On The Death Of Mr Aikman
Oh, could I draw, my friend, thy genuine mind,
Just as the living forms by thee designed;
Of Raphael's figures none should fairer shine,
Nor Titian's colours longer last than mine.
A mind in wisdom old, in lenience young,
From fervent truth where every virtue sprung;
Where all was real, modest, plain, sincere;
Worth above show, and goodness unsevere.
Viewed round and round, as lucid diamonds throw
Still as you turn them a revolving glow,
So did his mind reflect with secret ray,
In various virtues, Heaven's internal day;
Whether in high discourse it soared sublime,
And sprung impatient o'er the bounds of Time,
Or wandering nature through with raptured eye,
Adored the hand that turned yon azure sky;
Whether to social life he bent his thought,
And the right poise of mingling passions sought
Gay converse blessed; or in the thoughtful grove
Bid the heart open every source of love;
New varying lights still set before your eyes
The just, the good, the social, or the wise.
For such a death who can, who would refuse
The friend a tear, a verse the mournful muse?
Yet pay we just acknowledgment to heaven,
Though snatched so soon, that Aikman e'er was given.
A friend, when dead, is but removed from sight,
Hid in the lustre of eternal light;
Oft with the mind he wonted converse keeps
In the lone walk, or when the body sleeps
Lets in a wandering ray, and all elate
Wings and attracts her to another state;
And, when the parting storms of life are o'er,
May yet rejoin him in a happier shore.
As those we love, decay, we die in part,
String after string is severed from the heart;
Till loosened life at last - but breathing clay,
Without one pang, is gald to fall away.
Unhappy he who latest feels the blow,
Whose eyes have wept o'er every friend laid low,
Dragged lingering on from partial death to death;
And dying, all he can resign is breath.