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E'en you on murdering errands toild, Lone from your savage homes exiled, The blood-stain'd roost, and sheep-cote spoil'd,
My heart forgets, While pitiless the tempest wild
Sore on you beats.
Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste, An' weary winter comin' fast, An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell, Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out through thy cell. That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble, Has cost thee monie a weary nibble ! Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald, To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld ! But, mousie, thou art no thy lane, In proving foresight may be vain : The best laid schemes o' mice an' men,
Gang aft a-gley, Ad' lea'e us naught but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.
Now Phoebe, in her midnight reign Dark muffled, view'd the dreary plain ; Still crowding thoughts, a pensive train,
Rose in my soul, When on my ear this plaintive strain,
Slow, solemn, stole
“ Blow, blow, ye winds, with heavier gust! And freeze, thou bitter-biting frost! Descend, ye chilly, smothering snows! Not all your rage, as now united, shows More hard unkindness, unrelenting,
Vengeful malice, unrepenting, Than heaven illumined man on brother man be
O life! thou art a galling load,
To wretches such as I!
What sickening scenes appear!
Must be my bitter doom;
But with the closing tomb !
No other view regard !
They bring their own reward: Whilst I, a hope-abandon'd wight,
Unfitted with an aim,
Forget each grief and pain :
Find every prospect vain.
See stern oppression's iron grip,
Or mad ambition's gory hand,
Wo, want, and murder, o'er a land!
Truth, weeping, tells the mournful tale,
The parasite empoisoning her ear,
With all the servile wretches in the rear,
Whose toil upholds the glittering show,
Some coarser substance, unrefined,
Where, where is love's fond, tender throe,
The powers you proudly own?
To bless himself alone?
To love-pretending snares,
Shunning soft pity's rising sway,
Perhaps, this hour, in misery's squalid nest,
She strains your infant to her joyless breast,
Whom friends and fortune quite disown!
Stretch'd on his straw he lays himself to sleep,
Chill o'er his slumbers piles the drifty heap!
By cruel fortune's undeserved blow?
I heard nae mair, for chanticleer
Shook off the pouthery snaw,
A cottage-rousing craw.
Through all his works abroad,
The most resembles Go
Within his humble cell,
Beside his crystal well!
By unfrequented stream,
His thoughts to heaven on high, As wandering, meandering,
He views the solemn sky.
Less fit to play the part ;
With self-respecting art:
Which I too keenly taste,
Or human love or hate,
At perfidy ingrate!
I. OPPRESS'D with grief, oppress’d with care, A burden more than I can bear, I sit me down and sigh:
V. 0! enviable, early days, When dancing thoughtless pleasure's mazo,
To care, to guilt unknown!
Ye tiny elves that guiltless sport,
Like linnets in the bush,
That active man engage !
Of dim-declining age.
And hail and rain does blaw;
The blinding sleet and snaw:
And roars frae bank to brae;
The joyless winter day,
Than all the pride of May:
My griefs it seems to join,
These woes of mine fulfil,
Because they are thy will!
This one request of mine !)
Assist me to resign.
The shortening winter day is near a close ;
The blackening trains o’craws to their repose : The toil-worn cotter frae his labour goes,
This night his weekly moil is at an end, Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes,
Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend, And weary,
o'er the moor, his course does hameward bend.
Beneath the shelter of an aged tree;
To meet their dad, wi’ flichterin noise an'glee. His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonnily,
His clean hearth-stane, his thrifty wifie's smile,
Does a' his weary, carking cares beguile,
At service out, amang the farmers roun':
A cannie errand to a neebor town:
In youthfu' bloom, love sparkling in her e'e,
Or deposit her sair-won penny-fee,
An' each for others' wcelfare kindly spiers:
Each tells the uncos that he sees or hears ; The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years;
Anticipation forward points the view. The mother, wi' her needle an' her sheers,
Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new The father mixes a' wi' admonition due.
Their master's an' their mistress's command,
The younkers a’are warned to obey ; THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT.
" An' mind their labours wi' an eydent hand, INSCRIBED TO R. A****, ESQ.
An'ne'er, though out o'sight, to jauk or play:
An' 0! be sure to fear the Lord alway!
An' mind your duty, duly, morn an' night! Nor grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile,
Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray,
Implore his counsel and assisting might:
GRAY. They never sought in vain that sought the Lord
1. My loved, my honour'd, much respected friend!
VII. No mercenary bard his homage pays ;
But hark ! a rap comes gently to the door ; With honest pride I scorn each selfish end;
Jenny, wha kens the meaning of the same, My dearest meed a friend's esteem and praise ; Tells how a neebor lad cam o'er the moor, To you I sing, in simple Scottish lays,
To do some errands, and convoy her hame. The lowly train in life's sequester'd scene ; The wily mother sees the conscious flame The native feelings strong, the guileless ways: Sparkle in Jenny's e'e, and flush her cheek;
What A**** in a cottage would have been ; With heart-struck, anxious care, inquires his Ah! though his worth unknown, far happier there,
name, I ween.
While Jenny hafflins is afraid to speak;
Weel pleased the mother hears, it's nae wild, * Dr. Young,
A strappan youth; he taks the mother's eye; How Abram was the friend of God on high ;
With Amalek's ungracious progeny ;
But blathe and laithfu', scarce can weel behave; Beneath the stroke of Heaven's avenging ire; The mother, wi’a woman's wiles, can spy Or, Job's pathetic plaint, and wailing cry ;
What makes the youth sae bashfu'an'sae grave; Or rapt Isaiah's wild, seraphic fire ;
Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme, 0 happy love! where love like this is found !
