William Taylor Collins
O D E, To a Lady on the Death of Colonel R O S S in the action of Fontenoy
W H I L E, lost to all his former Mirth,
Britannia's Genius bends to Earth,
And mourns the fatal Day:
While stain's with Blood he strives to tear
Unseemly from his Sea-green Hair
The Wreaths of chearful May:
The Thoughts which musing Pity pays,
And fond Remembrance loves to raise,
Your faithful Hours attend:
Still Fancy to Herself unkind,
Awakes to Grief the soften'd Mind,
And points the bleeding Friend.
By rapid Scheld's descending Wave
His Country's Vows shall bless the Grave,
Where'er the Youth is laid:
That sacred Spot the Village Hind
With ev'ry sweetest Turf shall bind,
And Peace protect the Shade.
Blest Youth, regardful of thy Doom,
Aërial Hands shall build thy Tomb,
With shadowy Trophies crown'd:
Whilst Honor bath'd in Tears shall rove
To sigh thy Name thro' ev'ry Grove,
And call his Heros round.
The warlike Dead of ev'ry Age,
Who fill the fair recording Page,
Shall leave their sainted Rest:
And, half-reclining on his Spear,
Each wond'ring Chief by turns appear,
To hail the blooming Guest.
Old Edward's Sons, unknown to yield,
Shall croud from Cressy's laurell'd Field,
And gaze with fix'd Delight:
Again for Britain's Wrongs they feel,
Again they snatch the gleamy Steel,
And wish th'avenging Fight.
But lo where, sunk in deep Despair,
Her Garments torn, her Bosom bare,
Impatient Freedom lies!
Her matted Tresses madly spread,
To ev'ry Sod, which warps the Dead,
She turns her joyless Eyes.
Ne'er shall she leave that lowly Ground
Till Notes of Triumph bursting round
Proclaim her Reign restor'd:
Till William seek the sad Retreat,
And bleeding at her sacred Feet,
Present the sated Sword.
If, weak to sooth so soft an Heart,
These pictur'd Glories nought impart,
To dry thy constant Tear:
If yet, in Sorrow's distant Eye,
Expos'd and pale thou see'st him lie,
Wild War insulting near:
Where'er from Time Thou court'st Relief.
The Muse shall still, with social Grief,
Her gentlest Promise keep:
Ev'n humble Harting's cottag'd Vale
Shall learn the sad repeated Tale,
And bid her Shepherds weep.
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