James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

August 27

Ode on the Death of Thomson

By William Collins (1721–1759)

  • James Thomson, author of “The Seasons,” died August 27, 1748.

  • IN yonder grave a Druid lies,

    Where slowly winds the stealing wave:

    The year’s best sweets shall duteous rise,

    To deck its poet’s sylvan grave.

    In yon deep bed of whispering reeds

    His airy harp shall now be laid,

    That he whose heart in sorrow bleeds

    May love through life the soothing shade.

    Then maids and youths shall linger here,

    And, while its sounds at distance swell,

    Shall sadly seem, in Pity’s ear,

    To hear the woodland pilgrim’s knell.

    Remembrance oft shall haunt the shore

    When Thames in summer wreaths is drest,

    And oft suspend the dashing oar

    To bid his gentle spirit rest!

    And oft, as Ease and Health retire

    To breezy lawn or forest deep,

    The friend shall view yon whitening spire,

    And ’mid the varied landscape weep.

    But thou, who own’st that earthly bed,

    Ah, what will every dirge avail?

    Or tears which Love and Pity shed,

    That mourn beneath the gliding sail?

    Yet lives there one whose heedless eye

    Shall scorn thy pale shrine glimmering near?

    With him, sweet bard, may fancy die,

    And Joy desert the blooming year.

    But thou, lorn stream, whose sullen tide

    No sedge-crowned sisters now attend,

    Now waft me from the green hill’s side

    Whose cold turf hides the buried friend!

    And see, the fairy valleys fade;

    Dun night has veiled the solemn view!

    Yet once again, dear parted shade,

    Meek Nature’s child, again adieu!

    The genial meads assigned to bless

    Thy life shall mourn thy early doom!

    Their hinds and shepherd-girls shall dress

    With simple hands thy rural tomb.

    Long, long thy stone and pointed clay

    Shall melt the musing Briton’s eyes:

    “O vales and wild woods!” shall he say,

    “In yonder grave your Druid lies!”