Imatges de pàgina
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Oft at the close of evening prayer, the toll, The solemn funeral-toll, pausing, proclaims The service of the tomb: the homeward crowds

Divide on either hand; the pomp draws near; The choir to meet the dead go forth, and sing, "I am the resurrection and the life."

Ah me! these youthful bearers robed in white,

They tell a mournful tale; some blooming friend

Is gone, dead in her prime of years:-'Twas she,

The poor man's friend, who, when she could not give,

With angel tongue pleaded to those who could;

With angel tongue and mild beseeching eye, That ne'er besought in vain, save when she pray'd

For longer life, with heart resign'd to die,Rejoiced to die; for happy visions bless'd

Her voyage's last days, and hovering round,
Alighted on her soul, giving presage
That heaven was nigh:- -O what a burst
Of rapture from her lips! what tears of joy
Her heavenward eyes suffused! Those eyes
are closed;

But all her loveliness is not yet flown:
She smiled in death, and still her cold pale

Retains that smile; as when a waveless lake,
In which the wintry stars all bright appear,
Is sheeted by a nightly frost with ice,
Still it reflects the face of heaven unchanged,
Unruffled by the breeze or sweeping blast.
Again that knell! The slow procession

The pall withdrawn, Death's altar, thick emboss'd

With melancholy ornaments-(the name,
The record of her blossoming age),-appears
Unveil'd, and on it dust to dust is thrown,
The final rite. Oh! hark that sullen sound!
Upon the lower'd bier the shovell'd clay
Falls fast, and fills the void.

James Grahame.-Born 1765, Died 1811.


Now, 'mid the general glow of opening blooms,

Coy maidens blush consent, nor slight the gift

From neighbouring fair brought home, till now refused.

Swains, seize the sunny hours to make your hay,

For woman's smiles are fickle as the sky: Bespeak the priest, bespeak the minstrel too, Ere May, to wedlock hostile, stop the banns. Th' appointed day arrives, a blithesome day

Of festive jollity; yet not devoid

Of soft regret to her about to leave
A parent's roof; yes, at the word, join hands,
A tear reluctant starts, as she beholds
Her mother's looks, her father's silvery hairs.
But serious thoughts take flight, when from
the barn,

Soon as the bands are knit, a jocund sound
Strikes briskly up, and nimble feet beat fast
Upon the earthen floor. Through many a


With various steps uncouth, some new, some old,

Some all the dancer's own, with Highland flings

Not void of grace, the lads and lasses strive To dance each other down; and oft when quite

Forespent, the fingers merrily crack'd, the bound,

The rallying shout well-timed, and sudden change

To sprightlier tune, revive the flagging foot, And make it feel as if it tripp'd in air.

When all are tired, and all his stock of reels

The minstrel o'er and o'er again has run,
The cheering flagon circles round; meanwhile,
A soften'd tune, and slower measure, flows
Sweet from the strings, and stills the bois-
terous joy.

May be The Bonny Broom of Cowdenknowes
(If simply play'd, though not with master

Or Patie's Mill, or Bush aboon Traquair, Inspire a tranquil gladness through the breast;

Or that most mournful strain, the sad lament For Flodden-field, drives mirth from every face,

And makes the firmest heart strive hard to curb

The rising tear; till, with unpausing bow,
The blithe strathspey springs up, reminding


Of nights when Gow's old arm (nor old the tale),

Unceasing, save when reeking cans went round,

Made heart and heel leap light as bounding


Alas! no more shall we behold that look
So venerable, yet so blent with mirth,
And festive joy sedate; that ancient garb
Unvaried-tartan hose and bonnet blue!
No more shall beauty's partial eye draw forth
The full intoxication of his strain,
Mellifluous, strong, exuberantly rich!
No more amid the pauses of the dance
Shall he repeat those measures, that in days
Of other years could soothe a falling prince,
And light his visage with a transient smile
Of melancholy joy-like autumn sun
Gilding a sere tree with a passing beam!
Or play to sportive children on the green
Dancing at gloaming hour; or willing cheer,
With strains unbought, the shepherd's bridal

But light now failing, glimmering candles

In ready chandeliers of moulded clay
Stuck round the walls, displaying to the view
The ceiling rich with cobweb-drapery hung.
Meanwhile, from mill and smiddy, field and

Fresh groups come hastening in; but of them all,

The miller bears the gree, as rafter high He leaps, and, lighting, shakes a dusty cloud all round.

In harmless merriment, protracted long, The hours glide by. At last, the stocking thrown,

And duly every gossip rite perform'd,
Youths, maids, and matrons, take their several


While drouthy carles, waiting for the moon, Sit down again, and quaff till daylight dawn. James Grahame.-Born 1765, Died 1811.

