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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.

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"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."

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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?

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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,
Through which the modest daisy blushing peeps;
The gentle wind that like a ghost doth pass,

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!—
Bless'd is the brightness of a Summer day;
It cheers lone hearts; and why should I repine,
Although among green fields I cannot stray!
Woods! I have grown, since last I heard you wave,
Familiar with death, and neighbour to the grave!

These words have shaken mighty human souls-
Like a sepulchre's echo drear they sound-
E'en as the owl's wild whoop at midnight rolls
The ivied remnants of old ruins round.

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
The bud is budding now for immortality!

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?
If all that Power hath made, to me doth yield
Something of good and beauty-something fair-
Freed from the grossness of mortality,

May I not love them all, and better all enjoy ?

A change from woe to joy-from earth to heaven,
Death gives me this-it leads me calmly where
The souls that long ago from mine were riven

May meet again! Death answers many a prayer.
Bright day! shine on-be glad :-Days brighter far
Are stretched before my eyes than those of mortals are!

I would be laid among the wildest flowers,

I would be laid where happy hearts can come :-
The worthless clay I heed not; but in hours
Of gushing noontide joy, it may be, some
Will dwell upon my name, and I will be
A happy spirit there, Affection's look to see.

Death is upon me, yet 1 fear not now :

Open my chamber window-let me look
Upon the silent vales-the sunny glow

That fills each alley, close, and copsewood nook:-
I know them-love them--mourn not them to leave;
Existence and its change my spirit cannot grieve!

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;
My arm is round thee twined;
Thy breath dwells on my lip, Alice,
Like clover-scented wind:
Love glistens in thy sunny e'e,

And blushes, on thy brow;

Earth's Heaven is here to thee and me,
For we are happy now!

Thy cheek is warm and saft, Alice,
As the summer laverock's breast;
And Peace sleeps in thy soul, Alice,
Like the laverock on its nest!
Sweet! lay thy heart aboon my heart,
For it is a' thine ain;
That morning love it gi'es to thee,
Which kens nae guile or stain!

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,
Where wave the breckans green,

I wander'd by the burn, Alice,
Where fairy feet had been,-

While o'er me hung a vision sweet,
My heart will ne er forget-
A dream o' Summer twilight times
When flowers wi' dew were wet!

I thought on a' the tales, Alice,
O' Woman's love and faith;
Of Truth that smiled at Fear, Alice,
And Love that conquer'd Death;
Affection blessing hearts and hames,
When joy was far awa,

And Fear and Hate; but Love, O Love!
Aboon and over a'!

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
O'sorrow and o' mirth;

And when that dream was gone, my heart
Was lonely on the earth!

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,
Wi' keen and eerie blaw,

My soul grew sad, and cold my heart,
I wish'd to be awa'.

But light came o'er my way, Alice,
And life grew joy to me;
The daisy in my path, Alice,
Unclosed its gentle e'e;

Love breath'd in ilka wind that blew,
And in ilk birdie's sang;

Wi' sunny thoughts o' summer time
The blithesome heart grew thrang.

My dreams o' youth and love, Alice,
Were a' brought back again;
And Hope upraised its head, Alice,
Like the violet after rain:
A sweeter maid was by my side
Than things of dreams can be,
First, precious love to her I gave,
And, Alice, thou wert she!

Here we have beautiful

Nae lip can ever speak, Alice,

Nae tongue can ever tell,
The sumless love for thee, Alice,

With which my heart doth swell!
Pure as the thoughts of infants' souls,
And innocent and young;

Sic love was never tauld in sangs,
Sic sangs were never sung!

My hand is on thy heart, Alice,
Sae place thy hand in mine;
Now, welcome weal and woe, Alice,
Our love we canna time.
Ae kiss! let others gather gowd
Frae ilka land and sea;
My treasure is the richest yet,
For, Alice, I ha'e thee!

thoughts, tender, holy, and true.

But thus sings Massey, in his deep-hearted love, to the 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,
As she garnisht our feast of love:

"T was the queenliest hand in all lady-land,
And she was a poor Man's wife!

