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O blest retreat, and sacred too!
Sacred as when the bell of prayer
Toll'd duly on the desert air,
And crosses deck'd thy summits blue.
Oft, like some loved romantic tale,
Oft shall my weary mind recall,
Amid the hum and stir
Thy beechen grove and waterfall,
Thy ferry with its gliding sail,
And her-the lady of the glen!
ONCE more, enchanting maid, adieu!
I must be gone while yet I may;
Oft shall I weep to think of you,
But here I will not, cannot stay.
The sweet expression of that face,
For ever changing, yet the same,
Ah no, I dare not turn to trace
It melts my soul, it fires my frame !
Yet give me, give me, ere I go,
One little lock of those so blest,
That lend your cheek a warmer glow,
And on your white neck love to rest.
-Say, when to kindle soft delight,
That hand has chanced with mine to meet,
How could its thrilling touch excite
A sigh so short, and yet so sweet?
O say-but no, it must not be.
Adieu! a long, a long adieu !
-Yet still, methinks, you frown on me,
Or never could I fly from you.
INSCRIPTION FOR A TEMPLE.
DEDICATED TO THE GRACES.*
APPROACH with reverence. There are those within
Whose dwelling-place is heaven. Daughters of
From them flow all the decencies of life;
Without them nothing pleases, virtue's self
Admired, not loved; and those on whom they smile,
Great though they be, and wise, and beautiful,
Shine forth with double lustre.
TO THE BUTTERFLY.
CHILD of the sun! pursue thy rapturous flight, Mingling with her thou lovest in fields of light; And, where the flowers of paradise unfold, Quaff fragrant nectar from their cups of gold. There shall thy wings, rich as an evening sky, Expand and shut with silent ecstasy! -Yet wert thou once a worm, a thing that crept On the bare earth, then wrought a tomb and slept. And such is man; soon from his cell of clay To burst a seraph in the blaze of day!
* At Woburn Abbey.
WRITTEN IN WESTMINSTER ABBEY. OCTOBER 10, 1806.*
WHOE'ER thou art, approach, and, with a sigh, Mark where the small remains of greatness lie.t There sleeps the dust of Fox, for ever gone: How dear the place where late his glory shone ! And, though no more ascends the voice of prayer, Though the last footsteps cease to linger there, Still, like an awful dream that comes again, Alas! at best as transient and as vain, Still do I see (while through the vaults of night The funeral song once more proclaims the rite) The moving pomp along the shadowy aisle, That, like a darkness, fill'd the solemn pile; Th' illustrious line, that in long order led, Of those that loved him living, mourn'd him dead; Of those the few, that for their country stood Round him who dared be singularly good: All, of all ranks, that claim'd him for their own; And nothing wanting-but himself alone !‡
O say, of him now rests there but a name; Wont, as he was, to breathe ethereal flame? Friend of the absent, guardian of the dead !§ Who but would here their sacred sorrows shed? (Such as he shed on Nelson's closing grave; How soon to claim the sympathy he gave!) In him, resentful of another's wrong, The dumb were eloquent, the feeble strong. Truth from his lips a charm celestial drewAh, who so mighty and so gentle too ?|||
What though with war the madding nations rung, "Peace," when he spoke, was ever on his tongue! Amidst the frowns of power, the tricks of state, Fearless, resolved, and negligently great! In vain malignant vapours gather'd round; He walk'd, erect, on consecrated ground. The clouds, that rise to quench the orb of day, Reflect its splendour, and dissolve away!
When in retreat he laid his thunder by, For letter'd ease and calm philosophy, Blest were his hours within the silent grove, Where still his godlike spirit deigns to rove; Blest by the orphan's smile, the widow's prayer, For many a deed, long done in secret there. There shone his lamp on Homer's hallow'd page; There, listening, sate the hero and the sage; And they, by virtue and by blood allied, Whom most he loved, and in whose arms he died. Friend of all human kind! not here alone (The voice that speaks, was not to thee unknown) Wilt thou be miss'd. O'er every land and sea, Long, long shall England be revered in thee ! And, when the storm is hush'd-in distant yearsFoes on thy grave shall meet, and mingle tears!
