These are the top twenty (20) most popular poems of Thomas Campbell.
From Absence to Ode To The Memory Of Burns.
If you want to know his greatest poems of all time, then this poetry collection is for you.
‘Tis not the loss of love’s assurance,
It is not doubting what thou art,
But ’tis the too, too long endurance
Of absence, that afflicts my heart.
The fondest thoughts two hearts can cherish,
When each is lonely doom’d to weep,
Are fruits on desert isles that perish,
Or riches buried in the deep.
What though, untouch’d by jealous madness,
Our bosom’s peace may fall to wreck;
Th’ undoubting heart, that breaks with sadness,
Is but more slowly doom’d to break.
Absence! is not the soul torn by it
From more than light, or life, or breath?
‘Tis Lethe’s gloom, but not its quiet,
The pain without the peace of death.
The Last Man
All worldly shapes shall melt in gloom,
The Sun himself must die,
Before this mortal shall assume
I saw a vision in my sleep
That gave my spirit strength to sweep
Adown the gulf of Time!
I saw the last of human mould,
That shall Creation’s death behold,
As Adam saw her prime!
The Sun’s eye had a sickly glare,
The Earth with age was wan,
The skeletons of nations were
Around that lonely man!
Some had expired in fight, the brands
Still rested in their bony hands;
In plague and famine some!
Earth’s cities had no sound nor tread;
And ships were drifting with the dead
To shores where all was dumb!
Yet, prophet-like, that lone one stood
With dauntless words and high,
That shook the sere leaves from the wood
As if a storm passed by,
Saying, “We are twins in death, proud Sun,
Thy face is cold, thy race is run,
‘Tis Mercy bids thee go.
For thou ten thousand thousand years
Hast seen the tide of human tears,
That shall no longer flow.
“What though beneath thee man put forth
His pomp, his pride, his skill;
And arts that made fire, floods, and earth,
The vassals of his will;
Yet mourn not I thy parted sway,
Thou dim discrowned king of day:
For all those trophied arts
And triumphs that beneath thee sprang,
Healed not a passion or a pang
Entailed on human hearts.
“Go, let oblivion’s curtain fall
Upon the stage of men,
Nor with thy rising beams recall
Life’s tragedy again.
Its piteous pageants bring not back,
Nor waken flesh, upon the rack
Of pain anew to writhe;
Stretched in disease’s shapes abhorred,
Or mown in battle by the sword,
Like grass beneath the scythe.
“Ee’n I am weary in yon skies
To watch thy fading fire;
Test of all sumless agonies
Behold not me expire.
My lips that speak thy dirge of death,
Their rounded gasp and gurgling breath
To see thou shalt not boast.
The eclipse of Nature spreads my pall,
The majesty of Darkness shall
Receive my parting ghost!
“This spirit shall return to Him
That gave its heavenly spark;
Yet think not, Sun, it shall be dim
When thou thyself art dark!
No! it shall live again, and shine
In bliss unknown to beams of thine,
By Him recalled to breath,
Who captive led captivity.
Who robbed the grave of Victory,
And took the sting from Death!
“Go, Sun, while Mercy holds me up
On Nature’s awful waste
To drink this last and bitter cup
Of grief that man shall taste,
Go, tell the night that hides thy face,
Thou saw’st the last of Adam’s race,
On Earth’s sepulchral clod,
The darkening universe defy
To quench his Immortality,
Or shake his trust in God!”
The Soldier’s Dream
Our bugles sang truce; for the night-cloud had lowered,
And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky;
And thousands had sunk on the ground overpowered,
The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die.
When reposing that night on my pallet of straw,
By the wolf-scaring fagot that guarded the slain,
At the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw,
And thrice ere the morning I dreamt it again.
Methought from the battle-field’s dreadful array
Far, far I had roamed on a desolate track:
‘Twas autumn; and sunshine arose on the way
To the home of my fathers, that welcomed my back.
