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Poem by Henry Kirke White

Inscription for a Monument to the Memory of Cowper

Reader! if with no vulgar sympathy
Thou view'st the wreck of genius and of worth,
Stay thou thy footsteps near this hallow'd spot.
Here Cowper rests. Although renown have made
His name familiar to thine ear, this stone
May tell thee that his virtues were above
The common portion:that the voice, now hush'd
In death, was once serenely querulous
With pity's tones, and in the ear of woe
Spake music. Now, forgetful, at thy feet,
His tired head presses on its last long rest,
Still tenant of the tomb;and on the cheek,
Once warm with animation's lambent flush,
Sits the pale image of unmark'd decay.
Yet mourn not. He had chosen the better part;
And, these sad garments of Mortality
Put off, we trust, that to a happier land
He went a light and gladsome passenger.
Sigh'st thou for honours, reader? Call to mind
That glory's voice is impotent to pierce
The silence of the tomb! but virtue blooms
Even on the wreck of life, and mounts the skies.
So gird thy loins with lowliness, and walk
With Cowper on the pilgrimage of Christ.

Henry Kirke White

Henry Kirke White's other poems:
  1. I'm Pleased and Yet I'm Sad
  2. Description of a Summers Eve
  3. The Trent
  4. To an Early Primrose
  5. The Prostitute

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