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Harp of Renfrewshire, Second Series

Author(s): Various

Text

HARP OF RENFREWSHIRE,
SECOND SERIES.

THE
HARP OF RENFREWSHIRE,
SECOND SERIES:
A COLLECTION OF
Songs and other Poetical Pieces,
(MANY OF WHICH ARE ORIGINAL),
ACCOMPANIED WITH
NOTES,
EXPLANATORY, CRITICAL, AND BIOGRAPHICAL.
Paisley:
ALEX. GARDNER, MOSS STREET.
MDCCCLXXIII.

PREFACE.
THE land of the mountain and the flood may be characterised
as emphatically the land of Poetry. If Scotland has produced
no great dramatic poet like Shakspeare, no great epic poet
like Milton, she can boast of Scott, whose immortal verse has
made her scenery familiar to the inhabitants of the remotest
corners of civilization; and of Burns, whose lyric pieces touch
the hearts of men with a power that no English poet — not even
Shakspeare or Milton — has rivalled. Scottish poetry has features
that are peculiarly its own. Its themes are the natural beauty
that surrounds the people, the occupations that make up the
routine of their daily life, the joys and sorrows that chequer
their experiences. The moral of all Scottish national poetry is,
that no country exists in the wide world with claims upon the
heart's affections equal to those of Caledonia. No land has sons
so brave and free, or daughters so fair and worthy of love.
Every true Scot is at heart a poet, and if he does not breathe in
numbers of his own, he can at least rehearse the strains of others.
Ballad and lyric poetry has a strong hold upon the Scottish
people, and has found many able expositors. Collectors and
commentators have brought skill and industry to bear upon their
work, and we are enriched by the fruits of their labour to an
extent unparalleled elsewhere. Allan Ramsay, Sir Walter Scott,
Motherwell, and a host of other patriotic minstrels, have not only
given to Scotland poems of their own that will never die; they
also caught up from tattered manuscripts, and from old men's
memories, the ballads and songs of remote progenitors that tell us
how they thought, and lived, and laboured. We feel, as no preceding
generation felt, how much we are indebted to these
workers in a field whose importance was not acknowledged in
their time. The value of ballads and songs to the student of history
cannot be over-estimated. In them we have photographed
in contemporary light, the men and manners of the olden time
the occurrences that interested them, the changes wrought upon
them, and how these were brought about. Studying them, old
world facts and beliefs seem clear to us, preserved as the fly
in amber. The result is that old repositories are being ransacked
for treasures of the ballad kind, and "an old song" is no longer
the synonym for what is worthless. More collections of this
class of literature have been given to the world during the last
three or four years than for as many generations preceding them
The English Ballad Society, the Hunterian Club, and many
individual editors and publishers are engaged in this work with
most satisfactory results, and any one who reads Mr. Furnivall's
strictures, based upon contemporary ballads, on Mr. Froude's
History of England in the days of Henry VIII., must feel how
forcible are arguments drawn from such a source.
While all Scotland is the land of poetry, so that every town
and village, and hamlet can boast of its bards; while every nook
and corner of its matchless scenery has been sung by admiring
votaries of the local Muse; while dreams of fair women have
inspired the pens of her sons from Maidenkirk to John o' Groat
certain localities seem to be peculiarly fitted to kindle the poet's
eye and heart, and such a favoured spot of our native land in
Renfrewshire. Here, from the earliest historic period, the spirit
of poetry possessed a home which has never ceased to be congenial.
Motherwell has ably told, in the introduction to the
Harp of Renfrewshire, how successfully the bards of the count
have wooed the Muse of lyric poetry, and, since he wrote, neither
the number nor the activity of local poets has suffered diminution.
Only one who undertakes the task can realise how hard a one it
is to make selections from the poets of Renfrewshire. Their name
is legion, and their books are many as the "leaves of Vallombrosa."
Paisley alone has produced hosts of poets, and the
town of the Wilsons, of Tannahill, and of Motherwell has no
reason to be ashamed of her muster roll of singers. These names
are sufficient to confer on her a poetic fame of no mean rank
and, though they doubtless are in the forefront, there are others
not far behind them. Tannahill, as a lyric poet, is second only
to Burns, and in the power of painting nature he is scarcely
inferior to the great Scottish Master. His songs have gilded
Gleniffer, Craigielea, and Stanley Shaw with unfading glory,
and have made these names household words wherever Scotchmen
make a home. He delighted in the beautiful scenery that
surrounds his native town, and he has painted it with a pre--
Raphaelite minuteness of detail that brings its features vividly
before us, and never fails to charm. The time of Tannahill was
a wonderful era in Paisley annals. In the workshops where
those shawls were fabricated with which the daughters of men
everywhere loved to adorn themselves, but whose glory has now
departed, there were poets working by the score — not mere
versifiers, but men with brains, and feeling, and taste — genuine
poets, weaving verses in the silent loom, while their hands plied
the noisy shuttle. There were giants in these days. Privy
Council regulations had not levelled down school instruction,
education was a life-work, and men took their places not as mere
hands — mere fractions of a conglomerate union — but by force of
intellect and skill. As men worked, they thought, and, when
work was over, they met for mental discipline, and intellect
sharpened intellect as iron sharpeneth iron. Politics and literature
were freely discussed, opinions were not adopted at second
hand, but were the result of conviction, sincerely, at least, if not
always soundly formed.
The poets whose verses appear in this miscellany represent many
ranks in the social scale, but the great majority of them are of
the humble grades. They are men who whistled at the plough,
or wrought at handicrafts. Although Burns stands head and
shoulders above all other Scottish singers, he is by no means
alone as a ploughman bard; and though Tannahill excels all
other weaver poets, he is only one in a great army of minstrels
who wrought at the shuttle. It seems very questionable whether
the future will produce poets from the classes that recruited the
past army of bards. It is true only within certain limits that
the poet is born and not made. Like every other art, poetry is developed
by opportunity and culture. Now and again, indeed, there
arises some bard to the manner born, who lisps in numbers, and
cannot choose but sing; but this is the exception which affirms
the rule. Circumstances foster, and circumstances repress, the
poet's ardour. The gift may be dormant, because never called
into exercise by the power of circumstances. Mute, inglorious
Milton may live and die, their capabilities unknown to themselves
and the world through lack of opportunity. We lead a
very different life now from that amidst which our fathers passed
their days, and it is not so favourable to the growth of poetic feeling.
The old peasantry, their country's pride, are rapidly disappearing
before the march of railways, and steam ploughs, and
monster farms. The ploughman no longer lives and labours for
a lifetime amidst the scenes where he was born, but travels from
shire to shire, changing his quarters every summer. The modern
system of farming has brought about, with other evils, the dissolution
of the old bond that knit the farmer and his men, and
gave them common sympathies. The farm house kitchen
is not now the home of the hind — he has no real home,
and, therefore, he does not know the sweetness of that
most poetic of all influences — the influence of home, and
the affections that gather round it. His wandering habits stifle
any poetic instincts with which he may have been born; he has
no time to form friendships; his education is a very different one
from that which his fathers received, and he cannot appreciate
books, or scenery, or other intellectual appliances. To him the
fields speak only of work, and his aim is to make the most money
he can by the least expenditure of toil. Of course, there are
many noble exceptions, but that the tendency is towards this unhappy
consummation cannot but be admitted by all who look
around them and note the signs of the times. We are living too
rapidly for the wide development of the poetic faculty which
flourishes in quiet, and retirement, and leisure such as our
fathers had but we do not possess. So, too, with other occupations.
These are at high pressure, and leave no time for poetic
meditation. Towns in which weavers once abounded who
wrought their webs at their own homes as the spirit moved them,
have outlived these old thoughtful manufacturers and contain inhabitants
of another class. Huge mills now open their gates to
hundreds of men and women, whose work is more of the hand
than of the head, because machinery effects with ease what men
once did with difficulty, and the private loom is beaten in the
competition with the public factory. There is not much to fill
the poet's eye or heart in the frosted panes of the manufactory
through which neither field nor forest can appeal to him, or in
the steam-driven machinery that deafens with its unceasing din.
The work is not under his own control, as the old weaver's was.
His eye must not wander from the task before him — he must attend
unceasingly, for the steam engine will not wait upon his
thoughts, or the power loom suspend its action at his call. All
this tends to supply the world's markets, but it dries
up the poet's heart, and therefore we need not wonder
if from among those two classes of workers who have contributed
so many poems to the world, fewer versifiers arise.
The number of volumes of poetry is by no means diminished, but
verses are written now by men of a different stamp from the old
worthies whose productions form so large a portion of this volume.
The pieces that make up the work have been gathered from
many sources — from books and manuscripts, from works well
known, and from others that are of great variety. Thanks are
due and are gratefully accorded to publishers who have given permission
to make extracts from copyright works, and many gentlemen
who have furnished books and manuscripts for the selections.
Among these Robert Brown, Esq., of Underwood Park, has been especially
kind, contributing from his library, which is very complete
in local publications, many scarce and curious volumes by which
the work has been enriched. Copious as the selections are, only
a small part of available material has been employed. To give
specimens of all Renfrewshire poets would need not one but
twenty volumes.

SELECTIONS FROM RENFREWSHIRE POETS.
I.
A PICK-TOOTH FOR THE POPE: OR THE PACKMANS
PATER NOSTER.
Set down in a Dialogue, betwixt a Packman and a Priest.
TRANSLATED OUT OF DUTCH BY S. I. S. AND NEWLY AUGMENTED AND
ENLARGED BY HIS SON, R. S.
This pious Poems buy and read
For off the Pope it knocks the head.
TO THE READER.
This Present (for the present) I present,
To you, good Reader, with my small addition,
The which, to imitate is my intent:
To match, or over-match, were great ambition:
I but enlarge it, not surpasse; for neither
I may, can, will, dare parallel my Father.
I may not; for I cannot reach unto it;
And though I could, I will not enterprise it;
And though I would, could, might, I dare not do it
To dare, were with disdain for to despise it.
My Parents Poëme only to expresse,
I presse, of new, to put into the Presse.
A CONFERENCE BETWEEN A PEDLER AND A PRIEST
OR,
The Pack-mans Pater noster,
Which he learn'd in a Closter:
Whereof he sore repented,
And prayes it may be printed.
Not fitting for the Schools,
Yet School-master of fools.
A Polands Pedler went upon a day,
Unto his Parish Priest to learn to pray:
The Priest said, Pack-man, thou must haunt the Closter,
To learn the Ave, and the Pater noster.
Pack-man.
Now, good Sir Priest, said he, What talk is that?
I hear you speak, but God in Heaven knows what.
Priest.
It is, said he, that holy Latine-letter,
That pleaseth God well, and our Ladie better.
Pack-man.
Alace, Sir John, I'le never understand them,
So must I leave your prayers as I fand them.
Priest.
Tush, tush, says he, if thou list for to learn
The Latine prayers rightlie to discern,
And sojourn but a little with me here,
Within a month I shal make thee parqueer.
Pack-man.
Parqueer, said he! that will be but in saying;
In words, not sense, a pratling, not a praying.
Shal I, Sir John, a man of perfect age,
Pray like an idle Parret in a cage?
Priest.
A Parret can but pratle for her part,
But towards God hath neither hand nor heart.
Pack-man.
And seeing I have head and heart to pray,
Should not my heart know what my tongue does say?
For when my tongue talks, if mine heart miscarry,
How quickly may I mar your Ave Mary?
And I, Sir, having many things to seek,
How shal I speed, not knowing what I speak?
Priest.
Because that God all tongues doth understand,
Yea knows the very thoughts before the hand.
Pack-man.
Then if I think one thing, and speak another,
I will both crab Christ, and our Ladie his mother;
For when I pray for making up my pack, man,
Your Ave Mary is not worth a plack, man,
Priest.
Thy Latine prayers are but general heads,
Containing every special that thou needs;
The Latine serves us for a Liturgie,
As medicines direct the Chirurgie:
And in this language Mass is said and sung:
For private things pray in thy mother tongue.
Pack-man.
Then must I have a tongue, Sir John, for either,
One for the Mother, another for the Father.
Priest.
Thinks thou the Mother does not know such smal things?
Christ is her Son, man, and he tells her all things.
Pack-man.
But, good Sir John, where learned our Lady her Latines,
For in her dayes were neither Mass nor Matines,
Nor yet one Priest that Latine then did speak,
For holy words were then all Hebrew and Greek;
She never was at Rome, nor kist Popes toe,
How came she by the Mass, then would I kno?
Priest.
Pack-man, if thou believe the Legendary;
The Masse is elder far then Christ or Mary:
For all the Patriarchs, both more and lesse,
And great Melchisedeck himself said Mass.
Pack-man.
But good Sir John, spake all these Fathers Latine?
And said they Masse in surplices and Satine?
Could they speak Latine long ere Latine grew;
And without Latine no Mass can be true.
And as for Hereticks that now translate it,
False miscreants, they shame the Masse and slate it
Priest.
Well, Pack-man, faith, thou art too curious,
Thy spur-blind zeal, fervent, but furious:
I'd rather teach a whole Coven of Monks,
Then such a Pack-man with his Puritane spunks.
This thou must know, that cannot be deny'd,
Rome reign'd o'er all when Christ was crucify'd
Rome Ethenick then, but afterwards converted,
And grew so honest, and so holy hearted,
That now her Emp'ror is turn'd in our Pope,
His Holiness, as you have heard, I hope.
He made a Law, that all the World should pray
In Latine Language to the Lord each day:
And thus in our Traditions you may try,
Which if you list to read, and shal espy
The Pope to be Christs Vicar, sole and sure,
And to the Worlds end will so endure.
Pack-man.
Surely this purpose puts me far aback,
And hath mo points, then pins in all my pack;
What ever power you give to your Pope,
He may not make a man an Ape, I hope.
R. S.
But good Sir John, before we further go,
Resolve me this, since you assail me so:
How, when, and where this Vicarage befell
Unto your Pope? I pray you briefly tell.
Priest.
Know you not? Peter when he went to Rome,
He there was execute, which was his doom:
And in his latter will and Legacy,
At Rome he left his full Supremacy
Unto the Pope; which Legacy was given
By Christ to Peter, when he went to Heaven,
And so the Pope (though mediately, indeed
By Peter) Christs sole Vicar doth succeed;
And every Pope sensyne from race to race,
Succeeds each other in the Papal place.
Pack-man.
By your assertion surely I perceive,
You press to prove that Peter then did leave
Such Legacy to those who did him murther
Think ye such fond conceits your cause can further?
That's but a very falsly forged fiction,
And proves most for your Romish whoors conviction,
From Rome did falsly fall from Peters faith,
And Burreo-like bereft him of his breath.
And so your Pope doth merit no preferment,
But, as an Hangman, Peters upper garment.
And still, Sir John, ye strive to play the knave,
Affirming falsly Peter did receive
His Primacy from Christ, when this he spoke,
That he would build his Church upon that Rock:
As if on Peter Christ had only founded
His Holy Church for ever to be grounded:
To wrest the Scripture is your whole pretence,
Either into an ill or double sense.
Christ built his Church on Peters pure profession,
And on the solide Rock of his confession,
That he was Christ, which is a firm foundation
Against all Romish-Popish inundation.
I sory am to see you so unwise,
For Peter after that deny'd Christ thrice:
Christ built his Church on faith, which byds a tryal
And not upon poor Peters thrice denyal:
On this* a friend of mine did make a Sonet;
A pretty one, if I could light upon it:
So here it is, and in it ye may read,
How your proud Pope to Peter did succeed.
Why should prophane proud Papists thus presume
To say, their Pope to Peter doth succeed?
Read we that Peter (if he was at Rome)
Rode rob'd with triple crowns upon his head?
Pray'd ever Peter for the souls of dead
Or granted pardon for the greatest sin?
How many Nunces, note we, he did need
Through all the Nations that his name was in?
How many Friers had Peter, can we find,
In sundry sorts so shaven with a shame?
Was ever Peter so blasphemous blind,
As to take holinesse unto his Name?
The Pope succeeds to Peter in no case,
But in denial, and in no divine place.
R. S.
Poor Peter, only thrice, did Christ deny:
Once was too much: but soon he did espy
How that he rashly had forsworn his master;
For which Christ shortly did apply a plaster
To his sick Soul, and plac'd his grace therein,
Which is the only antidote for sin.
Christ turn'd and look'd on him, and was content
To pardon Peter, since he did repent.
But I can prove your Pope, Sir John, to be
Into a great deal worse estate then he:
* Alexander Sempill.
For Popes do dayly both in word and deed
Deny our Lord, as after ye may read;
Who derogate from Christ the full perfection
Of mediation, for our Souls election:
And say, his sufferings cannot satisfie
For all our sins, and cure our misery:
But mix their humane merite (vile ambition!)
The foolish brain-sick birth of mans tradition:
And als the works of Supererogation,
With Christs true merite, our sole consolation,
Denyes that Christ can be his only Saviour:
Can ye call this a Christian-like behaviour?
No, that ye cannot, for we may espy all
Such dealing is of Christ a flat denyal.
But this your Pope doth mishently maintain,
That humane merite mercy must obtain:
What humane merite means, I have no skill,
Go ye to Heaven by any means ye will -
I hope in God that heaven I shal inherite
Through Christ his only mercy-worthy merite.
Your Pope denyes his Lord without repentance,
For dayly profit; and draws near the sentence
Of Judas case; For when the Lord had told him
He should betray him, then he shortly sold him
Unto the Jews, and thirty pence did take,
Too smal a sum his Saviour to forsake.
Yet after that he fain would have repented,
But not so soon his sin he had resented:
He forth-with ran in haste, and hang'd himself,
Who sold his Saviour for vile worldly pelf.
For Judas one, each Pope may compt five hunder
For every day, and do not at it wonder,
Nor think him damnified by such transgression,
For 'tis the richest point of his profession,
And is the finest feather in his wing,
Which makes him loath to quite such trafficking;
And so your Pope not only doth deny Christ,
But Judas-like, be sels, and Papists buy Christ.
Yet suffer me, Sir John, for to relate
Some Orders of your Popish Roman state.
First is your Pope, whom so your Clergy calls,
Next him ye have your pompous Cardinalls,
Your Prelats, Priests, your Priors and your Patrons,
Your Monks at Mass, and Matins with your Matrons:
Your Abbots Convents, and your Chaste Abesses;
Your Nunries Nuns, your painted Prioresses:
Your Jebusitish Jesuits, your Friars,
So ras'd with rasors, and so shaven with shears:
Some of the Order of Dominican,
Some of the Order of proud Franciscan.
And, think ye not the Romish Church doth erre,
When before Christ Saint Francis they prefer?
They make Christ (only) but as an Orator,
But make Saint Francis only, Exorator.
Christ but to pray, Saint Francis to prevail,
And to obtain, when Christ his prayers fail.
Some of another Order are content,
Call'd Capuchins, themselves for to torment,
With many mo I may not now rehearse,
Which would be tedious to put in verse.
Search all the Scriptures through, see what it sayes,
If such styles were in Christs or Peters dayes.
No, good Sir John, I surely do suppone,
Like those you steal find either few or none.
And yet, Sir John, I'le show you what a story
Your ancient Fathers tell of Purgatory:
They do affirm that Antichristian Cell
To be a place next adjacent to Hell;
Alike in pain, but not alike in case,
Of the continuance of time and space:
Wherein are Souls for venial sins committed
(For satisfying mortal sins remitted:
Some souls are likewise for a time tormented)
Until by pray'r Gods anger be relented.
And the confession hereof is, as saith
Your Bellarmine, a point of Catholick faith:
And so must be undoubtedly believed;
Where-out, who payes most, soonest is relieved:
Not by good faith, but only by good deeds,
And pratling Pater nosters on their beads:
And dayly Sacrifices of the living,
And weekly rents, and offerings largely giving:
And by their publick and proclaimed alms,
A silver showr that fyrie furnace calmes.
And as for me, Sir John, I say no more,
But this into my heart I heap in store;
By faith in Christ Gods grace is to me given,
That my Soul shortly shal ascend to Heaven.
When this life ends, my ghost shal go to glory.
Pox on your presupposed Purgatory,
Infantum Limbus, and your Limbus Patrum,
Where-out none comes, but by the Preces Fratrum,
(Ye say) and Masses said for souls departed,
Whereby poor pievish peoples pelf is parted
Amongst your Clergy, making them believe
Their silly souls then quickly shal relieve
Out of that pain; And as for them that pay most,
Creeds, Ayes, Paters, Mass, they pray, and say most.
To make their sayings sure, they cite the Scripture,
But falsely formed with a ragged rupture;
Of which, if ye would surely have a scent,
Read Cartwright against Rhemes New Testament;
The which to prove how little they prevail,
Read Doctor Mortons Protestant appeal;
Where ye shal find this purpose well disputed,
And by them both right learnedly refuted.
It passeth Papists power for to prove it,
The more I hear, the more I loath to love it.
So since, Sir John, ye have no Scripture for it,
But meer alleadgences, I must abhore it;
To trust such tales I shal be very sory,
I'le go to Heaven, go ye to Purgatory.
In Rome likewise, to hinder fornication,
Your Pope admits a great abomination;
They suffer borthels without reprehension,
For augmentation of their yearly pension,
Wherein for Clergy-men are Stewes allowed,
For weekly payment, constantly avowed.
They spare not only to exact a rent,
From persons willing to live continent;
Allowing them their whoors (thus they insist)
In Stewes; where the may have them, if they list.
For Clergy-men they suffer not to marry,
Consenting to a course that's quite contrary
To Gods Laws, charging his Church withall,
There should not be a whoor in Israel.
But your Pope Adrian, for yearly fewer,
Did build in Rome (O Rome!) a stately Stewes;
Behold his godlesse, gracelesse, goodlesse carriage;
To build a Borthel, disanulling marriage.
Now, were I lay, or Church-man, by my life,
I should renounce your Stewes, and take a wife.
And last, your Pope, like all devouring dogs,
In Rome allows the Jews their Synagogues;
Wherein our Lord and Saviour Christ they curse,
For yearly payment to enlarge their purse;
And yet before a Jew become a Papist,
Hee'l rather quite his God and turn an Atheist.
Now what profession will they not permit,
For profit in their Sodom for to sit?
Except true Protestants, most Apostolick,
And pure professors, Christians Catholick;
Such they will never suffer in their city,
They persecute them all, and have no pity;
But still pursue them both with sword and fire,
Like mad-men in their fury and their ire,
And like blood-thirsty raging Lyons roaring
After their preyes; like hungry Wolves devouring
The blood of Saints, when they can apprehend them;
I hope in God, he dayly shal defend them
Against their Devilish desperate intentions;
And their invective Jesuite inventions,
And all their wicked wills, and subtile shots,
Their most abominable powder plots.
See from their fountains what sweet water springs,
To send out tongues to kill their native Kings:
Both Prince and people, to destroy they care not,
Man, wife, and child to put to death they spare not.
Mark what a vile report Queen Katherin caries,
For that mad Massacre she made at Paris:
Should any soul such sakeless slaughter smother,
So mishently committed by her Mother,
Who sent out bloody Butchers to cut down,
The whole Protestants present in the town;
Both under trust, and under cloud of night:
But I repose in Jacobs God of might,
He will undoubtedly, ere it be long,
Both judge their cause, and eke revenge their wrong.
Albeit their bones be buried in the dust,
In God omnipotent I put my trust:
(As in the sacred Fathers we do read)
The blood of Saints shal be the Churches seed.
Though ye think your profession true and pure,
Had ye a spunk of grace (Man) I am sure,
(Hearing me make so many true relations,
How Rome maintains so gross abominations)
Her devilish doctrine soon ye would despite,
And questionless, her courses quickly quite.
For Rome, we see, retains into her Treasure,
Popes, perjury, profanity, and pleasure;
Priests, Papists, Pardons, Prelates, Priors punks,
Mass, matines, matrons mumbling with their Monks;
Contentious Jesuits counterfeit contrition;
That hellish hole of Spanish Inquisition;
Earth Epicures, equivocating elfs,
Puft up with pampering pride of paltred pelfs;
Terrestrial temporisers, truthless traitors;
False, fained, faithless, filthy fornicators;
Unhappy hypocrites, unwholsome whoors,
In beastly borthels, Babylonish bowrs.
With shameless strumpets in their stinking Stewes
Invyous Jesuits, invective Jews.
Equivocation, mental reservation,
The devil devis'd such doctrine for damnation;
They eat their God, they kill their King, they cose
Their neighbour; is not this a great abusing?
With many monstrous things I cannot name,
On which to think it makes me sweat for shame:
As are these Rites maintain'd in Romes theatre,
And first the casting of their holy water:
Their exorcisme, their images, their altars:
Of crosses, cups, and pals, Popes are exalters,
Of candles, and of Churches consecration,
With vestments in the Church for decoration:
Their hypocritical hid Hermitages,
Their pennance and polluted pilgrimages:
Free will, and humane merite for offences,
With jugling Jubilees and indulgencies;
And of the Saints their idle invocation,
And by the Pope their curst Canonization.
Auricular Confession, vile pollution,
And for their sins a-pay'd for absolution:
Their private Masses, and their murmuration,
Their elevation, transubstantiation.
Sir John, if ye would hear me but record,
Some verses on the Supper of our Lord:
It was a friend of mine to me did send them,
Hee's not a Christian will not commend them.
Priests make Christs both body and soul, we
doubt,
They eat, drink, box him up, they bear about,
One is too little; bread and wine
Holds not him several, so we dine;
Thou with thy Christ, I with mine.
Is thy mouth the Virgine womb? Is bread her seed?
Are thy words the holy Ghost? Is this our Creed?
O presumptuous undertaker!
Never Cake could make a Baker,
Yet the Priest can make his Maker.
What's become of all these Christs the priests have made
Do these hostes of ostes abide? or do they fade?
One Christ abides, the rest do flie;
One Christ he lives, the rest do die:
One Christ is true, the rest a lie.
R. S.
Into the Gospel, Take ye, Eat ye, Christ saith,
For which, Receive ye, Swallow ye, your Priest saith.
See how by Popes the Sacraments are driven,
Where Christ makes two, they ad five, so make seven.
For Baptism and the Supper of the Lord,
These only two did Christ to us afford.
With Christ his institution not content,
To these two true, five bastards they augment.
A bastards name doth duly them befit
For they were never reabled as yet;
Nor ever shal, but still will be abhor'd,
Because they have no warrant from the Lord,
As Confirmation, Pennance, Extream Unction,
With Priestly Orders to adorn their function;
And Matrimony they maintain as one.
But here's a wondrous thing to think upon,
How Popes do call themselves, Servi servorum;
Yet in procession keep a strange Decorum.
They tread on necks of Kings upon the street;
And force even Emperors to kiss their feet.
Doth God the Father in his Law allow
These vile inventions your Church doth avow?
Doth Christ his Son into his Gospel give
Such ways to walk in, such faith to believe?
Or doth the holy Ghost in us inspire,
More then the Law and Gospel doth require?
The Father hath prescriv'd to us a Law,
To keep us in obedience and aw:
And Christ his Son our Saviour, did provide us
His glorious Gospel always for to guide us:
The holy Ghost doth from them both proceed,
To guard us from our sins in time of need.
If we transgress the Law of God the Father,
Then neither grace nor comfort can we gather.
If we believe not in his only Son,
Then our belief is doubtlessly undone;
And if we breath not of the holy Ghost,
Then is our labour all our life-time lost:
But Gods Commandments your Kirk reverses,
Some she conjoins, and others she disperses;
She trusts in Saints and Angels many one,
And should trust in the Trinity alone:
Wherefore Gods holy Sprit can nev'r attend her.
Nor in distress or danger ev'r defend her.
And though she reign a while in pompe and pride,
I hope in God, my good and gracious guide,
To her the true Religion hee'l advance,
Ere long, and bring her out of ignorance,
Wherein she hath these many hundreth years
Lyen wilfully, which manifest appears,
By her unwillingnesse from thence to part,
She is so obdurate, and hard of heart;
So that except God by his mighty hand,
Her power, her pride, and cruelty withstand,
And force her from her filthinesse to flie,
Of errors great, and gross idolatrie:
So if she follow not Christs true instruction,
I fear her final dangerous destruction:
Which God forbid: I hope in his own time,
Hee'l both forgive, and purge her of all crime.
Heard ever ye, Sir John, a purpose quicker,
To prove the Pope to be Christs only Vicar?
S. I. S.
And though he were full Vicar to our Lord,
Should not his words and Christs keep one accord?
Priest.
Doubtless they do, and never are contrary,
In Pater-noster, Creeds, nor Ave Mary.
Pack-man.
But Christs Disciples when they made their motion,
To Christ their Master, how to make devotion,
As I have done to you, Sir John, to day,
I pray you, in what tongue bade he them pray?
Christ did not one word Latine to them speak:
Their talk was all in Syriack, Hebrew, Greek.
He bade all nations pray after one manner:
But bade not all take Latine for their Banner.
Your Latine is but one of the Translations:
Why should it then exclude all other Nations?
And on my Soul, Sir John, if I but say,
In mine own Mother tongue, when I do pray; -
Lord, help me! Lord, forgive me all my sins!
Yea, why not, Lord, increase my pack and pins.
And every thing whereof I stand in need:
For this depends upon our dayly bread:
I hope in God, to reap more comfort herein,
Then Latine ye would make me so parquier in.
And since some tongues have more antiquity
Then Latine, were it not iniquity
To force all people to pray like the Pope
No, good Sir John, yee'l not say that I hope.
Priest.
But, Pack-man, one point would I fain make plain,
Let us come back to our Ladie again;
And if thou had as much capacity,
As raving wit, with great audacity,
The case is clear, that Virgin Mary meek,
She could all languages perfitely speak.
Hast thou not heard, man, how the holy Ghost
Came down like cloven tongues at the Pentecost,
And fild the house where all the twelve were ready
And one tongue truely lighted on our Lady?
And lest thou think I talk of idle themes,
Consult the reverend Jesuits of Rhemes
I pray thee, Pack-man, earnestly this note.
Pack-man.
In faith, Sir John, it is not worth a groat.
Will I believ't, think ye, because they say it?
Priest.
No; but they prov't, as no man can deny it.
Saith not the Text, that when the Lord ascended,
Unto the twelve he earnestly recommended,
That from Jerusalem they should not go,
Untill the Comforter should come, and so,
Into an upper room they went together,
Where Marie still was one, ye must consider,
With many mo in number full six score,
That with the twelve did dayly God adore:
And then he saith, when Pentecost was come,
They were together in one place, all, and some,
And (all) were filled with the holy Ghost.
Pack-man.
O good Sir John, ye count without your host.
Now I see well your Jesuitical tongues
Have cloven the Text even to the very lungs:
That (all) which first was spoken of six score,
Is here meant of the only twelve, no more.
Nor Mary is not named now, as then;
What need I then believe it, holy man?
On with your spectacles, Sir John, and read,
And credit this as a point of your Creed:
The holy Ghost could fall upon no more
Then he was promised unto before.
Doubtless he took not a blind-folded flight,
Like fyled Larks, not knowing where to light.
Now he was promis'd only to the twelve.
Look on the text, Sir John, and judge your selve.
Speak man, and be not silent; I am sorie,
To see you ignorant of such a storie.
And as the stories in themselves are divers,
Flowing and falling into sundrie rivers;
In divers chapters so they stand divided,
So that the case may clearly be decided,
For when these six score was at first conveened,
There was another mysterie then meaned;
To wit, Matthias free election,
And so Saint Peter gave direction,
That (all) the six score there should bear record
Of their proceedings then before the Lord;
The choosing of a Pastor was in hand,
Which if the Church allow not, cannot stand:
And so Matthias, through the power of Heaven,
By lot was held as one of the eleven.
Then sayes the text, all these were still together:
What all these men were, let any man consider.
The twelve, say I, in the last verse before;
And not make Leap-year of eleven verse more,
To draw all back to these hundred and twentie;
Indeed this way we should have tongues in plenty;
And as they differ by twelve verse or lynes,
So are they ten dayes different in times;
The first upon the day when Christ ascended,
The other when the holy Ghost descended;
Such glazen arguments will bide no hammer.
For they are but ill Logick, and worse Grammar;
So only twelve receiv'd the holy Ghost;
And so our Ladie all her tongues hath lost.
Now for the holy Ghost its truly tryed,
His coming down is unto no law tyed,
Sometimes invisible, and sometimes seen,
As diversely at divers times hath been.
His coming needs but to be seen of few,
His works may serve for witnesses anew;
And so Saint Paul himself I understand,
But privatly by Ananias hand.
And so, Sir John, to show you all my pack,
And let you see my breast as well as back;
I wonder ye consider not the end,
Why God the holy Ghost in tongues did send;
Know ye not, Tongues were only given for teaching?
Know ye not, women are forbidden preaching?
Yea scarce at home have liberty of speech,
But ask their husbands, and they for to teach.
Since women then in Gods word may not walk,
What should they do with tongues that may not talk?
And then, Sir John, what worship do ye win
Unto our Ladie, when you bring her in
Jack-fellow-like with others whole six score,
Who got the holy Ghost, and she no more?
And where the Pope hath made her queen of heaven,
Ye make her but like one of the eleven;
Surely, Sir John, this is an ill favour'd fitching;
Ye thurst her from the Hall down to the kitching.
And this is also one of the rare Themes,
Held by your reverend Jesuits of Rhemes;
That Latine came not with the holy Ghost,
When the cloven tongues came at the Pentecost.
Now, if it came not by the holy Ghost,
Whence is this holynesse whereof ye boast,
That in it only, and none other tongue,
Both Masse and Matines must be said and sung?
Your last refuge will be unto the Pope;
So knit up altogether in one rope.
Then, good Sir John, consider but a little,
How you gave unto Marie many a title,
Whereof ye have no warrand in the Word;
And yet pursue us both with fire and sword,
As Hereticks, for not doing as ye do;
Yet what the Word bids, and no more, that we do.
Think ye that any man can be so mad,
As to hold Christ his Saviour; and so bad,
As to hold Marie for his Saviours Mother,
And not to love her still above all other?
We love her then, though we believe not in her.
Nor by will-worship think we for to win her.
We hold her blessed, for Christs flesh conceiving,
But far more blessed, for Christs faith receiving;
She is his Mother, and the Church his wife,
Which was to him more dearer then his life.
So, if the one could fall out with the other,
He would respect his Wife, more then his Mother;
For this is every Spouses carriage,
But most in this spiritual Marriage;
And as she's Mother of his humane life,
She's but a Daughter of his heavenly Wife;
And by his Mother, member of Christs body;
Who thinks not so, is but a very Noddy.
All this, Sir John, I do but briefly say,
To let you see, that ye play us foul play.
Priest.
Well, Pack-man, though thou bear about that trunk,
I fear thou be but some foreloppin Monk,
Of Luthers lore, or crooked Calvins crew,
And sent abroad, such business to brew;
Transformed in the person of some Pedler.
Pack-man.
Now, good Sir John, in faith I am no medler,
Nor have I mind nor means so high to mount;
I can but read a little, and lay a count,
And seek my meat through many an unknown Maison.
I know not what ye call your Kyrie Laison;
So help me God, Sir John, I know no better,
Nor in your Latine can I read one letter.
I but believe in God, and some times say,
Christ help me, when I wander out the way.
Priest. R. S.
I pray thee, Pack-man, this much for to tell me,
Since thou presumes so far for to excell me,
Were't not a very reasonable thing:
If one were going to an earthly King,
To get forgivenesse for some great transgression,
That he should shortly sute the intercession
Of some great Favorite, and he for to passe
To purchase pardon for his high trespasse;
And not the guilty person to proceed
Presumptuously before the King to plead;
But use his moyen by his Highnesse Minion.
Pack-man.
Sir John, that motion is not worth an Onion.
What if the King shal hear the poor mans sute,
Would he stand silent as if he were mute?
No; he should, prostrate, lay his fault before him
And he himself for pity should implore him.
For intercessors oftimes lurks and lingers,
Except the pleaders largely fill their fingers.
There is a Proverb in the Scottish lawes,
A man, a Lyon is, in his own cause.
Though great abuses lie in earthly things,
We must not so abuse the King of Kings.
Such idle tales my mind cloth much molest.
Priest.
I pray thee, Packman, hear me out the rest;
And so this present purpose to conclude,
Would ye think any man should be that rude,
To pray to God, without Saints mediation?
It would be thought a great abomination;
The heavens such heinous pride hath ay abhor'd,
So proudly to compear before the Lord.
Such great presumption God will surely punish;
That's not the way his faults for to diminish;
He must implore our blessed Ladies aide,
Then she should shew her son what he hath said,
And so command him go unto his Father,
That for his sute some comfort he may gather;
Or else he must employ some Saint or Angel,
Pack-man.
Such words I do not find in the Evangel.
Surely, Sir John, such sayings are but idle:
Such blasphemy is not in all the Bible;
To trust your words, or Pauls, now tell me whether?
Priest.
Reject them, if they jump not just together.
Pack-man.
And so I shal, for I can let you see
In Pauls Epistle unto Timothie,
He plainly sayes, There is one God, and than,
One Mediator between God and man.
The same is He, which is the man Christ Jesus,
As he from death to life can only raise us;
Since he redeem'd us as our elder brother,
Pray as ye please, I'le never seek another.
S. I. S.
And so what e'er I have, what e'er I want,
I neither pray to He, nor to She Saint.
And as for tongues, I have but one, no more;
And wit ye well, albeit I had ten score,
I would use all conform to Pauls commanding,
Pray with my tongue, pray with my understanding.
Think ye these twelve, when they receiv'd these tongue
Did talk like Parrets, or like barrel bungs,
Yielding a sound, not knowing what they said;
Idle in preaching, idler when they pray'd?
No: each of them knew well what he did say.
And why not we, Sir John, as well as they?
For since all men have one tongue at command,
Should we seek tongues we do not understand?
Alace, Sir John, had I been train'd at School,
As I am but a simple ignorant fool,
An hundred questions more I might have moved,
But here I cease, fearing to be reproved:
For these few doubts I learn'd in diverse places,
Thinking the Clergy-men would clear all cases.
Priest.
Now, Pack-man, I confess thou puts me to it.
But one thing I will tell thee, if thoul't do it;
Thou shalt come to our holy Prior, Pack-man,
And he, perhaps, will buy all on thy back, man;
And teach thee better how to pray than any,
For such an holy man there are not many.
Be here to-morrow, just 'tween six and seven,
And thou wilt find thy self halfway to heaven.
Pack-man.
Content, quoth I, but there is something more,
I must have your opinion in before,
In case the holy Prior have no leasure,
To speak of every purpose at our pleasure:
There was but one tongue at the birth of Abel,
And many at the building up of Babel,
A wicked work which God would have confounded.
But when Christ came all tongues again resounded,
To build his Church by his Apostles teaching,
Why not in praying, as well as in preaching?
Since prayer is the true and full perfection
Of holy service, saving your correction:
So if our Lord to mine own tongue be ready,
What need I then with Latine trouble our Lady?
Or if both these my prayer must be in,
I pray thee, tell me at whom to begin?
And to pray joyntly to them both as one,
Your Latine prayers then are quickly gone;
For Pater noster never will accord
With her, nor Ave Mary with our Lord.
If I get him what need I seek another?
Or dare he do nothing without his Mother?
And this, Sir John, was once in question,
Disputed long with deep digestion,
Whether the Pater noster should be said
To God, or to our Lady when they pray'd?
When Master Mare of learn'd Diversitie,
Was Rector of our Universitie:
They sate so long, they cooled all their kail.
Until the Master Cook heard of the tale,
Who like a mad-man ran amongst the Clergie,
Crying with many a Domine me asperge:
To give the Pater noster to the Father,
And to our Ladie give the Avees rather;
And like a Welsh man swore a great Saint Davies,
She might content her wel with Creeds and Avees;
And so the Clergie fearing more confusion,
Were all contented with the Cooks conclusion.
Priest.
Pack-man, this Tale is coyned of thee new.
Pack-man.
Sir John, I'll quyte the pack, if't be not true.
Again, Sir John, ye learned Monks may read,
How Christ himself taught us of his own head,
That every soul that was with sin opprest,
Should come to him, and he would give them rest.
Come all to me, saith he, not to another;
Come all to me, saith he, not to my Mother:
And if I do all as Christ did command it,
I hope her Ladiship will not withstand it.
And so, Sir John, if I should speak in Latine
Unto the Lord, at Even-song and at Matine,
And never understand what I were saying,
Think ye the Lord would take this for true praying?
No: that ye cannot; for ye may consider,
My tongue and heart should pray together.
And hereupon ye shal hear what befell
To certain Clerks, that Latine well could spell:
With whom, by chance, I lodged at an Inne,
Where an old wife upon a rock did spin;
And towards evening she fell to and pray'd,
But neither they nor I knew what she said.
One said, the Carling counterfeits the Canting.
Another said, it's but the Matrons manting.
Some call'd it Gibbers, others call'd it Clavers,
But still the Carling speaks, and spins, and slavers.
Now good Sir John, what think ye of this Hussie?
Where was her heart, when her hand was so busie?
In end, one said, Dame, wot ye what ye say?
No, not, saith she, but well I wot I pray.
Ye pray, said he, and roots not what? I grant.
Alace, how can ye be so ignorant?
The Matrone musing little at the motion,
Said, Ignorance is mother of devotion.
Then Dame, said he, if ignorance be the mother,
Darknesse must be the daughter, and none other.
Pray'd ye, said he, when all the time ye span?
What reck of that! said she, God's a good man,
And understands all that I say in Latine,
And this I do at Even-song and at Matine.
Alace, Sir John, was not this wife abused,
Whose soul and senses all were so confused
Ye know these unknown tongues can profit no man,
And one tongue is enough for any woman.
But when one prayer in true sincerity,
As God commands, in Spirit and verity;
The heart sends up the tongue as messenger
Unto the Lord a pleasant passenger.
Priest.
But, Pack-man, here's a prettie little book,
Wherein if thou wilt listen for to look,
Set out by a true Catholick Divine,
And out of doubt will settle thine ingine.
Faith, read it, Pack-man, for it is but little.
The Gadge of the new Gospel is its title,
He clearly proves by Zacharies example,
When he did sacrifice within the Temple,
And all the people stood and pray'd without,
They knew not then what tongue he spake, no doubt;
Ergo the Masse may both be said and sung
In other language then the mother tongue.
Pack-man.
Sir John, I see your holy Catholick,
Upon the truth, hath put a pretty trick.
Have ye not heard this proverb oftimes sounded,
Homo qui male audit male gaudet?
So if the people heard not what he said,
How could they know in what language he pray'd?
Since understanding cometh by the ear,
He cannot understand that doth not hear.
Or how proves this that Zacharie the Priest
Spake Latine, then the language of the Beast?
Were Liturgies under the Law, but so
In such a tongue that all the Jews did know?
What e'er he spake, himself sure understood it:
And so your Catholick did ill conclude it:
Because a learned Priest may pray in Latine,
And mumble over his Even-song, Masse and Matine,
Ergo a Pack-man to the Lord may pray,
And never know a syllable he doth say:
For when you put me to my Pater noster,
I seek an egge, and ye give me an oster.
And so, Sir John, I have given you a wadge,
That's good enough for your new Gospel gadge.
Last, since we say that God is good to speak to,
Who will both hear our text, and hear our eke to,
What if he answer me in the Latine tongue
Wherein I pray, and wherein Masse is sung?
I must say, Lord, I wot not what thou sayest,
And hee'l say, Fool, thou wots not what thou prayest.
Even, Lord, say I, as good Sir John did teach me!
Sir John, saith he, a Priest unmeet to preach me,
Or in your mishent mouths once for to name me:
With different tongues and hearts, such Jock such Jamie.
For though I know mo tongues then ye can tell
False knaves, should ye not understand yoursell
Gave I not you a tongue as well as heart,
That both to me should play an ae-fold part?
But like two double devils ye have dissembled.
At this Sir John he quaked, and he trembled,
And said, good Pack-man, thou art so quick witted,
Unto the Prior all must be remitted.
And so the Pack-man past unto his lodging,
Having within his heart great grief and grudging:
Sometimes he doubted if the Monks were men,
Or Monsters, for his life he could not ken.
He said, Sir John was a fair fat fed Ox,
Sometimes he said, he looked like John Knox.
But Knox was better versed into the Bible,
A studie that Sir John held very idle;
They dive not deep into Divinity,
And trouble them little with the Trinity,
And are more learned in the Legendarie,
In lives of Saints, and of the Lady Mary.
The only Idole they embrace and kisse A,
Is to prove servants unto Mistresse Missa.
With such conceats the Pack-man past the night,
With little sleep, until it was day light.
And by the peep of day he early rose,
And trim'd him finely in his holy-dayes hose;
And to Sir Johns own chamber straight he went,
Who was attending: So with one assent,
They hyed them to the Prior both in haste,
To whom Sir John began to give a taste
Of all the questions that had past among them.
He call'd them Hereticks both, and vow'd to hang them.
With that the Pack-man hurled through the Closter,
And there he met with an ill-favoured Foster;
Who quickly twined him, and all on his Back;
And then he learn'd to pray, shame fall the Pack;
For if they have not freed me of my sin,
They sent me lighter out than I came in.
And still he cry'd, Shame fall both Monks and Fryers,
For I have lost my Pack, and learn'd no Prayers.
So Farewel Ave, Creed, and Pater noster;
I'le pray in my mother tongue, and quit the Closter.
II.
MAGGIE LAUDER.
Wha wadna be in love
Wi' bonnie Maggie Lauder?
A piper met her gaun to Fife,
And spier'd what was't they ca'd her;
Richt scornfully she answered him,
Begone, you hallanshaker!
Jog on your gate, you bladderskate!
My name is Maggie Lauder.
Maggie! quoth he; and by my bags,
I'm fidgin' fain to see thee!
Sit doun by me, my bonnie bird;
In troth I winna steer thee;
For I'm a piper to my trade;
My name is Rob the Ranter:
The lasses loop as they were daft,
When I blaw up my chanter.
Piper, quo Meg, hae ye your bags,
Or is your drone in order?
If ye be Rob, I've heard o' you;
Live you upo' the Border?
The lasses a', baith far and near,
Have heard o' Rob the Ranter;
I'll shake my foot wi' richt gude will,
Gif ye'll blaw up your chanter.
Then to his bags he flew wi' speed;
About the drone he twisted:
Meg up and wallop'd ower the green;
For brawly could she frisk it!
Weel done! quo he. Play up! quo she.
Weel bobb'd! quo Rob the Ranter;
It's worth my while to play, indeed,
When I hae sic a dancer!
Weel hae ye play'd your part, quo Meg;
Your cheeks are like the crimson!
There's name in Scotland plays sae weel,
Sin' we lost Habbie Simson.
I've lived in Fife, baith maid and wife,
This ten years and a quarter;
Gin ye should come to Anster Fair,
Spier ye for Maggie Lauder.
III.
ON THE STONE ERECTED, AND EPITAPH INSCRIBED
THEREON, TO THE MEMORY OF JAMES
ALGIE AND JOHN PARK.
Here Lyes James Algie and John Park, in the Parroch
Eastwood, who suffered [for] the Oath of Adjuratione,
1685.
Stay, passenger, as thou goeth by
And take ane look qr they doe ly,
Who, for the love they bore to truth,
Depryved were of yr life youth.
The Lawes made then causd many dye,
Yett, judges and sysers were not free;
He yt to them did these delate,
The greater count he hes to make,
Yett nae excuse to them can be
Att ten condemnd, and two to die,
Soe cruell did yr rage become,
To stop yr speech by Took of Drum;
There's cause to murne for qt was done,
For guiltless blood doeth cry to Heaven;
This may ane standing witness be
Betwixt Presbitrie and Prelacy.
Ane Invitatione I did gate
To read a stone now placed of late
Above two Rebells, for refuiseing
To take the Oathes was then in vseing,
Were made of purpose for to brydle
The giddy heads of every Rebell
Where could they ly yt breaks the Lawes
Off God and man, without ane cause,
But wnderneth ane Gallow Tree,
Where they doe ly deservedly.
They brock God's Lawes, for he commands
To pray for all with wplift hands;
Yet they refund to pray for him
That was yr Soveraigne and yr King:
Bot still for Truth, It is contended,
There life and youth was falsly ended.
What could the judges then doe less
Then find them guilty by Express
Lawes, made against who would not owne
There Liedge Lord, nor suport his Throne,
Bot rayr, as the vsd his Father,
Would tane his head off from his shoulder.
Asyssers never are to blame,
When deer probatione proves the cryme.
Bot he that did these men delate,
I count a Villaine and a cheat,
And should repent if he be liveing,
Or else he'll never be forgiven.
The tyme was short I dont deney,
Bot they yt Soveraigne power defy,
Most be cutt off like corrupt member,
Least yt the body all should ganger.
It was not cruelty but right reasone,
To stop yr mouthes from speaking treasoun,
Least these poor men, soe neer to die,
Should goe to grave even with a lie.
In yr right hand, and yrby sine the more,
Instade of praying for what they aught Implore.
For Guiltless bloodshade yr is cause to murne,
Off yt our Royall Soveraigne every morne,
Which cryes to Heaven to judge his righteous cause,
Who was condemnd to die gainst all the Lawes
Divine and humaine. I could [n]ever read
That members should ryse up against the Head.
IV.
SONG.
WHAT MEANS THIS PRESBITERIAN RAGE?
What means this Presbiteriane Rage,
And fear thats come upon them?
They speak like madmen one a stage,
And not like preachers grave and sage,
For qch some may chance gett the cage,
And quyte may overdoe them:
For there's noe cause for such a fray,
Save dirten arse dreads ay.
They 'muse the people, and pretend
Our Rulers are Deceivers,
As if, forsooth, they did intend
Prelate to raise, and them defend,
And put yr Anarchy to ane end,
As they were nought but shavers:
Altho' they see noe ground of fray,
Save dirten arse dreads ay.
With yr old tricks they doe beginne
To raise a new Rebellione;
They preach our pears will bring in
A popishe and abjured King,
Over these Lands and us to Reigne,
Which they call perduellione.
Noe cause att all for such a fray,
Save dirten arse dreads ay.
Our states abjured, still for to stand
All popish Kings and Monarches,
With solemne Oathes and uplift hands,
Never to reigne over these Lands.
Soe ye may see by such like bands,
They ne'er intend to wrong us:
Then there's noe cause for such a fray,
Save dirten arse dreads aye.
For these our jelousies and fears,
There is just cause to murne,
May bring amang us swords and spears,
With enimies about our eares,
That may weell laugh when we shed tears,
And all our cities Burne;
When we are Cause of all this fray,
Since dirten arse dread ay.
V.
YESS, O YESS, O YESS, CONSIDER WELL.
O yess, O yess, O yess,
Consider well:
O weather cock, why does thow stand
Soe high wpon the steeple,
To Rule the Councill and the Toune,
The Bailies and the people.
For as the palme yt ye doe sie,
Is ruled by the Clok,
Even soe our Bailies seem to be
Still ruled by the Cock.
Thou art the wisest bird I sie
That is in all the West,
For still the course yt ye doe take,
Our Bailies think the best.
For when the wind for presbitrie,
Into this land did blow,
Then all our Councill sudenlie,
They would be for it too.
Bot when the wind for prelacy,
Is lyke to turne about,
Our Bailies they will surely be,
Malignants doe not doubt.
For into Glasgow they have sent,
For one of prelat's brood,
And of his parts ye need not doubt,
He is att drinking good.
O all ye Burgers in the Towne
That for Black dayes doe long,
Bring all your Bairnes wnto the school,
And sie ye make it throng.
And doe not think yt we by this,
Will lead yow in the Bog,
For we declair it wnto yow,
The man he gott the wog.
Byshops and Curates he does love,
We like him weell yrfor;
Tho' him for this did Glasgowe Towne
Cast out, and quitt abhorre.
(POSTSCRIPT.)
Now hold thow here in tyme,
Least this be holden as a cryme.
VI.
ANSWER TO [SCUR]LOUS VERSES AGAINST THE
MAGISTRATES AND SCHOOLMAISTER
OF PAISLEY.
We laff to sie such scurlous verses,
Thus introduced with three Oyesses,
He is sure concetie and right bold,
That brings Insult with a behold,
Against a present Magistracie
And weather-cock, that stands so hie,
Who's said to Rule Councill and Baillie;
It seems he's like to Jamie Wyllie,
Whom when they think to pull him doune,
Make him a man of great renoune.
It's not my business to ranverse
The author's sillie, empty, verse;
That shows himself soe great a fool,
As to oppose a publick schoolle,
And schoolmaister of great renoune,
The greatest interest of a Toune.
Which shows he is ane Enemie
To Learneing and true piety,
And papist is in all his notione:
Ignorance is mother of devotione,
Which is a tenet they doe hold,
And he maintains with face most bold,
By that disswasive qch we sie,
Given parents by ane Ironie.
First one the Baillies they reflect,
For whom we ought to have respect,
For yt yr fatherly care untill
Ane Orphan Towne; and show yr skill,
For making of soe good a choyce,
Iff ye'll bot hear the people's voyce.
Nixt against the Cock he does invey,
Showing he hes noe charity;
And joyns with him the Magistrats,
As if they were to turne prelats,
With the first wind yt e'er should blow,
As if they did not better know.
Whose constancy is better kend,
Then yr accusers, I contend,
Whose soreing lines showes him to be,
A weather cock redie to flie.
Last, they doe show yt mallice great,
Against that stranger placed of late,
By stirring up the giddie Rabell,
To cast him out as whoor of Babell;
For they contend he is a friend
To prelats, as it is well kend.
And that he takes a right great drink,
Soe doeth good artists all, I think,
Which skews the author to be nane,
Else he with him the same had tane:
For which two crymes he was cast out
Of Glasgow school, they doe not doubt.
Bot he mistaks - yts not the cause,
By changing Kings, we changed the Laws.
Which rais'd up this our presbitry,
And turned out old prelacy,
With all yron yt did depend,
Which is to wise men right well kend,
Tho' not to you that made the Ryme,
Ye did right well to hold in time,
Which if ye had not, ye might got
Unto yourself a greater blot,
And may gett, yett, for ought I ken,
From better head and better pen.
(POSTSCRIPT.)
[8 lines wanting in the MS.]
Whate'er ye are yt made these lines,
Whether Boutfoot or Jo: hinny,
I pray you take this good advice,
Rent not the Bowells of yor minnie.
The holy church that smarts for all,
By casting Learneing downe,
By whatsoever art or means,
In Country or in Towne.
Instade of thanks for these your p[ains,]
Take heed ye catch noe fall,
And doe bring one your pate wpon,
The curses of ws all.
VII.
INSTADE OF RENDRING THANKS TO GOD.
5th October 1704.
Instade of rendring thanks to God,
For our late victorie,
They turnd it for to rouse the mob
Against old Prelacie.
The nature of a Thanksgiveing,
It seemes they quit forgot;
Yea, Its noe wonder if soe be,
Because they yse it not.
Those Pharisees they doe profess,
Great Scripturalists to be,
Yet they'r bot Guessers att the best,
As we oft clearly sie.
Yet they with confidence aver,
And say with one accord,
Befor the congregatione all,
That thus sayes the Lord.
The nature of ane Fast declair
What Thanksgiveing should be,
Distinguished in the sacred word,
As all may clearly sie.
For even in Fasts we are not cald
Our souls for to aflict,
Nor yet our Bodies to bow doune,
For sins that they comitt.
Bet be compassionat to the poor,
And mercy furth extend,
To all in misery yt be,
Off such as God ws send.
Bot, when our Good and Gracious God,
Ws sends deliverance,
From these our foes ws would oppress,
As the Monsieur of France;
Then, we're not only for to Bless
Our Gracious God yrfore;
Bot should rejoyce with all our might,
The sons of men befor.
Not only those yt maisters are,
Should in such caice rejoyce,
But those yt servants are should, too,
Sing furth and make a noyse.
Which is a thing cannot be [done,]
Without the staffe of [bread,]
And with a right guid dose [of drink,]
Rouses the heart and [head.]
Since God hes care of these alse weell's,
The greatest of the land,
This is the doeing of the Lord,
A great work of his hand.
Bot its object yt att these feasts,
Great Ryotts are committ,
It is the falt of those that do it,
And not the falt of it.
For those that 'll be ryotous then,
Will be such at all tyme,
Give them bot company enew,
And routh of claret wine.
For [tho' we've] seen the best of things
Oft tyme hes been abusd;
What shall the same be quitt neglect,
And never more he vsed?
VIII.
A MURNEFULL SONET BE A LOVER TO HIS
MISTRES.
Dearest — My heart and Ey are wholly now,
Away from B. L. turnd, and fixt one you;
For since I saw thy face, and heard thy fame,
This soul of mine hes still been in a flame.
To see you here would give me great confort,
Bot to enjoy you [here,] as my consort,
Would roose my drouping soul, to such excess
I cannot weell conceave, far less express.
Tho' fate and space my bodie keeps away,
My soul and heart are with you day by day.
Seeing (Dear Heart) my afectione is soe great,
And firmely setled to make yow my mate,
Give me some glint of yors to me againe,
And lett me not Languish with grieff and paine;
Wherein if you bot Linger, I most smarte,
Passing my murnefull tyme, next break my heart!
O comely creature, wondrous in my Ey,
Would God! in yor affectione, soe were I.
But, hey allace! I trimble to think one
Yor coyness to me, and make my moan,
In silence of the night, and the dark shade.
Sitting allon, and lying one my bed,
I am soe Tossd 'twixt hope and dire dispair;
Whyls hoping you'll be as kind as ye are fair,
And will relent, and favor me at last;
Nixt in my thoughts come dread and fear right fast:
Will she take me dispysd in her Eyes?
Noe, noe, methinks I see her froune and rise,
And leave me all alone, in such distress
And troubled mind, noe mortall well can guess,
But those yt has been in such fitts of Love
As I. Would Cupid! with his dart might move
Yor heart to pitie me in this sad caice.
Alace! most I say farewell to your face,
The thoughts yrof to me is worse than death.
J. P.
ANSWER.
Dear John — I yours received with hand and mind,
Tho' ye to me have proved very unkind,
Were ye of single heart, as ye are Eye,
You should be always welcome unto me:
Bot since I see ye've so wnconstant prove,
To B. L. and oyrs whom ye offered Love,
Alse great in your affectione once as I,
If words can be believed; yea, I most try
You oyrwayes, than those your soreing lines,
That are bot wind, as we may sie oft tymes
Contryved of purpose our frailty to descry,
That efterwards to Laff att us ye may.
You are beguiled to think our sex are pleased
With empty words, you to yourself surrmisd.
To come to you would surely scandle prove;
Before ye can enjoy [us], ye must move
And roose yor drouping soule, yt seems bot mean:
Yor sluggish lingring shows ye are not keen,
For if ye were, as ye pretend, soe kind,
Ye would be often here, Bodie and Mind.
For who eer truly love, noe distance can
Keep him from her (as you have been) soe lang;
Therefore although you pine and break yor heart,
Tho' ye in Mind and Bodie alse should smart,
You have yorselfe to blame, as all may sie
By this kind answer I here send to thee.
LETTER FROM ANE LOVER
My Dear — Since first I see'd
Thy face and personage,
My Heart is moved indeed,
Yea, in ane Horid rage.
Till yt I doe Enjoy
The whom I most desyre,
Pray, Betie, be not coy,
I humblie the requyre.
Thy wit hath captivate
My soul as in a Chaine,
With maney pritty Chatt:
Pray don't me now disdaine.
Least ye bring him too loe,
In whose affectione high,
Al things would undergoe,
For Love he bears to thee.
My blushing continence
Showeth me ane Lover true,
Who would right faine advance
To propose Love to you.
Pray give some kind returne
To roose my drooping soull,
Least I for ever murne,
Meeting with sade controle.
For since ye did depart,
Each day methought a yeer,
My heart it sore doeth smart
Returne again my dear,
That, in your companie,
Refreshment I may find;
Changing my destiny,
By finding you soe kind.
For if Love ben't mutuall,
One of two sure most die;
Bet if reciprocall,
Both may preserved be.
The last words that ye said,
Give me some comfort still;
Wishing me weel repayd
With feaverish fitts wntill
With love I were Inflamed,
To follow efter the;
The truth, if ye weell kend,
The effects ye might sie.
Bot if ye stop yor eyes,
And wilfully be blind,
I doe pronunce yow heer,
Cursed of woman kind.
Bot, if yow answer make,
When here, I was not kind;
It is noe great mistake
In Bodie, not in Mind.
For, where ye ever are,
My heart there still shall be,
Soe it were ne'er soe far
In distance, dear Betie!
FINIS CORONAT OPUS.
JOCKEY'S AWA'. — A SONG.
