Extempore Effusion Upon the Death of James Hogg
When first, descending from the moorlands,
I saw the stream of Yarrow glide
Along a bare and open valley,
The Ettrick Shepherd was my guide.
When last along its banks I wandered,
Through groves that had begun to shed
Their golden leaves upon the pathways,
My steps the Border-minstrel led.
The mighty Minstrel breathes no longer,
’Mid mouldering ruins low he lies ;
And death upon the braes of Yarrow,
Has closed the Shepherd-poet’s eyes :
Nor has the rolling year twice measured,
From sign to sign, its steadfast course,
Since every mortal power of Coleridge
Was frozen at its marvellous source ;
The rapt One, of the godlike forehead,
The heaven-eyed creature sleeps in earth :
And Lamb, the frolic and the gentle,
Has vanished from his lonely hearth.
Like clouds that rake the mountain-summits,
Or waves that own no curbing hand,
How fast has brother followed brother,
From sunshine to the sunless land !
Yet I, whose lids from infant slumber
Were earlier raised, remain to hear
A timid voice, that asks in whispers,
‘Who next will drop and disappear?’
Our haughty life is crowned with darkness,
Like London with its own black wreath,
On which with thee, O Crabbe ! forth-looking,
I gazed from Hampstead’s breezy heath.
As if but yesterday departed,
Thou too art gone before ; but why,
O’er ripe fruit, seasonably gathered,
Should frail survivors heave a sigh ?
Mourn rather for that holy spirit,
Sweet as the spring, as ocean deep ;
For her who, ere her summer faded,
Has sunk into a breathless sleep.
No more of old romantic sorrows,
For slaughtered youth or love-lorn maid !
With sharper grief is Yarrow smitten,
And Ettrick mourns with her their poet dead.