William Mason, of Stokesley.
Born at Whitby, which place he left about Three Years Old, for Stokesley,
where he resided during the best part of his Life, and was for many years one
of the most useful Townsmen. He removed for a time to Middlesbrough, and
thence to South Shields, where he Died, June 8th, 1887, Æ 66 Years.
|Stokesely High Street about 1900|
For over fifty years we were fast friends,
And oft had stood together in the cause
Of human progress, and seen many laws
Reform’d as we desired. This made amends
For all we suffer’d from each slanderous tongue 5
Wagg’d by vile owners, whose weak brains could ne’er
Half comprehend our actions, but would jeer
At us, as fools are wont. But we still clung,
With steadfast faith, to what we deem’d the Right,
And laboured on when prospects all seem’d drear, 10
And none could see the sunrise was so near.
Many must fall, not fail, in Freedom’s fight;
But I rejoice, old Friend! Thou lived to see
The rapid strides of our dear Liberty.
Now thou art gone where all good deeds will find 15
Proper appreciation: thou wilt now
Wear the brave victor’s wreath upon thy brow:
And those dear friends who thou hast left behind
Hope soon to join thee. For myself, I feel
My sands of life fast running to an end. 20
Whate’er my fate may be, I fain would bend
Cheerfully to God’s will; for He can heal
All heart-aches, and enable us to go
Cheerfully to the eternal Commonweal;
Not wishing from Deaths’ scythe to make appeal, 25
Knowing that he strikes not an unfriendly blow,
But merely severs cords which bind to earth
The soul to fit it for the heavenly birth.
George Markham Tweddell
Note - Interestingly, G.M. Tweddell published an extended letter / article about a poet called William Mason of Guisborough in his 1844 Tweddell's Yorkshire Miscellany and Englishman's Magazine. The above poem about the Stokesley poet William Mason was published after 1887 and Tweddell was clearly in his mid 60's by then, but it seems there was an earlier poet called William Mason, writing in the area - Guisborough who had passed away by 1844 when Tweddell's Miscellany had come out.
At present I have no idea if they were related. The Guisborough William Mason seems to have studied at Cambridge and was buried on the hills at Swainby. He doesn't seem to be this one mentioned on Wikipedia and born at Hull 1724 though! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Mason_(poet)
Here is the article from Tweddell's Miscellany 1844 -