Sweet melancholy Bard! whose piercing thought
Found humblest themes with pure instruction fraught;
How hard for mortal sight to trace the ways
Of Heav'n throughout thy life's mysterious maze!
Why was it order'd that thy gentle mind,
Which fancy fir'd and piety refin'd,
Should in this guilty world be forc'd to dwell,
Like some base culprit in his gloomy cell,
Rous'd from its due repose by feverish dreams,
By goblin forms, by din of fancied screams?
Why was that fertile genius waste and chill'd?
By wintry blasts its opening blossoms kill'd?
A soil where Yemen's spicy buds might blow,
And Persia's rose a purer fragrance know!
Why bloom'd so late those sweet poetic flowers,
Bless'd by no summer suns, no vernal showers,
Which in the autumn of thy days were rear'd
By friendship's dew, by fickle zephyrs cheer'd?
I hear a distant Seraph bid me "Hold,
Nor tempt high Heav'n by such inquiries bold.
Weak-sighted mortal! canst thou not discern.
What from unaided reason thou might'st learn?
Had fortune's sunbeams cheer'd his early days,
Amidst the soft favonian breath of praise,
Those fruitful virtues which sprang up so fair,
Those blossoms breathing odors on the air,
By weeds of pride and vanity o'ergrown,
Unheeded might have bloom'd, and died unknown.
Presumptuous mortal 'twould become thee well
On this thy fellow mortal's life to dwell;
For in his breast, when rack'd by fiercest woes,
To question Heav'n, no daring thought e'er rose.
His actions vice and folly view with shame;
His precepts foul-mouth'd envy dares not blame;
His well-lov'd image still calls many a tear;
His cherish'd name all ages shall revere."