* After the funeral of the Right Hon. Charles James Fox.
+ Venez voir le peu qui nous reste de tant de grandeur, etc.-Bossuet. Oraison funèbre de Louis de Bourbon.
Et rien enfin ne manque dans tous ces honneurs, que celui à qui on les rend.-Ibid.
§ Alluding particularly to his speech on moving a new writ for the borough of Tavistock, March 16, 1802.
See that admirable delineation of his character by Sir James Mackintosh, which first appeared in the Bombay Courier, January 17, 1807.
THE poem of The Sabbath will long endear the name of JAMES GRAHAME to all who love the due observance of Sunday, and are acquainted with the devout thoughts and poetic feeling which it inspires. Nor will he be remembered for this alone; his British Georgics and his Birds of Scotland, rank with those productions whose images and sentiments take silent possession of the mind, and abide there when more startling and obtrusive things are forgotten. There is a quiet natural ease about all his descriptions; a light and shade both of landscape and character in all his pictures, and a truth and beauty which prove that he copied from his own emotions, and painted with the aid of his own eyes, without looking, as Dryden said, through the spectacles of books. To his fervent piety as well as poetic spirit the public has borne testimony, by purchasing many copies of his works. The Birds of Scotland is a fine series of pictures, giving the form, the plumage, the haunts, and habits of each individual bird, with a graphic fidelity rivalling the labours of Wilson. His drama of Mary Stuart wants that passionate and happy vigour which the stage requires; some of his songs are natural and elegant; his Sabbath Walks, Biblical Pictures, and Rural Calendar, are all alike remarkable for accuracy of description and an original turn of thought. was born at Glasgow, 22d April, 1765; his father, who was a writer, educated him for the bar, but he showed an early leaning to the Muses, and such a love of truth and honour as hindered him from accepting briefs which were likely to lead him out of the paths of equity and justice. His Sabbathing and simple expression of concern for their suf
giving vent to the familiar sentiments of his bosom. We can trace here, in short, and with the same pleasing effect, that entire absence of art, effort, and affectation, which we have already noticed as the most remarkable distinction of his attempts in description. Almost all the other poets with whom we are acquainted, appear but too obviously to put their feelings and affections, as well as their fancies and phrases, into a sort of studied dress, before they venture to present them to the crowded assembly of the public: and though the style and fashion of this dress varies according to the taste and ability of the inventors, still it serves almost equally to hide their native proportions, and to prove that they were a little ashamed or afraid to exhibit them as they really were. Now, Mr. Grahame, we think, has got over this general nervousness and shyness about showing the natural and simple feelings with which the contemplation of human emotion should affect us; or rather, has been too seriously occupied, and too constantly engrossed with the feelings themselves, to think how the confession of them might be taken by the generality of his readers, to concern himself about the contempt of the fastidious, or the derision of the unfeeling. In his poetry, therefore, we meet neiHether with the Musidoras and Damons of Thomson, nor the gipsy-women and Ellen Orfords of Crabbe; and still less with the Matthew Schoolmasters, Alice Fells, or Martha Raes of Mr. Wordsworth ;but we meet with the ordinary peasants of Scotland in their ordinary situations, and with a touch
was written and published in secret, and he had the pleasure of finding the lady whom he had married among its warmest admirers; nor did her admiration lessen when she discovered the author. His health declined; he accepted the living of Sedgeware, near Durham, and performed his duties diligently and well till within a short time of his death, which took place 14th September, 1811.
