To the Earl of Warwick, On the Death of Mr. Addison

Original Text: 
Joseph Addison, The Works of the Right Honourable Joseph Addison, Esq, [ed. by Thomas Tickell] (London: Jacob Tonson, 1721). LE A2257 1721 Fisher Rare Book Library
2And left her debt to Addison unpaid;
3Blame not her silence, Warwick, but bemoan,
4And judge, oh judge, my bosom by your own.
5What mourner ever felt poetic fires!
6Slow comes the verse that real woe inspires:
7Grief unaffected suits but ill with art,
8Or flowing numbers with a bleeding heart.
10My soul's best part for ever to the grave!
11How silent did his old companions tread,
12By midnight lamps, the mansions of the dead,
13Through breathing statues then unheeded things
14Through rows of warriors, and through walks of kings!
15What awe did the slow solemn knell inspire;
16The pealing organ, and the pausing choir;
17The duties by the lawn-rob'd prelate pay'd,
18And the last words that dust to dust convey'd!
19While speechless o'er thy closing grave we bend,
20Accept these tears, thou dear departed friend.
21Oh gone forever, take this long adieu;
23      To strew fresh laurels let the task be mine,
24A frequent pilgrim, at thy sacred shrine;
25Mine with true sighs thy absence to bemoan,
26And grave with faithful epitaphs thy stone.
27If e'er from me thy lov'd memorial part,
28May shame afflict this alienated heart;
29Of thee forgetful if I form a song,
30My lyre be broken, and untun'd my tongue,
31My griefs be doubled, from thy image free,
32And mirth a torment, unchastis'd by thee.
33      Oft let me range the gloomy aisles alone,
34(Sad luxury! to vulgar minds unknown)
35Along the walls where speaking marbles show
36What worthies form the hallow'd mould below:
37Proud names, who once the reins of empire held;
38In arms who triumph'd; or in arts excell'd;
39Chiefs, grac'd with scars, and prodigal of blood;
40Stern patriots, who for sacred freedom stood;
41Just men, by whom impartial laws were given;
42And saints, who taught, and led, the way to Heaven.
43Ne'er to these chambers, where the mighty rest,
44Since their foundation, came a nobler guest;
45Nor e'er was to the bowers of bliss convey'd
46A fairer spirit, or more welcome shade.
47      In what new region, to the just assign'd,
48What new employments please th' unbodied mind?
49A winged Virtue, through th' ethereal sky,
50From world to world unwearied does he fly?
51Or curious trace the long laborious maze
52Of Heaven's decrees, where wond'ring angels gaze?
53Does he delight to hear bold Seraphs tell
54How Michael battled, and the Dragon fell;
55Or, mix'd with milder Cherubim, to glow
56In hymns of love, not ill essay'd below?
57Or dost thou warn poor mortals left behind,
58A task well-suited to thy gentle mind?
59Oh, if sometimes thy spotless form descend,
60To me thy aid, thou guardian Genius, lend!
61When rage misguides me, or when fear alarms,
62When pain distresses, or when pleasure charms,
63In silent whisperings purer thoughts impart,
64And turn from ill a frail and feeble heart;
65Lead through the paths thy virtue trod before,
66Till bliss shall join, nor death can part us more.
67      That awful form (which, so ye Heavens decree,
68Must still be lov'd and still deplor'd by me),
69In nightly visions seldom fails to rise,
70Or, rous'd by fancy, meets my waking eyes.
71If business calls, or crowded courts invite,
72Th' unblemish'd statesman seems to strike my sight;
73If in the stage I seek to soothe my care,
75If pensive to the rural shades I rove,
76His shape o'ertakes me in the lonely grove;
77'Twas there of just and good he reason'd strong,
78Clear'd some great truth, or rais'd some serious song;
79There patient show'd us the wise course to steer,
80A candid censor, and a friend severe;
81There taught us how to live; and (oh! too high
82The price for knowledge) taught us how to die.
84Rear'd by bold chiefs of Warwick's noble race,
85Why, once so lov'd, whene'er thy bower appears,
86O'er my dim eyeballs glance the sudden tears!
87How sweet were once thy prospects fresh and fair,
88Thy sloping walks, and unpolluted air!
89How sweet the glooms beneath thy aged trees,
90Thy noon-tide shadow, and thy evening breeze!
91His image thy forsaken bowers restore;
92Thy walks and airy prospects charm no more;
93No more the summer in thy glooms allay'd,
94Thy evening breezes, and thy noon-day shade.
95      From other ills, however fortune frown'd;
96Some refuge in the Muse's art I found;
97Reluctant now I touch the trembling string,
98Bereft of him, who taught me how to sing;
99And these sad accents, murmur'd o'er his urn,
100Betray that absence they attempt to mourn.
101Oh! must I then (now fresh my bosom bleeds,
103The verse, begun to one lost friend, prolong,
104And weep a second in th' unfinish'd song!
105      These works divine, which, on his death-bed laid,
106To thee, O Craggs, th' expiring sage convey'd,
107Great, but ill-omen'd monument of fame,
108Nor he surviv'd to give, nor thou to claim.
109Swift after him thy social spirit flies,
111Blest pair! whose union future bards shall tell
112In future tongues: each other's boast! farewell,
113Farewell! whom join'd in fame, in friendship tried,
114No chance could sever, nor the grave divide.


1] First published in Addison's Works, 1721, a posthumous four-volume edition edited by Tickell himself. Addison had been a patron and close friend of Tickell. The Earl of Warwick was Addison's stepson, Addison in 1716 having married the Countess of Warwick. Back to Line
9] Addison was buried at night in Westminster Abbey. Back to Line
22] See note to Addison's Letter from Italy. Back to Line
74] A reference to Addison's tragedy Cato, 1713. Back to Line
83] Holland House, the seat of the Warwicks, where Addison died, stood on a hill in Kensington, now within the western limits of London. Back to Line
102] To James Craggs, Addison, on his death-bed, directed that the complete edition of his works should be dedicated. Back to Line
110] Craggs' coffin was placed close to that of Addison. He had succeeded Addison as Secretary of State when the latter's health broke down. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.561; RPO 1996-2000.