Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON THE DEATH OF MR. JAMES VALENTINE, by JAMES HAY BEATTIE



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ON THE DEATH OF MR. JAMES VALENTINE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Ye clouds that in tempestuous grandeur driven
Last Line: And give me back my loved, lamented valentine.
Subject(s): Death; Disasters; Shipwrecks; Dead, The


YE clouds that in tempestuous grandeur driven
Involve in twilight gloom the noon-day heaven;
Ye torrents, down these craggy cliffs that roar;
Ye murmurs hoarse, that sweep the pebbly shore;
Ye winds that whistle, and ye waves that roll;
Well do ye suit the sadness of my soul.
Yes, ye rude rocks, the lingering sounds return,
Ye woods, wave high your hoary heads, and mourn,
And howl, ye melancholy gales, along,
Wafting the wild notes of funereal song.
Yet, why for him attune funereal lays,
Him deaf to mortal plaint, and mortal praise;
Safe, where no perils threat, no anguish stings,
But peace for ever spreads triumphant wings!
Where hosts of Seraphim hosannas raise,
And worlds to worlds resound their Maker's praise;
Where sorrow, toil, and care, in rapture drown'd,
Heaven's everlasting splendour blazes round.
The virtuous man, who nobly yields his breath,
Requires not sorrow, but exults in death:
Crown'd with fair fame the patriot hero's bier
Disclaims the tribute of a tender tear.
Let tender tears embalm the gentle maid,
In the gay morn of life whose beauties fade:
Oft at her tomb the village train be seen,
To deck with wreathes of freshest flower the green,
There let the nightingale along the grove,
At the lone midnight hour lament her love;
The snow-drop there a sickly blossom shed,
The lily languishingly hang the head;
And there the lay of wo her doom deplore,
Who bloom'd, and smiled, and charm'd, and is no more.
But other music to thy grave be born,
And trophies different far thy turf adorn.
There let the oak in majesty arise,
Its giant arms wide-waving in the skies;
Fated perhaps with Britain's flag to shine,
And future heroes bear to deeds like thine.
That mount, where thy remains in honour sleep,
Amid the murmur of th' encircling deep,
Thy friends, who still the patriot ardour share,
Shall visit, and shall love to linger there;
Heave, in ecstatick tears, affection's sigh,
And wish like thee to live, like thee to die:
Like thee, from discontent secure and strife,
To flourish through the vernal years of life;
Then ripe in glory sink into the grave,
Mourn'd by the good, and envy'd by the brave.
Full often, when at length are past away
The languid moments of the lonely day,
And night a welcome change of scene supplies,
Spreading her sparkling mantle o'er the skies,
In sleep I see the elements engage,
And hear the winds howl, and the waters rage.
—That solitary bark contends in vain,
Toss'd in th' infuriate uproar of the main,
While mountain waves in long array are driven,
And the fierce lightning fires the angry heaven.
Lo, plunging far down, down the billowy steep
She reels: and lo, she sinks for ever in the deep.
Shivering I wake in tears, aghast, forlorn,
To waste in wo the melancholy morn.
Father Almighty, whose supreme control
In light and life makes worlds unnumber'd roll;
Whose providence, to man for ever kind,
By grief refines, with comfort calms the mind;
Whose chastenings, proof of thy paternal love,
Teach hope to soar to better worlds above:
O when in light these shadows melt away,
In light, the dawning of eternal day;
When the high trump of heaven, with mellow breath,
Pours thrilling thunder in the ear of death;
On me may that last morn serenely shine,
And give me back my loved, lamented VALENTINE.





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