« AnteriorContinuar »
Quoth I, “ Wi'a' my heart, I'll do't: Which by degrees slips round her neck, I'll get my Sunday's sark' on,
An's loofl7 upon her bosom,
Unkend that day.
100 An' soon I made me ready;
Is silent expectation; For roads were clad frae side to side
For Moodie speels18 the holy door,
Wi' tidings o' damnation.
Should Hornie, 19 as in ancient days,
'Mang sons o God present him, 105 Here farmers gasho in ridin graith
The vera sight o' Moodie's face Gaed hoddin' by their cotters,
To's ain het20 hame had sent him There swankies young in braw? braid
Wi' fright that day. claith Are springin owre the gutters.
Hear how he clears the points o' faith The lasses, skelpin8 barefit, thrang,
Wi' rattlin an' wi' thumpin!
IIO In silks an' scarlets glitter,
Now meekly calm, now wild in wrath Wi' sweet-milk cheese in monie a whan
He's stampin an' he's jumpin! An' farls11 baked wi' butter,
His lengthened chin, his turned-up snout, Fu' crumpl2 that day.
His eldritch21 squeel and gestures,
Oh, how they fire the heart devout, 115 When by the plate we set our nose,
Like cantharidian plaisters, Weel heaped up wi' ha'pence,
On sic a day!
But hark! the tent has changed its voice: Then in we go to see the show:
There's peace and rest nae langer; On every side they're gath'rin,
For a' the real judges rise,
120 Some carryin dails,13 some chairs an'
They canna sit for anger. stools,
Smith opens out his cauld harangues, An' some are busy bleth'rin 14
On practice and on morals;
An'aff the godly pour in thrangs,
To gie the jars an' barrels
A lift that day.
What signifies his barren shine
His English style an' gesture fine On this hand sits a chosen swatch, 16
Are a' clean out o' season.
130 Wi' screwed-up, grace-proud faces; Like Socrates or Antonine On that a set o'chaps at watch,
Or some auld pagan heathen, Thrang winkin on the lasses
| The moral man he does define, To chairs that day.
But ne'er a word o' faith in
That's right that day. 135 O happy is that man an' blest! (Nae wonder that it pride him!)
In guid time comes an antidote
Comes clinkin down beside him! | For Peebles, frae the water-fit,22
See, up he's got the word o' God
An' meek an' mim23 has viewed it, I shirt .
porridge-time. 8 shrewd. Hattire. • jogging. • lusty chaps.
running. .busy. 10 large slice.
17 hand. 18 ascends. 19 the devil. 20 hot. 1 planks, 14 gabbling.
15 soiled. 16 sample. I 21 unearthly. 22 river's inouth. 23 primly.
he vill 21
While Common Sense has ta’en the road, His talk o' hell, whare devils dwell,
Our vera “sauls does harrow”
Wi' fright that day.
Filled fou o’lowin 18 brunstane,19 Tho' in his heart he weel believes
Whase ragin flame an' scorchin heat An' thinks it auld wives' fables:
Wad melt the hardest whun-stane!" But faith! the birkie wants a manse,
The half-asleep start up wi' fear So cannilie he hums them; - 150 |
An' think they hear it roarin, 195 Altho' his carnal wit an' sense
When presently it does appear Like haftlins-wise o'ercomes him
'Twas but some neebor snorin, At times that day.
Asleep that day. Now butt an' ben the change-house fills
'Twad be owre lang a tale to tell Wi' yill-caup8 commentators: 155
| How monie stories past, Here's cryin out for bakeso an gills,
An' how they crouded to the yill, 21 An' there the pint-stowpło clatters;
When they were a' dismist; While thick an' thrang, an' loud an' lang,
How drink gaed round in cogs22 and caupsas Wi’ logic an' wi' Scripture,
Amang the furms24 an' benches: They raise a din, that in the end
An' cheese and bread frae women's laps 20; Is like to breed a rupture
Was dealt about in lunches
An' dawds25 that day.
In comes a gawsie,28 gasha guidwife Leeze mell on drink! it gies us mair
An' sits down by the fire, Than either school or college:
Syne28 draws her kebbuck2 an' her knife; It kindles wit, it waukens lear, 12
| The lasses they are shyer:
211 It pangs13 us fou o' knowledge.
The auld guidmen about the grace Be't whisky-gill or penny-wheep,14
Frae side to side they bother, Or onie stronger potion,
Till some ane by his bonnet lays, It never fails, on drinkin deep,
And gi’es them't,30 like a tether, 215 To kittle15 up our notion
Fu' lang that day.
Waesucks!31 for him that gets nae lass, The lads an’lasses, blythely bent
Or lasses that hae naething! To mind baith saul an' body,
Sma' need has he to say a grace, Sit round the table weel content,
Or melvie32 his braw claithing! An' steer about the toddy.
O wives, be mindfu'ance yoursel On this ane's dress an' that ane's leuk How bonie lads ye wanted, They're makin observations;
An' dinna for a kebbuck-heel33 While some are cozie i' the neuk, 16
Let lasses be affronted
On sic a day!
Now Clinkumbell, wi’ rattlin tow, 34
Some swagger hame the best they dow, An' echoes back return the shouts
Some wait the afternoon. Black Russell is na spairin.
At slaps37 the billies38 halt a blink, 230 His piercin words, like Highlan'swords, 185 Till lasses strip their shoon: Divide the joints an' marrow;
18 flaming. 19 brimstone. 20 whinstone. 21 ale. i next. ? babbles. fellow. cunningly. 6 partly.
