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George Rolleston

by George Macdonald (1824-1905)

Dead art thou? No more dead than was the maid
Over whose couch the saving God did stand—
"She is not dead but sleepeth," said,
And took her by the hand!

Thee knowledge never from Life's pathway wiled,
But following still where life's great father led,
He turned, and taking up his child,
Raised thee too from the dead,

O living, thou hast passed thy second birth,
Found all things new, and some things lovely strange;
But thou wilt not forget the earth,
Or in thy loving change!

[Copies found here and here]

George Macdonald 'was known as a visionary even as a young man studying at College in Aberdeen. He was ordained as a Congregationalist, but, following disputes with his congregation about the content of his sermons, changed to a literary career and gained a considerable reputation as a spiritual poet and a novelist. He preached, lectured (including a tour of American), wrote fairy stories, edited “Good Words for the Young”, and made friends with notabilities as diverse as Browning, Carlyle, Morris, Tennyson, Arnold, Octavia Hill, Dean Stanley, and the eighth Duke of Argyll.' [here]

This poem must be about 'our' George Rolleston as the poet travelled with Rolleston in the Mediterranean in the last year of Rolleston's life [Tylor, 1884: lxiii, 'Life of Rolleston']

 Transcribed by AP October 2012

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Supported by the John Fell OUP Research Fund


(c) 2012 Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford