1832 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Wright

John Wilson, in Blackwood's Magazine 31 (May 1832) 723.



Not a few promising boys have lately attempted poetry both in the east and west of Scotland, and we have listened not undelighted to the music. Stoddart and Aytoun — he of the Death-Wake, and he of Poland — are graciously regarded by Old Christopher; and their volumes — presentation-copies — have been placed among the essays of those gifted youths, of whom in riper years much may be confidently predicted of fair and good. Many of the small poems of John Wright, an industrious weaver, somewhere in Ayrshire, are beautiful, and have received the praise of Sir Walter himself, who, though kind to all aspirants, praises none to whom nature has not imparted some portion of the creative power of genius.

One of John's strains we have committed to memory — or rather, without trying to do so, got by heart; and as it seems to us very mild and touching, here it is.

THE WRECKED MARINER.
Stay, proud bird of the shore!
Carry my last breath with thee to the cliff—
Where waits our shattered skiff,
One that shall mark nor it nor lover more.

Fan, with thy plumage bright,
Her heaving heart to rest, as thou dost mine,
And, greatly to divine
The tearful tale, flap out her beacon light.

Again swoop out to sea,
With lone and lingering wail, then lay thy head,
As thou thyself wert dead,
Upon her breast, that she may weep for me.

Now, let her bid false Hope
For ever hide her beam, nor trust again
The peace-bereaving strain—
Life has, but still far hence, choice flowers to crop.

Oh! bid her not repine,
And deem my loss too bitter to be borne;
Yet all of passion scorn,
But the mild, deepening memory of mine.

Thou art away! — sweet wind,
Bear the last trickling tear-drop on your wing,
And o'er her bosom fling
The love-fraught pearly shower, till rest it find.