1163.-THE IMPRESSED SAILOR BOY. Low in a glen,

Down which a little stream had furrow'd deep,

'Tween meeting birchen boughs, a shelvy channel,

And brawling mingled with the western tide;
Far up that stream, almost beyond the roar
Of storm-bulged breakers, foaming o'er the

With furious dash, a lowly dwelling lurk'd,
Surrounded by a circlet of the stream.
Before the wattled door, a greensward plat,
With daisies gay, pastured a playful lamb;
A pebbly path, deep worn, led up the hill,
Winding among the trees, by wheel un-

was brought

Save when the winter fuel
One of the poor man's yearly festivals.
On every side it was a shelter'd spot,
So high and suddenly the woody steeps
Arose. One only way, downward the stream,
Just o'er the hollow, 'tween the meeting

The distant wave was seen, with now and then

The glimpse of passing sail; but when the breeze

Crested the distant wave, this little nook
Was all so calm, that, on the limberest spray,
The sweet bird chanted motionless, the leaves
At times scarce fluttering. Here dwelt a

Poor, humble, and content; one son alone,
Their William, happy lived at home to bless
Their downward years; he, simple youth,
With boyish fondness, fancied he could love
A seaman's life, and with the fishers sail'd,
To try their ways far 'mong the western

Far as St. Kilda's rock-wall'd shore abrupt,
O'er which he saw ten thousand pinions wheel
Confused, dimming the sky: these dreary


Gladly he left-he had a homeward heart :
No more his wishes wander to the waves.
But still he loves to cast a backward look,
And tell of all he saw, of all he learn'd;
Of pillar'd Staffa, lone Iona's isle,
Where Scotland's kings are laid; of Lewis,


And of the mainland mountain-circled lochs: And he would sing the rowers' timing chant And chorus wild. Once on a summer's eve. When low the sun behind the Highland hills Was almost set, he sung that song to cheer


The aged folks; upon the inverted quern
The father sat; the mother's spindle hung
Forgot, and backward twirl'd the half-spun


Listening with partial, well-pleased look, she gazed

Upon her son, and inly bless'd the Lord,

That he was safe return'd. Sudden a noise Bursts rushing through the trees; a glance of steel

Dazzles the eye, and fierce the savage band
Glare all around, then single out their prey.
In vain the mother clasps her darling boy;
In vain the sire offers their little all:
William is bound; they follow to the shore,
Implore, and weep, and pray; knee-deep they

And view in mute despair the boat recede.

James Grahame.-Born 1765, Died 1811.

1164.-TO MY SON.

Twice has the sun commenced his annual round,

Since first thy footsteps totter'd o'er the ground;

Since first thy tongue was tuned to bless mine


By faltering out the name to fathers dear.
Oh! nature's language, with her looks com-

More precious far than periods thrice refined!
Oh! sportive looks of love, devoid of guile,
I prize you more than beauty's magic smile;
Yes, in that face, unconscious of its charm,
I gaze with bliss unmingled with alarm.
Ah, no! full oft a boding horror flies
Athwart my fancy, uttering fateful cries.
Almighty Power! his harmless life defend,
And, if we part, 'gainst me the mandate send.
And yet a wish will rise-would I might live,
Till added years his memory firmness give!
For, oh! it would a joy in death impart
To think I still survived within his heart;
To think he'll cast, midway the vale of years,
A retrospective look bedimm'd with tears,
And tell, regretful, how I look'd and spoke ;
What walks I loved, where grew my favourite

How gently I would lead him by the hand;
How gently use the accent of command;
What lore I taught him, roaming wood and

And how the man descended to the child; How well I loved with him, on Sabbath morn,

To hear the anthem of the vocal thorn,
To teach religion, unallied to strife,
And trace to him the way, the truth, the life.
But far and farther still my view I bend,
And now I see a child thy steps attend;

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What art thou, Mighty One! and where thy seat ?

Thou broodest on the calm that cheers the lands,

And thou dost bear within thine awful hands The rolling thunders and the lightnings fleet; Stern on thy dark-wrought car of cloud and wind,

Thou guid'st the northern storm at night's dead noon,

Or, on the red wing of the fierce monsoon, Disturb'st the sleeping giant of the Ind. In the drear silence of the polar span Dost thou repose? or in the solitude Of sultry tracts, where the lone caravan Hears nightly howl the tiger's hungry brood?

Vain thought! the confines of his throne to trace,

Who glows through all the fields of boundless space.

H. Kirke White.-Born 1785, Died 1806.

When marshall'd on the nightly plain,
The glittering host bestud the sky;
One star alone, of all the train,

Can fix the sinner's wandering eye.
Hark! hark! to God the chorus breaks,
From every host, from every gem;
But one alone the Saviour speaks,
It is the Star of Bethlehem.

Once on the raging seas I rode,

The storm was loud-the night was dark; The ocean yawn'd-and rudely blow'd

The wind that toss'd my foundering bark.

Deep horror then my vitals froze,

Death-struck, I ceased the tide to stem; When suddenly a star arose,

It was the Star of Bethlehem.

It was my guide, my light, my all,

It bade my dark forebodings cease;
And through the storm and dangers' thrall,
It led me to the port of peace.

