[From Mona's Isle, 1844]


UNCELEBRATED and unknown to fame,
A Manxman’s rustic muse with homage pays
Unto her noble friend’s respected name
Her grateful meed of tributary praise.
He was the first to take me by the hand,
When science dawn’d on my untutor’d mind,
And lead me on to take my humble stand
Amongst my fellows of the self-taught kind.
When first he saw the genial plant* spring forth
From Nature’s rude unmeliorated soil,
With a peculiar care he watch’d its growth,
Ere it became to cruel men a spoil,
And with a noble stimulating hand
Was ready still the bud to cultivate,
Which, while protected ‘neath his own command,
Gave ample proof to brave the storms of fate;
But oh ! full soon cold Envy’s bitter blast
Pour’d forth its fury o’er the tender bloom,
While Malice, in its darkest shade, o’ercast
Its native source with dire insidious gloom,
And ever-moving Time’s eventful stride—
Whose stern command all nature must obey—
Removed its watchful patron from its side,
And left it to the sordid kind a prey;
And soon the helpless stem, blighted and bare,
Was left deprived of what fair Nature gave
To stem the current of a world of care,
And bleak tempestuous penury to brave,
While those who’ve robb’d it of its mental fruit,
And caused the stimulating sap to freeze,
Within the channels of a false repute
Enjoy the sunshine of a life of ease.
But stop, my muse, and let not rancour rage
Amongst thy wonted amicable theme,
For stern realities the truth presage
That this, their life, as well as mine’s a dream,
Which soon shall vanish in oblivious gloom,
Beyond the reach and knowledge of mankind,
Within the dark embraces of the tomb,
And leave this world with all its dross behind.
Then why should I thus mourn my hapless fate,
Since Nature’s counsel no distinction draws
‘Twixt man and man, whate’er may be his state,
But all are subject to her common laws ?
Though hard the grasp of stern adversity,
It teaches me my erring self to know;
I envy not this world’s prosperity,
Which, when abused, oft leads to scenes of woe.
Full soon shall time, with pulverising power,
Amalgamate our animated clay
With kindred earth, for reptiles to devour,
And sweep for ever all our toil away.
Yet, while the circling crimson flood shall flow
Within the secret channels of this heart,
And while with life this throbbing breast shall glow,
I’ll try my skill in the poetic art
To tune the praises of my noble friend,
On Nature’s lyre, with a most grateful strain,
As through this life I journey to the end,
Though I should never see his face again.


* In allusion to a scientific discovery by the author.


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