1826
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Missionary's Memorial.

A Missionary's Memorial, or Verses on the Death of John Lawson, late Missionary at Calcutta; by Bernard Barton.

Bernard Barton


In Spenserians, and apparently scarce. Perhaps A Missionary's Memorial was suppressed by the author upon reading the review in the Monthly Magazine. Not seen.

Monthly Magazine: "Friend Barton tells us he had few hours allowed him for the composition of these lines; and indeed they not only betray haste, but are every way inferior to any thing of his we have seen before. There is scarcely a line of any vigour — we have given the best — a phrase of any novelty, or a thought that bespeaks the 'mens divinior'" NS 2 (July 1826) 84.

Literary Chronicle: "Mr. Barton wields the pen of a ready writer, for he assures us that but a few hours were allowed fro the composition of the verses on the death of Mr. Lawson, and yet they possess no ordinary merit. They are sincere effusions of a friend and a Christian, ardent in the cause in which the missionary perished, that of making — 'Saving knowledge through the earth increase.' The poem opens with a glance at some of those distinguished persons, who, in different or distant ages, have fallen in foreign lands, and the sympathy their fate excites.... Mr. Lawson was a bard of no mean abilities, and more than one of his poems have been noticed in our journal.... The allusion, towards the close of the poem to those early missionaries, John the Baptist and St. Paul, is very beautiful, and the whole, however hastily written, is calculated to sustain, if not enhance, the well-earned reputation of Mr. Barton" 8 (10 June 1826) 694.



When he, the exil'd Eagle-Emperor died,
Throneless and crownless in his rocky isle,
Encircled by the ever-tossing isle,
Whose waters lave that melancholy pile,
Oh! who but mourned his destiny the while?
Or when Greece wept o'er BYRON'S early tomb,
How many a youthful brow its wonted smile
Awhile forebore, to share the general gloom;
To mourn the wayward CHILDE'S untimely tomb.

There is a deathless principle enshrined
In every heart, which prompts, howe'er we roam,
The wish, with natural feelings intertwined,
Still to return, and die in peace at home:
Though poor the fate, and humble be the dome
Which there awaits us, — to that cherished spot
Remembrance turns; — 'mid ocean's billowy foam
The Exile's home-born joys are unforgot,
Such joys once more to taste he prays may be his lot.

[Literary Chronicle 8 (10 June 1825) 694]