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The time of which we spoke is only in remembrance, and this volume is the only memento. We now have higher aims than the mere expression of literary sentiments; these trifling sweets we leave for conflict with the prince of darkness; there is now a sterner work to do. We have plucked a few flowers, sunbeamed, while on our way to the temple of the Holiest, and ever and anon has come a wish that they might be preserved. May the desire be realized!
On those publications issued before our sixteenth year, we write “Plagiarisms." Would that it had been otherwise!
“ Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not wbat they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”-SHELLEY.
A FRIDAY, on the 19th October, now some fifty years back,-Glasgow, as ever, smoky dull; the citizens begin to stir-ships unload-all bustle, all confusion: the world's wealth is being poured into its close-packed warehouses. Now and then, a true soul passes who
see beauty in the fine old cathedral, and who, perhaps, mourns for its almost forgotten anthem. Not a sound there; no liquid melody; no voice of prayer each day: cold and silent is that massive pile.
The day seems no otherwise than yesterday-all goes on the same—the din and hurry of business alone heard. A strange face here and there, perchance; but the rest we know them well-anxious, plodding men, crowding onwards. The artizan gazed upwards as he walked to his accustomed toil, and deemed it a fresh and beautiful morn; the student looks out from the college window in High-street, and yearns for his simple kirk and homely manse among the distant hills.
A few miles off, and to-day is not as yesterday. An autumnal sky spreads itself over Moorhouse; that only is the same. Ben Lomond and Ben Ledi look solitary and sublime from the distance: their summits encircled with mists: God's huge altars once, “when holy were the haunted forest boughs, holy the air, the water, and the fire," and the sacrificial flame flared upwards to the gigantic heavens, and the priestly Druid ministered. The sun just lightens up the glens and dark tarns; the moor is swept over by the October winds—a wild, deep sweep. Sweep, sweep on: there is hope in yonder cottage. The wife, about to become again a mother, wishes the curtain drawn aside, that the golden beams may tremble in. Light in the chamber, and hope, we said.
A boy is born. That family all unknown; he will not rest so. There will be strange faces; the face of the Southern and the face of the free. That day has changed it. There is sanctity now on mountain, moor, and glen. The child will become a fearless, lion-hearted
To-night, the stars will twinkle as usual—all silent, all still; but on earth the first moments of a young immortal will be passing away.
That boy-for of the boy we speak—early manifested a love for the wide-spread heavens and the “God-sown world.” Amid the sublime solitudes of his native home, his sympathies linked themselves with creation's ever-changing aspect. The gloomy darkness of the lowering storm, and the sullen magnificence of sunset, quickened the manly breathing of his soul. The radiant softness of summer deepened the feeling of awe-wrapt emotion; morning and evening came, and rolled their harmonies on the ear; the golden clouds, as they
floated in the pure blue sky, were significant of the earth’s glory and the earth's decay; nor did the sweet tints of the wild heather minister in vain.
The hour when Pollok first looked on the boundless universe of God, and felt its divine influences, was an hour as full of grandeur and wild sublimity as when the persecuted Loyola stood before the vicar-general of Alcala, and, lifting up his “calm, devout countenance," said, “I did not think that to preach Christ was a novelty among you.” Then did the high resolve and manly purpose come; and there were listenings to its deep witching melodies: he was enamoured with its exquisite sweetness. No wonder this.
There were whisperings of affection: assignations made. This orb was one gigantic altar raised to the might and goodness of the Holiest One; he its priest; he longed to sacrifice: from it he desired to send upwards the immortal; he would hymn it to the skies; he felt the fevered impulse to burst forth into one tremendous acclaim.
Song is ever the highest worship. It has in it something of heaven; it is imperishable, inextinguishable; ever swelling, ever rolling, ever surging with more than oceanic music. Withal, it utters silvery and liquid and tender tones, when he who sang moulders in the grave, with the moon and stars above forgetful of him. The poet's heart lived in his verse; this was enough. Now fade, earth and beauty; he was content—the anthem could live. The fine, full, majestic minstrelsy of ancient bards swept by; he listened; he grew entranced; his soul heaved, panted, dilated; it throbbed as if it would throb everlastingly. He vowed to strike the melodious and undying harp; then around him gathered