“Me too, perchance, in future days,
The sculptured stone shall show,
With Paphian myrtle or with bays
Parnassian on my brow.
But I, or e’er that season come,
Escaped from every care,
Shall reach my refuge in the tomb,
And sleep securely there.”
So sang, in Roman tone and style,
The youthful bard, ere long
Ordained to grace his native isle
With her sublimest song.
Who then but must conceive disdain,
Hearing the deed unblest,
Of wretches who have dared profane
His dread sepulchral rest?
Ill fare the hands that heaved the stones
Where Milton’s ashes lay,
That trembled not to grasp his bones
And steal his dust away!
O ill-requited bard! neglect
Thy living worth repaid,
And blind idolatrous respect
As much affronts thee dead.