The Fleshly School Controversy
Buchanan and the Press
Buchanan and the Law

The Critical Response
Harriett Jay

Site Diary
Site Search



Robert Buchanan Snr. acquired The Glasgow Sentinel at a public auction on 18th April, 1851. In 1860 Buchanan Snr. was declared bankrupt and his Glasgow newspapers were sold. When I first prepared this section and put it online on 10th March, 2016, the British Library Newspaper Archive only had copies of The Glasgow Sentinel running from Saturday, 5th October, 1850 to Saturday, 30th December, 1854 and then Saturday 2nd January 1858 to Saturday 25th December 1858. Although the earlier period was of little interest, the copies from 1858 did contain some early work of Robert Buchanan Jr. which then formed the major part of this section. However, the B.L.N.A. has now added the missing copies of The Glasgow Sentinel, which has led to my revising the whole of this section.

As it happens, 1858 was the most prolific year for Buchanan Jr. as far as The Glasgow Sentinel was concerned, so finding these ‘new’ copies of the paper did not reveal vast swathes of early poetry, and I still haven’t found the first part of his one attempt at fiction. One possible reason for this tailing off in 1859 is that he was perhaps contributing to his father’s other papers, The Glasgow Times and Penny Post, but these are not available online, so I’m speculating. There is more evidence to suggest that by the autumn of 1859 Buchanan Jr. was involved with another literary magazine, The West of Scotland Magazine and Review. Of the years before 1858, Buchanan Jr.’s first contribution to The Glasgow Sentinel (at least, the first I’ve found) was the poem, ‘On the Death of an Infant Sister’ which was published on 18th October, 1856, when he was fifteen years old.

Of course, it is impossible to tell how much material Robert Buchanan Jr. actually submitted to The Glasgow Sentinel - how many of the unsigned reviews of books and plays are his, or the occasional pieces devoted to literature and the other arts. So, the following is a selection of items from The Glasgow Sentinel from 1856 to 1859, taken in chronological order, which are either signed by Robert Buchanan Jr., or are most likely to be his work. Then, some material which is slightly more speculative as to its origin, followed by a few other items of interest, and finally a section on Buchanan’s father and the earlier period of The Glasgow Sentinel.

1. The Glasgow Sentinel 1856

i. Robert Buchanan’s Sister
   (Poems: ‘Little Mary’ (by Robert Buchanan Snr.),‘On The Death Of An Infant Sister’)
ii. Poem: ‘My Love’
iii. Poem: ‘Oh! Merry Is The Summer Time’
iv. Poem: ‘Sunshine Through The Clouds’
v. Poem: ‘Song: Mary Mine’

2. The Glasgow Sentinel 1857

i. Poem: ‘Love’s Heaven’
ii. Burns Competition (Poem: ‘On The Natal Day Of Burns’)
iii. Poem: ‘Colin’
iv. Poem: ‘Rural Courtship’
v. Poem: ‘Doubt’
vi. Poem: ‘Wooing’
vii. Poems and Love Lyrics by Robert W. Buchanan (review and adverts)
viii. Poem: ‘A Fareweel’
ix. Poem: ‘A Love Lyric by “Mary Gurney”’

3. The Glasgow Sentinel 1858

i. Poem: ‘Ballad’
ii. Essay: ‘A Coming Poet’ [David Gray]
iii. Poem: ‘A Sigh’
iv. Poem: ‘The Ballad Of The Lady Imogene’
v. Poem: ‘A Love Lyric’
vi. Essay: ‘Robert Herrick’
vii. Poem: ‘Domine! Salvam Fac Reginam Nostram!’
viii. Review: Longfellow’s The Courtship of Miles Standish, and Other Poems
ix. Poem: ‘To One In Heaven’
x. Poem: ‘The Voice’
xi. Poem: ‘Good-Bye’
xii. Fiction: ‘A Night With Our Set’
xiii. Robert Buchanan - The Literary Lounger
xiv. Items of Interest from 1858

4. The Glasgow Sentinel 1859

i. Poem: ‘Lines for the Centenary of Robert Burns’
ii. Mary, and Other Poems by Robert W. Buchanan (review)
iii. Adverts for Mary, and Other Poems
iv. Poem: ‘In The May Woods’
v. Poem: ‘Erato’
vi. The Glasgow Times and The Penny Post
vii. The West of Scotland Magazine and Review

5. A few more Items of Interest

6. Robert Buchanan Snr. and the early years of The Glasgow Sentinel


1. The Glasgow Sentinel 1856

Robert Buchanan’s Sister

The following appears in the first chapter of Harriett Jay’s biography of Robert Buchanan:

The marriage took place in the autumn of 1840, and on the 18th day of August, 1841, Robert, their only son, was born. About twelve years later Mrs. Buchanan gave birth to a little girl, who died in infancy, so Robert was practically their only child.”

