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On the death of my father John Gibson
Hillhead, Of Bondarrock, Ochiltree, Scotland
Who died October 5, 1849

No pompous splendor hail'd thy coming birth;
Possess'd of no high-sounding pedigree;
No bonfires blaz'd; nor heir-born festive mirth
Proclaim'd thy lustreless Nativity;
But smiling fondly, by yon lowly hearth,
A saint-like father bent on pious knee
And pray'd for blessings on thine Infancy.

What! though no gorgeous, proud, Ancestral Hall
Did o'er thy rising boyhood first expand,
Nor rich devices round the cornic'd wall;
Nor Wealth, nor Title, Heritage, nor Land
Nor Vassals ready, at thy beck, and call,
To satisfy each puerile demand,
Yet low-thatched huts have rear'd a noble band.

Think not to find the most exalted worth
Alone in titles, or in wealth enshrined
The best, the bravest often sally forth
From mean descent, and poverty combin'd
Whose toil strain'd nerves,
have brav'd life's wintry north,
At home with woe,
they've sooth'd the troubled mind
Their Virtues hidden, but a Name behind.

And such wert thou, thy meed a better lot
Than toiling ensust in a path obscure
But Fortune smil'd not on thy humble cot
Thy life care-fraught unknown, yet still though poor
Contentment hover'd over the hallow'd spot
And this is wealth, enjoyment makes it sure,
And more than this tends only to allure.

Thy death-bed too, in keeping with thy life
There helpless laid, and rack'd with arden pain
A fever'd calmness shew'd the patient strife,
Hope beam'd and every worldly feeling slain
Death gently urg'd the orphan-making knife
"God bless you all," then snapt the feeble chain
An end like this must sure be endless gain.

Friends, Comrades, Neighbours round thy bier attend,
And mourn with heart-felt grief, thine early fate
They o'er thy tomb with harrow'd feelings bend
And meek-ey'd pity, turns to tyrant Hate,
"Lo! here the Man, the Husband, Father, Friend,
"The Patriot-Christian with a hope elate,
"Whose Life was good, Whose soul was truly Great.

Published: 26-Apr-2004