Ye nymphs of the woods, and ye nymphs of the groves,
Ye may sing to the late telling echo your loves;
Nae mair shall your sangs be delightful to me,
Nor your dances be pleasant, sin' Jockey's at sea.
Wi' sorrow we partit, he leapt from the shore,
And I fear he is gone for to meet me no more,
As far as my een cou'd conduct me I saw,
But the Zephyrs sune waftit my Jockey awa'.
He came just yestreen, for to tell me the news,
He was bound for the sea, an' he durst na refuse;
The message I heard, wi' the tear i' my e'e,
For I coud na pit up wi' my Jockey at sea.
As my dearest, my sailor, was telling me this,
Sae kind, on my lips, he imprinted a kiss;
An' the wordies sae sweet that my laddie let fa',
I'll never forget them while Jockey's awa'.
My laddie aft woo'd me upo' yon green plain,
He kiss'd me, an' swore he wad make me his ain;
Nae lass o' them a' he could fancy but me.
But now I'm my lane an' my Jockey's at sea.
My Jockey was lovely, an' likit me lang,
An' nane was sae sweet, when he taukit or sang;
The swains they agreed, that my laddie was bra',
An' nae wonder I mourn that my Jockey's awa'.
Ye lasses forgie me, nor blame me to mourn;
I'll never be gay till my laddie return:
What lassie wad laugh that has troubles like me,
An' wha wad na mourn, when their lover's at sea?
Fareweel, ye saft meadows, ye groves, and ye bowers,
Whar aft wi' my love, I've collected the flowers;
Ye cowslips, ungathert, yer blossoms may blaw,
An' die, unadmir'd, sin' my Jockey's awa'.
Fareweel, a' ye shepherds, that frisk owre the fiel';
Ye lads, unconcern'd, an' ye lassies, fareweel:
Fareweel, a' ye flowers, that embroider the lea;
I'll never be gay while my Jockey's at sea.
At your sports on the green, ye wax wanton your lane;
I'll never make ane in your dances again:
For hard was the Fortune, and cruel the Law,
That forc'd frae the meadows my Jockey awa'.
TO A COWSLIP; ON PULLING ONE ON
VACATION DAY.
Simplex munditiis. Hor.
Sweet little flower, in yellow claes,
Pride o' the garden, or the braes;
Frae Winter cauld, to warmer days,
Thou has been spar'd,
Nor kent the fate, frae nippin' faes,
That ithers shar'd.
Whan a' the fiel's are clad wi' sna',
An' blashan rains, or cranreughs fa',
Thy bonny leaves thou disna shaw,
Nor sees the light,
Till ance the storms are clean awa',
An' out o' sight.
Now sweetly frae the yird thou's sprung,
An' a' the cauld o' Winter dung;
An' sal thy leaves aye want a tongue,
My bonny flower!
Till ance their beauties fade unsung,
Some hapless hour.
Ere wintry Boreas has begun,
Thou caresna for sic cauldrife fun;
Thy noddan stacks, ere frosty win'
Soughs thro' the air,
Lie lifeless, dead, alang the grun',
An' bloom nae mair.
But, whan the Simmer hours, wi' glee,
Drap flowerets owre the dewy lee,
Whilk o' them a' may vie wi' thee,
Wha's bonny smile,
The lordin's, or the shepherd's e'e,
May weel beguile.
Rich thou perfumes the leafy plain,
Admir'd by ilka nymph an' swain;
Sweetest o' a' the bloomin train,
That gladdens May;
An' charms, nae ither but thy ain,
Gar thee look gay.
In Nell, sae rob'd in nature's graces,
How sweet the charms ilk lover traces!
Art ne'er, to Damon's kind embraces,
Made Chloe sweeter;
Nor coud the help o' gauze, or laces,
Mak' bliss completer.
But, nurslin' fair o' Simmer's sky!
Afore an owk or twa gangs by,
Doun in the yird thou e'en maun lie,
Without a swither,
An', coud I think it, sae maun
Some day or ither.
EPIGRAM.
One time, with a neighbour, I chanced to stray,
And, bending our way down the street,
At pitty-pat step, in a dress pretty gay,
Young Betty we fortun'd to meet.
A muff, made of satin, was screw'd on her arm,
She was young, and she wish'd us to know it;
For Betty ne'er thought she possess'd any charm,
But she always was anxious to shew it.
Dick eye'd her demeanour, and, after a pause,
He thrust out his fingers a-mocking:
I turn'd me about, and observ'd that the cause
Was a rent in the heel of her — Stocking!!!
VIEW OF A SUMMER EVENING.
Hail, blest Contentment! form'd alone to please
The mind enamour'd of content and ease.
ANON.
Now leaves the sun this motley hemisphere,
To distant climes, nor stays he ever there;
His presence yet the morning rays will cheer,
So roll the seasons, and so rolls the year.
All nature here looks conscious of his flight,
And seems preparing for the shades of night.
The aspiring lark, who with his beams uprose,
Seeks in the shade to find a soft repose;
The sanguine raven, now leaves off his prey,
Sleeps in his wing, and so forgets to slay.
Now, all the flowers their spangled bosom hide,
Those now are shut that were expanded wide.
Earth, air, and sky, salubrious and serene,
Invite my muse to view the verdant green.
Yet, in some Isle the angry billows roar,
And swollen surges dash the milky shore;
The sonorous river fills the obsequious air,
And sounds prognostics in the peasant's ear;
Ambrosial fragrance fills the lucid vale,
Ten thousand odours now perfume the gale.
The charming milk-maid, in her rosy hue,
In graceful air, comes o'er the falling dew.
Her auburn tresses down her shoulders flow,
And crimson cheeks in am'rous fancy glow.
The loaded cattle know their mistress' voice,
Obey the call, and come with lowing voice,
Yield to her wish their richest healthful store,
Turn to the field, and straight prepare for more.
The toil-worn lab'rer comes, with weary gait,
Unto his humble but secure retreat;
His gen'rous mistress, soother of his care,
Some kind collation doth in haste prepare;
Of Fortune's caprice neither doth lament,
Their meals are season'd with a sweet content,
They, pleas'd and thankful, close the day with prayer,
So ends the labour, and so ends the care,
Till balmy sleep their active limbs renews,
Then next day's toil with pleasure each pursues.
XV,
A COUNTRY FAIR, CALLED KIRK-DOMINIE (OR
MORE COMMONLY) KIRDAMDY.
Some's care is a' about their cash,
(Not minding that unus'd 'tis trash)
Some's care is all a bonny lass
Or lady fine;
And there is mony a careless hash
We need na mind.
THOM'S MSS.
Ae day in May the maids and men,
They to the hills repair,
That day in merriment to spen'
And see a country fair;
The souple chiels loup sheugh and strand,
And lasses they skip finely,
The lads will take them by the hand,
And help them o'er right kindly,
For a kiss that day.
The hills are a' clad here and there,
On every side they're gathering,
And them that's foremost in the fair,
'Bout lasses busy bleth'ring:
They'll no be scant o' lasses there,
Baith Marys, Megs, and Grizzys;
New-Daily lasses, plump and fair,
And thumpin' well made hizzies
Frae the moors that day.
The lads they a' cry for a gill,
The lasses they are calm on't,
Some say they rather wad hae yill,
And some's gaun mad for samont:
And lasses they gie kissing for't,
Sic fun was never seen,
And mony a farce and curious sport
Will happen on the green
Ere night that day.
And Baby she sits in the kill,
And she kens a' that passes —
"Wha likes a roaring horn o' yill,
And wha likes bonny lasses?"
The kirk-yard now is tightly fill'd,
And some, without reflection,
Wad swear, aff loof, that in the field
A general resurrection
Took place that day.
The chapman chiels, and pedlar boys
Are in the middle ranket —
There Glasgow ware and lasses' toys
Are pricket to a blanket.
They a' look in a way to live,
And there some boys right waggish,
In close employment, hand to nieve,
Are shearing down a haggis,
In dads this day.
And here shoemakers form a ring,
Frae Maybole, Ayr, or Irvine;
Here's Donald's pipes wi' mony a spring,
And fife and drum frae Girvan —
Huzza, my boys! we will have sport;
Here is the friend and pitcher;
Fill up the cann, we'll pay you for't —
Tho' we should ne'er be richer,
We'll drink this day.
Now some are merry, some are mad,
And some are swearing huge ill;
What auld accounts are to be had,
Are settling wi' the cudgel:
This might seem hard for folks to trow,
That ne'er were in our nation,
Of horse and mares the kirk is fu';
A curious congregation
Has met this day.
The lads are now for hame wi' speed,
And gath'ring up their lasses,
But it might do a body guid,
If they could ken what passes:
The lasses say they're no gaun yet,
And cry like daft for fairings,
Some say they'll buy them a sheep fit,
And some a pound o' herrings,
In jest that day.
Then moorland Jock to Pate says, Vow
Man! is na this divertsome?
Pate leugh, and syne his elbow clew,
And swore, by Jing! 'twas heartsome.
Then some wins hame wi' put and row,
Some lair amang the bogs,
And some sleep a' night on a knowe,
And some amang the scrogs,
In glens that night.
XVI.
AGAINST KILLING COCKS AT FASTEN'S-EVEN.
Who conquers wins by brutal strength the prize,
But 'tis a god-like work to civilize.
DODSLEY'S COLLECTION.
Our Monitors and Guardians now,
Low in their dust are laid;
Virtue looks down with pensive brow,
And vice rears up her head:
Immoral practices we find,
In spite of every caution;
And men are still to custom blind,
By gross infatuation.
'Mongst others of pernicious kind,
Is one well known to fame,
Which yearly on Fasten's-E'en we find,
That soils the Christian name.
The Cock, great Harbinger of day,
Forth to a stake is led,
To hell-born pastime doom'd a prey;
And there his blood is shed.
Pleasure, when virtue's chang'd for vice,
Is both dear bought and ill;
Pleasure, when life must pay the price,
Is worse and far worse still.
You bind yourselves by strongest ties,
The Christian rule to show;
But here God's mercies you despise,
And teach your Children so.
Should we a barbarous nation view,
Where ignorance doth prevail;
If they this practice did pursue,
Their state we would bewail.
An Atheist, or an Antichrist,
Whose law is mere sensation,
This barbarous practice would detest,
Tho' only taught by reason.
If not one sparrow to the ground,
Without God's knowledge fall,
This wicked practice will be found
For vengeance loud to call.
Shall mankind then persist in sin,
'Cause custom is the law:
For shame! let Christians virtue win,
And banish each faux pas.
The Christian rule is surely this,
"From barbarous acts refrain;"
Let mercy pave the way to bliss,
And show yourself humane.
XVII.
A RAMBLE THROUGH PAISLEY.
To Paisley town they ha'e three bells,
That sound out o'er a' Campsie fells,
The hours to a' the country tells,
Down Cart up Clyde,
Twenty long miles ye'll hear their knells,
The holms so wide.
From Neilston to Benlomont loch,
From Milliken to Bothwell trough,
From Hamilton to old Dumdroch.
By the kirk stiles,
From Houston tho' the road be rough
Then count the miles.
By Him that's good, that did make me,
By conscience, lads, look if I lie,
Be just and count your pedigree,
If blacks or rogues,
Be silent, coofs, and let me be,
Don't wear your brogs,
Be wha ye will, a boar or sow,
Be't stirk, or stot, calf, bull, or cow,
Be that between your nose and mow,
'Tis scarce twa inch,
By jing, that road I will rin thro',
And never flinch.
To Paisley lads I'll tell my drolls,
To planets that fly round the poles,
To dull sumphs who are lazy nolls,
Yet wretched cheats,
To clever sailors wi' your yoles,
I'll name your streets.
The Main-street surely is the best,
The whole Council this has confess'd,
There's none walks on't but them that's chaste,
In fair day-light,
The vagabonds dare not oppres't
In mirk mid-night.
The guard they stand there most complete,
They watch the town thro' every street,
The tinker, tawny and the cheat;
Pity their case;
The foul thief that infernal sp'rit,
There hides his face.
The Paisley folk they may be bold,
Their Main-street sides is worthy gold,
Their price can by no man be told,
That's new come forth,
Their masters' pockets canna hold
What they are worth.
In Inkle-street they knittings twine,
In Cotton-street work muslins fine,
Into Silk-street the silk-gauze shine,
In mirk mid-night,
In Back-raw street they drink at wine,
In fair daylight.
In Fisher-row-street's Tam and Johnny,
In Main-street, O the maids they're bonny,
In oxter, oxter joins each crony,
And their gear sort,
In high-crown'd hats, high cockernony,
O man, fine sport.
In Smith-hills sure they're at nae loss,
In come the maids of Abbey-close,
In Water-wynd they mind the gloss,
And candle doups,
In Causeyside they like the dross,
O' the pint stoups.
In Storie-street they're a' sae kind,
Unto the trade they were design'd,
In at your spare they'll tell their mind,
Right plain wi' ease,
In at your mouth comes out behind,
Fruits o' their cheese.
In New-street tightly they toil on,
In Cow-street too, and Lady's-loan,
In comes the cadger they ca' John,
To Wane-gate end,
In Grammar-school Close draws his drone
For Dyster's wynd.
In Old Sneddon the sailors skip,
In New Sneddon the ladies trip,
In Croft they pair and tightly clip,
These jolly souls,
In Brick-lane sit at others hip,
Wi' flowing bowls.
In Sand-holes there's the finest trade,
In Sawney Paton's shop or bed,
In comes the lads a' to be clad,
For Daniel sews,
In stitching coats he's blyth and glad,
And makes them trouse.
In King-street pretty soldiers stands,
In Queens-street wi' their graith in hands,
In comes the lairds that has the lands,
Lads, here is crowns,
In ships to fight, our king commands,
Or be dragoons.
In John's-street stands our king's nurs'ry,
In Loan-well street his banners fly,
In Pluncan-street so loud they cry
God save our king,
In Dirty-street sends to the sky,
Makes the globe ring.
In Saw-hill, they cry, come and list,
In Gordon's-loan's the charter chest,
In Prussia-street for war they thirst,
They're temper'd steel,
In Shuttle-street that moment does't
They do fight well.
In Maxwelton their street is dry,
In't ye'll see Fulton's chariot fly,
In Wester-street comes sweetly by,
Like gents o' fire,
In harnessing his horse they ply,
To his desire.
XVIII.
PAISLEY LADS.
TUNE. - "Willie was a wanton wag."
Come sit you down my pretty lass,
It's you that's bonny, blyth, and bra',
Here is red wine into this glass,
We'll link it up atween us twa.
Then to the Sneddon we will trip,
Where Cart's sweet wimplin' streams they glide
When sailors come here wi' their ships,
To us wi' barter from sweet Clyde.
Raw silk and cottons they bring here,
For the manufact'ries sae fine,
Then weaver lads makes claith appear,
And pretty girls makes them shine.
The ladies wi' it they are made bra',
It shines on Dukes upon Cart side,
For't to the Indies send awa,
Mechanics down the river Clyde.
Their cloth in London does appear,
In France, Flanders, Turkey and Spain,
All foreigners they like to wear,
The cloth that's bleach'd on Paisley plain,
This is the way they win their gear,
Who are industrious, free from pride,
All traders into Paisley steer,
Up Cart comes sailing from sweet Clyde.
The country people round that place,
Were twenty thousand I declare,
To Paisley came to see the race,
Next day they did attend the fair.
The bailies there, nae rogues they slip,
Thro' that town tho' large and wide;
The guard they send them for to grip,
The Highland thieves that comes o'er Clyde.
Be't lad or lass wears coat or gown,
That can ride on a horse or ship,
If just the visage of a loun,
The guard that moment does them grip.
Then to the captain they must go,
The guard wi' them sturdy does stride,
The blackguards all are served so,
That comes to Paisley from sweet Clyde.
Societies they do meet there,
O' birth and station men o' grace,
No toil nor trouble they will spare,
For victual to supply their place.
The vessels then they do command,
Their sailors trimly does them guide
Wi' meal and corn a' from Ireland,
Up Cart sails from the river Clyde.
Their traders has such large commerce,
The Indian kings they make them roar,
They deal thro' all the universe,
Sweet Paisley to supply wi' store.
Then wi' their friends they haud a rant,
At Greenock and the Broomielaw,
Provision there it is na scant,
The blythest fouk that e'er ye saw.
Their ships they can so trimly steer,
So sweetly through the waves they'll slide,
At night they'll hae the finest cheer,
Up Cart when they come frae sweet Clyde.
Then for their wives they take fine rooms,
Their furniture ye'll see it shine,
Then wi' eight fingers and twa thumbs,
To win their bread they do incline.
Right early ye'll see them asteer,
Bangs up the door wherein they bide,
Their morning drink is Rum sae clear,
From India brought up Cart by Clyde.
XIX.
THE HERMIT OF ESK.
Beneath a lofty, shelt'ring, shaggy pile
Of wood-surrounded rocks, abrupt and hoar,
That overlook a spacious chequer'd plain,
Through which Esk's heavy sounding billows roll,
A lonely Hermit stood: a staff upheld
His aged, bending form; the frail remains
Of a once stately fabric. On the gale
His locks all silvery wav'd: His feeble limbs
Could scarce support him to his mossy seat,
The seat where oft he lean'd, to call up all
His young achievements, and to store his soul
For the long voyages he was soon to make.
Stiffly he sat him down: and buried deep
In solemn searching thought, remained a while;
Then turn'd his dim eyes on surrounding heav'n,
And thus his sad soliloquy began.
The clouds are gathering in the west. The blast
Howls through the grove. The mountain streams descend
In cadence hoarse and dismal. Pale with grief
Yon wand'ring son of Heav'n averts his eye,
And on a sable vale lets fall a tear.
How lifeless, dreary, dark, and desolate
Appears the face of things! Stern winter hath
Struck all the sprightly songsters dull and dumb.
Hath stript the meadows of their gay green robes,
And from the trees their blooming honours torn;
Hath keenly edged ev'ry breeze, and giv'n
Yon withered summit's snowy locks, like mine,
A true, unlovely picture of myself,
Is all I see: decay'd and sunk beneath
A multitude of years, the burden of
Infirmities, and the black clouds of woe,
I tott'ring stand. The surly blasts of Death,
That have so many levelled around,
While I stood unmolested, soon will make
My drooping frame their unresisting prey.
But yet I fondly thought that gracious Heav'n,
Who hath my awful guardian been for more
Than a whole century of rolling years,
Who led me dauntless thro' the battle's rage,
In which I gain'd some honourable scars,
Who shew'd me baffled Nations, falling Kings,
Divided kingdoms, and convulsed States,
Who now had borne me down a pleasing calm,
To this sequest'red cottage: glad to know
My joyful country flourishing around,
In all the blessings of establish'd peace:
I fondly thought that gracious Pow'r would have
Laid me in quiet in the tomb, while she
Continued rich and happy. But, alas!
How vain were all my hopes! Internal broils,
In Gallia's land, that have her bowels torn,
Her laws subverted, Church and altars robb'd,
Her fields and cities drench'd in blood, and ev'n
Her prince have slain: have now rous'd up, thro' all
The civilized world the tyrant War,
With all his savage train, more fierce and grim
Than hist'ry ever knew. I shake to think
On the tremendous tempests now let loose,
To ravage far and wide the peopled Earth!
Loud, loud I hear the hollow engines roar,
Disgorging from their throats a thousand Deaths,
That thick and rapid fly for prey: I hear
The crash of falling walls, of bursting gates,
And tumbling structures, half-consum'd with fire!
I see wide-wasting, Ruin ev'rywhere;
Rough oceans rolling black with shatter'd ships,
And pale dismember'd carcases; broad fields,
Heap'd high with mangled heroes; rivers dy'd,
And swell'd, and warm'd with blood: meagre and fell
I see the Pest'lence and the Famine, fast
Pursuing what th' infuriate rage of arms
Hath left: and, ah! my heart is wrung to see
So many helpless orphans cry amidst
The pains of want, so many widows pine,
In unavailing grief, so many fires,
Beset with cares, with age, and sickness, mourn
In ceaseless woe their children lost as I do.
Alas! no more than one dear son I had,
The darling of my life, my sole support,
And he is gone, magnanimous and keen,
To seek the horrors of the murd'ring scene,
And tho' by me unblam'd; tho' ev'n inspir'd
By me, to banish sloth and glory seek,
Yet Nature will be Nature still: at least
In a frail woe-worn, helpless, poor old man.
Perhaps while I sit here lamenting thus,
Impell'd by bravery, and o'erpower'd by crowds
He falls, and breathes no more. Thou Dread Supreme!
Who rulest ev'ry mystic turn of war,
O let me be deceiv'd! protect my boy,
And send him home (tho' too, too late for my
Embrace) with honours great, and justly won.
And O, with success crown thy much-lov'd Isle,
Thy fam'd Britannia: fire her hardy sons
With that true courage, wisdom, fortitude,
That independence, that unconquer'd zeal,
Which erst their fathers knew: in ev'ry breast
Awake a truly patriotic love;
And while with seas, and foes, they combat hard
May the warm thought of what they're labouring for,
The preservation of their envy'd bliss,
Their wholesome laws, Religion undisturb'd,
Unequall'd Science, Manufactures rich,
Unbounded Commerce, well-improved Arts,
Sweet Peace, and Liberty, two sky-born Queens,
That long have nurs'd and beautified the whole.
Be life to ev'ry heart, strength to each arm,
And balm to ev'ry wound. Cemented firm,
And keenly spurr'd by this, what mighty deeds
Will be achiev'd by all! How will the fierce
Imbattled thousands rise, like stormy clouds,
Or the wild billows of the northern main,
When heav'd by wintry winds! How will the eyes
Of ev'ry warrior flaming roll! How will
Their bosoms swell, their souls with ardour spring
Impatient, as they close, and equal march
In all the awful pomp of war, amid
The blaze of arms, the high inspiring sounds
Of martial music, and respondent neigh
Of furious steeds, that foam and prance along!
But when the trumpet's loud commanding clang
Awakes, and bids the bloody strife begin,
Heav'ns! what a deluge of destructive wrath
They'll pour upon the foe! each soldier then
Will shine a puissant hero, emulous
To merit praise, and raise his country's fame.
Ev'n he who dies, will fall amid renown,
Great in the ruins his own hand hath spread.
Meantime, how will the gloomy squadrons sweep
The ocean round, resistless, tall, and vast,
The terror of the world: Each vessel huge,
A dreadful magazine of thunderbolts,
Black tempests, plagues, and Death: how will they rush
Full on their proud opposers; and, as when
Vesuvius flings her flaming entrails from
Her bellowing sides, devouring all around,
They will their storms discharge, and force their foes
To own Britannia mistress of the deep.
What rich emoluments will then arise,
To pay for all the toil! what sacred rights,
And wealth will be regain'd? what trophies rear'd,
What glory, happiness, and dreaded pow'r
Will be for ever fix'd? My kindling soul
Forgets her clog of dust, my age falls off,
My blood flows warm, my heart beats high, and youth
Returns at the reflection! O to be
Once more in armour cas'd, and plung'd amidst
The thickest ranks, the hottest fury, and
The wildest noise of war! enraptur'd, I
Would strain each nerve, and, or victorious spread
Grim Death around, or freely spend the last
Red drop of life in my lov'd Country's cause!
But ah! what do I talk! 'tis vision all,
And vain imagination: old and spent,
And impotent I am: my youthful days
Are vanish'd like a dream, my field-exploits
Are gone for ever: Life's rough crooked road
Is nearly ended, and, fatigu'd and faint,
On the dark threshold of the grave I stand.
To the great God of battles I commit
Britannia's int'rests; these may he direct
And prosper while the shifting seasons roll.
And I intrust that same great Being with
My Death-defying spirit, soon to quit
This cumb'rous covering of corrupted clay:
O may he raise it, in his arms of love,
To yon bright regions, where malignant Vice,
Age, Care, Remorse, Grief, Poverty, Disease,
Broils, Wars, and Death, are never, never known!
This said, he rose, and, shivering in the gale,
That bleak and boist'rous round the mountain blew,
Retired slowly to his humble cot,
And left me unperceiv'd to think on all.
XX.
THE LIBRARY.
See Howard, messenger of love, pursue
His plans benevolent each region through;
Each Hospital's and Prison's wards explore,
And with condoling tears the fate deplore
Of men immur'd in dark Bastile's deep gloom,
Their prison now, and soon their vaulted tomb.
To Misery's children all, his mind humane
Felt kind emotions to relieve their pain;
Amidst the dungeon's dark and drear abode,
Where trembling wretches dread their tyrant's nod
Where fetters clank, and rusty bolts resound,
Deep in the rueful vault was Howard found
A visitor, to soothe extreme distress,
And Woe's dark cells with deeds of mercy bless.
No cold contempt could damp his honest zeal,
His was the warmest wish for human weal;
And thus in Love's employ resign'd his breath,
In Russian climes, and joyful smil'd in death.
Embalm'd by Charity shall Howard's name
Stand foremost in the noble lists of Fame;
Dear saint! whose pious, sympathetic mind
Felt keen for all the woes of all mankind.
XXI.
A CONTEMPLATION IN A WOOD.
How pleasant is the midnight hour
Beneath the budding trees,
Whose lofty boughs o'erhang the bower,
Amid the summer's breeze.
Serene and still is Nature's face,
Except the screeching Owl,
Re-echoing thro' this lonely place,
That nightly breezes cool.
The far, far distant Boreas' light
Streams up aneist the pole,
And gliding eastward, to the sight,
Till dawn array the whole.
But Luna here, as regent acts,
In absence of the Sun,
Amid the orbs, and wondrous tracks,
That in quaternion run.
See here the lily in the hood,
Hangs down wi' dewy blush;
And here the embryotic bud
Peeps frae the sprouting bush.
Oh, Solitude! thy pleasant gloom
Inspires my wandering Muse,
Beyond what I can right presume
In words to give a loose.
Here Mem'ry and Reflection meet,
Still seemingly as one;
'Tis here they represent the sweet,
And sorrows of the Man.
Yet prove themselves a double chain,
Or registrating roll;
Pleasure the one, the other Pain,
That represents the whole.
But Sorrow, ah! how oft she's touch'd,
Tho' Wisdom should exhort;
Then Folly, like a fool enrich'd,
Stands laughing at the sport.
But, hark! the lark salutes the morn,
Far in the orient sky;
And zephyrs, o'er the infant corn,
Mair callor whisper by.
How sweet the woods wi' echo ring
O' birds on ilka tree,
That touches Mem'ry on the string
Where pleasures wont to be.
O sad reflection, killing frost,
And heart-corroding pain,
What wont to be wi' us is lost,
Not to return again.
But nane can truly see or feel
This theme by how or whence,
Except the headstrong on the fiel'
O' real experience.
When men wi' grief and sorrow howl,
How sweet's a ray of hope!
'Tis heaven itself that strikes the soul,
As thro' a telescope.
But see — by yonder ivy'd tower,
How Phœbus shows his face,
And every dewy, op'ning flower,
Salutes wi' native grace.
Methinks his face displays a power
That's thro' the whole unknown,
Yet known to all, thro' every hour,
To glorious wisdom prone.
What tho' we trace to atom fountains,
And reason's flights depone;
'Tis all the same as sprung from mountains
For nature's still beyon'.
The seeming truth's in this expression,
Tho' best of wits do blend;
For the level proves by real progression,
A circle in the end.
The trees, the rocks, by nature grow,
As Jove has here commanded
But only means reduc'd below,
That we may understand it.
We cannot see in present bloom
A tree upon the seed,
Nor yet a man spring from the womb
Wi' hoary, aged head.
From youth to age all nature moves,
By working generation,
From power to power, as she approves,
For moving propagation.
By means revolves the human soul
That are adequate to him;
Not so with Jove, who sees the whole
In one eternal bloom.
But drowsie sleep now quits her bed,
Arous'd by worldly care,
And rustics lift the toilsome spade,
Since fortune gi'es nae mair.
In ditch, or fur, wi' limb and lith,
Their scanty fortune push,
While gentry's snoring a' their pith
Out-o'er yestreen's debauch.
Yet here is health, tho' sma' the thanks
To pride and pamper'd leather,
Cou'd it be bought by pith o' banks,
They'd soon hae't a' thegither.
But let's rejoice, o'er sheugh or dyke,
Or scanty morning pock,
For nightly riots, and sic like,
Awake in brunstane smoke.
XXII.
A FABLE.
Ae day a peacock nest I gat,
I put a young ane in my hat,
And took it hame, rejoicing at
My worthy prize,
And laid it by, afore I quat
My thieving guise.
Beside our rantin' cluckin' hen
I put it, there to mak a fen,
Amang a cleck o' nine or ten,
In core wi' ither,
And weel they greed, baith but and ben,
For days thegither.
A silly brash at times it teuk,
But aye they friend it like a keuk,
And griped flies, and whiles a clock,
To mak amen's,
Till firm it grew like ony duck,
Amang the fens.
But when its tail began to sprout,
Many a look it teuk about,
To see the feathers sprouting out,
Sae bonny braw,
And then began to cry and hoot,
And left them a'.
Ae day the rest set out to see't
For auld langsyne the way they gree't,
But when they gade, he on them ee't
Wi' caul disdain,
And wadna own them, straught nor glee't,
In ony strain.
REMARK.
Early pride begins to shoot,
When wealth is known to be the root,
Even the boy will boast profuse,
Before he can his clothes unloose:
His father's pomp, with care he traces,
And then assumes another species;
An' if fortune gives the splendid coat,
The poor old friend is soon forgot.
XXIII.
ANDREW AN' JOCK, OR RURAL COURTSHIP.
Inscribed to Mr. William Finlay, Farmer, Pathhead.
June 6th, 1806.
O! long may pure disinterested love
The lowly walk of rural life adorn!
An' never may their swains licentious rove!
An' never may their maids the bashful scorn!
Dear youthful scenes! tho' from your pleasures torn,
O! still as wont my pensive muse inspire;
Beam on my mem'ry mild, as darkling, lorn,
I strike my plaintive, joy-abandon'd lyre,
An' lend each echoing note, grace, energy an' fire!
Young Andrew, wha had lang an wooer been,
Ae day determin'd wi' a cronie dear
To gang at night, an' see his sweetheart Jean,
To tell his love, an' her acceptance hear.
The Sun was wearing laigh — the gloaming clear,
'Twas summer-time, an' ilka thing in bloom
Made Nature smile — ae single gill did cheer
Our youthfu' cadies, for the purse was toom:
Sae aff they blythely gaed to woo amang the broom.
