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And every inch of garden ground

Paced by the blessed feet around,

From the roadside to the brook

Whereinto lie loved to look.

Step the meek birds where erst they ranged ;

The wintry garden lies unchanged ;

The brook into the stream runs on ;

But the deep-eyed boy is gone.

On that shaded day,

Dark with more clouds than tempests are,

When thou didst yield thy innocent breatli

In bird-like heavings unto death,

Night came, and Nature had not thee ;

I said, " We are mates in misery."

The morrow dawned with needless glow ;

Each snow-bird chirped, each fowl must crow ;

Each tramper started ; but the feet

Of the most beautiful and sweet

Of human youth had left the hill

And garden, they were bound and stilL

There 's not a sparrow or a wren,

There 's not a blade of autumn grain,

Which the four seasons do not tend,

And tides of life and increase lend ;

And every chick of every bird,

And weed and rock-moss is preferred.

O ostrich-like forgetfulness !

O loss of larger in the less !

Was there no star that could be sent,

No watcher in the firmament,

No angel from the countless host

That loiters round the crystal coast,

Could stoop to heal that only child,

Nature's sweet marvel undefiled,

And keep the blossom of the earth,

Which all her harvests were not worth ?


Not mine, I never call thee mine.

But Nature's heir, if I repine,

And seeing rashly torn and moved

Not what I made, but what I loved,

Grow early old with grief that thou

Must to the wastes of Nature go,

'T is because a general hope

Was quenched, and all must doubt and grope.

For flattering planets seemed to say

This child should ills of ages stay,

By wondrous tongue, and guided pen,

Bring the flown Muses back to men.

Perchance not he but Nature ailed,

The world and not the infant failed.

It was not ripe yet to sustain

A genius of so fine a strain,

Who gazed upon the sun and moon

As if he came unto his own,

And, pregnant with his grander thought,

Brought the old order into doubt.

His beauty once their beauty tried ;

They could not feed him, and he died,

And wandered backward as in scorn,

To wait an aeon to be born.

HI day which made this beauty waste,

Plight broken, this high face defaced !

Some went and came about the dead ;

And some in books of solace read ;

Some to their friends the tidings say ;

Some went to write, some went to pray

One tarried here, there hurried one ;

But their heart abode with none.

Covetous death bereaved us all,

To aggrandize one funeral.

The eager fate which carried thee

Took the largest part of me :


For this losing is true dying ;
This is lordly man's down-lying,
This his slow but sure reclining,
Star by star his world resigning.

child of paradise,

Boy who made dear his father's home,

In whose deep eyes

Men read the welfare of the times to come,

1 am too much bereft.

The world dishonored thou hast left.
O truth's and nature's costly lie I
O trusted broken prophecy !
richest fortune sourly crossed !
Born for the future, to the future lost !

THE deep Heart answered, " Weepest thou ?

Worthier cause for passion wild

If I had not taken the child.

And deemest thou as those who pore,

With aged eyes, short way before,

Think'st Beauty vanished from the coast

Of matter, and thy darling lost ?

Taught he not thee the man of eld,

Whose eyes within his eyes beheld

Heaven's numerous hierarchy span

The mystic gulf from God to man ?

To be alone wilt thou begin

When worlds of lovers hem thee in ?

To-morrow, when the masks shall fall

That dizen Nature's carnival,

The pure shall see by their own will,

Which overflowing Love shall fill,

T is not within the force of fate

The fate-conjoined to separate.


But thou, my votary, weepest thou ?

I gave thee sight where is it now ?

I taught thy heart beyond the reach

Of ritual, bible, or of speech ;

Wrote in thy mind's transparent table,

As far as the incommunicable ;

Taught thee each private sign to raise,

Lit by the supersolar blaze.

Past utterance, and past belief,

And past the blasphemy of grief,

The mysteries of Nature's heart ;

And though no Muse can these impart,

Throb thine with Nature's throbbing breast,

And all is clear from east to west.

u I came to thee as to a friend ;
Dearest, to thee I did not send
Tutors, but a joyful eye,
Innocence that matched the sky,
Lovely locks, a form of wonder,
Laughter rich as woodland thunder,
That thou might'st entertain apart
The richest flowering of all art :
And as the great all-loving Day
Through smallest chambers takes its way,
That thou might'st break thy daily bread
With prophet, saviour, and head ;
That thou might'st cherish for thine own
The riches of sweet Mary's Son,
Boy-Rabbi, Israel's paragon.
And thoughtest thou such guest
Would in thy hall take up his rest ?
Would rushing life forget her laws,
Fate's glowing revolution pause ?
High omens ask diviner guess ;
Not to be conned to tediousness.


