Death of Prince Frederic



'Twas on the evening of that gloomy day,
When frederic, ever lov'd, and ever mourn'd,
(Such heav'n's high will, and who shall disobey?)
To earth's cold womb in holy pomp return'd:


With sullen sounds, the death-denouncing bell
Proclaim'd aloud the dismal tale of woe,
The pealing organ join'd the solemn knell,
In mournful notes, majestically slow.


The full-voic'd choir, in stoles of purest white,
With frequent pause, the soul-felt anthem raise;
While o'er the walls in darkest sable dight,
A thousand tapers pour'd their holy blaze.


In high devotion wrapt, the mitred sage,
With energy sublime, the rites began;
While tears from every sex, and every age,
Bewail'd the prince, the father, and the man.


"Who, when our sov'reign liege to fate shall yield,
"Shall prop, like him, Britannia's falling state?
"Who now the vengeful sword of justice wield,
"Or ope, like him, sweet Mercy's golden gate?


"Who shall to Arts their pristine honours bring,
"Rear from the dust fair Learning's laurell'd head,
"Or bid rich commerce plume her daring wing?
"Arts, Learning, Commerce are in frederic dead.


"Who now shall tend, with fond, paternal care,
"The future guardians of our faith and laws?
"Who teach their breasts with patriot worth to dare,
"And die with ardour, in Britannia's cause?


"And who, ah! who, with soft endearing lore,
"Shall sooth, like him, the royal mourner's breast?
"Her lord, her life, her frederic is no more."—
Deep groans and bitter wailings speak the rest.


Then, when at length the awful scene was clos'd,
And dust to dust in holy hope consign'd;
All to their silent homes their steps dispos'd,
To feed on solitary woe the mind;


All but Lorenzo;—he with grief dismay'd;
Nor heeding ought but frederic's hapless fate,
Musing along the cloyster'd temple stray'd,
Till lonely midnight clos'd th' impervious gate.


But when each lamp by slow degrees expir'd,
And total night assumes her silent reign,
Sudden he starts, with wild amazement fir'd,
And big with horror traverses the fane.


The vaulted mansions of th' illustrious dead
Inspire his shudd'ring soul with ghastly fears,
Dire shapes, and beck'ning shades around him tread,
And hollow voices murmur in his ears.


There, as around the monumental maze
Darkling he wanders, a resplendent gleam
Shoots o'er th' illumin'd isle a distant blaze,
Pale as the glow-worm's fire, or Cynthia's beam.


With glory clad, th' imperial shrines among,
Four royal shapes on iv'ry thrones were plac'd,
High o'er their heads four airy diadems hung,
Which never yet their maiden brows had grac'd.


The first was he, whom cressy's glorious plain
Has fam'd for martial deeds and bold emprize;
Nor less his praise in Virtue's milder strain,
Just, humble, learned, merciful and wise.


Next arthur sat, at whose auspicious birth
In one sweet flower the blended roses join'd;
And henry next, fair plant of Scottish earth,
The hope, the joy of albion and mankind.


Yet green in death, the last majestic shade
Wore gracious frederic's mild, endearing look;
To him the rest obeysance courteous paid,
And edward thus the princely form bespoke:


"All hail! illustrious partner of our fate,
"For whom, as once for us, Britannia bleeds;
"Hail! to the mansions of the good and great,
"Where crowns immortal wait on virtuous deeds.


"The same our fortune, as our worth the same,
"(To worth like ours short date doth heav'n assign)
"As one our fortune, one shall be our fame,
"And long record our deathless names shall join.


"But oh! I tremble for Britannia's state,
"May guardian pow'rs avert the dire presage!
"For well she knows, at our untimely fate
"How heav'n's dread vengeance smote each sinful age.


"The regal staff aspiring bolingbroke
"Snatch'd with rude grasp from richard's princely hand;
"Loos'd from hell's confines, civil Discord shook
"The dubious throne, and tore the bleeding land.


"When arthur died, imperious henry's thirst
"Of subject's blood, nor heeded sex nor age;
"His wives a sacrifice to vagrant lust,
"His nobles victims to tyrannic rage.


"When pious charles in right fraternal reign'd,
"Rebellion proudly stalk'd from shore to shore,
"Her laws, her rights, her holy faith profan'd,
"And dy'd the guilty land with royal gore.


"Yet ah! may pity move relenting heav'n!
"Enough she groans beneath her present woe;
 "Enough to vengeance is already given;
"Her frederic's dead;—there needs no other blow."


Scarce had he spoken, when the bird of day
'Gan morn's approach with clarion shrill declare,
At once th' unbodied phantoms fade away,
The fond illusion all dissolves in air.