the Gale!
No more the vocal Natives of the Grove                                                          15
Chear the dark Shades, or chant their Songs of Love.
No more the Shepherds pipe, the Virgins sing;
No More the Vales with various Echoes ring:
But pale, and sad, each rural Nymph appears,
With Locks neglected, Eyes be-dim’d with Tears.                                            20
Fidelia’s dead!” they cry, and all around –
Fidelia dead!” the cavern’d Rocks rebound.
Accept, dear Shade, this fondly streaming Tear,
That Friendship sheds on thy untimely Bier.
Ah! what did thy superior Worth avail?                                                            25
Still, still oppos’d by Fortune’s adverse Gale;
Thro’ Life aspers’d by Envy’s black’ning Breath,
Pursu’d by Malice to the Gates of Death;
There, only there the painful Scene was o’er,
All Wrongs forgot, and Anguish wept no more.                                               30
There cold, and peaceful, dear Fidelia sleeps;
No more with palid Care long Vigils keeps;
And there shall sleep, in equal Night inurn’d,
The Friend that lov’d her, and the Fool that scorn’d.
There, wrapt in Shade impervious, Newton lies;                                       35
There lifeless Lely’s Hand, and Myra’s Eyes;
There Thomson’s Harp forgets the moral Song,
Deaf Handel’s Ear, and silent Milton’s Tongue.
There ev’n this Heart, which melts to strains of Woe,
Shall cease to grieve, these streaming Eyes to flow:                                        40
This weary Clay, to Death’s cold Arms consign’d,
Shall give to kindred Skies th’ immortal Mind.


1 Death-bell  “A bell rung at a person’s death or funeral” (OED).

4 jocund  “Feeling, expressing, or communicating mirth or cheerfulness” (OED); Lyre  “A stringed instrument of the harp kind, used by the Greeks for accompanying song and recitation” (OED).

9 Vot’ries Devotees; Dirges  “A song sung at the burial of, or in commemoration of the dead” (OED).

13 bewail  “To wail over, to utter wailings or cries of sorrow over the dead” (OED).

18 Vales  Valleys.

19 Nymph  “Any of a class of semi-divine spirits, imagined as taking the form of a maiden inhabiting the sea, rivers, mountains, woods, trees, etc., and often portrayed in poetry as attendants on a particular god” (OED).

24 Bier  “The movable stand on which a corpse, whether in a coffin or not, is placed before burial; that on which it is carried to the grave” (OED).

33 inurn’d  “To put (the ashes of a cremated body) in an urn; hence transferred, to entomb, bury, inter”  (OED).

35 Newton  Sir Issac Newton (1642-1727), “English physicist and mathematician, who was the culminating figure of the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century” (Encylopaedia Britannica).

36 Lely  Sir Peter Lely, (1618-1680), Dutch-born “Baroque portrait painter known for his Van Dyck-influenced likenesses of the mid-seventeenth century English aristocracy” (Encylopaedia Britannica); Myra  Likely a reference to St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, “one of the most popular minor saints commemorated in the Eastern and Western churches and now traditionally associated with the festival of Christmas” (Encylopaedia Britannica).

37 Thomson  James Thomson, (1700-1748), Scottish poet, best known for his long poem, The Seasons; “An Ode on Aeolus’s Harp” is likely referenced in this line (Encylopaedia Britannica).

38 Handel  George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), “German-born composer of the late Baroque era, noted particularly for his operas, oratorios, and instrumental compositions” (Encylopaedia Britannica);  Milton  John Milton, (1608-1674), “poet, pamphleteer, and historian” (Encylopaedia Britannica).

