William Martin

William Martin.

“I stood beside a newly-open’d grave,
And gazed upon a coffin placed therein,
When straight before mine eyes a vision pass’d
Changing like human life. At first a youth
Full of high thoughts of heaven-born Poêsy, 5
Row’d me along the Leven in his boat;
And, as we floated on the crystal stream,
We held discourse of bards long pass’d away,
Whose songs will not die till ‘the crack of doom.’
It vanished and another pass’d met my view. 10
It was a populous city, and I met
My friend still wooing Poêsy,
And full of high philanthropy. Anon
We met in lodge Masonic, as brethren of
The ‘mystic tie,’ loving the dear old craft, 15
Which none that understand it can despise

Returning to my native vale again,
We met as wont: but health had left his cheeks,
Disease had seized upon his noble frame,
With lion-grip, that could not be removed, 20
Save by Death’s icy hand. The coffin now
Hid from my eyes all that with us remain’d
Of my dear friend. From laurel growing by
I pluck’d a branch, and dropped it in his grave,
Nor could forbear my tears. Let all his faults 25
Be buried with his bones, for they were few
And venial; let his virtues ever live,
Treasured in his friends’ memories, for they were manifold.”

Peter Proletarius’ (George Markham Tweddell)
[Bards & Authors, p. 171]

This poem was also an introduction to a chapter on William Martin in Tweddell’s Bards and Authors of Cleveland and South Durham 1872.

The original book can be downloaded free on the Tweddell hub on this post – http://georgemarkhamtweddell.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/bards-and-authors-of-cleveland-and.html

According to Tweddell in Bard’s and Authors, “William Martin was born in Newcastle in 1825. In early youth he was adopted by his kind hearted maiden Aunt – Miss Martin, a member of the society of Friends at Great Ayton. William martin was inspired by the works of Burns. Tweddell first published him in his newspaper – Stokesley News in 1844, and though he never published a volume, he continued to write occasional pieces for the press up until his death. He wrote a poem called Be Kind to the Poor for Tweddell’s proposed collection of poems to raise funds for the Bury Ragged School of which Tweddell was Master but which never got published.Tweddell published his poem in Bards and authors. He became the manager of his Aunt’s leather warehouse in Oldham Street, Manchester. He was one of the founders and past master of the Cleveland Lodge of free and accepted Masons and provincial grand sword-bearer of the North. He died in 1863 and buried in the Friends Burial Ground in Great Ayton. his funeral was attended by a great number of acquaintances for miles around – especially by his brothers ‘of the mystic tie’.

He returned to Great Ayton in 1860 and took over the Cleveland Tanneries which his family had carried on for many years.” George Markham Tweddell

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