James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

June 18

Elegy on William Cobbett

By Ebenezer Elliott (1781–1849)

  • A noted English writer on Political Economy. He died on June 18, 1835.

  • O BEAR him where the rain can fall,

    And where the winds can blow;

    And let the sun weep o’er his pall

    As to the grave ye go!

    And in some little lone churchyard,

    Beside the growing corn,

    Lay gentle Nature’s stern prose bard,

    Her mightiest peasant-born.

    Yes! let the wild-flower wed his grave,

    That bees may murmur near,

    When o’er his last home bend the brave,

    And say—“A man lies here!”

    For Britons honor Cobbett’s name,

    Though rashly oft he spoke;

    And none can scorn, and few will blame,

    The low-laid heart of oak.

    See, o’er his prostrate branches, see!

    E’en factious hate consents

    To reverence, in the fallen tree,

    His British lineaments.

    Though gnarl’d the storm-toss’d boughs that brav’d

    The thunder’s gather’d scowl,

    Not always through his darkness rav’d

    The storm-winds of the soul.

    O, no! in hours of golden calm

    Morn met his forehead bold;

    And breezy evening sang her psalm

    Beneath his dew-droop’d gold.

    The wren its crest of fibred fire

    With his rich bronze compar’d,

    While many a youngling’s songful sire

    His acorn’d twiglets shar’d.

    The lark, above sweet tribute paid,

    Where clouds with light were riven;

    And true love sought his bluebell’d shade,

    “To bless the hour of heaven.”

    E’en when his stormy voice was loud,

    And guilt quak’d at the sound,

    Beneath the frown that shook the proud

    The poor a shelter found.

    Dead oak! thou livest. Thy smitten hands,

    The thunder of thy brow,

    Speak with strange tongues in many lands,

    And tyrants hear thee, now!

    Beneath the shadow of thy name,

    Inspir’d by thy renown,

    Shall future patriots rise to fame,

    And many a sun go down.