Feb 18












By the Reverend J. LANGHORNE.

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Printed for R. GRIFFITHS, in the Strand.










NO Apology can be necessary for addressing to you a Poem to the Memory of a celebrated Musician.  Without the Idea of Harmony, your Name cannot be mention’d: and again, it is impossible to conceive that Idea, without thinking of you.  You, Madam, have been long and justly admired, as well on Account of your fine Taste, for one of the most Delightful of the Sciences, as for your generous Patronage of such as excel in it.  The first may be esteem’d a Proof of an exalted Genius, but the last is an Indication of a noble Mind.  Since to be grateful to those who have, in any Degree, contributed to our Pleasure or Happiness, is a most essential Part of human Virtue.  From this Motive, the Poem, now [vi] presented to you, Madam, was first written.  The Author thought himself obliged to shew every Instance of Gratitude to the Memory of Mr. HANDEL, in consideration of that Pleasure he had so often received from his Compositions.  With what Propriety therefore this Poem is offered to you, no one, acquainted with your Character, will Dispute.

                  WITH Respect to the ODE annex’d, as the Subject is merely personal, and as it is only added by way of Ballast, let it be considered in that Light.


Permit me, Madam, to add, that I am,

With all possible Respect,

Your most obedient,

and most humble Servant,


Hackthorne, Lincolnshire,

Feb. 18. 1760.








SPIRITS of Music, and ye Powers of Song,

That wak’d to painful Melody the Lyre

Of young JESSIDES, when, on GILBOA’S Mount,

He wept o’er bleeding Friendship; ye that mourn’d,

While Freedom drooping o’er EUPHRATES’ Stream,

Her pensive Harp on the pale Osier hung,

Begin once more the Sorrow-soothing Lay.

Ah! where shall now the Muse sit Numbers find? [8]

What Accents pure to greet thy tuneful Shade?

Sweet Harmonist!  ’Twas thine, the tender Fall

Of Pity’s plaintive Lay; for thee the Stream

Of silver-winding Music sweeter play’d,

And purer flow’d for Thee, —all silent now

Those Airs that, breathing o’er the Breast of THAMES,

Led amorous ECHO down the long, long Vale,

Delighted; studious from thy sweeter Strain

To melodize her own; when the sad Hour

She mourns in Anguish o’er the golden Breast

Of young NARCISSUS.  From their Amber Urns,

Parting their green Locks streaming in the Sun,

The NAIADS rose and smil’d: Nor since the Day,

When first by Music, and by Freedom led

From Grecian ACIDALE; nor since the Day, [9]

When last from ARNO’s weeping Fount they came,

To smooth the Ringlets of SABRINA’s Hair,

Heard They like Minstresly— Fountains and Shades

Of TWIT’NAM, and of WINDSOR fam’d in Song!

Ye Mounts of CLERMONT, and ye Bowers of HAM!

That heard the fine Strain vibrate thro’ your Groves,

Ah! where were then your long-lov’d Muses fled,

When HANDEL breath’d no more?—and Thou, sweet Queen,

That nightly wrapt thy MILTON’s hallow’d Ear

In the soft Ecstasies of LYDIAN Airs,

* And since attun’d to HANDEL’s high-wound Lyre

The Lay by Thee suggested; could’st not Thou

Soothe with thy sweet Song the grim Fury’s Breast?

Ah! no: from Thee too, heav’d the helpless Sigh,

Thy fair Eyes floating in a mournful Tear,

When MILTON died, and HANDEL breath’d no more. [10]


    COLD-HEARTED Death! his wanly-glaring Eye

Nor Virtue’s Smile attracts, nor Fame’s loud Trump

Can pierce his Iron Ear, for ever barr’d

To gentle Sounds: the golden Voice of Song,

That charms the gloomy Partner of his Birth,

That soothes Despair and Pain, He hears no more,

Than rude Winds, blust’ring from the CAMBRIAN Cliffs,

The Traveller’s feeble Lay.  To court fair Fame,

To toil with slow Steps up the Star-crown’d Hill,

Where Science, leaning on her sculptur’d Urn,

Looks conscious on the secret-working Hand

Of Nature; on the Wings of Genius borne,

To soar above the beaten Walks of Life,

Is, like the Paintings of an Evening Cloud,

Th’ Amusement of an Hour.  Night, gloomy Night

Spreads her black Wings, and all the Vision dies. [11]


    ERE long, the Heart, that heaves this Sigh to Thee,

Shall beat no more! ere long, on this fond Lay

Which mourns at HANDEL’s Tomb, insulting Time

Shall strew his cankering Rust.  Thy Strain, perchance,

Thy sacred Strain shall the hoar Warrior spare;

For Sounds like thine, at Nature’s early Birth,

Arous’d Him slumbering on the dead Profound

Of dusky Chaos; by the golden Harps

Of choral Angels summon’d to his Race:

And Sounds like thine, when Nature is no more,

Shall call him weary from the lengthen’d Toils

Of twice Ten Thousand Years.—O would his Hand

Yet spare some Portion of this vital Flame,

The trembling Muse that now faint Effort makes

On young and artless Wing, should bear thy Praise

Sublime, above the mortal Bounds of Earth, [12]

With heavenly Fires relume her feeble Ray,

And learn of Seraphs how to sing of Thee.