I flew to the pleasant fields traversed so oft
In life’s morning march, when my bosom was young;
I heard my own mountain-goats bleating aloft,
And knew the sweet strains that the corn-reapers sung.
Then pledged we the wine-cup, and fondly I swore
From my home and my weeping friends never to part:
My little ones kissed me a thousand times o’er,
And my wife sobbed aloud in her fulness of heart.
“Stay, stay with us, rest, thou art weary and worn:”
And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay;
But sorrow returned with the dawning of morn,
And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.
Song – Men Of England
Men of England! who inherit
Rights that cost your sires their blood!
Men whose undegenerate spirit
Has been proved on field and flood:
By the foes you ‘ve fought uncounted,
By the glorious deeds ye ‘ve done,
Trophies captured, breaches mounted,
Navies conquered, kingdoms won!
Yet, remember, England gathers
Hence but fruitless wreaths of fame,
If the freedom of your fathers
Glow not in your hearts the same.
What are monuments of bravery,
Where no public virtues bloom?
What avail in lands of slavery,
Trophied temples, arch, and tomb?
Pageants! Let the world revere us
For our people’s rights and laws,
And the breasts of civic heroes
Bared in Freedom’s holy cause.
Yours are Hampden’s, Russell’s glory,
Sidney’s matchless shade is yours,
Martyrs in heroic story,
Worth a hundred Agincourts!
We ‘re the sons of sires that baffled
Crowned and mitred tyranny;
They defied the field and scaffold
For their birthrights, so will we!
At summer eve, when heaven’s aerial bow
Spans with bright arch the glittering hills below,
Why to yon mountain turns the musing eye,
Whose sunbright summit mingles with the sky?
Why do those cliffs of shadowy tint appear
More sweet than all the landscape smiling near?
‘Tis distance lends enchantment to the view,
And robes the mountain in its azure hue.
The River Of Life
The more we live, more brief appear
Our life’s succeeding stages;
A day to childhood seems a year,
And years like passing ages.
The gladsome current of our youth,
Ere passion yet disorders,
Steals lingering like a river smooth
Along its grassy borders.
But as the careworn cheek grows wan,
And sorrow’s shafts fly thicker,
Ye stars, that measure life to man,
Why seem your courses quicker?
When joys have lost their bloom and breath,
And life itself is vapid,
Why, as we reach the Falls of Death
Feel we its tide more rapid?
It may be strange, yet who would change
Time’s course to slower speeding,
When one by one our friends have gone,
And left our bosoms bleeding?
Heaven gives our years of fading strength
And those of youth, a seeming length,
Proportion’d to their sweetness.
To The Rainbow
Triumphal arch, that fill’st the sky
When storms prepare to part,
I ask not proud Philosophy
To teach me what thou art;
Still seem; as to my childhood’s sight,
A midway station given
For happy spirits to alight
Betwixt the earth and heaven.
Can all that Optics teach unfold
Thy form to please me so,
As when I dreamt of gems and gold
Hid in thy radiant bow?
When Science from Creation’s face
Enchantment’s veil withdraws,
What lovely visions yield their place
To cold material laws!
And yet, fair bow, no fabling dreams,
But words of the Most High,
Have told why first thy robe of beams
Was woven in the sky.
When o’er the green, undeluged earth
Heaven’s covenant thou didst shine,
How came the world’s gray fathers forth
To watch thy sacred sign!
And when its yellow luster smiled
O’er mountains yet untrod,
Each mother held aloft her child
To bless the bow of God.
Methinks, thy jubilee to keep,
The first-made anthem rang
On earth, delivered from the deep,
And the first poet sang.
Nor ever shall the Muse’s eye
Unraptured greet thy beam;
Theme of primeval prophecy,
Be still the prophet’s theme!
The earth to thee her incense yields,
The lark thy welcome sings,
When, glittering in the freshened fields,
The snowy mushroom springs.
How glorious is thy girdle, cast
O’er mountain, tower, and town,
Or mirrored in the ocean vast,
A thousand fathoms down!
