Elegy III. On the Untimely Death of a Certain Learned Acquainance

If proud Pygmalion quit his cumbrous frame,
Funereal pomp the scanty tear supplies;
Whilst heralds loud, with venal voice, proclaim,
Lo! here the brave and the puissant lies.

When humbler Alcon leaves his drooping friends,
Pageant nor plume distinguish Alcon's bier;
The faithful Muse with votive song attends,
And blots the mournful numbers with a tear.

He little knew the sly penurious art;
That odious art which Fortune's favourites know:
Form'd to bestow, he felt the warmest heart,
But envious Fate forbade him to bestow.

He little knew to ward the secret wound;
He little knew that mortals could ensnare:
Virtue he knew; the noblest joy he found
To sing her glories, and to paint her fair.

Ill was he skill'd to guide his wandering sheep;
And unforeseen disaster thinn'd his fold;
Yet at another's loss the swain would weep;
And, for his friend, his very crook was sold.

Ye sons of Wealth! protect the Muses' train;
From winds protect them, and with food supply:
Ah! helpless they, to ward the threaten'd pain,
The meagre famine, and the wintry sky!

He loved a nymph; amidst his slender store
He dared to love, and Cynthia was his theme:
He breathed his plaints along the rocky shore;
They only echo'd o'er the winding stream!

His nymph was fair! the sweetest bud that blows
Revives less lovely from the recent shower;
So Philomel enamour'd eyes the rose
Sweet bird! enamour'd of the sweetest flower.

He loved the Muse; she taught him to complain;
He saw his timorous loves on her depend:
He loved the Muse, although she taught in vain;
He loved the Muse, for she was Virtue's friend.

She guides the foot that treads on Parian floors;
She wins the ear when formal pleas are vain;
She tempts Patricians from the fatal doors
Of Vice's brothel, forth to Virtue's fane.

He wish'd for wealth, for much he wish'd to give;
He grieved that virtue might not wealth obtain:
Piteous of woes, and hopeless to relieve,
The pensive prospect sadden'd all his strain.

I saw him faint! I saw him sink to rest!
Like one ordain'd to swell the vulgar throng;
As though the Virtues had not warm'd his breast,
As though the Muses not inspired his tongue.

I saw his bier ignobly cross the plain;
Saw peasant hands the pious rite supply:
The generous rustics mourn'd the friendly swain,
But Power and Wealth's unvarying cheek was dry!

Such Alcon fell; in meagre want forlorn!
Where were ye then, ye powerful Patrons, where?
Would ye the purple should your limbs adorn?
Go wash the conscious blemish with a tear.

Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)
 

Submitted on May 13, 2011

87 Views

Translation

Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Discuss this William Shenstone poem with the community:

Citation

Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

Style:MLAChicagoAPA

"Elegy III. On the Untimely Death of a Certain Learned Acquainance" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 14 Jul 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/41541/elegy-iii.-on-the-untimely-death-of-a-certain-learned-acquainance>.

We need you!

Help us build the largest poetry community and poems collection on the web!

Our favorite collection of

Famous Poets

»

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.