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XXIII. He marches through amang the stacks,
They hoy't out Will, wi' sair advice : Though he was something sturtin ;
They hecht him some fine braw ane; The graip he for a harrow taks,
It chanced the stack he faddom'd thrice," An'haurls at his curpin :
Was timmer propt for thrawin: An' every now an' then he says,
He taks á swirlie, auld moss-oak, “Hemp-seed, I saw thee,
For some black, grousome carlin ;
An' loot a winze, an' drew a stroke,
Till skin in blypes came haurlin
Aff's nieves that night.
A wanton widow Leezie was,
As canty as a kittlen;
But och! that night, amang the shaws, He was sae fley'd an eerie :
She got a fearfu' settlin ! Till presently he hears a squeak,
She through the whins, an' by the cairn, An' then a grane an' gruntle ;
An' owre the hill gaed scrievin, He by his shouther gae a keek,
Whare three lairds' lands met at a burnt
To dip her left sark sleeve in,
Was bent that night.
XXV. He roar'd a horrid murder-shout,
* Whyles owre a linn the burnie plays, In dreadfu' desperation !
As through the glen it wimplet:
Whyles round a rocky scar it strays ;
Whyles in a wiel it dimplet;
Whyles glitter'd to the nightly rays,
Wi' bickering, dancing dazzle ;
Whyles cookit underneath the braes,
Below the spreading hazel,
Unseen that night.
Amang the brachens, on the brae,
Between her an' the moon,
The deil, or else an outler quey,
Gat up an' gae a croon:
Poor Leezie's heart mais lap the hool;
Neer lav'rock height she jumpit,
But mist a fit, an' in the pool
Out-owre the lugs she plumpit,
Wi'a plunge that night.
In order, on the clean hearth-stane,
The luggies threef are ranged,
* Take an opportunity of going, unnoticed, to a Bear
stack, and fathom it three times round. The last fathom A ratton rattled up the wa',
of the last time, you will catch in your arms the appearAn' she cried L-d preserve her,
ance of your future conjugal yoke-fellow. An' ran through midden-hole an'a',
You go out, one or more, for this is a social spell, to An' pray'd wi' zeal an' fervour,
a south running spring or rivulet, where “ three lairds' Fu’fast that night.
lands meet,” and dip your left shirt sleeve. Go to bed in sight of a fire, and hang your wet sleeve before it to
dry. Lie awake; and some time near midnight, an appa* This charm must likewise be performed unperceived, rition, having the exact figure of the grand object in ques. and alone. You go to the barn, and open both doors, tion, will come and turn the sleeve, as if to dry the other laking them off the hinges, if possible; for there is danger side of it. that the being, about to appear, may shut the doors, and Take three dishes; put clean water in one, foul do you some mischief. Then take that instrument used water in another, leave the third empty: blindfold a in winnowing the corn, which, in our country dialect, person, and lead him to the hearth where the dishes are we call a wecht; and go through all the attitudes of letting ranged: he or she) dips the left hand: if by chance in down corn against the wind. Repeat it three times; and the clean water, the future husband or wife will come to the third time an apparition will pass through the barn, the bar of matrimony a maid ; if in the foul, a widow; if in at the windy door, and out at the other, having both in the empty dish, it foretells, with equal certainty, no the figure in question, and the appearance or retinue, marriage at all. It is repeated three times, and every marking the employment or station in life.
time the arrangement of the dishes is altered
Though now ye dow but hoyte an' hobble An' wintle like a saumont-coble, That day ye was a jinker noble
For heels an' win'! An’ran them till they a' did wauble,
Far, far behin.
And every time great care is ta’en,
To see them duly changed :
Sin Mar's year did desire,
In wrath that night.
I wat they dinna weary ;
Their sports were cheap an' cheery, Till butter'd so'ns,* wi’ fragrant lunt,
Set a' their gabs a-steerin; Syne, wi'a social glass o' strunt, They parted aff careerin
Fu' blythe that night.
When thou an' I were young an' skeigh, An' stable-meals at fairs were dreigh, How thou wad prance, an' snore, an' skreigh,
An' tak the road! Town's bodies ran, and stood abeigh,
An'ca't thee mad.
When thou was corn't, an' I was mellow, We took the road aye like a swallow : At brooses thou had ne'er a fellow,
For pith an' speed: But every tail thou pay't them hollow,
Where'er thou gaed.
THE AULD FARMER'S NEW-YEAR MORN
ING SALUTATION TO HIS AULD MARE
ON GIVING HER ACCUSTOMED RIPP OF CORN TO
HANSEL IN THE NEW-YEAR.
The sma’, droop-rumpl't, hunter cattle, Might aiblins waur't thee for a brattle ; But sax Scotch miles thou try't their mettle,
An' gar't them whaizle : Nae whip nor spur, but just a wattle
O'saugh or hazel.
