|POETS — CHARLES SALMON.||169|
Charles Salmon [note] is a name, which may be pronounced in many a poetic circle without exciting a single
recollection; yet it was the name of one whom
The particulars, which the writer of the present imperfect attempt at some notice of Salmon's life, is able to communicate respecting him, are few, but interesting. They were communicated to him by one who knew Salmon well, and esteemed because he knew him.3
|170||LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.|
A love of social pleasures and of poetry, go too commonly together.
|POETS — CHARLES SALMON.||171|
| Ye true sons of Scotia, together unite, |
And yield all your senses to joy and delight;
Give mirth its full scope, that the nations may see
We honour our standard, the great royal tree.
All shall yield to the Royal Oak Tree;
Bend to thee,
Cheerful was he who sat in thee,
And thou, like him, thrice honour'd shall be.
| When our great sov'reign, Charles, was driv'n from his throne, |
And dar'd scarce call the kingdom or subjects his own,
Old Pendril, the miller, at the risk of his blood,
Hid the King of our Isle, in the King of the Wood.
All shall yield, &c.
| In summer, in winter, in peace, or in war, |
'Tis acknowledged, with freedom, by each British tar,
That the oak of all ships can best skreen us from harm;
Best keep out the foe, and best ride out the storm.
All shall yield, &c.
| Let gard'ners and florists of foreign plants boast, |
And cull the poor trifles of each distant coast;
There's none of them all, from a shrub to a tree,
Can ever compare, great Oak Royal, with thee.
All shall yield, &c.
|172||LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.|
| On a bank of flowers, on a summer's day, |
Where lads and lasses met;
On the meadow green, each maiden gay,
Was by her true love set:
Dick fill'd his glass, drank to his lass,
Huzza they cry'd, and a' reply'd,
“The Lord restore our king.”
Salmon, at last, found himself immersed in a course of life to which
the finances of a journeyman printer were wholly unequal; and in conjunction with Mr. George Fulton, [note] another journeyman printer, (afterwards
distinguished as a teacher in Edinburgh,) he came to the prudent resolution of quitting Edinburgh.
A printing concern had been commenced by a Mr. Jackson, [note]
at Dumfries, the first of the kind established in that place, and thither
|POETS — CHARLES SALMON.||173|
Among the friends whom he had left at Edinburgh, there was none his
separation from whom he more regretted than
At the suggestion of some of the more prudent of his gay companions,
Salmon issued proposals for publishing a collection of his poetical effusions, under the modest
|174||LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.|
Whatever prospects of poetical renown
The regiment in which he had enlisted was the Seaforth Highlanders,
and without waiting to excite what he dreaded more than the bitterest reproach, the commiseration
of pretended friends, he hastened to join it. In the memorable mutiny which some time afterwards
broke out in this regiment at Edinburgh, when they seized possession of Arthur's Seat, and set the
power of government at defiance,
|POETS — CHARLES SALMON.||175|
Of the merits of a writer of whose works we know little, it would
be rash to form any conclusive judgement. The pieces which have happened to survive the general
fate of his productions, may perhaps be those which were least entitled to have any influence on
the decision. He appears to have been rather a writer who promised much, than who had realized
1.Fled from the mansions of the great and gay,
Where idle pleasure wastes her fleeting breath,
Thro' this sad cell I'll take my lonely way,
And view the havock made by time and death.
2.And, as I enter, let no swelling rage,
No thoughts impure, my pensive bosom load,
But sweet religion all the man engage:
For this was once the sacred house of God.
3.Where oft Devotion, with her pious train,
In silent contemplation spent her days,
Or wak'd to extacy the glowing strain,
With grateful accents, to her Maker's praise.
|176||LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.|
4.No more shall youth and beauty grace this shrine,
Or pious sages to the portals throng;
No more the arch shall meet the voice divine,
Receive the sound, or echo back the song.
5.The pride and glory of our country's fled,
The great supporters of the nation's laws,
The statesmen, heroes, and the kings are dead,
Who fought thro' fields of blood in freedom's cause.
6.Vast heaps of kindred here bestrew the ground,
And skulls and coffins to my view arise;
Here's friend and foe profusely scatter'd round,
And here a jaw, and there a thigh-bone, lies.
7.Perhaps this hand has, in some bloody fray,
With lusty sinews grasp'd the flaming brand,
Fought thro' the dreadful carnage of the day,
And drove Oppression from its native land.
8.Yet fame and honour are but empty things,
The fleeting sunshine of uncertain day;
For statesmen, peasants, beggars, lords, and kings,
All fall alike to cruel Time a prey.
|POETS — CHARLES SALMON.||177|
9.Tho' men, mere men, may unregarded rot,
And buried in their native dust consume,
Shall Scotland's great commander be forgot,
And moulder, unregretted, in the tomb?
10.Will no kind bard in grateful numbers sing
The mighty wonders of each hero's arm?
Will no kind friend protect a clay-cold king,
Collect his bones, and keep them safe from harm?
11.Would some sweet muse assist me in the song,
I'd dwell with rapture on the glowing strain,
Roll the smooth tide of harmony along,
'Till echo undulate applause again.
12.When night's dark curtain hid the beams of day
From these sad eyes, my soul should banish sleep;
Again I'd raise the sympathetic lay,
And teach the sullen monument to weep.
13.Ye sons of Scotland! tho' you cannot raise
Your long-lost monarch from the silent bier,
Their deeds are worthy of the highest praise,
And simple gratitude demands a tear.
|178||LIVES OF EMINENT SCOTSMEN.|
14.For you they bore the faulchion and the shield,
For you each piercing winter blast they stood,
For you they struggled in the hostile field,
For you they wither'd in their crimson blood.
15.Let no base slander on their mem'ry fall,
Nor malice of their little faults complain;
They were such men, as, take them all in all,
We shall not look upon their like again.
16.Here lies the partner of the hero's bed,
Whose every feature wore unequall'd grace:
Can Love's soft murmurs raise this death-struck head,
Or take the pale complexion from the face?
17.Go then, ye fair! exert your utmost skill,
Employ each art to keep your beauty fast;
Try each perfume, use paint, do what you will,
Of this sad colour you must be at last.
18.Ah, me! how melancholy seem these walls,
To earth returning with a quick decay!
Take heed, O Man! for, as each atom falls,
So wastes thy little spark of life sway.
|POETS — CHARLES SALMON.||179|
19.O thou, my soul, from worldly vices fly,
And follow Innocence where'er she strays;
See with what ease an honest man can die,
None but the wicked wish for length of days.