As fresh in yon horizon dark,
As young thy beauties seem,
As when the eagle from the ark
First sported in thy beam:
For, faithful to its sacred page,
Heaven still rebuilds thy span;
Nor lets the type grow pale with age,
That first spoke peace to man.
Lines – On The Camp Hill, Near Hastings
In the deep blue of eve,
Ere the twinkling of stars had begun,
Or the lark took his leave
Of the skies and the sweet setting sun,
I climbed to yon heights,
Where the Norman encamped him of old,
With his bowmen and knights,
And his banner all burnished with gold.
At the Conqueror’s side
There his minstrelsy sat harp in hand,
In pavilion wide;
And they chaunted the deeds of Roland.
Still the ramparted ground
With a vision my fancy inspires,
And I hear the trump sound,
As it marshalled our Chivalry’s sires.
On each turf of that mead
Stood the captors of England’s domains,
That ennobled her breed
And high-mettled the blood of her veins.
Over hauberk and helm
As the sun’s setting splendour was thrown,
Thence they looked o’er a realm
And to-morrow beheld it their own.
Lines – Written On Visiting A Scene In Argyleshire
At the silence of twilight’s contemplative hour,
I have mused in a sorrowful mood,
On the wind-shaken weeds that embosom the bower,
Where the home of my forefathers stood.
All ruin’d and wild is their roofless abode;
And lonely the dark raven’s sheltering tree;
And travell’d by few is the grass-cover’d road,
Where the hunter of deer and the warrior trode,
To his hills that encircle the sea.
Yet wandering, I found on my ruinous walk,
By the dial-stone aged and green,
One rose of the wilderness left on its stalk,
To mark where a garden had been.
Like a brotherless hermit, the last of its race,
All wild in the silence of nature, it drew,
From each wandering sun-beam, a lonely embrace,
For the night-weed and thorn overshadow’d the place,
Where the flower of my forefathers grew.
Sweed bud of the wilderness! emblem of all
That remains in this desolate heart!
The fabric of bliss to its centre may fall,
But patience shall never depart!
Though the wilds of enchantment, all vernal and bright,
In the days of delusion by fancy combined
With the vanishing phantoms of love and delight,
Abandon my soul, like a dream of the night,
And leave but a desert behind.
Be hush’d, my dark spirit! for wisdom condemns
When the faint and the feeble deplore;
Be strong as the rock of the ocean that stems
A thousand wild waves on the shore!
Through the perils of chance, and the scowl of disdain,
May thy front be unalter’d, thy courage elate!
Yea! even the name I have worshipped in vain
Shall awake not the sigh of remembrance again:
To bear is to conquer our fate.
Exile Of Erin
There came to the beach a poor Exile of Erin,
The dew on his thin robe was heavy and chill:
For his country he sign’d, when at twilight repairing
To wander alone by the wind-beaten hill.
But the day-star attracted his eye’s sad devotion,
For it rose o’er his own native isle fo the ocean,
Where once, in the fire of his youthful emotion.
He sang the bold anthem of Erin go bragh.
Sad is my fate! said the heart-broken stranger;
The wild deer and wolf to a covert can flee,
But I have no refuge from famine and danger,
A home and a country remain not to me.
Never again, in my green sunny bowers,
Where my forefathers lived, shall I spend the sweet hours,
Or cover my harp with the wild-woven flowers,
And strike to the numbers of Erin go bragh!
Erin, my country! though sad and forsaken,
In dreams I revisit thy sea-beaten shore;
But, alas! in a far foreign land I awaken,
And sigh for the friends who can meet me no more!
Oh curel fate! wilt thou never replace me
In a mansion of peace, where no perils can chase me?
Never again shall my brothers embrace me?
They died to defend me, or live to deplore!
Where is my cabin-door, fast by the wild wood?
Sisters and sire! did ye weep for its fall?
Where is the mother that look’d on my childhood?