ferings, and of generous indulgence for their faults. He is not ashamed of his kindness and condescension, on the one hand; nor is he ostentatious or vain of it, on the other; but gives expression in the most plain and unaffected manner to sentiments that are neither counterfeited nor disguised. We do not know any poetry, indeed, that lets us in so directly to the heart of the writer, and produces so The great charm of Mr. Grahame's poetry, (says a full and pleasing a conviction that it is dictated by writer in the Edinburgh Review,) appears to us to the genuine feelings which it aims at communicatconsist in its moral character; in that natural ex-ing to the reader. If there be less fire and elevapression of kindness and tenderness of heart, which tion than in the strains of some of his contempogives such a peculiar air of paternal goodness and pa-raries, there is more truth and tenderness than is triarchal simplicity to his writings; and that earnest commonly found along with those qualities, and and intimate sympathy with the objects of his com- less getting up either of language or of sentiment passion, which assures us at once that he is not than we recollect to have met with in any modern making a theatrical display of sensibility, but merely, composition.
Description of a Sabbath morning in the country. The labourer at home. The town mechanic's morning walk; his meditation. The sound of bells. Crowd proceeding to church. Interval before the service begins. Scottish service. English service. Scriptures read. The organ, with the voices of the people. The sound borne to the sick man's couch: his wish.
Murmurs more gently down the deep-worn glen;
While from yon lowly roof, whose curling smoke
O'ermounts the mist, is heard, at intervals,
The voice of psalms-the simple song of praise.
With dove-like wings, peace o'er yon village
The dizzying mill-wheel rests; the anvil's din
Hath ceased; all, all around is quietness.
Less fearful on this day, the limping hare
Stops, and looks back, and stops, and looks on man,
Her deadliest foe. The toil-worn horse, set free,
Unheedful of the pasture, roams at large;
And, as his stiff unwieldy bulk he rolls,
His iron-armed hoofs gleam in the morning ray.
worship of God in the solitude of the woods. The
shepherd boy among the hills. People seen on the
heights returning from church. Contrast of the present
times with those immediately preceding the Revolu-
tion. The persecution of the Covenanters: A Sabbath
conventicle: Cameron: Renwick: Psalms. Night
conventicles during storms. A funeral according to
the rites of the church of England. A female charac-
ter. The suicide. Expostulation. The incurable of
an hospital. A prison scene. Debtors. Divine ser-
vice in the prison hall. Persons under sentence of
death. The public guilt of inflicting capital punish-But
ments on persons who have been left destitute of re-
ligious and moral instruction. Children proceeding to
a Sunday-school. The father. The impress. Appeal
on the indiscriminate severity of criminal law. Com-
parative mildness of the Jewish law. The year of ju-
bilee. Description of the commencement of the jubilee.
The sound of the trumpets through the land. The bond-
man and his family returning from their servitude to
take possession of their inheritance. Emigrants to the
wilds of America. Their Sabbath worship. The whole
inhabitants of Highland districts who have emigrated
together, still regret their country. Even the blind
man regrets the objects with which he had been con-
versant. An emigrant's contrast between the tropical
climates and Scotland. The boy who had been born
on the voyage. Description of a person on a desert
island. His Sabbath. His release. Missionary ship.
The Pacific ocean. Defence of missionaries. Effects
of the conversion of the primitive Christians. Transi-
tion to the slave trade. The Sabbath in a slave ship.
Appeal to England on the subject of her encouragement
to this horrible complication of crimes. Transition to
war. Unfortunate issue of the late war-in France-Fills
in Switzerland. Apostrophe to TELL. The attempt to
resist too late. The treacherous foes already in pos-
session of the passes. Their devastating progress.
Desolation. Address to Scotland. Happiness of seclu-
sion from the world. Description of a Sabbath evening
in Scotland. Psalmody. An aged man. Description
of an industrious female reduced to poverty by old age
and disease. Disinterested virtuous conduct to be found
chiefly in the lower walks of life. Test of charity in the
opulent. Recommendation to the rich to devote a por-
tion of the Sabbath to the duty of visiting the sick. In-
vocation to health-to music. The Beguine nuns. Laza-
rus. The Resurrection. Dawnings of faith-its progress
But chiefly man the day of rest enjoys.
Hail, Sabbath! thee I hail, the poor man's day.
