Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. IV. Wordsworth to Rossetti
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. IV. The Nineteenth Century: Wordsworth to Rossetti
 
Extract from The Pleasures of Memory
By Samuel Rogers (1763–1855)
 
  OFT may the spirits of the dead descend
To watch the silent slumbers of a friend;
To hover round his evening-walk unseen,
And hold sweet converse on the dusky green;
To hail the spot where first their friendship grew,        5
And heaven and nature opened to their view!
Oft, when he trims his cheerful hearth, and sees
A smiling circle emulous to please;
There may these gentle guests delight to dwell,
And bless the scene they loved in life so well!        10
  Oh thou! with whom my heart was wont to share
From Reason’s dawn each pleasure and each care;
With whom, alas! I fondly hoped to know
The humble walks of happiness below;
If thy blest nature now unites above        15
An angel’s pity with a brother’s love,
Still o’er my life preserve thy mild controul,
Correct my views, and elevate my soul;
Grant me thy peace and purity of mind,
Devout yet cheerful, active yet resigned;        20
Grant me, like thee, whose heart knew no disguise,
Whose blameless wishes never aimed to rise,
To meet the changes Time and Chance present
With modest dignity and calm content.
When thy last breath, ere Nature sunk to rest,        25
Thy meek submission to thy God expressed,
When thy last look, ere thought and feeling fled,
A mingled gleam of hope and triumph shed,
What to thy soul its glad assurance gave,
Its hope in death, its triumph o’er the grave?        30
The sweet Remembrance of unblemished youth,
The still inspiring voice of Innocence and Truth!
  Hail, MEMORY, hail! in thy exhaustless mine
From age to age unnumbered treasures shine!
Thought and her shadowy brood thy call obey,        35
And Place and Time are subject to thy sway!
Thy pleasures most we feel, when most alone;
The only pleasures we can call our own.
Lighter than air, Hope’s summer-visions die,
If but a fleeting cloud obscure the sky;        40
If but a beam of sober Reason play,
Lo, Fancy’s fairy frost-work melts away!
But can the wiles of Art, the grasp of Power,
Snatch the rich relics of a well-spent hour?
These, when the trembling spirit wings her flight,        45
Pour round her path a stream of living light,
And gild those pure and perfect realms of rest
Where Virtue triumphs and her sons are blest!
 
 
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