The Huron Chief, and Other Poems

by Adam Kidd


 

MONODY,

TO THE SHADE OF LORD BYRON.


 

True, thou hadst faults—and who has not?
    But were thine still of deeper dye,
Than crimes of some who share that spot
    Where thou wert deemed unfit to lie?
Ah, no!—And yet to judge I dare
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    Of every fruit which bears thy name,
As well as he who would not spare
    One corner for thy deathless fame!
Yet, Westminster, in all her pride
    Of sculptured grandeur, never knew,
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Nor placed within her marbled side,
    A bard, whose claim’s more justly due.
Then, BYRON! until Time’s last verge,
    The weeping muse the tale shall tell,
And sigh thy melancholy dirge,
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    Thou star of genius, loved too well. [Page 136]
Ah! why say loved?—has not the Dean*
    With soul so pious, weighed thy worth—
Refused thee all that could remain—
    One spot in consecrated earth!
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But, sweetest bard—no matter where
    The mortal wreck of dust be thrown—
A monument thou’lt ever share
    In hearts of feeling, like thine own.
Yes, genius will record thy name—
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    And poets yet unborn will sing
Thy lasting praise, and still proclaim
    Thee master of the dulcet string.
The haughty Dean shall be forgot,
    Nor known beyond his life’s short span— [Page 137]
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His mem’ry with himself shall rot,
    Unmourned, unwept by muse or man.
Oh, BYRON! thou shalt point the way,
    Where sordid dullness can’t obtrude,
And shine, in heaven’s clear galaxy,
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    A star of brightest magnitude.
The rising youth will catch the beam
    That falls from splendour such as thine—
His heart will drink the living stream,
    And feel each ray as if divine.
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And while he views thine orb so bright,
    To yon grey towers his thoughts he’ll turn—
And ask, who dared oppose thy right
    To sleep within her guarded urn?
Nor can he doubt, there many a heart—
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    Though basely born—ignobly bred—
Has found a tomb, where dwell apart
    Memorials of the mighty dead.
Are trifling fops, whose highest powers
    Were spent in fashion’s giddy round, [Page 138]
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Deemed worthier of those reverend towers.
    For rest upon that sacred ground?
Or, is it that thy works proclaim
    Thy corse unfit to grace that hall?—
Oh, stranger! read each burnished name,
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    And say, was BYRON’S worse than all?
No—there are bards and lordlings too,
    Whose sculptured columns proudly rise,
Whose souls were black in heaven’s view,
    Whose works have spread despair and sighs.
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Unblushing, who religion scorned,
    Fair virtue mocked in wanton jest—
Yet, by a worthier crowd adorned,
    They press upon thy sacred breast.
The muse, too modest for the strain,
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    Deigns not to touch the trembling chord,
That here could waken thoughts of pain,
    At mention e’en of many a lord.
But Greece, when o’er the Turkish yoke,
    Refulgent shall in glory rise, [Page 139]
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Will BYRON’S deathless shade invoke,
    And point tow’rds Britain’s favourite skies.
’Midst bards of old she’ll mix thy name—
    Her champion in affliction’s hour—
Then shalt thou shine with brighter fame,
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    And scorn pale envy’s narrow power.
BYRON, farewell! thy name shall live,
    Untouched by time, or fell decay—
And future bards, in songs, will give
    Thy memory to posterity. [Page 140]
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* Perhaps it may be well here to observe, that the present Dean of Westminster would not allow the remains of the immortal BYRON a small spot among the tombs of his literary countrymen—judging that the writings and conduct of the noble Bard had altogether rendered him unworthy of such an honour!—proh pudor! Yet, were others to sit in judgment, like the pious Dean! on the literary foibles and immoral conduct of many who have been admitted to the sacred precincts of Westminster, it is almost certain, the uncompromising BYRON would stand forth from the impartial ordeal, the most pure and spotless. [back]