Mather Byles

To the Memory of a young Commander slain in a Battle with the Indians, 1724.

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Descend, immortal Muse, inspire my Song,
Let mournful Numbers gently flow along:
And thou, my Lyre, in solemn Notes complain,
And in sad Accents softly speak thy Pain;
Let melting Musick tremble on thy Strings,
While in concording Sounds the Goddess sings;
Sings hapless Alpeus in the gloomy Grave,
Alpeus the Gay, the Beauteous and the Brave;
Alpeus, who with the Thirst of Glory fir'd,
Couragious in his Country's Cause expir'd.
At the dear Name a sorrowful Delight,
Recalls the Youth back to my longing Sight.
Ah, lovely Youth! once flush'd with ev'ry Grace,
A thousand Charms adorn'd thy smiling Face;
A lilly White was on thy Forehead spread,
And in thy Cheeks cælestial rosey Red;
O'er all thy Features no Defect was found,
But blooming Beauty ever hover'd round;
And, whilst without, unnumber'd Charms combin'd,
Unnumber'd Graces deck'd thy manly Mind.
Thus Alpeus, wert thou once by all beheld,
Like some fair Flow'r, the Glory of the Field:
But now, alas! stop'd is thy scatter'd Breath,
Thy Beauties rifled in the Arms of Death;
From thy pale Cheeks the fading Colour flies,
And leaden Slumbers seal thy heavy Eyes.
So some bright Bird repeats his Lays of Love,
And sings melodious in a golden Grove;
When strait a Bullet, with a thund'ring Sound,
Bursts thro' the Air, and gives the deadly Wound;
Then, instant from the blooming Bough impell'd.
He falls, and feebly flutters on the Field.
But, O my Muse, forbear these Strains, and tell
How great he fought, and how divine he fell.
Say, how intrepid he maintain'd his Ground,
And with what Vigour scatter'd Deaths around.
Now on the Waves in the small Bark he stood,
And ting'd the Billows with th'Opposers Blood;
Now, daring, on the thickest War he bore,
Broke thro' the Ranks, and gain'd the distant Shore.
His Sword, like Light'ning, glitter'd from above,
When dreadful on, th' undaunted Hero drove,
And with such Sounds destructive Thunder roars,
As his swift Lead impetuous onward pours.
Now on the Left he bent, now to the Right
The youthful Warriour led along the Fight.
You Pagan Troops, could scarce his Rage sustain,
Tho' your dire Numbers blacken'd all the Plain.
Till feeling in his Breast the fiery Wound,
The sinking Youth drop'd fainting to the Ground;
In quick short pants ebb'd out his quiv'ring Breath,
While o'er his Eye-lids hung the Shades of Death.
Thrice happy Youth, sleep in thy silent Bed,
While blissful Visions dance around thy Head;
Let living Verdure flourish o'er thy Tomb,
And let unfading Flow'rs for ever bloom.
Mean time the Muse thy Story shall relate,
And snatch thy Actions from the Jaws of Fate,
Declare th' unrival'd Wonders of thy Youth,
Nor cloud with Fable the refulgent Truth;
So coming Ages shall thy Deeds admire,
And late Posterity thy Praise conspire.
Long as the Morning paints the blushing Skies,
Or Nature in the Spring renew'd shall rise;
Whilst the gay Sun pours down in radiant Streams,
The golden Glory of his blazing Beams;
So long, O Alpeus, shall thy envy'd Name
Glow in the Records of immortal Fame:
There stand confess'd among the meaner Fires,
As Syrius shines amid the lesser Stars.

Written in Dr. Watt's Poems; given to a young Lady.

While rosey Cheeks their Bloom confess,
And Youth thy Bosom warms,
Let Vertue, and let Knowledge dress,
Thy Mind in brighter Charms.

Daily on some fine Page to look
Lay meaner Sports aside;
And let the Needle, and the Book,
Thy useful Hours divide.

Let Heav'nly Love from Watts's Lays,
Inspire thy youthful Blood;
Nor let a mortal Rival seize
That Heart ordain'd for God.

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Mather Byles