ROBERT WILLIAMS BUCHANAN (1841 - 1901)

Home
Biography
Bibliography

Poetry
Plays
Fiction

Essays
Reviews
Letters

The Fleshly School Controversy
Buchanan and the Press
Buchanan and the Law

The Critical Response
Harriett Jay
Miscellanea

Links
Site Diary
Site Search

COLLECTIONS (8)

 

Selected Poems.

(London: Chatto & Windus, 1882.)

continued

 

NARRATIVE POEMS.

 

‘Meg Blane’ - from North Coast and Other Poems, 1867. This is the revised version from the 1874 Poetical Works.

‘Willie Baird’ - from Idyls and Legends of Inverburn, 1865. This is the revised version from the 1874 Poetical Works.

‘The Snowdrop’ (From “Poet Andrew”.)’ - from  Idyls and Legends of Inverburn, 1865. This is the concluding section of the poem.

THE SNOWDROP.*

(From “Poet Andrew”.)

AND as he nearer grew to God the Lord,
Nearer and dearer day by day he grew
To Mysie and mysel’—our own to love,
The world’s no longer. For the first last time,
We twa, the lad and I, could sit and crack
With open hearts—free-spoken, at our ease;
I seem’d to know as muckle then as he,
Because I was sae sad.

                                     Thus grief, sae deep
It flow’d without a murmur, brought the balm
Which blunts the edge of worldly sense and makes
Old people weans again. In this sad time,
We never troubled at his childish ways;
We seem’d to share his pleasure when he sat
List’ning to birds upon the eaves; we felt
Small wonder when we found him weeping o’er
His old torn books of pencill’d thoughts and verse;
And if, outbye, I saw a bonnie flower,
I pluck’d it carefully and bore it home 
To my sick boy. To me, it somehow seem’d
His care for lovely earthly things had changed—
Changed from the curious love it once had been,
Grown larger, sadder, holier, peacefuller;
And though he never lost the luxury
Of loving beauteous things for poetry’s sake,
His heart was God the Lord’s, and he was calm.
Death came to lengthen out his solemn thoughts
Like shadows from the sunset. So no more
We wonder’d. What is folly in a lad
Healthy and heartsome, one with work to do,
Befits the freedom of a dying man. . . .
Mother, who chided loud the idle lad
Of old, now sat her sadly by his side,
And read from out the Bible soft and low,
Or lilted lowly, keeking in his face,
The old Scots songs that made his een so dim.
I went about my daily work as one
Who waits to hear a knocking at the door,
Ere Death creeps in and shadows those that watch;
And seated here at e’en i’ the ingleside,
I watch’d the pictures in the fire and smoked
My pipe in silence; for my head was fu’
Of many rhymes the lad had made of old
(Rhymes I had read in secret, as I said),
No one of which I minded till they came
Unsummon’d, murmuring about my ears
Like bees among the leaves.

                                               The end drew near.
Came Winter moaning, and the Doctor said
That Andrew could not live to see the Spring;
And day by day, while frost was hard at work,
The lad grew weaker, paler, and the blood
Came redder from the lung. One Sabbath day—
The last of winter, for the caller air
Was drawing sweetness from the barks of trees—
When down the lane, I saw to my surprise
A snowdrop blooming underneath a birk,
And gladly pluckt the flower to carry home
To Andrew. Ere I reach’d the bield, the air
Was thick wi’ snow, and ben in yonder room
I found him, mother seated at his side,
Drawn to the window in the old arm-chair,
Gazing wi’ lustrous een and sickly cheek
Out on the shower, that waver’d softly down
In glistening siller glamour. Saying nought,
Into his hand I put the year’s first flower,
And turn’d awa’ to hide my face; and he . . .
. . . He smiled . . . and at the smile, I knew not why,
It swam upon us, in a frosty pain,
The end was come at last, at last, and Death
Was creeping ben, his shadow on our hearts.
We gazed on Andrew, call’d him by his name,
And touch’d him softly . . . and he lay awhile,
His een upon the snow, in a dark dream,
Yet neither heard nor saw; but suddenly,
He shook awa’ the vision wi’ a smile,
Raised lustrous een, still smiling, to the sky,
Next upon us, then dropt them to the flower
That trembled in his hand, and murmur’d low,
Like one that gladly murmurs to himsel’—
‘Out of the Snow, the Snowdrop—out of Death
Comes Life;’ then closed his eyes and made a moan,
And never spake another word again.

