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Poem by William Hamilton Reid


An Elegy on the Unknown Author of the Ancient Ballad of Chevy Chace


In deep oblivion's dreary gloom
A magic name at rest is laid;
The ruthless rigours of the tomb
But half conceals the stately shade.

What, if the Muses earth-born name
To blazing Fame has been deny'd,
In Merit's unabating claim
The loss is more than half supply'd.

Perhaps Misfortune, in his youth,
His glowing virtues might assail,
Or o'er the half-rais'd shield of Truth
The points of Envy might prevail.

Or to his rude untutor'd lays
Untimely grand, sublimely wild,
Mute was the voice of Public Praise,
Which made him more Misfortune's child.

Perhaps remote from hall or bower
He wore his pensive hours alone.
Where Dulness lavish'd all her pow'r,
And died unhonour'd and unknown.

But now from vulgar sight debarr'd,
Genii select, his ashes keep,
Their spears transfix'd, their bound'ries guard,
Whilst o'er his grass-green sod they weep.

Yet know, lost Bard of partial fame,
Such flames thy numbers still inspire,
Our village youth oft ask thy name,
And of thy story too enquire.

And brave as in thy forceful lay,
Fair England's boast and Scotia's pride,
Now heap with slain th' embattled way,
'Gainst Gallia fighting side by side.

And down the live-long stream of time,
Thy artless theme shall e'er be sung,
Throughout fair Albion's happy clime,
In moving strain, by many a tongue.



William Hamilton Reid


William Hamilton Reid's other poems:
  1. Ode to Reflexion
  2. Invocation to Melancholy
  3. Elegy, supposed to be written on a Waste near the Charter-house, London
  4. The Tomb of Shere, an Oriental Elegy
  5. Stanzas on Happiness


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