"Elegy to the Memory of David Garrick, Esq." by Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800)
DEAR SHADE OF HIM, who grac'd the mimick scene,
And charm'd attention with resistless pow'r;
Whose wond'rous art, whose fascinating mien,
Gave glowing rapture to the short-liv'd hour!
Accept the mournful verse, the ling'ring sigh,
The tear that faithful Mem'ry stays to shed;
The SACRED TEAR, that from Reflection's eye,
Drops on the ashes of the sainted dead.
Lov'd by the grave, and courted by the young,
In social comforts eminently blest;
All hearts rever'd the precepts of thy tongue,
And Envy's self thy eloquence confess'd.
Who could like thee the soul's wild tumults paint,
Or wake the torpid ear with lenient art?
Touch the nice sense with pity's dulcet plaint,
Or soothe the sorrows of the breaking heart?
Who can forget thy penetrating eye,
The sweet bewitching smile, th' empassion'd look?
The clear deep whisper, the persuasive sigh,
The feeling tear that Nature's language spoke?
Rich in each treasure bounteous Heaven could lend,
For private worth distinguish'd and approv'd,
The pride of WISDOM,–VIRTUE's darling friend,
By MANSFIELD honor'd–and by CAMDEN lov'd!
The courtier's cringe, the flatt'rer's abject smile,
The subtle arts of well-dissembled praise,
Thy soul abhorr'd;–above the gloss of guile,
Truth lead thy steps, and Friendship crown'd thy days.
Oft in thy HAMPTON's dark embow'ring shade
The POET's hand shall sweep the trembling string;
While the proud tribute §to thy mem'ry paid,
The voice of GENIUS on the gale shall fling.
Yes, SHERIDAN! thy soft melodious verse
Still vibrates on a nation's polish'd ear;
Fondly it hover'd o'er the sable hearse,
Hush'd the loud plaint, and triumph'd in a tear.
In life united by congenial minds,
Dear to the MUSE, to sacred friendship true;
Around her darling's urn a wreath SHE binds,
A deathless wreath–immortaliz'd by YOU!
But say, dear shade, is kindred mem'ry flown?
Has widow'd love at length forgot to weep?
That no kind verse, or monumental stone,
Marks the lone spot where thy cold relics sleep!
Dear to a nation, grateful to thy muse,
That nation's tears upon thy grave shall flow,
For who the gentle tribute can refuse,
Which thy fine feeling gave to fancied woe?
Thou who, by many an anxious toilsome hour,
Reap'd the bright harvest of luxuriant Fame,
Who snatch'd from dark oblivion's barb'rous pow'r
The radiant glories of a SHAKSPERE's name!
Rembrance oft shall paint the mournful scene
Where the slow fun'ral spread its length'ning gloom,
Where the deep murmur, and dejected mien,
In artless sorrow linger'd round thy tomb.
And tho' no laurel'd bust, or labour'd line,
Shall bid the passing stranger stay to weep;
Thy SHAKSPERE's hand shall point the hallow'd shrine,
And Britain's genius with thy ashes sleep. §
Then rest in peace, O ever sacred shade!
Your kindred souls exulting FAME shall join;
And the same wreath thy hand for SHAKSPERE made,
Gemm'd with her tears about THY GRAVE SHALL TWINE.
§ See Mr. Sheridan's Monody on the death of Mr. Garrick.
§ Mr Garrick's remains lie in Poet's corner, at the foot of Shakspere's monument, in Westminter-Abbey.
[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. ]