Archive for June 11th, 2019

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Urania: The Divine Muse. On the Death of John Dryden, Esq. by Sarah Piers

When through the Universe with Horrour spread!
A sacred Voice pronounc’d Great Pan was dead,
All Nature trembled at the, direful Fate,
And Atlas sunk beneath his pond’rous weight;
The mournful Muses hung.their heads with woe,
While ev’ry Deity regrets the Blow,
And to the holy Oracles, deny
All farther Inspects of futurity;
The Earth did under strong Convulsions groan,
And Heaven did eccho back the dreadful -moan:

With no less grief, with no less pain opprest,
Britania felt the wound within her Breast,
When through the murmuring Croud sad Accents bore
The fatal News, that Dryden was no more:
No more, to charm the list’ning World with Lays,
But fled to sing his great Creator’s praise:
No more with artful Numbers, to bestow
An universal Influence below:
No more with all discerning Truth, to tell
How they shou’d act, and how distinguish well,
But Summon’d by Apollo‘s sacred Lyre,
Now chaunts his Raptures in the Heavenly Choir.

Loud were the Clamours, and the moving Cries,
Which cut the yielding Air, and pierc’d the Skies;
While on Parnassus, ’twas the Muses care,
Fresh Garlands for their Darling to prepare;
I search’d the Treasures of the Pow’rs above,
And form’d an Anthem on Seraphick Love:
New Themes we chose, not more polite-than he
Has left already to Posterity;
But those for which the Island does repine,
For which they still invoke his awful Shrine,
And.with transported Sorrow loudly cry,
Virgil, the Roman Eagles taught to fly,
But Dryden mounts their Pinions to the Sky!

To him proud Greece and Italy must bow,
And his sublime Authority allow,
Who by his never-dying Works, we see
Merits, and gives an Immortality.
Oh give us Homer yet, thou glorious Bard;
But if this last Petition can’t be heard,
Yet like that Prophet, wing’d by strong desire,
Who broke from Earth, wrapt in Celestial fire,
Confer thy Spirit on the blooming Son,
And bless the Progress he so well begun;
Let Garth inherit all thy generous Flame,
Garth, who alone can justify the Claim.
He, whom the God of Wisdom did fore-doom,
And stock with Eloquence to pay thy Tomb,
The most triumphant Rites of ancient Rome.

‘Tis this that fills Urania‘s Eyes with Tears.
‘Tis this ungrateful Sound that racks my Ears,
Who now to thee, Melpomene, repair,
To mix my Sorrows with thy anxious care;
Unite us all within thy gloomy Breast,
Where downy Peace, and Pleasure find no rest;
There let us drink the Floods thou shed’st, and then
A deluge of Despair pour out again.
What if our Tears shou’d drown the World a new,
The Sacrifice were to his Manes due.
Who now of Heroes, or of Gods can sing!
Who their Credentials from Apollo bring!
Where shall Urania now bestow her aid!
Or who great Dryden‘s Province dare invade!
Ah none such lofty Subjects can pursue;
The Muses have, alas! no more to do,
Than sing his Elogies, and so expire,
In the cold Urn of his extinguish’d Fire.

But stay, a sudden Thought does now revive
My drooping heart, and keep my hopes alive;
Behold in Albion lately did appear
A learned Bard, to Escalapius dear,
Well knowing in the Secrets of his Skill,
And surely foster’d on Parnassus‘s Hill,
Nor does the Chrystal Helicon bestow
A clearer Stream, than from his Numbers flow:
On him already all the Graces smile,
In him survive new Trophies for the Isle;
More l’le not urge, but know our Wishes can
No higher Soar, since. Garth‘s the Glorious Man;
Him let us Constitute in Dryden‘s stead,
Let Laurels ever flourish on his head,
And let us to Apollo make our Pray’r
To Nominate him his Vice-regent, there;
By this Britannia shall her Joys retrieve,
Nor find that Dryden‘s dead while Garth* does live.

*Samuel Garth (1661-1719) was a physician and poet. He arranged for Dryden’s body to lie in state at the College of Physicians.

From: Manley, Mrs, The Nine muses, or, Poems written by nine several ladies upon the death of the late famous John Dryden, Esq., 1700, Richard Bassett: London, pp. 3-5.
(https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo2/A52350.0001.001)

Date: 1700

By: Sarah Piers (fl. 1697-1714)

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