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Ye tiny elves that guiltless sport,
Like linnets in the bush,
Ye little know the ills ye court, When manhood is your wish. The losses, the crosses, That active man engage ! The fears all, the tears all, Of dim-declining age.
THE wintry west extends his blast,
And hail and rain does blaw;
Or, the stormy north sends driving forth
The blinding sleet and snaw:
While tumbling brown, the burn comes down,
And roars frae bank to brae;
And bird and beast in covert rest,
"The sweeping blast, the sky o'ercast,"* The joyless winter day,
Let others fear, to me more dear
Than all the pride of May:
The tempest's howl, it soothes my soul,
Thou Power Supreme, whose mighty scheme These woes of mine fulfil,
Here, firm, I rest, they must be best,
Because they are thy will!
Then all I want, (0, do thou grant
This one request of mine!) Since to enjoy thou dost deny, Assist me to resign.
THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT.
Let not ambition mock their useful toil,
My loved, my honour'd, much respected friend!
The lowly train in life's sequester'd scene; The native feelings strong, the guileless ways: What A**** in a cottage would have been; Ah! though his worth unknown, far happier there, I ween.
* Dr. Young.
November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh;
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.
At length his lonely cot appears in view,
Th' expectant wee things, toddlin, stacher through
His clean hearth-stane, his thrifty wifie's smile, The lisping infant prattling on his knee,
Does a' his weary, carking cares beguile, An' makes him quite forget his labour an' his toil.
Belyve the elder bairns come drapping in,
At service out, amang the farmers roun': Some ca' the pleugh, some herd, some tentie rin A cannie errand to a neebor town: Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman grown,
In youthfu' bloom, love sparkling in her e'e, Comes hame, perhaps, to show a braw new gown, Or deposit her sair-won penny-fee,
To help her parents dear, if they in hardship be. V.
Wi' joy unfeign'd, brothers and sisters meet,
An' each for others' weelfare kindly spiers: The social hours, swift-wing'd, unnoticed 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 weel's the new: The father mixes a' wi' admonition due.
Their master's an' their mistress's command,
An' ne'er, though out o' sight, to jauk or play: An' O! be sure to fear the Lord alway!
An' mind your duty, duly, morn an' night! 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 cam 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 pleased the mother hears, it's nae wild, worthless rake.
Wi' kindly welcome Jenny brings him ben;
The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye. The youngster's artless heart o'erflows wi' joy. But blathe 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 pleased to think her bairn's respected like the lave.
O happy love! where love like this is found! O heartfelt 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 other's arms breathe out the tender tale, Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the evening gale."
Is there, in human form, that bears a heart-
That can, with studied, sly, insnaring art,
Betray sweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth? Curse on his perjured arts! dissembling smooth! Are honour, virtue, conscience, all exiled? Is there no pity, no relenting truth,
Points to the parents fondling o'er their child? Then paints the ruin'd maid, and their distraction wild?
But now the supper crowns their simple board, The halesome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food: The soupe their only hawkie does afford,
That 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood: The dame brings forth in complimental mood,
To grace the lad, her weel-hain'd kebbuck, fell, An' aft he's prest, an' aft he ca's it guid;
The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell, How 'twas a towmond auld, sin' lint was i' the bell.
The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face,
His lyart haffets wearing thin an' bare;
They chant their artless notes in simple guise;
The tickled ears no heartfelt 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;
Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme,
The precepts sage they wrote to many a land: How he, who lone in Patmos banished,
Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand; And heard great Babylon's doom pronounced by
Then kneeling down, to Heaven's Eternal King, The saint, the father, and the husband prays: Hope" springs exulting on triumphant wing,"* That thus they all shall meet in future days: There ever bask in uncreated rays,
No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear, Together hymning their Creator's praise,
In such society, yet still more dear; [sphere. While circling time moves round in an eternal
Compared with this, how poor religion's pride,
Devotion's every grace, except the heart! The Power, incensed, the pageant will desert, 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.
Then homeward all take off their several way;
And proffer up to Heaven the warm request That He who stills the raven's clamorous nest, And decks the lily fair in flowery pride, Would, in the way his wisdom sees the best,
For them and for their little ones provide; But chiefly, in their hearts with grace divine preside. XIX.
From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs,
That makes her loved at home, revered abroad: Princes and lords are but the breath of kings, "An honest man's the noblest work of God:" And certes, in fair virtue's heavenly road,
The cottage leaves the palace far behind; What is a lordling's pomp? a cumbrous load, Disguising oft the wretch of human kind, Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refined!
Pope's Windsor Forest.
A PRAYER IN THE PROSPECT OF DEATH. LYING AT A REVEREND FRIEND'S HOUSE ONE NIGHT, THE
O THOU unknown, Almighty Cause
In whose dread presence, ere an hour,
If I have wander'd in those paths Of life I ought to shun,
As something, loudly, in my breast, Remonstrates I have done;
Thou know'st that thou hast formed me
Where human weakness has come short, Or frailty stept aside,
Do thou, All-Good! for such thou art, In shades of darkness hide.
Where with intention I have err'd,
No other plea I have,
But thou art good; and goodness still Delighteth to forgive.
STANZAS ON THE SAME OCCASION.
WHY am I loath to leave this earthly scene? Have I so found it full of pleasing charms? Some drops of joy with draughts of ill between : Some gleams of sunshine 'mid renewing storms: Is it departing pangs my soul alarms?
Or death's unlovely, dreary, dark abode?
And justly smart beneath his sin-avenging rod.
Again exalt the brute and sink the man;
O thou, great Governor of all below!
To rule their torrent in th' allowed line;
THE FOLLOWING VERSES
IN THE ROOM WHERE HE SLEPT.
O THOU dread Power, who reign'st above!
The hoary sire-the mortal stroke,
She, who her lovely offspring eyes
Their hope, their stay, their darling youth,
The beauteous, seraph sister band,
With earnest tears I pray,
Thou know'st the snares on every hand, Guide thou their steps alway!
When soon or late they reach that coast,
THE FIRST PSALM.
THE man, in life wherever placed,
Still walks before his God.
That man shall flourish like the trees
But he whose blossom buds in guilt
For why? that God the good adore
Hath given them peace and rest, But hath decreed that wicked men Shall ne'er be truly blest.
UNDER THE PRESSURE OF VIOLENT ANGUISH.
O THOU Great Being! what thou art
Yet sure I am, that known to thee
Thy creature here before thee stands,
All wretched and distrest;
Yet sure those ills that wring my soul,
Obey thy high behest.
Sure thou, Almighty, canst not act
From cruelty or wrath!
O free my weary eyes from tears,
But if I must afflicted be,
To suit some wise design;
Then man my soul with firm resolves
THE FIRST SIX VERSES OF THE NINE-
O THOU, the first, the greatest Friend
Whose strong right hand has ever been
Their stay and dwelling place!
That power which raised and still upholds
From countless, unbeginning time
Was ever still the same.
Those mighty periods of years
Which seem to us so vast,
Appear no more before thy sight
Than yesterday that's past.
Thou givest the word: Thy creature, man,
Thou layest them, with all their cares,
As with a flood thou takest them off
They flourish like the morning flower,
But long ere night cut down it lies
TO RUIN. I.
ALL hail! inexorable lord!
At whose destruction-breathing word,
The mightiest empires fall! Thy cruel wo-delighted train, The ministers of grief and pain,
A sullen welcome, all! With stern-resolved, despairing eye, I see each aimed dart;
For one has cut my dearest tie,
And quivers in my heart.