     * See Appendix, “The Life of David Gray.”

___

 

LONDON POEMS.

 

‘Bexhill, 1866’ - from London Poems, 1866.

‘Pan’ - originally published, as ‘Pan’, in The Saint Pauls Magazine, June, 1872, then as ‘Pan: Epilogue’ in Volume 1 of the 1874 King edition of The Poetical Works.‘Pan: Epilogue’ was included in the ‘London Poems (1866-70)’ section of the 1884 Chatto & Windus Poetical Works.and can be found in the ‘Additional London Poems’ section of the site.

‘The City Asleep’ - originally published in London Society, March, 1869. ‘The City Asleep’ was included in Volume 1 of the 1874 King edition of The Poetical Works and in the ‘London Poems (1866-70)’ section of the 1884 Chatto & Windus Poetical Works and can be found in the ‘Additional London Poems’ section of the site.

‘Up In An Attic’ - originally published in The Argosy, October, 1866. ‘Up In An Attic’ was included in Volume 1 of the 1874 King edition of The Poetical Works and in the ‘London Poems (1866-70)’ section of the 1884 Chatto & Windus Poetical Works and can be found in the ‘Additional London Poems’ section of the site.

‘The First Glimpse Of Green Fields. (From “Liz.”)’ - from London Poems, 1866. These are the last five verses of the poem in the revised version of the 1874 King edition of The Poetical Works.

THE FIRST GLIMPSE OF GREEN FIELDS.

(From “Liz.”).

1.

AND so the baby’s come, and I shall die!
     And though ’tis hard to leave poor baby here,
     Where folk will think him bad, and all’s so drear,
The great LORD GOD knows better far than I.
Ah, don’t!—’tis kindly, but it pains me so!
You say I’m wicked, and I want to go!
“GODS kingdom,” Parson dear? Ah nay, ah nay!
     That must be like the country—which I fear:
I saw the country once, one summer day,
     And I would rather die in London here!

 

2.

For I was sick of hunger, cold, and strife,
     And took a sudden fancy in my head
     To try the country, and to earn my bread
Out among fields, where I had heard one’s life
Was easier and brighter. So, that day,
I took my basket up and stole away,
Just after sunrise. As I went along,
     Trembling and loath to leave the busy place,
I felt that I was doing something wrong,
     And fear’d to look policemen in the face.
And all was dim: the streets were gray and wet
     After a rainy night: and all was still;
     I held my shawl around me with a chill,
And dropt my eyes from every face I met;
Until the streets began to fade, the road
     Grew fresh and clean and wide,
Fine houses where the gentlefolk abode,
     And gardens full of flowers, on every side.
That made me walk the quicker—on, on, on—
     As if I were asleep with half-shut eyes,
     And all at once I saw, to my surprise,
The houses of the gentlefolk were gone,
And I was standing still, 
Shading my face, upon a high green hill,
     And the bright sun was blazing,
And all the blue above me seem’d to melt
     To burning, flashing gold, while I was gazing
On the great smoky cloud where I had dwelt.

 

3.

I’ll ne’er forget that day. All was so bright
     And strange. Upon the grass around my feet
The rain had hung a million drops of light;
     The air, too, was so clear and warm and sweet,
It seem’d a sin to breathe it. All around
     Where hills and fields and trees that trembled through
     A burning, blazing fire of gold and blue;
And there was not a sound,
     Save a bird singing, singing, in the skies,
And the soft wind, that ran along the ground,
     And blew so sweetly on my lips and eyes.
Then, with my heavy hand upon my chest,
     Because the bright air pain’d me, trembling, sighing,
I stole into a dewy field to rest,
     And oh, the green, green grass where I was lying 
Was fresh and living—and the bird sang loud,
Out of a golden cloud—
     And I was looking up at him and crying!

