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A seraph unfolded its doors bright and On the arch of the rainbow the chariot is shining, All dazzling like gold of the seventh re- Through the path of the thunder the fining. horsemen are riding; And the souls that came forth out of great Glide swiftly, bright spirits! the prize is tribulation, before ye, Have mounted the chariots and steeds of A crown never fading, a kingdom of salvation.
And to the Indian maid the bulbul sweetly
THE sweet and plaintive lyric which | The palm-tree waveth high, and fair the preserves the name of Gilfillan takes its place among our standard songs as one of the best, if not the best of its kind. Its author was born in Dunfermline, in 1798, in very humble circumstances.
After learning the trade of a cooper in Leith, he became a clerk in a winemerchant's office, and in 1837, was appointed collector of poor-rates for the burgh of Leith. He held this appointment till his death, which took place in 1850. Two editions of his poems have been published; but though some others of them, are well written, none comes up to the standard of "Why left I my Hame?"
O, WHY LEFT I MY HAME?
Oh, why left I my hame? Why did I cross the deep?
Oh, why left I the land where my forefathers sleep?
I sigh for Scotia's shore, and I gaze across
But I canna get a blink o' my ain countrie.
But I dinna see the broom wi' its tassels
on the lea,
Nor hear the lintie's sang o' my ain
Oh! here no Sabbath bell awakes the
Nor song of reapers heard among the
For the tyrant's voice is here, and the wail
But the sun of freedom shines in my ain countrie.
There's a hope for every woe, and a balm for ev'ry pain,
But the first joys of our youth come never back again;
There's a track upon the deep, and a path across the sea,
But the weary ne'er return to their ain countrie.
THE Course of Time is a poem in blank verse, about the same length as Paradise Lost; but the verse and the length are perhaps the only resemblances which it bears to that great poem. Though possessing many eloquent passages, and giving decided proof of lofty and sustained capacity, it is on the whole heavy and uninteresting; but that it has circulated to the extent of upwards of twenty editions in this country, and many more in America, is evidence that it has been acceptable to a large number of readers, who prefer poetry more for the profit than the enjoyment which it yields.
Its author, Robert Pollok, was born at Muirhouse, in Renfrewshire, in 1799, and was educated at Glasgow University, for the ministry of the Secession Church. His first book, published anonymously, was Tales of the Covenanters. The Course of Time was published in 1827, and the same year its author was licensed to preach; but his devotion to his professional and poetical studies, either originated or developed a consumption, for which he sought the benefit of a milder climate in vain. He died on 17th of September 1827, in his 28th year, after a few weeks' residence in the South of England, and was buried at Millbrook, near Southampton, A granite obelisk marks his grave, and a memoir of him was written in 1843.
Was rather death than life. To live unknown,
Unnoticed, unrenowned! to die un
Unepitaphed to go down to the pit,
For fiction new, for thought unthought
And when some curious rare idea peered
That through his lattice peeped, wrote
Such thought was cold about the heart, What seemed in truth imperishable song.
The aim of most, and main pursuit to win A name, to leave some vestige as they passed,
That following ages might discern they
Had been on earth, and acted something
And ofttimes, too, the simple hind, who seemed
Ambitionless, arrayed in humble garb, While round him, spreading, fed his harmless flock,
Many the roads they took, the plans Sitting was seen by some wild warbling
The man of science to the shade retired,
Of awful thoughtfulness, and dived, and
Again, deeper and deeper still, to sound
To make some grand discovery, by which
And in the silent vigils of the night,
Oft streaming wild unearthly fire, sat up,
Of curious workmanship and marvellous
Many the roads they took, the plans they tried;
In strength some sought it, and in beauty And awful oft the wickedness they
Long, long the fair one laboured at the To be observed, some scrambled up to
Of praise. And much she caught, and The rich bought fields, and houses built,
When outward loveliness was index fair Of purity within but oft, alas!
The bloom was on the skin alone; and when
The monumental piles up to the clouds, And called them by their names: and, strange to tell!
Rather than be unknown, and pass away
She saw, sad sight! the roses on her Obscurely to the grave, some, small of
Wither, and heard the voice of fame retire
That else had perished unobserved, acquired
And die away, she heaved most piteous Considerable renown by oaths profane;
And wept most lamentable tears; and whiles,
In wild delirium, made rash attempt-
By jesting boldly with all sacred things; And uttering fearlessly whate'er occurred; Wild, blasphemous, perditionable
That Satan in them moved; by wiser men Suppressed and quickly banished from the mind.
Her frame itself soon mouldered down to Many the roads they took, the plans they
LIKE Michael Bruce, Robert Nicoll | poems under the title of Poems and Lyrics. He now gave up his library, and intended trying his fortune in London; but after remaining some time in Edinburgh, he was appointed editor of the Leeds Times, a Radical newspaper. His zeal for the success of the paper, and the excitement of local politics, soon broke his health, and after a short sojourn at Knaresborough, he came back to Edinburgh, and died at Trinity in his twenty-fourth year. He was buried in North Leith Churchyard, where a memorial stone has recently been placed over his remains. A memoir of him has been written by Mr Smiles, and a new edition of his poems is (1877) just published.
was endowed with literary abilities which he lacked physical powers to enable him to bring to maturity. His zeal and enthusiasm may be said to have consumed him; and with his early death raised his fame, as by a wave of friendly sympathy, beyond what anything he has written will maintain. It has been said that some of his songs have obtained an equal popularity with the best of Burns's. This can hardly be true in any sense; but if it is implied that their merits any way approach the best of Burns's, nothing could be more unjust to Nicoll's fame, or stronger evidence of the critic's want of judgment in such matters than the suggestion of such a comparison.
He was born at Tullybeltane, Perthshire, on January 7th, 1814. His father was a farmer, but was unsuccessful, and Robert's early education was obtained from his mother, a woman of superior intelligence, and was completed at the parish school. His literary aspirations were very early manifested; and while serving an apprenticeship as a grocer in Perth, he devoted his leisure to study and reading. In 1833, he forwarded a tale to Johnstone's Magazine, which led to his making a visit to Edinburgh, and being introduced to several literary gentlemen who befriended him. In 1834, he started a circulating library in Dundee, and interested himself in local politics as an extreme liberal. In 1835, he published a collection of his (12)
THE BONNIE ROWAN BUSH.
The bonnie rowan bush
In yon lane glen-
An' my bluid is thin an' cauld—
My Jeanie first I met
In yon lane glen-
An' our hearts wi' love did beat-