Source: Original Poems on Several Occasions.  By Miss Whateley (London 1764), pp. 23-25. [Google Books]

Edited by Megan Mather

Thomas Tickell, “To the Earl of Warwick, on the Death of Mr. Addison”


“To the Earl of Warwick, on the Death of Mr. Addison”


IF, dumb too long, the drooping muse hath stay’d,
And left her debt to Addison unpaid,
Blame not her silence, Warwick, but bemoan,
And judge, oh judge, my bosom by your own.
What mourner ever felt poetic fires!                                               5
Slow comes the verse that real woe inspires:
Grief unaffected suits but ill with art,
Or flowing numbers with a bleeding heart.
Can I forget the dismal night that gave
My soul’s best part for ever to the grave!                                       10
How silent did his old companions tread,
By mid-night lamps, the mansions of the dead,
Thro’ breathing statues, then unheeded things,
Thro’ rows of warriors, and thro’ walks of kings!
What awe did the slow solemn knell inspire;                                 15
The pealing organ, and the pausing choir;
The duties by the lawn-rob’d prelate paid;
And the last words, that dust to dust convey’d!
While speechless o’er thy closing grave we bend,
Accept these tears, thou dear departed friend,                            20
Oh gone for ever, take this long adieu;
And sleep in peace, next thy lov’d Montagu.
To strew fresh laurels let the task be mine,
A frequent pilgrim, at thy sacred shrine;
Mine with true sighs thy absence to bemoan,                               25
And grave with faithful epitaphs thy stone.
If e’er from me thy lov’d memorial part,
May shame afflict this alienated heart;
Of thee forgetful if I form a song,
My lyre be broken, and untun’d my tongue,                                  30
My grief be doubled from thy image free,
And mirth a torment, unchastis’d by thee.
Oft let me range the gloomy isles alone
Sad luxury! to vulgar minds unknown,
Along the walls where spreading marbles show                           35
What worthies form the hallow’d mould below;
Proud names, who once the reigns of empire held;
In arms who triumph’d; or in arts excell’d;
Chiefs, grac’d with scars, and prodigal of blood;
Stern patriots, who for sacred freedom stood;                              40
Just men, by whom impartial laws were given;
And saints who taught, and led, the way to heav’n;
Ne’er to these chambers, where the mighty rest,
Since their foundation, came a nobler guest;
Nor e’er was to the bow’rs of bliss convey’d                                   45
A fairer spirit or more welcome shade,
In what new region, to the just assign’d,
What new employments please th’ unbody’d mind;
A winged virtue, through the ethereal sky
From world to world unweary’d does he fly?                                  50
Or curious trace the long laborious maze
Of heaven’s decrees, where wond’ring angels gaze?
Does he delight to hear bold seraphs tell
How Michael battl’d, and the dragon fell;
Or mixt with milder cherubim, to glow                                             55
In hymns of love, not ill essay’d below?
Or dost thou warn poor mortals left behind,
A task well suited to thy gentle mind?
Oh ! if sometimes thy spotless form descend;
To me, thy aid, thou guardian genius, lend!                                      60
When rage misguides me, or when fear alarms,
When pain distresses, or when pleasure charms,
In silent whisp’rings purer thoughts impart,
And turn from ill a frail and feeble heart;
Lead through the paths thy virtue trod before,                                 65
Till bliss shall join, nor death can part us more.
That awful form, which, so ye heav’ns decree,
Must still be lov’d and still deplor’d by me;
In nightly visions seldom fails to rise,
Or rous’d by fancy, meets my waking eyes.                                        70
If business calls, or crowded courts invite;
Th’ unblemish’d statesman seems to strike my sight;
If in the stage I seek to sooth my care;
I meet his soul which breathes in Cato there;
If pensive to the rural shades I rove;                                                   75
His shape o’ertakes me in the lonely grove:
’Twas there of just and good he reason’d strong,
Clear’d some great truth, or rais’d some serious song:
There patient show’d us the wise course to steer,
A candid censor, and a friend severe;                                                  80
There taught us how to live; and, oh ! too high
The price for knowledge, taught us how to die.
Thou hill, whose brow the antique structures grace,
Rear’d by bold chiefs of Warwick’s noble race.
Why, once so lov’d, when e’er thy bow’r appears,                              85
O’er my dim eye-balls glance the sudden tears!
How sweet were once thy prospects fresh and fair,
Thy sloping walks, and unpolluted air!
How sweet the glooms beneath thy aged trees,
Thy noon tide shadow, and thy ev’ning breeze!                                  90
His image thy forsaken bow’rs restore;
Thy walks and airy prospects charm no more;
No more the summer in thy glooms allay’d,
Thy evening breezes, and thy noon-day shade.
From other ills, however fortune frown’d;                                    95
Some refuge in the muse’s art I found;
Reluctant now I toucht the trembling string
Bereft of him, who taught me how to sing;
And these sad accents, murmur’d o’er his urn,
Betray that absence, they attempt to mourn.                                    100
Oh! must I then, now fresh my bosom bleeds
And Craggs in death to Addison succeeds,
The verse, begun to one lost friend, prolong;
And weep a second in th’ unfinish’d song!
These works divine, which on his death-bed laid                        105
To thee, O Craggs, th’ expiring sage convey’d,
Great, but ill omen’d monument of fame,
Nor he surviv’d to give, nor thou to claim.
Swift after him thy social spirit flies,
And close to his, how soon ! thy coffin lies.                                          110
Blest pair! whose union future bards shall tell
In future tongues: each others boast! farewel,
Farewel! whom join’d in fame in friendship try’d,
No chance could sever, nor the grave divide.