And know my higher gifts unbind
The zone that girds the incarnate mind.
When the scanty shores are full
With Thought's perilous, whirling pool ;
When frail Nature, can no more,
Then the Spirit strikes the hour :
My servant Death, with solving rite,
Pours finite into infinite.

" Wilt thou freeze love's tidal flow,

Whose streams through nature circling go ?

Nail the wild star to its track

On the half-climbed zodiac ?

Light is light which radiates,

Blood is blood which circulates,

Life is life which generates,

And many-seeming life is one,

Wilt thou transfix and make it none ?

Its onward force too starkly pent

In figure, bone, and lineament ?

Wilt thou, uncalled, interrogate,

Talker ! the unreplying Fate ?

Nor see the genius of the whole

Ascendant in the private soul,

Beckon it when to go and come,

Self-announced its hour of doom?

Fair the soul's recess and shrine,

Magic-built to last a season ;

Masterpiece of love benign ;

Fairer than expansive reason

Whose omen 't is, and sign.

Wilt thou not ope thy heart to know

What rainbows teach, and sunsets show ?

Verdict which accumulates

From lengthening scroll of human fates,


Voice of earth to earth returned,
Prayers of saints that inly burned,
Saying, What is excellent.
As God lives, is permanent ;
Hearts are dust, hearts' loves remain ;
Hearts love will meet thee again.
Revere the Maker ; fetch thine eye
Up to his style, and manners of the sky.
Not of adamant and gold
Built he heaven stark and cold ;
No, but a nest of bending reeds,
Flowering grass, and scented weeds ;
Or like a traveller's fleeing tent,
Or bow above the tempest bent ;
Built of tears and sacred flames,
And virtue reaching to its aims ;
Built of furtherance and pursuing,
Not of spent deeds, but of doing.
Silent rushes the swift Lord
Through ruined systems still restored,
Broadsowing, bleak and void to bless,
Plants with worlds the wilderness ;
Waters with tears of ancient sorrow
Apples of Eden ripe to-morrow.
House and tenant go to ground,
Lost in God, in Godhead found."



THE last jotting of Sir Walter's Diary perhaps the
last specimen of his handwriting records his starting
from Naples on the 16th of April, 1832. After the llth
of May the story can hardly be told too briefly.

The irritation of impatience, which had for a moment
been suspended by the aspect and society of Rome, re-
turned the moment he found himself on the road, and
seemed to increase hourly. His companions could with
difficulty prevail on him to see even the Falls of Terni, or
the Church of Santa Croce, at Florence. On the 17th, a
cold and dreary day, they passed the Apennines, and dined
on the top of the mountains. The snow and the pines re-
called Scotland, and he expressed pleasure at the sight of
them. That night they reached Bologna, and he would
see none of the interesting objects there, and next day,
hurrying in like manner through Ferrara, he proceeded
as far as Monselice. On the 19th he arrived at Venice;
and he remained there till the 23d; but showed no curi-
osity about anything except the Bridge of Sighs and the
adjoining dungeons, down into which he would scramble,
though the exertion was exceeding painful to him. On
the other historical features of that place one so sure in
other days to have inexhaustible attractions for him lie
would not even look ; and it was the same with all that he



came within reach of even with the fondly anticipated
chapel at Inspruck as they proceeded through the Tyrol,
and so onwards, by Munich, Ulm, and Heidelberg, to
Frankfort. Here (June 5) he entered a bookseller's shop ;
and the people seeing an English party, brought out
among the first things a lithographed print of Abbotsford.
He said, " I know that already, sir," and hastened back to
the inn without being recognized. Though in some parts
of the journey they had very severe weather, he repeat-
edly wished to travel all the night as well as all the day ;
and the symptoms of an approaching fit were so obvious,
that he was more than once bled, ere they reached May-
ence, by the hand of his affectionate domestic.

