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Threnodia Augustalis


SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF HER LATE ROYAL HIGHNESS
THE PRINCESS DOWAGER OF WALES.

OVERTURE -- A SOLEMN DIRGE. AIR -- TRIO.


ARISE, ye sons of worth, arise,
And waken every note of woe;
When truth and virtue reach the skies,
'Tis ours to weep the want below!

CHORUS.
When truth and virtue, etc. 5

MAN SPEAKER.
The praise attending pomp and power,
The incense given to kings,
Are but the trappings of an hour --
Mere transitory things!
The base bestow them: but the good agree 10
To spurn the venal gifts as flattery.
But when to pomp and power are join'd
An equal dignity of mind --
When titles are the smallest claim --
When wealth and rank and noble blood, 15
But aid the power of doing good --
Then all their trophies last; and flattery turns to fame.

Bless'd spirit thou, whose fame, just born to bloom
Shall spread and flourish from the tomb,
How hast thou left mankind for heaven! 20
Even now reproach and faction mourn.
And, wondering how their rage was borne,
Request to be forgiven.
Alas! they never had thy hate:
Unmov'd in conscious rectitude, 25
Thy towering mind self-centred stood,
Nor wanted man's opinion to be great.
In vain, to charm thy ravish'd sight,
A thousand gifts would fortune send;
In vain, to drive thee from the right, 30
A thousand sorrows urg'd thy end:
Like some well-fashion'd arch thy patience stood,
And purchas'd strength from its increasing load.
Pain met thee like a friend that set thee free;
Affliction still is virtue's opportunity! 35
Virtue, on herself relying,
Ev'ry passion hush'd to rest,
Loses ev'ry pain of dying
In the hopes of being blest.
Ev'ry added pang she suffers 40
Some increasing good bestows,
Ev'ry shock that malice offers
Only rocks her to repose.

SONG. BY A MAN -- AFFETTUOSO.
Virtue, on herself relying,
Ev'ry passion hush'd to rest, 45
Loses ev'ry pain of dying
In the hopes of being blest.

Ev'ry added pang she suffers
Some increasing good bestows,
Ev'ry shock that malice offers, 50
Only rocks her to repose.

WOMAN SPEAKER.
Yet, ah! what terrors frowned upon her fate --
Death, with its formidable band,
Fever and pain and pale consumptive care,
Determin'd took their stand: 55
Nor did the cruel ravagers design
To finish all their efforts at a blow;
But, mischievously slow,
They robb'd the relic and defac'd the shrine.
With unavailing grief, 60
Despairing of relief,
Her weeping children round
Beheld each hour
Death's growing power,
And trembled as he frown'd. 65

As helpless friends who view from shore
The labouring ship, and hear the tempest roar,
While winds and waves their wishes cross --
They stood, while hope and comfort fail,
Not to assist, but to bewail 70
The inevitable loss.
Relentless tyrant, at thy call
How do the good, the virtuous fall!
Truth, beauty, worth, and all that most engage,
But wake thy vengeance and provoke thy rage. 75

SONG. BY A MAN. -- BASSO. -- STACCATO. -- SPIRITOSO.
When vice my dart and scythe supply,
How great a king of terrors I!
If folly, fraud, your hearts engage,
Tremble, ye mortals, at my rage!
Fall, round me fall, ye little things, 80
Ye statesmen, warriors, poets, kings;
If virtue fail her counsel sage,
Tremble, ye mortals, at my rage!

MAN SPEAKER.
Yet let that wisdom, urged by her example,
Teach us to estimate what all must suffer; 85
Let us prize death as the best gift of nature --
As a safe inn, where weary travellers,
When they have journeyed through a world of cares,
May put off life and be at rest for ever.
Groans, weeping friends, indeed, and gloomy sables,
May oft distract us with their sad solemnity: 91
The preparation is the executioner.
Death, when unmasked, shows me a friendly face,
And is a terror only at a distance;
For as the line of life conducts me on 95
To Death's great court, the prospect seems more fair.
'Tis Nature's kind retreat, that's always open
To take us in when we have drained the cup
Of life, or worn our days to wretchedness.
In that secure, serene retreat, 100
Where all the humble, all the great,
Promiscuously recline;
Where wildly huddled to the eye,
The beggar's pouch and prince's purple lie,
May every bliss be thine. 105
And ah! bless'd spirit, wheresoe'er thy flight,
Through rolling worlds, or fields of liquid light,
May cherubs welcome their expected guest;
May saints with songs receive thee to their rest;
May peace that claimed while here thy warmest love,
May blissful endless peace be thine above! 111

SONG. BY A WOMAN. -- AMOROSO.
Lovely, lasting Peace below,
Comforter of every woe,
Heav'nly born, and bred on high,
To crown the favourites of the sky -- 115
Lovely, lasting Peace, appear;
This world itself, if thou art here,
Is once again with Eden blest,
And man contains it in his breast.

WOMAN SPEAKER.
Our vows are heard! Long, long to mortal eyes,
Her soul was fitting to its kindred skies: 121
Celestial-like her bounty fell,
Where modest want and patient sorrow dwell;
Want pass'd for merit at her door,
Unseen the modest were supplied, 125
Her constant pity fed the poor --
Then only poor, indeed, the day she died.
And oh! for this! while sculpture decks thy shrine,
And art exhausts profusion round,
The tribute of a tear be mine, 130
A simple song, a sigh profound.
There Faith shall come, a pilgrim gray,
To bless the tomb that wraps thy clay;
And calm Religion shall repair
To dwell a weeping hermit there. 135
Truth, Fortitude, and Friendship shall agree
To blend their virtues while they think of thee.

