The Spirit of the Nation/The Grave of Bric
SUGGESTED BY A VISIT TO THE GRAVE OF BRIC, IN ST. ANDREW'S CHURCHYARD.
Since first they placed thee in this cheerless cell,
Hither I've wandered each succeeding year,
Oppress'd with grief, to think no honours tell
That courage, worth, and genius slumber here—
Yes! sleep neglected in this silent shade,
Where black obscurity in triumph reigns—
While memory droops in lack of generous aid,
And cold indiff'rence unmov'd remains.
Here noxious weeds and sedgy grass contend,
As in the breeze for mastery they toil,
To hide this mound, where sleeps the faithful friend
Who labour'd well to free his native soil.
Alas! cold apathy, the icy hand
Is ever quick to spread oblivion's pall
Above the champions of this injur'd land
Whom fate permits in freedom's cause to fall,
Could I but rear one single line to guide
The stranger's foot to lightly press this clay—
That freedom's sons o'er Erin's hope and pride
Hither might come betimes to weep or pray:
No flatt'ring lie I'd carve on polish'd stone;
But one brief sentence, rugged, bold and strong,
That all might know his earnest, honest tone.
The words would be—"My country, right or wrong."
Then would fond youths and maidens here unite,
And plant the willow and the fragrant thyme—
Here would they come beneath the moon's pale light
To chant their ditties plaintive and sublime—
Here would the rose of variegated bloom,
'Neath the green cypress and the spreading yew,
Yield to the morning air its sweet perfume,
And from its leaves drop tears of od'rous dew.
Sleep on, regardless of the critic's sneer
And hollow friendship's smooth imposing cant,
Though public gratitude withholds a tear,
Nor avarice deigns a letter'd pile to grant;
Yet will the poet's soft and pensive lay
Warble in dirges o'er thy nameless tomb,
To tell the Patriot who comes this way
A martyr'd brother moulders here in gloom.