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of her would cure me. I am sure a breath of Scottish air would. Whenever I get well I could get a dozen editorships in a week, for I have now a name and a reputation.
"My mother must come immediately. Yet I feel regret at leaving the paper, even for a season. Think on all that you, and I, and millions more have suffered by the system I live to war against, and then you will join with me in thinking every hour misspent which is not devoted to the good work.
"Dear, dear Willie, give my love to them all,-to my parentsto Joe-to Maggie-to Charlie-to aunt-to grandfather. Write, to say when my mother comes. Write often, often, and never mind postage. I have filled my paper, and have not said half of what I wished. I can do nothing till I see my mother. I cannot find words to say how I feel Tait's kindness. Write soon. I have much more to say, but I am tired writing. This is the most beautiful country you ever saw, but I have no heart to enjoy it.-God bless you,
He was ordered again to return to his native place, and he left Leeds accompanied by his wife, his mother, and his motherin-law, intending to proceed from Hull to Leith. As he was seated in the railway carriage he was met, for the first and last time, by the man who afterwards proclaimed him-"Scotland's second Burns"-Ebenezer Elliott.
He arrived at Leith towards the end of October, and went to a friend's house in the neighbourhood. Here he was visited. by Doctor Andrew Combe, and his nephew, Doctor Cox. He seemed to rally, and his mother returned to her home, sending to him his sister and his brother. Sir William Molesworth sent him a very kind letter, enclosing fifty pounds, but he did. not long outlive the receipt of this timely supply. A few days after it reached him his disease assumed its worst and most aggravated form. His father and mother were informed of his condition; they were too poor to hire a conveyance, but, upon receiving the intimation late on a December day, they set out for Leith, and walking all night they reached the deathbed of their son a few hours before he expired.*
Robert Nicoll died in the month of December, 1837, in the 24th year of his age, and was buried in the church-yard of North Leith. "Burns," writes Ebenezer Elliott, "at his age
His family were so poor that when his mother came to see him, on the occasion of his first illness in 1837, she defrayed the expenses of the journey to Leeds by the wages which she received while working as a reaper in the fields by the wayside; her words were, "I shore for the siller."
had done nothing like him. Unstained and pure, at the age of twenty-three, died Scotland's second Burns; happy in this, that without having been a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious,' he chose, like Paul, the right path; and when the Terrible Angel said to his youth, Where is the wise?—where is the scribe?-where is the disputer?-Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world ?'-he could and did answer, By the grace of God, I am what I am?
During his residence in Leeds, Nicoll wrote several short poems; but two only of these were published during his lifetime, and appeared in Tait's Magazine. The following poem was written during his last severe illness, and is believed to be the last of his compositions :
THE dew is on the Summer's greenest grass,
A waving shadow on the corn-field keeps;
But I who love them all shall never be
Again among the woods, or on the moorland lea!
The sun shines sweetly-sweeter may it shine!—
These words have shaken mighty human souls-
Yet wherefore tremble? Can the soul decay?—
Or that which thinks and feels in aught e'er fade away?
Are there not aspirations in cach heart,
After a better, brighter world than this?
Longings for beings nobler in each part
Things more exalted-steeped in deeper bliss?
Who gave us these? What are they? Soul! in thee
Death comes to take me where I long to be;
One pang, and bright blooms the immortal flower;
Death comes to lead me from mortality,
To lands which know not one unhappy hour:
I have a hope-a faith;-from sorrow here
I'm led by Death away-why should I start and fear?
If I have loved the forest and the field,
Can I not love them deeper, better, there?
May I not love them all, and better all enjoy ?
A change from woe to joy-from earth to heaven,
May meet again! Death answers many a prayer.
I would be laid among the wildest flowers,
I would be laid where happy hearts can come :-
Death is upon me, yet 1 fear not now :
Open my chamber window-let me look
That fills each alley, close, and copsewood nook:-
We have written these biographical sketches of these two Poets of Labor, as we wished the reader to understand, as fully as ourselves, the principle upon which we contend that the genuine poetry of all such men must be the fruit of the whole moral and spiritual being; that the poet and the man must be one-that every Poet of Labor must, as Nicoll declared he himself had done, "write his heart in his poems."
What the moral and spiritual being of these two men is the reader knows-beauty, pathos, and vigor in the one; energy, fire, pathos and passion in the other. In love, Nicoll is a lover, Massey an idolater; in politics, Nicoll is a reformer, Massey a revolutionist. Take, for example, the manner in which each sings to his wife,-thus Nicoll to his
My breast is press'd to thine, Alice;
And blushes, on thy brow;
Earth's Heaven is here to thee and me,
Thy cheek is warm and saft, Alice,
Ilk starn in yonder lift, Alice,
Is a love-lighted e'e,
Fill'd fu' o' gladsome tears, Alice,
While watching thee and me.
