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

September 21

Sir Walter Scott

By Richard Watson Gilder (1844–1909)

(Died September 21, 1832)

RHYMERS and writers of our day,

Too much of melancholy!

Give us the old heroic lay;

A whiff of wholesome folly;

The escapade, the dance;

A touch of wild romance:

Wake from this self-conscious fit;

Give us again Sir Walter’s wit;

His love of earth, of sky, of life;

His ringing page with humor rife;

His never-weary pen;

His love of men!

Builder of landscape, who could make

Turret and tower their stations take

Brave in the face of the sun;

Of many a mimic world creator,

Of nothing human he the hater.

Nobly could he plan:

Master of nature, master of man.

Sometimes I think that He who made us,

And on this pretty planet laid us,

Made us to work and play

Like children in the light of day—

Not like plodders in the dark

Searching with lanterns for some mark

To find the way.

After the stroke of pain,

Up and to work again!

Such was his life, without reproach or fear:

A lonely fight before the last eclipse,—

A broken heart, a smile upon the lips;

And, at the end,

When Heaven bent down and whispered in his ear

The word God’s saints waited and longed to hear,

I ween he was as quick as they to comprehend;

And, when he passed beyond the goal,

Entered the gates of pearl no sweeter soul.