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 cryd, 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 unnoticd, and unmournd in death:
Truth charmd her scorners in his language dressd,
And science smild 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
Learnd 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 dyd away my sympathetic strain,
Grief sank a while in stupor and in sleep;
But fancy still continued reasons pain,
Where sad Edina mourns her scatterd sheep.
While fond tohear the far-famd foe of vice,
Amidst his audience pensively I leand,
Sedate I saw him in the rostrum rise,
And heard him say with majesty unfeignd--
"You shall teach no more. The prize I reach;
"But lest youd wander when my voice should cease,
"Ive wrote my precepts that they still may teach
"An age to come, to follow truth and peace:
"I provd them--so must you--discuss--decide--
"The abusd apostate whom conviction fires,
"Is nobler than the sots who heir untryd,
"Th implicit faith bequeathd by senseless sires.
"Knowledge, youve 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 polishd breast,
"More likely to produce a lovely life,
"Than the rude soul which no fine art had gracd.
"Perhaps my lectures may some genius teach
"To judge aright of beauty and defect,
"And, steep sublimity! thy summit reach,
"Wild, as een Ossian: tho as Pope correct.
"Perhaps by them, reclaimd and genuine taste
"Alike uncouth rusticity shall scorn,
"And affectation, which too long disgracd
"Th unwieldy page it labord to adorn.
"If eloquence by me shall have allayd
"Simplicity with pomp, and strength with grace,
"And richly rolld her elevated tide,
"The world will pour th acclaim which once might please.
"But if Ive forcd presumptions tears to flow,
"Or coaxd young folly into wisdoms yoke,
"Th unfamd achievement more consoles me now":
He said, and ceasd, and I to care awoke.