Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ON THE DEATH OF HIS GRACE, JAMES, DUKE OF ORMOND; A PINDARIC ODE, by THOMAS FLATMAN



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ON THE DEATH OF HIS GRACE, JAMES, DUKE OF ORMOND; A PINDARIC ODE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Had not the deathless name of ossory
Last Line: Laid himself only down to rest.
Subject(s): Butler, James. 1st Duke Of Ormonde


I.

HAD not the deathless name of OSSORY
Pow'r to preserve, as well as to create,
And over-rule the dullness of my fate,
A pen so meanly qualified as mine
Might well this mighty task decline,
Too ponderous for feeble Me,
Me so obscure, my glorious theme so bright,
Where all is overpow'ring light
Which never can submit to night.
But sense of deepest gratitude should control
All the despondencies of a trembling soul
And force a modest confidence to inspire
The coldest breast with an uncommon fire.
Since then, for aught we know,
The separated happy spirits above
Sometimes regard our pious love,
And are not much disturb'd at what we kindly do.
Let ORMOND'S gentle ghost look down
Full of kind compassion,
And pity what my duty prompts me to.
Fain would I pay my tribute ever due
To his immortal memory:
But what immortal methods to pursue
Is understood by very few;
The noblest bard that ever wore the bays
Would here fall short in sorrow, and in praise.

II.

Our stock of tears would soon exhausted be
Were every eye a sea,
And grief would swell to prodigality;
Th' irreparable loss, if duly weigh'd,
Would make posterity afraid,
For ORMOND in his radiant course has done
What did amaze, what durst abide the sun,
And struck with terror all the envious lookers on:
Whether with ecstasy we think upon
His goodly person or his matchless mind,
Where shall the most inquisitive mortal find
A more accomplish'd hero left behind?
As he were sent from heaven, design'dly great,
To dote on still, but not presume to imitate,
Or whether with regret we cast an eye
On his unbounded liberality,
His unaffected piety,
Or more than human magnanimity
(Virtues inimitable all),
The joyful beadsman and the Church will tell
The story, scarce hereafter credible,
And call his life one long-continued miracle.

III.

Say, all you younger sons of Honour, say,
You that in peace appear so brisk and gay,
Is it a little thing to forfeit all
At Loyalty's tremendous call,
And stand with resolution in defence
Of a despised calamitous Prince,
To fight against our stars, and to defy
The last efforts of prosperous villainy,
And -- when the hurricane of the state grew high --
To brave the thunder and the lightning scorn,
The beauteous fabric into pieces torn,
Imprisonment and exile to disdain
For a neglected Sovereign;
Still to espouse a crazy, tottering crown?
This, mighty ORMOND, was thy own,
This glory thou deserv'dst to have,
This bravery thou hast carried with thee to thy grave.
Let other lesser Great ones live, to try
Thy arduous paths to fame;
Let them bid fair for immortality,
And to procure an everlasting name;
And may thy sacred ashes smile to see
Their vain, their frivolous attempts to rival Mighty Thee.

IV.

O noble, fortunate old Man!
Though thou hadst still lived on
To Nestor's centuries, thou hadst died too soon;
Too soon alas! for heav'n could never be
Or weary or ashamed to find fresh toils for thee:
What wiser head, or braver arm than thine
Could heav'n contrive to manage heav'n's design!
And what Herculean labour is too hard
For such a mind, so well prepared,
Ever above the prospect of Regard,
And that unfashionable thing, Reward!
Many have been thy gloomy days,
Yet ever happy hast thou been;
In every state thou merit'dst praise,
And thou hast never wanted it within.
All after fourscore years is grief and pain;
Those honourably pass'd, thou didst resign
Thy empire over every heart;
From thine this sceptre never shall depart,
But the succession evermore remain:
'Twas time for thee to die, and let a second ORMOND reign.

V.

How shall I mention thy lamented death,
Thy only blemish -- thy mortality!
For 'tis too much disparagement for thee
To be involved in common destiny
And like inglorious men give up thy precious breath.
A fiery chariot should have snatch'd thee hence,
And all the host of heav'n convened to see
Th' assumption of a godlike Prince
Into th' ineffable society:
Half-way at least part of th' immaculate train
With palms should have attended thee,
Thy harbingers to the triumphant hierarchy,
Then big with wonder mounted up again.
What can the tongues of men or angels say,
What Boanerges ne'er so loud,
If they would speak of thy prodigious day,
Of which an emperor's history would be proud
Farewell, dead Prince -- oh might it not be said,
Though a desirable euthanasy
Prepared the way for deifying thee,
ORMOND like other men must die,
For he with a fatigue of victory oppress'd
Laid himself only down to rest.





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