Salvaged and unseen by the public since the the 1930’s this poem was kindly passed to me from Isabel McDermott, and it is dedicated to DAVID LIVINGSTONE. The opening of the centre a year earlier, clearly inspiring the author to write about Blantyre’s honoured son.
Wherever progress seeks a way
And helps to spread the light.
The sons of Scotland can be found
As partners in the fight.
So in these lines I write to-day
I’d like to speak of one,
A brave and fearless patriot,
Of Blantyre’s honoured son.
No trumpet flare announced his birth,
No flags for him unfurled.
Unheralded with pomp or show
His advent to the world. ’
Mid humble sphere his early days,
No thought of future fame,
Till from a higher source to him
The call for service came.
Across the seas from other shores
Came cries that made him feel
That home and friends he must forsake
To answer that appeal.
No matter what their colour was,
To that he paid no heed,
The powerful motive in his life
To help another’s need.
And if the mighty seas divide,
Or mountains barred the way,
He trusted in the unseen hand
That never leads astray.
Obedient to the heavenly call.
His duty clear and plain
He chose to bear the light of life,
And worldly things disdain.
A servant faithful to his charge,
His life for others spent,
To spread the shining gospel light
No power did him prevent.
And now to-day in every clime,
In distant heathen land.
Be it o’er Greenland’s icy wastes.
Or India’s coral strand.
Remembered, honoured far and near,
Earth’s homage was as dross,
lived a noble life—and died
A soldier of the Cross.
We honour Scotland’s famous sons
As real, true-hearted men,
Though they’re descended from the great,
Or lowly but and ben.
by J Bartholomew, c 1930
Accompanied with this poem is a rare photo of the opening day of David Livingstone Centre in 1929.