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Who hath not paused while Beauty's pensive eye
And say, without our hopes, without our fears,
‘This beautiful passage closes the poem :
Eternal Hope! when yonder spheres sublime
" I do not think I overrate the merits of the Pleasures of Hope, whether taking it in its parts or as a whole, in preferring it any didactic
poem of equal length in the English language. It is like a long fit of inspiration.” Campbell wrote it at Edinburgh when he was but twenty-one ; and so prolonged was its popularity, that it ultimately brought to its author the sum of four thousand five hundred pounds. His patriotic Odes are so heroic and stirring, and his more serious poems are so inspiring and impressive, that it is no wonder they should have become to us as “household words.” What fire and energy characterize those grand naval Odes, The Battle of the Baltic, and Ye Mariners of England; and how sublimely roll out the stanzas of his Last Man, What's Hallowed Ground? and The Rainbow !
Irving thought Campbell's Hohenlinden contained more grandeur and moral sublimity than is to be found anywhere else in the same compass of English poetry. This, like most of his descriptive poems, Campbell seems to have written under the .very inspiration of the scene.
Campbell's lyrics have an exquisite grace and delicacy of touch about them ; for example, the following :
Withdraw not yet those lips and fingers,
Whose touch to mine is rapture's spell ;
And death seems in that word—farewell !
Flies, like a courser nigh the goal :
When thou art parted from my soul?
How delicious is the winning
may make you fickle,–
'Tis not the loss of love's assurance,
It is not doubting what thou art,
Of absence that afflicts
When each is lonely doomed to weep,
Or riches buried in the deep.
Our bosom's peace may fall to wreck,
Is but more slowly doomed to break.
From more than light, or life, or breath?
Campbell has given the following little incident with wonderful felicity and effect; it could scarcely be better told :
The ordeal's fatal trumpet sounded, and sad, pale Adelgitha
came, When forth a valiant champion bounded, and slew the slanderer of
her fame. She wept, delivered from her danger ; but when he knelt to claim
“ Seek not,” she cried, “ oh, gallant stranger, for hapless Adelgitha's
love; For he is in a foreign far land whose arm should now have set me
free, And I must wear the willow garland for him that's dead or false to
me.” “ Nay! say not that his faith is tainted !” He raised his visor ; at
the sight She fell into his arms and fainted: it was, indeed, her own true
Campbell's biographer, Dr. Beattie, writes :—“Coming home to my house in Park Square, where, as usual, the poet had dropped in to spend a quiet hour, I told him that I had been agreeably detained listening to some street music near Portman Square. “Vocal or instrumental ?’he inquired. Vocal : the song was an old favourite, remarkably good, and of at least forty years standing.' 'Ha !' said he, “I congratulate the author, whoever he is.' "And so do I-it was your own song, The Soldier's Dream ; and when I came away the crowd was still increasing.' 'Well,' he added, musing, 'this is something like popularity.'
Yet the poet had, as far as a poet can, become for years indifferent to posthumous fame. In 1838, five years before his decease, he had been speaking to some friends in Edinburgh on the subject, thus : “When I think of the existence which shall commence when the stone is laid over my head, how can literary fame appear to me, to any one, but as nothing ? I believe, when I am gone, justice will be done to me in this way—that I was a pure writer.
It is an inexpressible comfort, at my time of life, to be able to look back and feel that I have not written one line against religion or virtue.” Is not this claim, which has been in his case well attested by the public censorship, the highest meed of praise that can be awarded to genius?
Campbell's funeral was a grand spectacle. As the solemn procession moved towards the open grave in Poet's Corner, Westminster Abbey, every voice was hushed, except that of the clergyman echoing along the vaulted aisles of the venerable pile—“I am the resurrection and the life.” As the sad groups gathered around the grave, the solemn stillness was broken by a sweet strain of rich melody, alternating with grand bursts of chorus from the organ : it was the Dead March in Saul.
A touching incident occurred just as the corpse was about being sprinkled with its native earth ;-a Polish officer came forward with a handful of dust, brought for the occasion from the tomb of Kosciuzko, and scattered it upon the coffin. It was a worthy tribute of affectionate regard to the memory of him who had done so much to immortalize the man and the cause.
This sweet lyric we derive from our American poetess, Mrs. Osgood :
She comes, in light, aërial grace; o’er Memory's glass the vision
Her girlish form, her glowing face, her soft, black hair, her beaming
eyes. I think of all her generous love; her trustful heart, so pure and
meek; Her tears—an April shower—that strove with sunshine on her