ROBERT WILLIAMS BUCHANAN (1841 - 1901)

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ROBERT BUCHANAN AND THE GLASGOW SENTINEL - continued

 

The Glasgow Sentinel (17 October, 1857 - p.8)

lovelyricsshortad

The Glasgow Sentinel (14 November, 1857 - p.1)

Reviews.

POEMS AND LYRICS. By ROBERT W. BUCHANAN. Glasgow: Thomas Murray and Son.

MODERN society, notwithstanding all its searing influences, is pervaded by an ever-active spirit of poetry. That such is the case, is abundantly evident from the complexion of the stream which, as from an inexhaustible fountain, is ever issuing from the press. Another, and another, and another, streameth forth the grand procession of the books. Now it is a stately and sonorous history—now a hard-featured and crabbed-looking treatise on science; again it is a creation of fiction—mirthful or serious—“holding the mirror up to nature;” and anon, it is an utterance of song, haply in all the pomp of the epic, but far more frequently in the less ambitious shape of lays and lyrics swelling forth from souls which love to pipe a simple song to gladden the hearts of their fellow-men. The number of the minstrel tribe in modern days is indeed great. They are of all ranks and degrees of excellence, from Tennyson, upon whose honoured brow is wreathed the laurel of an assured immortality, down to the most lowly and illiterate metre balladmonger who ever counted his fingers in the vain attempt to make his verses clink. Yet ever as the “gude black prent” comes forth, we love to greet the successive aspirants to poetic honours, and to scan their several offerings to fame. In this way we have often met with good grains among the chaff, and beadings of finest gold where we had only looked for gravel or clay. The latest contribution to the literature of the lyre—at least the latest which has come under out notice—is by the author of the little volume the title of which heads the present article. From the preface—a modestly-written prelude to the poetry—we learn that Mr Buchanan is a very young man, and that the greater number of his productions were penned before he had attained his sixteenth year. On this ground he appeals to the kindlier feelings of the critic, and truly reminds him “that the bark of youth is necessarily more abundant in sail than in ballast.” That the generality of the fault-finding brotherhood will make due allowance for the juvenility of the poet we have no doubt, although there may be a testy old buffer here and there who will growl at the appeal. Such a one, we flatter ourselves, we are not. Remembering that Cowley and Pope both lisped in numbers, we have always scanned the pages of the young poet with interest; not in the expectation of meeting with anything like profundity of thought or maturity of style, but, if possible, to discover what of promise lay within his pages. The child has been said to be the father of the man, and in the lineaments of the child there are often indications of the future man. In the poems and lyrics of our youthful author, for instance, we imagine we can discern the luxuriance of a spring which may yet develope itself into an abundant harvest. These are but the firstlings of the year, and yet, from their appearance, we are led to dream of nodding ears of gold and branches bending under their loads of mellowing fruits.
     In the little volume before us there are pieces in a considerable variety of styles. We have, for instance, “Mary Gurney,” a tale of sin and sorrow, in very fair blank verse; “Extract from an unpublished Play,” a dramatic effort of much poetic beauty; with lyrics in various measures and cadences, and a sprinkling of sonnets of considerable vigour both as regards language and sentiment. In all these measures we can detect the fine ear of the future poet, with a profusion of fancies and conceits which time will yet teach him to prune into a more chastened, and consequently, more attractive beauty. That there are occasional errors in taste and certain extravagancies of imagery, combined occasionally with certain crudities of thought, is what we must not deny, and certainly is what we should only have looked for in the writings of so young a bard. Enjoyment and sorrow, love, hope, disappointment, and doubt, must all be experienced before the poet is properly ripened for his mission, and is fitted to grapple with the deeper mysteries of his art. Time is the great teacher, and our author will do much better things when he has been a little longer in the grim old fellow’s school.
     Meanwhile, and as the best method of recommending the book, we shall let our author speak for himself, in a production or two which we may mention have been selected almost at random. In doing so, we purposely omit Mr Buchanan’s more ambitious efforts, as from the necessary connection of a story or plot, they do not so well admit of satisfactory extract. The following little lyric is at one musical, tender, and touchingly simple—

HAPPY LOVE.

Merry blossom on the hours,
                             Mary mine;
I am calling all their flowers,
                             Mary mine—
                   All to deck the tender breast,
                   Where the doves of beauty rest,
                   And the gay god Love sits blest,
                             Mary mine.

