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EXTRACTS FROM THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT.
By ROBERT BURNS.
[It is rarely found that eminent genius is united to sober and disereet habits in early life. The author of the beautiful poem which is inserted below, was a striking example of this observation. The father of Robert Burós was a gardener at Ayr in Scotland. He was born in 1759, and received that measure of education which the humblest are generally able to obtain in North Britain. He was distinguished by a vigorous understanding, and an untameable spirit. The first enabled him to reach a high eminence as a poet, whilst the latter plunged him into contipued difficulties and unhappiness in after life. The first appearance of a volume of his poems, printed in his own neighbourhood, excited great curiosity. The simplicity and truth of his rural scenes, and sketches of Scottish peasantry, are the delight and admiration of his readers. On bis appearance at Edinburgh, he was received with the greatest eagerness as a true poet of nature. His hopes of literary success were now raised to their beight; and had he possessed ordinary diseretion, he might have secured hunourable independence. But a dispositioo to gaiety, and the low delights of the bottle, became his ruio ; and he involved an amiable wife and innocent family in the misery which he brought upon himself. He died at Dumfries, 18th July, 1796, in his 38th year, leaving his wife and four sons to the tection of public benevolence.]
November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh ;
The shortning winter-day is néar a close ;
The black’ning trails o' craws to their reposé :
This night his weekly moil is at an end,
Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend,
Beneath the shelter of an aged tree;
To meet their dad, wi' flichterin noise an' glée.
His clean hearth-stane, his thriftie zifie's smile,
Does a' his weary carking cares beguile,
Belyve the elder bairns come drapping in,
At service out, amang the farmers roun' ;
A cannie errand to a neébor towå :
In youthfu' bloom, love sparkling in her e'e,
Or deposite her sair-won penny-fee,
Wi' joy unfeign'd brothers and sisters meet,
An each for other's weelfare kindly spiers : The social hours, swift-wing'd, unnotic'd fleet;
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 weèl'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 ; “An’ mind their labours wi' an eydent hand,
• An’ ne'er, tho' out o' sight, to jauk or play : AnO! be sure to fear the Lord alway!
An' mind your duty, duly, morn an' night! 6 Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray,
Implore his counsel and assisting might: They never sought in vain, that sought the Lord aright! But hark! a rap comes gently to the door ;
Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the same, Tells how a neebor lad çam o'er the moor,
To do some errands, and convoy her hame. The wily mother sees the conscious flame
Sparkle in Jenny's e'e, and flush her cheek: With heart-struck anxious care, inquires his name,
While Jenny hafflins is afraid to speak; Weel pleas’d the mother hears, it's nae wild, worthless rake,
Wi' kindly welcome Jenny brings him ben ;
A strappan youth ; he taks the mother's eye ; Blithe Jenny sees the visit's no ill ta'n ;
The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye. The youngster's artless heart o'erflows wi' joy.
But blate and laithfu' scarce can weel behave, The mother, wi’ a woman's wiles, can spy
What makes the youth sae bashfu' an' sae grave ; Weel pleas'd to think her bairn's respected like the lave.
O happy love! where love like this is found !
O heart-felt raptures! bliss beyond compare ! I've paced much this weary mortal round,
And sage experience bids me this declare -• If Heaven a draught of heavenly pleasure spare,
One cordial in this melancholy vale, « 'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair,
In others arms breathe out the tender tale, • Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the ev’ning gale)
Is there, in human form, that bears a heart
A wretch ! a villain ! lost to love and truth! That can, with studied, sly, ensnaring art,
Betray sweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth ?' Curse on his perjur'd arts ! dissembling smooth!
Are honour, virtue, conscience, all exil'd ?
Points to the parents fondling o'er their child
The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face,
They, round the ingle, form a circle wide; The sire turns o'er, wi' patriarchal grace,
The big ha’-bible, ance his father's pride : His bonnet rev'rently is laid aside,
His lyart haffets wearing thin an' bare ;
He wales a portion with judicious care ;
They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim :
Or plaintive Martyrs, worthy of the name : Or noble Elgin beets the heav'nward flame,
The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays : Compared with these, Italian trills are tame;
The tickld ears no heart-felt raptures raise ; Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise.
The priest-like father reads the sacred page,
How Abram was the friend of God on high; Or, Moses bade eternal warfare wage
With Amalek's ungracious progeny; Or how the royal bard did groaning lie
Beneath the stroke of Heaven's avenging ire ;
Or rapt Isaiah's wild, seraphic fire ;
How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed ;
Had not on earth whereon to lay his head: How his first followers and servants sped ;
The precepts sage they wrote to many a land :
Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand :
Then kneeling down to Heaven's Eternal King,
The saint, the father, and the husband prays :
That thus they all shall meet in future days :
No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear,
In such society, yet still more dear;
Compar'd with this, how poor Religion's pride,
In all the pomp of method, and of art,
Devotion's ev'ry grace, except the heart !
The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole;
May hear, well-pleas'd the language of the soul ;
Then homeward all take off their sev'ral way ;
The youngling cottagers retire to rest :
And proffer up to heaven the warm request
And decks the lily fair in flow'ry pride,
For them and for their little ones provide;
Explanation of some Scotch words in the foregoing Poem. Sugh-continued noise.'
Jauk-to trifle. Flichterin-fluttering.
Haflins-partly. Wee-bitingle--small fire.
Ben-into the room. Blinkin-shining,
Lave--the rest. Capnie-careful.
Ha-bible—the great Bible. Spiers-enquires.
Lyart haffets-grey temples. Uncos-news.
Wales - chooses. Gars-makes.
Monthly Retrospect of Public Affairs.
We alluded in our last Number to the prospect of an immediate General Election. The dissolution of Parliament, as all our Readers know, has taken place; previous to which, according to ancient custom, it was prorogued, or adjourned. The following was the speech of his Majesty's Commissioners on that occasion :
My Lords and Gentlemen, :: We are commanded by his Majesty to inform you, that it is a great disappointment to his Majesty, that on this first and solemn occasión, he is prevented by indisposition from meeting you in person.
It would have been a consolation to his Majesty to give utterance in this place to those feelings with which his Majesty and the nation alike deplore the loss of a sovereign, the common father of all his people.
The King commands us to inform you, that, in determining to call without delay the new Parliament, his Majesty' has been influenced by the consideration of what is most expedient for public business, as well as most conducive to general convenience.'
6 Gentlemen of the House of Commons : We are directed by his Majesty to thank you for the provision which you have made for the several branches of the public service from the commencement of the present year, and during the interval which must elapse before a new Parliament can be assembled.
My Lords and Gentlemen : We are commanded to inform you, that in taking leave of the present Parliament, his Majesty cannot refrain from conveying to you his warmest assurances of the sense which his Majesty entertains of the important services which you have rendered your country.
Deeply as his Majesty lamented that designs and practices such as those which you have been called upon to repress should have existed in this free and happy country, he cannot sufficiently commend the prudence and firmness with which you directed your attention to the means of counteracting them.
"If any doubt had remained as to the nature of those principles by which the peace and happiness of the nation were so seriously menaced, or of the excesses to which they were likely to lead, the flagrant and sanguinary conspiracy which has lately been detected must open the eyes of the most incredulous, and must vindicate to the