I had left my lodging and gone to occupy Falconer's till his return. There, on a side-table among other papers, I found the following verses. The manuscript was much scored and interlined, but more than decipherable, for he always wrote plainly. I copied them out fair, and here they are for the reader that loves him.

Twilight is near, and the day grows old;
    The spiders of care are weaving their net;
All night 'twill be blowing and rainy and cold;
    I cower at his door from the wind and wet.

He sent me out the world to see,
    Drest for the road in a garment new;
It is clotted with clay, and worn beggarly--
    The porter will hardly let me through!

I bring in my hand a few dusty ears--
    Once I thought them a tribute meet!
I bring in my heart a few unshed tears:
    Which is my harvest--the pain or the wheat?

A broken man, at the door of his hall
    I listen, and hear it go merry within;
The sounds are of birthday-festival!
    Hark to the trumpet! the violin!

I know the bench where the shadowed folk
    Sit 'neath the music-loft--there none upbraids!
They will make me room who bear the same yoke,
    Dear publicans, sinners, and foolish maids!

An ear has been hearing my heart forlorn!
    A step comes soft through the dancing-din!
Oh Love eternal! oh woman-born!
    Son of my Father to take me in!

One moment, low at our Father's feet
    Loving I lie in a self-lost trance;
Then walk away to the sinners' seat,
    With them, at midnight, to rise and dance!


[1] In Scotch the ch and gh are almost always guttural. The gh according to Mr. Alexander Ellis, the sole authority in the past pronunciation of the country, was guttural in England in the time of Shakspere.

[2] An exclamation of pitiful sympathy, inexplicable to the understanding. Thus the author covers his philological ignorance of the cross-breeding of the phrase.

[3] Extra--over all--ower a'--orra--one more than is wanted.

[4] Tennyson's Morte d'Arthur.
Atque animum nunc huc celerem, nunc dividit illuc.
Aeneid: IV. 285

[5] This line is one of many instances in which my reader will see both the carelessness of Ericson and my religion towards his remains.

[6] Why should Sir Walter Scott, who felt the death of Camp, his bullterrier, so much that he declined a dinner engagement in consequence, say on the death of his next favourite, a grayhound bitch--'Rest her body, since I dare not say soul!'? Where did he get that dare not? Is it well that the daring of genius should be circumscribed by an unbelief so common-place as to be capable only of subscription?

[7] Amongst Ericson's papers I find the following sonnets, which belong to the mood here embodied:

    Oft, as I rest in quiet peace, am I
Thrust out at sudden doors, and madly driven
Through desert solitudes, and thunder-riven
Black passages which have not any sky.
The scourge is on me now, with all the cry
Of ancient life that hath with murder striven.
How many an anguish hath gone up to heaven!
How many a hand in prayer been lifted high
When the black fate came onward with the rush
Of whirlwind, avalanche, or fiery spume!
Even at my feet is cleft a shivering tomb
Beneath the waves; or else with solemn hush
The graveyard opens, and I feel a crush
As if we were all huddled in one doom.

    Comes there, O Earth, no breathing time for thee?
No pause upon thy many-chequered lands?
Now resting on my bed with listless hands,
I mourn thee resting not. Continually
Hear I the plashing borders of the sea
Answer each other from the rocks and sands.
Troop all the rivers seawards; nothing stands,
But with strange noises hasteth terribly.
Loam-eared hyenas go a moaning by.
Howls to each other all the bloody crew
Of Afric's tigers. But, O men, from you
Comes this perpetual sound more loud and high
Than aught that vexes air. I hear the cry
Of infant generations rising too.

[8] This sonnet and the preceding are both one line deficient.

[9] To these two sonnets Falconer had appended this note.

'Something I wrote to Ericson concerning these, during my first college vacation, produced a reply of which the following is a passage: "On writing the first I was not aware that James and John were the Sons of Thunder. For a time it did indeed grieve me to think of the spiritual-minded John as otherwise than a still and passionless lover of Christ."'