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 burn'd like a shield in defence of me,
On the sorest field of fight!
And startling as fire, it hath often flasht up
In her eyes, the good heart and rare!
As she drank down her half of ou rbitterest

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;
For it rings like the voice of God over my

Aye bidding me climb up higher.

I hardly dared think it was human, when
I first lookt in her yearning face;

For it shone as the heavens had open'd

And clad it with glory and grace!
But dearer its light of healing grew
In our dark and desolate day,

As the Rainbow, when heaven hath no
break of blue,

8mileth the storm away.

O her shape was the lithest Loveliness,-
Just an armful of heaven to enfold!

But the form that bends flower-like in
love's caress,

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.


THE Woodland! O! how beautiful,

How pleasant it must be!

How soft its grass-how fresh the leaves
Upon each forest tree!

I hear its wild rejoicing birds

Their songs of gladness sing;

To see them leap from bough to bough
Must be a pleasant thing:

I must but image it in mind,
I cannot see it-I am blind i

I feel the fragrance of the flowers,-
Go, pull me one, I pray:
The leaves are green upon its stalk-
'Tis richly red you say?
O! it must full of beauty be-
It hath a pleasant smell;
Could I but see its loveliness
My heart with joy would swell!
I can but image it in mind-
I ne'er shall see it-I am blind!

The trees are glorious green, you say-
Their branches widely spread;
And Nature on their budding leaves
Its nursing dew hath shed.

They must be fair; but what is green?
What is a spreading tree?
What is a shady woodland walk?

Say, canst thou answer me?
No! I may image them in mind,
But cannot know them-I am blind!

The songsters that so sweetly chant
Within the sky so fair,

Until my heart with joy doth leap,
As it a wild bird were-

How seem they to the light bless'd eye?
What! are they then so small?

Can sounds of such surpassing joy
From things so tiny fall?

I must but image them in mind
I cannot see them-I am blind!

A something warm comes o'er my hand;
What is it? pray thee tell:
Sunlight come down among the trees
Into this narrow dell?

Thou seest the sunlight and the sun,
And both are very bright!
"Tis well they are not known to m
Or I might loathe my night:
But I may image them in mind-
I ne'er shall see them-I am blind!

My hand is resting on your check-
"Tis soft as fleecy snow:
My sister, art thou very fair?
That thou art good, I know.
Thou art-thou art! I feel the blush
Along thy neek doth wend!
Thou must be fair-so carefully
Thy brother thou dost tend !
But I must image thee in mind-
I cannot see thee-I am blind!
The changes of the earth and sky-
All Nature's glow and gloom-
Must ever be unknown to me-
My soul is in a tomb!

O! I can feel the blessed sun,
Mirth, music, tears that fall,
And darkness sad, and joy, and woe,-
Yea, Nature's movements all:

But I must image them in mind-
I cannot see them-I AM BLIND!

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,
The moon was setting on the hill,
So pale you scarcely locked at her;
The little birds began to stir

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 :


O! mither, mither, my head was sair,
And my een wi' tears were weet;
But the pain has gane for evermair,
Sae mither dinna greet:

And I ha'e had sic a bonnie dream,
Since last asleep I fell,

O' a' that is holy an gude to name,
That I've wanken'd my dream to tell.

I thought on the morn o' a simmer day
That awa' through the clouds I flew,
While my silken hair did wavin' play
'Mang breczes steep'd in dew;
And the happy things o' life and light
Were around my gowden way,

As they stood in their parent Heaven's sight
In the hames o' nightless day.

An' sangs o' love that nae tongue may tell
Frae their hearts cam' flowin' free,
Till the starus stood still, while alang did

The plaintive melodie;

And ane o' them sang wi' my mither's voice,
Till through my heart did gae

That chanted hymn o' my bairnhood's

Sae dowie, saft, an' wae.

Thae happy things o' the glorious sky
Did lead me far away,

Where the stream o' life rins never dry,
Where nathing kens decay;

And they laid me down in a mossy bed,
Wi' curtains o spring leaves green,
And the name o' GOD they praying said,
And a light came o'er my een.

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