Buchanan’s sister is never mentioned again. On page 29 of John A. Cassidy’s Robert W. Buchanan he makes this supposition regarding Buchanan’s marriage to Mary Ann Jay:

     “The union did not turn out altogether fortunately. The young wife was soon afflicted with internal disorders which later developed into cancer, causing her death in 1881. As far as is known, there were no children, though the number of Buchanan’s early poems dealing with the theme of a dead baby suggests that they might have had one child who died [in] infancy.”

I’ve not come across any evidence for the Buchanans losing a child and I would suggest that Buchanan’s interest in the theme, beyond just reflecting the sentimental taste of the times, might relate to the death of his sister. ‘The Dead Baby’ appeared in Temple Bar in June, 1861 (which would seem to predate Buchanan’s marriage) and one of his earliest successes was ‘Baby Grace’ which was published in The St. James’s Magazine in June, 1862. He also wrote the essay, ‘Poems About Babies’ for the same magazine in November, 1863. As noted above, Buchanan’s first contribution to The Glasgow Sentinel which I’ve come across is the poem, ‘On the Death of an Infant Sister’. However, to put the poem in context, there are a number of other items which should be mentioned first.


The Glasgow Sentinel (26 March, 1853 - p.8)


The Glasgow Sentinel (14 May, 1853 - p.8)


Three years after the death of his daughter, Robert Buchanan Snr., editor of The Glasgow Sentinel, wrote the following poem, ‘Little Mary’. It was printed beneath another poem by Will C. Cameron which was entitled, ‘Lines To Mary, On Hearing Of Her Marriage’, which may have just been coincidence. The following month saw the publication of Robert Buchanan Jr.’s poem inspired by the death of his sister.


The Glasgow Sentinel (13 September, 1856 - p.2)


Little Mary, little Mary,
     Playing in the sunshine here.
Life’s happiest cup so gladly quaffing,
Gently smiling, blithely laughing—
     Little Mary, ever dear!

How I love thee, little Mary!
     With thine eye so bright and blue,
Like a dazzling sunbeam glancing
Through the golden ringlets, dancing
     O’er thy cheek of rosiest hue.

And thy lips so full and tempting,
     As the summer rosebud’s red,
And thy tiny, velvet fingers,
Where the merry dimple lingers—
     Happy elf, in such a bed!

Dancing blithely in the meadow,
     While the zephyrs fresh and airy
With a fond, fond kiss caress thee,
And all nature seems to bless thee—
     Ever matchless, happy Mary!

Splashing in the crystal streamlet,
     Reflected in it—ah! so fair;
How the flowers their heads do humble,
While their beauties seem to crumble
     All to nought, for thou art there!

Little Mary, little Mary,
     Thou art but a ray divine
Of light, awhile to this earth given—
A holy breathing of a heaven,
     All whose holiness seems thine.

Little Mary, little Mary,
     Bless’d the hour that sent thee here!
Hearts which then with care did sadden
Now thy merry laugh doth gladden,
     With its tones so fresh and clear.

How I love thee, little Mary,
     As I gaze upon thee now,
In thy early mirth and gladness,
When no cloud of care or sadness
     Sitteth on thy holy brow!

As before the fond eyes gazing
     Down upon thee from above,
Thou so pure and holy glowing,
While thy little heart’s o’erflowing,
     Like a brimful cup of love.

Little Mary, little Mary,
     When thy life’s short race is o’er,
May thy soul, so pure and shining,
Soar, ’midst angel arms entwining,
     Raptured to the sinless shore!

                                   Ayr, August 30, 1856.                                                             R. BUCHANAN.



The Glasgow Sentinel (18 October, 1856 - p.2)

Original Poetry.