This twilight hour the thoughts run back,
Like moonlight on the streams,
Till the o'erladen heart grows grit
Wi' a' its early dreams!
Langsyne amang the hills, Alice,
I wander'd by the burn, Alice,
While o'er me hung a vision sweet,
I thought on a' the tales, Alice,
And Fear and Hate; but Love, O Love!
And then I thought wi' me, Alice,
Ane walk'd in beauty there
A being made for love, Alice,
So pure, and good, and fair
Who shared my soul-my every hour
And when that dream was gone, my heart
Ay, lonely grew the world, Alice
A dreary hame to me;
Without a bush or bield, Alice,
Or leafy sheltering tree;
And aye as sough'd life's raging storm,
My soul grew sad, and cold my heart,
But light came o'er my way, Alice,
Love breath'd in ilka wind that blew,
Wi' sunny thoughts o' summer time
My dreams o' youth and love, Alice,
Here we have beautiful
Nae lip can ever speak, Alice,
Nae tongue can ever tell,
With which my heart doth swell!
Sic love was never tauld in sangs,
My hand is on thy heart, Alice,
thoughts, tender, holy, and true.
But thus sings Massey, in his deep-hearted love, to the Poor Man's Wife :
A POOR MAN'S WIFE.
HER dainty hand nestled in mine, rich and white,
And timid as trembling dove;
And it twinkled about me, a jewel of light,
"T was the queenliest hand in all lady-land,
O! little ye'd think how that wee, white hand
Could dare in the battle of Life.
Her heart it was lowly as maiden's might
But hath climb'd to heroic height,
And taught me how to bear.
Her sweet eyes that seem'd, with their smile sublime,
Made to look me and light me to heaven, They have triumph'd thro' bitter tears many a time,
Since their love to my life was given:
In thoughts, showing poetic of our
And the maiden-meek voice of the womanly
Still bringeth the heavens nigher;
Aye bidding me climb up higher.
I hardly dared think it was human, when
For it shone as the heavens had open'd
And clad it with glory and grace!
As the Rainbow, when heaven hath no
8mileth the storm away.
O her shape was the lithest Loveliness,-
But the form that bends flower-like in
With the Victor's strength is soul'd! In her worshipful presence transfigured I stand,
And the poor Man's English home She lights with the Beauty of Greece the grand,
And the glory of regallest Rome.
fancy, we think the crowning Poets of Labor a very difficult office of criticism. For tenderness and beauty of thought we know few poems finer than the following, Nicoll's I Am Blind.
I AM BLIND.
THE Woodland! O! how beautiful,
How pleasant it must be!
How soft its grass-how fresh the leaves
I hear its wild rejoicing birds
Their songs of gladness sing;
To see them leap from bough to bough
I must but image it in mind,
I feel the fragrance of the flowers,-
The trees are glorious green, you say-
They must be fair; but what is green?
Say, canst thou answer me?
The songsters that so sweetly chant
Until my heart with joy doth leap,
How seem they to the light bless'd eye?
Can sounds of such surpassing joy
I must but image them in mind
A something warm comes o'er my hand;
Thou seest the sunlight and the sun,
My hand is resting on your check-
O! I can feel the blessed sun,
But I must image them in mind-
If the reader has ever seen that excellent lady, and admirable actress-Mrs. Charles Kean-in King Rene's Daughter, he will understand how exquisitely this description of the feelings of the blind are word-painted in the poem. Besides, to those who have studied the thoughts of the blind, this poem is as perfect in observation as that in which Wordsworth describes the earliest dawn of morning, and in which he tells us :
"By this the stars were almost gone,
Though yet their tongues were still."
There is, however, another poem in this volume, entitled The Sick Child's Dream, so beautiful, so pathetic, that we must insert it. Tennyson's New-year's Eve, has been compared with this; but, much as we admire the Laureate's genius, we do not think that in this instance he is victor :
THE SICK CHILD'S DREAM.
O! mither, mither, my head was sair,
And I ha'e had sic a bonnie dream,
O' a' that is holy an gude to name,
I thought on the morn o' a simmer day
As they stood in their parent Heaven's sight
An' sangs o' love that nae tongue may tell
The plaintive melodie;
And ane o' them sang wi' my mither's voice,
That chanted hymn o' my bairnhood's
Sae dowie, saft, an' wae.
Thae happy things o' the glorious sky
Where the stream o' life rins never dry,
And they laid me down in a mossy bed,