The Skylark

 - Margaret Lillian Hamilton, B.A. -

"There seems to be every degree of control, and every variety of physical response, from the most elementary tipping of a table to writing or speaking intelligent sentences; and sometimes, though seldom, ideas are expressed in what, to the medium, is an unknown tongue."

Sir Oliver Lodge, in Why I Believe in Personal Immortality.

          THE STORY of the next script, its appearance in Winnipeg in 1942, its translation, and the verification of its author nearly two years later, is surely one of the most unusual events of the Marshall mediumship.

On the afternoon of October 22, 1942, Mrs. Marshall brought a curious piece of writing to my mother. She explained that earlier that same day while she was writing a letter in her own home, she apparently had gone into a light trance, for when she had "come to herself" (as she put it) she had found these puzzling characters on one of the sheets of notepaper. (See plate 7.) Dawn left the paper with my mother and returned to her home.

A few days later my mother showed it to our good friend Mr. Wither. He studied it carefully and suggested that it might be Gaelic writing. He offered to take it to a friend, Mr. James A. Mitchell(1) known in Winnipeg as a student of Scottish literature and an authority on the Gaelic tongue.

(1) Mr. Mitchell was elected president of the Gaelic Society of Canada in 1945. When he died in March, 1950, among other things the Winnnipeg Free Press of March 10 had this to say: -Mr. Jas. A. Mitchell, who died on Wednesday at the age of 85, was a man of talent both as a writer and a speaker ... His range of knowledge was wide . . . He worked with rare devotion on behalf of the city's various Scottish societies and at one time or another held executive office in all of them."

Shortly Mr. Wither reported back to my mother that Mr. Mitchell had indeed verified it as being written in Gaelic, and that he had commented on the remarkably few errors in markings and in spelling, considering the intricacies of grammatical construction and syntax in this ancient and now little-known tongue. Mr. Mitchell kindly sent us his own free translation of this Dawn script:

The Skylark

The early rising housewife
When the plains are dark
Sees the East with grandeur
Put on its purple hue
Before the sun of the firmaments
Leaps forth in full flame
Her morning song is tuned
Ere I could see her trend.

Ascending and ascending,
Singing as she soars,
Singing as she is climbing
On gentle wing and swift,
Ever onward bound
With flights of ease;
And with a voice subdued.
Like a revolving star,
Serving, ever serving.

"Peter Campbell."

The name "Peter Campbell," presumably the author of the two verses, meant absolutely nothing to any of us. Mr. Mitchell told us at this time that he recalled a Gaelic poet of that name had lived at one time somewhere in the Outer Hebrides, the re mote islands off the west coast of Scotland. He had not heard of Peter Campbell's death, but supposed that if he were still alive at this time (October, 1942) he would be quite elderly. Mr. Mitchell told us that he was not familiar with Peter Campbell's poetry. Therefore he could not confirm Peter Campbell as the author of these two verses.

There the matter stood for two years. Then another of our family friends, the late Mr. J. D. Young, was shown the Gaelic script, and came to our aid. Under the pen name "Canadian Scot" he wrote to The Scotsman for information. In that paper's inquiry column of the issue of August 19, 1944, came the answer:

"Gaelic Poem authorship. The poem inquired for by 'Canadian Scot' was the prize poem of the 1928 Gaelic Mod, the author being Mr. Peter Campbell, a native of Bragar, Lewis, and one of two brothers crowned Mod Bards. The whole poem, which extends to twelve eight-line verses, was published in an Gaidheal, the monthly organ of An Commun, the October number of that year. It has been reproduced in An Commun's Seirbhie a' Chruin, one of two books prepared for the use of the Forces, and just published. If 'Canadian Scot' will send me (per Highland Echoes) his or her name and address, I shall be pleased to forward a free copy of the last-mentioned publication."

"Eachann MacDhughaill."

Through the kindness of Mr. MacDhughaill this little book found its way to Winnipeg. We were able then to verify that the Dawn script was made up of verses two and ten of the poem, The Skylark.

But our story does not end at this point. In January, 1945, again through the kindness of Mr. Young, my mother was introduced to a man who had then quite recently come to make his home in our city, and who was a cousin of Peter Campbell. From him we learned that Peter Campbell had been a schoolmaster, beloved for his saintly character and respected for his scholarship. He died in Bragar, Lewis, on August 22,1942, that is, two months before the strange manifestation through Dawn.(2)

(2) Dawn's statement regarding the Gaelic script:

"Dear Mrs. Hamilton: Some time ago you asked me if I could speak gealic (I dont know if I have spelled it right but I can truthfull say I cannot I have no, friends that can that I know off "Yours respectful, "Mary Marshall."

When my mother showed him our original Gaelic script he expressed complete astonishment at finding a quotation from this poem through a medium in Winnipeg. He told us that he did not possess a copy of The Skylark, and that it was not widely known even in the area where Peter Campbell had lived. As with the Stevenson script, so with this Gaelic script. It gives much more than evidence for continuing memory. It too becomes part of the fulfilment of the prophecy, "What is written, is written again." And that it has still deeper significance also occurred to Mr. Mitchell, who, at the time he made the translation, also wrote:

"As to the spiritual significance of the poem, it occurs to me. that the twittering of the lark in early morning, and its development into a beautiful melody as it soars upward, may be symbolical of the human soul as it struggles upward toward its higher destiny."

With this interpretation the cousin agreed. He told us that Peter Campbell was a godly man. For him, service to humanity was service to God, to be given joyously, as the second verse of the poem suggests by its lovely imagery.

Thus once more by phenomenal means, channelled through an illiterate instrument, did our communicators, by adapting this obscure poem, present evidence not only for individual survival, but also conveyed to us in a more subtle fashion a message which stressed that service to man and service to God are one, to be rendered in a spirit of joy.

Source: "Is Survival a Fact?" by Margaret Lillian Hamilton (1969, Psychic Press).


Other articles by Margaret Lillian Hamilton

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