The Spirit of the Nation/The Botanic Gardens



By W. M. Downes, Author of "Poetic Sketches" &c.

In this sweet spot the lov'd are sleeping;
The sculptur'd angel, pure as snow,
Is, like the living mourner, weeping
For those who rest in death below;
On the white marble fond affection,
Above the buried and the cold,
Hath traced—ah, mournful retrospection!—
Their praise in characters of gold.

From sacred lore is here recorded
The mortal's hope—the mortal's doom—
It tells how virtue is rewarded,
It speaks of bliss beyond the tomb.
That glorious meed shall heaven be giving,
A crown to deck the sainted head,
Of him whose worth hath bless'd the living—
Who gave this shelter to the dead.

When here enshrin'd his dust reposes,
(Oh, distant be that gloomy day
Of grief to Erin's isle, when closes
The grave o'er Mathew's honour'd clay,)
That cross, the type of man's salvation,
Shall mark the spot through many an age,
The tomb of fondest veneration,
Where lies the patriot, saint, and sage!

Well may they bless his parted spirit,
The moral race of future times,
Rejoicing they no more inherit
Their country's bane, her woes and crimes.
Yes; those unborn, with pious feeling,
To whom his fame shall yet be known,
In solemn circle will be kneeling,
Young pilgrims round that hallow'd stone.

Each age his memory renewing,
As sweet and bright as spring's return,
Shall virtue's genius still be strewing
Undying bloom upon that urn,
Where lies the man whose fame ascended,
Like incense sacred, pure, sublime!
Whose name and deeds, though life be ended,
Shall live beyond the bounds of time!