At this town they embarked on the 8th June in the
Rhine steamboat; and while they descended the famous
river through its most picturesque region, he seemed to
enjoy, though he said nothing, the perhaps unrivalled
scenery it presented to him. His eye was fixed on the
successive crags and castles, and ruined monasteries, each
of which had been celebrated hi some German ballad fa-
miliar to his ear, and all of them blended in the immortal
panorama of Childe Harold. But so soon as he resumed
his carriage at Cologne, and nothing but flat shores, and
here and there a grove of poplars and a village spire were
offered to the vision, the weight of misery sunk down again
upon him. It was near Nimeguen, on the evening of the
9th, that he sustained another serious attack of apoplexy,
combined with paralysis. Nicolson's lancet restored, after
the lapse of some minutes, the signs of animation ; but this
was the crowning blow. Next day he insisted on resuming
his journey, and on the llth was lifted from the carriage
into a steamboat at Rotterdam.

He reached London about six o'clock on the evening of
Wednesday the 13th of June. Owing to the unexpected
rapidity of the journey his eldest daughter had had no


notice when to expect him; and fearful of finding her
either out of town, or unprepared to receive him and his
attendants under her roof, Charles Scott drove to the St.
James's hotel, in Jennyn Street, and established his quar-
ters there before he set out in quest of his sister and myself.
When we reached the hotel, he recognized us with every
mark of tenderness, but signified that he was totally ex-
hausted; so no attempt was made to remove him further,
and he was put to bed immediately. Dr. Ferguson saw
him the same night, and next day Sir Henry Halford and
Dr. Holland saw him also; and during the next three
weeks the two former visited him daily, while Ferguson
was scarcely absent from his pillow. The Major was soon
on the spot To his children, all assembled once more
about him, he repeatedly gave his blessing in a very solemn
manner, as if expecting immediate death, but he was never
in a condition for conversation, and sunk either into sleep
or delirious stupor upon the slightest effort.

Mrs. Thomas Scott came to town as soon as she heard
of his arrival, and remained to help us. She was more
than once recognized and thanked. Mr. Cadell, too, ar-
rived from Edinburgh, to render any assistance in his
power. I think Sir Walter saw no other of his friends ex-
cept Mr. John Richardson, and him only once. As usual,
he woke up at the sound of a familiar voice, and made an
attempt to put forth his hand, but it dropped powerless, and
he said, with a smile, "Excuse my hand." Richardson
made a struggle to suppress his emotion, and after a mo-
ment, got out something about Abbotsford and the woods
which he had happened to see shortly before. The eye
brightened, and he said, "How does Kirklands get on?"
Mr. Richardson had lately purchased the estate so called
on the Teviot, and Sir Walter had left him busied with
plans of building. His friend told him that his new house
was begun, and that the Marquis of Lothian had very


kindly lent him one of his own, meantime, in its vicinity,
" Ay, Lord Lothian is a good man," said Sir Walter ; " he
is a man from whom one may receive a favor, and that 's
saying a good deal for any man in these days." The stu-
por then sank back upon him, and Richardson never heard
his voice again. This state of things continued till the
beginning of July.

During those melancholy weeks great interest and sym-
pathy were manifested. Allan Cunningham mentions that,
walking home late one night, he found several working-
men standing together at the corner of Jermyn Street, and
one of them asked him, as if there was but one death-bed
in London, " Do you know, sir, if this is the street where
he is lying ? " The inquiries both at the hotel and at my
house were incessant ; and I think there was hardly a mem-
ber of the Royal family who did not send every day. The
newspapers teemed with paragraphs about Sir Walter ; and
one of these, it appears, threw out a suggestion that his
travels had exhausted his pecuniary resources, and that if
he were capable of reflection at all, cares of that sort might
probably harass his pillow. This paragraph came from a
very ill-informed, but, I dare say, a well-meaning quarter.
It caught the attention of some members of the then gov-
ernment; and, in consequence, I received a private com-
munication to the effect that, if the case were as stated, Sir
Walter's family had only to say what sum would relieve
him from embarrassment, and it would be immediately
advanced by the Treasury. The then Paymaster of the
Forces, Lord John Russell, had the delicacy to convey this
message through a lady with whose friendship he knew us
to be honored. We expressed our grateful sense of his
politeness, and of the liberality of the government, and I
now beg leave to do so once more ; but his Lordship was
of course informed that Sir Walter Scott was not situated
as the journalist had represented.


