A Celebration of Women Writers

"Elegy to the Memory of Richard Boyle, Esq. " by Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800)
From: Robinson, Mrs. M. Poems. London: J. Bell, 1791. pp. 68-71.

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[Page 68]

ELEGY

TO THE

MEMORY

OF

RICHARD BOYLE, ESQ. *

Who died at Bristol, October, 1788.

NEAR yon bleak mountain's dizzy height,
  That hangs o'er AVON's silent wave;
By the pale Crescent's glimm'ring light,
  I sought LORENZO's lonely grave.

O'er the long grass the silv'ry dew,
  Soft Twilight's tears spontaneous shone;
And the dank bough of baneful yew
  Supply'd the place of sculptured stone.

Oft, as my trembling steps drew near,
  The aëry voice of FANCY gave
The plaint of GENIUS to mine ear,
  That, lingering, murmur'd on his grave.

"Cold is that heart, where honour glow'd,
  And Friendship's flame sublimely shone,
And clos'd that eye where Pity flow'd,
  For ev'ry suff'ring but HIS OWN.

[Page 69]

"That form where youth and grace conspir'd,
  To captivate admiring eyes,
No more belov'd, no more admir'd,
  A torpid mass neglected lies.

"Mute is the music of that tongue,
  Once tuneful as the voice of love,
When ORPHEUS, by his magic song,
  Taught trees, and flinty rocks to move.

"Oft shall the pensive MUSE be found,
  Sprinkling with flow'rs his mould'ring clay;
While soft-eyed SORROW wand'ring round,
  Shall pluck intruding weeds away."

Sad victim of the sordid mind,
  That doom'd THEE to an early grave;
Ne'er shall HER breast that pity find,
  Which thy forgiveness nobly gave !

Thou, who, when SORROW'S icy hand
  Forbad the healthsome pulse to flow,
Obedient to HER stern command,
  With meek submission bow'd thee low !

And when thy faded cheek proclaim'd
  The thorn that rankled in thy breast,
Thy steady soul that pride maintain'd,
  Which marks the godlike mind distress'd !

Nor was thy mental strength subdu'd,
  When HOPE's last ling'ring shadows fled,

[Page 70]

Unchang'd, thy dauntless spirit view'd
  The dreary confines of the dead!

And when thy penetrating mind,
  Life's thorny maze presum'd to scan,
In ev'ry path condemn'd to find
  "The low ingratitude of man."

Indignant would'st thou turn away,
  And smiling raise thy languid eye,
And oft thy feeble voice would say,
  "TO ME 'TIS HAPPINESS TO DIE." *

And tho' thy FRIEND, with skilful art,
  To heal thy woes, each balm apply'd;
Tho' the fine feelings of his heart,
  Nor cost nor studious care deny'd!

He saw the fatal hour draw near,
  He saw THEE fading to the grave;
He gave his last kind gift, A TEAR,
  And mourn'd the worth he could not save.

Nor could the ruthless breath of FATE
  Snatch from thy grave the tender sigh;

[Page 71]

Nor a relentless monster's hate
  Impede thy passage to the sky.

And tho' no kindred tears were shed,
  No tribute to thy memory giv'n;
Sublime in death, thy spirit fled,
  To seek its best rewardIN HEAVEN!

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* Son of Mrs. Walsingham.

* An expression he frequently made use of, previous to his dissolution.

Doctor Moseley whose disinterested and unremitting attentions to the melancholy situation of his dying Friend, are too well known to require any comment; the very polished language of his intelligent medical work will best describe his feelings on the occasion; and can alone do justice to the exquisite sensations of a heart devoted to philanthropy!

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[Notes were included in the original text by Mrs. Robinson, at the bottom of each individual page. They are given here at the end of each poem.]

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