Графични страници
PDF файл

of his niece, Miss Mary Campbell, a Glasgow lady, whom he took to live with him. But his health, which had long been in a declining state, began to give way rapidly. He was no longer the man he was; the energy of his body and mind was gone, and in the summer of 1843 he retired to Boulogne, where at first he derived benefit from the change of air and scene. But this did not continue long, and he gradually grew feebler; he seldom went into society, and for some months before his death he corresponded but little with his friends in this country. A week before his decease Dr. Beattie was sent for from London, and on his arrival at Boulogne he found him much worse than he had anticipated. The hour was approaching when the spirit of the poet of Hope was to quit this transitory scene, and return to God who gave it. On Saturday afternoon, the 15th June, 1844, he breathed his last, in the presence of his niece, his friend Dr. Beattie, and his medical attendants. His last hours were marked by calmness and resignation. The Rev. Mr. Hassell, an English clergyman, was also with Mr. Campbell at the time of his death.

“Campbell's funeral,” continues this able writer, “ was worthy of his fame. He was buried in the Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey, on Wednesday, July 3, 1844. The funeral was attended by a large body of noblemen and gentlemen, and by several of the most eminent authors of the day. Mr. Alexander Campbell and Mr. Wiss, two nephews of the deceased poet, with his executors, were the chief mourners ; and the pall was borne by Sir Robert Peel, the Earl of Aberdeen, the Duke of Argyle, Lord Morpeth, Lord Brougham, Lord Campbell, Lord Dudley Coutts Stuart, and Lord Leigh. The corpse was followed by a large number of members of parliament and other distinguished gentlemen. The following interesting account of the funeral was written by an American, who was present among the crowd of spectators, on the mournful occasion :

“ • At twelve o'clock the procession, which had been formed in the Jerusalem Chamber, adjoining the abbey, came in sight, as you looked through the length of the abbey toward the western door. All you could see, at first, at this immense distance, was a dark mass; and so slowly did the procession advance, that it scarcely seemed to move. As it came near, every voice was hushed, and, beside the solemn tramp of the procession, the only voice audible was the voice of the clergyman echoing along the vaulted passages, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Borne before the coffin were a number of mourning plumes, so arranged as to correspond with it in shape. When the procession halted, and the coffin was laid upon the temporary scaffold before the desk, the plumes were placed upon it. There was no other attempt at splendor. All was as simple as in the most ordinary funeral solemnity. It was a grand spectacle, and such as I never expect to see again. Not merely the nobles of the land, but its ablest men, who, from day to day, are directing the destinies of the mightiest monarchy on the globe, and whose names will live in aftertimes, were bearing the remains of the departed poet to the hallowed palace of the dead. Among the pall-bearers were Lord Brougham, Sir Robert Peel, and Lord Aberdeen; among the mourners, Macaulay, D'Israeli, Lockhart, and many others known to fame. I had hoped to see Wordsworth, and, perhaps, Carlyle, but neither of them were there. The burial-service was read by the Rev. Dr. Milman (canon of Westminster, and rector of St. Margaret's), author of The Siege of Jerusalem, History of the Jews, and other works. At the close of the service, the plumes were taken from the coffin, and the body lowered into the grave. As the mourners gathered around the opening, the sound of what seemed distant thunder called my attention to the windows. It was a dull, dark day, and I supposed, for a moment, that a storm was at hand, till the sweet strain of a beautiful melody, from the organ in the choir, in the rear, undeceived me. Then followed again the rumbling of thunder, like the marching of mighty masses of the dead, varied occasionally by snatches of harmony, and conveying an impression of unutterable solemnity. It was the Dead March in Saul.

«• There was one part of the ceremony more impressive still. A deputation from the Polish Association was present, in addition to the Poles who attended as mourners; and when the officiating clergyman arrived at that portion of the ceremony in which dust is consigned to dust, one of the number (Colonel Szyrma) took a handful of dust, brought for the occasion from the tomb of Kosciusko, and scattered it upon the coffin. It was a worthy tribute to the memory of him who has done so much to immortalize the man and the cause; and not the less impressive because so perfectly simple. At the conclusion of the service, the solemn peals of the organ again reverberated for some minutes through the aisles of the abbey, and the procession retired as it came.

“ • The barrier with iron spikes, which protected the mourners from the jostling of the crowd, was then removed, and there was a rush to get a sight of the coffin. After waiting a little while, I succeeded in looking into the grave, and read the inscription on the large gilt plate :


Died June 15, 1844.

Aged 67. "On visiting the abbey the next day, I found the stone over the grave so carefully replaced, that a stranger would never suspect there had been a recent interment. To those who may hereafter visit the spot, it may be interesting to know that it is situated between the monument of Addison and the opposite pillar, not far from that of Goldsmith, and closely adjoining that of Sheridan. His most Christian wish is accomplished. He lies in the Poet's Corner, surrounded by the tombs and monuments of kings, statesmen, warriors, and scholars, in the massy building guarded with religious care, and visited from all parts of the land with religious veneration.'” . .

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]

The great home and haunt of Robert Southey was Keswick. Of the sixty-nine years that he lived, he spent exactly forty there. He settled there at the early age of twenty-nine, and commenced a life of the most unremitting industry, which he pursued till nature gave way, and the powers of his mind sunk under their taskmaster. There never was a more thorough fixture as a literary man. It seemed to be the highest enjoyment of his life to work; and having taken the bent in time to work on the right side, he avoided the general fate of literary men, and died in good esteem with the powers that be, and worth

12,000. · Of the period of Southey's life previous to settling at Keswick, there is little to be said in this work. No good biography of him exists, and the materials for his life are still in the hands of his executors, and not issued in due form to the public. He was born in Bristol, 1774. His

« ПредишнаНапред »