Hark! the lay of Love’s soft sea,
                             Mary mine,
On whose bosom bright and free,
                             Mary mine,
                   Mid mellifluous calm we glide—
                   Seldom, seldom tempest tried,
                   In our fondness side by side,
                             Mary mine.

See! fond smiles envelope heaven,
                             Mary mine;
In Affection we are shriven,
                             Mary mine,—
                   As we drain the cups of light,
                   Where our soul’s warm streams unite,
                   Mingling, soaring pure and bright,
                             Mary mine.

How I listen to thy song,
                             Mary mine,
As our lives flow calm along,
                             Mary mine;
                   How I read the lily soul,
                   Where the waves of pure Love roll,
                   Kissing aye their golden goal,
                             Mary mine.

There is lustre up above,
                             Mary mine,
God in Nature gifts our love,
                             Mary mine;
                   Conscience whispers, all approving,
                   Strewing flowers where we are roving;
                   Closer, closer glide we, loving,
                             Mary mine.

     Our next extract is also in the lyrical vein, and seems to dance to its own music like a merry mountain stream—like a merry mountain streamlet, also, it dies away in melancholy murmurs—

WOOING.

O, the wooing, endless wooing,
     ’Mid the merry, merry May;
O, the am’rous glances golden
By the hawthorn, hoar and olden;
O, the merry maze pursuing
     All the live-long, sunny day.
O, the wooing, wondrous wooing—
     Wondrous wooing of the May.

O, the wooing, endless wooing,
     ’Mid the merry, merry May;
There’s a flame that burns despotic,
There’s a flower that blooms exotic
’Neath the fervid sun—embuing
     Heart and head the live-long day.
O, the wooing, wondrous wooing,
     ’Mid the merry, merry May.

O, the wooing, endless wooing,
     ’Mid the merry, merry May;
Hard to pine to am’rous leaven—
When all Nature swims in Heaven,
When each heart is mirth pursuing
     All the live-long, sunny day;
’Tis a hard thing to be wooing
     Marble all the merry May.

O, the wooing, fruitless wooing,
     Wooing ’mid the fickle May;
She has eyes as bright as star-beams;
From this face each gay glance far beams—
Yet far from it, is undoing
     All the heart that ever lay
In this breast—a-wooing, wooing,
     Frozen ’mid the golden May.

O, the wooing, bootless wooing,
     Wooing ’mid the fickle May;
Hard it is an eye o’erflowing
Never beams, one glance bestowing
On the trembling heart, pursuing
     The shadow through the live-long day
Of the smile that wakes its wooing
     ’Mid the madly mocking May.

O, the wooing, bitter wooing,
     Wooing ’mid the fickle May;
O, to see the locks out-vieing
Yonder mocking sun, a-dying;
Thou the dizzy dance pursuing,
     Smiling on some spirit—gay!
O, ’tis woeful, weary wooing,
     This wooing of the May.
.        .       .        .         .       .        .    

O, the wooing, empty wooing,
     ’Mid the lesson-laden May—
O, the silly, vain coquetting.
O, the wanton heart’s blood-letting,
In the passionate pursuing,
     Empty shadows, cold as gay!
O, the moments lost in wooing
     Loveless daughters of the May!

     But we must conclude, and, in doing so, we beg to offer the young bard our best wishes. May his elegantly got up and beautifully printed volume—the first-fruits of his genius—prove a great success, and tempt him at some future and more mature period of his life to scale again the brow of Parnassus, and to glean the flowers and the fruits, the tendrils and the leaves, which he may be privileged to gather on his onward and upward way.

___

 

The Glasgow Sentinel (28 November, 1857 - p.8)

lovevlyricsfirstad

The Glasgow Sentinel (28 November, 1857 - p.4)

Original Poetry.

A FAREWEEL.

I’M fleein’ awa’ frae the warl’, Willie,
     Awa’ frae the warl’ an’ thee,
To the chambers o’ silence and death, Willie,
     In the licht o’ thy lovin’ e’e.
There’s less in the simmer’s saft sky, Willie
     In a promised eternity—
But oh, it is glorious to die, Willie,
     In the licht o’ a lovin’ e’e.

