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Falls from its innocence into the grave !
Soon as we know its little breath is gone,
We see it lying in its Saviour's breast,
A heavenly flower, there fed with heavenly dew.
Childlike in all that makes a child so dear
To God and man, and ever consecrates
Its cradle and its grave, my GRAHAME, wert thou !
And had'st thou died upon thy mother's breast
Ere thou could'st lisp her name, more fit for heaven
Thou scarce had'st been, than when thy honour'd
Was laid into the dust, and Scotland wept
O'er hill and valley for her darling Bard.”
Such glory, GRAHAME ! is thine: Thou didst
despise To win the ear of this degenerate age By gorgeous epithets, all idly heap'a On theme of earthly state, or, idler still, By tinkling measures and unchasten'd lays, Warbled to pleasure and her syren-train, Profaning the best name of poesy: With loftier aspirations, and an aim More worthy man's immortal nature, Thou That holiest spirit that still loves to dwell In the upright heart and pure, at noon of night Didst fervently invoke, and, led by her Above the Aonian mount, send from the stars Of heaven such soul-subduing melody As Bethlehem-shepherds heard when Christ was
born. It is the Sabbath-day : Creation sleeps Cradled within the arms of heavenly love! The mystic day, when from the vanquish'd grave The world's Redeemer rose, and hail'd the light Of God's forgiving smile. Obscured and pale Were then the plumes of prostrate seraphim, Then hush'd the universe her sphere-born strain, When from his throne, Paternal Deity Declared the Saviour not in vain had shed Ilis martyr'd glory round the accursed Cross,
That fallen man might sit in Paradise,
And earth to heaven ascend in jubilee.
O blessed day, by God and man beloved !
With more surpassing glory breaks thy dawn
Upon my soul, remembering the sweet hymns
That he, whom nations evermore shall name
The Sabbath-Bard, in gratulation high
Breathed forth to thee, as from the golden urn
That holds the incense of immortal song."
“ But happier visions still now bless thy soul.
While lonely wandering o'er the hills and dales
Of my dear native country, with such love
As they may guess, who, from their father's home
Sojourning long and far, fall down and kiss
The grass and flowers of Scotland, in I go,
Not doubting a warm welcome from the eyes
Of woman, man, and child, into a cot
Upon a green hill-side, and almost touch'd
By its own nameless stream that bathes the roots
Of the old ash tree swinging o'er the roof.
Most pleasant, GRAHAME! unto thine eye and
Such humble home! there often hast thou sat
'Mid the glad family listening to thy voice
So silently, the ear might then have caught
Without the rustle of the falling leaf.
And who so sweetly ever sang as thou,
The joys and sorrows of the poor man's life?
Not fancifully drawn, that one might weep,
Or smile, he knew not why, but with the hues
Of truth all brightly glistening, to the heart
Cheering, as earth's soft verdure to the eye,
Yet still and mournful as the evening light.
More powerful in the sanctity of death,
There reigns thy spirit over those it loved!
Some chosen books by pious men composed,
Kept from the dust, in every cottage lie
Through the wild loneliness of Scotia's vales,
the Bible, by whose well-known truths All human thoughts are by the peasant tried.
O blessed privilege of Nature's Bard !
To cheer the house of virtuous poverty,
With gleams of light more beautiful than oft
Play o'er the splendours of the palace wall.
Methinks I see a fair and lovely child
Sitting composed upon his mother's knee,
And reading with a low and lisping voice
Some passage from the Sabbath, while the tears
Stand in his little eyes so softly blue,
Till, quite o'ercome with pity, his white arms
He twines around her neck, and hides his sighs,
Most infantine, within her gladden'd breast,
Like a sweet lamb, half sportive, half afraid,
Nestling one moment ’neath its bleating dam.
And now the happy mother kisses oft
The tender-hearted child, lays down the book,
And asks him if he doth remember still
The stranger who once gave him, long ago,
A parting kiss, and blest his laughing eyes !
His sobs speak fond remembrance, and he weeps
To think so kind and good a man should die."
“O GRAHAME! even I in midnight dreams be-
hold Thy placid aspect, more serenely fair Than the sweet moon that calms the autumnal
Thy voice steals, 'mid the pauses of the wind,
Unto my listening soul more touchingly
Than the pathetic tones of airy harp
That sound at evening like a spirit's song.
Yet many are there dearer to thy shade,
Yea, dearer far than I; and when their tears
They dry at last, (and wisdom bids them weep,
If long and oft, O sure not bitterly,)
Then wilt thou stand before their raptured eyes
As beautiful as kneeling saint e'er deem'd
In his bright cell Messiah's vision'd form.
I may not think upon her blissful dreams
Who bears thy name on earth, and in it feels
A Christian glory and a pious pride,
That must illume the widow's lonely path
With never-dying sunshine. To her soul
Soft sound the strains now flowing fast from mine !
And in those tranquil hours when she withdraws
From loftier consolations, may the tears,
(For tears will fall, most idle though they be,)
Now shed by me to her but little known,
Yield comfort to her, as a certain pledge
That many a one, though silent and unseen,
Thinks of her and the children at her knees,
Blest for the father's and the husband's sake."
DRYDEN says somewhere, that “the poets, like other men, have their houses and lineal descents.” Grahame was of the line of Cowper, with a pleasing affinity to Goldsmith ; but he had the physiognomy of his own country, and a marked individual character. Like Cowper, the prevailing character of his poetry is manly simplicity, unaffected piety, great kindness of heart, and a sober glow of enthu. siasm, colouring and warming every subject on which he touched. In all his works, this simplicity of taste appears like the instinct of nature ; and perhaps it
It does not seem clear whether he wrote from set purpose; or from casual impulse gave vent to the overflowings of his natural sensibility. His best pieces have the unconstrained and unpremeditated air of one who, falling on a fine prospect, or a beautiful passage in a new author, calls aloud on his companion to share and sympathize in his