And where ist the bosom-friend, dearer than all?
Oh! my sad heart! long abandon’d by pleasure,
Why did it dote on a fast-fading treasure?
Tears, like the rain drop, may fall without measure,
But rapture and beauty they cannot recal.
Yet all its sad recollections suppressing,
One dying wish my lone bosom can draw:
Erin! an exile bequeaths thee his blessing!
Land of my forefathers! Erin go bragh!
Buried and cold, when my heart stills her motion,
Green by the fields, sweetest isle of the ocean!
And thy harp-striking bards sind aloud with devotion,
Erin mavournin, Erin go bragh!
Ye Mariners Of England
Ye Mariners of England
That guard our native seas,
Whose flag has braved, a thousand years,
The battle and the breeze,
Your glorious standard launch again
To match another foe!
And sweep through the deep,
While the stormy winds do blow,
While the battle rages loud and long,
And the stormy winds do blow.
The spirits of your fathers
Shall start from every wave!
For the deck it was their field of fame,
And Ocean was their grave.
Where Blake and mighty Nelson fell
Your manly hearts shall glow,
As ye sweep through the deep,
While the stormy winds do blow,
While the battle rages loud and long,
And the stormy winds do blow.
Britannia needs no bulwarks,
No towers along the steep;
Her march is o’er the mountain waves,
Her home is on the deep.
With thunders from her native oak
She quells the floods below,
As they roar on the shore
When the stormy winds do blow,
When the battle rages loud and long
And the stormy winds do blow.
The meteor flag of England
Shall yet terrific burn,
Till danger’s troubled night depart
And the star of peace return.
Then, then, ye ocean warriors!
Our song and feast shall flow
To the fame of your name,
When the storm has ceased to blow,
When the fiery fight is heard no more,
And the storm has ceased to blow.
The Brave Roland
The brave Roland! the brave Roland!
False tidings reached the Rhenish strand
That he had fallen in fight;
And thy faithful bosom swooned with pain,
O loveliest maiden of All’mayne!
For the loss of thine own true knight.
But why so rash has she ta’en the veil,
In yon Nonnenwerder’s choisters pale?
For her vow had scarce been sworn,
And the fatal mantle o’er her flung,
When the Drachenfels to a trumpet rung,
‘Twas her own dear warrior ‘s horn!
Woe! woe! each heart shall bleed, shall break!
She would have hung upon his neck,
Had he come but yester-even;
And he had clasped those peerless charms
That shall never, never fill his arms,
Or meet him but in heaven.
Yet Roland the brave, Roland the true,
He could not bid that spot adieu;
It was dear still ‘midst his woes;
For he loved to breathe the neighbouring air,
And to think she blessed him in her prayer,
When the Halleluiah rose.
There ‘s yet one window of that pile,
Which he built above the Nun’s green isle;
Thence sad and oft looked he
(When the chant and organ sounded slow)
On the mansion of his love below,
For herself he might not see.
She died! He sought the battle-plain;
Her image filled his dying brain,
When he fell and wished to fall:
And her name was in his latest sigh,
When Roland, the flower of chivalry,
Exired at Roncevall.
A Scene On The Susquehana
Excerpt from “Gertrude Of Wyoming”
Delightful Wyoming! beneath thy skies,
The happy shepherd swains had nought to do
But feed their flocks on green declivities,
Or skim perchance thy lake with light canoe,
From morn till evening’s sweeter pastime grew,
With timbrel, when beneath the forests brown,
Thy lovely maidens would the dance renew;
And aye those sunny mountains half-way down
Would echo flagelet from some romantic town.
Then, where of Indian hills the daylight takes
His leave, how might you the flamingo see
Disporting like a meteor on the lakes,
And playful squirrel on his nut-grown tree:
And every sound of life was full of glee,
From merry mock-bird’s song, or hum of men;
While hearkening, fearing nought their revelry,
The wild deer arched his neck from glades, and then,
Unhunted, sought his woods and wilderness again.