Now safely moor'd-my perils o'er,
I'll sing, first in night's diadem,

For ever and for evermore,

The Star-the Star of Bethlehem!

H. Kirke White.-Born 1785, Died 1806.

Thus chasten'd, cleansed, entirely thine,
A flock by Jesus led;
The Sun of Holiness shall shine
In glory on our head.

And thou wilt turn our wandering feet,
And thou wilt bless our way;

Till worlds shall fade, and faith shall greet
The dawn of lasting day.

H. Kirke White.-Born 1785, Died 1806.

1169. THE CHRISTIAD. Thus far have I pursued my solemn theme, With self-rewarding toil; thus far have sung

Of godlike deeds, far loftier than beseem The lyre which I in early days have strung;

And now my spirits faint, and I have hung

The shell, that solaced me in saddest hour, On the dark cypress; and the strings

which rung

With Jesus' praise, their harpings now are o'er,

Or, when the breeze comes by, moan, and are heard no more.

And must the harp of Judah sleep again?
Shall I no more reanimate the lay?
Oh! Thou who visitest the sons of men,
Thou who dost listen when the humble

One little space prolong my mournful day;
One little lapse suspend thy last decree!

I am a youthful traveller in the way, And this slight boon would consecrate to thee,

Ere I with Death shake hands, and smile that I am free.

H. Kirke White.-Born 1785, Died 1806.

O Lord! another day is flown,
And we, a lonely band,

Are met once more before thy throne,
To bless thy fostering hand.

And wilt thou bend a listening ear
To praises low as ours?

Thou wilt for thou dost love to hear
The song which meekness pours.

And, Jesus, thou thy smiles wilt deign,
As we before thee pray;

For thou didst bless the infant train,
And we are less than they.

O let thy grace perform its part,
And let contention cease;
And shed abroad in every heart
Thine everlasting peace!

Thou, spirit of the spangled night!

I woo thee from the watch-tower high,
Where thou dost sit to guide the bark

Of lonely mariner.

The winds are whistling o'er the wolds, The distant main is moaning low; Come, let us sit and weave a song

A melancholy song!

Sweet is the scented gale of morn,
And sweet the noontide's fervid beam,
But sweeter far the solemn calm

That marks thy mournful reign.


I've pass'd here many a lonely year, And never human voice have heard; I've pass'd here many a lonely year A solitary man.

And I have linger'd in the shade, From sultry noon's hot beam; and I Have knelt before my wicker door,

To sing my evening song.

And I have hail'd the gray morn high
On the blue mountain's misty brow,
And tried to tune my little reed
To hymns of harmony.

But never could I tane my reed, At morn, or noon, or eve, so sweet As when upon the ocean shore

I hail'd thy star-beam mild.

The day-spring brings not joy to me,
The moon it whispers not of peace!
But oh when darkness robes the heavens,
My woes are mix'd with joy.

And then I talk, and often think

Aerial voices answer me;

And oh! I am not then alone-
A solitary man.

And when the blustering winter winds Howl in the woods that clothe my cave, I lay me on my lonely mat,

And pleasant are my dreams.

And Fancy gives me back my wife: And Fancy gives me back my child; She gives me back my little home,

And all its placid joys.

Then hateful is the morning hour
That calls me from the dream of bliss, !
To find myself still lone, and hear

The same dull sounds again.

H. Kirke White.-Born 1785, Died 1806.

1171. FROM CLIFTON GROVE. Lo! in the west, fast fades the lingering light, And day's last vestige takes its silent flight. No more is heard the woodman's measured stroke

Which, with the dawn, from yonder dingle broke;

No more, hoarse clamouring o'er the uplifted head,

The crows assembling, seek their wind-rock'd bed.

Still'd is the village hum-the woodland sounds

Have ceased to echo o'er the dewy grounds,

And general silence reigns, save when below, The murmuring Trent is scarcely heard to flow;

And save when, swung by 'nighted rustic late,

Oft, on its hinge, rebounds the jarring gate: Or, when the sheep-bell, in the distant vale, Breathes its wild music on the downy gale.

Now, when the rustic wears the social smile,
Released from day and its attendant toil,
And draws his household round their evening

And tells the oft-told tales that never tire:
Or, where the town's blue turrets dimly rise
And manufacture taints the ambient skies,
The pale mechanic leaves the labouring loom,
The air-pent hold, the pestilential room,
And rushes out, impatient to begin
The stated course of customary sin:
Now, now, my solitary way I bend
Where solemn groves in awful state impend,
And cliffs, that boldly rise above the plain,
Bespeak, blest Clifton! thy sublime domain.
Here, lonely wandering o'er the sylvan bower,
I come to pass the meditative hour;
To bid awhile the strife of passion cease,
And woo the calms of solitude and peace.
And oh thou sacred power, who rear'st on

Thy leafy throne where waving poplars sigh!
Genius of woodland shades! whose mild

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