John Nichol (biographer)

British literary academic (1833-1894)

John Nichol (8 September 1833 – 11 October 1894), was a Scottish literary academic, and the first Regius Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Glasgow.

Nichol in 1891



Hannibal (1873)

Hannibal: A Historical Drama (Glasgow: James Maclehose; London: Macmillan and Co., 1873)
  • Who shuns offence and holds with neither side,
    Who dreads the deep and never dares to swim,
    Who fears to trip and never tries to run,
    May yet in walking stumble.
    • Hasdrubal, Prologue, i
  • The Gods are not of Rome or Italy:
    They dwell in earth's abyss or with the stars,
    Their shrines are where we bring heroic hearts.
    • Hannibal, III, vii
  • The pastime of light minds
    Is mocking others' grief.
    • Fulvia, III, viii
  • All is light
    To him that lightly loves.
    • Malcus, III, x
  • Life is glad life when led by laughing hours,
      With joys of love or spoils of battle gilt;
    When darkness steals the day and shuts the flowers,
      Our arms are shattered and the wine is spilt,
    We rise as grateful guests from banquet gay,
    Resign the wreath, and toss the glass away.
    Death is dark death when slurred with terrors vain:
      Whether blest isles or fields Elysian wait,
    Or all is silent o'er the circling main,
      We know not ever; but we conquer Fate,
    Assail the mansions of the Gods, and claim
    The crown of valour, in a deathless name.
    Tis well to live for glory, home, and land;
      And, when these fail us, it is well to die.
    The latest freedom never fails our hand,
      From scornful Earth, on wings of scorn, to fly;
    When Life grows heavy. Death remains, the door
    To dreamless rest beside the Stygian shore.
    The portals open to our meteor way:
      A red dawn breaks the shadows of the hour.
    We leave the bitter cup of alien sway,
      To hinds that crouch beneath the heels of power.
    Ours the triumphal path, the hero's right;
    And Death hangs o'er us like a starry night!
    • Song of the Senators and the veiled Figure, IV, vi
  • Greece and the world are Rome's: her stars prevail;
    But our complexion shifts not with the gale.
    When ONE against a NATION plays his life,
    He bears from hosts the glory of the strife:
    Until the hero's godlike race be run
    I shall be loyal to the setting sun.
    • Silanus, V, ix

The Death of Themistocles, &c. (1881)

The Death of Themistocles, and Other Poems (Glasgow: James Maclehose, 1881)
  • Good-night, my love, good-night;
      Farewell! the breeze is sighing
    Along the harbour height;
      The fleecy clouds are flying
      Beneath Astarte’s light.
    My mariners are crying
      "In favouring winds away"!
      And I, my love denying,
      Must cleave th’ Ægean spray.
    The song that the sea is singing
      Is gentle and soft to-night:
    The lustre the stars are flinging
      On the bay is tender and bright;
    And bark like a bird is springing
      And speeding from thy sight:
    And a tune in my head is ringing
      That thrills my heart for flight
    Across the waves, soon winging,
    Return to thee; and bringing
    Treasures for thy delight.
      Good-night, my love, Good-night.
    • "Asia's Song" in The Death of Themistocles