Night was weeping,
Tears of sad slow,—
         Mourning thee.
Thou wert sleeping,
         While we wept;
For ’twas Death’s sleep
         That thou slept!
O’er thy lips were beaming,
From thy cheek were gleaming,
         Smiles of Heaven!

Lips were kissing
         Thy white brow;
Tears were flowing
         Fast and low;
Golden sunbeams—
         Thy bright hair—
O’er thy form fell,
         Thou wert fair;
E’en when Death sat o’er thee,
All thy life’s pure glory
         Thee was given.

We had clasped thee,
         Fresh from God;—
Now we laid thee
         In the sod.
O’er thy green tomb
         Flowers are warm;
Changed to lilies
         Is thy form.
Though old Death has wove thee
A shroud, we dearly love thee,
         Little one.

Full of fondness,
         Full of glee,
We with kisses
         Welcomed thee.
Though wert lovely,
         And how dear;
How thine advent
         Blest us here!
But ere we long could glory,
In tender gladness o’er thee,
         Thou wert gone!

Birds were singing,—
         Ceased that day;
Flowers were smiling,—
         Saddened they.
Sun was shining
         Sweet and bright,—
Sank he sadly,
         Came the night!
Nature did bemoan thee;
Earth was sad and lonely,—
         Thou wert gone!

Saw the Heaven
         All thy charms,
As thou restedst
         In our arms
Would thy beauty
         Had been less!
We might have thee
         Still to bless.
Though to the lovely blossom,
With rapt’rous love each bosom
         Fond did swell.

Had’st thou lived on,
         Well I ween
Glorious woman
         Thou had’st been!
But too holy
         Far wast thou
Long to blossom
         Here below.
A glimpse of earth was given;
They called thee back to Heaven!
         Fare thee well!

                                                                                                                       ROBT. W. BUCHANAN.
                               Glasgow, October.



The Glasgow Sentinel (15 November, 1856 - p.2)


DAY bade thee awake to the world of light,
From the opiate arms of the starry night;
As pure as the purest that ever blossom,
She cast fair flowers on thy snowy bosom;
She bade rosy Love with they warm heart play,
And the sunbeams to light that —his holiday;
For seldom, ah! seldom, to he of the Bow
Do the hours of earth such a plaything throw.

I glowed as I saw thee. “How fair, how fair!
Oh! is this a vision of earth or air,
Or is it a flower in the path of dreams,
Or spirit from where heaven’s sunshine gleams?”
Was the whisper of wonder that ever did roll,
Like a quiet wind, thro’ my glowing soul;
As the Bow-boy laughed in his merry glee
I cast thee my heart on my bended knee.

Thy shadow fell o’er me so fair, so bright;
It hid my whole self in its quivering light.
Oh! beautiful being, I lived in thee!
The mocking imp in my love hid me!
And ever I looked on each flower that blew,
And ever I looked on the silent dew;
Soared up to heaven my sign for thee—
“God of our loves! oh, wilt bless not me?”

I clasped thy hand with a loving press,
Gleaming in rays of warm happiness;
I sealed my soul on thy glowing lip,
And the love of thy bosom did daintily sip.
I fell on thy breast with a gush of love,
Thy heart spoke to mine like a wooing dove,
While Cupid his hands clapped in smiling joy—
Oh! I blest in each breathing the laughing boy.

You smiled—oh, most beautiful!—smiled on me;
Thy starry eyes, like two gems i’ the sea
When golden with smiles of the sun of day,
Shone out on my heaven of bliss alway.
I smiled in the day, I smiled in the night—
In thy lock of thy love and thy spirit’s light;
Thro’ the path that Heaven had bade me rove
     guided thy steps in a gentle love.

On, on we dance thro’ the golden hours;
On, on we dance thro’ our path of flowers;—
Love smiles in the leaves of each guardian tree,
Scatt’ring his dews on my love and me;—
On, on may we dance in our way of bliss!
On, on may we dance in the same love-kiss!
On, on may we dance to the silent sod!
On, on may we dance to the arms of God!

                               Nov. 9, 1856.                                                                ROBT. W. BUCHANAN.



The Glasgow Sentinel (6 December, 1856 - p.2)

Original Poetry.


