Page:A biographical dictionary of eminent Scotsmen, vol 6.djvu/346

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Of resolution made to be renowned;

And deeper vowed again to keep his vow.

His parents saw, his parents whom God made

Of kindest heart, saw, and indulged his hope.

The ancient page he turned, read much, thought much,

And with old bards of honourable name

Measured his soul severely ; and looked up

To fame, ambitious of no second place.

Hope grew from inward faith, and promised fair.

And out before him opened many a path

Ascending, where the laurel highest waved

Her branch of endless green. He stood admiring;

But stood, admired, not long. The harp he seized,

The harp he loved, loved better than his life,

The harp which uttered deepest notes, and held

The ear of thought a captive to its song.

He searched and meditated much, and whiles,

With rapturous hand, in secret, touched the lyre,

Aiming at glorious strains ; and searched again

For theme deserving of immortal verse ;

Chose now, and now refused, unsatisfied ;

Pleased, then displeased, and hesitating still.

Thus stood his mind, when round him came a cloud, Slowly and heavily it came, a cloud Of ills we mention not : enough to say 'Twas cold, and dead, impenetrable gloom. He saw its dark approach, and saw his hopes, One after one, put out, as nearer still It drew his soul ; but fainted not at first, Fainted not soon. He knew the lot of man Was trouble, and prepared to bear the worst ; Endure whate'er should come, without a sigh ; Endure, and drink, even to the very dregs, The bitterest cup that time could measure out: And, having done, look up, and ask for more.

He called philosophy, and with his heart Reasoned. He called religion too, but called Reluctantly, and therefore was not heard. Ashamed to be o'ermatched by earthly woes, He sought, and sought with eye that dimmed apace, To find some avenue to light, some place On which to rest a hope ; but sought in vain. Darker and darker still the darkness grew. At length he sunk, and Disappointment stood His only comforter, and mournfully Told all was past. His interest in life, In being, ceased : and now he seemed to feel, And shuddered as he felt, his powers of mind Decaying in the spring-time of his day. The vigorous, weak became; the clear, obscure; Memory gave up her charge ; Decision reeled j And from her flight, Fancy returned ; returned Because she found no nourishment abroad. The blue heavens withered ; and the moon, and sun,