To the Memory of John Tait,

Late Editor of the Liberator.

Written at his Grave in the Necropolis, Glasgow.

Mourn o’er this mound—this consecrated grave1
This hallowed spot, Tait’s honoured dust lies here,2
He who the foes of right did nobly brave,3
Who, at oppression’s frown, ne’er quailed with fear :4
His soul was noble and his heart sincere ;5
In freedom’s holy cause to man he gave6
His mighty powers – his zeal – his judgment clear ;7
His all the springs of life he sapped to save8
His country from that power that dooms mankind its slave.9
With veneration mark his honoured bed,10
Where mourning freedom does her homage pay :11
Her holiest tear is o’er his memory shed,12
She mourns her noblest snatched from her away13
In the young morn that led to fame’s bright day,14
While knowledge beamed from his enlightened mind15
Of bigot ignorance clearing the way,16
That truth within his land a home might find,17
And man might be again what God had him designed.18
Bloom on, ye lovely flowers, your fragrance fling19
In odourous incense o’er the patriots bed.20
Expanding, with the genial breath of spring,21
Your flowery tribute to his genius spread ;22
Embalm memory of the honoured dead,23
And while in conscious pride of place ye bloom,24
Mingling your sweets with pilgrims’ sighs here shed,25
Tell while the patriot’s grave your sweets perfume26
You decorate with pride the patriot’s—poet’s tomb.27
While mournfully we linger by this shrine,28
Let memory look back into the past,29
And listen to our fathers o’ langsyne,30
Fathers who deeds of glory at us cast,31
And from their graves urge us to be the last32
Of fettered slaves, and nobly to combine33
That power upheld by tyranny to blast,34
Which makes industry, worth, and genius pine,35
While pensioned idlers talk of “ Right Divine.”36
As when expiring music’s plaintive notes,37
By distance mellowed, captivate the heart,38
Its lingering echoes bind us to the spot39
From which we, lingering, also slowly part ;40
So listen we to memory’s voice, and start41
With joy once more to hear the ennobling strain42
In freedom’s cause, when swelled his generous heart43
With thoughts, which clothed in words of fire remain44
To rouse the oppressed to burst his galling chain.45