His Blackfit Jock, a towzie rattlin' blade,
Was free an' hearty, never fash'd wi' care;
An' tho' enamour'd o' a thrawart maid,
An' aft repuls'd, he never wad despair.
Nor was he blate; an easy, manly air,
He wad assume, an' nicely tell his crack;
Her saucie gait an' fauts he didna spare,
Nae lies cou'd he, or ony phrasin' mak',
But what he thought without consideration spak'.
Scarce had they gane a half-a-mile or sae
Alang the moor, when glowrin' roun' an' roun',
Jock spied the lasses linking owre the lay,
Upon a visit to some neighbour town —
Fu' snodly Jean had on a drugget gown,
Her coat the same, half kiltet to the knee;
Her hair that wav'd (athwart her haffets) brown,
Obscur'd the glances o' a modest eie,
An' blythe an' clean she was, frae affectation free.
An' there as handsome, in a dress as plain,
Jock's lass (ca'd Nannie) coost her head wi' pride;
Her scornfu' brows show'd a' entreatie vain,
While thus she tauntingly did Jean deride.
"Haste! come awa, or do you mean to bide?
"Ken ye the errand that we cam' to do?
"I'll go mysel', what nonsense is't," she cried,
Syne turnin' roun', out owre the rigs she flew,
Nae doubt expectin' Jock wad keenly her pursue.
What strange politics fill the female mind,
Thus to insult even where affection lies!
Aiblins they think to use a lover kind
Wad make them hateful, in that lover's eyes.
Yes, some there are, who simple maids entice
To be partakers o' their brutal lust,
An' leave them syne, at leisure to grow wise;
For maids such flatteries ere they wed to trust
Though the reward be base, who can deny it just?
Jock stood an' glowr'd, an' chew'd the nail o's thoom,
Syne on the swaird he streekit down at ease;
His heart was light, an easily coud soom,
Like a cork bark, upon the stormiest seas.
His mind was form'd to answer every breeze,
Nane could be dull that in his presence sat,
Weel pleas'd himsel', he ever try'd to please,
A furthy turn, a slee enticing chat,
Ay friends enow to him, an' bon companions gat.
Now a' the three sat clav'rin' on the green,
An' Nannie's conduct fairly was discuss't;
In her behalf lang pled the faithfu' Jean,
Even though she own'd to lea' the jilt was just.
Weil Jean, quo Jock, my happiness I trust
Wi' a' your interest you will advance,
Tell her, frae me, that she from henceforth must
Be mair agreeable, else never chance
She'll get frae me again, while Britain fights wi' France.
Jean she agreed, an' said she wadna fail
To search if love in Nannie's bosom lay,
To take a walk wi' her at breakfast meal,
An' hear what she had for hersel' to say.
To-morrow's night, quo she, at close o' day,
Baith you, an' Andrew, if he likes himsel',
May meet me here, or on yon heather-brae,
Whare ilka word, whate'er it be I'll tell;
Sae Johnnie, rest content, things yet may turn out well.
Jock thanked her, an' bade them baith guid-night,
An' left them there amang the broom to rowe;
It wasna lang I trow, till out o' sight
They baith were cozie, in a warlock howe!
Aboon their heads did haizle-bushes grow,
There Andrew woo'd wi' simple village-art;
Till Jean at length confess'd an equal lowe,
An' yielded there to him a virgin heart,
The noblest boon a maid can to her swain impart!
The cheery laverocks now began to sing,
The day was dawnin' in the eastern skies,
The coorin' hares on souple bearers spring,
The howlet ceas'd her rude, ungracious cries!
Now to his cave the prowling Reynard hies,
To pass the day, in hunger, ease, an' sleep;
Again to moil the weary wabsters rise,
An' at the halesome morning steal a peep,
Condemn'd the lee-lang day within their cells to keep!
Our lovers rose — for it was time to part —
In ithers arms they took ae melting kiss!
In raptures Andrew stood, his youthfu' heart
High heavin' beat, an' flutter'd owre sic bliss!
Are there who can condemn such love as this?
For ever may their souls be doom'd to rove
Wi' spitefu' spirits, in that dark abyss,
Where hatred reigns, far from those courts above,
Where a' they see, an' hear, where a' they do, is love!
But dearest friens maun bid adieu at last,
Nae human power can time's approach gainsay,
The ruddy morning was advancing fast,
The twilight vanish'd from its cheering ray.
Now hame, at length our lovers shape their way,
An' parted, soon as they the town came near,
Resolv'd again to meet at close o' day,
Blythe Jock's an' sullen Nannie's plea to clear,
Whilk to unravel soon, they had but little fear.
Thus parted they. — The breakfast hour gaed bye,
An' Jock for ance began to dread his fate;
He broke some yarn, an' left it a' to tye,
An' aff to Andrew daunert down the gate.
To him he tauld his melancholy state,
An' Andrew heard wi' sympathy sincere:
Says Andrew, "Only for a moment wait,
I'll get some cash, an' soon be wi' you here,
We'll go an' take a walk, an' get some ale-house cheer."
The sun was shinin' glorious in the south,
Nature grew faint beneath his scorching rays,
The weaver pinin' curst the birslin' drowth,
The thankfu' birds alane sung for his praise.
A' runnin' down frae aff the heather braes,
The kye tormented wi' the klegs an' heat,
Sought caller sheds, to fend them frae sic faes;
The weary lab'rer wi' his toil did sweat;
The traveller hirplin', pass'd upon his blister'd feet.
But mortal scenes can only please a while!
They soon grow palling to the gazer's eye,
Their verdure fades, their beauties cease to smile,
For all is vanity beneath the sky!
Now weary wi' the walk, an' turnin' dry,
Our trusty neebours bait at the "Red Cow;"
Where merrily they drank, the hours gaed bye;
They sat as lang as time wad them allow,
Till hame at length they sped, wi' love, an' drink half fou'.
Jean kept her promise wi' tenacious care,
Her love for Andrew made the business light,
Soon as she rose, to Nannie did repair,
And fand her sitting in a serious plight:
"I trow," quo Jean, "ye fool'd yoursel' last night,
An' made but little o' your pettish haste,
Sae may they fare aye, who pretend to slight
The youth on whom their secret thoughts are plac'd.
Still seeming shy to him they take delight in maist.
Were lads to leave us when we geck an' fling,
How seldom wades e offer to be shy!
For me, I think, 'tis but a senseless thing
To seem to those we like, reserv'd, an' dry.
Some use their wooers ill, an' scarce ken why,
It beets their pride to see them mean, an' tame,
But wi' my Andrew's wishes I'll comply,
Whilst they're untarnish'd by a vicious aim,
An' whilst he's kin' an' leal, he'll find me aye the same.
Says Nannie, "Lads if ance they get their will
Turn free, syne cool, syne never fash us mair;
'Tis best to keep them at a distance still,
An' let them frowns, as weil as kindness share:
For every fellow d'ye think I care,
Wha likes to woo me, wi' a flattering tale
I'm young enough, this towmond to despair,
For any Rake; as yet, my heart is hale,
I'll leuk about me weil, an' for a guid ane wale."
"For ought I heard, or could perceive yestreen,
Jock was as easy as ye fain wad be,
Wild anger sparkled in his dark-blue een,
An' thus, in rising wraith, he said to me,
The very first time, Jean, you jilt you see,
Tell her 'tis time to lea' aff joking now,
An' since its out my power wi' her to gree,
Frae this time forth, I bid her aye adieu,
She'll never need again, my presence to eschew."
"This night wi' him, an' Andrew, I shall meet,
Aboon the howm, atween an' the Mill-brae,
When, if ye binna sweer to fyle your feet,
About that time we'll up the water stray."
"A-weil," quo Nan, "wi' you I'm redd to gae,
My heart relents, an' gars me this reveal,
For any thing that I may do, or say,
Jock's just as welcome as another cheil,
An' tho' I'm whiles camstrary, that he kens owre weil."
Now Jean an' Andrew, Jock an' Nannie met,
In better tune, than either party wist:
Nan, smiling, soon gart Jock his grief forget,
An' clear'd his countenance, wi' care opprest,
Sae, on a Simmer morn, thro' thick'ning mist,
The sun is dimly seen, without a ray:
Though for a while it may his warmth resist,
His genial power soon melts the fog away,
An' brightly shines serene, owre rising wood, an' brae.
Yet still narration fails — we may conceive,
But canna paint, the joy in Johnnie's mind;
Scarce coud he speak, an' scarcely coud believe
His vera een, that saw his Nannie kind!
His arms around her yielding body twin'd,
Soon made him master o' a sweet embrace!
Her saucie leuk nae mair his will confin'd;
A pleasing smile upon her sonsie face,
Made a' her beauties shine, wi' mair enchantin' grace!
Jock thanked Jean, for a' that she had done,
An' wish'd her help he never mair might need;
Young Andrew did the same, they parted soon,
Ilk took the road that nearest hame did lead.
Since that time, Jock had never cause to dread,
His Nannie aye has been sae frank, an' free;
Despair nae mair is like to be his dead,
But aye successfu', fu' o' mirth, an' glee,
There's not a happier lad, in a' the town, than he!
XXIV.
MY NANNY O.
As I came o'er the moor yestreen,
I met a lassie there her lane;
O sweetly gleam'd the modest een
O' blooming, gentle Nanny O.
The bonny lambkin, wild and free,
That happy wantons o'er the lea,
Mair heartsome, artless canna be,
Mair sweet and blythe than Nanny O.
"Night, darkening, sails in clouds o' rain,
And drear's this wild to be thy lane,
Though far thy hame, I'll weary nane
To gang wi' thee, sweet Nanny O."
"Though dreary be the gate and lang,
Sae far wi' me ye manna gang,"
The lassie blush'd, my heart it sprang,
"I'll turn wi' thee, my Nanny O."
The sparkle o' her e'e revealed
The joy that in her bosom thrill'd,
The grateful sentiment that swell'd
The feeling heart o' Nanny O.
Now wi' the pleasing tender tale
The langsome road I did beguile,
I made the lassie aft to smile;
My kindness melted Nanny O.
"Nae farther come this darksome night,
For yon's my hame where blinks the light,
Thy kindness I'll aye keep in sight,
While life's tide flows in Nanny O."
Mine arm around her neck I twin'd,
I gat a kiss sae sweet and kind,
Sensations blest gush'd on my mind,
That wil'd my soul to Nanny O.
Tho' far awa' I'll ne'er forget,
The night upon the moor we met,
That kindly kiss frae thee I gat,
My bonny, blythesome Nanny O.
XXV.
EPISTLE TO MR. ROBERT TANNAHILL.
Again I court the Muse's friendly aid,
While Phœbus lingers in the evening's shade.
On Levern's banks, beneath the moss-grown trees,
Whose withered foliage trembles in the breeze,
Retired I rest, and view the wintry scene,
The ice-fringed streamlet, and the faded green,
Dismantled woods, and hoary mist-clad hills,
Scenes which the poet's soul with rapture fills.
"Now as the landscape lessens on my sight,
My soul returns to thee with fond delight,"
Reminds each thought thy flowing verse contains,
The scented brier, and clover-blossom'd plains,
The dusky glen, where many a flow'ret grows,
The moorland burn, that murmurs as it flows,
The sober evening, clad in mantle grey,
That calmly shuts the door on lingering day.
Thy woodland, Ferguslie, whose bushy bowers
And fertile meadow, deck'd with summer's flowers,
Invite the youth, at silent eve, to stray
Down by the blooming hawthorn-skirted way.
There may the swain oft meet his lovely Jean,
When night her clouds upon the hills convene,
All the warm ardour of his soul confess,
And, unobserved, her glowing bosom press;
Read in her eyes his hopes of future bliss,
And tell her all he feels of love and tenderness,
Not so the youth who strives with studied art,
And false allurement to ensnare the heart;
Exerts his wiles th' unwary nymph to take,
And murders virtue for his passion's sake;
Like some skill'd angler who, with mimic fly,
Plays on the stream with an attentive eye.
Exerts his wiles to lure from his abode
The speckled monarch of the crystal flood,
Till once ensnared, with firm relentless hand
He drags th' unwilling victim to the land.
Thrice happy Bard! no care-destroying joy
Invades thy breast, nor e'er thy passions cloy;
Content, unheeded, onward jogs thy way
O'er life's rough road to brighter realms of day,
Like the glad morn, that rising fair to view,
Spreads the gay flowers and drinks the spangled dew,
And still in radiant beams of light arrayed,
Cheers the lone flow'rets in the rural shade,
Warms mother earth, while vegetating showers
Bid nature smile amidst her blooming bowers,
Till westward far, the sun resigns his reign
"Behind the clouds that slumber on the main."
Dear kindred bard, I own that Campbell's* lays
Have reared for him a monument of praise.
His Maniac wild, as on the cliff she sings,
The inward sorrow that her bosom wrings,
Counts the dull moments as they steal along,
And chides her lover in a mournful song; —
The poor old man, worn thin with long disease,
Leans o'er the gate and drinks the healthful breeze.
Inward his wish, — unpractised to repine,
"O that some sheltering home like this were mine,
Then should no heart, oppressed with wasting woe,
E'er bid the mournful tear unpitied flow."
The generous thought dispels the fiend despair,
* Author of the Pleasures of Hope — Mr. Tannahill had furnished his friend
with a copy of that work, and requested to know his opinion of it.
"And hope half mingles with the poor mall's prayer
The seaman too, who braves the tempest's shock,
Toss'd on the waves or wreck'd against a rock,
Hope still attends, and with an Angel's hand,
Points thro' the gloom to his dear native land,
Brings to his view each youth-endearing scene,
The woodbine cottage and the daisied green,
The running brook, the ever verdant bower,
The green wood side adorned with many a flower,
And all he prized in youth's delicious day,
Ere fortune frowned and taught his thoughts to stray.
Dear honored bard, thy warm poetic fire
In glowing numbers strikes the Apollian lyre,
Makes the loved muse of Caledonia's plains,
Resume her reed with ever-varied strains,
Inspires our youths to venerate the shade
Where Burns, her fav'rite bard, is lowly laid.
"Ah! may each bard, tho' still unknown to fame,
Unsullied hand to future times his name;
Still may the cot-wife of the rural wild,
Chaunt his sweet ballads to her infant child,
Tell it to prize in youth's delicious bloom,
The honoured bard that slumbers in the tomb."
I love your creed — I love your honest way,
To walk upright, nor mind what others say;
Lure modest worth out from her humble cell,
Press harmony and peace with us to dwell;
Yes, kindred bard, thy friendship I will share,
Nurse each fine feeling with a miser care,
Court every passion, try each winning art
That opes the tender sluices to the heart; —
Warm in affection's smiles, we'll shun the height
Where malice and the dry-eyed critic wait,
With poisonous breath to blast the poet's fame,
And tear the laurels from the hand of fame,
Mark rising genius with vindictive eye,
Obscure his beauties and his faults decry.
Be't ours, my friend, to scan th' historic page
And learn the manners of the by-gone age,
Catch every gale that blows from wisdom's dome,
Improve our minds and live content at home, —
Securely set 'midst envy's thousand spears,
While time winds up his chain of other years.
XXVI
ODE TO A PRIMROSE.
Floweret of the lonely dale,
Little pledge of early spring,
Thy form again with joy I hail,
As thou scent'st the zephyr's wing.
Lowly 'neath the budding shade,
Mild thou grows a bonny flower;
May no blast assail thy head,
But smiling bloom thy little hour.
The redbreast, nature's vocal child,
Near thee rears the humble nest,
Cheers thee with his warblings wild,
While the west wind fans thy breast.
Winter's now departed hence,
Rosy spring leads on the way,
Joyful hours again advance,
Smiling sunbeams hail the day.
Mildly, now, thy yellow blossom
Opens to the rising day,
While the sun, upon thy bosom,
Drinks the early dews away.
Floweret of the lonely dale!
Little pledge of infant spring!
Thy form again with joy I hail,
As thou scent'st the zephyr's wing!
XXVII
RETROSPECT RECOLLECTIONS OF YOUTH.
Yon high tow'ring hill with its broom-skirted vale,
Where the redbreast at eve warbles sweet his love-song,
And the sound of the streamlet is heard on the gale,
As it gurgling meanders the dark woods among —
There oft have I wander'd, when eve's mellow beams
Had ting'd the brown heath on the bleak jutting steep,
Where round the gray summit the sea-fowl loud screams
To the hoarse dashing waves of the wild foaming deep.
And still as I pass the old tree by the burn,
Whose bark is half stript, and whose leaves now are few,
I linger awhile — for gay life's blooming morn,
With its tender emotions, recurs to my view.
Near the wild shrubs that hang o'er you storm-beaten rocks,
And lift their grey sides from the heath-cover'd way,
My Mary and I oft have tended our flocks,
Ere the sun drank the dew from the leaf-budding spray.
When summer with verdure the fields had array'd,
And Ocean's rude billows were sunk into rest,
Along by the banks of the stream have I strayed,
No anxious forebodings disturbing my breast.
Even here, as I view her lone cot in the vale,
Where hawthorns are blooming, and flow'rs deck
plain,
The dear native spot still with rapture I hail,
And to Mary my wand'rings tell over again.
XXVIII.
MYSELF.*
MY VERY GOOD SIR,
In this rhyming age,
I feel a strong itch to scribble a page;
And, I hope, what I write you'll call wondrous fine,
Tho' there scarce should be sense in one single line.
'Tis the fashion, you know, to praise to one's face,
Or, with pen, to adorn with every grace
An epistle to compliment what, in your soul,
You damn, as the fruit of the brain of a foal.
Then of what shall I sing? of love, or of war?
Of domestic sweets, or of scenes from afar?
No, my Muse scorns Buonaparte, or any such elf,
Or a Nancy or Mary — The subject's MYSELF —
My own precious self shall kindle my song,
On a topic so dear I could write — O how long!
* This rhyming epistle was written, under the circumstances which it
reveals, by the Rev. Mr. Wilson, a minister of the Secession Church in
Greenock, to a friend in that town. Renowned as a faithful pastor, he was
also distinguished as an accomplished musician, and was wont to solace his
leisure hours by practising on the bass fiddle. This recreation gave great
offence to some of the "unco guid" among his congregation, and after
serious deliberation a deputation from the Session was appointed to expostulate
with the minister. He was a man of infinite humour, and withal given
to hospitality. He had got a hint of what was coming, and stood ready to
receive his elders at the threshold as they entered. They told him they had
come on business; but the minister suggested that it might stand till they
had shared his dinner, and then they might discuss business over a quiet
tumbler. Glad to postpone their unpleasant message, they accepted the
hospitable offer. The toddy was produced, and while it was being discussed
Mr. Wilson told his elders that he had just received the music of a new piece,
which had delighted himself, and ere they could gather courage to interfere,
his master-hand held their ears entranced. After a few tunes, he left his
guests for a short time, who unanimously resolved that they would report to
their constituents that Mr. Wilson's fiddle was not "the wee sinful fiddle,"
but a grand and sacred instrument, which could never defile the hand even
of a seceding minister.
Then know, my good sir, my foot's all out of joint, —
But, pray, how came I by it? ay, that is the point.
From Largs (lovely village) one Saturday night,
I rode all alone, by the stars' paly light.
Thro' dub and thro' mire my steed bore me on,
Till, near this good town, an ill-natured stone
Made him reel from the path — next moment the clang
Of steel 'gainst the ground made me light with a bang
To examine (for I pray you what person of sense
If a hoof of his beast lost its iron defence
Could sit unconcerned?) to examine, I say,
If one of his shoes was really away;
When, ah! luckless wight! my foot somehow stumble
On a piece of rough soil, and over I tumbled.
My foot sank beneath me, and there was so strained,
That (to shorten my story) I got my foot sprained.
Alas! my poor foot! what made thee to stumble?
But it was not thy fault — therefore not a grumble.
Thou'st been a good foot to me; for many's the time
Thou hast brought me away, when, for boyish crime,
I should have been thrashed — but, thanks, my dear foot,
From many such scrapes thou hast helped me out.
Thou hast borne me to School, to College, to Ha',†
To Church, and to visit my friend, John M'A'.,
Then, thee, my dear foot, by the fire I shall dandle,
Tho' the world should exclaim, 'tis a very great scandal
Let the world call me lazy, lubberly, fool —
I care no more for't than an auld buffet stool.
Could I now and then see the very good friend,
To whom I now write, I think I could fend —
We shall groan, first of all, o'er our bodily sores,
Then tell, how our fancy takes wing and up soars,
† The Divinity Hall, 70 miles from Glasgow.
When we read the productions of poets sublime,
And venture, like them, up Parnassus to climb.
Should conscience grow torpid, we'll take to the nappy,
And then I'll be bound we'll get wondrously happy.
Then come, my kind sir, to see me and my foot,
You shall have my best thanks, and a good glass to boot,
The issue of all is, that, with hearty good will,
I am, ever and ever, your friend,
LITTLE BILL.
Tuesday, 6th March, 1820.
Mr. Wilson's best respects to Mr. Macalister, and begs, that if
he has any interest with the great, he would be so good as exert
it in Mr. W.'s behalf in order to secure for him the place of Poet
Laureate, as soon as Mr. Pye shall decease. The above is a small
specimen of his talents in the ars poetica.
XXIX.
RENFREWSHIRE CHARACTERS AND SCENERY.
A POEM.
IN THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-FIVE CANTOS.
CANTO FIRST.
1.
Oh yes, we have full many a varied scene,
Of rural grace, here in the West contrie:
Green undulating hills, soft glens between,
Where still the peasant loves his home to be,
Beside the brook that murmurs pleasantly:
Rich vales, where equally the graceful skill
Of Culture's hand, and Nature's gifts we see,
Where fresh'ning rivers, swell'd by many a rill,
Their winding channels, high as their green margins,
2.
But none of all these scenes to me e'er seems,
As pastoral Inchinnan, half so sweet;
Where, gliding through their vales, two sister streams,
After long devious wanderings, haste to meet,
And stray together in that calm retreat.
That scene holds o'er my heart, a pleasing spell;
Still, as my lingering visits I repeat,
I love it more; and yet I scarce can tell,
What dear associations this heart-pleasure swell.
3
The church of simplest form, and hoary age,
The grassy church-yard, with its moss-grown stones,
And circling trees, that cast a soft umbrage,
And soothe the dead, with sighs and gentle moans;
Warning the living loiterer, that postpones
His ghostly task, with truths most sage; close by,
The neat snug manse, a cheerful sight — green lones,
Where Age right garrulous rests pleasantly,
And Youth, let loose from school, sports like the summer
fly.
4
A country manse improves a landscape much;
It makes us think of many a blessing rare;
Blessings for mind and mouth — we feel, we touch;
An active leisure, and a pleasing care,
For duties done of love a double share,
Fat hens, fresh eggs, from out the gudewife's store,
Of meal, and malt, what the gudeman can spare,
From bridegroom's superfines, still valued more,
And augmentations, which make heritors feel sore.
5
I say not, were it hard press'd upon me,
I would refuse a wealthy bishoprick;
Say were it steepy Durham's golden See,
For, in ambition, I'm not quite a stick,
But mine burn'd to the latest snuff of wick
Would be with any Scottish country manse —
My teeth are wat'ring for the teinds — I'll lick
My lips whene'er I get them: — Ah, no chance
Have I for this, no more than being king of France.
6.
The pious pastor, watchful o'er his flock,
Wooing, supporting, guiding them to heaven;
Though infidels and wantons jeer and mock,
I deeply venerate. Whilst we are driven
With goose-wings, down the wind, such men are given,
To hail, arrest us in our course, and aid
To reef, bear up, and strive as those have striven
Who now ride safe in port, 'gainst currents, trade--
Winds — all by devilish passions, men and devils made.
7.
As old Polonius says, "where did I leave?"
'Twas 'bout Inchinnan, which I love so well;
The monarchs of the A, B, C, 'twould grieve,
Were I my many truant tricks to tell,
When a poor school-slave, yielding to the spell,
With which the rural nymphs had bound me, chief
Those that love by Cart's blending streams to dwell
Description, at the best, is low relief;
Go, then, and use your eyes, the walk's most sweet and brief.
8
Go, without pausing, to the eastern bridge,
(For there are two, and stately structures both,)
And place yourself upon the very ridge;
When there, to gaze for hours you'll not be loath:
When asked the petty dues, Oh, be not wroth,
One penny sure is small for a fine view;
And, O believe me, avarice is a moth
That eats our happiness even through and through,
And turns the heart to dust, which time cannot renew.
9
These bridges were uprear'd some years ago,
And cost, I think, full twenty thousand pound;
The old one, though not old, was builded so,
That, when it fell, it seem'd an earthy mound,
Or that the stones to powder had been ground;
Too late, alas, that 'twas a sandy pile,
Thin cas'd in ill-built stone, the public found:
'Twas waggish work to build in such a style,
But let us draw some morals from the tale, the while.
10.
And first of all, from hence we're clearly taught
That judgment must not rest on outward guise;
How oft the man that seems with virtues fraught,
When better known, we utterly despise.
By works a wise man each man round him tries,
Oft by some current deep life's path is cross'd,
To some true friend, as bridge, the pilgrim hies
He's half way o'er, just when he needs it most,
The bridge proves cas'd, and in the centre stream he's lost.
11.
The other morals which we meant to teach,
We must let rest to a more fitting time:
And now the proper point of view we reach,
And 'tis of summer day the cheerful prime;
Look every way, and say if even rhyme
Can tell the gladness which the heart now feels,
Can ring in unison with its full chime:
Ah, there are high and inward rapture-peals
By nature wak'd, which rhyme, blank verse, nor prose reveals.

12.
What of the poor heart would become, were prose
The only outlet, when its tide swells high;
So pent, how desperate would be its throes!
Prose is a reptile that crawls heavily;
But eagle Poesy mounts to the sky.
Our earthly thoughts in drossy prose remain,
But all that have their fiery source on high,
Mount in the flame of poesy, to gain
Their sphere, the whilst their glory all men's eyes constrain.
13.
No quaint apologies I deign to make,
For these digressions; to digress is law,
For lawyers oft do so — even for the sake
Of glorious liberty, I'd hum and haw,
And, peevishly, at stated rules cry, pshaw.
And, really, when in bondage with these rhymes,
To be the slave of method — that Bashaw —
Would be a punishment no common crimes
Should meet — 'twould make still worse these very worst of
times.
14.
Look o'er the northern ledge — a glorious view,
Wood, water, islets, lawns, and meadows green,
Round grassy knolls, brown tills, and mountains blue;
Beneath a rushing, wide-spread stream is seen
To bear a double tribute to the queen,
Or king, if that's preferred, of Scottish rivers:
Clyde is the Thames of Scotland now, I ween,
Not from the water hourly it delivers,
But from the trading bustle which its current fevers.
15.
There, on that green lawn, rather to the right,
New labours of the architect appear,
By old high trees, half hidden from the sight;
A noble pile — the castle of good cheer,
Whose sunny visag'd lord's known far and near,
For generous living, and for generous deeds;
'Live and let live,' his motto — it is queer,
So rich and lavish, that he ne'er proceeds
Certain small things, to blot one in the Red Book reads.
16.
Still farther to the right, the place is seen,
Where great Argyle, playing the patriot's part,
Was seized. How has no monument yet been
Rear'd there? Look to the left bank of the Cart,
In fancy do you see helm'd warriors, swart,
Tilting beside yon green hill — near that spot,
From battlements, the pride of Gothic art,
The banner of Knights Templars once did float.
Yon farther hills are trac'd by the Roman wall and moat.
17.
Look o'er the southern ledge — a goodly sight;
The distant Paisley-braes the prospect bound,
The Mistilaw towers further on the right;
A fleecy cloud its sunny peaks floats round;
But, nearer, see yon hill with tall spire crown'd,
Studded with many a mansion, school, and church,
Whilst round its base, a thronging town is wound;
A town upon whose merits we would wish to touch,
'Bout which, so great they are, we cannot say too much.
18.
Paisley, it is y'clep'd; of much renown,
Near and far known for many a wondrous deed;
For turning kings, and wooden trenchers round;
For weaving muslin webs of finest reed,
And schemes political that must succeed;
For wealthy tradesmen, and for deep divines;
Wise bailies; prudent matrons, that take heed
To all their neighbours' virtues; chief, it shines
With writers douce, save when Pap-in their wit refines.
19.
Pap-in! thou beveridge of the gods — Pap-in!
That giv'st a soul to him who may have none,
In every club thou swellest every skin
Like Arab bottles. Whatsoe'er the sun
Can do for earth, by thee, for us, is done.
Beneath thy sway life is both warm and bright;
Like Docks and Dandy-lions Wit and Fun,
Spread forth their beauties to thy genial light;
Wise saws, like haws and hips, thick clustering to the sight.
20.
This town is noted too, for rhyming men,
Whose fame, o'er all the country wide, has spread,
It has, of living songsters, nine or ten,
And many more have been — alas, now dead.
When Milton is forgot they will be read.
There I myself, endeavour to reside,
Though almost starv'd: my ample sign is spread
In Plunkin, which runs off the Causeyside,
Where those, that lie in wait for monied merchants, bide.
21.
This merchant-catching is a cruel trade;
That 'tis a crime the council must decree.
Some say that our prosperity would fade,
If merchants were not caught thus craftily.
Oh, 'tis a sight worth ten miles' walk to see,
Behind their webs, these spiders lurking sly,
And peering forth, lest any prey may be,
And darting on the unsuspecting fly —
Sucking its blood, till as a whistle it is dry.
22.
Ye muslin regions! climes where Corks have thriven,
Where sign-boards, in their glory, flourish still,
Should from your flow'ry paradise be driven,
And pack'd, with baggage, o'er the three-mile hill,
We innocents, of manufacturing skill,
Worse than a fall of prices it would be;
Rather than in that thorny desert till,
Call'd "Glasgow city," from its growthless tree,
I'd dangle like the bell, which on its branch we see.
23.
'Tis luxury beyond compare, all day,
About the Causeyside, from door to door,
With hands in breeches' pocket, warm, to stray,
And tell and hear queer stories o'er and o'er,
And into all our neighbour's business bore;
And then, O rare, the penny club at night,
Where, socially, we hum-drum, smoke, and snore,
Dreaming of times — we have the second sight —
When merchant swarms appear, with purses long and bright.
24.
Fine muslins, and fine women we have both:
The former always take the market well;
But how the merchants should continue loath
To take the latter too, I cannot tell.
Had I the management, I would not sell
The one, unless the other too was taken.
One damsel fair, with every thousand ell,
Is not too much, or I am much mistaken.
It breaks my heart to see our maidens thus forsaken.
25.