Dr. Ferguson's memorandum on Jennyn Street will be
acceptable to the reader. He says:

"When I saw Sir Walter he was lying in the second
floor back-room of the St. James's Hotel, in Jermyn Street,
in a state of stupor, from which, however, he could be
roused for a moment by being addressed, and then he rec-
ognized those about him, but immediately relapsed. I
think I never saw anything more magnificent than the
symmetry of his colossal bust, as he lay on the pillow with
his chest and neck exposed. During the time he was in
Jermyn Street he was calm, but never collected, and in
general either in absolute stupor or in a waking dream.
He never seemed to know where he was, but imagined
himself to be still in the steamboat. The rattling of car-
riages, and the noises of the street sometimes disturbed this
illusion, and then he fancied himself at the polling-booth
of Jedburgh, where he had been insulted and stoned.

" During the whole of this period of apparent helpless-
ness, the great features of his character could not be mis-
taken. He always exhibited great self-possession, and
acted his part with wonderful power whenever visited,
though he relapsed the next moment into the stupor from
which strange voices had roused him. A gentleman stum-
bled over a chair in his dark room; he immediately
started up, and though unconscious that it was a friend,
expressed as much concern and feeling as if he had never
been laboring under the irritability of disease. It was im-
possible even for those who most constantly saw and waited
on him in his then deplorable condition to relax from the
habitual deference which he had always inspired. He
expressed his will as determinedly as ever, and enforced it
with the same apt and good-natured irony as he was wont
to use.

" At length his constant yearning to return to Abbotsford
induced his physicians to consent to his removal, and the


moment this was notified to him, it seemed to infuse ne\
vigor into his frame. It was on a calm, clear afternoon of
the 7th July, that every preparation was made for his
embarkation on board the steamboat. He was placed on a
chair by his faithful servant, Nicolson, half dressed, and
loosely wrapped in a quilted dressing-gown. He requested
Lockhart and myself to wheel him towards the light of the
open window, and we both remarked the vigorous lustre of
his eye. He sat there silently gazing on space for more
than half an hour, apparently wholly occupied with his own
thoughts, and having no distinct perception of where he
was or how he came there. He suffered himself to be
lifted into his carriage, which was surrounded by a crowd
among whom were many gentlemen on horseback, who had
loitered about to gaze on the scene.

" His children were deeply affected, and Mrs. Lockhart
trembled from head to foot and wept bitterly. Thus sur-
rounded by those nearest to him, he alone was unconscious
of the cause or the depth of their grief, and while yet alive
seemed to be carried to his grave."

On this his last journey, Sir Walter was attended by his
two daughters, Mr. Cadell, and myself, and also by Dr.
James Watson, who (it being impossible for Dr. Ferguson
to leave town at that moment) kindly undertook to see him
safe at Abbotsford. We embarked 'in the James Watt
steamboat, the master of which (Captain John Jamieson), as
well as the agent of the proprietors, made every arrange-
ment in their power for the convenience of the invalid.
The Captain gave up for Sir Walter's use his own private
cabin, which was a separate erection, a sort of cottage, on
the deck; and he seemed unconscious, after laid in bed
there, that any new removal had occurred. On arriving at
Newhaven, late on the 9th, we found careful preparations
made for his landing by the manager of the Shipping Com-
pany (Mr. Hamilton) ; and Sir Walter, prostrate in his


carriage, was slung on shore, and conveyed from thence to
Douglas's hotel, in St. Andrew's Square, in the same com-
plete apparent unconsciousness. Mrs. Douglas had in
former days been the Duke of Buccleuch's housekeeper
at Bowhill, and she and her husband had also made the
most suitable provision. At a very early hour on the
morning of Wednesday, the llth, we again placed him in
his carriage, and he lay in the same torpid state during the
first two stages on the road to Tweedside. But as we de-
scended the vale of the Gala he began to gaze about him,
and by degrees it was obvious that he was recognizing the
features of that familiar landscape. Presently he mur-
mured a name or two, Gala Water, surely, Buck-
holm, f orwoodlee." As we rounded the hill at Ladhope,
and the outline of the Eildons burst on him, he became
greatly excited, and when turning himself on the couch his
eye caught at length his own towers, at the distance of a
mile, he sprang up with a cry of delight. The river being
in flood, we had to go round a few miles by Melrose bridge,
and during the time this occupied, his woods and house
being within prospect, it required occasionally both Dr.
Watson's strength and mine, in addition to Nicolson's, to
keep him in the carriage. After passing the bridge, the
road for a couple of miles loses sight of Abbotsford, and he
relapsed into his stupor; but on gaining the bank imme-
diately above it, his excitement became again ungovern-

