Poems, on Various Subjects. By James Orr. Belfast: Smyth & Lyons, 1804.   93-96.

On the death of Hugh Blair, D. D.

Dark midnight reigns; but how can gentle sleep
    (Wildly I cry’d, and wet my couch with tears)
In kind forgetfulness my senses steep,
    Since Blair is dead, the pride of modern years?

The venerable Blair, no common priest,
    In life unnotic’d, and unmourn’d in death:
Truth charm’d her scorners in his language dress’d,
    And science smil’d to see him smooth her path.

He no strange system built, nor once put forth
    A dark enigma to a doating head;
The gloomiest sophist on the captious hearth
    Learn’d gentleness and grace from all he said.

But why repine! The hosts of heaven behold,
    The practical and artless Tillotson,
And Atterbury, masterly and bold,
    Divide their palms with him, who both outshone.

Here dy’d away my sympathetic strain,
    Grief sank a while in stupor and in sleep;
But fancy still continued reason’s pain,
    Where sad Edina mourns her scatter’d sheep.

While fond tohear the far-fam’d foe of vice,
    Amidst his audience pensively I lean’d,
Sedate I saw him in the rostrum rise,
    And heard him say with majesty unfeign’d--

"You shall teach no more. The prize I reach;
    "But lest you’d wander when my voice should cease,
"I’ve wrote my precepts that they still may teach
    "An age to come, to follow truth and peace:

"I prov’d them--so must you--discuss--decide--
    "The abus’d apostate whom conviction fires,
"Is nobler than the sots who heir untry’d,
    "Th’ implicit faith bequeath’d by senseless sires.

"Knowledge, you’ve heard me say, may lead to fame;
    "But godlike Virtue up to heaven must lead:
"That both were taught you let your lives proclaim,
    "What is the doctrine worth without the deed?

"Refinement and religion, long at strife,
    "I strove to join, and thought the polish’d breast,
"More likely to produce a lovely life,
    "Than the rude soul which no fine art had grac’d.

"Perhaps my lectures may some genius teach
    "To judge aright of beauty and defect,
"And, steep sublimity! thy summit reach,
    "Wild, as e’en Ossian: tho’ as Pope correct.

"Perhaps by them, reclaim’d and genuine taste
    "Alike uncouth rusticity shall scorn,
"And affectation, which too long disgrac’d
    "Th’ unwieldy page it labor’d to adorn.

"If eloquence by me shall have allay’d
    "Simplicity with pomp, and strength with grace,
"And richly roll’d her elevated tide,
    "The worl’d will pour th’ acclaim which once might please.

"But if I’ve forc’d presumption’s tears to flow,
    "Or coax’d young folly into wisdom’s yoke,
"Th’ unfam’d achievement more consoles me now":
    He said, and ceas’d, and I to care awoke.

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