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As this Spirit sits on his throne elate,
They tender him homage from every sphere:
From the rich, the noble, the wise, the great,
Nay, even the King is a courtier here; And, vassal-like, makes his crown submit
To the majesty of sceptred Wit.
They press him with flattering words and wiles
To honour and grace their lordly halls,
And impart by his mirth, and songs, and smiles,
A glory and zest to their festivals.
For they know that his presence can banish gloom,
And give light and life to the banquet-room.
On what aching hearts hath he gladness pour'd!
In scenes unnumber'd, what countless throngs,
From the public stage to the festive board,
Have enraptured hung on his mirthful songs!
At his wit's incessantly flashing light,
What shouts have startled the ear of night!
the name of the gifted man,
Whose genius thus could enchant the world;
Whose fame through both the hemispheres ran,
Whose flag of triumph was never furld?
You ask it not, for you know that none
But Mathews alone has such trophies won!
Hark to the toll of the passing bell,
Which "swinging slow with solemn roar,"
Carries the dismal funeral knell
O'er the thrilling waves of the Plymouth shore;
And is borne afar by the shuddering breeze,
Nature appears to have thrown a pall
Over that landscape so rich and fair,
For a withering gloom and sadness fall
Alike upon ocean, earth, and air, And the darkling heights in the distance show
Like spectral mourners, grim with woe.
The bittern's wail and the sea-mew's cry,
Seem to share the deep and wide distress,
As their wings they spread, and seaward fly
Away from that scene of wretchedness:
And the booming moan of the distant surge
Falls on the ear like a doleful dirge.
Hark! 'tis a female cry—'tis the sound
Of a widow's heart with anguish torn;
A groan succeeds, and the sob profound
Of a sireless son, aghast, forlorn!
And oh! how loving and loved they were,
Their own ʼreft hearts can alone declare.
Behold! from St. Andrew's Church appears
A funeral train in its sad array,
Whose mourners, blind with their stanchless tears,
With faltering footsteps feel their way
To the bones and mould thrown up in a heap
Beside a sepulchre dark and deep.
The coffin is sunk, the prayer is pour’d
“Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.”
They sprinkle earth on the rattling board,
And they whose heads o’er the grave are thrust,
Draw back at the sound with a shuddering start,
For its awful echoes thrill their heart.
As if it were sent to reveal and bless,
A ray through the lurid vapour beams,
Pierces the sepulchre’s ghastliness,
And lo! on the coffin's plate it gleams.
Th’ inscription now may be plainly read
“ Charles Mathews” —that's the name of the dead.
God! can it be?-is that breath resign’d
Which render'd the brightest joy more bright?
Does that life of life, and mind of mind,
The circle's soul, and the world's delight,
Lie stretch'd in the coffin's silence, dark,
Cold-lifeless--ghastly-stiff and stark?
What proofs of his friendship, wit, and worth,
On memory crowd, and recall past years !
But I cannot give their record birth,
my heart and my eyes are both in tears :
Let me drop the pen,- let me quit the lay,
And rush from my own sad thoughts away.-