Mr. Laidlaw was waiting at the porch, and assisted ns
in lifting him into the dining-room, where his bed had been
prepared. He sat bewildered for a few moments, and then
resting his eye on Laidlaw, said, "Ha! Willie Laidlaw!
O man, how often have I thought of you ! " By this time
his dogs had assembled about his chair, they began to
fawn upon him and lick his hands, and he alternately
sobbed and smiled over them, until sleep oppressed him.


Dr. Watson having consulted on all tilings with Mr
Clarkson and his father, resigned the patient to them, and
returned to London. None of them could have any hope,
but that of soothing irritation. Recovery was no longer t
be thought of; but there might be Euthanasia.

And yet something like a ray of hope did break ir
upon us next morning. Sir Walter awoke perfectly con
scious where he was, and expressed an ardent wish to b*
carried out into his garden. We procured a Bath-chair from
Huntly-Burn, and Laidlaw and I wheeled him out before
his door, and up and down for" some time on the turf, and
among the rose-beds, then in full bloom. The grandchfr
dren admired the new vehicle, and would be helping w
their way to push it about. He sat in silence, smiling pla-
cidly on them, and the dogs their companions, and now and
then admiring the house, the screen of the garden, and the
flowers and trees. By and by he conversed a little, very
composedly, with us, said he was happy to be at home
that he felt better than he had ever done since he lefl
it, and would perhaps disappoint the doctors after all.

He then desired to be wheeled through his rooms, and
we moved him leisurely for an hour or more up and down
the hall and the great library. "I have seen much," he
kept saying, "but nothing like my ain house, give me
one turn more ! " He was gentle as an infant, and allowed
himself to be put to bed again, the moment we told him
that we thought he had had enough for one day.

Next morning he was still better; after again enjoying
the Bath-chair for perhaps a couple of hours out of doors,
he desired to be drawn into the library, and placed by the
central window, that he might look down upon the Tweed.

Here he expressed a wish that I should read to him, and
when I asked from what book, he said, "Need you ask?
There is but one." I chose the 14th chapter of St. John's
Gospel; he listened with mild devotion, and said when I


had done, " Well, this is a great comfort, I have followed
you distinctly, and I feel as if I were yet to be myself
again." In this placid frame he was again put to bed, and
had many hours of soft slumber.

On the third day Mr. Laidlaw and I again wheeled him
about the small piece of lawn and shrubbery in front of the
house for some time, and the weather being delightful, and
all the richness of summer around him, he seemed to taste
fully the balmy influences of nature. The sun getting very
strong, we halted the chair in a shady corner, just within
the verge of his verdant arcade around the court-wall ; and
breathing the coolness of the spot, he said, " Read me some
amusing thing, read me a bit of Crabbe." I brought out
the first volume of his old favorite that I could lay hand on,
and turned to what I remembered as one of his most favorite
passages in it, the description of the arrival of the play-
ers in the Borough. Ke listened with great interest, and
also, as I soon perceived, with great curiosity. Every
now and then he exclaimed, "Capital excellent very
good Crabbe has lost nothing," and we were too well
satisfied that he considered himself as hearing a new pro-
duction, when, chuckling over one couplet, he said, " Better
and better but how will poor Terry endure these cuts ? "
I went on with the poet's terrible sarcasms upon the theat-
rical life, and he listened eagerly, muttering, "Honest
Dan!" "Dan won't like this." At length I reached
those lines,

" Sad happy race ! soon raised and soon depressed,
Your days all passed in jeopardy and jest :
Poor without prudence, with afflictions vain,
Not warned by misery, nor enriched by gain."

"Shut the book," said Sir Walter, " I can't stand more of
this, it will touch Terry to the very quick."

On the morning of Sunday, the 15th, he was again taken
out into the little pleasaunce, and got as far as his favorite


terrace-walk between the garden and the river, from which
he seemed to survey the valley and the hills with much
satisfaction. On re-entering the house, he desired me to
read to him from the New Testament, and after that, he
again called for a little of Crabbe ; but whatever I select-

Online Libraryi00bostFavorite authors in prose and poetry → online text (page 18 of 66)