On other days the man of toil is doom'd
To eat his joyless bread, lonely; the ground
Both seat and board; screen'd from the winter's cold
on this day, imbosom'd in his home,
And summer's heat, by neighbouring hedge or tree;
He shares the frugal meal with those he loves;
With those he loves he shares the heartfelt joy
Of giving thanks to God-not thanks of form,
A word and a grimace, but reverently,
With cover'd face and upward earnest eye.
Hail, Sabbath! thee I hail, the poor man's day.
The pale mechanic now has leave to breathe
The morning air, pure from the city's smoke;
While, wandering slowly up the river-side,
He meditates on Him, whose power he marks
In each green tree that proudly spreads the bough,
As in the tiny dew-bent flowers that bloom
Around its roots; and while he thus surveys,
With elevated joy, each rural charm,
He hopes, yet fears presumption in the hope,
That heaven may be one Sabbath without end.
But now his steps a welcome sound recalls:
Solemn the knell, from yonder ancient pile,
all the air, inspiring joyful awe:
Slowly the throng moves o'er the tomb-paved ground.
The aged man, the bowed down, the blind
Led by the thoughtless boy, and he who breathes
With pain, and eyes the new-made grave well
How still the morning of the hallow'd day! -
Mute is the voice of rural labour, hush'd
The ploughboy's whistle, and the milkmaid's song.
The scythe lies glittering in the dewy wreath
Of tedded grass, mingled with fading flowers,
That yester-morn bloom'd waving in the breeze.
Sounds the most faint attract the ear-the hum
Of early bee, the trickling of the dew,
The distant bleating midway up the hill.
Calmness sits throned on yon unmoving cloud.
To him who wanders o'er the upland leas,
The blackbird's note comes mellower from the dale;
And sweeter from the sky the gladsome lark
Warbles his heaven-tuned song; the lulling brook | Flow from his tongue: O chief let comfort flow!
These, mingled with the young, the gay, approach
The house of God; these, spite of all their ills,
A glow of gladness feel; with silent praise
They enter in. A placid stillness reigns,
Until the man of God, worthy the name,
Arise and read th' anointed shepherd's lays.
His locks of snow, his brow serene, his look
Of love, it speaks, " Ye are my children all;
The gray-hair'd man, stooping upon his staff,
As well as he, the giddy child, whose eye
Pursues the swallow flitting thwart the dome."
Loud swells the song: O how that simple song,
Though rudely chanted, how it melts the heart,
Commingling soul with soul in one full tide
Of praise, of thankfulness, of humble trust!
Next comes the unpremeditated prayer,
Breathed from the inmost heart, in accents low,
But earnest.-Alter'd is the tone; to man
Are now address'd the sacred speaker's words.
Instruction, admonition, comfort, peace,
It is most needed in this vale of tears:
Yes, make the widow's heart to sing for joy;
The stranger to discern th' Almighty's shield
Held o'er his friendless head; the orphan child
Feel, 'mid his tears, I have a father still!
'Tis done. But hark that infant querulous voice
Plaint not discordant to a parent's ear;
And see the father raise the white-robed babe
In solemn dedication to the Lord:
The holy man sprinkles with forth-stretch'd hand
The face of innocence; then earnest turns,
And prays a blessing in the name of Him
Who said, Let little children come to me;
Forbid them not: the infant is replaced
Among the happy band: they, smilingly,
In gay attire, hie to the house of mirth,
The poor man's festival, a jubilee day,
Nor would I leave unsung The lofty ritual of our sister land: In vestment white, the minister of God Opens the book, and reverentially The stated portion reads. A pause ensues. The organ breathes its distant thunder-notes, Then swells into a diapason full:
The people rising, sing, With harp, with harp,
And voice of psalms; harmoniously attuned
The various voices blend; the long drawn aisles,
At every close, the lingering strain prolong.
And now the tubes a mellow'd stop controls,
In softer harmony the people join,
While liquid whispers from yon orphan band
Recall the soul from adoration's trance,
And fill the eye with pity's gentle tears.
