1826 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. William Gillespie

Anonymous, "The Rev. William Gillespie" The Star (23 September 1826).



"Verses to the Memory of the Rev. WILLIAM GILLESPIE, who died in the 50th year of his age, and the 20th of his Ministry, at the Manse of Kells, in Galloway."
In peace may the wild beast repose in his den,
And gaily the wild bird may sing on the tree;
All nature be joyful in valley and glen—
But for hearts lone and breaking no gladness can be.

For the Lord of her bosom a Lady is weeping,
In Death's chill embrace he is slumbering now;
The tear of keen anguish her swollen eye steeping,
For with him in the grave all her hopes are laid low.

With ceaseless emotion fond sisters deplore him—
A brother so generous, so tender, so kind!
May Heaven, in its mercy to calmness restore them,
And heal the deep wounds of each sorrowing mind!

His flock, all despondent, are scattered abroad—
Ah! who with such calmness shall point out the way—
The path that conducts us to the bosom of GOD—
To the kingdom of CHRIST — to the regions of day?

Dear friend of my father ! we long shall bewail thee—
Thou ever wert true in the dark hour of sorrow!
But nothing, alas! can our weeping avail thee—
"On the night of the grave" there awakens no morrow!

No morning awakes till the last awful day,
When the perishing Skies shall in flames disappear—
When Ocean and Earth shall like wax melt away,
And the wicked be covered with trembling and fear!

Then, then shalt thou rise from thy bed in the dust,
And with glory and gladness away thou shalt wing
To the land of that SAVIOUR in whom was thy trust—
With HIM in the heights of His Zion to sing!
ANNA
Dalry.

In 1800 Mr. Gillespie was appointed assistant to his father, and six years afterwards succeeded that revered and venerable Clergyman; so that for more than a quarter of a century he filled the pulpit of his native parish, and every year endeared himself more and more to his numerous parishioners by his private worth and public usefulness. In the wide circle of relatives and friends his death has left a blank that cannot be supplied; and within our brief recollection, we are not aware of any even that has spread a deeper gloom over the South of Scotland. About three months previous to his death, his friends had to congratulate him him on his union with a Lady to whom he had been long and tenderly attached; and his funeral following so close on his bridal, while it forcibly reminds us of the uncertainty of time, adds not a little to the sentiment of regret with which, under any circumstances, we deplore the loss of a public character cut off in the very prime of his days, and amidst the fairest prospects of domestic happiness.

In all that regards the domestic virtues — and where is there a better test of character? — Mr. Gillespie has not left a better man behind him. With those who were dear to him, he would have shared the last farthing he possessed in the world, and, throughout life, acted more the part of a parent than a brother, to the respective members of his own family. As the friend and pastor, he was remarkable for the uniform cheerfulness of his disposition, and that pleasing urbanity of manners, which distinguishes the Gentleman from the mere scholar. But, even in this last character, he yielded to few men of his rank and standing; his range of reading was very extensive, and his public discourses were marked by a warmth of colouring, and a depth of pathos, which often found their way to the heart, when the most elaborate reasoning fails of its aim.

As a poet, he has been long advantageously known by his numerous contributions to the literature of our country. The "Progress of Refinement," Consolation," &c. are obviously the productions of a superior mind; — a mind that delighted to look through nature up to nature's GOD, and paint the very varying aspects of the beautiful and truly romantic district in which PROVIDENCE had fixed his abode. Yes, the memory of Gillespie is intimately associated with the scenery of the Glenkens, and few, if any of his numerous friends, that appreciated his genius, learning, and taste — his buoyancy of spirits, and singleness of heart, will fail, on visiting the banks of the Ken, to heave a sigh for the asperity of his fate, and moisten, unnoticed, the turf with a tear, that folds within its bosom his mortal remains. — Dumfries and Galway Courier.