AIR. CHORUS. -- POMPOSO.
Let us, let all the world agree,
To profit by resembling thee.

PART II

OVERTURE -- PASTORALE

MAN SPEAKER.
FAST by that shore where Thames' translucent stream
Reflects new glories on his breast,
Where, splendid as the youthful poet's dream,
He forms a scene beyond Elysium blest --
Where sculptur'd elegance and native grace
Unite to stamp the beauties of the place, 5
While sweetly blending still are seen
The wavy lawn, the sloping green --
While novelty, with cautious cunning,
Through ev'ry maze of fancy running,
From China borrows aid to deck the scene -- 10
There, sorrowing by the river's glassy bed,
Forlorn, a rural bard complain'd,
All whom Augusta's bounty fed,
All whom her clemency sustain'd;
The good old sire, unconscious of decay, 15
The modest matron, clad in homespun gray,
The military boy, the orphan'd maid,
The shatter'd veteran, now first dismay'd;
These sadly join beside the murmuring deep,
And, as they view 20
The towers of Kew,
Call on their mistress -- now no more -- and weep.

CHORUS. -- AFFETTUOSO. -- LARGO.
Ye shady walks, ye waving greens,
Ye nodding towers, ye fairy scenes --
Let all your echoes now deplore 25
That she who form'd your beauties is no more.

MAN SPEAKER.
First of the train the patient rustic came,
Whose callous hand had form'd the scene,
Bending at once with sorrow and with age,
With many a tear and many a sigh between; 30
'And where,' he cried, 'shall now my babes have bread,
Or how shall age support its feeble fire?
No lord will take me now, my vigour fled,
Nor can my strength perform what they require; 34
Each grudging master keeps the labourer bare --
A sleek and idle race is all their care.
My noble mistress thought not so:
Her bounty, like the morning dew,
Unseen, though constant, used to flow;
And as my strength decay'd, her bounty grew.' 40

WOMAN SPEAKER.
In decent dress, and coarsely clean,
The pious matron next was seen --
Clasp'd in her hand a godly book was borne,
By use and daily meditation worn;
That decent dress, this holy guide, 45
Augusta's care had well supplied.
'And ah!' she cries, all woe-begone,
'What now remains for me?
Oh! where shall weeping want repair,
To ask for charity? 50
Too late in life for me to ask,
And shame prevents the deed,
And tardy, tardy are the times
To succour, should I need.
But all my wants, before I spoke, 55
Were to my Mistress known;
She still reliev'd, nor sought my praise,
Contented with her own.
But ev'ry day her name I'll bless,
My morning prayer, my evening song, 60
I'll praise her while my life shall last,
A life that cannot last me long.'

SONG. BY A WOMAN.
Each day, each hour, her name I'll bless --
My morning and my evening song;
And when in death my vows shall cease, 65
My children shall the note prolong.

MAN SPEAKER.
The hardy veteran after struck the sight,
Scarr'd, mangled, maim'd in every part,
Lopp'd of his limbs in many a gallant fight,
In nought entire -- except his heart. 70
Mute for a while, and sullenly distress'd,
At last the impetuous sorrow fir'd his breast.
'Wild is the whirlwind rolling
O'er Afric's sandy plain,
And wild the tempest howling 75
Along the billow'd main:
But every danger felt before --
The raging deep, the whirlwind's roar --
Less dreadful struck me with dismay,
Than what I feel this fatal day. 80
Oh, let me fly a land that spurns the brave,
Oswego's dreary shores shall be my grave;
I'll seek that less inhospitable coast,
And lay my body where my limbs were lost.'
85
SONG. BY A MAN. -- BASSO. SPIRITOSO.
Old Edward's sons, unknown to yield,
Shall crowd from Crecy's laurell'd field,
To do thy memory right;
For thine and Britain's wrongs they feel,
Again they snatch the gleamy steel,
And wish the avenging fight. 90

WOMAN SPEAKER.
In innocence and youth complaining,
Next appear'd a lovely maid,
Affliction o'er each feature reigning,
Kindly came in beauty's aid;
Every grace that grief dispenses, 95
Every glance that warms the soul,
In sweet succession charmed the senses,
While pity harmonized the whole.
'The garland of beauty' -- 'tis thus she would say -- 99
'No more shall my crook or my temples adorn,
I'll not wear a garland -- Augusta's away,
I'll not wear a garland until she return;
But alas! that return I never shall see,
The echoes of Thames shall my sorrows proclaim, 104
There promised a lover to come -- but, O me!
'Twas death, -- 'twas the death of my mistress that came.
But ever, for ever, her image shall last,
I'll strip all the spring of its earliest bloom;
On her grave shall the cowslip and primrose be cast, 109
And the new-blossomed thorn shall whiten her tomb.'

SONG. BY A WOMAN. -- PASTORALE.
With garlands of beauty the queen of the May
No more will her crook or her temples adorn;
For who'd wear a garland when she is away,
When she is remov'd, and shall never return.
115
On the grave of Augusta these garlands be plac'd,
We'll rifle the spring of its earliest bloom,
And there shall the cowslip and primrose be cast,
And the new-blossom'd thorn shall whiten her tomb.

CHORUS. -- ALTRO MODO.
On the grave of Augusta this garland be plac'd,
We'll rifle the spring of its earliest bloom, 120
And there shall the cowslip and primrose be cast,
And the tears of her country shall water her tomb.

Oliver Goldsmith