William Ross Wallace

Ode On The Birthday of Charles Wesley

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O ENGLAND, through thy lovely vales
And emerald hills how many now
In memory of the poet-priest
With rapt devotion bow!
Along the city’s sounding street,
In cottage nooks, in lordly halls,
On village spire, and temple dome
A still, sweet influence falls—
For myriads whisper of the birth
That gave another bard to Earth.


Nor only there: from my own Land
Pull many a blessing o’er the wave
Floats like an angel’s wing to gild
His cradle and his ,grave.
Our Fanes have also felt his soul;
Our forest-temples grand and dim,
Filled with ecstatic worshipers,
Have trembled to his hymn:
Still seem they bowed with praise and prayer.—
The soul of Wesley lingers there!


Well have the nations blessed the bards,
And, gladdened by their ministerings,
Their foreheads bound with holier wreaths
Than ever shone on kings:
Lo! Scio’s old blind Glory crowned;
And Dante diademed with fire
Imperial by the large-eyed Times,
And Byron’s battle-lyre:
No royal flag o’er them unfurled,
Yet they are Emperors of the world!


If thus the Shapes that draw from Earth,
The soul of song, are rulers made,
How should the Heaven-invoking Ones
By continents be arrayed?
Not from Olympian groves their wreath!
Go search Silon’s sacred bowers;
On Zion’s grander mountain walk
And gather stateliest flowers—
These crown the souls that sing of Hmx
Who wandered there with cherubim.


And such the crown that thou didst wear,
Sweet singer by old Albion’s wave!
And Death himself could not destroy,
But placed it on thy grave.
How glorious its unfaded leaves
Shall on thy pure white forehead bloom,
When, with a hymn upon thy lips,
Thou’lt glitter from the tomb,
And, myriads joining in the lay,
Soar to the choir of Heaven away!

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William Ross Wallace