The Death-Wake eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 90 pages of information about The Death-Wake.
trout to feed.  Perhaps his life was none the less happy and fortunate.  Of the many brilliant men whom he knew intimately—­Wilson, Aytoun, Ferrier, Glassford Bell, and others—­perhaps none, not even Hogg, recognised the grace of the Muse which (in my poor opinion) Mr. Stoddart possessed.  His character was not in the least degree soured by neglect or fretted by banter.  Not to over-estimate oneself is a virtue very rare among poets, and certainly does not lead to public triumphs.  Modesty is apt to accompany the sense of humour which alleviates life, while it is an almost insuperable bar to success.

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 was twined
      With wild stream and wandering burn,
    Wooer of the western wind,
      Watcher of the April morn.




Sonnet to the Author

    O wormy Thomas Stoddart who inheritest
      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.

Project Gutenberg
The Death-Wake from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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