Again the organ-peal, loud-rolling, meets
The hallelujahs of the choir: Sublime,
A thousand notes symphoniously ascend,
As if the whole were one, suspended high
In air, soaring heavenward: afar they float,
Wafting glad tidings to the sick man's couch:
Raised on his arm, he lists the cadence close,
Yet thinks he hears it still his heart is cheer'd;
He smiles on death; but, ah! a wish will rise,-
"Would I were now beneath that echoing roof!
No lukewarm accents from my lips should flow;
My heart would sing; and many a Sabbath-day
My steps should thither turn; or, wandering far
In solitary paths, where wild flowers blow,
There would I bless his name, who led me forth
From death's dark vale, to walk amid those sweets,
Who gives the bloom of health once more to glow
Upon this cheek, and lights this languid eye."
It is not only in the sacred fane
That homage should be paid to the Most High;
There is a temple, one not made with hands-
The vaulted firmament: Far in the woods,
"And they brought young children to him that he should touch them; and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily, I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them." Mark x. 13-16.
Almost beyond the sound of city chime,
At intervals heard through the breezeless air;
When not the limberest leaf is seen to move,
Save where the linnet lights upon the spray;
When not a floweret bends its little stalk,
Save where the bee alights upon the bloom ;-
There, rapt in gratitude, in joy, and love,
The man of God will pass the Sabbath noon;
Silence his praise; his disembodied thoughts,
Loosed from the load of words, will high ascend
Beyond the empyrean.―
Nor yet less pleasing at the heavenly throne,
The Sabbath-service of the shepherd-boy.
In some lone glen, where every sound is lull'd
To slumber, save the tinkling of the rill,
Or bleat of lamb, or hovering falcon's cry,
Stretch'd on the sward, he reads of Jesse's son ;
Or sheds a tear o'er him to Egypt sold,
And wonders why he weeps; the volume closed,
With thyme-sprig laid between the leaves, he sings
The sacred lays, his weekly lesson, conn'd
With meikle care beneath the lowly roof,
Where humble lore is learnt, where humble worth
Pines unrewarded by a thankless state.
Thus reading, hymning, all alone, unseen,
The shepherd-boy the Sabbath holy keeps,
Till on the heights he marks the straggling bands
Returning homeward from the house of prayer.
In peace they home resort. O blissful days!
When all men worship God as conscience wills.
Far other times our fathers' grandsires knew,
A virtuous race, to godliness devote.
What though the skeptic's scorn hath dared to soil
The record of their fame! what though the men
Of worldly minds have dared to stigmatize
The sister-cause, religion and the law,
With superstition's name! yet, yet their deeds,
Their constancy in torture and in death,—
These on tradition's tongue still live; these shall
On history's honest page be pictured bright
To latest times. Perhaps some bard, whose muse
Disdains the servile strain of fashion's quire,
May celebrate their unambitious names.
With them each day was holy, every hour
They stood prepared to die, a people doom'd
To death;-old men, and youths, and simple maids.
With them each day was holy; but that morn
On which the angel said, See where the Lord
Was laid, joyous arose; to die that day
Was bliss. Long ere the dawn, by devious ways,
O'er hills, through woods, o'er dreary wastes, they
The upland muirs, where rivers, there but brooks,
Dispart to different seas: Fast by such brooks
A little glen is sometimes scoop'd, a plat
With green sward gay, and flowers that strangers
Amid the heathery wild, that all around
Fatigues the eye; in solitudes like these,
Thy persecuted children, Scotia, foil'd
A tyrant's and a bigot's bloody laws:
There, leaning on his spear, (one of the array,
Whose gleam, in former days, had scathed the rose
On England's banner, and had powerless struck
The infatuate monarch and his wavering host,)
The lyart veteran heard the word of God
By Cameron thunder'd, or by Renwick pour'd
In gentle stream; then rose the song, the loud
Acclaim of praise. The wheeling plover ceased
Her plaint; the solitary place was glad,
And on the distant cairns the watcher's ear*
Caught doubtfully at times the breeze-borne note,
But years more gloomy follow'd; and no more
Th' assembled people dared, in face of day,
To worship God, or even at the dead
Of night, save when the wintry storm raved fierce,
And thunder-peals compell'd the men of blood
To couch within their dens: then dauntlessly
The scatter'd few would meet, in some deep dell
By rocks o'er-canopied, to hear the voice,
Their faithful pastor's voice: He by the gleam
Of sheeted lightning oped the sacred book,
And words of comfort spake: Over their souls
His accents soothing came,-as to her young
The heathfowl's plumes, when, at the close of eve,
She gathers in, mournful, her brood dispersed
By murderous sport, and o'er the remnant spreads
Fondly her wings; close nestling 'neath her breast,
They, cherish'd, cower amid the purple blooms.
