“When we for recompense have praised the vile
It stains the glory in that happy verse
Which aptly sings the good.”
So, when we Ellen’s Eulogy would write,
The Critic, Memory, styles the expression trite;
Tells us where heretofore ’twas misbestowed,
And bids us scorn to take a beaten road.
Would we describe her deeply searching mind,
Her store of knowledge, or her verse refined,
Her unaffected manners, open heart
Filial affection, taste unspoiled by art,
Friendly attachment, candid love of truth,
Vet’ran acquirements in the bloom of youth,
How is the glow of genuine praise restrained
By looking back on panegyric feigned!
And must She then the meed that’s due forego?
Or her friends fear what the heart speaks, to show,
From idle versifiers’ adulation:
Who robe the object of their inspiration,
With such a wondrous superflux of merit,
As never earthly being could inherit.
If then these lines boast no applause that’s new,
Be it that wants atonement that they’re true,
And let us while descanting on thy worth,
Welcome the day that gave those virtues birth.
Breathe out a wish that still at its return
All, as at present, may that worth discern,
Thy happy parents’ pride that thou mayst live,
And in them blest, to them a blessing give!