Oh! merry is the summer time,
         In earth’s smiling bowers,
Blooming in their sunny prime,
         Merry blow the flowers.
Oh! merry sits the bird on high,
         In the leafy tree,
Merry laughs her sunny eye,
         Sweet her melody.
Merry smiles the sun above,
         Here the sunbeams lie;
Merrily sing the hours of love,
         And merrily sing I.

Oh! merry smiles the winter time
         O’er the hours below;
Merrily their gusty chime
         Happy breezes blow.
Ha! ha! ha! for the wind so gay,
         Merry is his song;
Keeps he happy holiday,
         Glide the hours along,
Merry beams my smiling dove,
         In her arms I lie;
Happy leaps my heart of love,
         Merry song sing I.

                               Dec. 2nd.                                                                        ROBT. W. BUCHANAN.



The Glasgow Sentinel (20 December, 1856 - p.2)


Oh! dark shall lie the weary night upon the barren wold;
Oh! black shall flit the shadows o’er its bosom damp and cold;
Oh! dark shall hang the stormy cloud upon the angry heaven—
Where back into her unseen hell the sickly moon is driven;
Oh! wild shall rest upon the sky the Death-god’s fearful form;
Oh! cold shall lie the night-wrapt sea, by weary tempests torn;
Oh! dark shall lie the blossoms in the bosom of the storm,—
But, jewelled in her glory, up shall sing the bird of morn!

Merry up o’er all the heaven, with a glory in her breast!
Merry in the dancing sunbeams, merry in her music blest;
Merry smiling, merry smiling in her beauty bright to rove;
Merry smiling, merry smiling, in the full flower of her love!
Oh! bright shall be her gentle eye and bright her happy way,
And sweetly shall her sunny wings fan all the flowers forlorn!
Merry smiling, merry smiling, in her gentle, gentle ray—
Brightly jewelled in her glory, up shall sing the bird of morn!

                                                                                                                       ROBT. W. BUCHANAN.



The Glasgow Sentinel (27 December, 1856 - p.2)

Original Poetry.


MERRY blossom on the hours,
     Mary mine, Mary mine!
I am culling all their flowers,
     Mary mine, Mary mine!
         To embalm thy snowy breast,
         Where the doves of beauty rest,
         And the gay god Love sits blest,
               Mary mine, Mary mine!

Hark! the voices of the sea!
     Mary mine, Mary mine!
On whose bosom bright and free,
     Mary mine, Mary mine!
         Full of smiles we loving glide,
         Seldom, seldom tempest-tried,
         In our gladness side by side,
               Mary mine, Mary mine!

See! the sun that sits in Heaven!
     Mary mine, Mary mine!
By whose love our souls are shriven,
     Mary mine, Mary mine!
         As we quaff his cups of light,
         Where our soul’s warm streams unite,
         Mingling, soaring pure and bright,
               Mary mine, Mary mine!

Bliss is written on thine eye,
     Mary mine, Mary mine!
In thy breast its blossoms lie,
     Mary mine, Mary mine!
         And the sparkling pearls of Heaven
         To thy soft word-love is given,
         In a glow of beauty riven,
               Mary mine, Mary mine!

Fond I listen to thy song,
     Mary mine, Mary mine!
As our lives flow calm along,
     Mary mine, Mary mine!
         And I read thy lily soul—
         Where love’s gentle billows roll,
         Kissing aye their sunny goal,
               Mary mine, Mary mine!

There is lustre up above,
     Mary mine, Mary mine!
Angels smile upon our love,
     Mary mine, Mary mine!
         Heaven whispereth approving,
         Strewing flowers where we are roving;
         Closer, closer glide we loving,
               Mary mine, Mary mine!

                               December 22.                                                                  ROBT. W. BUCHANAN.



2. The Glasgow Sentinel 1857


The Glasgow Sentinel (17 January, 1857 - p.2)

Original Poetry.


The breath of enchantment is whisp’ring thy name, love—
     Thou grandest, most beautiful halo of heaven;
The purest, the sweetest, the brightest, the dearest,
     By whose beautiful kisses the cold clay is shriven!
A million of thanks! oh, thou beacon of beauty!
     For the pure, dainty gem by thy golden hand given!

