Montgomery! true, the common lot
Of mortals lies in Lethe’s wave;
Yet some shall never be forgot,
Some shall exist beyond the grave.
“Unknown the region of his birth,”
The hero rolls the tide of war;
Yet not unknown his martial worth,
Which glares a meteor from afar.
His joy or grief, his weal or woe,
Perchance may ’scape the page of fame;
Yet nations, now unborn, will know
The record of his deathless name.
The Patriot’s and the Poet’s frame
Must share the common tomb of all:
Their glory will not sleep the same;
‘That’ will arise, though Empires fall.
The lustre of a Beauty’s eye
Assumes the ghastly stare of death;
The fair, the brave, the good must die,
And sink the yawning grave beneath.
Once more, the speaking eye revives,
Still beaming through the lover’s strain;
For Petrarch’s Laura still survives:
She died, but ne’er will die again.
The rolling seasons pass away,
And Time, untiring, waves his wing;
Whilst honour’s laurels ne’er decay,
But bloom in fresh, unfading spring.
All, all must sleep in grim repose,
Collected in the silent tomb;
The old, the young, with friends and foes,
Fest’ring alike in shrouds, consume.
The mouldering marble lasts its day,
Yet falls at length an useless fane;
To Ruin’s ruthless fangs a prey,
The wrecks of pillar’d Pride remain.
What, though the sculpture be destroy’d,
From dark Oblivion meant to guard;
A bright renown shall be enjoy’d,
By those, whose virtues claim reward.
Then do not say the common lot
Of all lies deep in Lethe’s wave;
Some few who ne’er will be forgot
Shall burst the bondage of the grave.