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Plea of an English Pauper Woman.

Ay, Idleness! the rich folks never fail To find some reason why the poor deserve Their miseries !- Is it Idleness I pray you, That brings the fever or the ague fit? That makes the sick one's sickly appetite Turn at the dry bread and potato meal? Is it idleness that makes small wages fail For growing wants ? Six years ago, these bells Rung on my wedding-day, and I was told What I might look for, - but I did not heed Good counsel. I had lived in service, Sir, Knew never what it was to want a meal: Laid down without one thought to keep me sleepless, Or trouble me in sleep; had for a Sunday My linen gown, and when the pedlar came Could buy me a new ribbon. And my husband, A towardly young man and well to do. He had his silver buckles and his watch; There was not in the village one who looked Sprucer on holidays. We married, Sir, And we had children, but as wants increased Wages did not. The silver buckles went, So went the watch; and when the holiday coat Was worn to work, no new one in its place.

- you see my rags! but I deserve them, For wilfully, like this new married pair, I went to my undoing. — A blessed prospect, To slave while there is strength, in age the workhouse, A parish shell at last, and the little bell Tolled hastily for a pauper's funeral !

For me

ROBERT BURNS

(1759–1796.)

To MARY IN HEAVEN.

Thou lingering star, with lessening ray,

That lov'st to greet the early morn, Again thou usher'st in the day

My Mary from my soul was torn.

O Mary! dear departed shade!

Where is thy place of blissful rest? Seest thou thy lover lowly laid ?

Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast?

That sacred hour can I forget,

Can I forget the hallowed grove, Where by the winding Ayr we met,

To live one day of parting love!

Eternity will not efface

Those records dear of transports past ; Thy image at our last embrace;

Ah! little thought we ’t was our last !

Ayr gurgling kissed his pebbled shore,

O’erhung with wild woods, thickening, green, The fragrant birch, and hawthorn hoar, Twined amorous round the raptured scene.

The flowers sprang wanton to be pressed,

The birds sang love on every spray, Till too, too soon, the glowing west

Proclaimed the speed of winged day.

Still o'er these scenes my memory wakes,

And fondly broods with miser care! Time but the impression deeper makes,

As streams their channels deeper wear.

My Mary, dear departed shade!

Where is thy blissful place of rest? Seest thou thy lover lowly laid ?

Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast?

THOMAS CAMPBELL.

(1777-still living.)

THE SOLDIER'S DREAM.

OUR bugles sang truce— for the night cloud had lowered,

And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky; And thousands had sunk on the ground overpowered,

The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die. When reposing that night on my pallet of straw,

By the wolf-scaring fagot that guarded the slain; At the dead of the night a sweet vision I saw,

And thrice ere the morning I dreamt it again. Methought from the battle-field's dreadful array,

Far, far I had roamed on a desolate track; 'Twas autumn - and sunshine arose on the way

To the home of my fathers, that welcomed me back.

I flew to the pieasant fields traversed so oft

In life's morning march, when my bosom was young ; I heard my own mountain-goats bleating aloft,

And knew the sweet strain that the corn-reapers sung.

Then pledged we the wine-cup, and fondly I swore

From my home and my weeping friends never to part; My little ones kissed me a thousand times o'er,

And my wife sobbed aloud in her fullness of heart.

Stay, stay with us — rest, thou art weary and worn:

And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay; But sorrow returned with the dawning of morn, And the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.

SIR WALTER SCOTT.

(1771-1832.)

BATTLE OF FLODDEN.

“But see! look up-on Flodden bent,
The Scottish foe has fired his tent.”

And sudden as he spoke,
From the sharp ridges of the hill,
All downward to the banks of Till,

Was wreathed in sable smoke;
Volumed and vast, and rolling far,
The cloud enveloped Scotland's war,

As down the hill they broke ;
Nor martial shout, nor minstrel tone,
Announced their march; their tread alone,
At times one warning trumpet blown,

At times a stifled hum,
Told England, from his mountain-throne

King James did rushing come.
Scarce could they hear or see their foes,
Until at weapon point they close.
They close in clouds of smoke and dust,
With sword-sway and with lance's thrust;

And such a yell was there,
Of sudden and portentous birth,
As if men fought upon the earth,
And fiends in upper air.

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