For the love o’ the days that are fled, Willie,
     For the love o’ the days unborn—
For the heart that beats wi’ the dead, Willie,
     For the cauld, cauld world o’ scorn—
Ye’ll stan’ by my wee grey stane, Willie,
     Dreamin’ o’ heaven an’ me;
Ye’ll think o’ the lassie that’s gane, Willie,
     Wi’ the tear-drop in your e’e.

It’s no for your heart to scorn, Willie,
     It’s no for your tongue to blame—
For the love o’ the wee life born, Willie.
     Fight aye for my gude, fair fame;
Fight for my gude, fair fame, Willie,
     For the joys that our childhood knew,
An’ honour her dust an’ her name, Willie,
     Wha lived an’ who died for you.

There’s an icy han’ on my heart, Willie,
     A mist in my fadin’ e’e;
Death in his sorrowfu’ breast, Willie,
     Is bearin’ me far frae thee.
When the moon gies her cauld, cauld licht, Willie,
     I’ll creep to thy lanely side,
I’ll steal in the lang, lang nicht, Willie,
     Close to thy bosom—a bride.

                                                                                                                             R. W. BUCHANAN.

___

 

The Glasgow Sentinel (5 December, 1857 - p.4)

Original Poetry.

A LOVE LYRIC.
BY “MARY GURNEY.”

I.

Naked the boughs where the blackbird and merle
Sang out their souls in the music of gladness;
Wither’d the sward where the dew-drooping daisy
Folded its tips in the beauty of sadness.
Yet lighter my heart than the full-throated love-song—
The love-song of lark in the wide ear of morning;
For a rosebud is ripening, unblighted by winter,
The rosebud of love, this glad bosom adorning.

II.

Frozen the streams where the gay trembling dimples
Laughed in the sun’s face, and sang evermore;
Cold, cold the rill in its leapings and rovings,
Sad the deep anthem that thrills from the shore.
Yet the verdure of spring is alive in this bosom,
The fond light of true love is painting new flowers;
’Mid the rudeness, the darkness, the madness of winter,
Love’s opening rosebud this blest bosom dowers.

III.

“The light of love dies not, the bloom of love pales not,
A flower amaranthine!” we whisper each other;
As, safe from the chill of drear-nighted December,
I lie on his bosom as that of a brother.
Holy our love as a whisper of heaven,
And warmer than any, still burning in song;
I dote on thee, dearest, too fondly, too blindly,
Full certain that true love thinks never of wrong.

 

[Note: The review of Poems and Love Lyrics in The Glasgow Sentinel mentions a poem called ‘Mary Gurney’, written ”in very fair blank verse”. I assume the above poem is somehow connected to that; perhaps interpolated into the blank verse.]

___

 

The Glasgow Sentinel (12 December, 1857 - p.8)

lovelyricsaddec57

3. The Glasgow Sentinel 1858

 

The Glasgow Sentinel (16 January, 1858 - p.6)

Original Poetry.
_____

BALLAD.

I.

SHONE the white moon over mountain and valley,
     And close to her bosom crept soft as a child—
When lonely and sadly I parted from Sally,
     And left the dear vale where my infancy smiled.
Not a star in the ocean of heaven was sleeping;
     Sad Philomel sang on the tryst-hallowed tree;
The moment within me, alas! still is weeping
     When Fate first grew cold and took Sally from me.

II.

When Joy threw a spell over mountain and wildwood,
     And young, blushing Spring filled her musical bowers,
My Sally and I, in an innocent childhood,
     Had wandered the long summer’s day—and for flowers.
How sadly we gazed in the eyes of each other,
     And thought of the days we might nevermore see;
Alas! bleeding heart, I was more than a brother
     When Fate first grew cold and took Sally from me.

                                                               ROBT. W. BUCHANAN.

___

 

The following article is unsigned, but since its subject is David Gray I am inclined to believe that Robert Buchanan is the “occasional Correspondent”.

The Glasgow Sentinel (23 January, 1858 - p.6)

A COMING POET.
(From an occasional Correspondent).