All gentle and loving, with joy-jewels laden,
     Murm’ring a hymn, like a child of the skies!
Sweet as a primrose, my tender May-blossom
     On my fond bosom all beautiful lies!
And I hear her heart beating, and beating for ever,
     And soar in the truth of her luminous eyes.

Hark! each soft throb, wrapt in melody tender,
     Like a bridal bell tolls out its calm world of love!
See! how each glance, gushing out like a moonbeam,
     In my heart of hearts nestles—a faith-singing dove!
Closer come to my bosom, my pure one, my peerless!
     Thy being ’bout mine, pure as angel’s, is wove!

As farther we rove on our heaven of beauty,—
     Two larks part the cloud veil saluting the sun;
As nearer we come to the disc of all being,
     As closer to heaven our destinies run,
Closer come to my bosom, my pure one, my peerless!
     My moon of emotion, my beautiful one!

Sunbeams, like babes, lie serene in my bosom,
     Born of thy beautiful soul, oh, my Queen!
The book of thy love I for ever bend over,
     And fresh immortalities each moment glean.
Oh! grand as the light of the angel-wings glorious,
     Is the ray of the god-light of Love’s golden sheen.

Surely heaven is bursting, in music of glory,
     O’er our earth—shedding on us her wonderments bright;
Or you, love, and I, in some vision are sleeping,
     And the dream shall awake in the bosom of night.
Yet twine closer, my soul, tho’ there be an awaking,
     We’ll roam till it comes in our gentle sun-light.

Yet, fear we not: worship we purely and truly,
     Looking up in thine eyes, Love—thou monarch of all!
Of Earth and of Heaven, the Past and the Present,
     And the grand, looming Future, whose hope-shadows fall!
Thine eyes aye are changeless!—we’ll know no awaking,
     And the wine of our love will be ne’er changed to gall!

I stand a proud oak in a green, green spring-forest,
     Thou twinest the ivy true, closely and dear!
I lie a poor heath-sprig, yet bright in my morning!
     Thou kissest a dew-drop all stainless and clear!
Twine closer, thou ivy—kiss brighter, my dew-drop—
     The goal of all loving, if touched not, is near.

In the pure, sparkling bliss of our holy communion,
     In the pulses that kiss me in beauty alway!
I feel my soul glowing, and soaring, and bright’ning,
     Like an April-bud bursting bright into its May.
Oh! purify, brighten, my purest, my peerless!
     We are elves of the air—not the children of clay!

The breath of enchantment is whisp’ring thy name, Love
     Thou grandest, most beautiful halo of Heaven!
The purest, the sweetest, the brightest, the dearest,
     By whose beautiful kisses the cold clay is shriven!
A million of thanks! oh! thou beacon of beauty!
     For the pure, dainty gem, by thy golden hand given!

                               Jan. 11.                                                                            ROBT. W. BUCHANAN.



Burns Competition

The Glasgow Sentinel (17 January, 1857 - p.4)


The Glasgow Sentinel (31 January, 1857 - p.4)



OUR announcement of a prize for the best poem on the genius of Robert Burns—the great Scotch poet—has called forth a perfect host of competitors. The Muses must have been fairly worn out with the labours of the last few days. Not fewer than fifty effusions, on the topic indicated, have passed through the hands of the arbiters. Of course there was the greatest possible variety in the style and merits of the compositions—some being positively good, others decidedly indifferent, while not a few were execrably bad. After a thorough sifting of the wheat from the chaff, however, the arbiters had no difficulty in coming to their decision. On this point they were unanimous. The following production, from the pen of James Macfarlan, author of “Songs of a City,” is the one to which the prize was awarded.

. . .

     We have now done with the competition songs, but before completing our bouquet we beg leave to submit one other effusion on the subject from one who was excluded from the lists. The writer is Mr R. W. Buchanan (son of the editor of this journal), who, although not yet sixteen years of age, has already contributed a number of really beautiful effusions to the local press. For a very obvious reason, it was not deemed expedient that he should engage, on this occasion, in the poetical contest. We have no hesitation, however, in placing his laurel leaf in the wreath of the bard. It will be seen that the production, which is in blank verse, manifests qualities of style and thought which would do no discredit to a much older hand and a more mature head.


SWEET lark of song that in the heaven of Fame,
Sailed, like a bark, upon the calm bright main!
A meditative hymn on this, the day
When thou didst flutter first thy wings of beauty
From my soul’s depths in ecstacy I pour!