Look to the eastern border of the town,
And there you see a darkly towering fane,
The "Abbey Church," 'tis call'd, now half thrown down,
I wish I saw it proudly rear'd again.
The blot of vandalism, the name must stain
Of those who strew'd in dust its saintly choir.
The knavish rascals let the nave remain,
But not the transepts, with their lofty spire.
Some say, its labell'd bell is now in Durham shire.
26.
The dust, the golden dust of royalty,
Is held within its consecrated bound;
Parents of kings too — Walter and Margery —
Have long since there a place of slumber found.
Where such repose, a glory hovers round;
And many more, of various titled name,
Enrich, with noble dust, the sacred ground.
Death beats the leveller at his favourite game;
To him the monarch, noble, peasant, are the same.
27.
The sounding aisle you've seen; like other people,
Who visit our New Town and Burgh, no doubt,
You've sought that aisle, and climb'd the High Church
steeple.
In that dim aisle of echoes, round about,
From wall and groin'd roof, unseen spirits shout,
Answering to him who calls But when is sung,
By some sweet choral band, a hymn devout,
Ah, then is heard full many a seraph tongue;
For mortal sounds, back raptured strains of heaven are flung.
28.
Thanks to the D. D. who, so piously,
Bemoan'd, wip'd off the deep disgrace, which time
And hands profane, had laid on Queen Blear-eye;
Both eyes with moss were blear'd, and dust and slime,
Her noble cheeks and robes, did sore begrime:
But now, in seemly state, both clean and neat,
Upon her stone couch does she safe recline
Within this aisle, as waiting to repeat
Some holy sister's strain, in echoes lingering sweet.
29.
Oh, wherefore in this bustling age was cast
My woful lot, in which man's wretched life
Is like the quickened mails, that run too fast,
Holding with time a vain and jading strife.
With a most reckless sweep, the pruning knife
Lops every graceful bough from life's fair tree:
'Tis only where the golden fruit is rife,
That the relentless hand may sparing be;
Thus paring life to shapeless, bare utility.
30.
The golden age is past — 'tis no such thing;
At least the age for thirsting after gold;
For golden dreams, and costly offerings
To Mammon, God of wealth, so called of old.
All goes for yellow-metal. I'll uphold
That if you bid for Noses a fair price,
Soon by the gross you'll find these to be sold,
And, if in quality you're not so nice,
Behold, you've made the age quite noseless in a trice.
31.
Bottles are labell'd, telling what's within,
So are the dead, and why not living men?
With name and place, the label might begin,
Next — age, and rank, and birth, both where and when
The temperament, the principles, and then
The lowest sum that can be taken for these,
The label, in nine cases out of ten,
Would be the porter's charge, "just what you please,"
To hold our principles does nothing else but teaze.
32.
These calculating times are not for me:
I should have lived three hundred years ago,
And spent my easy days in errantry,
As monk or knight, to care a mortal foe.
I'd like to fight, indeed, but so and so;
With fiery dragons, and with giants grim
When others fought, I might have cried — bravo!
With age, these monster's eyes would have been dim,
Ere to molest their peace, my heart had been in trim.
33.
More in my element I would have been,
Wandering, at pleasure, all the country round,
A peaceful brother, Monk, or Capuchin,
Whilst, in each house, a kindly host I found;
Or loitering in the shady cloister's bound;
Or sunning myself on bank, where wild-thyme grows;
In that calm sphere, each stilly sight and sound
Would have called forth my genius for repose;
Kind cherishing each high propensity — to doze.
34.
To nod, to doze, to slumber, to sleep sound,
These form, of human happiness, the scale;
For waking bliss has never yet been found;
At least, if found, it very soon turns stale:
The grains of paradise, they mix with ale,
In drowsy bliss, the willing senses steep,
Whilst care makes still our slumberings to fail.
To eat, to walk is but to sow — to reap
Life's richest harvest — is, in corner warm, to sleep.
35.
I hope the good old times will yet come back,
The jovial times of nuns, and monks, and masses.
I think, I'm gifted with the sacred knack
Of playing Abbot — riding upon asses,
In which this town each other town surpasses,
The Abbot of Paisley, then, I ought to be:
With many a holy tax I'd bless all classes:
The Paisley bank-notes would belong to me,
For pictur'd on each one the Abbot's self you see.
36.
Quickly the New Town shall demolish'd be,
And with the stones rebuilt the garden wall;
Within, I'll plant each goodly flower and tree,
From the low snow-drop to the poplar tall;
Mazes I'll form, and arbours, fountains, all
That minister to ease, and soft delight;
The mill and mulcturer ground to powder small,
I'll rear a neat refectory on the site,
Where lunch and waterfalls will soothe my care-worn sprite.
37.
Oh, Smith, thou son legitimate of song,
First cousin of the vocal sisters nine,
Thou far too modest, worthy man, I long
To see thee, whilst we kneel at Mary's shrine,
Leading my choir-men, chaunting airs divine,
Delating, warming, ravishing each heart,
With those rich, mellow, gushing tones of thine:
Fortune will play thee, then, a truer part —
St. Peter's men, to bob for purses, know the art.
38.
St. Peter and St. Andrew, Andrew —
(Association joins these by her spell),
Andrew! thou man of genius, queer and knacky,
What hast thou done with our good High Church bell?
what malice 'gainst it in thy breast could dwell?
Thou tun'd it with a vengeance — took it down,
Then hung it up, to ring its funeral knell;
Thou didst not cease till all its tones had flown;
Till what was once its pride, disgraces now the town.
39.
It's ghost will haunt thee, thou hard-hearted one;
Its broken tones will grate still in thine ear;
With such a thing how thought ye to make fun;
I'm sure, in conscience' pangs, 'twill cost thee dear.
Such bell we'll never get, again, I fear,
Its solemn, lengthy, deep, sonorous tones,
Which did each Paisley man's heart good to hear,
Fill'd, with their tide, the houses, streets, and lones,
And fuller swell'd, till even they thrill'd the very stones.
40.
They floated wide, o'er hill and plain around,
In the still morning, and the stiller eve:
Rousing the hind to toil, from sleep profound,
And calling him again these toils to leave.
The far-off peasant, now, will sadly grieve,
Missing those sacred sounds on Sabbath morn:
Whilst, scarce the bosom of the air they heave,
The wild bee drowns them with his tiny horn,
But still, again, they're caught, through the hush'd distance
borne.
41.
Andrew! thou man of double-attic bliss,
Thy thin frame perch'd in Paton's attics high,
Thy spirits in those of Happiness, I wis:
Beneath, the clouds of Care may meet thine eye,
But ne'er can reach thee, in the middle sky.
Smiling enthusiast! every new moon brings
Thee some new fancy, whilst confusedly lie
Discarded whims, snuff boxes, coins, base-strings,
Bells, music, varnish'd sticks, and all such oddish things.
42.
Singing of Andrews, and of genius too,
Shall I not, Andrew Lindsay, sing of thee,
And of thy good bow-hand? so bold and true;
Neil Gow's might be more fine, but not more free.
Each heel was winged — each eye and heart were glee,
Even with the tuning flourish of thy bow,
The reel struck up, and each had made congee,
What crossing, skipping, swinging to and fro —
High cutting, shuffling, whirling — such we'll see no moe.
43.
Good humour'd, virtuous man! Nature on thee,
Above mere fiddling, has bestow'd a mind:
Thou art a scholar of no mean degree;
A linguist, though from infancy stone blind.
I see the son-taught mother, meekly kind,
Reading to thee on Greek or Hebrew page:
And, Oh, it grieves me, Andrew, now to find
Thee press'd at once, by poverty and age.
Shall Paisley town neglect her minstrel and her sage.
XXX.
THE CHIVALRIC ADVENTURES OF THE RIFLE
CORPS ON THE KING'S BIRTH-DAY, 1820.
The Rifles of Paisley, by eight in the morn,
From slumber were roused by the sound of the horn,
And off to the muster they hurried them all
To the fearful brink of the great Canal;
And marvel, I ween, did the people to see
These chivalrous heroes parade at the quay,
And hardily dare the treacherous wave
That many long miles the land doth lave.
But they boldly embark'd on the dreadful deep,
Where once eighty sank in an endless sleep;
They ventur'd their bodies within the boat
That coggling-like on the waters did float,
With wallets well lined with lumps of cheese,
And slices of bread their wames to appease,
And keep up their hearts so brave and true,
And cheer them on at the great review.
And off in the bark they bound away,
Her keel the green waters dashed in spray;
And Mungo stood on the glancing prow,
And flourish'd an air on his row-de-de-dow;
The heroes he cheer'd with the notes of war,
And their thoughts flew off to battle afar.
The while they flew o'er the surging flood,
In fancy they waded through fields of blood.
Should Wilson but gather his thousand men
To fight with the French in the fields of Spain,
Let him cast his eye on this warlike band,
And rally them under his sage command;
For their doughty courage, both staunch and true,
By wordy fight would the French subdue;
Oh, had but Sebastian seen their face,
The French had hurriedly gotten a chase!
Abroad at Glasgow, at drill on the Green,
The Western Heroes were glancing seen;
With wheeling and drilling they panted full sore,
Till the white blood came oozing from every pore;
Though scorched by the sun at this grand display,
Their hearts were stout and they felt no dismay;
But ere it was gloaming, the officers felt
They were thinner at least by a span in the belt.
But their courage ne'er fell, though their bodies were tired,
Though their eyes were shut when their muskets were fired.
And their heads were turn'd from the dreadful sight,
Lest the gunpowder flash might their countenance fright,
Yet great was the valour that day was displayed,
And numbers were shot, but none of them dead;
Though shot thro' the heart, let it no one surprise,
They only were smitten by fair ladies' eyes.
Convinced by their ardour, they truly were brave,
Some few took the road — the rest brav'd the wave,
And left their neighbours to pad it alone
Who had not the spirit to sail again home;
But their courage, alas! had nearly fallen through,
For the bottom gave way of their war canoe,
Which spread dismay thro' the valorous corps,
And the riflemen threw into horrid uproar.
A shipwreck so dreadful, so far from the land,
Might sorely appal e'en the hardiest band;
Such piteous confusion was ne'er seen before,
But they paddled it out and they waddled ashore.
And sturdily tramped the rest of the road,
'Neath the wondrous weight of the ponderous load
Of muskets, and pouches, and powder, and ball,
Till they came to the foot of the new castle wall.
And banners were flapping aloft on the towers;
The front of the hall was bedecked with flowers;
And the crown of our country encircled was there,
With chaplets of laurels and yellow flowers rare;
While the loud bugle sung, and the bell went dong-ding,
But the people were glad to stand back in a ring,
For on young fellows' noddles it might truly be said,
That the batonmen's cudgels a symphony play'd.
And our nobles were met in the great castle hall,
With pastors and preachers, and bailies and all;
They met for to hold the birth-day of our king,
And out to the rostrum the wine they did bring.
In loyal respect all their hearts did combine,
And they quaff'd his health in the rubicund wine,
Then merrily shouted a cheer and a half,
But the echoes flew back in a murmuring laugh.
But the drums and the pipes then again sounded high,
And a twang of the bugles flew up to the sky;
From the castle the ladies smiled witchingly coy,
Till the riflemen fired a fierce love-de-joy,
And raised a din like the havock of death,
Which nearly deprived the fair vrows of their breath,
And they fearfully hid from the sulphury smoke —
From the marvellous fire which true valour bespoke.
But the crowd was ungrateful — unloyal, I ween,
Not a cap in the air could waving be seen,
For close to their noddles their bonnets lay pat,
As if it had been trouble to flourish a hat;
And pettishly silent were all of their throats,
For they joined not the joy with their clamorous notes.
And each seem'd as niggardly now of their noise,
As if met to observe, and not to rejoice,
Yet the sight of the legion of emerald green,
When their 'coutrements glanced with a dazzling sheen,
Inspired every youth with a patriot flame —
Their hearts glow'd for honour, for glory, and fame;
And when the green heroes for home march'd away,
After the feats of this notable day,
The young men all envied their gallant looks bold,
Who proudly might rank with our heroes of old.
XXXI.
WATTY AND MEG, OR THE WIFE REFORMED,
A TALE.
We dream in courtship, but in wedlock wake. — POPE.
Keen the frosty winds were blawing,
Deep the snaw had wreathed the ploughs,
Watty, wearied a' day sawing,
Daunert down to Mungo Blue's.
Duster Jock was sitting cracky,
Wi' Pate Tamson o' the Hill,
"Come awa'," quo' Johnny, "Watty!
Haith we're hae anither gill."
Watty, glad to see Jock Jabos,
And sae mony neibours roun',
Kicket frae his shoon the snawba's,
Syne ayont the fire sat down.
Owre a broad wi' bannocks heapet,
Cheese, and stoups, and glasses stood;
Some were roaring, ithers sleepit,
Ithers quietly chewt their cud.
Jock was selling Pate some tallow,
A' the rest a racket hel',
A' but Watty, wha, poor fallow!
Sat and smoket by himsel',
Mungo filled him up a toothfu',
Drank his health and Meg's in ane,
Watty, puffing out a mouthfu',
Pledged him wi' a dreary grane.
"What's the matter, Watty, wi' you?
Trouth your chafts are fa'in in!
Something's wrang — I'm vexed to see you
Gudesake! but ye're desperate thin!"
"Ay," quo' Watty, "things are altered,
But it's past redemption now,
Man! I wish I had been haltered
When I married Maggie Howe!
I've been poor, and vexed, and raggy,
Tried wi' troubles no that sma';
Them I bore — but marrying Maggy
Laid the cap-stane o' them a'.
Night and day she's ever yelping,
Wi' the weans she ne'er can gree,
When she's tired with perfect skelping,
Then she flees like fire on me.
See ye, Mungo! when she'll clash on
With her everlasting clack,
Whiles I've had my neive in passion,
Liftet up to break her back!"
"O, for gudesake, keep frae cuffets!"
Mungo shook his head and said,
"Weel I ken what sort of life it's;
Ken ye, Watty, how I did? —
After Bess and I were kippled,
Soon she grew like ony bear,
Brak' my shins, and when I tippled,
Harl't out my very hair.
For a wee I quietly knuckled,
But whan naething would prevail,
Up my claes and cash I buckled,
'Bess, for ever fare-ye-weel.'
Then her din grew less and less aye;
Haith I gart her change her tune,
Now a better wife than Bessy
Never stept in leather shoon.
Try this, Watty — when you see her
Raging like a roaring flood,
Swear that moment that you'll lea' her:
That's the way to keep her good."
Laughing, sangs, and lasses' skirls,
Echoed now out-through the roof,
"Done!" quo' Pate, and syne his arles
Nailed the Dryster's wauked loof.
In the thrang of stories telling,
Shaking hauns, and ither cheer,
Swith! a chap comes on the hallan,
"Mungo, is our Watty here?"
Maggy's weel kent tongue and hurry,
Darted through him like a knife,
Up the door flew — like a fury
In came Watty's scawling wife.
"Nasty, gude-for-naething being!
O ye snuffy, drucken soo,
Bringing wife and weans to ruin,
Drinking here wi' sic a crew!
Devil nor your legs were broken,
Sic a life nae flesh endures,
Toiling like a slave to sloken
You, ye dyvor, and your w—s.
Rise, ye drucken beast o' Bethel,
Drink's your night and day's desire:
Rise, this precious hour, or faith I'll
Fling your whiskey i' the fire!"
Watty heard her tongue unhallowed,
Paid his groat wi' little din,
Left the house, while Maggy fallowed,
Flytin' a' the road behin'.
Fowk frae every door came lamping,
Maggy curst them ane and a';
Clappet wi' her hands, and stamping,
Lost her bauchles i' the sna'.
Hame, at length, she turned the gavel,
Wi' a face as white's a clout,
Raging like a very devil,
Kicking stools and chairs about.
"Ye'll sit wi' your limmers round you,
Hang you, sir! I'll be your death;
Little bands my hands, confound you,
But I'll cleave you to the teeth."
Watty, wha 'midst this oration,
Eyed her whiles, but durstna speak,
Sat like patient Resignation,
Trembling by the ingle cheek.
Sad his wee drag brose he sippet,
Maggy's tongue gaed like a bell,
Quietly to his bed he slippet,
Sighin' often to himsel':
"Nane are free frae some vexation,
Ilk ane has his ills to dree;
But through a' the hale creation
Is a mortal vext like me?"
A' night lang he rowt and gaunted,
Sleep or rest he couldna' tak;
Maggy aft wi' horror haunted,
Mum'ling started at his back.
Soon as e'er the morning peepit,
Up raise Watty, waefu' chiel,
Kist his weanies while they sleepet,
Waukened Meg, and sought farewell.
"Farewell, Meg! — and, O! may Heaven
Keep you aye within His care:
Watty's heart ye've lang been grievin',
Now he'll never fash you mair.
Happy could I been beside you,
Happy, baith at morn and e'en:
A' the ills that e'er betide you,
Watty aye turned out your frien'.
But ye ever like to see me
Vext and sighing, late and air;
Farewell, Meg! I've sworn to lea' thee,
So thou'll never see me mair."
Meg, a' sabbing, sae to lose him,
Sic a change had never wist,
Held his hand close to her bosom,
While her heart was like to burst.
"O my Watty, will you lea' me,
Frien'less, helpless, to despair!
O! for this ae time forgi'e me:
Never will I vex you mair."
"Ay! ye've aft said that, and broken
A' your vows ten times a-week,
No, no, Meg! see, there's a token
Glittering on my bonnet cheek.
Owre the seas I march this morning,
Listed, tested, sworn and a',
Forced by your confounded girning —
Farewell, Meg! for I'm awa'."
Then poor Maggy's tears and clamour
Gush afresh, and louder grew,
While the weans, wi' mournfu' yamour,
Round their sabbing mother flew.
"Through the yirth I'll waunner wi' you —
Stay, O Watty! stay at hame;
Here upon my knees I'll gi'e you
Ony vow ye like to name.
See your poor young lammies pleadin',
Will ye gang and break our heart?
No a house to put our head in,
No a friend to take our part!"
Ilka word came like a bullet,
Watty's heart begoud to shake;
On a kist he laid his wallet,
Dighted baith his een and spake, —
"If ance mair I cou'd by writing,
Lea' the sogers and stay still,
Wad you swear to drop your flyting?"
"Yes, O Watty! yes, I will."
"Then," quo' Watty, "mind, be honest;
Aye to keep your temper strive;
Gin ye break this dreadfu' promise,
Never mair expect to thrive.
Margaret Howe, this hour ye solemn
Swear by everything that's gude,
Ne'er again your spouse to scal' him,
While life warms your heart and blood.
That ye'll ne'er in Mungo's seek me,
Ne'er put drucken to my name,
Never out at e'ening steek me,
Never gloom when I come hame.
That ye'll ne'er, like Bessy Miller,
Kick my shins or rug my hair,
Lastly, I'm to keep the siller;
This, upon your saul, you swear?"
"O—h!" quo Meg ; "awell," quo' Watty,
"Farewell! faith, I'll try the seas:"
"O stand still," quo' Meg, and grat aye;
"Ony, ony way ye please."
Maggie syne, because he prest her,
Swore to a' things owre again:
Watty lap, and danced, and kist her;
Wow! but he was wondrous fain.
Down he threw his staff victorious;
Aff gaed bonnet, claes, and shoon;
Syne below the blankets, glorious,
Held anither Hinny-Moon!
XXXIII.
LOCHWINNOCH. — A DESCRIPTIVE POEM.
IN A LETTER TO A FRIEND.
When in the western main our orb of light,
Sinks slowly down from the advancing night,
Mute Sadness hangs o'er all the lonely earth,
Old gloomy Night leads all her horrors forth;
Wild howls the dreary waste, where furies roam,
Harsh hated shrieks start from the ruined dome;
Dread Darkness reigns in melancholy state,
And pensive Nature seems to mourn her fate.
Such was the gloom, dear sir, that wrapt my soul,
Such were the thoughts, and such the sighs that stole
From this poor bosom, when, with tearful view,
I bade Edina and my friend adieu;
Bade him adieu, whose kind, engaging art,
Unbounded goodness, and inspiring heart,
Has cheered my Muse, and bid her joyous soar,
While Want and Ruin thundered at the door.
Long was the way, the weary way to tread,
Stern Fortune frowned, and ev'ry hope had fled;
How rushed reflection on my tortured mind,
As slow I went, and sighing gazed behind.
Our rural walks, while the gray eastern morn,
Yet faintly breaking, decked the dewy thorn;
Or when linked arm in arm, we peaceful strayed
The meadows round: beneath yon leafy shade
There oft the Muse pursued her soaring flight,
While day was sunk, and reigned the starry night.
Farewell, I cried; a long farewell to you;
Fate cruel urges, happy scenes adieu.
But, blest be Heaven! when two sad days were past,
I reached my peaceful native plains at last;
Sweet smiled the Muse to hear the rustics sing,
And fond to rise, she stretched her ample wing.
On ev'ry side the blooming landscape glow'd;
Here shepherds whistled, there the cascade flowed.
Heav'ns! had I known what gay, delightful scenes,
Of woods and groves adorned these happy plains,
Edina's crowds and sooty turrets high,
Should ne'er have cost me one regretting sigh.
Though fair sweet Fortha's banks, though rich her plains,
Far nobler prospects claim the Muse's strains.
Fate now has led me to green-waving groves,
Blest scenes of innocence and rural loves;
Where cloudy smoke ne'er darkens up the sky,
Nor glaring buildings tire the sick'ning eye;
But spreading meadows wave with flowery hay,
And, drowned in grass the milky mothers stray;
While down each vale descends the glitt'ring rill,
And bleating flocks swarm o'er each smiling hill;
And woody vales, where deep retired from sight,
Lone rivers brawl o'er many a horrid height.
If scenes like these can please your roving mind,
Or lend one rapture to my dearest friend,
All hail! ye sacred Nine, assist my flight,
To spread their beauties open to his sight.
Low, at the foot of huge extended hills,
Whose cloudy tops pour down unnumbered rills,
And where loud Calder, rushing from the steep,
Roars to the lake with hoarse resistless sweep,
Lochwinnoch stands, stretched on a rising ground,
In bulk a village, but in worth a town.
Here lives your friend, amid as cheerful swains
As e'er trod o'er the famed Arcadian plains;
Far from the world retired, our only care
In silken gauze to form the flow'rets fair,
To bid beneath our hands gay blossoms rise,
In all the colours of the changing skies.
Dispatched to foreign climes, our beauteous toil
Adorn the fair of many a distant isle;
Shield from the scorching heat, or shiv'ring storms
And fairer deck out Nature's fairest form.
Such our sweet toils, when Peace, with gladd'ning smile,
Wraps in her wings our little busy isle,
But when, loud bellowing, furious from afar,
Is heard the uproar of approaching War,
Britannia rousing, when aspiring foes
Call forth her vengeance and provoke her blows,
Then all the hero in their bosom burns;
Their country calls, and Rage dull Pleasure spurns.
Beneath the throng of many a glitt'ring spear,
In marshalled lines the fearless youths appear,
The drum resounds — they leave their native shore,
On distant coasts to swell the battle's roar;
There quell the furious foe, or see their homes no more.
But these are harsh extremes; rough labour now
Bathes each firm youth, and hoary parent's brow;
Nought shows, but brisk activity around,
The plough-boy's song, the tradesman's hamm'ring sound.
See! from yon vale, in huge enormous height,
Glitt'ring with windows on the admiring sight,
The fabric* swells — within, ten thousand ways
Ingenious Burns his wondrous art displays:
Wheels turning wheels in mystic throngs appear,
To twist the thread or tortured cotton tear,
While toiling wenches' songs delight the list'ning ear.
At little distance, bord'ring on the lake,
Where blooming shrubs from golden branches shake
Ambrosial sweets, 'midst shelt'ring coverts high,
Fair Castle Semple† glitters on the eye:
As when bright Phœbus, bursts some gloomy shroud,
And glorious issues from the darksome cloud,
Superbly enters on the empyrean blue,
And shines, revealed, to the enraptured view;
So from the trees the beauteous structure opes,
Sheltered with hills, and many a deep'ning copse.
The wondering stranger stops to admire the scene;
The dazzling mansion and the shaven green;
The fir-topt mount, where browze the bounding deer;
The lake adjoining, stretching smooth and clear;
* A large cotton mill.
† The elegant country seat of the Hon. William M'Dowal, Member of
Parliament for Ayrshire.
The long glass hot-house, basking in the rays,
Where nameless blossoms swell beneath the blaze;
Where India's clime in full perfection glows,
And fruits and flowers o'ercharge the bending boughs.
These, and unnumbered beauties charm his sight,
And oft he turns and gazes with delight.
Ye lonely walks, now sinking from the sight,
Now rising easy to the distant height,
Where o'er my head the bending branches close,
And hang a solemn gloom — sedate repose,
Now generous opening, welcomes in the day,
While o'er the road the shadowy branches play,
Hail! happy spots of quiet and of peace,
Dear favourite scenes, where all my sorrows cease,
Where calm Retirement reigns in sober mood,
Lulled by the songsters of the neighbouring wood.
Here oft beneath the shade, I lonely stray,
When morning open, or evening shuts the day;
Or when, more black than night, Fate stern appears,
With all his train of pale despairing fears.
The winding walks, the solitary wood,
The uncouth grotto, melancholy rude;
My refuge these the attending Muse to call,
Or in Pope's lofty page to lose them all.
But what, my friend, would all these scenes avail,
The walks meandering, or the stretching dale,
The wood-clad mountain, or the sounding streams,
The harvest waving in the glowing beams;
What all the pomp of nature or of art,
If Heaven had hardened the proud owner's heart?
And is it so, ye ask? Ah, no, my friend;
Far other motives swell his generous mind.
He lives, he reigns, beloved in every soul;
Our wants and hardships through his bosom roll.
Those he alleviates with a parent care,
And these by him spread forth, disperse in air.
When, late, pale trade wrapt up in yellow weeds,
With languid looks, seemed to forsake our meads,
When, for her sons, stern Paisley sole confined
The web to finish, or the woof to wind,
Through all the village desolation reigned,
And deep distress each cheek with sorrow stained.
Oh! may these eyes ne'er gaze on such a scene;
Ne'er may I listen to such woes again!
Here mourned a father for his labour gone,
Surveyed his babes and heaved the bitter groan;
The weeping maid, tho' blest with blooming charms,
Saw now her lover forced to quit her arms,
While silence hung, and melancholy gloom,
Through each lone shop, and o'er each useless loom.
Our mis'ries reached his ear, his manly breast
Felt for our woes, nor e'en the tear supprest.
He bade us hope, nor were our hopes in vain;
Soon welcome news surprised each grateful swain.
Hope smiled propitious — every shop resumed
New heart and soul, though late to ruin doomed.
The sounding shuttle sweeps from side to side,
Swift o'er the beam the finished flow'rings glide;
Songs soothe our toil, and pour the grateful flame,
And ev'ry tongue reveres the patriot's name.
From scenes like these, let Pride disdainful turn,
And Malice hiss, and squinting Envy burn;
Yet, when entombed, the worthy patriot lies,
And his rapt soul has gained her native skies,
Such deeds as these shall aggrandize his name,
While they lie buried in eternal shame.
From Clyde's fair river to the western shore,
Where smoky Saltcoats braves the surge's roar,
A range of hills extends, from whose each side,
Unnumbered streams in headlong fury ride;
Aloft in air their big blue backs are lost,
Their distant shadows blackening all the coast;
High o'er their proudest peaks oft hid in showers,
The imperious Misty-Law* superior towers;
Spiry at top, o'erclad with purpling heath,
Wide he looks round o'er Scotia's plains beneath.
The Atlantic main that opens on the west,
Spotted with isles that crowd its liquid breast;
Hills heaped on hills support the northern sky,
Far to the east the Ochills hugely lie.
How vast around the boundless prospect spreads,
Blue rivers rolling through their winding beds:
Black waving woods, fields glowing on the eye,
And hills whose summits hide them in the sky.
Still farther would I gaze with rapture blest,
But bending clouds hang down and hide the rest.
Descending from the hill's o'erhanging head,
Bare moors below uncomfortably spread.
Here stray the hardy sheep in scattered flocks,
Nibbling through furze and grim projecting rocks,
Strangers to shelter from bleak Winter's form,
His loudest blasts they brave and bitterest storm,
By human hands untouched save when the swain
Drives to the crowded hut the bleating train;
Sheers off the matted fleece with gleeful haste,
And sends them naked to the lonely waste.
Here as the shepherd ranges o'er the heath,
The speckled adder sweeps across the path,
Or lies collected in the sun's bright beams,
Or wriggles forward to the distant streams;
But sudden caught in vain the felon flies,
He feels the scourging crook and stretched and gaping
* A high mountain of that name, situated within a few miles of Lochwinnoch,
commanding a beautiful and extensive view of the surrounding country.

Near the bleak border of these lonely moors,
Where o'er the brook the mossy margin lowers,
'Midst clust'ring trees and sweet surrounding dells,
In rural cot a rustic poet dwells;
Unknown to him the dull elab'rate rules,
And mazy doctrines of pedantic schools:
Yet genius warms his breast with noble fire,
And the rapt Muse seems eager to inspire.
High on the herby hill while morning smiles,
And shoots her beams along the distant isles,
Cheerful he sits, and gazing o'er the plain,
In native language pours his jocund strain:
"How bonny morning speeds the eastlin lift,
And waukens lads and lasses to their thrift,
Gars lavrocks sing and canty lammies loup,
And me mysel' croon cheery on my doup."
Or oft rejoiced he sings how best to rear
Big swelling roots, the peasant's homely cheer,
When drowned with milk amid the pot they're prest,
Or mealy, bursting fill his brawny fist;
How the deep bog or wat'ry marsh to drain,
And bid bare hillocks groan with bending grain.*
These are the themes that oft engage his Muse,
Swell his full breast and stretch his wid'ning views;
While wond'ring shepherds, as they round him throng,
Survey the hoary bard and bless the instructing song.
When harvest's o'er, his last, his sweetest toil,
And every barn contains the rustling spoil;
When winter growls along the frozen lakes,
And whit'ning snows descend in silent flakes;
When all without is drear, and keen blown frost
Has each hard foot-step on the road embost,
Led by the pale-faced moon o'er drifted plains,
From many a cottage trudge the neighb'ring swains,
* Alluding to his speech on farming — Vide Semple's History of Renfrewshire,
To hear his tale, and round his glowing hearth
To pass the night in innocence and mirth.