Love And Madness
Hark! from the battlements of yonder tower
The solemn bell has tolled the midnight hour!
Roused from drear visions of distempered sleep,
Poor Broderick wakes’in solitude to weep!
“Cease, Memory; cease (the friendless mourner cried)
To probe the bosom too severely tried!
Oh! ever cease, my pensive thoughts, to stray
Through tie bright fields of Fortune’s better day,
When youthful Hope, the music of the mind,
Tuned all its charms, and Errington was kind!
Yet, can I cease, while glows this trembling frame,
In sighs to speak thy melancholy name!
I hear thy spirit wail in every storm!
In midniglit shades I view thy passing form!
Pale as in that sad hour when doomed to feel!
Deep in thy perjured heart, the bloody steel!
Demons of Vengeance! ye, at whose command
I grasped the sword with more than woman’s hand
Say ye, did Pity’s trembling voice control,
Or horror damp the purpose of my soul?
No! my wild heart sat smiling o’er the plan,
‘Till Hate fulfilled what baffled love began!
Yes ; let the clay-cold breast that never knew
One tender pang to generous nature true,
Half-mingling pity with the gall of scorn,
Condemn this heart, that bled in love forlorn!
And ye, proud fair, whose soul no gladness warms,
Save Rapture’s homage to your conscious charms!
Delighted idols of a gaudy train,
Ill can your blunter feelings guess the pain,
When the fond, faithful heart, inspired to prove
Friendship refined, the calm delight of Love,
Feels all its tender strings with anguish torn,
And bleeds at perjured Pride’s inhuman scorn.
Say, then, did pitying Heaven condemn the deed,
When Vengeance bade thee, faithless lover! bleed?
Long had I watched thy dark foreboding brow,
What time thy bosom scorned its dearest vow!
Sad, though I wept the friend, the lover changed,
Still thy cold look was scornful and estranged,
Till from thy pity, love, and shelter thrown,
I wandered hopeless, friendless, and alone!
Oh! righteous Heaven! ‘t was then my tortured soul
First gave to wrath unlimited control!
Adieu the silent look! the streaming eye!
The murmured plaint! the deep heart-heaving sigh!
Long-slumbering Vengeance wakes to better deeds ;
He shrieks, he falls, the perjured lover bleeds!
Now the last laugh of agony is o’er,
And pale in blood he sleeps, to wake no more!
‘T is done! the flame of hate no longer burns :
Nature relents, but, ah! too late returns!
Why does my soul this gush of fondness feel?
Trembling and faint, I drop the guilty steel!
Cold on my heart the hand of terror lies,
And shades of horror close my languid eyes!
Oh! ‘t was a deed of Murder’s deepest grain!
Could Broderick’s soul so true to wrath remain?
A friend long true, a once fond lover fell?
Where Love was fostered could not Pity dwell?
Unhappy youth! while you pale cresscent glows
To watch on silent Nature’s deep repose,
Thy sleepless spirit, breathing from the tomb,
Foretells my fate, and summons me to come!
Once more I see thy sheeted spectre stand,
Roll the dim eye, and wave the paly hand!
Soon may this fluttering spark of vital flame
Forsake its languid melancholy frame!
Soon may these eyes their trembling lustre close,
Welcome the dreamless night of long repose!
Soon may this woe-worn spirit seek the bourne
Where, lulled to slumber, Grief forgets to mourn!”
Excerpt from “Gertrude Of Wyoming”
Apart there was a deep untrodden grot,
Where oft the reading hours sweet Gertrude wore;
Tradition had not named its lonely spot;
But here (methinks) might India’s sons explore
Their father’s dust, or lift, perchance of yore,
Their voice to the great Spirit: rocks sublime
To human art a sportive semblance bore,
And yellow lichens coloured all the clime,
Like moonlight battlements, and towers decayed by time.