Oh! greenest spot of beauty in the vales
Of thought and its sublime eternity!
Thou glorious sun that set before the noon!
What breast swells not in warmest, purest praise
At thy immortal name? what heart twines not
Its choicest flowers to consecrate thy dust?
Oh! Scotia’s dearest poet, and her best,
What lover, panting in sad hopes diseased,
Cold in the flame that should be ever warm,
Has not expanded his soul’s pinions wide,
And soared to consolation’s highest fane
To breathe the flowery ether of her hope—
At thy sublimest breathing—the high hymn
Thou sang’st in tears to Mary—she in Heaven?
What heart that sits serene in breast of love—
A shining ring of stars about its heaven—
Has thrilled not to the very core, when thou
Breath’d thro’ shrines of fame the cottar’s matchless song?
What eye alive to smiling merriment
Has beamed not with its brightest, deepest fire,
When thou, key-note of deep-toned satire, sangs’t,
Repugnant scorn and mirth in thee combined,
The lay, the croaking prayer of Holy Will!
Or what fond high-soul’d patriot has not leapt,
Albeit not in true deed, in warmest thought,
To Climb, a-glow, to Honour’s golden height,
As his proud veins have thrilled to “Scots wha hae!”

Behold! a hurricane roots up firm space,
And lesser spirits tremble! but all firm
Upon his lofty pinnacle our bard,
Washed white as purest snow by Truth’s bright wave,
Sits in his fame’s bright zenith—beautiful
And deathless! as the poet, so the man!
Hush! oh! ye hell-born voices! burns no shame
In slander’s black, cold heart? Rise, shade of beauty,
(The grander world throbs fondly in each pulse),
High in thy glory o’er the dark deep voids!
Live in the paths of Immortality!
Live in the light of Genius and of Love!
Live in the gardens of the pure and grand!
Shedding thy nectar dews upon all time—
To beautify, to brighten, and to bless—
That eyes unborn may bless thy name,
And brightly halo pure-souled Poesy!

     We have thus laid before our readers the principal efforts which have been submitted to our judgment. Whether the award may meet their approbation we know not, but this we shall say, that it was only given after a most minute and unbiassed examination.
     We subjoin the certificate of the arbiters:—
                                                                                     Edinburgh, Jan. 29th, 1857.
     We, the undersigned, having carefully gone over the numerous pieces received in competition for the Sentinel prize of one guinea, for the best short poem on the genius of Robert Burns, unanimously award the same to Mr James Macfarlan for his verses, entitled, “To the Memory of Robert Burns.”
                                                                                     (Signed)                    ALEXANDER SMITH.
                                                                                                                     ROBERT BUCHANAN.
                                                                                                                     HUGH MACDONALD.


[Note: Click here for a scan of the complete article.]



The Glasgow Sentinel (18 April, 1857 - p.2)


“CLOUDLESS yon heaven resplendently glows,
     The bosom of nature heaves bright,
’Neath the sunbeams of summer, life’s goblet o’erflows
     With the nectarine draughts of delight.
On the path of the shepherd infinitely throng—
     Ecstatic with perfume—the flowers;
O’er his bosom a ravishing rapture of song
     In delicious bewilderment showers.

“Oh, love—who propitious thus hymns to my soul—
     Thus yields I a thankful refrain,
As I smilingly gaze on the affectionate goal
     Thy sceptre has led me to gain.
Embodied in Chloe thine image I kiss—
     My Chloe, the pearl of the plain,
The kindest that ever in moment of bliss
     Thrilled Heaven to the soul of her swain.

“Happy the hour when the dawn brightly breaks
     And Phœbus first spangles the lea,
When our love with Aurora ecstatic awakes
     To the hearts of my Chloe and me.
Happy the hour when the monarch of day
     Resigneth the sceptre of light;
When alone in the moonlight we lovingly stray,
     And Paradise hold in the night!

“Thus morning and night she reclines in my arms—
     Thus morning and night am I blest!
Sweet, sweet smiles the maiden, whose loveliness warms
     So kindly the languishing breast!
On the path of the shepherd infinitely throng—
     Ecstatic with perfume—the flowers;
O’er his bosom a ravishing rapture of song
     In delicious bewilderment showers.”

