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ON THE DEATH OF MR. JOHN TANDEY, SENR.
A sincere Christian Friend. He died 5th January, 1769, aged 76.
Ye virgins of the sacred choir,
Awake the soul-dissolving lyre,
Begin the mournful strain ;
To deck the much-lov'd Tandey's urn,
Let the poetic genius burn,
And all Parnassus drain.
Ye ghosts ! that leave the silent tomb,
To wander in the midnight gloom,
Unseen by mortal eye;
Garlands of yew and cypress bring,
Adorn his tomb, his praises sing,
And swell the gen'ral sigh.
Ye wretches, who could scarcely save
Your starving offspring from the grave,
By God afflicted sore,
Vent the big tear, the soul-felt sigh,
And swell your meagre infant's cry,
For Tandey is no more.
his charity he dealt,
His melting soul your mis’ries felt,
And made your woes his own :
A common friend to all mankind,
His face the index of his mind,
Where all the saint was shown,
In him the social virtues join'd,
His judgment sound, his sense refin'd,
His actions ever just-
Who can suppress the rising sigh,
To think such saint-like men must die,
And mix with common dust.
Had virtue pow'r from death to save,
The good man ne'er would see the grave,
But live immortal here :
Hawksworth and Tandey are no more ;
Lament, ye virtuous and ye poor,
And drop the unfeigned tear.
N.B.—The above-mentioned gentleman was a man of unblemished character; and father-in-law to Mr. William Barrett, author of the History of Bristol; and lies interred in Redcliff church, in the same vault with Mr. Barrett's wife.-The Elegy would have been inserted in one of the Bristol journals, but was suppressed at the particular request of Mr. Tandey's eldest son.--Note by CHATTERTON.
ON HIS INTENDED MARRIAGE.
MARRIAGE, dear M-, is a serious thing;
'Tis proper every man should think it so :
'Twill either ev'ry human blessing bring,
Or load thee with a settlement of woe.
Sometimes indeed it is a middle state,
Neither supremely blest, nor deeply curst;
A stagnant pool of life; a dream of fate
In my opinion, of all states the worst.
Observe the partner of thy future state :
If no strong vice is stamp'd upon her mind,
Take her; and let her ease thy am'rous pain :
A little error proves her human-kind.
What we call vices are not always such ;
Some virtues scarce deserve the sacred name ;
Thy wife may love, as well as pray too much,
And to another stretch her rising flame.
Choose no religionist; whose every day
Is lost to thee and thine—to none a friend :
Know too, when pleasure calls the heart astray,
The warmest zealot is the blackest fiend.
Let not the fortune first engross thy care,
Let it a second estimation hold ;
A Smithfield-marriage is of pleasures bare,
And love, without the purse, will soon grow cold.
Marry no letter'd damsel, whose wise head
May prove it just to graft the horns on thine :
Marry no idiot, keep her from thy bed-
What the brains want will often elsewhere shine.
A disposition good, a judgment sound,
Will bring substantial pleasures in a wife:
Whilst love and tenderness in thee are found,
Happy and calm will be the married life.
ON THOMAS PHILLIPS' DEATH,*
To Clayfield, long renown'd the Muses' friend,
Presuming on his goodness, this I send ;
Unknown to you, tranquillity and fame,
In this address perhaps I am to blame.
This rudeness let necessity excuse,
And anxious friendship for a much-lov'd muse.
Twice have the circling hours unveild the east,
Since horror found me and all pleasure ceas'd ;
Since ev'ry number tended to deplore;
Since fame asserted, Phillips was no more.
Say, is he mansion’d in his native spheres ?
Or is't a vapor that exhales in tears !
Swift as idea rid me of my pain,
And let my dubious wretchedness be plain.
It is too true: the awful lyre is strung,
His elegy the sister muses sung.
O may he live, and useless be the strain !
Fly, gen'rous Clayfield, rid me of my pain.
Forgive my boldness, think the urgent cause,
And who can bind necessity with laws :
I wait the admirer of your noble parts,
You, friend to genius, sciences, and arts.
• A fac-simile of this poem in Chatterton's hand-writing will be found at page 321. Some few variations will be observed between the autograph and the printed copy.