Title The Earl of Warwick Edward Rich, 7th Earl of Warwick (1698-1721), was a British aristocrat and the stepson of Joseph Addison. His early death makes him a relatively unknown historical figure. Warwick and Addison seem to have been estranged for some years preceding Addison’s death, at which point they reunited; Addison Joseph Addison (1672-1719), a leading periodical essayist, dramatist, and poet.

1 dumb Lacking the faculty of speech (OED).

15 knell “The sound made by a bell when struck or rung, esp. when rung slowly and solemnly (as) for a death or at a funeral” (OED).

16 peal “A stroke on or ringing of a bell as a call or summons, esp. to prayer or church” (OED).

17 lawn-rob’d prelate Lawn is an Italian fabric from which the sleeves of a bishop or archbishop’s robe were made (OED).

22 Montagu Ralph Montagu, 1st Duke of Montagu (1638-1709), was an English noble and evidently a friend of Addison’s who had died a decade earlier.

30 lyre A plucked stringed musical instrument (OED).

32 mirth “Merriment, hilarity, laughter” (OED). 

35 marbles Presumably marble statues of statesmen. 

39 prodigal Extravagant.

45 bower “A dwelling, a habitation; esp. an ideal abode. Now chiefly poetic” (OED).

54 Michael battl’d, and the dragon fell An allusion to Revelation 12:7-8: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,/And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven”; battl’d Emended from “battel’d” in the copy text (printer’s error).

55 Cherubim Plural of cherub, a kind of angel.

70 fancy Creative imagination (OED).

74 Cato Addison wrote Cato, A Tragedy in 1712. It takes its name from Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis (95-46 BC), an ancient Roman orator, stoic philosopher, and senator known as Cato the Younger who committed suicide as his enemy, Julius Caesar, overthrew the Roman Republic. The play is a sober work on the value of individual liberty and republicanism.

80 censor A person who exercises supervision or judgement over the conduct or morals of others (OED).

98 Bereft Lacking.

102 Craggs James Craggs the Younger (1686-1721), an English statesman who died a few months before Addison.

SOURCE: The Works of the most celebrated Minor Poets. Volume the Second. Containing the Works of George Stepney, Esq; William Walsh, Esq; Thomas Tickell, Esq. (London, 1749), pp. 237-240. [ECCO]

Edited by John Lisovsky

John Hoy, Junior, “Delia’s Farewel, An Elegy”




Once more, O Muses! ere you leave this grove,
Awake the strain, but sing in accents new:
DELIA no more attends the tale of love,
Such love as flows from DAMON or from you.

But tune to nobler themes the heav’nly lyre,                                        5
And, unreprov’d, the darling strain prolong;
Swell the big note with Friendship’s sacred fire,
Or sound in DELIA’s ear the moral song.

Alas! alas! Love’s subtle lurking flame,
Which feeble Reason never can control,                                       10
Kindles anew at DELIA’s long lov’d name,
And fills again, and warms my raptur’d soul.