22 wooden bowls.
25 pieces. 8 ale-cup. cakes. 10 pint-mug. 11 good luck to!
32 soil 12 learning. 13 packs. small-beer. 15 tickle.
6 all through the house.
Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Amid the storm, Scarce reared above the parent-earth
Thy tender form.
Thou saw the fields laid bare and waste, 25 An' weary winter comin fast,
I talk. 2 stone. 3 by disgrace. S soft, sleek.
& loth. plough-staff 10 sometimes.
11 must. 12 occasional. 43 ear. 14 twenty-four shea ves. 15 rest. 6 build. 17 coarse grass.
The flaunting flowers our gardens yield My loved, my honored, much respected High sheltering woods an' wa'st maun
No mercenary bard his homage pays; But thou, beneath the random bield? With honest pride, I scorn each selfish O'clod or stane,
end: Adorns the histie' stibble-field
My dearest meed a friend's esteem Unseen, alane.
To you I sing, in simple Scottish There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
lays, Thy snawie bosom sun-ward spread,
The lowly train in life's sequestered Thou lifts thy unassuming head
scene; In humble guise;
The native feelings strong, the guileBut now the share uptears thy bed,
less ways; And low thou lies! 30 | What Aiken in a cottage would have
been; Such is the fate of artless maid,
Ah! tho' his worth unknown, far happier Sweet flow'ret of the rural shade!.
there, I ween! By love's simplicity betrayed And guileless trust;
November chill blaws loud wi' angry Till she, like thee, all soiled, is laid Low i’ the dust.
The short’ning winter day is near a Such is the fate of simple bard,
close; On life's rough ocean luckless starred!
The miry beasts retreating frae the Unskilful he to note the card
The black’ning trains o’craws to their Of prudent lore, 40 Till billows rage and gales blow hard,
repose; And whelm him o'er!
The toil-worn cotter frae his labor
goes,Such fate to suffering worth is giv'n, This night his weekly moil is at an Who long with wants and woes has
end, — striv'n,
Collects his spades, his mattocks, and By human pride or cunning driv'n 45
his hoes, To misery's brink;
Hoping the morn in ease and rest to Till, wrenched of ev'ry stay but Heav'n,
spend, He ruined sink!
And weary, o'er the moor, his course does
hameward bend. Ev'n thou who mourn'st the daisy's fate, That fate is thine--no distant date; 50 At length his lonely cot appears in view, Stern Ruin's ploughshare drives elate,
Beneath the shelter of an agèd Full on thy bloom,
tree; Till crushed beneath the furrow's weight Th' expectant wee-things, toddlin, Shall be thy doom.
stachers through To meet their dad, wi' Alichterin
noise an' glee. THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT
His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonilie,
His clean hearth-stane, his thrifty INSCRIBED TO ROBERT AIKEN,
wifie's smile, ESQ.
The lisping infant prattling on his knee,
25 Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Does a' his weary kiaughs and care Their homely joys and destiny obscure; Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile,
beguile, The short and simple annals of the poor. An' makes him quite forget his labor an’
his toil. dry. I moan. stagger. futtering. ? fire-place, anxiety.
Belyve,' the elder bairns come drapping But hark! a rap comes gently to the
door. At service out amang the farmers Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the roun';
same, Some ca? the pleugh, some herd, some Tells how a neebor lad cam o'er the tentie: rin
moor, A cannie errand to a neebor toun: To do some errands, and convoy her Their eldest hope, their Jenny, hame. woman-grown,
The wily mother sees the conscious In youthfu' bloom, love sparkling in her
Sparkle in Jenny's ee, . and flush her Comes hame, perhaps to shew a braw4. cheek; new gown,
Wi' heart-struck, anxious care, inOr deposite her sair-wono penny-fee, 35
quires his name, To help her parents dear, if they in hard While Jenny haflins" is afraid to speak; ship be.
Weel pleased the mother hears it's nae
wild worthless rake. With joy unfeigned, brothers and sisters With kindly welcome Jenny brings him meet,
ben;12 An' each for other's weelfare kindly A strappin' youth, he takes the spiers:6
65 The social hours, swift-winged, un Blythe Jenny sees the visit's no ill taen; noticed fleet;
The father cracks13 of horses, pleughs, Each tells the uncos that he sees or
and kye. 14 hears.
40 The youngster's artless heart o'erflows The parents, partial, eye their hopeful wi' joy, years;
But, blatels and laithfu', 16 scarce can weel Anticipation forward points the view; behave; The mother, wi' her needle an' her The mother wi' a woman's wiles can sheers,
spy Gars8 auld claes look amaist as weel's What makes the youth sae bashfu' an’ the new;
sae grave, The father mixes a' wi' admonition due. 45 | Weel-pleased to think her bairn's re
spected like the lave.17 Their master's an' their mistress's com
O happy love! where love like this is mand
found! The younkers a' are warned to obey;
O heart-felt raptures! bliss beyond An' mind their labors wi' an eydent
I've pacèd much this weary, mortal An' ne'er, tho' out o’ sight, to jauko
75 or play:
And sage experience bids me this de“An' o! be sure to fear the Lord
“If Heaven a draught of heavenly An' mind your duty, duly, morn and
pleasure spare, night!
One cordial in this melancholy vale, Lest in temptation's path ye gang
'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest astray, Implore His counsel and assisting might:
In other's arms breathe out the tender They never sought in vain that sought
tale, the Lord aright!”
Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents
the evening gale.”
hard-earned. & makes.