How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed; O heartfelt raptures ! bliss beyond compare !
How He, who bore in heaven the second name, I've paced much this weary mortal round,
Had not on earth whereon to lay his head: And sage experience bids me this declare
How his first followers and servants sped; * If heaven a draught of heavenly pleasure spare,
The precepts sage they wrote to many a land: One cordial in this melancholy vale,
How he, who lone in Patmos banished, 'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair,
Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand ; In other's arms breathe out the tender tale,
And heard great Babylon's doom pronounced by Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the even
Then kneeling down, to Heaven's Eternal King, Is there, in human form, that bears a heart
The saint, the father, and the husband prays : A wretch! a villain ! lost to love and truth!
Hope " springs exulting on triumphant wing,”* That can, with studied, sly, insnaring art,
That thus they all shall meet in future days : Betray sweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth?
There ever bask in uncreated rays, Curse on his perjured arts ! dissembling smooth!
No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear, Are honour, virtue, conscience, all exiled ?
Together hymning their Creator's praise, Is there po pity, no relenting truth,
In such society, yet still more dear ; [sphere. Points to the parents fondling o'er their child? While circling time moves round in an eternal Then paints the ruind maid, and their distraction
Compared with this, how poor religion's pride, But now the supper crowns their simple board,
In all the pomp of method, and of art, The halesome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food :
When men display, to congregations wide, The soupe their only hawkie does afford,
Devotion's every grace, except the heart! That 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood :
The Power, incensed, the pageant will desert, The dame brings forth in complimental mood,
The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole ;
But haply, in some cottage far apart,
May hear, well pleased, the language of the soul;
And in his book of life the inmates poor enrol. The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell, How 'twas a towmond auld, sin' lint was i' the bell.
Then homeward all take off their several way; XII.
The yougling cottagers retire to rest : The cheerfu' supper done, wi’ serious face, The parent pair their secret homage pay, They round the ingle form a circle wide ;
And proffer up to Heaven the warm request The sire turns o’er, wi' patriarchal grace,
That He who stills the raven's clamorous nest, The big ha’ Bible, ance his father's pride : And decks the lily fair in flowery pride, His bonnet reverently is laid aside,
Would, in the way his wisdom sees the best, His lyart haffets wearing thin an' bare ;
For them and for their little ones provide; Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide, But chiefly, in their hearts with grace divine preside. He wales a portion with judicious care ;
XIX. And " Let us worship God !” he says, with solemn
From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur air. XIII.
That makes her loved at home, revered abroad: They chant their artless notes in simple guise ;
Princes and lords are but the breath of kings, They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim:
* An honest man's the noblest work of God:" Perhaps Dundee's wild warbling measures rise,
And certes, in fair virtue's heavenly road, Of plaintive Martyrs, worthy of the name:
The cottage leaves the palace far behind ; Or noble Elgin beets the heavenward flame,
What is a lordling's pomp? a cumbrous load, The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays :
Disguising oft the wretch of human kind, Compared with these, Italian trills are tame;
Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refined ! The tickled ears no heartfelt raptures raise ; Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise.
* Pope's Windsor Forest.
For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent !
content ! And o may Heaven their simple lives prevent
From luxury's contagion, weak and vile ! Then, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent,
A virtuous populace may rise the while, And stand a wall of fire around their much loved isle.
XXI. 0 Thou ! who pour'd the patriotic tide
That stream'd through Wallace's undaunted
Who dared to nobly stem tyrannic pride,
Or nobly die, the second glorious part, (The patriot's God, peculiarly thou art,
His friend, inspirer, guardian, and reward!) O never, never, Scotia's realm desert :
But still the patriot, and the patriot bard, In bright succession raise, her ornament and guard !
V. “ Look not alone on youthful prime,
Or manhood's active might;
Supported is his right:
With cares and sorrows worn,
In pleasure's lap carest;
Are likewise truly blest.
Are wretched and forlorn ;
Inwoven with our frame !
whose heaven-erected face
So abject, mean, and vile, Who begs a brother of the earth
To give him leave to toil; And see his lordly fellow worm
The poor petition spurn, Unmindful, though a weeping wife
And helpless offspring mourn.
MAN WAS MADE TO MOURN.
Made fields and forests bare,
Along the banks of Ayr,
Seem'd weary, worn with care ;
II. “ Young stranger, whither wanderest thou ?”
Began the reverend sage;
Or youthful pleasure's rage ;
Too soon thou hast began
Out-spreading far and wide, Where hundreds labour to support
A haughty lordling's pride ;
Twice forty times return;
How prodigal of time! Mispending all thy precious hours,
Thy glorious youthful prime!
Licentious passions burn ;
That man was moade to mourn.
“ If I'm design'd yon lordling's slave,
By nature's law design'd, Why was an independent wish
E’er planted in my mind ?
His cruelty or scorn ?
Disturb thy youthful breast :
Is surely not the last !
Had never, sure, been born,
XI. “O death! the poor man's dearest friend,
The kindest and the best! Welcome the hour my aged limbs
Are laid with thee at rest! The great, the wealthy, fear thy blow,
From pomp and pleasure torn; But 0! a bless'd relief to those
That weary-laden mourn!"