In ev’ry tender tie to Friendship known,
In all the kind endearments Love affords,
How many years together we have grown,                                          15
Ye Muses know, and still your song records.

My song was DELIA’s praise when first I lov’d,
And DELIA listen’d to the tender strain;
Yes, DELIA listen’d! and my song approv’d,
Nor scorn’d the passion of a simple swain.                                   20

‘Twas DELIA’s love inspir’d the early song,
And kindled rapture in my infant breast:–
Alas! why could I not the strain prolong?
Ah! why has Heav’n forbid me to be blest?

Fond wish! I hop’d to call young DELIA mine;                                         25
But, ah! can wishes thwart eternal fate?
Would mortals regulate the deep design
Of Heav’n, presiding wisely o’er our state?

Now DELIA’s gone! and each dejected muse,
In sullen sounds, the absent nymph deplores:                                30
The sad remembrance of my loss renews,
Where ev’ry scene her memory restores.

Methinks I see her still in virgin charms —
Such as no more these faded eyes shall view;
Such as no more shall raise the soft alarms,                                            35
And Love’s sweet passion in my breast renew.

Can I forget those soft enchanting smiles?
Those cordial looks beam’d from the inmost soul?
Those gentle offices, and friendly toils,
With which she strove my sorrows to control?                                 40

How oft, O DELIA! has thy tender care
Giv’n to my sense of pain a kind relief?
How oft thy sympathy repress’d despair,
And wip’d the drops from my pale cheek of grief?

(Thy pity still I claim, for still ’tis dear,                                                         45
And Pity, sure, is due to misery!
Ah! shall one sigh, or shall one tender tear,
Be deem’d too much to DAMON’s memory?)

Oft as I watch’d the lonely midnight hour,
Each black idea fled when thou wast nigh :                                        50
No more I languish’d for the balmy pow’r;
And Night’s dull wheels roll’d swifter o’er the sky.

But now, alas! the melancholy scene
(How chang’d!) presents me with a dreary waste,
Save where my absent friend, by fancy seen,                                            55
Augments the horrors of my tortur’d breast.

I blame not DELIA:– DELIA’s soul was kind: —
‘Twas envious Fortune tore my love away: —
But still thou’rt here, and from my sadden’d mind
My DELIA’s image never shall decay.                                                   60

I saw what anguish swell’d her gentle breast,
What horrors shook her when she slow withdrew;
What load of grief her fainting voice supprest,
When Fate oblig’d her to pronounce,–Adieu !

Thrice o’er her face the waving crimson spread,                                        65
And thrice her visage chang’d to deadly pale;
Her speech forsook her when she wou’d have said,
“Farewel, ye groves! and, DAMON, O farewel!”

Ah! then, what anguish tore my bursting heart!
Scarce could my breast its tide of grief control,                                   70
When, beam’d tremendous, like a mortal dart,
Her parting look transfix’d me to the soul.

Less cruel pangs had pierc’d my wounded breast,
Had Fate’s dread mandate stopt thy vital breath;
Less had I griev’d to see my DELIA drest                                                       75
In all the sad and awful pomp of death.

I then a pleasing melancholy joy
Had felt, to wander near my DELIA’s tomb;
To press the turf where her dear dust should lie,
And tell my woes to Night’s surrounding gloom.                                 80

Quick Fancy, fir’d, should mount th’ etherial height,
And view the lovely maid, my DELIA there,
Array’d in robes for mortal eyes too bright,
Alive, immortal, more divinely fair!

But now I see the idol of my soul                                                                  85
For ever ravish’d from my longing arms,
Another’s joy to share, his griefs control; —
–Another’s raptures kindle at her charms!

My deep distresses all relief refuse:
Ev’n gentle STREPHON’s friendship is in vain,                                     90
Tho’ to his aid he call th’ inspiring muse,
And cheer his DAMON with the rural strain.

In vain, to soothe the troubles of my breast,
Fair Science opens all her copious store ;
Soft magic song no more can give me rest,                                                  95
And wit and genius charm my soul no more.

