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A PRAYER IN THE PROSPECT OF DEATH. LYING AT A REVEREND FRIEND'S HOUSE ONE NIGHT, THE
THE FOLLOWING VERSES
IN THE ROOM WHERE HE SLEPT.
O thou dread Power, who reign'st above!
I know thou wilt me hear:
When for this scene of peace and love,
I make my prayer sincere.
The hoary sire-the mortal stroke,
Long, long be pleased to spare !
To bless his little filial flock,
And show what good men are.
She, who her lovely offspring eyes
With tender hopes and fears,
O bless her with a mother's joys,
But spare a mother's tears !
Their hope, their stay, their darling youth,
In manhood's dawning blush ;
Bless him, thou God of love and truth,
Up to a parent's wish !
The beauteous, seraph sister band,
With earnest tears I pray,
Guide thou their steps alway!
STANZAS ON THE SAME OCCASION.
O’er life's rough ocean driven,
A family in heaven!
THE FIRST PSALM.
Wwy 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?
I tremble to approach an angry God,
Fain promise never more to disobey ;
Again I might desert fair virtue's way;
Again exalt the brute and sink the man; Then how should I for heavenly mercy pray,
Who act so counter heavenly mercy's plan? Who sin so oft have mourn'd, yet to temptation
If I may dare a lifted eye to thee,
Or still the tumult of the raging sea :
Those headlong, furious passions to confine ;
To rule their torrent in th' allowed line; O aid me with thy help, Omnipotence Divine !
The man, in life wherever placed,
Hath happiness in store,
Nor learns their guilty lore!
Casts forth his eyes abroad,
Still walks before his God.
That man shall flourish like the trees
Which by the streamlets grow;
And firm the root below.
Shall to the ground be cast,
Before the sweeping blast.
Hath given them peace and rest,
Shall ne'er be truly blest.
Alas! it's no thy neebor sweet, The bonnie lark, companion meet ! Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet!
The purpling east.
Amid the storm,
Thy tender form. The flaunting flowers our gardens yield, High sheltering woods and wa's maun shield, But thou beneath the random bield
O'clod or stane, Adorns the histie stibble-field,
Unseen, alane. There, in thy scanty mantle clad, Thy snawy bosom sun-ward spread, Thou lifts thy unassuming head
In humble guise ;
And low thou lies !
And guileless trust,
Low i' the dust.
Of prudent lore,
And whelm him o'er! Such fate of suffering worth is given, Who long with wants and woes has striven, By human pride or cunning driven,
To misery's brink, Till wrench'd of every stay but Heaven,
He, ruin'd, sink ! E'en thou who mourn'st the daisy's fate That fate is thine-no distant date; Stern ruin's ploughshare drives, elate,
Full on thy bloom, Till crush'd beneath the furrow's weight
Shall be thy doom !
UNDER THE PRESSURE OF VIOLENT ANGUISH.
Surpasses me to know:
Are all thy works below.
All wretched and distrest;
Obey thy high behest.
From cruelty or wrath!
Or close them fast in death!
To suit some wise design;
To bear and not repine !
THE FIRST SIX VERSES OF THE NINE
Of all the human race !
Their stay and dwelling place!
Beneath thy forming hand,
Arose at thy command :
which raised and still upholds
Was ever still the same.
Which seem to us so vast,
Than yesterday that's past.
Is to existence brought :
Return ye into naught!”
In everlasting sleep;
With overwhelming sweep.
In beauty's pride array'd ;
All wither'd and decay'd.
TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY,
Thy slender stem ;
Thou bonnie gem.
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 !
I see each aimed dart;
And quivers in my heart.
Then lowering, and pouring,
The storm no more I dread; Though thickening and blackening Round my devoted head.
II. And, thou grim power, by life abhorr'd, While life a pleasure can afford,
0! hear a wretch's prayer !
To close this scene of care !
Resign life's joyless day;
To stain my lifeless face;
Within thy cold embrace !
TO MISS L-,
JANUARY 1, 1787.
Their annual round have driven,
Are so much nearer heaven.
The real, harden'd wicked,
Are to a few restricked :
An’ little to be trusted;
Their fate we should nae censure, For still th' important end of life
They equally may answer ;
Though poortith hourly stare him ;
When wi' a bosom crony;
Ye scarcely tell to ony.
Frae critical dissection ;
Luxuriantly indulge it;
Though naething should divulge it! I wave the quantum o' the sin,
The lazard of concealing; But och! it hardens a' within, And petrifies the feeling!
VII. To catch dame Fortune's golden smilo,
Assiduous wait upon her ; And gather gear by every wile
That's justified by honour ; Not for to hide it in a hedge,
Not for a train-attendant; But for the glorious privilege
Of being independent.
No gifts have I from Indian coasts
The infant year to bail ;
In Edwin's simple tale.
