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(1802-1838 / England)

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Sir Walter Scott

DEAD!—it was like a thunderbolt
To hear that he was dead;
Though for long weeks the words of fear
Came from his dying bed;
Yet hope denied, and would deny—
We did not think that he could die.

The poet has a glorious hold
Upon the human heart,
Yet glory is from sympathy
A light alone—apart;
But there was something in thy name,
Which touched us with a dearer claim

The earnest feeling borne to thee
Was like a household tie,
A sunshine on our common life,
And from our daily sky.
Thy works are those familiar things
From which so much of memory springs.

We talked of them beside the hearth,
Till every story blends
With some remembered intercourse
Of near and dearest friends,
Friends that in early youth were ours.
Connected with life's happiest hours.

How well I can recall the time
When first I turned thy page,
The green boughs closed above my head
A natural hermitage;
And sang a little brook along,
As if it heard and caught thy song.

I peopled all the walks and shades
With images of thine;
The lime-tree was a lady's bower,
The yew-tree was a shrine:
Almost I deemed each sunbeam shone
O'er banner, spear, and morion.


Now, not one single trace is left
Of that sequestered nook;
The very course is turned aside
Of that melodious brook:
Not so the memories can depart,
Then garner'd in my inmost heart.
The past was his—his generous song
Went back to other days,
With filial feeling, which still sees
Something to love and praise,
And closer drew the ties which bind
Man with his country and his kind.

It rang throughout his native land,
A bold and stirring song,
As the merle's hymn at matin sweet,
And as the trumpet strong:
A touch there was of each degree,
Half minstrel and half knight was he.

How many a lonely mountain glade
Lives in his verse anew,
Linked with associate sympathy,
The tender and the true;
For nature has fresh beauty brought,
When animate with life from thought.

'Tis not the valley nor the hill,
Tho' beautiful they be,
That can suffice the heart, till touched
As they were touched by thee;
Thou who didst glorify the whole,
By pouring forth the poet's soul.

Who now could stand upon the banks
Of thine own 'silver Tweed?'
Nor deem they heard thy 'warrior's horn,'
Or heard thy 'shepherd's reed?'
Immutable as Nature's claim,
The ground is hallowed by thy name.

I cannot bear to see the shelf
Where ranged thy volumes stand,
And think that mute is now thy lip,
And cold is now thy hand;
That, hadst thou been more common clay,
So soon thou hadst not passed sway,

For thou didst die before thy time,
The tenement o'erwrought,
The heart consumed by its desire,
The body worn by thought;
Thyself the victim of thy shrine,
A glorious sacrifice was thine.

Alas, it is too soon for this—
The future for thy fame;
But now we mourn as if we mourned
A father's cherished claim.
Ah! time may bid the laurel wave—
We can but weep above thy grave.

Submitted: Monday, April 12, 2010


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