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Of More the mild, the learned and the good; Traced in that better stage of human life, When vain imaginations, troublous thoughts, And hopes and fears have had their course, and left The intellect composed, the heart at rest, Nor yet decay hath touch'd our mortal frame. Such was the man whom Henry, of desert Appreciant alway, chose for highest trust; Whom England in that eminence approved ; Whom Europe honoured, and Erasmus loved. Such he was ere heart-hardening bigotry Obscured his spirit, made him with himself Discordant, and, contracting then his brow, With sour defeature marr'd his countenance. What he was, in his best and happiest time, Even such wert thou, dear Uncle! such thy look Benign and thoughtful; such thy placid mien; Thine eye serene, significant and strong, Bright in its quietness, yet brightening oft With quick emotion of benevolence, Or flash of active fancy, and that mirth Which aye with sober wisdom well accords. Nor ever did true Nature, with more nice Exactitude, fit to the inner man The fleshly mould, than when she stampt on thine Her best credentials, and bestowed on thee
An aspect, to whose sure benignity
Beasts with instinctive confidence could trust,
Which at a glance obtained respect from men,
And won at once good will from all the good.
Such as in semblance, such in word and deed
Lisbon beheld him, when for many a year
The even tenour of his spotless life
Adorn'd the English Church,..her minister
In that strong hold of Rome's idolatry,
To God and man approved. What Englishman,
Who in those peaceful days of Portugal
Resorted thither, curious to observe .
Her cities, and the works and ways of men,
But sought him, and from his abundant stores
Of knowledge profited ? What stricken one,
Sent thither to protract a living death,
Forlorn perhaps, and friendless else, but found
A friend in him? What mourners,.. who had seen
The object of their agonizing hopes
In that sad cypress ground deposited,
Wherein so many a flower of British growth,
Untimely faded and cut down, is laid,
In foreign earth compress'd,.. but bore away
A life-long sense of his compassionate care,
His Christian goodness? Faithful shepherd he,
And vigilant against the wolves, who there, If entrance might be won, would straight beset The dying stranger, and with merciless zeal Bay the death-bed! In every family Throughout his fold was he the welcome guest, Alike to every generation dear, The children's favourite, and the grandsire's friend, Tried, trusted and beloved. So liberal too In secret alms, even to his utmost means, That they who served him, and who saw in part The channels where his constant bounty ran, Maugre their own uncharitable faith, Believed him, for his works, secure of Heaven.
It would have been a grief for me to think
The features, which so perfectly express'd
That excellent mind, should irretrievably
From earth have past away, existing now
Only in some few faithful memories
Insoul'd, and not by any limner's skill
To be imbodied thence. A blessing then
On him, in whose prophetic counterfeit
Preserved, the children now, who were the crown
Of his old age, may see their father's face,
Here to the very life pourtray'd, as when
Spain's mountain passes, and her ilex woods,
And fragrant wildernesses, side by side,
With him I traversed, in my morn of youth.
And gathered knowledge from his full discourse.
Often in former years I pointed out,
Well-pleased, the casual portrait, which so well
Assorted in all points; and haply since,
While lingering o'er this meditative work,
Sometimes that likeness, not unconsciously,
Hath tinged the strain ; and therefore, for the sake
Of this resemblance, are these volumes now
Thus to his memory properly inscribed.
O friend ! O more than father! whom I found
Forbearing alway, alway kind; to whom
No gratitude can speak the debt I owe;
Far on their earthly pilgrimage advanced
Are they who knew thee when we drew the breath
Of that delicious clime! The most are gone;
And whoso yet survive of those who then
Were in their summer season, on the tree
Of life hang here and there like wintry leaves,
Which the first breeze will from the bough bring down.
I, too, am in the sear, the yellow leaf.
And yet, (no wish is nearer to my heart ;)
One arduous labour more, as unto thee
In duty bound, full fain would I compleat,
(So Heaven permit,) recording faithfully
The heroic rise, the glories, the decline,
Of that fallen country, dear to us, wherein
The better portion of thy days was past;
And where, in fruitful intercourse with thee,
My intellectual life received betimes
The bias it hath kept. Poor Portugal,
In us thou harbouredst no ungrateful guests!
We loved thee well; mother magnanimous
Of mighty intellects and faithful hearts,..
For such in other times thou wert, nor yet
To be despair'd of, for not yet, methinks,
Degenerate wholly,.. yes, we loved thee well!
And in thy moving story, (so but life
Be given me to mature the gathered store
Of thirty years,) poet, and politick,
And Christian sage (only philosopher
Who from the Well of living water drinks
Never to thirst again), shall find, I ween,
For fancy, and for profitable thought,
Alas! should this be given,
Such consummation of my work will now
Be but a mournful close, the one being gone,
Whom to have satisfied was still to me
A pure reward, outweighing far all breath