But high in amphitheatre above,
Gay tinted woods their massy foliage threw:
Breathed but an air of heaven, and all the grove
As if instinct with living spirit grew,
Rolling its verdant gulfs of every hue;
And now suspended was the pleasing din,
Now from a murmur faint it swelled anew,
Like the first note of organ heard within
Cathedral aisles, ere yet its symphony begin.
It was in this lone valley she would charm
the lingering noon, where flowers a couch had strown;
Her cheek reclining, and her snowy arm
On hillock by the pine-tree half o’ergrown:
And aye that volume on her lap is thrown,
Which every heart of human mould endears;
With Shakspear’s self she speaks and smiles alone,
And no intruding visitation fears,
To shame the unconscious laugh, or stop her sweetest tears.
And nought within the grove was seen or heard.
But stock-doves plaining through its gloom profound,
Or winglet of the fairy humming bird,
Like atoms of the rainbow fluttering round;
When, lo! there entered to its inmost ground
A youth, the stranger of a distant land;
He was, to weet, for eastern mountains bound;
But late th’ equator suns his cheeks had tanned,
And California’s gales his roving bosom fanned.
A steed, whose rein hung loosely o’er his arm,
He led dismounted; ere his leisure pace,
Amid the brown leaves, could her ear alarm,
Close he had come, and worshipped for a space
Those downcast features: she her lovely face
Uplift on one, whose lineaments and frame
Wore youth and manhood’s intermingled grace:
Iberian seemed his boot, his robe the same,
And well the Spanish plume his lofty looks became
For Albert’s home he sought, her finger fair
Has pointed where the father’s mansion stood.
Returning from the copse he soon was there;
And soon has Getrude hied from dark green wood;
Nor joyess, by the converse, understood
Between the man of age and pilgrim young,
That gay congeniality of mood,
And early liking from acquaintance sprung;
Full fluently coversed their guest in England’s tongue.
And well could he his pilgrimage of taste
Unfold, and much they loved his fervid strain,
While he each fair variety retraced
Of climes, and manners, o’er the eastern main.
Now happy Switzer’s hills, romantic Spain,
Gay lilied fields of France, or, more refined,
The soft Ausonia’s monumental reign;
Nor less each rural image he designed,
Than all the city’s pomp and home of human kind.
Anon some wilder portraiture he draws;
Of Nature’s savage glories he would speak,
The loneliness of earth that overawes,
Where, resting by some tomb of old Cacique,
The lama-driver on Peruvia’s peak,
Nor living voice nor motion marks around;
But storks that to the boundless forest shriek,
Or wild-cane arch high flung o’er gulf profound,
That fluctuates when the storms of El Dorado sound.
The Dirge Of Wallace
When Scotland’s great Regent, our warrior most dear,
The debt of his nature did pay,
T’ was Edward, the cruel, had reason to fear,
And cause to be struck with dismay.
At the window of Edward the raven did croak,
Though Scotland a widow became;
Each tie of true honor to Wallace he broke
The raven croaked “Sorrow and shame!”
At Eldersie Castle no raven was heard,
But soothings of honor and truth;
His spirit inspired the soul of the bard
To comfort the Love of his youth!
They lighted the tapers at dead of night,
And chanted their holiest hymn;
But her brow and her bosom were all damp with affright,
Her eye was all sleepless and dim!
And the lady of Eldersie wept for her lord,
With a death-watch beat in her lonely room,
When her curtain shook of its own accord,
And the raven flapped at her window board
To tell of her warrior’s doom.
Now sing ye the death-song, and loudly pray
For the soul of my knight so dear!
And call me a widow, this wretched day,
Since the warning of God is here.
For a nightmare rests on my strangled sleep;
The lord of my bosom is doomed to die!
His valorous heart they have wounded deep,
And the blood-red tears his country shall weep
For Wallace of Elderslie.
Yet knew not his country, that ominous hour,
Ere the loud matin-bell was rung,
That the trumpet of death on an English tower,
The dirge of her champion sung.
