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Poem by Allan Ramsay


To the Memory of Sir Isaac Newton: Inscrib'd to the Royal Society of London, for the Improving of Natural Knowledge


     An ode

Great Newton 's dead! Ч full ripe his fame;
Cease vulgar grief, to cloud our song:
We thank the Author of our frame,
Who lent him to the earth so long.

The godlike man now mounts the sky,
Exploring all yon radiant spheres;
And with one view can more descry,
Than here below in eighty years:

Tho' none with greater strength of soul
Could rise to more divine a height,
Or range the orbs from pole to pole,
And more improve the human sight.

Now with full joy he can survey
These worlds, and ev'ry shining blaze,
That countless in the milky way
Only thro' glasses shew their rays.

Thousands in thousand arts excell'd,
But often to one part confin'd:
While ev'ry science stood reveal'd
And clear to his capacious mind.

His penetration, most profound,
Launch'd far in that extended sea,
Where human minds can reach no bound,
And never div'd so deep as he.

Sons of the east and western world,
When on this leading star ye gaze,
While magnets guide the sail unfurl'd,
Pay to his memory due praise.

Thro' ev'ry maze he was the guide;
While others crawl'd, he soar'd above:
Yet modesty, unstain'd with pride,
Increas'd his merit, and our love.

He shun'd the sophistry of words,
Which only hatch contentious spite;
His learning turn'd on what affords
By demonstration most delight.

Britain may honourably boast,
And glory in her matchless son,
Whose genius has invented most,
And finish'd what the rest begun.

Ye Fellows of the Royal Class,
Who honour'd him to be your head,
Erect in finest stone and brass
Statues of the illustrious dead:

Altho' more lasting than them all,
Or e'en the poet's highest strain,
His works, as long as wheels this ball,
Shall his great memory sustain.

May from your learned Band arise
Newtons to shine thro' future times,
And bring down knowledge from the skies,
To plant on wild barbarian climes.

Till nations, few degrees from brutes,
Be brought into each proper road,
Which leads to wisdom's happiest fruits,
To know their Saviour and their God.



Allan Ramsay


Allan Ramsay's other poems:
  1. Katy's Answer
  2. The Young Laird and Edinburgh Katy
  3. My Peggy Is a Young Thing
  4. Give Me a Lass with a Lump of Land
  5. Elegy on Maggie Johnston


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