Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CAMPBELL'S FUNERAL, by HORACE SMITH



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CAMPBELL'S FUNERAL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Tis well to see these accidental great
Last Line: This all-unworthy wreath on such a poet's bier.
Alternate Author Name(s): Smith, Horatio
Subject(s): Birth; Funerals; Nature; Poetry & Poets; Child Birth; Midwifery; Burials


'TIS well to see these accidental great,
Noble by birth, or Fortune's favour blind,
Gracing themselves in adding grace and state
To the more noble eminence of mind,
And doing homage to a bard
Whose breast by Nature's gems was starred,
Whose patent by the hand of God himself was signed.

While monarchs sleep, forgotten, unrevered,
Time trims the lamp of intellectual fame:
The builders of the pyramids, who reared
Mountains of stone, left none to tell their name.
Though Homer's tomb was never known,
A mausoleum of his own,
Long as the world endures his greatness shall proclaim.

What lauding sepulchre does Campbell want?
'Tis his to give, and not derive renown.
What monumental bronze or adamant,
Like his own deathless lays can hand him down?
Poets outlast their tombs: the bust
And statue soon revert to dust;
The dust they represent still wears the laurel crown.

The solid Abbey walls that seem time-proof,
Formed to await the final day of doom;
The clustered shafts and arch-supported roof,
That now enshrine and guard our Campbell's tomb,
Become a ruined shattered fane,
May fall and bury him again,
Yet still the bard shall live, his fame-wreath still shall bloom.

Methought the monumental effigies
Of elder poets that were grouped around,
Leaned from their pedestals with eager eyes,
To peer into the excavated ground
Where lay the gifted, good, and brave,
While earth from Kosciusko's grave
Fell on his coffin-plate with freedom-shrieking sound.

And over him the kindred dust was strew'd
Of Poets' Corner. O misnomer strange!
The poet's confine is the amplitude
Of the whole earth's illimitable range,
O'er which his spirit wings its flight,
Shedding an intellectual light,
A sun that never sets, a moon that knows no change.

Around his grave in radiant brotherhood,
As if to form a halo o'er his head,
Not few of England's master-spirits stood,
Bards, artists, sages, reverently led
To waive each separating plea
Of sect, clime, party, and degree,
All honouring him on whom Nature all honours shed.

To me the humblest of the mourning band,
Who knew the bard through many a changeful year,
It was a proud sad privilege to stand
Beside his grave and shed a parting tear.
Seven lustres had he been my friend,
Be that my plea when I suspend
This all-unworthy wreath on such a poet's bier.





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