When his dungeon light looked dim and red
On the high-born blood of a martyr slain,
No anthem was sung at his lowly death-bed,
No weeping was there when his bosom bled,
And his heart was rent in twain.
When he strode o’er the wreck of each well-fought field,
With the yellow-haired chiefs of his native land;
For his lace was not shivered on helmet or shield,
And the sword that was fit for archangel to wield
Was light in his terrible hand.
Yet, bleeding and bound, though the “Wallacewight”
For his long-loved country die,,
The bugle ne’er sung to a braver night
Than William of Elderslie.
But the day of his triumphs shall never depart;
His head, unemtombed, shall with glory be palmed:
From its blood streaming altar his spirit shall start;
Though the raven has fed on his mouldering heart,
A nobler was never embalmed!
The Maid’s Remonstrance
Never wedding, ever wooing,
Still a love-lorn heart pursuing,
Read you not the wrong you ‘re doing
In my cheek’s pale hue?
All my life with sorrow strewing,
Wed, or cease to woo.
Rivals banished, bosoms plighted,
Still our days are disunited;
Now the lamp of hope is lighted,
Now half quenched appears,
Damped, and wavering, and benighted,
Midst my sighs and tears.
Charms you call your dearest blessing,
Lips that thrill at your caressing,
Eyes a mutual soul confessing,
Soon you ‘ll make them grow
Dim, and worthless your possessing,
Not with age, but woe!
Freedom And Love
How delicious is the winning
Of a kiss at love’s beginning,
When two mutual hearts are sighing
For the knot there’s no untying!
Yet remember, ‘Midst our wooing,
Love has bliss, but Love has ruing;
Other smiles may make you fickle,
Tears for other charms may trickle.
Love he comes, and Love he tarries,
Just as fate or fancy carries;
Longest stays, when sorest chidden;
Laughs and flies, when press’d and bidden.
Bind the sea to slumber stilly,
Bind its odour to the lily,
Bind the aspen ne’er to quiver,
Then bind Love to last for ever.
Love’s a fire that needs renewal
Of fresh beauty for its fuel:
Love’s wing moults when caged and captured,
Only free, he soars enraptured.
Can you keep the bee from ranging
Or the ringdove’s neck from changing?
No! nor fetter’d Love from dying
In the knot there’s no untying.
Lord Ullin’s Daughter
A chieftain, to the Highlands bound,
Cries, “Boatman, do not tarry!
And I’ll give thee a silver pound,
To row us o’er the ferry.”
“Now who be ye, would cross Lochgyle
This dark and stormy water?”
“O, I’m the chief of Ulva’s isle,
And this Lord Ullin’s daughter.
And fast before her father’s men
Three days we’ve fled together,
For should he find us in the glen,
My blood would stain the heather.
His horsemen hard behind us ride;
Should they our steps discover,
Then who will cheer my bonny bride
When they have slain her lover?”
Out spoke the hardy Highland wight,
“I’ll go, my cheif, I’m ready:
It is not for your silver bright;
But for your winsome lady:
And by my word! the bonny bird
In danger shall not tarry:
For though the waves are raging white,
I’ll row you o’er the ferry.”
By this the storm grew loud apace,
The water, wraith was shrieking;
And in the scowl of heaven each face
Grew dark as they were speaking.
But still wilder brew the wind,
And as the night grew drearer,
Adown the glen rode armed men,
Their trampling sounded nearer.
“Oh haste thee, hast!” the lady cries
“Though tempest round us gather;
I’ll meet the raging of the skies,
But not an angry father.”
The boat had left a stormy land,
A stormy sea before her,
When, oh! too strong for human hand,
The waters gathered o’er her.
And still they rowed amidst the roar
Of waters fast prevailing:
Lord Ullin reached that fatal shore,
His wrath was changed to wailing:
For sore dismayed, through storm and shade,
His child he did discover:
One lovely hand stretched out for aid,
And one was round her lover.
“Come back! come back!” he cried in grief,
“Across this stormy water:
And I’ll forgive your Highland chief,
My daughter! oh, my daughter!”
