Archive for June 5th, 2013

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Philander: an Imitation of Spencer: occasioned by the Death of Mr William Levinz, of MC, Oxon, November 1706 by Thomas Warton (the Elder)

Give me, ye weeping Nine, the softest Airs,
Whilst I with you Philander’s Fate condole;
Let Pity grace each sadly-pleasing Verse,
And tender Words that thrill the melting Soul:
Echo shall kindly answer as I mourn,
And gently-wafted Sounds my doleful Plaints return.

When rural Spencer sung, the list’ning Swains
Would oft’ forget to feed the fleecy Throng;
The fleecy Throng, charm’d with the melting Strains,
Fed not — but on the Musick of his Song;
His Mulla would in ling’ring Bubbles play,
‘Till his pleas’d Waters stole unwillingly away.

And cou’d my Verse but with its Theme compare,
Moving as Spencer I my Grief wou’d tell;
The ravish’d Bard shou’d to Elysium hear
A second Colin mourn a second Astrophel.
My Lays shou’d more than equal Glory boast,
And the fam’d Mulla be in smoother Cherwell lost.

Cherwell! bless’d Stream while Philander liv’d!
Where-e’er thy Waves in mazy Windings turn,
Tell ev’ry Stream of whom they are depriv’d,
And bid ’em all in sobbing Murmurs mourn:
Oft’ on thy Banks he’d tell thy Praises o’er,
Twas there I saw him last — but oh! shall see no more.

Look, said the Youth, (as then he wond’ring stood)
How Cherwell’s Waves in dinted Dimples smile!
I joy to see his amicable Flood
With circling Arms embrace the happy Soil:
How loth he seems those charming Shades to leave,
That from his silver Urn a nobler Grace receive!—

—But mute is now the Musick of that Voice,
That to th’ attentive Flood such Praises gave!—
‘Mong Bones and Skulls the dear Philander lies,
Cold, cold, and silent as the dismal Grave!—
Mourn then, ye Youths, for ever mourn his Fate;
Ye cannot grieve too long — but oh ye grieve too late!

—Look all around the Woods, and Plains, and Floods;
Do not ev’n they the mighty Loss deplore?
Lo Pleasure leaves the Floods, and Plains, and Woods!
And pensive Birds now warble there no more;
But pining Doves, and moaning Turtles coo,
And Choirs of Swans make up the Harmony of Woe.

Their tuneful Sorrow ravishes my Ear,
While mourning Vegetables please the Eye;
The sick’ning Flow’rs their Heads but faintly rear,
And droop beneath the dewy Tears, and die!
Like them the Youth a thousand Charms cou’d boast,
—But oh the Youth like them those short-liv’d Charms has lost!

Say, You his Friends, Companions of my Woe,
Say what kind Gentleness adorn’d his Mind?
Tell me, can You such native Candour show?
And may we still a true Philander find?
Vain Hope! — let all with gen’rous Shame confess,
None e’er excell’d you more — and yet cou’d know it less.

Oft wou’d the Youth into himself descend,
And act at once the Confessor and Saint;
How pleas’d he’d see th’ examin’d Breast unstain’d,
And say with modest Joy “I’m Innocent!”
Confed’rate Graces spoke him Whole Divine,
All beautiful without, and spotless all within.

And must such fair Perfection yield to Fate?
Why was thy early Goodness ripe so soon?
Ye Pow’rs! let Virtue have a longer Date,
Or some prevailing Muse to make it known:
Oh! cou’d these Lays proportion’d Praises give,
The lovely Youth shou’d still in deathless Numbers live!

Thou constant Object of my lab’ring Thought!
Tho’ thy dear Presence cruel Death denies,
Oft is thy Shade by kinder Morpheus brought,
And oft by Fancy to my longing Eyes:
Sometimes my Thoughts thy dying Gasps renew,
Ev’n now methinks I see all Death expos’d to View.

I see Philander on his Death-bed lain!
What griping Pangs his tortur’d Heart corrode!
Look how resign’d he bears each smarting Pain!
And inly groaning invocates his God!
How chang’d he looks! how ashy pale his Hue!
I ne’er unwilling saw the lovely Youth ’till now!

Are those the Arms with which we oft embrac’d?
Those Hands, benumm’d, and cold, are those like his?
And his dear Lips, by constant Learning grac’d,
Say, did they tremble, and look wan as these?—
—Love might with Fear a doubtful Strife maintain,
But that my Griefs present a yet more dismal Scene.

Behold! his Friends all croud around his Bed!
Hark with what bitter Cries they o’er him moan!
Look on their streaming Eyes! what Tears thy shed!
Their Grief makes all his Miseries their own!
And while this Pomp of Death Philander sees,
The dying Youth by their’s perceives his Miseries.

Now his chill Face with eager Lips they kiss,
Grasp his cold Hand, and take their last Farewell!—
How languishing they fix their Eyes on his!
Their aking Sight cou’d there for ever dwell!
Too well they know those parting Looks are vain,
And turn themselves aside — yet needs must look again.

—But doubtful Mists swim hov’ring o’er his Eyes,
That feebly round their hollow Orbits rowl;
Whilst in imperfect Groans and less’ning Sighs,
With pious Carelessness he yields his Soul;
His Soul unfetter’d seeks the Realms of Light,
And to her native Heav’n she takes her tow’ring Flight.

But who can tell his weeping Mother’s Care?
His Death in vain by silent Friends is hid.
For conscious Tears the fatal Truth declare,
And their expressive Silence says, He’s Dead!
Her still-born Sorrow speaks an inward Woe,
Beyond what Sighs, or Tears, or Words unequal show.

O cease, thou good Sophronia, left forlorn,
For thy much-lov’d Philander weeps no more;
Those, who thy Son’s sad Fate cou’d never mourn,
Will ev’n his living Mother now deplore;
For when such Piety in Tears they view,
Their soften’d Hearts must grieve to symphathize with You.

Look on thy Daughter, beauteous in Distress,
Nor think while Stella lives Philander lost;
Oh! may kind Heav’n in Her your Griefs redress,
And You in one num’rous Blessing boast!
May His redoubl’d Life to her return!
And you in Stella see Philanders yet unborn!


Date: 1706

By: Thomas Warton (the Elder) (c1688-1745)