The Huron Chief, and Other Poems

by Adam Kidd


 

APOSTROPHE,

TO THE HARP OF DENNIS HAMPSON, THE MINSTREL OF MAGILLIGAN, IN THE COUNTY OF DERRY.


 

In the gloom of repose, from the hand that has often,
    Through transport the purest, touch’d gently thy strings,
Thou art destined, ah never! again once to soften
    The heart with such rapture as melody brings.

Ah, no! dearest harp! bleakest ruin hangs o’er thee,
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    Thy chords are all torn—and the minstrel now dead,
Who first through his own native isle proudly bore thee,
    And loved from thy bosom soft music to shed. [Page 166]

Yet the children of Erin shall guard safe the willow,
    That bends in luxuriance o’er his lone grave,
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And nods in the night-winds—half fanned by the billow,
    Which loves the Magilligan shores still to lave.

In the sunshine of days—now but living in story,
    Around his thatched cot would the villagers throng,
When the heart felt no motion, save proud bursts of glory,
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    And thrills of delight still awoke by his song.

Oh, HAMPSON!* each charm sweetest music has in it,
    In soul-breathing numbers came forth at thy touch,
And yielded fresh rapture, each heavenly minute,
    That the heart, until then, never knew half as much. [Page 167]
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But peace to thy shade!—and while o’er thy wrecked lyre—
    True emblem of Erin—now hushed in the hall—
In sorrow I gaze—deep reflections inspire,
    And saddest emotions my bosom enthral.

Yet, dare I but venture, loved harp, to restring thee,
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    With hand, though but humble—is faithful and true—
The zephyrs, while playing at evening, might bring thee
    Such music as Memnon’s, when sunbeams glide through.

But now, since the night shades are closing around thee,
    My last parting wish o’er thee bending I’ll pour:—
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Undisturbed may’st thou rest—as when first I found thee—
    Till freedom, to Erin, her anthem restore.* [Page 168]



* This ‘son of song,’ and the last of the wandering minstrels of Ireland, died in his own little cottage, on the shores of Magilligan, in 1808, at the advanced age of 115 years. LADY MORGAN has lately caused a marble slab, with a suitable inscription, to be placed over his grave.—My talented friend, of the Irish Shield, GEORGE PEPPER, has given, in that valuable publication, a very interesting description of Magilligan, worthy of his classical and highly accomplished pen. [back]

* Since the above stanzas were written, the noble efforts of our generous SOVEREIGN, assisted by the immortal WELLINGTON, and other distinguished patriots, have happily procured for Ireland her long sought freedom. [back]