    I FEEL, I feel the sacred Impulse—hark!

Wak’d from according Lyres the sweet Strains flow

In Symphony divine; from Air to Air

The trembling Numbers fly: swift bursts away

The Flow of Joy; now swells the Flight of Praise.

Springs the shrill Trump aloft; the toiling Chords

Melodious labour thro’ the flying Maze;

And the deep Base his strong Sounds rolls away,

Majestically sweet——Yet, HANDEL, raise,

Yet wake to higher Strains thy sacred Lyre:

The Name of Ages, the Supreme of Things,

The great MESSIAH asks it; He whose Hand

Led into Form yon everlasting Orbs, [13]

The Harmony of Nature—He whose Hand

Stretch’d o’er the wilds of Space this beauteous Ball,

Whose Spirit breathes thro’ all his smiling Works

Music and Love—yet HANDEL raise the Strain.

    Hark! what angelic Sounds, what Voice divine

Breathes thro’ the ravisht Air! my rapt Ear feels

The Harmony of Heaven.  Hail sacred Choir!

Immortal Spirits, hail!  If haply those

That erst in favour’d PALESTINE proclaim’d

Glory and Peace: her Angel-haunted Groves,

Her piny Mountains, and her golden Vales

Re-echo’d Peace—But, Oh! Suspend the Strain—

The swelling Joy’s too much for mortal Bounds!

’Tis Transport even to Pain.  Oh, lead me then,

Convey me to the sad, the mournful Scene,

Where trembling Nature saw her GOD expire. [14]

Flow, stupid Tears! and veil the conscious Eye

That yet presumes to gaze——

Flow, stupid Tears! in vain— ye too confess

That HE alone unequal’d Sorrow bore.


    BUT, hark! what pleasing Sounds invite mine Ear,

So venerably sweet?  ’Tis SION’s Lute.

Behold her Hero! from his valiant Brow

Looks JUDAH’s Lyon, on his Thigh the Sword

Of vanquish’d APOLLONIUS—The shrill Trump

Thro’ BETHORON proclaims th’ approaching Fight.

I see the brave Youth lead his little Band,

With Toil and Hunger faint; yet from his Arm

The rapid Syrian flies.  Thus HENRY once,

The British HENRY, with his way-worn Troop,

Subdued the Pride of France—now louder blows [15]

The martial Clangor, lo NICANOR’s Host!

With threat’ning Turrets crown’d, slowly advance

The ponderous Elephants.——

The blazing Sun, from many a golden Shield

Reflected, gleams afar.  Judean Chief!

How shall thy Force, thy little Force sustain

The dreadful Shock!

* The Hero comes—’Tis boundless Mirth and Song

And Dance and Triumph, every labouring String,

And Voice, and breathing Shell in Concert strain

To swell the Raptures of tumultuous Joy.

O Master of the Passions and the Soul,

Seraphic HANDEL! how shall Words describe

Thy Music’s countless Graces, nameless Powers!


    WHEN He of GAZA, blind, and sunk in Chains, [16]

On female Treachery looks greatly down,

How the breast burns indignant! in thy strain,

When sweet-voic’d Piety resigns to Heaven,

Glows not each Bosom with the Flame of Virtue?

  O’ER JEPTHA’s votive Maid when the lost Lute

Sounds the slow Symphony of Funeral Grief,

What youthful Breast but melts with tender Pity!

What Parent bleeds not with a Parents woe!


    O, longer than this worthless Lay can live!

While Fame and Music sooth the human Ear;

Be this thy Praise: to lead the polish’d Mind

To Virtue’s noblest Heights; to light the Flame

Of British Freedom, rouse the generous Thought,

Refine the Passions, and exalt the Soul

To Love, to Heaven, to Harmony and Thee.[1]



The Water-Music.

Borantesq; Comas a Fronte removit ad Aures.  Ovid  Met.

* L’Allegro and Il Penseroso, set to Music by Mr. HANDEL.

See MILTON’s Lycidas.

Judas Maccabeus.

* Chorus of Youths, in Judas Maccabeus.

See the Oratorio of Samson.

[1] repr. as “A Poem to the Memory of Mr. Handel,” in John Langhorne, Poems on Several Occasions (Lincoln: W. Wood for R. Griffiths, [?1760]), 1-12; and as A Poem , To the Memory of George Frederick Handel (London: 1787).