On guid March weather, Hae turn'd sax rood beside our han',
For days thegither. Thou never braindg't, an' fetch't, an’ Aiskit, But thy auld tail thou wad hae whiskit, An' spread abreed thy weel-fill'd brisket,
Wi' pith, an' pow'r, Till spritty knowes wad rair't and risket,
A GUID new-year I wish thee, Maggie! Hae, there's a rip to thy auld baggie : Though thou's howe-backit, now, an' knaggie,
I've seen the day,
Out-owre the lay.
A bonnie gray :
Ance in a day.
As e'er tread yird ;
Like ony bird.
An' fifty mark;
An' thou was stark. When first I gaed to woo my Jenny, Ye then was trottin wi' your minnie: Though ye was trickie, slee, an' funnie,
Ye ne'er was donsie ;
An' unco sopsie.
Wi' maiden air!
For sic a pair. • Sowens, with butter instead of milk to them, is al. ways the Halloween supper.
When frosts lay lang, an’snows were deep, An' threaten'd labour back to keep, I gied thy cog a wee-bit heap
Aboon the timmer;
For that, or simmer.
Then stood to blaw;
Thou snoov't awa.
My pleugh is now thy bairn-time a': Four gallant brutes as e'er did draw: Forbye sax mae, I've sell't awa.
That thou hast nurst: They drew me thretteen pund an' twa,
The vera warst. Monie a sair daurk we twa hae wrought, An' wi' the weary warl' fought! And monie an anxious day, I thought
We wad be beat! Yet here to crazy age we're brought,
Wi' something yet.
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 !
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, How pamper'd luxury, flattery by her side,
The parasite empoisoning her ear,
With all the servile wretches in the rear, Looks o'er proud property, extended wide ; And eyes the simple rustic hind,
Whose toil upholds the glittering show, A creature of another kind,
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, This boasted honour turns away,
Shunning soft pity's rising sway, Regardless of the tears, and unavailing prayers !
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, While through the ragged roof and chinky wall,
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 God.
Happy, ye sons of busy life,
No other view regard!
They bring their own reward:
Unfitted with an aim,
Forget each grief and pain :
Within his humble cell,
Beside his erystal 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,
V. 0! enviable, early days, When dancing thoughtless pleasure's maze,
To care, to guilt unknown!
I. OPPRESS'D with grief, oppress’d with care, A burden more than I can bear, I sit me down and sigh:
Ye tiny elves that guiltless sport,
II. Like linnets in the bush,
November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh ; Ye little know the ills ye court,
The shortening winter day is near a close ; When manhood is your wish.
The miry beasts retreating frae the pleugh, The losses, the crosses,
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
At length his lonely cot appears in view,
Beneath the shelter of an aged tree;
Th’expectant wee things, toddlin, stacher through The wintry west extends his blast,
To meet their dad, wi’ flichterin noise an'glee. And hail and rain does blaw;
His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonnily, Or, the stormy north sends driving forth
His clean hearth-stane, his thrifty wifie's smile, The blinding sleet and snaw:
The lisping infant prattling on his knee, While tumbling brown, the burn comes down,
Does a' his weary, carking cares beguile, And roars frae bank to brae;
An' makes him quite forget his labour an' his toil. And bird and beast in covert rest, And pass the heartless day.
Belyve the elder bairns come drapping in,
At service out, amang the farmers roun': “ The sweeping blast, the sky o'ercast,"
Some ca’ the pleugh, some herd, some tentie rin The joyless winter day,
A cannie errand to a neebor town: Let others fear, to me more dear
Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman grown, Than all the pride of May:
In youthfu' bloom, love sparkling in her e'e, The tempest's howl, it soothes my soul,
Comes hame, perhaps, to show a braw new gown, My griefs it seems to join,
Or deposit her sair-won penny-fee, The leafless trees my fancy please,
To help her parents dear, if they in hardship be. Their fate resembles mine.
Wi' joy unfeign'd, brothers and sisters meet, Thou Power Supreme, whose mighty scheme An' each for others' wcelfare kindly spiers : These woes of mine fulfil,
The social hours, swift-wing’d, unnoticed fleet; Here, firm, I rest, they must be best,
Each tells the uncos that he sees or hears ; Because they are thy will!
The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years; Then all I want, (0, do thou grant
Anticipation forward points the view. This one request of mine !)
The mother, wi' her needle an' her sheers, Since to enjoy thou dost deny,
Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new: Assist me to resign.
The father mixes a' wi' admonition due.
The younkers a' are warned to obey;
6 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'o! be sure to fear the Lord alway! Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
An' mind your duty, duly, morn an' night!
Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray,
Implore his counsel and assisting might:
GRAY. They never sought in vain that sought the Lord I.
aright!” 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 o' 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.