1847 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Motherwell

William Howitt, in "Thomas Campbell" Homes and Haunts of the Most Eminent British Poets (1847) 2:204.



I went on to the cemetery, to see the grave of Motherwell. Now Motherwell, too, was born in Glasgow, and he is buried here. He was not only a poet, but an active editor of a paper. I asked a respectable-looking man, walking near the cemetery gate, if he knew where he lay. "Oh," said he, "ye'll find his grave, and that of Tennant too." "What! is Tennant dead then?" "Oh, aye, sure is he." "What! Tennant the author of Anster Fair? Why, he did not live here, and I fancy is still living." "Oh, no," replied the man, "I mean, Mr. Tennant of the Secret Chemical Works there;" pointing to a tall smoking chimney. Heaven help us! what is a poet in Glasgow! — I went on, and found tombs and mausolea as big as houses, aye, and fine large houses too; but Motherwell has not a stone as big as an ostrich egg to mark the spot where he lies! One of the grave-diggers, however, knew the place. "Strangers," he said, "often inquired after it; but you'll not find it yourself," he said, "there's nothing to distinguish it" — so he went and pointed it out. There stand, however, on the spot a thorn and a laburnum. It is at a turn of the carriage road, as you ascend at the north end of the cemetery. God save the mark! There is the poet's grave, sure enough, without a stone or epitaph, and opposite to it is a large Doric temple, with wreaths of bay on its front, the resting-place, no doubt, of some mighty man of mills. Such was my day's perambulation in Glasgow in quest of the traces of poets.