Oliver Goldsmith

(10 November 1730 – 4 April 1774 / County Longford / Ireland)

Threnodia Augustalis: Overture - Pastorale - Poem by Oliver Goldsmith

MAN SPEAKER.
FAST by that shore where Thames' translucent stream
Reflects new glories on his breast,
Where, splendid as the youthful poet's dream,
He forms a scene beyond Elysium blest --
Where sculptur'd elegance and native grace
Unite to stamp the beauties of the place,
While sweetly blending still are seen
The wavy lawn, the sloping green --
While novelty, with cautious cunning,
Through ev'ry maze of fancy running,
From China borrows aid to deck the scene --
There, sorrowing by the river's glassy bed,
Forlorn, a rural bard complain'd,
All whom Augusta's bounty fed,
All whom her clemency sustain'd;
The good old sire, unconscious of decay,
The modest matron, clad in homespun gray,
The military boy, the orphan'd maid,
The shatter'd veteran, now first dismay'd;
These sadly join beside the murmuring deep,
And, as they view
The towers of Kew,
Call on their mistress -- now no more -- and weep.

CHORUS. -- AFFETTUOSO. -- LARGO.
Ye shady walks, ye waving greens,
Ye nodding towers, ye fairy scenes --
Let all your echoes now deplore
That she who form'd your beauties is no more.

MAN SPEAKER.
First of the train the patient rustic came,
Whose callous hand had form'd the scene,
Bending at once with sorrow and with age,
With many a tear and many a sigh between;
'And where,' he cried, 'shall now my babes have bread,
Or how shall age support its feeble fire?
No lord will take me now, my vigour fled,
Nor can my strength perform what they require;
Each grudging master keeps the labourer bare --
A sleek and idle race is all their care.
My noble mistress thought not so:
Her bounty, like the morning dew,
Unseen, though constant, used to flow;
And as my strength decay'd, her bounty grew.'

WOMAN SPEAKER.
In decent dress, and coarsely clean,
The pious matron next was seen --
Clasp'd in her hand a godly book was borne,
By use and daily meditation worn;
That decent dress, this holy guide,
Augusta's care had well supplied.
'And ah!' she cries, all woe-begone,
'What now remains for me?
Oh! where shall weeping want repair,
To ask for charity?
Too late in life for me to ask,
And shame prevents the deed,
And tardy, tardy are the times
To succour, should I need.
But all my wants, before I spoke,
Were to my Mistress known;
She still reliev'd, nor sought my praise,
Contented with her own.
But ev'ry day her name I'll bless,
My morning prayer, my evening song,
I'll praise her while my life shall last,
A life that cannot last me long.'

SONG. BY A WOMAN.
Each day, each hour, her name I'll bless --
My morning and my evening song;
And when in death my vows shall cease,
My children shall the note prolong.

MAN SPEAKER.
The hardy veteran after struck the sight,
Scarr'd, mangled, maim'd in every part,
Lopp'd of his limbs in many a gallant fight,
In nought entire -- except his heart.
Mute for a while, and sullenly distress'd,
At last the impetuous sorrow fir'd his breast.
'Wild is the whirlwind rolling
O'er Afric's sandy plain,
And wild the tempest howling
Along the billow'd main:
But every danger felt before --
The raging deep, the whirlwind's roar --
Less dreadful struck me with dismay,
Than what I feel this fatal day.
Oh, let me fly a land that spurns the brave,
Oswego's dreary shores shall be my grave;
I'll seek that less inhospitable coast,
And lay my body where my limbs were lost.'

SONG. BY A MAN. -- BASSO. SPIRITOSO.
Old Edward's sons, unknown to yield,
Shall crowd from Crecy's laurell'd field,
To do thy memory right;
For thine and Britain's wrongs they feel,
Again they snatch the gleamy steel,
And wish the avenging fight.

WOMAN SPEAKER.
In innocence and youth complaining,
Next appear'd a lovely maid,
Affliction o'er each feature reigning,
Kindly came in beauty's aid;
Every grace that grief dispenses,
Every glance that warms the soul,
In sweet succession charmed the senses,
While pity harmonized the whole.
'The garland of beauty' -- 'tis thus she would say --
'No more shall my crook or my temples adorn,
I'll not wear a garland -- Augusta's away,
I'll not wear a garland until she return;
But alas! that return I never shall see,
The echoes of Thames shall my sorrows proclaim,
There promised a lover to come -- but, O me!
'Twas death, -- 'twas the death of my mistress that came.
But ever, for ever, her image shall last,
I'll strip all the spring of its earliest bloom;
On her grave shall the cowslip and primrose be cast,
And the new-blossomed thorn shall whiten her tomb.'

SONG. BY A WOMAN. -- PASTORALE.
With garlands of beauty the queen of the May
No more will her crook or her temples adorn;
For who'd wear a garland when she is away,
When she is remov'd, and shall never return.

On the grave of Augusta these garlands be plac'd,
We'll rifle the spring of its earliest bloom,
And there shall the cowslip and primrose be cast,
And the new-blossom'd thorn shall whiten her tomb.

CHORUS. -- ALTRO MODO.
On the grave of Augusta this garland be plac'd,
We'll rifle the spring of its earliest bloom,
And there shall the cowslip and primrose be cast,
And the tears of her country shall water her tomb.


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 7, 2010



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