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No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest,
Few and short were the prayers we said,
But we steadfastly gazed on the face that was dead,
We thought, as we hollowed his narrow bed,
That the foe and the stranger would tread o'er his head,
Lightly they'll talk of the spirit that's gone, And o'er his cold ashes upbraid him
But little he’ll reck, if they let him sleep on In the grave where a Briton has laid him.
But half of our heavy task was done,
And we heard the distant and random gun
Slowly and sadly we laid him down,
We carved not a line, and we raised not a stone—
The passage in the Edinburgh Annual Register (1808) on which Wolfe founded his ode is as follows: “Sir John Moore had often said that if he was killed in battle, he wished to be buried where he fell. The body was removed at midnight to the citadel of Corunna. A grave was dug for him on the ramparts there by a body of the 9th regiment, the aides-de-camp attending by turns. No coffin could be procured, and the officers of his staff wrapped the body, dressed as it was, in a military cloak and blankets. The interment was hastened; for about eight in the morning some firing was heard, and the officers feared that if a serious attack were made, they should be ordered away, and not suffered to pay him their last duty. The officers of his family bore him to the grave; the funeralservice was read by the chaplain; and the corpse was covered with earth.”
0 say not that my heart is cold
Still oft those solemn scenes I view
Stern Duty rose, and frowning flung
The abode of the dead and the place of the tomb.
Shall we build to Ambition ? Ah no !
Affrighted, he shrinketh away;
In a small narrow cave, and, begirt with cold clay,
To the meanest of reptiles a peer and a prey.
To Beauty? Ah no! she forgets The charms which she wielded before;
Nor knows the foul worm that he frets The skin which but yesterday fools could adore, For the smoothness it held or the tint which it wore.
Shall we build to the purple of Pride, The trappings which dizen the proud? Alas, they are all laid aside, And here's neither dress nor adornments allowed, But the long winding-sheet and the fringe of the shroud.
To Riches? Alas! 'tis in vain; Who hid in their turns have been hid;
The treasures are squandered again; And here in the grave are all metals forbid But the tinsel that shines on the dark coffin-lid.
To the pleasures which Mirth can afford, The revel, the laugh, and the jeer?
Ah! here is a plentiful board ! But the guests are all mute as their pitiful cheer, And none but the worm is a reveller here.
Shall we build to Affection and Love? Ah no ! they have withered and died,
Or fled with the spirit above." Friends, brothers, and sisters are laid side by side, Yet none have saluted, and none have replied.
Unto sorrow?—the Dead cannot grieve; Not a sob, not a sigh meets mine ear,
Which Compassion itself could relieve. Ah, sweetly they slumber, nor love, hope, or fear; Peace! peace is the watchword, the only one here.
Unto Death, to whom monarchs must bow? Ah no ! for his empire is known,
And here there are trophies enow ! Beneath the cold dead, and around the dark stone, Are the signs of a sceptre that none may disown.
The first tabernacle to Hope we will build, And look for the sleepers around us to rise! The second to Faith, which insures it fulfilled; And the third to the Lamb of the great sacrifice, Who '" us them both when He rose to the leS.
ROBERT POLLO K.
In 1827 appeared a religious poem in blank verse, entitled The Course of Time, by RoBERT Pollok, which speedily rose to great popularity, especially among the more serious and dissenting classes in Scotland. The author was a young licentiate of the Scottish Secession Church. Many who scarcely ever looked into modern poetry were tempted to peruse a work which embodied their favourite theological tenets, set off with the graces of poetical fancy and description; while to the ordinary readers of imaginative literature, the poem had force and originality enough to challenge an attentive perusal. The Course of Time is a long poem, extending to ten books, written in a style that sometimes imitates the lofty march of Milton, and at other times resembles that of Blair and Young. The object of the poet is
to d:tile the spiritual life and destiny of man; 7
and he varies his religious speculations with episodical pictures and narratives, to illustrate the effects of virtue or vice. The sentiments of the author are strongly Calvinistic, and in this respect, as well as
in a certain crude ardour of imagination and devotional enthusiasm, the poem reminds us of the style of Milton's early prose treatises. It is often harsh, turgid, and vehement, and deformed by a gloomy piety which repels the reader in spite of many fine passages and images that are scattered throughout the work. With much of the spirit and the opinions of Cowper, Pollok wanted his taste. Time might have mellowed the fruits of his genius; for certainly the design of such an extensive poem, and the possession of a poetical diction so copious and energetic, by a young man reared in circumstances by no means favourable for the cultivation of a literary taste, indicate remarkable intellectual power and force of character. Robert Pollok was destined, like Henry Kirke White, to an early grave. He was born in the year 1799, at Muirhouse, in the parish of Eaglesham, Renfrewshire, and after the usual instruction in country schools, was sent to the university of Glasgow. He studied five years in the divinity hall under Dr Dick. Some time after leaving college, he wrote a series of Tales of the Covenanters, in prose, which were published anonymously. His application to his studies brought on symptoms of pulmonary disease, and shortly after he had received his license to preach, in the spring of 1827, it was too apparent that his health was in a precarious and dangerous state. This tendency was further confirmed by the composition of his poem. Removal to the southwest of England was pronounced necessary for the poet's pulmonary complaint, and he went to reside at Shirley Common, near Southampton. The milder air of this place effected no improvement, and after lingering on a few weeks, Pollok died on the 17th of September 1827. The same year had witnessed his advent as a preacher and a poet, and his untimely death. The Course of Time, however, continued to be a popular poem, and has gone through
Mid Muirhouse, the Residence of Pollok in Boyhood.