 

4.

How swift the hours slipt on!—and by and by
The sun grew red, big shadows fill’d the sky,
     The air grew damp with dew,
     And the dark night was coming down, I knew.
Well, I was more afraid than ever, then,
     And felt that I should die in such a place,—
     So back to London town I turn’d my face,
And crept into the cheerful streets again;  
And when I breathed the smoke and heard the roar,
     Why, I was better, for in London here
     My heart was busy, and I felt no fear.
I never saw the country any more.
And I have stay’d in London, well or ill—
     I would not stay out yonder if I could,
     For one feels dead, and all looks pure and good—
I could not bear a life so bright and still.
All that I want is sleep,
Under the flags and stones, so deep, so deep!
God won’t be hard on one so mean, but He,   
     Perhaps, will let a tired girl slumber sound
     There in the deep cold darkness under ground;
And I shall waken up in time, may be,
Better and stronger, not afraid to see
     The burning Light that folds Him round and round!  

 

5.

See! there’s the sunset creeping through the pane—
How cool and moist it looks amid the rain!
I like to hear the splashing of the drops
On the house-tops,
And the loud mumur of the folk that go
Along the streets below!
I like the smoke and roar—I love them yet—  
     They seem to still one’s cares . . .   
     There’s Joe! I hear his foot upon the stairs!—
Poor lad, he must be wet!
He will be angry, like enough, to find
     Another little life to clothe and keep.
But show him baby, Parson—speak him kind—
     And tell him Doctor thinks I’m going to sleep.
A hard, hard life is his! He need be strong
And rough, to earn his bread and get along. 
I think he will be sorry when I go,
     And leave the little one and him behind . . .
     I hope he’ll see another to his mind,
To keep him straight and tidy . . . Poor old Joe!

___

 

‘The Starling’- from London Poems, 1866.

‘Nell’ - from London Poems, 1866.

‘The Bookworm’ - originally published in All The Year Round, October, 1871. ‘The Bookworm’ was included in Volume 2 of the 1874 King edition of The Poetical Works and in the ‘London Poems (1866-70)’ section of the 1884 Chatto & Windus Poetical Works.and can be found in the ‘Additional London Poems’ section of the site.

‘Barbara Gray’ - from London Poems, 1866.

‘The Wake Of O’Hara’ - originally published as ‘The Wake Of Tim O’Hara’ in All The Year Round, July, 1869. ‘The Wake Of Tim O’Hara’ was included in Volume 1 of the 1874 King edition of The Poetical Works and in the ‘London Poems (1866-70)’ section of the 1884 Chatto & Windus Poetical Works.and can be found in the ‘Additional London Poems’ section of the site.

‘Spring Song In The City’ - originally published in London Society, May, 1868. ‘Spring Song In The City’ was included in Volume 1 of the 1874 King edition of The Poetical Works and in the ‘London Poems (1866-70)’ section of the 1884 Chatto & Windus Poetical Works and can be found in the ‘Additional London Poems’ section of the site.

‘To David In Heaven’ - from Undertones, 1863. The original version of ‘To David In Heaven’ in the 1863, Moxon edition of Undertones, was revised for the 1865, Strahan edition. This version was later published in the 1884, Chatto & Windus edition of the Poetical Works. However, the 1874 King edition of the Poetical Works has a third revision of ‘To David In Heaven’, which is the one included in Selected Poems.

 

SPIRITUAL POEMS.

 

‘The Strange Country’ - originally published in Good Words, March, 1872. Included in Volume 1 of the 1874 King edition of The Poetical Works.