No more bold MILTON, on the car of morn,
Whirls my rapt soul above th’ etherial sphere,
Where fiery seraphs fierce for combat burn,
While front to front the shadowy hosts draw near.                            100

In vain great SHAKESPEARE, taught of Heav’n alone,
Unfolds the scene of Nature to my view: —
Fly! magic pictures! and, with DELIA gone,
Farewel the ecstasy which once I knew!

Perhaps the lenient hand of Time may ease                                               105
The lively sense of grief which now I feel,
That peace restore which makes ev’n sorrow please,
And wipes the gall from keen affliction’s steel.

If not, — should ev’ry other refuge fail,
O Death! thou still remain’st to give relief: —                                        110
In vain thy all-composing pow’rs assail
The frowns of Fortune, and the stings of grief.

To thee, O melancholy pow’r! I call;
To thee, with hasty steps, impatient fly: —
O grant a shelter in thy dusky hall,                                                                 115
To me the child of pain and misery!


1 Muses “In greek mythology each of the nine goddesses regarded as presiding over and inspiring learning and the arts, esp. poetry and music” (OED).

20 swain “A country gallant or lover” (OED).

51 balmy “Deliciously soft and soothing” (OED).

65 crimson “Of or relating to blood; sanguinary” (OED).

76 pomp “Splendid display or celebration; magnificent show or ceremony” (OED).

94 Science “Knowledge or understanding acquired by study; acquaintance with or mastery of any branch of learning” (OED).

97 No “Mo” emended to “No” (printer’s error); MILTON John Milton (1608–1674), poet and polemicist; the following lines in this stanza appear to reference Paradise Lost (1667).

99 seraphs Angels.

101 SHAKESPEARE, taught of Heav’n alone Shakespeare was considered a “natural genius” in this period, a notion popularized by Joseph Addison in Spectator no. 160 (1711).

SOURCE:  Poems on Various Subjects (Edinburgh, 1781), pp. 52-57. [Google Books]

Edited by Yesenia Rodriguez

George Campbell, “Lunardi’s Balloon, An Elegy”


“Lunardi’s Balloon, An Elegy”


Low sunk the sun, departing from the day,
His latest beams had ting’d the western clouds,
Ev’ning advanced, clad in sober grey,
And Night fast follow’d with her dusky shrouds.

Tir’d with its hurry and its bustling noise,                                                         5
I left the town, and, wand’ring thro’ the fields,
I taste the silent Ev’ning’s sober joys,
And all the pleasures which retirement yields.

The mournful Echoes rais’d their loudest voice,
And answer’d plaintive to the lover’s sigh:                                                10
Prophet of ills, the Owl, with horrid noise,
Scream’d at a distance in the gloomy sky.

The post-horn, sounding, echoes thro’ the air
At intervals I hear the horse’s tread:
His near approach, the growing sounds declare;                                             15
Far off I see him thro’ the dubious shade.

The rising Moon shot forth a glimm’ring ray,
And gave the nightly rider to the view;
Pensive and sad he pass’d along the way,
And all his horn was hung with sable hue.                                                 20

Stop! stop! I cri’d, and tell thy cause of wo,
Thou ne’er wast wont to shed the briny tear!
What now can make the copious torrents flow!
What sad, what mournful tidings dost thou bear?

Is HASTINGS now from accusation freed?                                                         25
Will we no more hear of his barb’rous rage?
Or PIT and FOX for ever now agreed?
Will their debates no longer fill the page?

Have Prussian wits exhausted all the store
Of anecdotes about their fav’rite king?                                                       30
Or, are the Dutch divisions now no more?
Will Birth-days not their annual tributes bring?

No, these, he said, are not the cause of grief;
‘Tis not for these I make such heavy moan:
O, what shall soothe my pain or bring relief?                                                    35
LUNARDI’S fam’d BALLOON, alas! is gone!

I heard him speak, and struck with sad surprise,
Declare, I said, how the mishap befel:
Afresh the torrents bursting from his eyes,
He, with a sigh, began the mournful tale!                                                  40

‘Twas where the TYNE rolls down in all his pride,
His limpid waters by NEWCASTLE flow,
Whose stately Turrets rise upon its side,
The fam’d BALLOON receiv’d a fatal blow!