But who is he
That stands aloof, with haggard, wistful eye,
As if he coveted the closing grave?
And he does covet it-his wish is death:
The dread resolve is fix'd; his own right-hand
Is sworn to do the deed: The day of rest
No peace, no comfort brings his wo-worn spirit:
Self-cursed, the hallow'd dome he dreads to enter;
He dares not pray; he dares not sigh a hope;
Annihilation is his only heaven.
Loathsome the converse of his friends: he shuns
The human face; in every careless eye
Suspicion of his purpose seems to lurk.
But wood and wild, the mountain and the dale,
The house of prayer itself,-no place inspires
Emotions more accordant with the day,
Than does the field of graves, the land of rest:-
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.
Deep piny shades he loves, where no sweet note
Is warbled, where the rook unceasing caws:
Or far in moors, remote from house or hut,
Where animated nature seems extinct.
Where e'en the hum of wandering bee ne'er breaks
The quiet slumber of the level waste;
Where vegetation's traces almost fail,
Save where the leafless cannachs wave their tufts
Of silky white, or massy oaken trunks
Half buried lie, and tell where greenwoods grew,-
There on the heathless moss outstretch'd he broods
O'er all his ever-changing plans of death:
The time, place, means, sweep like a stormy rack,
In fleet succession, o'er his clouded soul;—
The poniard, and the opium draught, that brings
Death by degrees, but leaves an awful chasm
Between the act and consequence, the flash
Sulphureous, fraught with instantaneous death;—
The ruin'd tower perch'd on some jutting rock,
So high that, 'tween the leap and dash below,
The breath might take its flight in midway air,-
This pleases for a while; but on the brink,
Back from the toppling edge his fancy shrinks
In horror: sleep at last his breast becalms,-
He dreams 'tis done; but starting wild awakes,
Resigning to despair his dream of joy.
Then hope, faint hope, revives-hope, that despair
May to his aid let loose the demon frenzy,
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
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 To lead scared conscience blindfold o'er the brink
Of self-destruction's cataract of blood.
Most miserable, most incongruous wretch!
Darest thou to spurn thy life, the boon of God,
Yet dreadest to approach his holy place?
O dare to enter in! maybe some word,
Or sweetly chanted strain, will in thy heart
Awake a chord in unison with life.
What are thy fancied woes to his, whose fate
Is (sentence dire !) incurable disease,-
The outcast of a lazar house, homeless,
Or with a home where eyes do scowl on him!
Sentinels were placed on the surrounding hills to Yet he, e'en he, with feeble steps draws near,
give warning of the approach of the military.
With trembling voice joins in the song of praise.
Patient he waits the hour of his release;
He knows he has a home beyond the grave.
+ Towards the end of Columbus's voyage to the new world, when he was already near, but not in sight of land, the drooping hopes of his mariners (for his own confidence seems to have remained unmoved) were revived by the
Or turn thee to that house with studded doors,
appearance of birds, at first hovering round the ship, and And iron-visor'd windows; even there then alighting on the rigging. The Sabbath sheds a beam of bliss, though faint;
But all her loveliness is not yet flown:
She smiled in death, and still her cold, pale face
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 stops:
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. O! hark that sullen sound!
Upon the lower'd bier the shovell'd clay
Falls fast, and fills the void.-