SOME weeks ago an unpublished MS., purporting to be the poetical efforts of a certain Mr David Gray of this city, was placed in my hands by a friend. Having a gentle yearning towards the aspirant to poetical honours, together with some humble reverence for the “divine art” in the undeveloped bud as well as in the perfect flower, it was with feelings peculiarly apt to appreciate any beauties that might turn up in the course of perusal that I glanced over the careful sheets in a leisure hour. Not, indeed, circumstances considered, expecting much, nor willing to analyse the production in the purely critical light, with as much of pleasure as surprise I began to perceive the undoubted merit possessed by certain of the effusions thus submitted to my notice.
     Mr Gray is evidently a young man, and Time will effectually remedy faults which her hand alone, and that of her “large-souled” sister, Experience, can influence or eradicate. His misconceptions are the misconceptions of youth, crudity extravagance, and want of style—sometimes a too obvious tendency to metaphysical indiscrimination. As he grows into natural philosophy, an evident tendency to direct personification will also depart, and the harp upon which he now rehearses his early strains be exchanged for one of tenser strings. He is a poet in heart, warm, loving, and possessed of widely-diffused sympathies; and a few short years will chasten his aspirations and develop the niceties of a yet comparatively uncultivated ear. Not without melody, however—melody of the sweetest and most unexceptionable kind—are some of the occasional strains which “breathe” at his boyish touch. Hill and dale, the earth, the water, air, and awful heaven; man, with his better angel, woman—“lovely woman,” whom God has given to smile upon and to enjoy the innumerable blessings of the vital elements, are lovely in his ampler eye; and nowhere but with a true spirit does he pour forth in song the love with which his mind is so amply and deliciously filled. He is no mongrel sentimentalist, no unstrung spasmodist—mirabile dictu—and for what he lacks in style he compensates in pure direct truth. In some verses to the memory of a love departed, his muse seems inspired with the spirit of true pathos:—

TO JEANIE IN HEAVEN.

I.

Dark is the nicht in the dreesome October,
     Low, restless winds blaw the frail leaves amang,
Dull are the heavens, sae starless and sober,
     Cauld, wimplin’ Luggie rins weepin’ alang;
Silent the yellow leaves fa’ on its bosom,
     Slow wi’ the current are floated awa’—
They mind me o’ spring when the flowers were in blossom;
   But faded their beauty, and Jeanie’s awa’.

II.

Come ye, cauld Winter, sae naked and hoary,
     Fauld your white mantle the dead earth abune;
Chase ye awa’ Autumn’s beautifu’ glory—
     The bare, senseless clay wi’ my Jeanie claims kin.
Cauld draps the rain on the grave o’ my Jeanie,
     Withered the sward there and saftened the mound;
But Memory sees the fair face o’ the lassie,
     And feels her white arms twine my glad heart around.

III.

Her bonnie black een—can I ever forget them?—
     Their lustre is lost unto me evermore;
Her red lips are dry—will anither pair wet them
     Wi’ dew that upbreathes frae a heart rinnin’ o’er?
Ah! Jeanie, heart-sair I stan’, lanely and weeping,
     ’Neath the auld aik where ye aften met me;
My mither, the birds, an’ the stars are a’ sleeping—
     My soul, love, is wand’rin’ in Eden wi’ thee.

IV.

Come ye in garments o’ holiness gleaming,
     Fetch ye a fresh breath o’ heaven for me;
Come in the nicht-tide and set me a dreamin’—
     I’ll smile in my sleep, my dear Jeanie, on thee!
Silent the leaves fa’ on Luggie’s dark bosom,
     Slow wi’ the current are floated awa’;
They mind me o’ spring when the flowers were in blossom,
     But faded their beauty, and Jeanie’s awa’.

     The contents of the MS. before me are principally composed, like the above, in that sweet Doric which Robert Burns has employed to such obvious advantage in his briefer lilts. Here is not the namby-pamby stuff, however, everywhere thronging the poetical corners of the provincial press—things of the most provoking patois.—Mr Gray walks with tolerable success in the footprints of the great masters of Scottish song. The effusion above quoted, for instance, must come home to every feeling heart. One verse, in particular, struck me as particularly pathetic and beautiful. Entre nous, Mr Gray, why send “the sentinel stars” to bed at the only hour when they may be said, metaphorically speaking, to be visibly wide awake?
     Another little effusion caught my ear and heart—a city love song, which the reader will think flows sweetly:—

JEANIE McNAIR.

I.

Nae flowery cot is the hame o’ my Jeanie,
     Nae grassy sward where the dew draps may lie,
Nae bonnie braes a’ besprinkled wi’ lambkins,
     Nae dreamie streamlet reflectin’ the sky.
Deep ’mid the breath o’ the city sae gloomy
     She lives like a flower in a wild dreary muir!
Sae modest an’ bloomin’, sae loving an’ kindly;
     There’s nane in this warl’ like Jeanie McNair!

