Page:The poetical works of James Thomson (1895), Volume 1.djvu/53

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xlii MEMOIR Thomson contributed to the London Investigator "The King's Friends," a prose allegory, and essays on Emerson and Robert Burns. The latter was written on the occasion of the centenary celebration of the poet's birthday. Few or none of the innumer- able essays which were poured forth on that occasion can compare with it as a vindication of the life and genius of the ploughman-poet. In June i860, the regiment to which Thomson was attached was transferred from the Curragh Camp to Aldershot. Thomson had long been desirous of this change, for he had grown weary of his residence in Ireland. After his return to England, he took an early opportunity of visiting his old friends the Grays; and Agnes Gray (now Mrs. Greig), with whom he had corresponded during his residence in Ireland,* and whose early recollections of him I have already quoted, gives this account of his visit: — "At last he wrote saying that he was to have a fortnight's holiday, and would pay us a visit. We were all excitement at his coming. I had previously informed him in one of my letters that Helen had become a Ragged School teacher, and in reply he said that he could not imagine a creature so bright and in his remembrance so beautiful being arrayed in sombre habiliments, and acting such a character. parallel to Thomson's story was that of another German poet, Ernst Schultz; but of him Thomson knew nothing until a few months before his death. Thomson translated the "Hymns to Night" of Novalis.

  • See Mr. Salt's "Life of Thomson," in which several of his

letters to Miss Gray are printed.