‘Twas vain: the loud waves lashed the shore,
Return or aid preventing:
And the waters went wild o’er his child,
And he was left lamenting.
Ode To The Memory Of Burns
Soul of the Poet! wheresoe’er,
Reclaimed from earth, thy genius plume
Her wings of immortality;
Suspend thy harp in happier sphere,
And with thine influence illume
The gladness of our jubilee.
And fly like fiends from secret spell,
Discord and Strife, at Burn’s name,
Exorcised by his memory;
For he was chief of bards that swell
The heart with songs of social flame,
And high delicious revelry.
And Love’s own strain to him was given,
To warble all its ecstacies
With Pythian words unsought, unwilled,
Love, the surviving gift of Heaven
The choicest sweet of Paradise,
In life’s else bitter cup distilled.
Who that has melted o’er his lay
To Mary’s soul, in Heaven above ,
But pictured sees, in fancy strong,
The landscape and the livelong day
That smiled upon their mutual love?
Who that has felt forgets the song?
Nor skilled one flame alone to fan:
His country’s high-souled peasantry
What patriot-prid e he taught! how much
To weigh the inborn worth of man!
And rustic life and poverty
Grow beautiful beneath his touch.
Him, in his clay-built cot, the Muse
Entranced, and showed him all the forms,
Of fairy-light and wizard gloom,
(That only gifted Poet views,)
The Genii of the floods and storms,
And martial shades from Glory’s tomb.
On Bannock-fiel d what thoughts arouse
The swain whom Burns’s song inspires!
Beat not his Caledonian veins,
As o’er the heroic turf he ploughs,
With all the spirit of his sires,
And all their scorn of death and chains?
And see the Scottish exile, tanned
By many a far and foreign clime,
Bend o’er his home-born verse, and weep
In memory of his native land,
With love that scorns the lapse of time,
And ties that stretch beyond the deep.
Encamped by Indian rivers wild,
The soldier resting on his arms,
In Burns’s carol sweet recalls
The scenes that blessed him when a child,
And glows and gladdens at the charms
Of Scotia’s woods and waterfalls.
O deem not, ‘midst this worldly strife,
An idle art the Poet brings:
Let high Philosophy control,
And sages calm the stream of life,
‘T is he refines its fountain-spr ings,
The nobler passions of the soul.
It is the muse that consecrates
The native banner of the brave,
Unfurling, at the trumpet’s breath,
Rose, thistle, harp; ‘t is she elates
To sweep the field or ride the wave,
A sunburst in the storm of death.
And thou, young hero , when thy pall
Is crossed with mournful sword and plume,
When public grief begins to fade,
And only tears of kindred fall,
Who but the bard shall dress thy tomb,
And greet with fame thy gallant shade?
Such was the soldier, Burn s, forgive
That sorrows of mine own intrude
In strains to thy great memory due.
In verse like thine, oh! Could he live,
The friend I mourned, the brave, the good
Edward that died at Waterloo!
Farewell, high chief of Scottish song!
That couldst alternately impart
Wisdom and rapture in thy page,
And brand each vice with satire strong,
Whose lines are mottoes of the heart?
Whose truths electrify the sage.
Farewell! and ne’er may Envy dare
To wring one baleful poison drop
From the crushed laurels of thy bust;
But while the lark sings sweet in air,
Still may the grateful pilgrim stop,
To bless the spot that holds thy dust.
Thomas Campbell was educated at the High School of Glasgow and the University of Glasgow and won prizes for classics and verse-writing. He was also described as slow and fastidious in composition. His poetry collection can be compared to other collections as more about men. His poems are also amazing!
The River Of Life is my favorite poem in this collection. I agree with the idea of this poem; our lives flow continuously without us deciding to slow or fasten them.
What about you? What’s your most favorite poem of Thomas Campbell?
Do you still want to add another of his poem to this list? Let me know in the comment section below! 😉