II.

Her dark braided hair is sae saft an’ sae glossy,
     Her fair cheek o’ dimples is Cupid’s ain hame,
Her mild ebon een, and her silken eye-lashes,
     For mony a sair heart are muckle to blame.
I preed her lips ance, when the moonlicht was fadin’;
     I’ll ne’er do’t again, tho’ my heart should grow sair;
I dream’t o’t at daybreak, at mid-day, and gloamin’,
   The bliss frae the sweet lips o’ Jeanie McNair!

III.

Angels, wha come when the daisies are weepin’,
     Watch ye my Jeanie when I gang awa’;
Fauld your kind pinions, w’ sweet fragrance deepin’,
     Owre the lane lassie, sae guileless, sae braw!
My love is owre holy for Poesy’s passion—
     ’Tis part o’ my being, my joy, and my care;
My thochts an’ my dreams, and my studies, a’ fashion
     Themsel’s to the image o’ Jeanie McNair.

     Thy “mild ebon een” and “silken eye-lashes” are celebrated here in no unworthy strains, Oh Jeanie of our poet’s song, whoe’er thou art! Verily, many a maid might envy the honour of such enthusiastic verse. His MS., which we are led to understand is on the eve of publication by a Glasgow house, embraces many effusions, similar and of equal merit, which cannot fail to catch the ear, and be wedded to appropriate airs.
     Mr Gray essays, in his more ambitious efforts, to sing in the dialect of the Saxon south—perhaps with less success. A poem of some length, written in the graceful measure of Wordsworth’s “Leech Gatherer” will satisfy such as can appreciate a happy story of Arcadian love sweetly told. It is too long for publication in your columns. Scurrilous critics may descry some faults of style in the subjoined—a production, nevertheless, of considerable quiet beauty:—

A MORNING SALUTATION.

Like lily leaves, her pearly lids, blue-veined,
     Are held by sleep o’er deepest violet eyes,
While dreams, the most enrapturing ever strained
     To bosom, lift her to Love’s paradise.

Give me to strew fresh flowerets in her room—
     Wild thyme, where fragrance lives like melody;
Primroses pale, the musk rose damask bloom,
     And honeysuckle twining amorously.

And when her bosom riseth in the swell
     Of softest dreams, and lips are slightly parted,
Breathing sweet fragrance forth, this lay I’ll tell,
     That like a beam from Love’s dear star hath darted:—

“Awake, my fair, awake! the tell-tale sun
     Hath counted every dewdrop on the lawn;
A thousand songful beings have begun,
     In joy, to glorify the rosy dawn.

“Awake, my fair! the flower-enamelled grove
     Is breathing out its incense, like to prayers;
While the loud universal lay of love
     Into the inmost soul melts unawares.

“Awake, my peerless! I have woven for thee
     A floral chaplet, passing rich and rare,
Of crimson-spotted cowslips, which the bee,
     On limber pinions, seeks with earnest care.

“Awake, the only image of my thought!
     For I am bold a hidden tale to con;
With love-lorn schemes my spirit now is fraught,
     That must be acted e’er the day be done.

“Awake in beauty! and in pity, smile,
     O goddess! on they ravished worshipper!
I kneel, in veriest rapture, e’en the while,
     O maid divine, thou fillest all the air.

“Awake, O fairest of the very fair!
     For I am bold my page of love to con;
And though thou haughty art, yet I shall dare
     To love and hope—a new Endymion.”

     I am informed that Mr Gray is a native of Merkland, a small village in the vicinity, and is at present engaged in this city in the pursuit of an arduous profession. An enthusiast in the love of the beautiful and true, I am rejoiced to perceive he has not considered it necessary to neglect the no less chastening, real, and the practical, whence, indeed, the fanciful must ever spring. His revels on Helicon—revels, indeed, under such circumstances—are held chiefly as a means of relaxation from the harsh but lesson-laden duties which the “Immortal Theory in the Immortal System of Human Life and Death” sanctifies and enforces. He is very young—little more than a boy—having not long ago witnessed the advent of his nineteenth summer. Yet already has he essayed to put on the robe of the man—that robe of purest and firmest texture—and to walk forth in perfect peace and perfect love through the shadow-subdued avenues of manly strength!
     A word or two in conclusion. I have hopes for Mr Gray, which I fervently trust he will not disappoint. I think he is sensible enough to exercise his powers discreetly. He will carefully prune his poetic wings, and take my welcome—it were perhaps as well—in a qualified sense. One-third of our promising young poets are quenched by egotism; another by undue haste. Mr Gray will enter the ranks of the still surviving tri-part, and accept my comment and advice—extended in all good-will—with that good sense which his own heart has taught him to appreciate and to exercise.

___

 

Adverts for Poems and Love Lyrics were included in every issue (bar one) of The Glasgow Sentinel until 17th April, 1858. This was the final, revised version of the ad.

The Glasgow Sentinel (23 January, 1858 - p.8)

poemslovelyricsadfull02

The Glasgow Sentinel (6 February, 1858 - p.6)

Original Poetry.

A SIGH.

“Life is dreary,
And I am a-weary,
     In wandering on without thee, Mary.”
                                                 —Shelley.

I.

How come the rosy seasons and depart?—
     I gnaw my simple grief;
Around the wheel of fate my withered heart
     Is flapping like a leaf.

II.

Sweet Spring, glad Summer, clap young hands in mirth,
     Smiles Autumn, chaste in flowers;
Dear Winter gossips at a happy hearth—
     I weigh the heavy hours.

III.

Sweet hints of fragrant Paradise enshrine
     The universe of life—
I dare be sad, and, mocking the divine,
     Gloat o’er my inner strife.

IV.

Dreaming and dreaming on my darling’s tomb,
     I pray to be forgiven,
If, while all Nature smiles, I sit in gloom
     And turn weak eyes to Heaven.

                                 Feb. 2, 1858.                                                                 ROBT. W. BUCHANAN.

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The Glasgow Sentinel (20 February, 1858 - p.6)

Original Poetry.

THE BALLAD OF THE LADY IMOGENE.
BY ROBT. W. BUCHANAN.

“Think of her tenderly,
Gently and humanly,
Not of the stains of her.”—HOOD.

I.

NIGHT of silence, Night of shadows,
Bird-like, brooded o’er the meadows,
Brooded o’er the misty meadows,
         O’er the meadows huge and sober—
Leaves were surging in the west,
Passion surging in thy breast,
Surging as you nestled, fair one,
Nestled, rich one, nestled, rare one,
         ’Mid the dark and dim October—
Nature’s one surviving blossom,
         Blooming very fair, I ween—
Nestled sweet in Hesper’s bosom,
         Imogene.

II.

Rare Imogene, fair Imogene,
Regretting, fretting Imogene!—
         The Night
Grew glorious as the hidden far lands,
As the twinkling, tender star-lands
         In the light,
In the virgin light you spread
O’er the solitary dead,
         O’er the church-sward, softly green—
Glory round your midnight head,
         Imogene.

III.

Through the dim and grassy grove,
Spirit-laden zephyrs rove,
Breathing lowly, whispers holy,
         Fraught with melancholy love!
Trembles the silent and silver light
From the starry brow of the dusky Night,
From the gentle gems of the dreaming Night,
Down-a-down to the scented Earth,
Where the elfins are sitting in faerie mirth—
Sitting, the pigmy revellers old,
The sylvan revels of Pan to hold,
Merry amid the boisterous bowers,
Bright’ning the desolate hearts of the hours
         Many fold!

IV.

Rare Imogene, fair Imogene,
Regretting, fretting Imogene!—
         You wept:
Rich tears, I trow, did trickle down,
And you wore a sad half-frown,
As you waited, fair, alone,
Waited by the grey, grim stone—
Where the buried lordlings lie—
Earthlings ’neath a scornful sky;
Tender tear-drops trickled slow—
But a very smile, I trow,
Lit pale cheek and marble brow,
         As he leapt,
Leapt o’er bush and grim grey stone,
To the silver sward and lone,
’Mid the mellow graves and lone,
As an arm around thee crept,
         And a shadow bathed the green,
And a welcoming shower of delight you wept,
         Imogene.

V.

Scion of a noble line,
         Lordling of the lordly eye,
In the soft and sad moonshine,
Melancholy mad moonshine,
Spurred and booted tall he stood,
Rich in proud patrician blood,
Half in love and half in pride,
Beneath thy glances deified,
Darkly at thy tremulous side,
At thy frail and passionate side—
         Smilingly!
Half the virgin light was gone
Round thy virgin head that shone,
O’er thy dim and midnight head,
Sadder, sombre radiance spread—
         Angels weep, grey Night, I ween,
For the quick and for the dead!—
Dream of a polluted bed,
         Imogene.

