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Still thou art blest, compared wi' me ! The present only toucheth thee : But, och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear; An' forward, though I canna see,
I guess an' fear.
And think na, my auld trusty servan', That now perhaps thou's less deservin, An' thy auld days may end in starvin,
For my last fou, A heapit stimpart, I'll reserve ane
Laid by for you. We've worn to crazy years thegither ; We'll toyte about wi' ane anither: Wi' tentie care, I'll fit thy tether,
To some hain'd rig, Where ye may nobly rax your leather,
A WINTER'S NIGHT.
Poor, naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
TO A MOUSE.
ON TURNING HER UP IN HER NEST WITH THE
PLOUGH, NOVEMBER, 1785.
WHEN biting Boreas, sell and doure, Sharp shivers through the leafless bower ; When Phæbus gies a short-lived glower
Far south the lift, Dim-darkening through the flaky shower,
Or whirling drift:
WEE, sleekit, cow'rin, timorous beastie, 0, what a panic's in thy breastie ! Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle! I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle!
I'm truly sorry man's dominion Has broken nature's social union, An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which maks thee startle At me, thy poor earth-born companion,
An' fellow mortal.
I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve; What then ? poor beastie, thou maun live! A daimen-icker in a thrave
'Sa sma request; I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
And never miss't!
Listening, the doors an' winnocks rattle, I thought me on the ourie cattle, Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle
O' winter war, And through the drift, deep-lairing sprattle,
Beneath a scar.
Ilk happing bird, wee, helpless thing, That, in the merry months o' spring, Delighted me to hear thee sing,
What comes o' thee? Whare wilt thou cower thy chittering wing,
An' close thy e'e ?
E’en you on murdering errands toil'd, 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.
Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin ! Its silly wa's the winds are strewin! An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green ! An' bleak December's winds ensuin,
Baith snell and keen ! 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, An' lea'e us naught but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.
Now Phæbe, 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 den
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,
The parasite empoisoning her ear,
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, While through the ragged roof and chinky wall,
Chill o'er his slumbers piles the drifty heap!
By cruel fortune's undeserved blow:
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 crystal well!
By unfrequented stream.
His thoughts to heaven on high,
Less fit to play the part;
With self-respecting art:
Which I too keenly taste,
Or human love or hate,
At perfidy ingrate !
I heard nae mair, for chanticleer
Shook off the pouthery snaw, And hail'd the morning with a cheer,
A cottage-rousing craw. But deep this truth impress'd my mind
Through all his works abroad, The heart benevolent and kind
The most resembles God.
I. OPPRESS'd with grief, oppress'd with care, A burden more than I can bear, I sit me down and sigh:
0! enviable, early days,
To care, to guilt unknown!
of others, or my own!
Ye tiny elves that guiltless sport,
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,
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
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. III.
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 ;
"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!
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:
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 sequesterd 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
XIV. Wi' kindly welcome Jenny brings him ben; The priest-like father reads the sacred page,
A strappan youth; he taks the mother's eye; How Abram was the friend of God on high; Blythe Jenny sees the visit's no ill ta'en ;
Or, Moses bade eternal warfare wage The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye. With Amalek's ungracious progeny; The youngster's artless heart o'erflows wi' joy. Or how the royal bard did groaning lie
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 ;
Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme, O 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 no pity, no relenting truth,
In such society, yet still more dear; (sphere. Points to the parents fondling o'er their child ? | While circlino
110. While circling time moves round in an eternal Then paints the ruin'd maid, and their distraction wild?
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,
Devotion's every grace, except the heart! The soupe their only hawkie does afford,
The Power, incensed, the pageant will desert, That 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood :
The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole ; The dame brings forth in complimental mood, To grace the lad, her weel-hain'd kebbuck, fell,
But haply, in some cottage far apart,
May hear, well pleased, the language of the soul; An'aft he's prest, an'aft he ca's it guid;
| 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, Or 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 ( 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.
“ Look not alone on youthful prime,
Or manhood's active might;
Supported is his right:
With cares and sorrows worn,
Show man was made to mourn.
“ A few seem favourites of fate,
In pleasure's lap carest;
Are likewise truly blest.
Are wretched and forlorn ;
VII. “Many and sharp the numerous ills
Inwoven with our frame ! More pointed still we make ourselves,
Regret, remorse, and shame! And man, whose heaven-erected face
The smiles of love adorn, Man's inhumanity to man Makes countless thousands mourn !
VIII. “See yonder poor, o'erlabour'd wight,
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 ;
And hoary was his hair.
“ Young stranger, whither wanderest thou ?”
Began the reverend sage;
Or youthful pleasure's rage;
Too soon thou hast began
Out-spreading far and wide,
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 made to mourn.
" Yet let not this too much, my son,
Disturb thy youthful breast:
Is surely not the last!
Had never, sure, been born,
XI. “death! the poor man's dearest friend,
The kindest and the best!
Are laid with thee at rest!
From pomp and pleasure torn;
That weary-laden mourn !"