‘A Song Of A Dream’ - from Balder the Beautiful, 1877.

‘Flower Of The World’ - from The Book of Orm, 1870.

‘The First Song Of The Veil’ - from The Book of Orm, 1870. The first part of the sequence, ‘The Veil Woven’, is reduced to its first verse.

‘The Soul And The Dwelling’ - from The Book of Orm, 1870.

‘The City of Man’ - originally appeared as ‘The Final Chorus, or Epode’ of Napoleon Fallen, 1871. In The Drama of Kings (also 1871) it was revised and moved to the end of the poem where it appeared as the ‘Epode’ (pp. 443-437). It was further revised and was published, as ‘The City of Man’, in Volume 3 of the 1874 King edition of The Poetical Works.

‘The Vision Of The Man Accurst’ - from The Book of Orm, 1870.

 

APPENDIX.

 

DAVID GRAY *

 

HIS BIRTHPLACE AND BOYHOOD.

SITUATED in a bye-road, about a mile from the small town of Kirkintilloch, and eight miles from the city of Glasgow, stands a cottage one storey high, roofed with slate, and surrounded by a little kitchen garden. A whitewashed lobby, leading from the front to the back door, divides this cottage into two sections; to the right is a room fitted up as a hand-loom weaver’s workshop; to the left is a kitchen paved with stone, and opening into a tiny carpeted bedroom.
     In this humble home, David Gray, a hand-loom weaver, resided for upwards of twenty years, and managed to rear a family of eight children—five boys and three girls. His eldest son, David, author of “The Luggie and other poems,” is the hero of the present true history.
     David was born on the 29th of January, 1838. He alone, of all the little household, was destined to receive a decent education. From early childhood, the dark-eyed little fellow was noted for his wit and cleverness; and it was the dream of his father’s life that he should become a scholar. At the parish school of Kirkintilloch he learned to read, write, and cast up accounts, and was, moreover, instructed in the Latin rudiments. Partly through the hard struggles of his parents, and partly through his own severe labours as a pupil-teacher and private tutor, he was afterwards enabled to attend the classes at the Glasgow University. In common with other rough country lads, who live up dark alleys, subsist chiefly on oatmeal and butter forwarded from home, and eventually distinguish themselves in

     * This account of the poet David Gray is condensed from “The Life of David Gray,” by Robert Buchanan. Without some knowledge of these facts, several of the preceding poems,—e.g., “To David in Heaven,” “The Snowdrop,” etc.—can scarcely be understood.

the class-room, he had to fight his way onward amid poverty and privation; but in his brave pursuit of knowledge nothing daunted him. It had been settled at home that he should become a minister of the Free Church of Scotland. Unfortunately, however, he had no love for the pulpit. Early in life he had begun to hanker after the delights of poetical composition. He had devoured the poets from Chaucer to Wordsworth. The yearnings thus awakened in him had begun to express themselves in many wild fragments—contributions, for the most part, to the poet’s corner of a local newspaper.
     Up to this point there was nothing extraordinary in the career or character of David Gray. Taken at his best, he was an average specimen of the persevering young Scottish student. But his soul contained wells of emotion which had not yet been stirred to their depths. When, at fourteen years of age, he began to study in Glasgow, it was his custom to go home every Saturday night in order to pass the Sunday with his parents. These Sundays at home were chiefly occupied with rambles in the neighbourhood of Kirkintilloch; wanderings on the sylvan banks of the Luggie, the beloved little river which flowed close to his father’s door. On Luggieside awakened one day the dream which developed all the hidden beauty of his character, and eventually kindled all the faculties of his intellect. Had he been asked to explain the nature of this dream, David would have answered vaguely enough, but he would have said something to the following effect: “I’m thinking none of us are quite contented; there’s a climbing impulse to heaven in us all that won’t let us rest for a moment. Just now I would be happy if I knew a little more. I’d give ten years of life to see Rome, and Florence, and Venice, and the grand places of old; and to feel that I wasn’t a burden on the old folks. I’ll be a great man yet! and the old home, the Luggie and Gartshore wood shall be famous for my sake.” He could only measure his ambition by the love he bore his home. “I was born, bred, and cared for here, and my folk are buried here. I know every nook and dell for miles around, and they are all dear to me. My own mother and father dwell here, and in my own wee room” (the tiny carpeted room above alluded to) “I first learned to read poetry. I love my home; and it is for my home’s sake that I love fame.”
     Nor were that home and its surroundings unworthy of such love. Tiny and unpretending as is Luggie stream, upon its banks lie many nooks of beauty, bowery glimpses of woodland, shady solitudes, places of nestling green for poets made. Not far off stretch the Campsie fells, with dusky nooks between, where the waterfall and the cascade make a silver pleasure in the heart of shadow; and beyond, there are dreamy glimpses of the misty blue mountains themselves. Away to the south-west lies Glasgow, in its smoke, most hideous of cities, wherein the very clangour of church-bells is associated with abominations. Into the heart of that city David was to be slowly drawn, subject to a fascination only death could dispel—the desire to make deathless music, and the dream of moving therewith the mysterious heart of man.

