Glasgow's Great Exhibitions


Thomas Campbell,
page 9 of 11

of mental derangement; one of his two sons was for several years in a private asylum, and the other died in early life. Campbell retired for a time to St. Leonards, where he wrote an address to the sea, beginning—

                    “Hail to thy face and odours, glorious sea,”

a poem which he himself considered his best. Here he interested himself deeply in Polish independence, his devotion to which was one of the great passions of his life. He wrote for it, worked for it, sold his literary labour for it, and threw himself heart and soul into the cause of

                    “Poland’s name—name written on his heart.”

In 1834 he paid a second visit to Paris, and, creature of impulse, set out for the “new empire” of Algiers, then much discussed in Parisian circles. He started with the prospect of seeing Mount Atlas rising up from the sands of the desert with its head in the clouds and the other wonders of a land unexplored. His “Letters from the South” embody the incidents of his voyage, and of his residence and excursions among the Arab tribes. His book on Algiers is perhaps the most eloquent piece of writing he ever did. He visited the whole coast of Algiers from Bona to Oran, and penetrated far into the interior, sleeping in Arab tents, hearing the lion roar in his native wilds. He found himself “quite a lion” when he returned to London.

In 1836, he paid visits to several scenes of his early life, Glasgow, Greenock, Castle Toward, Rothesay, and the Highlands. His lines on “Revisiting a Scottish River” convey a poet’s repugnance to smoke and clanking engines—

                                              “I complain
              That thou no more through pastoral streams should’st glide,
              My Wallace’s own stream, and once romantic Clyde!”

Of Rutherglen, near which at Blairbeth he stayed, he says: “Rutherglen was a place of commerce and shipping six or seven centuries ago and traded with France, while Glasgow was merely the seat of a few clergymen. When the splendid cathedral of Glasgow was built in the twelfth century, the workmen came and brought all their provisions from Rutherglen.” The correctness of this statement may well be questioned, for not very long after that date the university was founded in Glasgow, because, as expressly stated, “it was ane guid place for vittals.” While in Glasgow he lectured on Poland in the City Hall. At Edinburgh he received a public dinner from the citizens.

In 1842 was published his “Pilgrim of Glencoe,” and in 1843 he went to reside at Boulogne, with the twofold object of furthering the education of a niece whom he had adopted and of benefiting his own health. This was an unfortunate and fatal step. In a feeble state, Campbell was overtaken by a severe winter. His days were numbered. On his deathbed he was attended and cheered by his friend and biographer, Dr. Beattie. On 15th June, 1844, he expired, in the 67th year of his age. His remains were conveyed to England, and were buried in the Poet’s Corner, Westminster Abbey. Men of all political creeds, in every department of government, in all grades of rank and intellect, cordially united to pay respect to the memory of the great poet, patriot, and philanthropist. Among them were the Duke of Argyll, the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel, Lord Aberdeen, Lord Macaulay, Lord Brougham, and a guard of Polish nobles, Colonel Szyrma, one of their number, scattering on the coffin a handful of earth from the grave of Kosciusko.

In reviewing Campbell’s works, one dwells most lovingly on “The Pleasures of Hope” and “Gertrude of Wyoming,”


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