Retired from towns, from scenes of guilt and strife,
How blest, poor shepherds, your untroubled life!
No deep black schemes employ your jocund hour,
Like birds of prey each other to devour.
The milky flocks throng nibbling o'er the steep,
The tinkling brooks that sweetly lull to sleep;
The warbling bank, the dewy morn's pale light,
While mists rise slowly from each neighb'ring height,
The lark's shrill song, the blackbird's wilder airs,
These are your pleasures, these your happy cares.
Down from this spreading moor with gathering force,
Impetuous Calder leaves his marshy source,
Through deep sunk vales and rude resisting rocks,
His furious current raves and thundering smokes,
While swift he pours along in foamy pride,
Huge massive bulwarks rise on either side;
Rocks grimly lowering o'er the darkened stream,
Hollow'd with caves where ne'er peep'd Phœbus' beam.
Here, in red clusters hangs the juicy row'n;
There, sun-burnt nuts depress the hazel down;
High on yon rock the luscious berries swarm,
Yet mock the efforts of the straining arm:
So when some poet wand'ring through the street,
If chance a sav'ry smell his nostrils meet,
Sudden he stops — looks round on some cook's stall,
And eager gazes — but a look's his all.
Wild scenes, my friend, now rush upon my sight,
Of woods hung branching from the impending height
Of rude romantic cliffs, where high in air,
The fleet-winged hawk protects her clam'rous care;
Of Calder winding through the deep sunk vale,
'Midst trees embosomed from the ruffling gale,
Impatient, now, through opening banks to roam,
Now, rushing o'er the rock a stream of foam;
Now stealing deep, where stretched from side to side,
The bellying arch* reclined arrests the tide,
While down the dizzy brink resistless fleet,
The river rolls in one wide glittering sheet.
Adjoining this, midst bordering reeds and fens,
The lengthened lake its glossy flood extends,
Slow stealing on with lazy silent pace,
The Peel† lone rising from its wat'ry face.
Here stalks the heron gazing in the lake,
The snowy swan and party-coloured drake;
The bittern lone that shakes the solid ground,
While thro' still midnight groans the hollow sound;
The noisy goose, the teal in black'ning trains,
And long bill'd snipe that knows approaching rains;
Wild fowl unnumbered here continual rove,
Explore the deep or sail the waves above.
When harvest loads the fields with shocks of grain,
And heaps of hay bestud the marshy plain,
Then have I seen the clouds tumultuous rise,
Huge from the south, grim, dark'ning all the skies.
Then howled the blust'ring wind; the lashing rain
In streaming torrents poured along the plain,
Down from the steep, swelled brown from shore to shore,
O'er rocks enormous with rethund'ring roar
Hoarse Calder dashed — the lake a sea appears,
And down at once the bord'ring harvest bears;
Wheat, hay, and oats float o'er the boiling tide,
And, lost for ever, down the current ride.
Plunged to the middle in the swelling waves,
See swains half-drowned, drag out the dripping sheaves;
While on the brink the farmer stands forlorn,
And takes his last sad look of the departing corn.
But hark! fierce Boreas blows keen from the hills,
The frost severe enchains the trickling rills;
* A high dam erected for raising the water to the cotton mill.
† The ruins of an old fortress.
Wide o'er the lake a glossy pavement spreads,
Snow robes the fields and heaps the mountains' heads
Scarce o'er yon southern hill the sun appears,
Feeble his rays, far from our sight he wears.
How chill the air! how vehement the storm!
Bleak Winter growls and shakes his hoary form.
Seasons like these ne'er damp the glowing veins
Of rugged Scotia's hardy native swains;
Forth to the ice our little village pours,
In healthy sports to pass the shiv'ring hours.
On fleeting skates some skim its glitt'ring face,
In swift excursion or meand'ring chase;
While in black crowds the curlers throng around,
Men, stones, and besoms, thund'ring up the sound.
Nor is our pleasure less when Spring appears,
And Sol again the changing landscape cheers:
With pausing step to trace the murmuring brook,
And o'er the stream display the purling hook;
While from each bush the feather'd warblers rove,
And soothe the soul to sacred peace and love.
Or as at sober, silent eve we walk
With the sweet fair, engaged in harmless talk,
The raptured heart enjoys a conscious glow,
Which care can't damp or gaudy wealth bestow.
Farewell, my friend! for me no more repine;
Peaceful I live, ah! were my bliss but thine,
Through these wild banks together could we stray,
Or range the wood to shun the sultry day,
Nor care nor pain could thee, my peace, destroy,
And thy dear Muse would double ev'ry joy:
But since we're doomed far severed to remain,
Since murm'ring swells, but never soothes our pain;
Hence! ye vain wishes — Friendship, heavenly glow,
Best, choicest bliss bestowed on man below,
Shall reign united with triumphant pride,
Though kingdoms, seas, and half the world divide.
XXXIV.
THE SOLITARY TUTOR.
Whoe'er across the Schuylkill's winding tide,
Beyond Gray's Ferry half a mile has been,
Down at a bridge, built hollow, must have spied,
A neat stone school-house on a sloping green;
There tufted cedars scattered round are seen,
And stripling poplars planted in a row;
Some old grey white oaks overhang the scene,
Pleased to look down upon the youths below,
Whose noisy noontide sports no care or sorrow know.
On this hand rise the woods, in deepening shade,
Resounding with the sounds of warblers sweet;
And there a waving sign-board hangs displayed
From mansion fair, the thirsty soul's retreat:
There way-worn pilgrims rest their weary feet,
When noontide heats or evening shades prevail;
The widow's fare still plentiful and neat,
Can nicest guest deliciously regale,
And make his heart rejoice the Sorrel Horse to hail.
Adjoining this, old Vulcan's shop is seen,
Where winds and fires, and thumping hammers roar,
White-washed without, but black enough within,
Emblem of modern patriots many a score;
The restive steed impatient at the door,
Starts at his thund'ring voice, and brawny arm,
While yellow Jem with horse-tail fans him o'er,
Drawing aloof, the ever-buzzing swarm,
Whose shrill blood-sucking pipes his restless fears alarm.
An ever-varying scene the road displays,
With horsemen, thundering stage, and stately team,
Now burning with the sun's resplendent rays,
Now lost in clouds of dust the traveller's seen,
And now a lengthened pond or miry stream,
Deep sink the wheels, and slow they drag along,
Journeying to town with butter, apples, cream,
Fowls, eggs, and fruit, in many a motley throng,
Cooped in their little carts their various truck among.
And yonder nestled in enclustering trees,
Where many a rose-bush, round the green yard glows,
Walled from the road with seats for shade and ease,
A yellow-fronted cottage, sweetly shows:
The towering poplars rise in spiry rows;
And green catalphas, white with branchy flowers;
Her matron arms a weeping willow throws
Wide o'er the dark green grass, and, pensive, lowers,
'Midst plum trees, pillared hops, and honeysuckle bowers.
Here dwells the guardian of these younglings gay,
A strange recluse, and solitary wight.
In Britain's isle, on Scottish mountains gray,
His infant eyes first opened to the light;
His parents saw, with partial fond delight,
Unfolding genius crown their fostering care,
And talked with tears of that enrapturing sight,
When clad in sable gown, with solemn air,
The walls of God's own house should echo back his prayer.
Dear smiling Hope, to thy enchanting hand,
What cheering joys, what ecstacies we owe,
Touched by the magic of thy fairy wand,
Before us spread, what heavenly prospects glow.
Thro' life's rough thorny wild we labouring go,
And, though a thousand disappointments grieve,
Even from the grave's dark verge we forward throw
Our straining wistful eyes on those we leave,
And with their future fame our sinking hearts relieve.
But soon, too soon, these fond illusions fled,
In vain they pointed out that pious height;
By Nature's strong resistless impulse led,
These dull dry doctrines ever would he slight;
Wild Fancy formed him for fantastic flight;
He loved the steep's high summit to explore,
To watch the splendour of the orient bright,
The dark, deep forest and the sea-beat shore,
Where thro' resounding rocks the liquid mountains pour.
When gathering clouds the vaults of heaven o'erspread,
And opening streams of livid lightning flew,
From some o'erhanging cliff, the uproar dread,
Transfixed in rapt'rous wonder, he would view.
When the red torrent, big and bigger grew,
Or deep'ning snows for days obscured the air,
Still with the storm his transports would renew:
Roar, pour away, was still his eager prayer,
While shivering swains around were sinking in despair.
That worldly gift, which misers, merit, call,
But wise men, cunning and the art of trade,
That scheming foresight, how to scrape up all,
How pence may groats, and shillings pounds be made,
As little knew he as the moorland maid
Who ne'er beheld a cottage but her own;
Sour Parsimony's words he solemn weighed,
His heart's warm impulse was the guide alone,
When suffering friendship sighed, or weeping wretch did moan.
Dear, dear to him, affection's ardent glow;
Alas! from all he loved, for ever torn,
E'en now, as Memory's sad reflections flow,
Deep grief o'erwhelms him, and he weeps forlorn.
By hopeless thought, by wasting sorrow worn,
Around on Nature's scenes he turns his eye,
Charmed with her peaceful eve, her fragrant morn,
Her green magnificence, her gloomiest sky,
That fill the exulting soul with admiration high.
One charming nymph with transport he adores,
Fair Science, crowned with many a figured sign.
Her smiles, her sweet society implores,
And mixes jocund with the encircling nine;
While Mathematics solves his dark design,
Sweet Music soothes him with her syren strains,
Seraphic Poetry, with warmth divine,
Exalts him far above terrestrial plains,
And Painting's fairy hand his mimic pencil trains.
Adown each side of his sequestered cot,
Two bubbling streamlets wind their rocky way,
And, mingling, as they leave this rural spot,
Down thro' a woody vale, meand'ring stray;
Round many a moss-grown rock they dimpling play,
Where laurel thickets clothe the steeps around,
And oaks, thick towering, quite shut out the day,
And spread a venerable gloom profound,
Made still more sweetly solemn by the riv'lets' sound.
Where down smooth glistering rocks it rambling pours,
Till in a pool its silent waters sleep,
A dark brown cliff, o'ertopt with fern and flowers,
Hangs grimly frowning o'er the glassy deep;
Above, thro' every chink, the woodbines creep,
And smooth-barked beeches spread their arms around
Whose roots cling, twisted, round the rocky steep.
A more sequestered scene is nowhere found,
For contemplation deep, and silent thought profound.
Here many a tour the lonely tutor takes,
Long known to Solitude, his partner dear;
For rustling woods, his empty school forsakes,
At morn, still noon, and silent evening clear.
Wild nature's scenes amuse his wanderings here;
The old grey rocks that overhang the stream,
The nodding flowers that on their peaks appear,
Plants, birds, and insects, are a feast to him,
Howe'er obscure, deformed, minute, or huge they seem.
Sweet rural scenes! unknown to poet's song,
Where nature's charms in rich profusion lie,
Birds, fruits, and flowers, an ever-pleasing throng,
Denied to Britain's bleak and northern sky.
Here Freedom smiles serene with dauntless eye,
And leads the exiled stranger through her groves,
Assists to sweep the forest from on high,
And gives to man the fruitful field he loves,
Where proud imperious lord, or tyrant, never roves.
In these green solitudes one favourite spot
Still draws his lone slow wanderings that way,
A mossy cliff, beside a little grot,
Where two clear springs burst out upon the day;
There, overhead, the beechen branches play,
And from the rock, the clustered columbine:
While, deep below, the brook is seen to stray,
O'erhung with alders, brier, and mantling vine,
While on th' adjacent banks the glossy laurels shine.
Here Milton's heavenly themes delight his soul,
Or Goldsmith's simple heart-bewitching lays,
Now drives with book around the frozen pole,
Or follows Bruce, with marvel and amaze.
Perhaps Rome's splendour sadly he surveys,
Or Britain's scenes of cruelty and kings,
Through Georgia's groves with gentle Bertram strays,
Or mounts with Newton on archangel's wings,
With manly Smollet laughs, and jovial Dibdin sings.
The air serene, and breathing odours sweet,
The sound of falling streams and humming bees,
Wild choirs of songsters round his rural seat,
To souls like his have every power to please.
The shades of night with rising sigh he sees
Obscure the sweet and leafy scene around;
And, homeward bending, thro' the moonlight trees,
The owl salutes him with her trem'lous sound,
And many a fluttering bat pursues its mazy round.
Thus, peaceful pass his lonely hours away,
Thus, in retirement from his school affairs
He tastes a bliss unknown to worldlings gay;
A soothing antidote to all his cares.
Adoring nature's God, he joyous shares,
With happy millions, freedom's fairest scene;
His evening hymn, some plaintive Scottish airs,
Breathed from the flute, or melting violin,
With life-inspiring airs, and wanton jigs between.
XXXV.
LOUDON'S BONNY WOODS AND BRAES.
Loudon's bonnie woods and braes,
I maun leave them a', lassie;
Wha can thole when Britain's faes
Would gi'e to Britons law, lassie?
Wha would shun the field o' danger?
Wha to fame would live a stranger?
Now when Freedom bids avenge her,
Wha would shun her ca', lassie?
Loudon's bonnie woods and braes,
Ha'e seen our happy bridal days,
And gentle hope shall soothe thy waes,
When I am far awa', lassie.
Hark! the swelling bugle rings,
Yielding joy to thee, laddie;
But the dolefu' bugle brings
Waefu' thochts to me, laddie.
Lanely I may climb the mountain,
Lanely stray beside the fountain,
Still the weary moments counting,
Far frae love and thee, laddie;
Ower the gory fields o' war,
Where Vengeance drives his crimson car,
Thou'lt maybe fa' frae me afar,
And nane to close thy e'e, laddie.
Oh, resume thy wonted smile,
Oh, suppress thy fears, lassie;
Glorious honour crowns the toil
That the soldier shares, lassie:
Heaven will shield thy faithful lover,
Till the vengeful strife is over;
Then we'll meet, nae mair to sever,
Till the day we dee, lassie:
Midst our bonnie woods and braes,
We'll spend our peaceful happy days,
As blythe's yon lichtsome lamb that plays
On Loudon's flowery lea, lassie.
XXXVI.
BONNIE WOOD OF CRAIGIELEA.
Thou bonnie wood of Craigielea,
Thou bonnie wood of Craigielea,
Near thee I pass'd life's early day,
And won my Mary's heart in thee.
The broom, the brier, the birken bush,
Bloom bonnie o'er thy flowery lea,
An' a' the sweets that ane can wish
Frae nature's hand are strew'd on thee.
Thou bonnie wood, &c.
Far ben thy dark-green planting's shade,
The cushat croodles am'rously,
The mavis, down thy buchted glade,
Gars echo ring frae every tree.
Thou bonnie wood, &c.
Awa', ye thoughtless, murd'ring gang,
Wha tear the nestlings ere they flee!
They'll sing you yet a canty sang,
Then, O in pity let them be!
Thou bonnie wood, &c.
When winter blaws in sleety showers,
Frae aff the Norlan' hills sae hie,
He lightly skiffs thy bonnie bowers,
As laith to harm a flower in thee.
Thou bonnie wood, &c.
Though fate should drag me south the line,
Or o'er the wide Atlantic sea,
The happy hours I'll ever min'
That I in youth ha'e spent in thee.
Thou bonnie wood, &c.
XXXVII.
RAB RORYSON'S BONNET.
Ye'll a' hae heard tell o' Rab Roryson's bonnet,
Ye'll a' hae heard tell o' Rab Roryson's bonnet;
'Twas no for itsel', 'twas the head that was in it,
Gar'd a' bodies talk o' Rab Roryson's bonnet.
This bonnet, that theekit his wonderfu' head,
Was his shelter in winter, in summer his shade;
And, at kirk or at market, or bridals, I ween,
A braw gawcier bonnet there never was seen.
Wi' a round rosy tap, like a muckle blackboyd,
It was slouch'd just a kenning on either hand side:
Some maintain'd it was black, some maintain'd it was blue,
It had something o' baith as a body may trow.
But, in sooth, I assure you, for ought that I saw,
Still his bonnet had naething uncommon ava;
Tho' the haill parish talk'd o' Rab Roryson's bonnet,
'Twas a' for the marvellous head that was in it.
That head — let it rest — it is now in the mools,
Though in life a' the warld beside it were fools;
Yet o' what kind o' wisdom his head was possest,
Nane e'er kenn'd but himsel', sae there's name that will miss't.
XXXVIII.
THE NEER-DO-WEEL.*
Come hame to your lingels, ye ne'er-do-weel loon,
You're the king o' the dyvours, the talk o' the town,
Sae soon as the Munonday morning comes in,
Your wearifu' daidling again maun begin.
Gudewife, you're a skillet, your tongue's just a bell,
To the peace o' gude fallows it rings the death-knell,
But clack till ye deafen auld Barnaby's mill,
The souter shall aye ha'e his Munonday's yill.
* The first stanza is by Tannahill, the others were afterwards written by
Alexander Rodger.
Come hame to your lap-stane, come hame to your last,
It's a bonny affair that your family maun fast,
While you and your crew here a-guzzling maun sit,
Ye daised drunken gude-for-nocht heir of the pit;
Just leuk, how I'm gaun without stocking or shoe,
Your bairns a' in tatters, an' fatherless too,
An' yet, quite content, like a sot, ye'll sit still,
Till your kyte's like to crack, wi' your Munonday's yill.
I tell you, gudewife, gin you haudna your clack,
I'll lend you a reestle wi' this owre your back;
Maun we be abused an' affronted by you,
Wi' siccan foul names as "loon," "dyvour," an' "crew?"
Come hame to your lingels, this instant come hame,
Or I'll redden your face, gin ye've yet ony shame,
For I'll bring a' the bairns, an' we'll just ha'e our fill,
As weel as yoursel', o' your Munonday's yill.
Gin that be the gate o't, sirs, come, let us stir,
What need we sit here to be pester'd by her?
For she'll plague an' affront us as far as she can;
Did ever a woman sae bother a man?
Frae yill house to yill house she'll after us rin,
An' raise the hale town wi' her yelpin' and din;
Come, ca' the gudewife, bid her bring in her bill,
I see I maun quat takin' Munonday's yill.
XXXIX.
THE OLD TREES.
The following Lines were written immediately after the death of the last of three of
the Author's most intimate friends.
Have you seen the old tree that stands lone on the moor,
With its branches all withered and bare;
Like a life-wearied wretch who keenly has felt
The torturing pangs of despair.
Tho' the rank grass wave wild o'er the spot where they stood,
Yet three kindly companions it knew,
Who exultingly spread their gay leaves to the sun;
And drank of the nourishing dew.
So broad were their boughs, and so fresh were their leaves,
And so kindly they mingled together,
That they dreamed not the sorrowful day was so near,
That would part them in anguish for ever.
But a blast from the heath like the fiat of Fate,
Gave the loftiest tree to the wind,*
And left the disconsolate friends of its youth,
To linger in sadness behind.
Soon the canker of care, like a worm in the bud,
Seized the tree that grew close by its side;†
And its green leaves grew pale, and its branches were few,
And it sickened — and withered — and died.
But the envious shaft that had destined their fate,
Had not finished the work it began,
For a poison was fixed in another fair tree,‡
And its span of existence is run.
And now the old tree that stands lone on the moor,
With its branches all withered and bare,
In solitude mourns for the friends of its youth,
The victim of anxious despair.
* Tannabill. † Scadlock. ‡ Anderson.
XL.
NED BOLTON.
A jolly comrade in the port, a fearless mate at sea;
When I forget thee, to my hand false may the cutlass be!
And may my gallant battle-flag be stricken down in shame,
If, when the social can goes round, I fail to pledge thy
name!
Up, up, my lads! — his memory! — we'll give it with
cheer, —
Ned Bolton, the commander of the Black Snake privateer!
Poor Ned! he had a heart of steel, with neither flaw nor
speck;
Firm, as a rock, in strife or storm, he stood the quarter
deck;
He was, I trow, a welcome man to many an Indian dame,
And Spanish planters crossed themselves at whisper of his
name;
But now, Jamaica girls may weep — rich Dons securely
smile —
His bark will take no prize again, nor e'er touch Indian isle!
'S blood! 'twas a sorry fate he met on his own mother
wave, —
The foe far off, the storm asleep, and yet to find a grave!
With store of the Peruvian gold, and spirit of the cane,
No need would he have had to cruise, in tropic climes again:
But some are born to sink at sea, and some to hang on shore,
And Fortune cried, God speed! at last, and welcomed Ned
no more.
'Twas off the coast of Mexico — the tale is bitter brief —
The Black Snake under press of sail, stuck fast upon a
reef;
Upon a cutting coral reef — scarce a good league from land —
But hundreds, both of horse and foot, were ranged upon the
strand:
His boats were lost before Cape Horn, and, with an old
canoe,
Even had he numbered ten for one, what could Ned Bolton
do?
Six days and nights, the vessel lay upon the coral reef,
Nor favouring gale, nor friendly flag, brought prospect of relief;

For a land-breeze, the wild one prayed, who never prayed
before,
And when it came not at his call he bit his lip and swore:
The Spaniards shouted from the beach, but did not venture
near,
Too well they knew the mettle of the daring privateer!
A calm! — a calm! — a hopeless calm! — the red sun burning
high,
Glared blisteringly and wearily, in a transparent sky;
The grog went round the gasping crew, and loudly rose the
song,
The only pastime at an hour when rest seemed far too long.
So boisterously they took their rouse, upon the crowded deck,
They looked like men who had escaped, not feared, a sudden
wreck.
Up sprung the breeze the seventh day — away! away! to sea
Drifted the bark, with riven planks, over the waters free;
Their battle-flag these rovers bold then hoisted topmast high
And to the swarthy foe sent back a fierce defying cry.
"One last broadside!" Ned Bolton cried, — deep boomed the
cannon's roar,
And echo's hollow growl returned an answer from the shore.
The thundering gun, the broken song, the mad tumultuous
cheer,
Ceased not, so long as ocean spared, the shattered privateer:
I saw her — I — she shot by me, like lightning, in the gale,
We strove to save, we tacked, and fast we slackened all our
sail —
I knew the wave of Ned's right hand — farewell! — you strive
in vain!
And he, or one of his ship's crew, ne'er entered port again!
XLI.
THE COMFORTER.
He's in hot youth, who, with a hasty step,
A heavy look, and lip which moves, but speaks not,
Strides down a mountain face, and takes his stand
Above a narrow pass. A foe, — a foe, —
A powerful deadly foe, is pledged alone
To journey thither at the set of sun,
And he will greet him on his way. He grasps
His blade, and pulls his beaver o'er his brow,
And turns impatient to the orb of day.
No traveller yet! — he bends him to the earth
To catch the echo of the falling foot —
All's still as death.
How came that stranger there
With his long scythe, bald head, and garb of gray?
He needs must be a bold one to confront
The armed watcher in his mood of blood!
Whate'er he be he lacks not power, — he tells
The young man to depart, — he points the path,
And is obeyed like one whose will is law.
'Tis marvellous, — the tiger-spirit yields!
The stranger takes the avenger's vow on him —
There lies the mystery.
The scene is changed
To a more favoured clime. The self-same youth,
With massier frame and cheek of darker dye,
Is leaning, pensively, where the rich moonlight
Streams on a lofty lattice. There she sleeps,
The cherished madness of his feverish heart.
He strikes the notes of her land's minstrelsy,
And sings, in fitful strains, her peerlessness
And his o'erpowering love. She heeds him not, —
Her heart is in the keeping of another.
He beats his forehead with extended palm,
Then speeds him, with a purpose desperate,
To a gaunt cliff that lowers upon the flood.
'Tis he again, the old man with the scythe,
The bare bald head and garb of rustic gray;
Upon the summit of the cliff he stands,
And warns him hence — that passion-stricken son
Of a less genial soil. He speaks of peace
Bought by forgetfulness, which he can give —
He, who avenged the wrongs of other days,
And saved him from the fearful murder-stain,
When, in the gloomy mountain-pass, he took
The burthen of his vow.
He hath his will;
The young man quits the country of his love.
A mighty city and a festival —
The bells are jubilant with glad ding-dong!
And holiday-smiles are on with Sunday coats.
Thousands of joyous creatures here are met:
But who is he that mars the general mirth?
It is the man, — it is the very man,
Though young, or strong, no longer. He is bowed
With sore infirmity, — the mountain-heath
Will never spring to his light step again!
Nor woman's beauty rack his soul with pain!
He leaves, as he best may, the giddy throng,
And, dragging his shrunk limbs to scenes apart,
Curses his fate, himself, and all mankind.
The ancient stranger, with the garb of gray,
Bald head and scythe, is by his side once more.
"I did avenge thee on thy mortal foe,
I turned thee from the last act of despair,
And now what aileth thee?"
"Ills, — Ills, — all ills
Which light on man in his extremity!"
Cheer thee! there still is hope — behold this glass:
The sands are falling that will set thee free
One hour thy pains are gone."
"And who art thou,
The friend so wedded to my wretchedness?
Whence got thy hand the strength to lay him low
Whose life was poison to me? Whence the balm
That eased me of affection's hopelessness?
How hast thou skill to know my woes shall cease?
What is thy name?"
"Mortal! my name is Time."
XLII.
THE FATES OF ALCEUS; OR, LOVE'S KNIGHT
ERRANT.
Now from the East, Day's lamp began to rise,
Extinguishing the rush-lights of the skies,
Aurora, who puts out those sickly tapers,
Was troubled (as she oftimes is,) with vapours,
With gorgeous flounce, and splendid train, array'd,
(For monarchs love a ticklish chambermaid,)
The squeamish nymph, upon Apollo waits,
Folds up his couch, and opes his chariot gates.
The lark his matin trill'd amid the skies,
The cock, too, bade the sprightly echo rise.
Nor spell, nor hellish junto, can o'erstay
His voice, that calls the world from disarray;
Now hoarser crows in flocks traverse the air,
And Flora braids her bright dishevell'd hair.
The monarch lifted from his couch his head,
(Perchance the god had rubb'd,) his eyes were red,
Perchance his hours were spent upon the watch,
Or spent, (so kings are wont) in deep debauch;
He op'd his gorgeous curtains to espy
The busy morn, that rang with minstrelsy.
O'er Mora's leafy top (there sylvan doves,
Are cooing round, convening with their loves;)
Adown her sides, that teem with silver streams,
Where fairies deck reposing shepherds' dreams,
And rocks, where once the Druid's voice was heard,
But now their bleating brethren of the beard;
Apollo gaz'd, and on a rock he spied
Myrtillus seated, Alceus by his side.
In groves, not oft profan'd by mortal feet,
Myrtillus lov'd to ruminate; his seat
Of moss, beside the stream, he oft employ'd,
And draughts, as pure as the brook's pink, enjoy'd.
His train of thought was of no common kind,
But modesty o'ershadow'd all his mind:
Oft would he change his loves; (thus fitful boys,
Cast from their sight, their lately fondled toys;)
Now would Almine's charms his bosom fire,
Now would Alciste kindle fresh desire.
By varying heifers drawn from side to side,
Thus black and brown, the bull's strong heart divide.
Ye frowning fair, let me apologise,
Turn far from me, your disapproving eyes;
To Virtue, much your rigid natures owe,
That fiends, in human form, would overthrow;
Yet on Myrtillus think in lenient mood,
His arduous spirits chas'd his boiling blood;
Spare, in your kind forgiving natures, spare,
And pray the gentle youth may have an heir.
Their bright discourse, on various subjects flow'd,
Of fashions, and the most prevailing mode;
With what address their last intrigue was wound,
Where beauties in extensive groups are found;
The town was pictur'd too, replete with charms,
Where Love might grasp a thousand in his arms.
The town — but now my gadding Muse will run
From grots and bowers, and hated Helicon;
Frenzied, like other nymphs, with city shows,
She nauseates rural joys, and sighs for those.
Her aerial images she bids intrude,
And thus she furnishes the interlude.
See, jolly Comus laughingly advance,
And, arm and arm, Satire, with eye askance;
And Bacchus next his staggering steps incline,
From his carousals broke, and ruddy wine;
Lewdness, for whom we dress the masquerade;
Jest, who drives the lampooning, slanderous trade;
Riot, that Reason seeks to curb in vain; —
These were the chief attendants of his train.
His votaries, if fools, of folly drink,
But Wisdom, to the wise, smiles to the brink
Of his huge goblet, whence Wit sparkles high,
And Sapience, clad in bright sublimity.
When Reason holds at amplest stretch the string,
And far the arrows of discernment wing;
Then let not friends, nor female charms, engage,
Nor youthful Folly's more impetuous rage
Impel thee, to o'erstep the dangerous bound,
Else, wretch, thou fall'st into a gulph profound;
Thy giddied Reason from his height shall fall,
And brutish passions every thought enthrall.
Thus Cæsar, who the Eastern world controll'd,
By whose side victory as a torrent roll'd,
Soon as above the commonwealth he soar'd,
And threaten'd Rome with regal power to lord,
Fell at ambition's shrine; and at his fall,
War, and dire Discord rose, the nations to appal.
Now change the vine-stain'd garland for the yew,
The myrtle doff, for sadder cypress too;
The sorrowing Muse appears, with tender mien,
Calm musing Melancholy, placid queen,
Attends her steps, while Pity, suffering maid,
Bids tender sympathy, each sense pervade.
Hail sacred Three, ye light th' aspiring soul
To motives far above the sordid goal;
Virtue, be thou rever'd, then kneel with me,
My Muse, adoring Virtue's trinity.
Pity, I love to hear thee oft rehearse
Thy tale, or clad in histrionic verse,
Or with the pathos of the sacred page,
Tell how God 'scap'd not man's infernal rage;
Whene'er my actions Virtue's garb put on,
Thou art th' enchanter and the charm in one;
Woe's joy, (strange paradox,) thou dost reveal,
And putt'st on Folly's mouth thy sacred seal,
While from the heavenly beaming of thine eye,
Mortals have fancied immortality.
Bright Learning, clad in ever during bays,
Dark speculation settled in his face,
With Knowledge, sage compiler, thither bends,
Heaven-woo'd Philosophy their steps attends.
But, hush! The censor and dictator, comes,
The frost that nips the laurel as it blooms,
Whose scornful finger, and detracting hiss,
Drives merit to oblivion's dark abyss.
Hail! mighty Zoilus, whose discerning eyes,
Can faults detect, where Justice merit spies;
A pard to thee, immaculacy seems,
And thou canst baseness trace, in Phoebus' beams
Of shades, an ill arrangement canst espy
In the proud rainbow, vaulted in the sky.
Go hide thy head in Envy's snaky folds,
And herd with vixens, and annoying scolds.
