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I do not think, where'er thou art,
Yet there was round thee such a dawn
Of light ne'er seen before,
And never can restore ! THE DIBDINS-JOHN COLLINS. CHARLES DIBDIN (1745-1814) was celebrated as a writer of navali songs,the solace of sailors in long voyages, in storms, and in battles,' and he was also an actor and dramatist. His sea-songs are said to exceed a thousand in number! His sons, Charles and Thomas, were also dramatists and song-writers, but inferior to the elder Dibdin. THOMAS DIBDIN (1771-1841) published his ‘Reminiscences,' con. taining curious details of theatrical affairs. We subjoin two of the sea-songs of the elder Charles Dibdin :
Tom Bowling. Here, a sheer hulk, lies poor Tom Bow- And then he'd sing so blithe and jolly; ling,
Ah, many's the time and oft ! The darling of our crew;
But mirth is turned to melancholy, No more he'll hear the tempest howling, For Tom is gone aloft.
For Death has broached him to. His form was of the manliest beauty, Yet shall poor Tom find pleasant weather, His heart was kind and soft ;
When He, who all commands, Faithful below he did his duty,
Shall give, to call life's crew together, But now he's gone aloft.
The word to pipe all hands.
Thus Death, who kings and tars des Tom never from his word departed,
patches, His virtues were so rare;
In vain Tom's life has doffed ;
His soul is gone aloft.
Poor Jack. Go, patter to lubbers and swabs, do you I heard our good chaplain · palaver one see,
day 'Bout danger, and fear, and the like; About souls, heaven, mercy and such; A tight-water boat and good sea-room And, my timbers ! what lingo he'd coil give me,
and belay; And it a'nt to a little I'll strike.
Why, 'twas just all as one as High Dutch; Though the tempest top-gallant mast For he said how a sparrow can't foundsmack smooth should smite
er, d'ye see, And shiver each splinter of wood,
Without orders that come down below; Clear the deck, stow the yards, and bouse And a many fine things that proved clearly everything tight
to me And under reef foresail we'll scud:
That Providence takes us in tow : Avast! nor don't think me a milksop so For, says he, do you mind me, let storms soft,
e'er so soft To be taken for trifles aback;
Take the top-sails of sailors aback. For they say there's a Providence sits up There's a sweet little cherub that sits up. aloft,
aloft, To keep watch for the life of poor Jack! To keep watch for the life of poor Jack ! We may add here an English song as truly national as any of Dibdin's, though of a totally different character. It was written by JOHN COLLINS, of whom we can learn nothing except that he was one of the proprietors of the ‘Birmingham Daily Chronicle,' and died in 1808. It seems to have been suggested by Dr. Walter Pope's song of The Old Man's Wish.
In the Downhill of Life.
May my lot no less fortunate be
And a cot that o'erlooks the wide sea;
While I carol away idle sorrow,
Look forward with hope for to-morrow.
As the sunshine or rain may prevail;
With a barn for the use of the flail:
And a purse when a friend wants to borrow;
Nor what honours await him to-morrow
Secured by a neighbouring hill;
By the sound of a murmuring rill:
With a heart free from sickness and sorrow,
And let them spread the table to-morrow.
Which I've worn for three-score years and ten,
Nor my thread wish to spin o'er again:
And with smiles count each wrinkle and furrow;
HERBERT KNOWLES. HERBERT KNOWLES, a native of Canterbury (1798-1817), produced, when a youth of eighteen, the following fine religious stanzas, which, being published in an article by Southey in the
Quarterly Review,' soon obtained general circulation and celebrity: they have much of the steady faith and devotional earnestness of Cowper.
Lines Written in the Churchyard of Richmond, Yorkshire. Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. - Matthew xvii. 4.
Methinks it is good to be here.
If thou wilt let us build-but for whom?
But the shadows of eve that encompass with gloom
Shall we build to Ambition? Ah no!
For see, they would pin him below
To Beauty ? Ah no! she forgets
Nor knows the foul worm that he frets
Shall we build to the purple of Pride,
Alas, they are all laid aside,
To Riches ? Alas! 'tis in vain :
The treasures are squandered again;
To the pleasures which Mirth can afford.
Ah! here is a plentiful board!
Shall we build to Affection and Love?
Or fled with the spirit above.
Unto Sorrow?-the dead cannot grieve;
Unto Death, to whom monarchs must pow?
And here there are trophies enow!
The first tabernacle to Hope we will build,
The second to Faith, which insures it fulfilled ;
ROBERT POLLOK. In 1827 appeared a religious poem in blank verse, entitled The Course of Time,' by ROBERT POLLOK, which speedily rose to great popularity, especially among the more serious and dissenting classes in Scotland. The author was a young licentiate of the Scottish Secession Church. Many who scarcely ever looked into modern poetry were tempted to peruse a work which embodied their favourite theological tenets, set off with the graces of poetical fancy and description; while to the ordinary readers of imaginative literature, the poem had force and originality enough to challenge an attentive perusal. “The Course of Time’ is a long poem, extending to ten books, written in a style that sometimes imitates the lofty march of Milton, and at other
times resembles that of Blair and Young. The object of the poet is to describe the spiritual life and destiny of man, and he varies his religious speculations with episodical pictures and narratives, to illustrate the effects of virtue or vice. The sentiments of the author are strongly Calvinistic, and in this respect, as well as in a certain crude ardour of imagination and devotional enthusiasm, the poem reminds us of the style of the old Scottish theologians. It is often harsh, turgid, and vehement, and deformed by a gloomy piety which repels the reader, in spite of many fine passages and images that are scattered throughout the work. With much of the spirit and the opinions of Cowper, Pollok wanted his taste. Time might have mellowed the fruits of his genius; for certainly the design of such an extensive poem, and the possession of a poetical diction copious and energetic, by a young man reared in circumstances by no means favourable for the cultivation of a literary taste, indicate remarkable intellectual power and force of character. “The Course of Time,' says Professor Wilson, though not a poem, overflows with poetry. Hard as was the lot of the young poet in early life, he reverts to that period with poetic rapture:
Wake, dear remembrances! wake, childhood-days"!
And hours of holy musing, wake! Robert Pollok was destined, like Henry Kirke White, to an early grave. He was born in the year 1799, at Muirhouse, in the parish of Eaglesham, Renfrewshire, and after the usual instruction in country schools, was sent to the university of Glasgow. He studied five years in the divinity hall under Dr. Dick. Some time after leaving college, he wrote a series of · Tales of the Covenanters,' in prose, which were published anonymously. His application to his studies brought on symptoms of pulmonary disease, and shortly after he received his license to preach, in the spring of 1827, it was too apparent that his health was in a precarious and dangerous state. This tendency was further confirmed by the composition of his poem. Removal to the south-west of England was pronounced necessary for the poet's pulmonary complaint, and he went to reside at Shirley Common, near Southampton. The milder air of this place effected no improvement, and after lingering on a few weeks, Pollok died on the 17th of September 1827. The same year had witnessed his advent as a preacher and a poet, and his untimely death. “The Course of Time,' however, continued to be a popular poem, and has gone through a vast number of editions, both in this country and in America, while the interest of the public in its author has led to a memoir of his life, published in 1843. Pollok was interred in the churchyard at Millbrook, the parish in which Shirley Common is situated, and some
of his admirers have erected an obelisk of granite to point out the poet's grave.
Love.-From Book V.
It was an eve of autumn's holiest mood,
Such was the night, so lovely, still, serene,