HIS FIRST ACQUAINTANCE WITH ROBERT BUCHANAN.

     Early in his teens David had made the acquaintance of a young man of Glasgow, with whom his fortunes were destined to be intimately woven. That young man was myself. We spent year after year in intimate communion, varying the monotony of our existence by reading books together, plotting great works, writing extravagant letters to men of eminence, and wandering about the country on vagrant freaks. Whole nights and days were often passed in seclusion, in reading the great thinkers, and pondering on their lives. Full of thoughts too deep for utterance, dreaming, David would walk at a swift pace through the crowded streets, with face bent down, and eyes fixed on the ground, taking no heed of the human beings passing to and fro. Then he would come to me crying, “I have had a dream,” and would forthwith tell of visionary pictures which had haunted him in his solitary walk. This “dreaming,” as he called it, consumed the greater portion of his hours of leisure.

GRAY AND BUCHANAN IN LONDON.

     All at once there flashed upon David and myself the notion of going to London, and taking the literary fortress by storm. Again and again we talked the project over, and again we hesitated. In the spring of 1860, we both found ourselves without an anchorage; each found it necessary to do something for daily bread. For some little time the London scheme had been in abeyance; but on the 3rd of May, 1860, David came to me, his lips compressed, his eyes full of fire, saying, “Bob, I’m off to London.” “Have you funds?” I asked. “Enough for one, not enough for two,” was the reply. “If you can get the money anyhow, we’ll go together.” On parting, we arranged to meet on the evening of the 5th of May, in time to catch the five o’clock train. Unfortunately, however, we neglected to specify which of the two Glasgow stations was intended. At the hour appointed, David left Glasgow by one line of railway, in the belief that I had been unable to join him, but determined to try the venture alone. With the same belief and determination, I left at the same hour by the other line of railway, We arrived in different parts of London at about the same time. Had we left Glasgow in company, or had we met immediately after our arrival in London, the story of David’s life might not have been so brief and sorrowful.
     Though the month was May, the weather was dark, damp, cloudy. On arriving in the metropolis, David wandered about for hours, carpet-bag in hand. The magnitude of the place overwhelmed him; he was lost in that great ocean of life. He thought about Johnson and Savage, and how they wandered through London with pockets more empty than his own; but already he longed to be back in the little carpeted bedroom in the weaver’s cottage. How lonely it seemed! Among all that mist of human faces there was not one to smile in welcome; and how was he to make his trembling voice heard above the roar and tumult of those streets? The very policemen seemed to look suspiciously at the stranger. To his sensitively Scottish ear the language spoken seemed quite strange and foreign; it had a painful, homeless sound about it that sank nervously on the heart-strings. As he wandered about the streets he glanced into coffee-shop after coffee-shop, seeing “beds” ticketed in each fly-blown window. His pocket contained a sovereign and a few shillings, but he would need every penny. Would not a bed be useless extravagance? he asked himself. Certainly. Where, then, should he pass the night? In Hyde Park! He had heard so much about this part of London that the name was quite familiar to him. Yes, he would pass the night in the park. Such a proceeding would save money, and be exceedingly romantic; it would be just the right sort of beginning for a poet’s struggle in London! So he strolled into the great park, and wandered about its purlieus till morning. In remarking upon this foolish conduct, one must reflect that David was strong, heartsome, full of healthy youth. It was a frequent boast of his that he scarcely ever had a day’s illness. Whether or not his fatal complaint was caught during this his first night in London is uncertain, but some few days afterwards David wrote thus to his father: “By-the-bye, I have had the worst cold I ever had in my life. I cannot get it away properly, but I feel a great deal better to-day.” Alas! violent cold had settled down upon his lungs, and insidious death was already slowly approaching him. So little conscious was he of his danger, however, that I find him writing to a friend: “What brought me here? God knows, for I don’t. Alone in such a place is a horrible thing. . . . People don’t seem to understand me. . . . Westminster Abbey; I was there all day yesterday. If I live I shall be buried there—so help me God! A completely defined consciousness of great poetical genius is my only antidote against utter despair and despicable failure.”

