To every gentle Muse in vain allied,
In youth's full early morning HEADLEY died!
Too long had sickness left her pining trace,
With slow, still touch, on each decaying grace:
Untimely sorrow marked his thoughtful mien!
Despair upon his languid smile was seen!
Yet Resignation, musing on the grave,
(When now no hope could cheer, no pity save),
And Virtue, that scarce felt its fate severe,
And pale Affection, dropping soft a tear
For friends beloved, from whom she soon must part,
Breathed a sad solace on his aching heart.
Nor ceased he yet to stray, where, winding wild,
The Muse's path his drooping steps beguiled,
Intent to rescue some neglected rhyme,
Lone-blooming, from the mournful waste of time;
And cull each scattered sweet, that seemed to smile
Like flowers upon some long-forsaken pile.
Far from the murmuring crowd, unseen, he sought
Each charm congenial to his saddened thought.
When the gray morn illumed the mountain's side,
To hear the sweet birds' earliest song he hied;
When meekest eve to the fold's distant bell
Listened, and bade the woods and vales farewell,
Musing in tearful mood, he oft was seen
The last that lingered on the fading green.
The waving wood high o'er the cliff reclined,
The murmuring waterfall, the winter's wind,
His temper's trembling texture seemed to suit;
As airs of sadness the responsive lute.
Yet deem not hence the social spirit dead,
Though from the world's hard gaze his feelings fled:
Firm was his friendship, and his faith sincere,
And warm as Pity's his unheeded tear,
That wept the ruthless deed, the poor man's fate,
By fortune's storms left cold and desolate.
Farewell! yet be this humble tribute paid
To all his virtues, from that social shade
Where once we sojourned. I, alas! remain
To mourn the hours of youth, yet mourn in vain,
That fled neglected. Wisely thou hast trod
The better path; and that High Meed, which GOD
Ordained for Virtue towering from the dust,
Shall bless thy labours, spirit pure and just!

More verses by William Lisle Bowles