Worthy of a high place in the literature of this county is Thomas Sparks, M. D., St. Marys.
Dr. Sparks has strong sympathies, which, in his poems of the affections, are everywhere manifested in tenderness, and a lofty appreciation of those amenities which are constantly welling up in the heart of the noble, the good and the true.
While his ideals of pure and exalted humanity are of a refined and elevating character, he has what Burns called, "A Stalk of Carle Hemp" in his nature.
This gives a strange contradiction to much of his work, which is frequently misunderstood.
In a mind so constituted, the poetry of Dr. Sparks will be found either extremely tender, or, on the other hand, extremely satirical.
In both he excels.
In both he has written much which ought to be more widely known.
Dr Sparks is often rugged in his versification, but singularly strong, especially in his satires, in trenching into the folly and humbug of our social life.
In some of his finest pieces his mind indicates a strong Byronic bias, so much, indeed, that we are led to believe that he had selected Byron as a model and a master of the highest poetic art.
Those of our readers who are acquainted with Lord Byron's works will, we believe, find evidence of our assertions in the following excellent lines in his poem entitled
Adieu ! Though that word be the death knell of hope,
But still I will bid thee, forever adieu!
I have lingered already too long for my peace, -
I have lingered to see thee prove false and untrue.
I have lingered to see life's cherished dream crushed,
Till the sweet voice of hope in my bosom was hushed
To the calm of despair; I have lingered to see
The cold, heartless thing that a woman can be.
Yet, alas! Is that dream of our love now all gone -
That spell which so fondly I hoped would prove true;
And must I then wander o'er life's path alone,
That path which I hoped I should travel with you?
His poem of "The Broken Vow" is also much in the style of Byron, where he says -
Take back again thy plighted troth,
Take back again the broken vow,
'Tis better, better far for both,
That I should cease to love thee now.
* * * * *
Steeled be my heart against each spell,
Or, if that should, alas, be vain,
This much at last for both were well,
Never on earth to meet again.
In a poem entitled "Home" his ideas are fully expressed.
And dost thou ask me what is home?
Fond whisp'rer from yon distant planet,
With questioning lips to mortals come
To tell the tale that angels cannot.
* * * *
'Tis not alone where roof and room
Without one heart tie to endear it;
But home is where the heart can come,
And loving lips are there to cheer it.
* * *
For home is where the star of life
For ever sparkles bright above us,
Where we have still some one to love,
And there are still some one to love us.
These quotations from Dr. Sparks indicate high poetic merit and a pure spontaneity of thought from a full heart, unalloyed with mercenary thoughts or actuated by selfish feelings.