VI.

Pale Imogene, frail Imogene,
Regretting, fretting Imogene!
Where the maiden radiance holy
That defied thy melancholy,
Saintly, glorious melancholy?
         Where—
Nobly bred and nobly born,
Imogene, the garb of scorn
Scattered on thy soul forlorn,
Saintly countenance forlorn?
Where the icy look you wore
Eighteen Autumns, fair, and more?
Where the cold but spotless heart,
Cold in Nature, cold in Art,
Marble Nature, marble Art?—
Icy cold and icy fair.
Smileless empress debonaire
         When the lady moon did lean
From her pale ephemeral car,
In the dusky heaven afar,
Envied of each star—
As you hungered for the years,
         Imogene.

VII.

Fair Imogene, rare Imogene,
Regretting, fretting Imogene—
Where the shadow at the side,
         In the Autumn evening sober?
By the wooed and bedded bride,
Sanctified and wedded bride,
Where the long and melting eye
Fired in lust’s own ecstacy?—
Standest thou alone and weeping,
Where the flowers are sweetly sleeping,
In their own life-radiance sleeping,
         Shadow on the church sward green,
         Cloudlet on the silvery green,
Where the leaflets sere are leaping,
And the steeple’s phantom creeping,
Where the yew o’er the hall of the dead is weeping,
         Imogene.

VIII.

By the dimly mantled yew,
Up the shadowy avenue,
Softly sombre avenue,
Curtain of the slumb’ring rooks—
Shuddering at thine own foot-fall,
To the solitary hall;
Where the phosphent beams like brooks
Overflowed the silver lawn,
Solitary, southern lawn,
And the light serenely fell
Softly over pane and sill!
Gliding through the vine-hugged porch,
Dewy brow and brain a-scorch,
         Sorry thoughts are thine, I ween,
Thoughts that choke the passionate breath,
Paint thy cheek with snowy Death,
         Imogene.

     *         *        *          *         *          *

IX.

Weeping and creeping and weeping for ever,
On to the bosom of ocean, river!
Silver and sad through thine ancient glades,
         Where the wild-wind sighs like a human soul,
Where the willow weeps and the summer fades,
         To the arms of eternal ocean roll!
Where the leaflets laugh in the dreary moon,
         Where the black bat cries and the owlet roves,
And the nightingale wakens an hour too soon,
         River! roll on through thy silent groves,
Gently and tenderly bear her, river,
         Home to the arms of the parent sea—
Hush! she is dreaming, and dreaming for ever,
         Rock’d on the breast of Eternitie!
Fair as the mere in the night that smiles,
         Gentle and gentle—a tender clod!—
Pale as the argent round Eastern Isles,
         Thy burthen bear to the arms of God.

___

 

The Glasgow Sentinel (27 March, 1858 - p.6)

Original Poetry.

A LOVE LYRIC.

I.

ALAS! say not that gentle eyes
     Beam wi’ deceitful splendour—
I’d fain believe the blue, blue skies
     And woman’s spirit tender.

II.

There blooms a flower by Willie’s Howe,
     Wha, gin she’s blest wi’ ony,
Has maiden wealth—a bosom fine,
     And face as blythe as bonny

III.

Full famed her een o’ pawky blue
     For tender, tender slaughter—
Her snaw-white breast micht gar the mou’
     O’ anchorite to water.

IV.

Her tender form, her smilefu’ face,
     Micht deck some sweetest fairy—
An’, emblem dear o’ native grace,
     Fond luve has named her—Mary!

V.

O gin thou wert the lady moon
     Yon wand’rin’ luves beguilin’,
Thou wert a sorry, feckless loon
     Gin then thoud’st doubt her smilin’.

VI.

O had the forest’s leafy wa’s
     Reveal’d their fervid story,
I ween thoud’st deem her less than fause,
     An’ mair than maiden glory!

VII.

Religion sweet o’ gentle eyes,
     A heart o’ luve I render—
She bids me deem the blue, blue skies,
     An’ woman’s spirit tender.

                                                                   ROBT. W. BUCHANAN.

_____

 

Robert Buchanan and The Glasgow Sentinel - continued (ii)

 

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