Mr. Stoddart died on November 22nd, 1880. His last walk was to Kelso Bridge “to look at the Tweed,” which now murmurs by his grave the self-same song that it sings beside Sir Walter’s tomb in Dryburgh Abbey. We leave his poem to the judgment of students of poetry, and to him we say his own farewell—
Sorrow, sorrow speed away
To our angler’s quiet mound,
With the old pilgrim, twilight grey,
Enter thou the holy ground.
There he sleeps, whose heart
With wild stream and wandering burn,
Wooer of the western wind,
Watcher of the April morn.
Sonnet to the Author
O wormy Thomas Stoddart
Rich thoughts and loathsome, nauseous words, & rare!
Tell me, my friend, why is it that thou ferretest
And gropest in each death-corrupted lair?
Seek’st thou for maggots, such as have affinity
With those in thine own brain? or dost thou think
That all is sweet which hath a horrid stink?
Why dost thou make Hautgout thy sole divinity?
Here is enough of genius to convert
Vile dung to precious diamonds, and to spare,
Then why transform the diamond into dirt,
And change thy mind w^h. sh^d. be rich & fair
Into a medley of creations foul,
As if a Seraph would become a Goul?
An anthem of a sister choristry!
And like a windward murmur of the sea,
O’er silver shells, so solemnly it falls!
A dying music shrouded in deep walls,
That bury its wild breathings! And the moon,
Of glow-worm hue, like virgin in sad swoon,
Lies coldly on the bosom of a cloud,
Until the elf-winds, that are wailing loud,
Do minister unto her sickly trance,
Fanning the life into her countenance;
And there are pale stars sparkling, far and few
In the deep chasms of everlasting blue,
Unmarshall’d and ungather’d, one and one,
Like outposts of the lunar garrison.