On the Death of Richard West

2    And reddening Phœbus lifts his golden fire;
4    Or cheerful fields resume their green attire;
5These ears, alas! for other notes repine,
6    A different object do these eyes require;
7My lonely anguish melts no heart but mine;
8    And in my breast the imperfect joys expire.
9Yet Morning smiles the busy race to cheer,
10    And new-born pleasure brings to happier men;
11The fields to all their wonted tribute bear;
12    To warm their little loves the birds complain;
13I fruitless mourn to him that cannot hear,
14    And weep the more because I weep in vain.


1] This poem is dated on a MS. copy in Gray's own hand, Aug. 1742.
Gray's friendship with Richard West had begun at Eton where they were at school together, and continued to be very intimate until West's early death. The news of his death seems to have been quite unexpected by Gray. Back to Line
3] amorous descant. "She [the Nightingale] all night long her amorous descant sung" (Milton, "Paradise Lost", iv. 602). Back to Line
RPO poem Editors: 
W. J. Alexander; William Hall Clawson
RPO Edition: 
RP (1912) p. 51.