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In whose acclaim the loftiest voices vied,
The praised the proud-who made his praise their
When the loud cry of trampled Hindostan (1)
Arose to Heaven in her appeal from man,
His was the thunder-his the avenging rod,
The wrath—the delegated voice of God!
Which shook the nations through his lips—and blazed
Till vanquish'd senates trembled as they praised.
And here, oh! here, where yet all young
The gay creations of his spirit charm,
The matchless dialogue—the deathless wit,
Which knew not what it was to intermit;
The glowing portraits, fresh from life, that bring
Home to our hearts the truth from which they spring ;
These wondrous beings of his Fancy, wrought
To fulness by the fiat of his thought,
Here in their first abode
Bright with the hues of his Promethean heat;
A halo of the light of other days,
Which still the splendour of its orb betrays.
But should there be to whom the fatal blight
Of failing Wisdom yields a base delight,
Men who exult when minds of heavenly tone
Jar in the music which was born their own,
Still let them pause--Ah! little do they know
That what to them seem'd Vice might be but Woe.
Hard is his fate on whom the public gaze
Is fix'd for ever to detract or praise;
Repose denies her requiem to his name,
And Folly loves the martyrdom of Fame.
The secret enemy whose sleepless eye
Stands sentinel-accuser-judge—and spy,
The foethe fool—the jealous—and the vain,
The envious who but breathe in others' pain,
Behold the host! delighting to deprave,
Who track the steps of Glory to the grave,
Watch every fault that daring Genius owes
Half to the ardour which its birth bestows,
Distort the truth, accumulate the lie,
And pile the Pyramid of Calumny!
These are his portion-but if join'd to these
Gaunt Poverty should league with deep Disease,
If the high Spirit must forget to soar,
And stoop to strive with Misery at the door,
To soothe Indignity—and face to face
Meet sordid Rage—and wrestle with Disgrace,
To find in Hope but the renewid caress,
The serpent-fold of further Faithlessness,-
If such may be the Ills which men assail,
What marvel if at last the mightiest fail?
Breasts to whom all the strength of feeling given
Bear hearts electric-charged with fire from Heaven,
Black with the rude collision, inly torn,
By clouds surrounded, and on whirlwinds borne,
Driven o'er the lowering atmosphere that nurst
Thoughts which have turn'd to thunder-scorch-and
But far from us and from our mimic scene
Such things should be—if such have ever been;
Ours be the gentler wish, the kinder task,
To give the tribute Glory need not ask,
To mourn the vanish'd beam-and add our mite
Of praise in payment of a long delight.
Ye Orators! whom yet our councils yield,
Mourn for the veteran Hero of
The worthy rival of the wondrous Three! (2)
Whose words were sparks of Immortality!
Ye Bards! to whom the Drama's Muse is dear,
He was your Master-emulate him here!
Ye men of wit and social eloquence!
He was your brother-bear his ashes hence !
While Powers of mind almost of boundless range,
Complete in kind—as various in their change,
While Eloquence-Wit-Poesy—and Mirth,
That humbler Harmonist of care on Earth,
Survive within our souls—while lives our sense
Of pride in Merit's proud pre-eminence,
Long shall we seek his likeness-long in vain,
And turn to all of him which may remain,
Sighing that Nature form’d but one such man,
And broke the die-in moulding Sheridan!
Note 1, page 123, line 3. When the loud cry of trampled Hindostan. See Fox, Burke, and Pitt's eulogy on Mr. Sheridan's speech on the charges exhibited against Mr. Hastings in the House of Commons. Mr. Pitt entreated the House to adjourn, to give time for a calmer consideration of the question than could then occur after the immediate effect of that oration.
Note 2, page 125, line 15.
The worthy rival of the wondrous Three !