Thus Colin his happiness languidly sighed—
     Love’s promptings did warmly obey—
As through the gay woodlands’ green windings he hied,
     On the noon of a hot summer’s day.
And he gazed on the flowers by the wood-nymphs worn,
     And the bird on the forest tree;
Whose fragrance and song thro’ his being were borne,
     While gay as the gayest was he.

Why trembles the moon of delight on the wane?
     Why lieth Trust’s nightingale low?
Why freezes the smile on the cheek of the swain,
     And paleth the blood in his brow?
Alas! luckless wight, brief thy morning of grace
     From pangs of keen anguish free;
Thy Chloe reposes in Strephon’s embrace,
     Where late she was smiling on thee!

Unseen and unheard from the false one he fled,
     Nor gazed on the bliss of the twain;
And far up the valley he bowed down his head,
     And wept in a transport of pain.
The birds in the bush, and the sunbeams above,
     And the flowers ’neath his glances that blow,
As he murmurs the precept evoked by his love,
     Mock the shepherd’s disconsolate woe!

“Young Phillis in modesty tenderly smiled,
     And Virtue admonished her love;
But the lures of the perjured my passion beguiled,
     And weary with woe must I rove.
Oh! all ye fond shepherds,” he mournfully said,
     “No longer with folly be blind;
Deceitful and guilty the smiles of the maid,
     Whose loving is but too too kind!”

                                                                                                                       ROBT. W. BUCHANAN.
                               Thursday, April 16, 1857.



The Glasgow Sentinel (6 June, 1857 - p.6)

Original Poetry.


THE old, yet never old, tale o’er again—
A pretty little cot beside a rill;
Walls white as sunshine, where the roses sleep
With lips half-ope’d, to let the fragrance out,
Red in the genial vine’s protective lap;
The gay geraniums at the breeze-stirr’d casement,
Perfuming Dick within his jaunty home;
And honest Tray, in satiated joy,
Basking upon the threshold with closed eyes;
With the green gate that ope’s into the lane,
A-shaded by the wall that bounds the orchard
Of the good squire. The throstle in the bush
Is trilling out a long, delicious strain;
And blushing May, down-gazing at the foot
That fidgets on the border; with poor me,
Twiddling my thumbs and gnawing at my lips,
Without the threshold stands
                           She’s sweet eighteen,
With violet eyes, and locks like summer’s gold—
“Too fair!” exclaim the disappointed swains!—
The russet gown around the pretty form,
And the white cap thrust back upon the comb;
Held by the fingers at the corners up,
The apron, where the pruning scissors lie
Amid the wet rose leaves; and the white ’kerchief
Laid neatly on the bosom. In fancy’s tints
Paint these, and ye see May.
                       And now behold!
(Eternal Venus, gaze benignant down!)
My hand is laid on hers, and trembles so!
Now do our eyes for one warm moment meet!
And now I murmur, with a trembling tongue,
The words whose answer are my ban or joy!
Involuntarily her fingers slack,
And fall a-sudden, glowing, to the side;
While all-unnoticed slip the leaves away
Upon the zephyrs, and the scissors sound
Upon the pebbly path unheeded! Now
The rose lip quivers, and a word is born
To nestle in my heart till love be mute—
A ceaseless lapse of sunshine through the showers!
I grasp it as a miser might a hoard,
And, overwhelmed with bliss, salute her lip,
And a space listen to her heart. Then comes
The good dame’s voice from in the cot. Adieu
I breathe; then, vaulting o’er the stile, skip I,
Gay as the blackbird, o’er the merry mead.
Humming a tune as joyous as the May,
Happy I homeward trip, and pitying gaze
On Lubin, as he sneaks with doleful looks
Along the sheltering hedge from Peggy’s door.

                                                                                                                     ROBERT W. BUCHANAN.
                               26th May, 1857.



The Glasgow Sentinel (29 August, 1857 - p.4)

Original Poetry.

(From a forthcoming volume of Poems by ROBERT BUCHANAN, jun.)

THICK gloom pervades the pervious sky
     And half a sun it seems is set;
     I peer into thy depths of jet,
Something, I feel, fades in thine eye.

Last spring we met as strangers meet,
     Last summer met as friends, or more;
     Last spring you smiles of welcome wore—
Thine autumn smiles seem scarce so sweet.