‘Twas there the great LUNARDI, fam’d afar                                                      45
For airy journeys in the middle sky,
Perpar’d again to mount the floating Car,
And thro’ the clouds in upper regions fly.

The day approach’d, what multitudes attend!
They crowd the mountains and they fill the plain,                                  50
In hopes to see the wondrous man ascend;
But ah! they look, they wish, they hope in vain!

And now the great BALLOON began to fill;
Her buoyant sides rose bellowing in the air:
Th’ intrepid hero us’d his utmost skill;                                                              55
His hopes were rais’d on high and great his care.

Ah! silly mortals! what small hope of joy
Elates our heart, and swells our little mind!
How can a moment this fond hope destroy,
And leave a real, lasting grief behind?                                                       60

We truly thought he would have gone so far
As Earth’s attractions had not brought him down;
There got intelligence from ev’ry star,
And been our correspondent in the moon:

For now She, rising, floats about the ground,                                                   65
The cords are loos’d and all prepar’d for flight:
The Crowds, at awful distance, stand around,
And view the scene with wonder and delight.

But ah! what numbers can describe the shock!
Or how can language paint the sad surprise,                                            70
When from the vitriol sudden fire brake,
And the blue flame met the beholders eyes!

Water! they cri’d; but water there was none;
She, like an arrow, mounts, and cleaves the air:
LUNARDI saw his fam’d BALLOON was gone;                                                   75
Wild were his looks and frantic with despair!

Sure! sure! he cri’d, the elements are join’d
In close concert, to work my overthrow!
I float in water, and I’m toss’d with wind:
But the flame has struck the last, the fatal blow!                                      80

O fire! how fatal to BALLOON exploits!
Tytler may tell, LUNARDI too has known,
Who brav’d the greatest dangers in his flight;
But now his hopes of future glory’s gone.

He saw her rise, but could not bring her back;                                                  85
He saw her burst, ah! never to return!
The very heav’ns were mantl’d o’er with black,
And Nature seem’d the mighty loss to mourn!

NEWCASTLE rais’d her voice in loud lament;
When Kelso heard, she echo’d back the strain;                                          90
Edina join’d in the same sad complaint;
And Glasgow mourn’d, but mourn’d, alas! in vain!

When thus he said, he spurr’d his weary steed,
Adieu! adieu! I must no longer stay!
Then took the road, and with redoubled speed,                                                95
Leaving me sad, he pass’d along the way.


Title  Lunardi  Vincenzo (Vincent) Lunardi (1754-1806), Italian diplomat and celebrated balloon aeronaut, active in Britain 1784-1787.

9  Echoes  The repetition of sound personified here by reference to the Greek myth of Echo and Narcissus found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Book III, ll. 339-358).

13  post-horn  A valveless brass horn used by a post rider, messenger, or the guard of a mail coach “to announce arrival” (OED).

20  horn  A reference to the rider’s head.

25  HASTINGS  Warren Hastings (1732-1818), English statesman, served as Governor General of India from 1773-1784.  Facing increased scrutiny of his policies and conduct, and lack of political support at home, Hastings resigned his position and returned to England in June 1785.  He was arrested in May 1787 and charges against him were read in Parliament; these included his role in the judicial execution of Maharaja Nandakumar in 1775, and his martial efforts to control British interests in the territories of Bengal and Mysore (ODNB).

27  PIT and FOX  William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806), Tory politician and statesman, served as Prime Minister of England from 1783-1801, and Charles James Fox (1749-1806), Whig politician and statesman, were arch political rivals.  Their frequent clashes in Parliament were a news staple of this period.

29-30  Prussian wits…their fav’rite king  A reference to the outpouring of praise and panegyric for Frederick the Great (1712-1786, King of Prussia from 1740) following his death on August 17, 1786.

31  Dutch divisions  A reference to the Patriot Revolt that caused a period of political instability in the Netherlands from 1780-1787.