Is charged, perhaps, too true ; But may, dear maid, each lover prove
An Edwin still to you !
EPISTLE TO A YOUNG FRIEND.
I. I LANG hae thought, my youthfu' friend,
A something to have sent you,
Than just a kind memento;
Let time and chance determine ;
And, Andrew dear, believe me,
And muckle they may grieve ye. For care and trouble set your thought,
E'en when your end's attained ; And a' your views may come to naught,
Where every nerve is strained.
VIII. The fear o'hell's a hangman's whip,
To haud the wretch in order ; But where ye feel your honour grip,
Let that aye be your border ; Its slightest touches, instant pause-
Debar a' side pretences ;
Must sure become the creature; But still the preaching cant forbear,
And e'en the rigid feature; Yet ne'er with wits profane to range,
Be complaisance extended; An atheist's laugh's a poor exchango
For Deity offended !
X. When ranting round in pleasure's ring,
Religion may be blinded; Or if she gie a random sting,
It may be little minded;
A conscience but a canker
Is sure a noble anchor !
Your heart can ne'er be wanting:
Erect your brow undaunting!
Still daily to grow wiser:
Than ever did th' adviser.
Wi’ his proud, independent stomach
Could ill agree; So row't his hurdies in a hammock,
An' owre the sea.
He dealt it free:
That's owre the sea.
And fu' o' glee; He wad na wrang'a the vera diel,
That's owre the sea. Fareweel, my rhyme-composing billie ! Your native soil was right ill-willie; But may ye flourish like a lily,
Now bonnilie! I'll toast ye in my hindmost gillie,
Though owre the sea,
ON A SCOTCH BARD GONE TO THE WEST
TO A HAGGIS.
A'YE wha live by soups o' drink,
Come mourn wi' me !
An' owre the sea. Lament him, a' ye rantin core, Wha dearly like a random-splore, Nae mair he'll join the merry-roar,
In social key; Por now he's ta'en anither shore,
An’owre the sea.
Wi' tearfu' e'e ;
That's owre the sea.
'Twad been nae plea ; But he was gleg as ony wumble,
That's owre the sea. Auld, cantie Kyle may weepers wear, An' stain them wi' the saut, saut tear; 'Twill mak her poor auld heart, I fear,
In flinders flee;
That's owre the sea.
Ill may she be !
An' owre the sea. To tremble under fortune's cummock, On scarce a bellyfu'o' drummock,
FAIR fa' your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o' the puddin race ! Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm: Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm.
In time o' need,
Like amber bead.
Like opie ditch;
Warm-reekin, rich ! Then horn for horn they stretch an'strive, Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive, Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums'; Then auld guidman, maist like to ryve,
Is there that o'er his French ragout, Or olio that would staw a sow, Or fricasee wad make her spew
Wi' perfect sconner, Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner? Poor devil! see him owre his trash, As feckless as a wither'd rash, His 'spindle shank a guid whip lash,
His nieve a nit; Through bloody flood or field to dagh,
O how unfit!
Learn three-mile prayers, and half-mile
graces, Wi' weel-spread looves, an'lang wry faces ; Grunt up a solemn, lengthen'd groan, And damn a' parties but your own; I'll warrant then, ye’re nae deceiver, A steady, sturdy, staunch believer.
EXPECT na, sir, in this narration,
This may do-maun do, sir, wi' them wha
The poet, some guid angel help him, Or else, I fear, some ill ane skelp him, He may do weel for a’ he's done yet, But only he's no just begun yet.
0 ye wha leave the springs of C-lv-n,
Your pardon, sir, for this digression,
So, sir, ye see 'twas nae daft vapour,
Then patronize them wi’ your favour,
The patron, (sir, ye maun forgie me, I winna lie, come what will o' me,) On every hand it will allow'd be, He's just-nae better than he should be.
I readily and freely grant, He downa see a poor man want; What's no his ain he winna tak it, What ance he says, he winna break it; Aught he can lend he'll no refuse't, Till aft his guidness is abused : And rascals whyles that do him wrang, E’en that, he does na mind it lang: As master, landlord, husband, father, He does na fail his part in either.
But then, na thanks to him for a' that; Nae godly symptom ye can ca' that; It's naething but a milder feature Of our poor, sinfu', corrupt nature ! Ye'll get the best o’ moral works "Mang black Gentoos and pagan Turks. Or hunters wild on Ponotaxi, Wha never heard of orthodoxy. That he's the poor man's friend in need, The gentleman in word and deed,
“May ne'er misfortune's gowling bark Howl through the dwelling o' the clerk! May ne'er his generous, honest heart, For that same generous spirit smart! May K******'s far honour'd name Lang beet his hymeneal flame, Till H*******s, at least a dizen, Are frae their nuptial labours risen : Five bonnie lasses round their table, And seven braw fellows, stout an' able