Thy cottage eaves are soaked with rain,
     My noisy doubts are choked with tears—
     Are, then, anticipated years
Of hope to be dissolved again?

Beside thy door a birchen-tree
     Stood verdant. ’Neath it in the spring
     We vowed. It is a withered thing—
Ah! Mary, so would I not be.

If love be changeless, love be true—
     Ah, say, do genial eyes grow cold?
     In one brief summer, then, grow old
The hearts to Love and Nature new.

Ah, Mary—but I would think
     Too basely of thee—thou art fair;
     Tho’ some style beauty weak as air,
And say it lives on falsehood’s brink.

Love’s ambient billows, rank with pain,
     From the warm strand of jot recede.
     Alas, my doubtful heart must bleed—
Say, Mary, will it rise again?

Alas! each doubt, plunged to the hilt
     A knife, stagnates my aching heart;
     ’Tis sore to weep, ’tis sore to part—
I would not hail my Mary jilt.



The Glasgow Sentinel (26 September, 1857 - p.2)

Original Poetry.

(From a forthcoming volume by Robert Buchanan, jun.)

O, the wooing, endless wooing
     ’Mid the merry, merry May;
O, the am’rous glances golden
By the hawthorn, hoar and olden;
O, the merry maze pursuing
     All the live-long, sunny day,
O, the wooing, wondrous wooing—
     Wondrous wooing of the May.

O, the wooing, endless wooing,
     ’Mid the merry, merry May;
There’s a flame that burns despotic,
There’s a flower that burns exotic
’Neath the loving sun—embuing
     Heart and head the live-long day.
O, the wooing, wondrous wooing,
     ’Mid the merry, merry May.

O, the wooing, endless wooing,
     ’Mid the merry, merry May;
Hard to pine to am’rous leaven
When all Nature swims in Heaven,
When each heart is mirth pursuing
     All the live-long, sunny day;
’Tis a hard thing to be wooing
     Marble all the merry May.

O, the wooing, fruitless wooing,
     Wooing ’mid the fickle May;
She has eyes as bright as star-beams,
From this face each gay glance far beams,
Yet far from it, is undoing
     All the heart that ever lay
In this breast—a-wooing, a-wooing,
     Frozen ’mid the golden May.

O, the wooing, bootless wooing,
     Wooing ’mid the fickle May;
Hard it is an eye o’erflowing
Never beams, one glance bestowing
On the trembling heart, pursuing
     The shadow thro’ the live-long day
Of the smile that wakes its wooing
     ’Mid the madly mocking May.

O, the wooing, bitter wooing,
     Wooing ’mid the fickle May;
O, to see the locks out-vieing
Yonder mocking sun a-dying.
Thou the dizzy dance pursuing,
     Smiling on some spirit—gay!
O, ’tis woeful, weary wooing,
     This wooing of the May.

O, the wooing, wistful wooing,
     Wooing ’mid the fickle May—
’Mid the dance I, yester-even,
Sought thy hand—’twere present Heaven
But thy look was fresh undoing,
     As you tossed mine arm away,
Tossed away my heart, a wooing,
     Dancing on it ’mid the May.

O, the wooing, painful wooing,
     Wooing ’mid the fickle May—
Icy wanton! never heeding,
Heart ill beat, tho’ tolls a-bleeding;
Dreary work! this shade pursuing,
     Casting all the hours away;
Some substantial thing for wooing
     Seek I, cold one, ’mid the May.

O, the wooing, wondrous wooing,
     ’Mid the merry, merry May—
There is one who’d scarce abuse me,
There is one who’d scarce refuse me—
One whose heart is fondly sueing;
     Scarce so far, or coldly gay,
Fondly, purer, yet a-wooing;
     She had crown’d me ’mid the May.

O, the wooing, empty wooing,
     ’Mid the lesson-laden May—
O, the silly, vain coquetting;
O, the empty heart’s blood-letting,
In the passionate pursuing,
     Empty shadows cold as gay!
O, the moments lost in wooing
     Loveless daughters of the May!



Robert Buchanan and The Glasgow Sentinel - continued








The Fleshly School Controversy
Buchanan and the Press
Buchanan and the Law


The Critical Response
Harriett Jay


Site Diary
Site Search