HIS FATAL ILLNESS.

     It soon became evident that David’s illness was of a most serious character. Pulmonary disease had set in; medicine, blisterings, all remedies employed in the early stages of the complaint, seemed of little avail. Just then David read the “Life of John Keats,” a book which impressed him with a nervous fear of impending dissolution. He began to be filled with conceits droller than any he had imagined in health. “If I were to meet Keats in heaven,” he said one day, “I wonder if I should know his face from his pictures?” Most frequently his talk was of labour uncompleted, hope deferred; and he began to pant for free country air. “If I die,” he said on a certain occasion, “I shall have one consolation,—Milnes * will

     * Richard Monckton Milnes, now Lord Houghton.

write an introduction to the poems.” At another time, with tears in his eyes, he repeated Burns’s epitaph. Now and then, too, he had his fits of frolic and humour, and would laugh and joke over his unfortunate position. It cannot be said that Mr. Milnes and his friends were at all lukewarm about the case of their young friend; on the contrary, they gave him every practical assistance. Mr. Milnes himself, full of the most delicate sympathy, trudged to and fro between his own house and the invalid’s lodging; his pockets laden with jelly and beef-tea, and his tongue tipped with kind comfort. His stay in these quarters was destined to be brief. Gradually, the invalid grew homesick. Nothing would content him but a speedy return to Scotland. He was carefully sent off by train, and arrived safely in his little cottage home far north. Here all was unchanged as ever. The beloved river was flowing through the same fields, and the same familiar faces were coming and going on its banks; but the whole meaning of the pastoral pageant had changed, and the colour of all was deepening towards the final sadness.
     Great, meanwhile, had been the commotion in the hand-loom weaver’s cottage, after the receipt of this bulletin: “I start off to-night at five o’clock by the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway, right on to London in good health and spirits.” A great cry arose in the household. He was fairly “daft;” he was throwing away all his chances in the world; the verse writing had turned his head. Father and mother mourned together. The former, though incompetent to judge literary merit of any kind, perceived that David was hot-headed, only half-educated, and was going to a place where thousands of people were starving daily. But the suspense was not to last long. The darling son, the secret hope and pride, came back to the old people, sick to death. All rebuke died away before the pale sad face and the feeble tottering body; and David was welcomed to the cottage hearth with silent prayers.
     It was now placed beyond a doubt that the disease was one of mortal danger; yet David, surrounded again by his old lares, busied himself with many bright and delusive dreams of ultimate recovery. Pictures of a pleasant dreamy convalescence in a foreign clime floated before him morn and night.

HIS DEATH AND EPITAPH.

