Mather Byles

An Elegy address'd to His Excellency Governour BELCHER: On the Death of his Brot

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Pensive, o'ercome, the Muse hung down her Head,
And heard the fatal News,--"The Friend is dead.
Dumb, fixt in Sorrow, she forgot her Song,
The Tune forsook her Lyre, the Voice her Tongue,
'Till, Belcher, You command her Strains to rise,
You ask, she sings; You dictate, she replies;
That well-known Voice awakes her dying Fires,
And instant, at your Call, the Pow'r inspires.
Then let our Griefs in mingling Streams descend,
You mourn the Brother, and I weep the Friend
He's dead--O vast unutterable Woe!
Gone, gone for ever from these Seats below:
No more his gracious Lips our Souls shall move,
And lift us to the holy Joys above;
No more the Church his sacred Transports feel,
His strong Devotion, and his fervent Zeal;
No more his Face shines with the conscious Calms,
Of Faith, and Pray'rs, and gen'rous Deeds, and Alms:
Ah! fainting, pale, ebbs out his quiv'ring Breath,
And Oliver the good descends to Death.
Thus while the Friends their private Loss deplore,
Lament unpity'd, unreliev'd, ye Poor.
Who, round his Gates, your daily Blessings paid,
Warm by his Cloaths, or from his Table fed.
Profuse, his lib'ral Hand their Pray'r prevents,
(So shower'd the ancient Manna round the Tents)
Witness, ye conscious Nights, whose Shades he chose,
Unknown, to see, and succour Humane Woes:
Invisible, he trod the homely Cott,
The Hungry eat, th' Oppress'd to groan forgot,
The Sick perceiv'd the sudden Cordial save,
All bless'd the Gift, nor saw the Hand that gave.
From Men, with Art and sacred Caution hid,
The Muse, from Heav'n inspir'd, reveals the Deed.
You painted Roofs, and pompous Rooms of State,
Where, in the Senate, the grave Patriot sate,
Say, how his steady Conduct grac'd your Board;
Just were his Thoughts, and prudent ev'ry Word;
Serene, delib'rate, undisguis'd by Art,
His Tongue was faithful, and sincere his Heart.
Statesmen, th' unblemish'd Counsellor bemoan,
And from his fair Example form your own.
So must your Greatness sink, your Glories fade,
And, blended, in the common Dust be laid.
Nor Wealth, nor Titles, nor Fame's gentle Charms,
Can bribe your Life from Fate's relentless Arms:
VIRTUE, fair Goddess! only can allow
Conquests o'er Death, and crown the Victor's Brow.
Mindless of Grandieur, from the Crowd he fled,
Sought green Retirements, and the silent Shade.
Ye bow'ry Trees, which round his Mansion bloom,
Oft ye conceal'd him in your hallow'd Gloom:
Oft he enjoy'd, in your sublime Abode,
His Books, his Innocence, his Friend, his GOD.
Now, sad, I wander o'er the lofty Seat,
And trace the Mazes of the soft Retreat.
View the fair Prospects, round the Gardens rove,
Bend up the Hill, and search the lonely Grove;
But ah! no more his Voice salutes my Ear,
Nor in his Hands the blushing Fruits appear:
Yet is his Image in each Scene convey'd,
And busy Fancy forms his gliding Shade,
I seem to meet him in the flow'ry Walks,
And, thro' the Boughs, his whispering Spirit talks.
Eager I call, the dear Delusion flies,
Grief seals my Lips, and Tears suffuse my Eyes.
O far, far off, above the Ken of these,
The rising Mountain, and th' aspiring Trees,
In the gay Bow'rs that crown th' Eternal Hills,
His spotless Soul, in deathless Pleasure, dwells;
Tuneful replies, while Choral Seraphs play,
And in bright Visions smiles the Hours away.
He visits now no more this dull Abode,
But talks with Angels, and beholds his GOD.
Now cease, the flowing Tears, the Fun'ral Strains.
Let joyful Sounds revive the vocal Plains.
What tho' the Body in the Tomb be laid,
Ghastly and breathless, in the awful Shade?
Tho' by our Eyes, his Form no more confess'd,
Pleas'd by the Friend, and by the Christian bless'd?
We view the bright Reversion in the Skies,
When the dead Saint, wak'd to new Life, shall rise.
Mean time, the heav'nly Muse embalms his Name,
And gives him up consign'd to endless Fame:
These faithful Lines thy Absence still bemoan,
And this Inscription grace thy mould'ring Stone.
"Here, Passenger, confin'd, reduc'd to Dust,
"Lies what was once, religious, wise, and just.
"Steady and warm in Liberty's Defence,
"True to his Country, loyal to his Prince:
"In Friendship faithful, gen'rous to Desert,
"A Head enlightn'd, and a glowing Heart.

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