James Nack

Jan 4, 1809 - 1879


To Charles Dickens

by James Nack

Friend of my heart! -- friend of the human race!
Though I may never gaze upon thy face,
Nor clasp the hand that has such wonders penned;
Yet when entranced by thy prevailing spell,
I watch the ebbing life of gentle Paul,
Or looking up, as at an angel's call,
Pursue the heavenward flight of Little Nell,
Heart leaps to heart, and I embrace my FRIEND!

It hath been given to thy hand to trace
All that is good and glorious in our race;
As with an angel's ken: thou hast divined
The riches in the human heart enshrined;
Crowns, sceptres, laurel wreaths, or robes of state,
Thy genius needs not to reveal the great.

Greatness is only greatness in itself, --
It rests not in externals, nor its worth
Derives from gorgeous pomp, or glittering pelf,
Or chance of arms, or accident of birth;
It lays its deep foundations in the soul,
And piles a tower of virtues to the skies,
Around whose pinnacle majestic, roll
The clouds of glory, starred with angel eyes!

Such is the lofty lesson thou hast taught,
But still diviner blessings hast thou wrought;
Like light from heaven, thy genius has unveiled
Affection's deepest mystery of grief,
And to despairing sorrow brought relief
Where reason and philosophy had failed,
By opening the fountains of the heart:
And therefore distant strangers give thee part
In their affections, as a household guest,
Who shares the sacred secret of their breast.

There is a sorrow that can never die;
There is a loss we never can forget,
Yet can it purify and sanctify,
And mingle heavenly solace with regret;
And therefore do we love thee and thy page,
Which moves our tears, but moves them to assuage;
And therefore do I hail thee as my friend,
And yield the tribute of a grateful heart;
Though humble is the offering I send,
Affection may some little worth impart.


The Romance Of The Ring, And Other Poems.
Copyright 1859
Delisser & Procter, 508 Broadway, New York