twenty-two editions, while the interest of the public in its author has led to a memoir of his life, published in 1843. Pollok was interred in the churchyard at Millbrook, the parish in which Shirley Common is situated, and some of his admirers have erected an obelisk of granite to point out the poet's grave. [Love.] Hail love, first love, thou word that sums all bliss' The sparkling cream of all Time's blessedness, The silken down of happiness complete! Discerner of the ripest grapes of joy She gathered and selected with her hand, All finest relishes, all fairest sights, All rarest odours, all divinest sounds, All thoughts, all feelings dearest to the soul: And brought the holy mixture home, and filled The heart with all superlatives of bliss. But who would that expound, which words transcends, Must talk in vain. Behold a meeting scene Of early love, and thence infer its worth.
It was an eve of autumn's holiest mood. The cornfields, bathed in Cynthia's silver light, Stood ready for the reaper's gathering hand; And all the winds slept soundly. Nature seemed In silent contemplation to adore Its Maker. Now and then the aged leaf Fell from its fellows, rustling to the ground; And, as it fell, bade man think on his end. On vale and lake, on wood and mountain high, With pensive wing outspread, sat heavenly Thought, Conversing with itself. Wesper looked forth From out her western hermitage, and smiled; And up the east, unclouded, rode the moon With all her stars, gazing on earth intense, As if she saw some wonder working there.
Such was the night, so lovely, still, serene, When, by a hermit thorn that on the hill Had seen a hundred flowery ages pass, A damsel kneeled to offer up her prayer— Her prayer nightly offered, nightly heard. This ancient thorn had been the meeting-place Of love, before his country's voice had called The ardent youth to fields of honour far Beyond the wave: and hither now repaired, Nightly, the maid, by God's all-seeing eye Seen only, while she sought this boon alone“Her lover's safety, and his quick return.' In holy, humble attitude she kneeled, And to her bosom, fair as moonbeam, pressed One hand, the other lifted up to heaven. Her eye, upturned, bright as the star of morn, As violet meek, excessive ardour streamed, Wafting away her earnest heart to God. Her voice, scarce uttered, soft as Zephyr sighs On morning's lily cheek, though soft and low, Yet heard in heaven, heard at the mercy-seat. A tear-drop wandered on her lovely face; It was a tear of faith and holy fear, Pure as the drops that hang at dawning-time On yonder willows by the stream of life. On her the moon looked steadfastly; the stars That circle nightly round the eternal throne Glanced down, well pleased; and everlasting Love Gave gracious audience to her prayer sincere. O had her lover seen her thus alone, Thus holy, wrestling thus, and all for him! Nor did he not: for ofttimes Providence With unexpected joy the fervent prayer Of faith surprised. Returned from long delay, With glory crowned of righteous actions won, The sacred thorn, to memory dear, first sought The youth, and found it at the happy hour Just when the damsel kneeled herself to pray. Wrapped in devotion, pleading with her God, She saw him not, heard not his foot approach. All holy images seemed too impure To emblem her he saw. A seraph kneeled, Beseeching for his ward before the throne, Seemed fittest, pleased him best. Sweet was the
But sweeter still the kind remembrance came
[Morning.] In 'customed glory bright, that morn the sun Rose, visiting the earth with light, and heat, And joy; and seemed as full of youth, and strong To mount the steep of heaven, as when the stars Of morning sung to his first dawn, and night Fled from his face; the spacious sky received Him, blushing as a bride when on her looked The bridegroom; and spread out beneath his eye, Earth smiled. Up to his warm embrace the dews, That all night long had wept his absence, flew; The herbs and flowers their fragrant stores unlocked, And gave the wanton breeze that newly woke, Revelled in sweets, and from its wings shook health, A thousand grateful smells; the joyous woods Dried in his beams their locks, wet with the drops Of night; and all the sons of music sung Their matin song—from arboured bower the thrush Concerting with the lark that hymned on high. On the green hill the flocks, and in the vale The herds, rejoiced; and, light of heart, the hind Eyed amorously the milkmaid as she passed,
Not heedless, though she look another way.
Not unremembered is the hour when friends
* Whose organ-choir, the voice of many waters; Whose banquets, morning dews; whose heroes, storms; Whose warriors, mighty winds; whose lovers, flowers; Whose orators, the thunderbolts of God; Whose palaces, the everlasting hills; Whose ceiling, heaven's unfathomable blue; And from whose rocky turrets battled high Prospect immense spread out on all sides round, Lost now beneath the welkin and the main, Now walled with hills that slept above the storm. Most fit was such a place for musing men, Happiest sometimes when musing without aim.
Whether in crowds or solitudes, in streets
Advised their sons to court her in the shade.
And still I looked upon their loveliness,
JAMES MoRTGoMERY, a religious poet of deservedly high reputation, was born at Irvine, in Ayrshire, November 4, 1771. His father was a Moravian missionary, who died whilst propagating Christianity in the island of Tobago. The poet was
educated at the Moravian school at Fulneck, near Leeds, but declined being a priest, and was put apprentice to a grocer at Mirfield, near Fulneck. In his sixteenth year, with 3s.6d. in his pocket, he ran off from Mirfield, and after some suffering, became a shop-boy in the village of Wath, in Yorkshire. He next tried London, carrying with him a collection of his poems, but failed in his efforts to obtain a publisher. In 1791, he obtained a situation as clerk in a newspaper office in Sheffield, and his master failing, Montgomery, with the aid of friends, established the Sheffield Iris, a weekly journal, which he conducted with marked ability, and in a liberal, conciliatory spirit up to the year 1825. His course did not always run smooth. In January 1794, amidst the excitement of that agitated period, he was tried on a charge of having printed a ballad, written by a clergyman of Belfast, on the demolition of the Bastile in 1789; which was now interpreted into a seditious libel. The poor poet,
notwithstanding the innocence of his intentions, was found guilty, and sentenced to three months' imprisonment in the castle of York, and to pay a fine of £20. In January 1795 he was tried for a second imputed political offence—a paragraph in his paper which reflected on the conduct of a magistrate in quelling a riot at Sheffield. He was again convicted, and sentenced to six months' imprisonment in York Castle, to pay a fine of £30, and to give security to keep the peace for two years. “All the persons, says the amiable poet, writing in 1840, “who were actively concerned in the prosecutions against me in 1794 and 1795, are dead, and, without exception, they died in peace with me. I believe I am quite correct in saying, that from each of them distinctly, in the sequel, I received tokens of good-will, and from several of them substantial proofs of kindness. I mention not this as a plea in extenuation of offences for which I bore the penalty of the law; I rest my justification, in these cases, now on the same grounds, and no other, on which I rested my justification then. I mention the circumstance to the honour of the deceased, and as an evidence that, amidst all the violence of that distracted time, a better spirit was not extinct, but finally prevailed, and by its healing influence did indeed comfort those who had been conscientious sufferers.” Mr Montgomery's first volume of poetry—he had previously written occasional pieces in his newspaper —appeared in 1806, and was entitled The Wanderer of Switzerland, and other Poems. It speedily went through two editions; and his publishers had just issued a third, when the Edinburgh Review of January 1807 “denounced the unfortunate volume in a style of such authoritative reprobation as no mortal verse could be expected to survive. The critique, indeed, was insolent and unfeelingwritten in the worst style of the Review, when all the sins of its youth were full blown and unchecked. Among other things, the reviewer predicted that in less than three years nobody would know the name of The Wanderer of Switzerland, or of any other of the poems in the collection. Within eighteen months from the utterance of this oracle a fourth impression—1500 copies-of the condemned volume was passing through the press whence the Edinburgh Review itself was issued, and it has now reached nearly twenty editions. The next work of the poet was The West Indies, a poem in four parts, written in honour of the abolition of the African slave-trade by the British legislature in 1807. This was undertaken at the request of Mr Bowyer, the publisher, to accompany a series of engravings representing the past sufferings and the anticipated blessings of the long-wronged Africans. The poem is in the heroic couplet, and possesses a vigour and freedom of description, and a power of pathetic painting, much superior to anything in the first volume. Mr Montgomery afterwards published Prison Amusements, written during his nine months' confinement in York Castle in 1794 and 1795. In 1813 he came forward with a more elaborate performance, The World Before the Flood, a poem in the heroic couplet, and extending to ten short cantos. His pictures of the antediluvian patriarchs in their happy valley, the invasion of Eden by the descendants of Cain, the loves of Javan and Zillah, the translation of Enoch, and the final deliverance of the little band of patriarch families from the hand of the giants, are sweet and touching, and elevated by pure and lofty feeling. Connected with some patriotic individuals in his own neighbourhood ‘in many a plan for lessening the sum of human £ery