41  TYNE  A major river in northeast England that divides the city of Newcastle from Gateshead.

43  stately Turrets  Probably a reference to the battlements of the Castle Keep, a medieval fortification on the River Tyne in Newcastle.

49  what multitudes attend  Contemporary accounts often mention the huge crowds drawn to Lunardi’s balloon launches.

67 awful  “Profoundly respectful or reverential” (OED).

69  numbers  Poetry.

71  vitriol  Sulfuric acid.

79  I float in water  Lunardi’s flight from Edinburgh on December 20, 1785 ended with a forced landing in the North Sea, where he was lucky to be rescued by a passing fishing boat (Lunardi, An Account of Five Aerial Voyages in Scotland [London, 1786], p. 101).

82  Tytler  James Tytler (1745-1804), a Scottish chemist and aeronaut, became the first person in Great Britain to ascend in a balloon on August 25, 1784, preceding Lunardi’s first flight in England by several weeks.

85-86  He saw her rise…never to return!  Lunardi’s attempted ascent from Newcastle on September 19, 1786 went horribly wrong.  Campbell’s description of the balloon’s loss matches the most detailed contemporary account published in The Yorkshire Magazine (vol. I, September 1786, pp. 287-88).  Curiously, however, Campbell chooses not to mention that one of the local men assisting Lunardi that day, “Mr. Ralph Heron,” became tangled in the ropes and was swept several hundred feet in the air.  He fell and subsequently died of his injuries.  It was this tragic accident (rather than the loss of his balloon) that effectively ended Lunardi’s career as an aeronaut in Britain.

87  heav’ns were mantl’d o’er with black  The hydrogen gas produced by the chemical reaction between sulfuric acid and iron shavings was dark in color and, when released from the balloon due to tearing or accident, would create a black cloud.

90  Kelso  A market town in Scotland near the English border.  Lunardi made a successful ascent from Kelso on October 22, 1785 (Kay’s Edinburgh Portraits, vol. I, ed. Maidment [London and Glasgow, 1885], p. 65).

91  Edina  Edinburgh.  Lunardi made a total of three ascents from Edinburgh on October 5, 1785, December 20, 1785, and July 31, 1786.

92  Glasgow  Lunardi made two ascents from Glasgow on November 23 and December 5, 1785.

Source: Poems on Several Occasions (Kilmarnock, 1787), pp. 114-118. [ECCO]

Edited by Bill Christmas

Thomas Woolston, “Sonnet to the Memory of Falconer, Author of the Shipwreck”


“Sonnet to the Memory of Falconer, Author of the Shipwreck”


Ill-fated Bard marine, who strung the lyre,
A chilling tale of sorrow to rehearse,
In all the mournful melody of verse,
Warm’d by a beam of true Maeonian fire;
Well might the theme the tuneful breast inspire,                                  5
Who felt the rage of Fate’s most adverse storm,
And saw grim Death’s most drear terrific form,
Whilst struggling round thy gallant mates expire.
Thy strains to distant times their names shall give,
Snatch’d from oblivion’s ever-dreaded gloom,                                        10
Oh that my Muse could bid thy mem’ry live,
And paint in verse like thine thy mournful doom,
The plaintive strains with energy should flow,
And sympathy unborn should melt at Falconer’s woe.


 Title Falconer, the Author of the Shipwreck William Falconer (1732-1769), published a wildly popular epic poem titled The Shipwreck in 1762.

1 lyre “A stringed instrument of the harp kind, used by the Greeks for accompanying song and recitation” (OED).

4 Maeonian “A native inhabitant of Maeonia; a Lydian. Frequently in reference to Homer, who, according to some accounts, was born at Smyrna in Maeonia” or modern day Turkey (OED).

10 oblivion “The state or condition of having been forgotten” (OED).

11 Muse The source of poetic inspiration.

12 doom “It is said he was lost in the Aurora frigate going to the East Indies.—We should be glad to see some authentic memoirs of him” [Editor’s Note].

13 plaintive “Having the character of a lament; expressive of sorrow; mournful, sad” (OED).

Source: The Gentleman’s Magazine (July 1789), p. 650.

Edited by Randall Pedersen