     But ere long, David made up his mind that he must die; and this feeling urged him to write something which would keep his memory green for ever. “I am working away at my old poem, Bob; leavening it throughout with the pure beautiful theology of Kingsley.” A little later: “By-the-bye, I have about 600 lines of my poem written, but the manual labour is so weakening that I do not go on.” Nor was this all. In the very shadow of the grave, he began and finished a series of sonnets on the subject of his own disease and impending death. This increased literary energy was not, as many people imagined, a sign of increased physical strength; it was merely the last flash upon the blackening brand. Gradually, but surely, life was ebbing away from the young poet.
     At last, chiefly through the agency of the unwearying Dobell, the poem was placed in the hands of the printer. On the 2nd of December, 1861, a specimen-page was sent to the author. David, with the shadow of death even then dark upon him, gazed long and lingeringly at the printed page. All the mysterious past—the boyish yearnings, the flash of anticipated fame, the black surroundings of the great city—flitted across his vision like a dream. It was “good news,” he said. The next day the complete silence passed over the weaver’s household, for David Gray was no more. Thus, on the 3rd of December, 1861, in the 24th year of his age, he passed tranquilly away, almost his last words being, “God has love, and I have faith.” The following epitaph, written out carefully, a few months before his decease, was found among his papers:

MY EPITAPH.

Below lies one whose name was traced in sand—
He died, not knowing what it was to live:
Died while the first sweet consciousness of manhood
And maiden thought electrified his soul:
Faint beatings in the calyx of the rose.
Bewildered reader, pass without a sigh
In a proud sorrow! There is life with God,
In other kingdom of a sweeter air;
In Eden every flower is blown. Amen.

Sept. 27, 1861.                                                    DAVID GRAY.

     Draw a veil over the woe that day in the weaver’s cottage, the wild broodings over the beloved face, white in the sweetness of rest after pain. A few days later, the beloved dust was shut for ever from the light, and carried a short journey, in ancient Scottish fashion, on handspokes, to the Auld Aisle Burial-Ground, a dull and lonely square upon an eminence, bounden by a stone wall, and deep with “the uncut hair of graves.” Here, in happier seasons, had David often mused; for here slept dust of kindred, and hither in his sight the thin black line of rude mourners often wended with new burdens.
     Standing on this eminence, one can gaze round upon the scenes which it is no exaggeration to say David has immortalised in song,—the Luggie flowing, the green woods of Gartshore, the smoke curling from the little hamlet of Merkland, and the faint blue misty distance of the Campsie Fells. The place though a lonely is a gentle and happy one, fit for a poet’s rest; and there, while he was sleeping sound, a quiet company gathered ere long to uncover a monument inscribed with his name. The dying voice had been heard. Over the grave now stands a plain obelisk, publicly subscribed for, and inscribed with this epitaph, written by Lord Houghton:—

THIS MONUMENT OF
AFFECTION, ADMIRATION, AND REGRET,
IS ERECTED TO
DAVID GRAY,
THE POET OF MERKLAND,
BY FRIENDS FAR AND NEAR,
DESIROUS THAT HIS GRAVE SHOULD BE REMEMBERED
AMID THE SCENES OF HIS RARE GENIUS
AND EARLY DEATH,
AND BY THE LUGGIE NOW NUMBERED WITH THE
STREAMS ILLUSTRIOUS IN SCOTTISH SONG.
BORN, 29TH JANUARY, 1838; DIED, 3RD DECEMBER, 1861.

__________

 

Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Frome, and London.

selpoemsad1
selpoemsad2

Next: The Poetical Works of Robert Buchanan (1884)

or back to Collections

 

Home
Biography
Bibliography

 

Poetry
Plays
Fiction

 

Essays
Reviews
Letters

 

The Fleshly School Controversy
Buchanan and the Press
Buchanan and the Law

 

The Critical Response
Harriett Jay
Miscellanea

 

Links
Site Diary
Site Search