Go pick the hulls from Ceres' golden grains,
And take the chaff for thy admired pains.
Hush, foolish harlotry! my Muse will prate,
On any subject, and at any rate,
And with lewd-licens'd tongue, provokes the rod,
Of him that carries umpire in his nod.
Know, rheumatisms tax my limbs, and cramps,
Of cold exposures bred, and nightly damps;
Then think, if thundering and smoky Mars,
Or constitution-devastating wars,
The elements urge on the mortal frame,
Becrook with stigmatising halt or maim,
Thou straight shalt be compell'd along with me,
To pace the streets a moving melody;
Though Orpheus lends his lyre, no moving stones,
Or human beasts, shall, charm'd, attend the tones.
At Zoilus' whisper shall the crowds disperse,
And sots shall scandalise unheard, my verse;
How could you the ill-judg'd digression make,
And grossly from the rules of prudence break;
Take up the subject, babbling minx, again,
Or, by my genius, I resign my pen.
As when a boor attends the thronging fair,
Where wond'rous sights conspire to make him stare,
If, through the glass, the mimic scene he views,
With tinsel ornaments deck'd out profuse,
Here, strikes his eyes, th' equestrian grand parade;
The streets lin'd with a living colonade
Of infantry, such life the scene displays,
The pictured rabble seem to shout and gaze;
The clown fill'd with respondent feelings cries,
'What wondrous sights!' — his tongue smit from his eyes.
Thus on Myrtillus' inexperienc'd soul,
Through fancy's optics did the vision roll,
As Alceus, 'say, Myrtillus, can thine eyes,
This rural life, these rustic pleasures prize?
With flowery mead, and stream, enraptured still,
Hast thou not drunk of solitude thy fill?
Me other scenes invite, a brighter prize,
Towering aloft, through paths inviting, lies.
Than to be tuck'd unto a russet gown;
Henceforth I'll try my fortunes in the town.
This morn a nymph, transcending all her sex,
Her hopes and fortunes will to mine affix;
Shall baulk paternal duty of his charge,
And like a new fledg'd nestling fly at large.
Who knows but Fate may to our fortunes fix
A splendid mansion, with a coach and six?
Then fruitful joys, like rushes shall abound,
That spring spontaneous, in a marshy ground.'
With powerful wand the Hebrew prophet stood,
And chang'd Nile's fruitful current into blood,
Wav'd up the locust's desolating bands,
And chang'd to noisome lice, the pregnant sands.
So chang'd the scene before Myrtillus' sight,
And sickly seem'd the field, tho' summer-bright;
Echo uncadenc'd struck his poison'd ear,
Nor bird, nor brook, symphonious, could appear;
He lean'd his sickly head on Alceus' breast,
And thus his quivering lips his mind express'd:
'And wilt thou leave thy protege alone,
How dark the cloud thou o'er the sun hast thrown,
Rather than hear such tidings would I meet
A serpent nestling in my mossy seat;
Would find a toad in every path I tread,
And every rock chang'd to a Gorgon's head;
With less compunction have beheld the storm
Unleaf the grove — the flowery mead deform.
Permit my humbler fates with thine to blend,
Attendant on the fortunes of my friend.'
Thus inexperience, like olden knight,
That giants dar'd, and monsters, unto fight,
Clad in credulity's untemper'd mail,
That shivers when succeeding woes assail,
Stalks forth, short-sighted, deeming specious show,
As solid happiness; unapt to know
The changling man, ere even pleasure please,
Must pain endure, and combat ease for ease.
There is a pungency unpencill'd yet
By any writer I have ever met,
That, with electric tremour, strikes the heart,
Making its inmost vital chords to smart;
When from the endearing, balm distilling bowers,
(Where childhood sported in a waste of flowers,)
The heavenly ties of calm domestic bliss,
The sire's injunctions, the maternal kiss,
The young heart severeth; — a forecast, fraught
With sable woe, thwarts the disk of thought,
In whose dim shades, clad in prophetic state,
Fear gives responses of succeeding fate.
So Celia felt, prophetic in her fear —
Backward she look'd; anon a starting tear
Trembles, unwieldly, in her dark blue eye,
The distillation of the heaving sigh,
That like a close-pent earthquake's struggling throe,
From their fair site, upheav'd two hills of snow.
Fair country of delights, whose happy zone
With vernal sweets, a bright Elysian shore;
What charms, what philtres, and what sorcery, knew
The favour'd youth, such sweetness to subdue
With hesitating step, and pensive air,
(So parts the leveret, from the parent hare;)
She left the cottage and her slumbering sire,
While Mora's crest yet blaz'd with solar fire.
Her throbbing heart yields the parental claim,
The heart confessed a more endearing name;
From all preceptor's rules, but Love's, astray,
Solely love-guided took her secret way.
XLIII.
PAISLEY FAIR.
Serenely the morning was dawning;
The sunny beams rose owre the hill;
Our beasts stood a' rowting and yawning,
By the side of a summer-dried rill.
The larks in the lift they were singing,
In notes baith harmonious and shrill;
And round me the woodlands were ringing
To the clack of a neebouring mill.
Then quo' I to my auld aunty Peggy,
The morning's sae bonny and clear,
Troth, I'll e'en gang and saddle my naigie,
And ride in to see Paisley Fair.
But quo' she, man, ye're surely light-headed,
Or else ye've grown lazy and slack;
Kens thou that at hame thou'll be needed,
To help us to big the peat stack.
But quo' I, the hairst on us is drawing,
We'll be toiling frae morning till dark,
Troth its either aye sawing or mawing,
A young chiel gets naething but wark.
Then I drew frae the boost the bit kibbock,
And took to mysel' a bit whang —
Wi' some bannocks weel baked by Tibbock,
Wha's e'en been our servant sae lang.
Then I gied my beast wat'ring and corning,
Wi' twa heaped handfu' o' beans —
Hae, quo' I, tak thee that for thy corning,
'Twill help to put strength in thy banes.
Then aff I cam cheery and merry,
I galloped down the lang lone —
And soon met wi' mae in a hurry,
A' makin' best speed to the town.
There was Tam that wins down in the hallow,
Wi' haveral Jock Hodge frae Brae Side;
Wi' their doxies of intellects shallow,
Mair scrimpit o' sense than o' pride.
There was Peggy wi' een aye sae pawky,
That bides at the head o' the glen;
And Nelly, that thriftless gawky,
Wha's siller entices the men.
Then quo' Tammy, quo' he, quo' Tammy,
How's a' the day, Willie M'Nair?
I thank thee, quo' I to Tammy,
And thou'll be for seeing the fair.
And then quo' Jock Hodge, quo' Johnny,
As he turn'd round his red face —
And thou'll be for trying thy pony,
Nae doubt at the thirty pound race.
Now frae ilka bye road they were thranging —
Baith blind folk and lame folk, and weans;
And straight to the fair they were ganging,
And striddlin' o'er hillocks and stanes.
Then some o' them thought on their duddies,
And ithers o' them on their crimes —
But the maist thing that troubled the bodies,
I think was their hungry wames.
We arriv'd, man, and stabled our horses —
Syne a luncheon we took for support;
Then securing our lang necked purses,
Took a dauner to see a' the sport.
And while we stood gaping and staring,
To a poor bodie singing a sang,
Quo' a hizzie, "Will, buy me my fairing —
Losh! thou kens thou has promised it lang."
But the Corse it was a' in a hubble
O' confusion and perfect uproar;
Sae wi' punch, man, we push'd thro' the rabble,
Till we cam' the length o' the Score —
There were dolts, man, and dinsome deceivers,
Wha like statesmen impose upon man;
And some silver-hunting believers,
Wha catch a' the cash that they can.
Now one by the wa'-side was wailing,
"Gude Christians, help an auld man;"
While M'Adam was rantin' and railing,
The cheapest goods under the sun.
Here's veils for auld maids wrinkled faces,
The cheapest and best here-awa;
With Waterloo ribbons and laces,
And penknives, for naething ava.
There was darners and clippers, and flowerers,
Wi' bleachers fu' trig frae the braes —
Wi' scogies, and cooks, and tambourers,
Wha's clatter was a' on their claes.
Braw lasses — but losh man their faces,
We scarce got a peep o' ava;
Sae hidden they were in big cases,
Or capes made o' strae, some said straw.
But some roar'd the race was beginning —
Hech, sirs, sic a hullibaloo;
Frae taverns and tents they were rinning,
Some sober, and ithers blin' fou.
Then some roar'd the hindmost was foremost,
And roos'd a Kilbirnie bit beast;
But I swore the first wad be foremost,
Or that he wad be second at least.
Neist we heard the wild beasts all a-howling,
And wild fools beginning to squake;
There a gowk 'bout the elephant was bawling,
That it could do a' things but speak.
Sae Nanny was oxter'd wi' Tammy,
And Nelly wi' muckle Jock Hodge;
Sae we drew out our siller fu' canny,
And paid to win in wi' a grudge.
The elephant stood in a closet,
And whether for hunger or greed
I kentna, but ay the big nose o't
Was wagging for bawbees and bread.
Now as we stood staring and glouring,
The lasses were shaking wi' fear,
Man, to see the big serpent devouring
As meikle meat's sair't for a year.
There were fiddlers, and fifers, and drummers,
Wha play'd for bawbees in a neuk;
With pipers, and droners, and bummers,
And dogs that could dance by the beuk.
But quo' Tam, as we stood wi' the tawpies,
And leugh at the merryman's tale,
Deed, lassies, I'm e'en growing yawpish,
We maun hae some buns and some ale.
Syne, resolved on a bit and a drappie —
And be blythe as our daddies of yore,
We daunert to mak oursel's happy,
Into wee Jamie Smith's at the Score.
There ae core was hauding a laudry,
What neist they wad hae for to drink;
While some o' the tousy and tawdry,
Were schemin' the way to get clink.
At length we fell a' to the prancing,
And louping like fools on the floor;
Sae wi' fiddling and diddling, and dancing,
The house was in perfect uproar.
But the sun in the west now was sinking,
And gloamin' began for to fa';
Grown tired wi' their daffing and drinking,
Deed I thocht, man, I'd just come awa.
Sae now I'm come hame, gude be thanket,
To tak tent o' my grandmother's gear;
I had but six groats, tho' I drank it,
Od, I'll surely win owr't in a year.
But the first time I gang to the smiddie,
As on Saturday teen I'll be there;
Man, I'll gar them a' laugh round the stiddie,
Wi' the humours o' Paisley Fair.
XLIV.
TAK IT MAN, TAK IT.
TUNE. — "Brose and Butter."
When I was a Miller in Fyfe,
Losh! I thought that the sound o' the happer,
Said tak hame a wee flow to your wife,
To help to be brose to your supper.
Then my conscience was narrow and pure,
But someway by random it rackit;
For I lifted twa neivefu' or mair,
While the happer said, tak it man, tak it.
Hey for the mill and the kill,
The garland and gear for my cogie,
Hey for the whisky and yill,
That washes the dust frae my craigie.
Altho' it's been lang in repute,
For rogues to mak rich by deceiving;
Yet I see that it does not weel suit,
Honest men to begin to the thieving.
For my heart it gaed dunt upon dunt,
Od! I thought ilka dunt it would crack it;
Sae I flang frae my neive what was in't,
Still the happer said, tak it man, tak it.
Hey for the mill, &c.
A man that's been bred to the plough,
Might be deav'd wi' its clamorous clapper;
Yet there's few but would suffer the sough,
After kenning what's said by the happer.
I whiles thought it scoff'd me to scorn,
Saying, shame, is your conscience no checkit
But when I grew dry for a horn,
It chang'd aye to, tak it man, tak it.
Hey for the mill, &c.
The smugglers whyles cam wi' their pocks,
'Cause they kent that I liked a bicker;
Sae I bartered whyles wi' the gowks,
Gied them grain for a soup o' their liquor,
I had lang been accustom'd to drink,
And aye when I purpos'd to quat it.
That thing wi' its clappertie clink,
Said aye to me, tak it man, tak it.
Hey for the mill, &c.
But the warst thing I did in my life,
Nae doubt but ye'll think I was wrang o't,
Od, I tauld a bit body in Fyfe
A' my tale, and he made a bit sang o't.
I have aye had a voice a' my days,
But for singing I ne'er got the knack o't,
Yet I tried whyles, just thinking to please
The greedy wi' tak it man, tak it.
Hey for the mill, &c.
Now, miller and a' as I am,
This far I can see through the matter;
There's men mair notorious to fame,
Mair greedy than me or the mutter.
For 'twad seem that the hale race o' men,
Or wi' safety the half we may mak it,
Had some speaking happer within,
That said to them, tak it man, tak it.
Hey for the mill, &c.
XLV.
DROLL WILL DUNBAR
Droll Will Dunbar was a rhymer they say,
Whas hurdies were happit wi' gude howden grey,
Some ca'd him a stirk, ithers ca'd him a star —
But a' bodies kent him by droll Will Dunbar.
Tho' Willie was comely, his manners were odd,
Grew aulder and dafter like whalps o' the tod:
But wha in a satire wad wage wi' him war —
Were sure to be licket by droll Will Dunbar.
Cuplets, treeplets, Willie Dunbar,
Treeplets, cuplets, Willie Dunbar,
Jingle awa without jum'le or jaur,
Aye sleeket and witty was droll Will Dunbar.
To mak a bit sonnet cost Willie nae fash,
For his verses came readier to him than the cash;
Whene'er he took haud o' the scrunt o' a pen,
Lines lampin' like maukins cam doun frae his brain.
When a lilt he fell till't, as if nature he law'd,
He order'd his muse to awake for a jade;
Then red wud for fame like a bold British tar,
In raptures she sang wi' her droll Willie Dunbar.
'Tis said that his fancy was ever in flight,
In the shine of the day and the shade of the night;
And like a' ither rhymers, as bodies remark,
He was lazy at naething but prayers and wark.
Willie lo'ed a bit spark o' the stark usquebey,
It put his sad heart in a happier key,
For he thocht that his roundels cam readier far,
When hauf capernuitie, this Willie Dunbar.
Sometimes when he spoke ye wad thocht him a clown
As vulgar as any in kintra or town;
Other times ye wad thocht by his style sae complete,
He had soar'd like a lark frae Gamaliel's feet.
This moment and Willie was modest and mild,
But, sting him, like Boreas his raging was wild;
Ye wad thocht in a court he might done for a scar
To our gentlemen liars, this droll Will Dunbar.
Droll Will Dunbar he could philosophize,
Could measure the carry, the earth, and the seas;
Nae hist'ry, nor mysery, but Willie could scan,
Bamboozled wi' nought but the roguery o' man.
Will was friendly to man yet was jimp in belief,
For he watched their drift as he watched a thief,
And when they in their reveries began for to jaur,
That was balm to the bosom of droll Will Dunbar.
Of astronomy Will had a kind o' a nack,
The height o' the stars he could tell ye correct,
The number of planets, their distance, and whar
They sail'd round the sun on their ærial car.
He could pointed ye out by the system in vogue,
As clear as a glutton could empty a cog;
And how a roun' moon made a daft body waur,
Could be clearly described by droll Will Dunbar.
Will could tell ye o' tykes wha had travell'd sae far,
That they saw a new heaven and a new set o' stars;
They doubted a wee if it was the same moon,
But wad freely gie aith it was roun' like our ain.
Will could tell ye o' seamen who sailed sae far north,
That, gude sooth, they ran out o' baith water and earth
A' had grown into ice by the force o' the air —
That's waur yet than Scotland, quoth Willie Dunbar.
That Willie had merits his friends a' confess'd,
Tho' his poverty hid them like gowd in a kist;
But Willie had ay a bit glimpse of a hope,
And nae langer at hame the rhymer wad stop.
He gaed into Auld Reekie to shew what he wrote,
And thus spake the spenticle gentry I wot,
"Man, ye're liker a stirk than a poetic star,"
Maist dumfunert the feelings o' droll Willie Dunbar.
Couplets, treeplets, &c.
XLVI.
THE BATTLE-FLAG OF SIGURD.
The eagle hearts of all the North
Have left their stormy strand;
The warriors of the world are forth
To choose another land!
Again, their long keels sheer the wave,
Their broad sheets court the breeze;
Again, the reckless and the brave,
Ride lords of weltering seas.
Nor swifter from the well-bent bow
Can feathered shaft be sped,
Than o'er the ocean's flood of snow
Their snoring galleys tread.
Than lift the can to bearded lip,
And smite each sounding shield,
Wassaile! to every dark-ribbed ship,
To every battle-field!
So proudly the Skalds raise their voices of triumph,
As the Northmen ride over the broad-bosom'd billow.
Aloft, Sigurdir's battle-flag
Streams onward to the land,
Well may the taint of slaughter lag
On yonder glorious strand.
The waters of the mighty deep,
The wild birds of the sky,
Hear it like vengeance shoreward sweep,
Where moody men must die.
The waves wax wroth beneath our keel —
The clouds above us lower,
They know the battle sign, and feel
All its resistless power!
Who now uprears Sigurdir's flag,
Nor shuns an early tomb?
Who shoreward through the swelling surge,
Shall bear the scroll of doom?
So shout the Skalds as the long ships are nearing
The low-lying shores of a beautiful land.
Silent the Self-devoted stood
Beside the massive tree;
His image mirror'd in the flood
Was terrible to see!
As leaning on his gleaming axe,
And gazing on the wave,
His fearless soul was churning up,
The death-rune of the brave.
Upheaving then his giant form
Upon the brown bark's prow,
And tossing back the yellow storm
Of hair from his broad brow;
The lips of song burst open, and
The words of fire rushed out,
And thundering through that martial crew
Pealed Harald's battle shout; —
It is Harald the Dauntless that lifteth his great voice,
As the Northmen roll on with the Doom-written banner.
"I bear Sigurdir's battle-flag
Through sunshine or through gloom;
Through swelling surge on bloody strand
I plant the scroll of doom!
On Scandia's lonest, bleakest waste,
Beneath a starless sky,
The shadowy Three like meteors passed,
And bade young Harald die; —
They sang the war-deeds of his sires,
And pointed to their tomb;
They told him that this glory-flag
Was his by right of doom,
Since then, where hath young Harald been,
But where Jarl's son should be —
'Mid war and waves — the combat keen
That raged on land or sea!"
So sings the fierce Harald, the thirster for glory,
As his hand bears aloft the dark death-laden banner.
"Mine own death's in this clenched hand!
I know the noble trust;
These limbs must rot on yonder strand —
These lips must lick its dust,
But shall this dusky standard quail
In the red slaughter day,
Or shall this heart its purpose fail —
This arm forget to slay?
I trample down such idle doubt;
Harald's high blood hath sprung
From sires whose hands in martial bout
Have ne'er belied their tongue;
Nor keener from their castled rock
Rush eagles on their prey,
Than, panting for the battle-shock,
Young Harald leads the way."
It is thus that tall Harald, in terrible beauty,
Pours forth his big soul to the joyance of heroes.
"The ship-borne warriors of the North,
The sons of Woden's race
To battle as to feast go forth,
With stern, and changeless face;
And I, the last of a great line —
The Self-devoted — long
To lift on high the Runic sign
Which gives my name to song.
In battle-field young Harald falls
Amid a slaughtered foe,
But backward never bears this flag,
While streams to ocean flow; —
On, on above the crowded dead
This Runic scroll shall flare,
And round it shall pale lightnings spread,
From swords that never spare."
So rush the hero-words from the Death-doomed one,
While Skalds harp aloud the renown of his fathers.
"Flag! from your folds, and fiercely wake
War-music on the wind,
Lest tenderest thoughts should rise to shake
The sternness of my mind;
Brynhilda, maiden meek and fair,
Pale watcher by the sea,
I hear thy wailings on the air,
The heart's dirge sung for me;
In vain thy milk-white hands are wrung
Above the salt sea foam;
The wave that bears me from thy bower,
Shall never bear me home;
Brynhilda! seek another love,
But ne'er wed one like me,
Who death foredoomed from above
Joys in his destiny."
Thus mourned young Harald as he thought on Brynhilda,
While his eyes filled with tears which glittered, but fell
not.
"On sweeps Sigurdir's battle-flag,
The scourge of far from shore;
It dashes through the seething foam,
But I return no more!
Wedded unto a fatal bride —
Boune for a bloody bed —
And battling for her, side by side,
Young Harald's doom is sped!
In starkest fight, where kemp on kemp,
Reel headlong to the grave,
There Harald's axe shall ponderous ring,
There Sigurd's flag shall wave; —
Yes, underneath this standard tall,
Beside this fateful scroll,
Down shall the tower-like prison fall
Of Harald's haughty soul."
So sings the Death-seeker, while nearer and nearer
The fleet of the Northmen bears down to the shore.
"Green lie those thickly-timbered shores
Fair sloping to the sea;
They're cumbered with the harvest stores
That wave but for the free;
Our sickle is the gleaming sword,
Our garner the broad shield;
Let peasants sow, but still he's lord
Who's master of the field;
Let them come on, the bastard-born,
Each soil-stain'd churl! — alack!
What gain they but a splitten skull,
A sod for their base back?
They sow for us these goodly lands,
We reap them in our might,
Scorning all title but the brands
That triumph in the fight!"
It was thus the land-winners of old gained their glory,
And grey stones voiced their praise in the bays of far
isles.
"The rivers of you island low,
Glance redly in the sun,
But ruddier still they're doomed to glow,
And deeper shall they run;
The torrent of proud life shall swell
Each river to the brim,
And in that spate of blood, how well
The headless corpse will swim!
The smoke of many a shepherd's cot
Curls from each peopled glen;
And, hark! the song of maidens mild,
The shout of joyous men!
But one may hew the oaken tree,
The other shape the shroud;
As the LANDEYDA o'er the sea
Sweeps like a tempest cloud:" —
So shouteth fierce Harald — so echo the Northmen,
And shoreward their ships like mad steeds are careering.
"Sigurdir's battle-flag is spread
Abroad to the blue sky,
And spectral visions of the dead,
Are trooping grimly by;
The spirit heralds rush before
Harald's destroying brand,
They hover o'er you fated shore
And death-devoted band.
Marshal, stout Jarls, your battle fast!
And fire each beacon height,
Our galleys anchor in the sound,
Our banner heaves in sight!
And through the surge and arrowy shower
That rains on this broad shield,
Harald uplifts the sign of power
Which rules the battle-field!"
So cries the Death-doomed on the red strand of slaughter
While the helmets of heroes like anvils are ringing.
On rolled the Northmen's war; above,
The Raven Standard flew,
Nor tide nor tempest ever strove
With vengeance half so true.
'Tis Harald — 'tis the Sire-bereaved —
Who goads the dread career,
And high amid the flashing storm
The flag of Doom doth rear.
"On, on," the tall Death-seeker cries,
"These earth-worms soil our heel,
Their spear-points crash like crisping ice
On ribs of stubborn steel!"
Hurrah! hurrah! their whirlwinds sweep,
And Harald's fate is sped;
Bear on the flag — he goes to sleep
With the life-scorning dead.
Thus fell the young Harald, as of old fell his sires,
And the bright hall of heroes bade hail to his spirit.
XLVII.
THE SWORD CHANT OF THORSTEIN RAUDI.
'Tis not the grey hawk's flight
O'er mountain and mere;
'Tis not the fleet hound's course
Tracking the deer;
'Tis not the light hoof print
Of black steed or grey,
Though sweltering it gallop
A long summer's day;
Which mete forth the Lordships
I challenge as mine;
Ha! ha! 'tis the good brand
I clutch in my strong hand,
That can their broad marches
And numbers define.
LAND GIVER! I kiss thee.
Dull builders of houses,
Base tillers of earth,
Gaping, ask me what lordships
I owned at my birth;
But the pale fools wax mute
When I point with my sword
East, west, north, and south,
Shouting, "There am I Lord!"
Wold and waste, town and tower,
Hill, valley, and stream,
Trembling, bow to my sway
In the fierce battle fray,
When the star that rules Fate, is
This falchion's red gleam.
MIGHT GIVER! I kiss thee.
I've heard great harps sounding,
In brave bower and hall,
I've drank the sweet music
That bright lips let fall,
I've hunted in greenwood,
And heard small birds sing;
But away with this idle
And cold jargoning;
The music I love is
The shout of the brave,
The yell of the dying,
The scream of the flying,
When this arm wields Death's sic
And garners the grave.
JOY GIVER! I kiss thee.
Far isles of the ocean
Thy lightning have known,
And wide o'er the main-land
Thy horrors have shone.
Great sword of my father,
Stern joy of his hand,
Thou hast carved his name deep
The stranger's red strand,
And won him the glory
Of undying song.
Keen cleaver of gay crests,
Sharp piercer of broad breasts,
Grim slayer of heroes,
And scourge of the strong.
FAME GIVER! I kiss thee.
In a love more abiding
Than that the heart knows,
For maiden more lovely
Than summer's first rose,
My heart's knit to thine,
And lives but for thee;
In dreamings of gladness,
Thou'rt dancing with me,
Brave measures of madness.
In some battle-field,
Where armour is ringing,
And noble blood springing,
And cloven, yawn hemlet,
Stout hauberk and shield.
DEATH GIVER! I kiss thee.
The smile of a maiden's eye
Soon may depart;
And light is the faith of
Fair woman's heart;
Changeful as light clouds,
And wayward as wind,
Be the passions that govern
Weak woman's mind.
But thy metal's as true
As its polish is bright;
When ills wax in number,
Thy love will not slumber,
But starlike, burns fiercer,
The darker the night.
HEART GLADDENER! I kiss thee.
My kindred have perished
By war or by wave —
Now, childless and sireless,
I long for the grave.
When the path of our glory
Is shadowed in death,
With me thou wilt slumber
Below the brown heath;
Thou wilt rest on my bosom,
And with it decay —
While harps shall be ringing,
And Scalds shall be singing
The deeds we have done in
Our old fearless day.
SONG GIVER! I kiss thee.
XLVIII.
JEANIE MORRISON.
I've wandered east, I've wandered west,
Through mony a weary way;
But never, never can forget
The luve o' life's young day!
The fire that's blawn on Beltane e'en,
May weel be black gin Yule;
But blacker fa' awaits the heart
Where first fond luve grows cule.
O dear, dear Jeanie Morrison,
The thochts o' bygane years
Still fling their shadows ower my path,
And blind my een wi' tears:
They blind my een wi' saut, saut tears,
And sair and sick I pine,
As memory idly summons up
The blithe blinks o' langsyne.
'Twas then we luvit ilk ither weel,
'Twas then we twa did part;
Sweet time — sad time! twa bairns at scule,
Twa bairns, and but ae heart!
'Twas then we sat on ae leigh bink,
To leir ilk ither lear;
And tones, and looks, and smiles were shed,
Remembered evermair.
I wonder, Jeanie, aften yet,
When sitting on that bink,
Cheek touchin' cheek, loof lock'd in loof,
What our wee heads could think?
When baith bent doun ower ae braid page,
Wi' ae buik on our knee,
Thy lips were on thy lesson, but
My lesson was in thee.
Oh, mind ye how we hung our heads,
How cheeks brent red wi' shame,
Whene'er the scule-weans laughin' said,
We cleek'd thegither hame?
And mind ye o' the Saturdays,
(The scule then skail't at noon),
When we ran aff to speel the braes —
The broomy braes o' June?
My head rins round and round about,
My heart flows like a sea,
As ane by ane the thochts rush back
O' scule time and o' thee.
Oh, mornin' life! oh, mornin' luve!
Oh lichtsome days and lang,
When hinnied hopes around our hearts
Like simmer blossoms sprang!
Oh mind ye, luve, how aft we left
The deavin' dinsome toun,
To wander by the green burnside,
And hear its waters croon?
The simmer leaves hung ower our heads,
The flowers burst round our feet,
And in the gloamin o' the wood,
The throssil whusslit sweet;
The throssil whusslit in the wood,
The burn sang to the trees,
And we with Nature's heart in tune,
Concerted harmonies;
And on the knowe abune the burn,
For hours thegither sat
In the silentness o' joy, till baith
Wi' very gladness grat.
Aye, aye, dear Jeanie Morrison,
Tears trinkled down your cheek,
Like dew-beads on a rose, yet nane
Had ony power to speak!
That was a time, a blessed time,
When hearts were fresh and young,
When freely gushed all feelings forth,
Unsyllabled — unsung!
I marvel, Jeanie Morrison,
Gin I hae been to thee
As closely twined wi' earliest thochts,
As ye hae been to me?
Oh! tell me gin their music fills
Thine ear as it does mine;
Oh! say gin e'er your heart grows grit
Wi' dreamings o' langsyne?
I've wandered east, I've wandered west,
I've borne a weary lot;
But in my wanderings, far or near,
Ye never were forgot.
The fount that first burst frae this heart,
Still travels on its way;
And channels deeper as it rins,
The luve o' life's young day.
O dear, dear Jeanie Morrison,
Since we were sindered young,
I've never seen your face, nor heard
The music o' your tongue;
But I could hug all wretchedness,
And happy could I die,
Did I but ken your heart still dreamed
O' bygane days and me!
XLIX.
LORD ARCHIBALD.
A BALLAD.
O saftlie, saftlie laie him doun, and hap upo' his heid
The cauld reid erd ful lichtlie feris, this is a knichtlie rede;
And pight a carvit croce of stane abune quhare he dois lye,
Syne it was for the halie rude Lord Archibald did die.
Its saftlie, saftlie have they layd Lord Archibald in graif,
And its dowie, dowie owre his bouk thair plumis and banneris
waif;
And its lichtlie, lichtlie doe thay hap the red erth on his heid;
And waefil was ilk knichtly fere to luik upon the deid.
They layd him doun wi' sighe and sab, and they layd
doun wi' tearis;
And nou abune the Olyve wuddis the ice-cauld mune appearis;
Quhyl thai munitit on thayr stedis amayne a sorrowand cumpanie,

And be the munelicht forthy thai begin a lang jornie.
Awa thai rade, away thai rade, and the wynd souchit eerie
by,
And quhiskit aff ilk heavie tere quhilk gatherit in thair eye;
For weil thay luvit Lord Archibald as knichtis suld luve thair
feris;
But littil thai affect Syr Hew, quha now thair fealtie bearis.
Its thai have spurrit, and egre spurrit, and thair stedee ar al
a fome,
And nevir a word frae anie lip of thir silent knichtis hes
come;
And still they spurrit and pukit on, til a lonesum lodge
they wan,
Then voydit thae thair saddilis al, and til the yett thay
ran.
Nae licht is schinand in the lodge, and nae portir keepis the
dore;
Nae warder strade, wi' lustie spere, that dreirie lodge before;
Nae harp is heard inurth the hall, and nae sang frae ladie
braive,
But al was quiet as Ermites houff, and stylliche as the
grave.
Swith pacit thai in be twa and twa, ilk wi his outdrawn
swerd,
And thai gang throu vaultit passages, albeit nae sound thay
heard,
But and it was the heavy clamp quhilk thair fit rang on the
flore,
Til that thay stude, ilk knicht of them fornentes the grit
hall dore.
Now enter thou, the bauld Syr Hew, for treason do we
feare;
Now entir first, as Captaine thou, of your brithern knichtis
sae dier;
For syne the gude Lord Archibald was layd aneth the stane,
Our manlyke courage has yfled, and all our hertis have
gane.
The dark Syr Hew gade on before, and ane yreful man was
he;
"Oh, schame upon your manheidis al, and dishonour on ye
be;
Quhat fleyis ye sua that nane may daur to threuw this
chalmer lok;"
Then wi' his iron gauntlet he that aiken dore has broke.
"Come in, Syr Hew; come in, Syr Hew;" a voice cryit fra
within;
"Come in, Syr Hew, my buirdly bairn, quhilk are sua wicht
and grim,
But nevir nane sal entir here bot an yoursel alane;
Now welcum blythe to dark Syr Hew in this puir lodge of
stane."
Ilk knicht did hear the lonsum voyce, but the speiker nane
did see,
And dark Syr Hew waxit deadlie pale, quhyl the mist cam
owre his ee.
"Now turn wi' me, my merrie men al, to hald us on our
way,
For in this ugsum lodge this nicht nae pilgrimer may stay."
"Come back, Syr Hew, my knicht of grace, and come
hither my trusty fere;
For thou hast wan a gudely fee, though nae lerges ye mote
spere:
Oh, three woundis were on your britheris face, and three
abune his knee,
But the deepest wound was throu his hert, and that was
gi'en be thee."
Ilk ane has heard the lonsum voyce, for it was schil and hie;
Ilk ane has heard its eerie skreich as it gaed souning by;
Yet mervaillous dul that lodge dois seem, and bot anie bruit
or din;
Nae liand wicht dois herbour here bot an that voyce within.
And everie knicht has turnit him round to leave that
hauntit ha',
And muntit on his swelterand stede, and pricket richt sune
awa';
And quhan this gallant cumpanye auld Askelon had nearit,
The wan mune had gane fra the lift, and the grai daylight
apperit.
Then did they count thair numberis, and they countit wyse
and true,
And everilk ane was thair convenit bot an the dark Syr
Hew;
But in the press his horse was kythit wi' ane saddil toom and
bare;
Och and alace, its maister sure liggis in som lanelie lair.
Back hae thay ridden league and myl, but nevir Syr Hew
thai see;
Back hae thay ridden league and myl, til quhare that lodge
suld be;
Och and alace, nae lodge is thair, nouthir of stane nor wud,
But, quhair it was, lay the dark Syr Hew amid thick clotterit
blude.
His lyre was wan, his teeth were clenchit, and his eyne did
open stare,
And wonderouslie lyke stiffened cordis stude up his coal--
black hair,
And his hand was glewit until the haft of his swerd sua
scharp and trew,
Bot the blade was broke, and on the grund it lay in pieces
two.
He streiket was upon the garse, and it was red of blee,
Wi' the drappyng of the ruddie blude that trinklit doun his
knee;
And his brunie bricht was dintit sair, and heart in pieces ten,
O nevir was a knicht sae hackit by armis of mortal men.
Thay sayit to raise him, bot alace, thai culd not muve a
limm;
But heavie as the lead he lay, that Captaine dark and grym;
And his eye was luik, and fierslie fell, and his hand was rased
a lite,
Albeit no lyf was in the corps of that cauld paly knighte.
Then did thay leave him on that spot to rot and fal away,
And thay put na stane upon his heid, and on his corps nae
clay,
For thay had lerit in ferly wise that hinder nicht I rede,
That dark Syr Hew, by felon means, did make his brither
bleed.
L.
WEARIE'S WELL.
In a saft simmer gloamin',
In yon dowie dell,
It was there we twa first met
By Wearie's cauld well.
We sat on the brume bank
And looked in the burn,
But sidelang we looked on
Ilk ither in turn.
The corn-craik was chirming
His sad eerie cry,
And the wee stars were dreaming
Their path through the sky;
The burn babbled freely
Its love to ilk flower,
But we heard and we saw nought
In that blessed hour.
We heard and we saw nought
Above or around;
We felt that our love lived,
And loathed idle sound.
I gazed on your sweet face
Till tears filled my ee,
And they drapt on your wee loof, —
A warld's wealth to me.
Now the winter snaw's fa'ing
On bare holm and lea;
And the cauld wind is strippin'
Ilk leaf aff the tree.
But the snaw fa's not faster,
Nor leaf disna part
Sae sune frae the bough, as
Faith fades in your heart.
Ye've waled out anther
Your bridegroom to be;
But can his heart luve sae
As mine luvit thee?
Ye'll get biggings and mailins,
And monie braw claes;
But they a' winna buy back
The peace o' past days.
Fareweel, and for ever,
My first luve and last,
May thy joys be to come, —
Mine live in the past.
In sorrow and sadness,
This hour fa's on me;
But light, as thy luve, may
It fleet over thee!
LI.
THE BONNIE BUILT WHERRY.
SONG.
Now, row thee weel, my bonnie built wherry;
I've rowed thee lang and wi' thee been merry;
I've rowed thee late and I've rowed thee early;
I've rowed o'er the firth 'Lochiel' and 'Prince Charlie:'
Then row thee, my bonnie built wherry.
My wherry was built for the gallant and brave;
Nane dances sae light on the bonnie white wave:
She dances sae light through the cloud and the haze,
And steers by the light of the watch-fire blaze:
Then row thee, my bonnie built wherry.
But a' that I lo'ed on earth is gane,
And I and my wherry are left alane;
The blast is blawn that bore them awe —
But there is a day, it's coming for a'!
Then row thee, my bonnie built wherry.
As the eagle's flight my wherry will be
On the white, white faem — on the deep, deep sea —
When it's hame, hame, hame to their ain kintrie,
The laddies that are sae gallant and free:
Then row thee, my bonnie built wherry.
LII.
THE ROCK AN' REEL.
O leeze me on the housewife's thrift,
That maks a cheerfu' ha',
An' ilka thing, baith but an' ben,
To leuk sae bien an' braw.
O happy he, wha's dame is she
That spins upon her wheel,
And has nae thought, nor care, but what
Comes o' the rock an' reel!
O weel I like to hear at een
The birring o' the pirn,
An' see the wheel gaun roun' an' roun'
To beet the help o' yarn:
Sae, leeze me on the winsome dame
That turns her spinning-wheel,
An' has nae thought, nor care, but what
Comes o' the rock an' reel.
Gie me the blythesome ingle-side,
An' aye a clean hearthstane,
An something i' the bink to cheer
The heart o' wife an' wean:
Wha langs for mair, I think them daft —
Their senses in a creel,
That has a thought, or care, but what
Comes o' the rock an' reel.
LIII.
COOPER DAVIE.
Cooper Davie gat a wife
To be the comfort o' his life,
But soon there was an unco strife
An' din wi' Cooper Davie.
Davie bure what patience would;
Davie tried what anger could;
Foul or fair, she gaed clean wud —
The wife o' Cooper Davie.
She ranted but, she ranted ben;
She keckled like a clockin' hen;
While she could use her fingers ten,
Waes me for Cooper Davie!
She ruggit Cooper Davie's hair;
She peeled his shins, and made them bare
His vera snout, she made it sair —
The wife o' Cooper Davie.
Cooper Davie made a noose;
He wad be master o' the house;
Wi' Midget there was ne'er a truce —
The wife o' Cooper Davie.
An' wi' the noose he ban' her fast;
He ban' her to a post at last;
But, ere the sentence it was past,
She parley'd wi' poor Davie.
Soon as he set her elbows free,
She brak his face, she blin't his ee,
An' wi' the tangs she made him flee!
Alack for Cooper Davie!
Davie prayed baith but an' ben;
He prayed that Death wad for her sen',
To ease him o' her fingers ten —
The wife o' Cooper Davie.
An' Death, in pity, cam at last;
He ban' her hard, he ban' her fast!
I trow, a firmer knot he cast
Than happened wi' poor Davie.
He feartna Midget's scaulding wrath;
He nipt her wizen — stapt her breath;
She play'dna the auld trick wi' Death
She played wi' Cooper Davie!
LIV.
A WORK OF FAITH AND LOVE.
"While thousands of Christians were every day perishing in battle, and
powerful ecclesiastics were either engaged in actual conflict, or urging the
warriors to fight, a poor English priest employed himself in consecrating a
spot of ground for the burial of the dead," — History of Chivalry and the Crusades.

The flourish is sounded, the onset is made,
And Paynimry's bravest and best are arrayed
On Ptolemais' wall; the sun in its sheen
On Crescent of silver, and Coftain of green.
The leaguering hosts which rushed on like a wave,
When Christendom's choicest — her noble, her brave;
The crowns of fair England, of France, and Almain,
And mitred friars were thick on that plain;
Kings, nobles, and churchmen had gathered to show
The true heavenward path to the Infidel foe;
But in blood, war, and riot the Paynim saw nought
More pure than the Faith 'neath whose banners he
fought.
But when the fierce tumult raged hottest around,
A poor English priest at the outpost was found,
Enclosing a space that the Christian might rest
In a grave, which the Cross of his Master had blessed.
The Infidel paused; — a strange feeling of awe
Thrilled warm through his heart, as in wonder he saw
Unscathed, 'mid the fury of war, that lone man
Toil on in the work which his mercy began.
The battle is o'er, the tumult is past,
Like bright scathing lightning, like whirlwind's blast;
No sound broke the still save the lone priest's strain,
And his low muttered mass for the souls of the slain.
But the thunder, that morning awakened, rolled on,
And shook to the centre brave Saladin's throne;
The standard unfurled, by that Christian band,
The red cross waved free over Palestine's land.
When years passed away, and these warriors were gone,
And oblivion wrapped all the trophies they won,
The Infidel led to these rude graves to show
A triumph the noblest and best of their foe.
LV.
THE SPRING.
The spring, the spring has come again, in all its leafy pride,
And the smiling train of flower friends, I wept for when they
died;
The air has ta'en its summer sound, the summer hue the
sky,
And busy on its golden wing the bee flies humming by.
The butterfly sports over the garden and the lea,
And writes on every honied flower of early things to me;
Oh! I could almost run again to catch the childish prize,
As it sails upon the sunny beam, like moonlight's azure skies.
I scent the flowers I longed to see on many a winter day,
I hear the sweet chaffinch's note, the spring's first welcome lay;
And mem'ry seals up years in blank till time and place it
brings,
When I loved the flowers and butterflies of life's first
conscious spring.
It is not so, it is not so, for many are away
Whose fondly loved companionship made summer things
more gay;
And would I bid the tomb give back, unchanged the early
reft,
Alas! alas! what early hopes — what early dreams are left?
We could not in the flowery mead pursue the insect chase,
We could not o'er the lilied lawn dash in our headlong
race;
And, oh! we could not sit and weave hopes for a future
day,
For, like the pearls of morning dew, I've seen them melt
away.
Yet it is well that friends us left ere our dreamy bliss was
o'er,
And they have reached that happy land, where hope deceives
no more;
Yet summer dreams should bring to mind that spirit land
so fair,
For the early lost, the truly loved, and endless spring are
there.
LVI.
THE FAIRIES.
A DREAM-LIKE REMEMBRANCE OF A DREAM.
It chanced three merry Fairies met
On the bridge of a mountain rivulet,
Whose hanging arch through the misty spray,
Like a little Lunar Rainbow lay,
With turf and flowers a pathway meet,
For the twinkling of unearthly feet,
For bright were the flowers as their golden tresses,
And green the turf as their Elfin dresses.
Aye the water o'er the Linn
Was mocking, with a gleesome din,
The small shrill laughter, as it broke
In peals from these night-wandering Folk:
While the stream danced on with a tinkling tune,
All happy to meet by a blink o' the moon.
Now laughing louder than before,
They strove to deaden that ceaseless roar;
And, when vanquished was the waterfall,
Loudly they shouted, one and all,
Like the chorus of a Madrigal,
Till the glen awoke from its midnight trance,
And o'er the hills in flight-like dance,
Was all the troop of echoes driven,
This moment on earth, and that in heaven.
From the silent heart of a hollow Yew,
The Owl sailed forth with a loud haloo;
And his large yellow eyes looked bright
With wonder, in the wan moonlight,
As hovering white, and still as snow,
He caught a glance of the things below,
All burning on the bridge like fire
In the sea-green glow of their wild attire.
"Haloo! Haloo! tu-whit! tu-whoo!"
Cried the gleesome Elves, and away they flew,
With mimic shriek, sob, cry, and howl,
In headlong chase of the frightened Owl.
With many a buffet they drove him onward,
Now hoisted him up, now pressed him downward
They pulled at his horns, and with many a tweak
Around and around they screwed his beak;
On his back they beat with a birch-spray flail,
And they tore the long feathers from his tail;
Then, like warriors mounted in their pride,
Behind his wings behold them ride!
And shouting, charge unto the war,
Each waving his soft plume-scymitar
A war of laughter, not of tears,
The wild-wood's harmless Cuirassiers.
Through the depth of Ivy on the wall
(The sole remains of old Greystock Hall)
The Screamer is driven, half scared to death;
And the gamesome Fairies, all out of breath,
Their tiny robes in the air arranging,
And kisses in their flight exchanging;
Now slowly with the soft wind stealing
Right onwards, round about now wheeling,
Like leaves blown off in gusty weather,
To the rainbow-bridge all flock together;
And lo! on the green moss all alight,
Like a cluster of Goldfinches mingling bright.
What feats the Fairy Creatures played!
Now seeming of the height afraid,
And, folding the moss in fast embraces,
They peeped o'er the bridge with their lovely faces.
Now hanging like the fearless flowers
By their tiny arms in the Cataract-showers,
Swung back and forward with delight,
Like Pearls in the spray-shower burning bright!
Then they dropt at once into the Pool —
A moment gone! then beautiful
Ascending on slow-hovering wing,
As if with darkness dallying,
They rose again, though the smiling air,
To their couch of moss and flowerets fair,
And rooted lay in silence there.
Down into the gulf profound
Slid the stream without a sound!
A charm had hushed the thundering shocks,
And stillness steeped the blackened rocks.
'Twas fit, where these fair things were lying,
No sound, save of some Zephyr sighing,
Should stir the gentle Solitude!
The mountain's night-voice was subdued
To far-off music faint and dim,
From Nature's heart a holy hymn!
Nor was that Universal Strain
Through fairy-bosoms breathed in vain;
Entranced in joy the Creatures lay,
Listening the music far away,
Till One the deepening silence broke,
And thus in song-like murmurs spoke.
MOUNTAIN-FAIRY.
"Soon as the lingering Sun was gone,
I sailed away from my sparry throne,
Mine own cool, silent, glimmering dwelling,
Below the roots of the huge Helvellyn.
As onwards like a thought I flew,
From my wings fast fell the pearly dew,
Sweet tiny orbs of lucid ray
Rising and setting on my way,
As if I had been some Planet fair,
That ruled its own bright atmosphere.
'O beauteous sight!' the shepherd cried,
To the shepherd slumbering at his side, —
'Look where the Mountain-Fairy flies!'
But ere he had opened his heavy eyes,
I had flown o'er Grassmere's moonlight flood,
And the rustling swing of old Rydal-Wood,
And sunk down 'mid the heather-bells
On the shady side of sweet Furness-Fells.
'Twas but one soft wave o' my wing!
A start, and an end to my journeying.
One moment's rest in a spot so dear, —
For the Moonlight was sleeping on Windermere,
And I saw in that long pure streak of light
The joy and the sadness of the night,
And mine eyes, in sooth, began to fill,
So beautiful that Lake — so still —
So motionless its gentle breast —
Save where just rocking in their rest,
A crowd of water-lilies lay
Like stars amid the milky way.
But what had I with the Lake to do?
So off to the misty hills I flew,
And in dark ravines, and creviced rocks,
With my finger I counted my thousand flocks,
And each little Lamb by name I blest,
As snow-white they lay in their innocent rest.
When I saw some weak cold tottering Lamb
Recline 'gainst the side of its pitiful Dam,
Who seemed to have some wildering fear
Of Death, as of a Foe that was near,
I shone like a sunbeam soft and warm
Till the fleece lay smooth on its strengthened form,
And the happy Creatures lay down together
Like waves on the sea in gentle weather,
And in contentment calm and deep
Sank faintly-bleating into sleep.
In the soft moonlight glow I knew
Where the herbs that hold the poison grew;
And at the touch of my feathery foot
They withered at once both stalk and root,
But I shook not the gracious tears of night
From the plants most dear to the Shepherd's sight,
And with mellower lustre bade them spring
In the yellow round of the Fairy's ring,
Till, methought, the hill-side smiled afar
With the face of many a verdant Star.
I marked the Fox at the mouth of his den,
And rais'd the shadows of Hunter-men,
And I bade aërial beagles rave,
And the horn twang through the Felon's cave,
Then buried him with Famine in his grave.
The Raven sat upon Langdale-Peak
With crusted blood on his ebon-beak,
And I dashed him headlong from the steep,
While the murderer croaked in his sullen sleep.
Away I sailed by the Eagle's nest,
And the Eaglets couched warm beneath her breast,
But the Shepherd shall miss her cry at morn
For her eyes are dim and her plumage torn,
And I left in their Eyrie the Imps accurst
To die in their hunger, and cold, and thirst.
All, all is well with my lovely Flocks!
And so I dropt suddenly down the rocks
From Loughrig-top, like a falling Star,
Seen doubtless through the mists afar
By a hundred Shepherds on the Hill
Wandering among the Moonlight still,
And with folded wings and feet earth-bound
I felt myself standing o'er the sound
Of this Waterfall, and with joy espied
A Sister-Elf at either side!
My tale is told — nor strange nor new —
Now, sweet Lady Bright-Eyes! what say you?"
As some wild Night-Flower through the dew
Looks to the Moon with freshened hue,
When a wandering breath of air
Hath lifted up its yellow hair,
And its own little glade grows bright
At the soft revealment of its light,
Up sprung, so sudden and so sweet,
The COTTAGE-FAIRY to her feet;
And, looking round her with a smile,
Silent the Creature paused awhile,
Uncertain what glad thoughts should burst
In music from her spirit first,
Till, like a breath breathed clear from Heaven,
To her at once a voice was given,
And through the tune the words arose
As through the fragrant dew the leaflets of the Rose.
COTTAGE-FAIRY.
"Sisters! I have seen this night
A hundred Cottage-Fires burn bright,
And a thousand happy faces shining
In the bursting blaze, and the gleam declining.
I care not I for the stars above,
The lights on earth are the lights I love;
Let Venus bless the Evening-air,
Uprise at morn Prince Lucifer,
But those little tiny stars be mine
That through the softened copse-wood shine,
With beauty crown the pastoral hill,
And glimmer o'er the sylvan rill,
Where stands the Peasant's ivied nest,
And the huge mill-wheel is at rest.
From out the honeysuckle's bloom
I peeped into that laughing room,
Then, like a hail-drop, on the pane,
Pattering, I stilled the din again,
While every startled eye looked up;
And, half-raised to her lips the cup,
The rosy Maiden's look met mine!
But I veiled mine eyes with the silken twine
Of the small wild roses clustering thickly;
Then to her seat returning quickly,
She 'gan to talk with bashful glee
Of Fairies 'neath the greenwood Tree
Dancing by moonlight, and she blest
Gently our silent Land of rest.
The Infants playing on the floor,
At these wild words their sports gave o'er,
And asked where lived the Cottage-Fairy;
The maid replied, 'She loves to tarry
Ofttimes beside our very hearth,
And joins in little children's mirth
When they are gladly innocent;
And sometimes beneath the leafy tent,
That murmurs round our Cottage-door,
Our overshadowing Sycamore,
We see her dancing in a ring,
And hear the blessed Creature sing —
A Creature full of gentleness,
Rejoicing in our happiness.'
Then plucked I a wreath with many a gem
Burning — a flowery Diadem;
And through the wicket with a glide
I slipped, and sat me down beside
The youngest of those Infants fair,
And wreathed the blossoms round her hair.
'Who placed these flowers on William's head?'
His little wondering Sister said,
A wreath not half so bright and gay
Crowned me, upon the morn of May,
Queen of that sunny Holiday.'
The tiny Monarch laughed aloud
With pride among the loving crowd,
And, with my shrillest voice, I lent
A chorus to their merriment;
Then with such murmur as a Bee
Makes, from a flower-cup suddenly
Borne off into the silent sky,
I skimmed away, and with delight
Sailed down the calm stream of the night,
Till gently, as a flake of Snow,
Once more I dropped on earth below,
And girdled as with a rainbow zone,
The Cot beloved I call mine own.
"Sweet Cot! that on the mountain-side
Looks to the stars of Heaven with pride,
And then flings far its smiling cheer
O'er the radiant Isles of Windermere, —
Blest! ever blest! thy sheltered roof!
Pain, grief, and trouble, stand aloof
From the shadow of thy green Palm-Tree!
Let nought from Heaven e'er visit Thee,
But dews, and rays, and sounds of mirth
And ever may this happy Earth
Look happiest round thy small domain!
Thee were I ne'er to see again,
Methinks that agony and strife
Would fall even on a Fairy's life,
And nought should ever bless mine eyes
Save the dream of that vanished Paradise.
— The hushed bee-hives were still as death —
And the sleeping Doves held fast their breath,
Nestling together on the thatch;
With my wing-tip I raised the latch,
And there that lovely Lady shone,
In silence sitting all alone,
Beside the cradle of her Child!
And ever as she gazed, she smiled
On his calm forehead white as snow;
I rocked the cradle to and fro,
As on the broom a Linnet's nest
Swings to the mild wind from the west;
And oft his little hands and breast,
With warm and dewy lips I kissed.
'Sweet Fairy!' the glad Mother said,
And down she knelt as if she prayed —
While glad was I to hear her name
Bestowed on such a beauteous frame,
And with my wings I hid mine eyes,
Till I saw the weeping kneeler rise
From her prayer in holy ecstasies!"
The COTTAGE-FAIRY ceased; and Night,
That seemed to feel a calm delight
In the breath of that sweet warbling tongue,
Was sad at closing of the song,
And all her starry eyne looked dull,
Of late so brightly beautiful;
Till on the Fox-glove's topmost cup
The FAIRY OF THE LAKE leapt up,
And with that gorgeous column swinging,
By fits a low wild prelude singing,
And gracefully on tip-toe standing,
With outstretched arm, as if commanding,
The beauty of the Night again
Revived beneath her heavenly strain. —
Low, sad, and wild, were the tones I heard,
Like the opening song of the hidden Bird,
Ere music steeps the Italian vales
From the heart of a thousand Nightingales;
But words were none; the balmy air
Grew vocal round that Elfin fair,
And, like her fragrant breath, the song
Dropped dewily from that sweet tongue,
But 'twas a language of her own,
To grosser human sense unknown;
And while in blissful reverie
My soul lived on that melody,
In a moment all as death was still:
Then, like an echo in a Hill
Far off one melancholy strain!
Too heavenly pure to rise again, —
And all alone the dreamer stood
Beside the disenchanted flood,
That rolled the rocky banks along
With its own dull, slow, mortal song.
— What wafted off the Fairies? hush!
The storm comes down the glen — crush — crush —
And as the blackening rain-cloud broke,
The Pine Tree groans to the groaning Oak!
Thunder is in the waving wood —
And from Rydal-mere's white flashing flood
There conies through the mist an angry roar,
Loud as from the great sea-shore.
Well, I ween, the Fairies knew
The clouds that the sudden tempest brew,
And had heard far-off the raging rills,
As they leapt down from a hundred hills, —
And the ghostlike moan that wails and raves
From the toppling crags and the sable caves, —
Ere the night-storm in his wrath doth come,
And bids each meaner sound be dumb —
So they sailed away to the land of rest,
Each to the spot that it loved the best,
And left our noisy world!
LVII.
THE CITY OF THE PLAGUE.
Together will ye walk, through long, long streets,
All standing silent as a midnight church.
You will hear nothing but the brown red grass
Rustling beneath your feet; the very beating
Of your own hearts will awe you; the small voice
Of that vain bauble, idly counting time,
Will speak a solemn language in the desert.
Look up to heaven, and there the sultry clouds,
Still threatening thunder, lower with grim delight,
As if the Spirit of the Plague dwelt there,
Darkening the city with the shadows of death.
Know ye that hideous hubbub? Hark, far off
A tumult like an echo! on it comes,
Weeping and wailing, shrieks and groaning prayer;
And louder than all, outrageous blasphemy.
The passing storm bath left the silent streets.
But are these houses near you tenantless?
Over your heads from a window, suddenly
A ghastly face is thrust, and yells of death
With voice not human. Who is he that flies,
As if a demon dogged him on his path
With ragged hair, white face, and bloodshot eyes,
Raving, he rushes past you; till he falls,
As if struck by lightning, down upon the stones,
Or, in blind madness, dashed against the wall,
Sinks backward into stillness. Stand aloof,
And let the Pest's triumphal chariot
Have open way advancing to the tomb.
See how he mocks the pomp and pageantry
Of earthly kings! A miserable cart,
Heaped up with human bodies; dragged along
By shrunk steeds, skeleton-anatomies!
And onwards urged by a wan meagre wretch,
Doomed never to return from the foul pit,
Whither with oaths, he drives his load of horror.
Would you look in? Grey hairs and golden tresses,
Wan shrivelled cheeks that have not smiled for years;
And many a rosy visage smiling still;
Bodies in the noisome weeds of beggary wrapt,
With age decrepit, and wasted to the bone;
And youthful frames, august and beautiful,
In spite of mortal pangs, — there lie they all
Embraced in ghastliness! But look not long,
For haply, 'mid the faces glimmering there,
The well-known cheek of some beloved friend
Will meet thy gaze, or some small snow-white hand,
Bright with the ring that holds her lover's hair.
Let me sit down beside you. I am faint
Talking of horrors that I looked upon
At last without a shudder.
LVIII.
WRITTEN ON THE BANKS OF WASTWATER,
DURING A STORM.
There is a lake hid far among the hills,
That raves around the throne of solitude,
Not fed by gentle streams, or playful rills,
But headlong cataract and rushing flood.
There, gleam no lovely hues of hanging wood,
No spot of sunshine lights her sullen side;
For horror shaped the wild in wrathful mood,
And o'er the tempest heaved the mountain's pride.
If thou art one, in dark presumption blind,
Who vainly deem'st no spirit like to thine,
That lofty genius deifies thy mind,
Fall prostrate here at Nature's stormy shrine,
And as the thunderous scene disturbs thy heart,
Lift thy changed eye, and own how low thou art.
LIX.
WRITTEN ON THE BANKS OF WASTWATER,
DURING A CALM.
Is this the lake, the cradle of the storms,
Where silence never tames the mountain-roar,
Where poets fear their self-created forms,
Or, sunk in trance severe, their god adore?
Is this the lake for ever dark and loud
With wave and tempest, cataract and cloud?
Wondrous, O Nature! is thy sovereign power,
That gives to horror hours of peaceful mirth;
For here might beauty build her summer-bower!
Lo! where yon rainbow spans the smiling earth,
And, clothed in glory, through a silent shower
The mighty Sun comes forth, a god-like birth;
While, 'neath his loving eye, the gentle Lake
Lies like a sleeping child too blest to wake!
LX.
WRITTEN AT MIDNIGHT, ON HELM-CRAG.
Go up among the mountains, when the storm
Of midnight howls, but go in that wild mood,
When the soul loves tumultuous solitude,
And through the haunted air, each giant form
Of swinging pine, black rock, or ghostly cloud,
That veils some fearful cataract tumbling loud,
Seems to thy breathless heart with life imbued.
'Mid those gaunt, shapeless things thou art alone!
The mind exists, thinks, trembles through the ear,
The memory of the human world is gone,
And time and space seem living only here.
Oh! worship thou the visions then made known,
While sable glooms round Nature's temple roll,
And her dread anthem peals into thy soul.
LXI.
THE VOICE OF THE MOUNTAINS.
List! while I tell what forms the mountain's voice!
— The storms are up; and from you sable cloud
Down rush the rains ; while 'mid the thunder loud
The viewless eagles in wild screams rejoice.
The echoes answer to the unearthly noise
Of hurling rocks, that, plunged into the Lake,
Send up a sullen groan: from clefts and caves,
As of half-murdered wretch, hark! yells awake,
Or red-eyed frenzy as in chains he raves.
These form the mountain's voice; these, heard at night,
Distant from human being's known abode,
To earth some spirits bow in cold affright,
But some they lift to glory and to God.
LXII.
THE EVENING CLOUD.
A cloud lay cradled near the setting sun,
A gleam of crimson tinged its braided snow:
Long had I watched the glory moving on
O'er the still radiance of the Lake below.
Tranquil its spirit seemed, and floated slow
Even in its very motion there was rest:
While every breath of eve that chanced to blow,
Wafted the traveller to the beauteous West.
Emblem, methought, of the departed soul!
To whose white robe the gleam of bliss is given;
And by the breath of mercy made to roll
Right onwards to the golden gates of Heaven,
Where, to the eye of Faith, it peaceful lies,
And tells to man his glorious destinies.
LXIII.
WRITTEN ON THE SABBATH-DAY.
When by God's inward light, a happy child,
I walked in joy, as in the open air,
It seemed to my young thought the Sabbath smiled
With glory and with love. So still, so fair,
The Heavens looked ever on that hallowed morn,
That, without aid of memory, something there
Had surely told me of its glad return.
How did my little heart at evening burn,
When, fondly seated on my father's knee,
Taught by the lip of love, I breathed the prayer,
Warm from the fount of infant piety!
Much is my spirit changed; for years have brought
Intenser feeling and expanded thought;
— Yet, must I envy every child I see!
LXIV.
WRITTEN ON SKIDDAW, DURING A TEMPEST.
It was a dreadful day, when late I passed
O'er thy dim vastness, SKIDDAW! — Mist and cloud
Each subject Fell obscured, and rushing blast
To thee made darling music, wild and loud,
Thou Mountain-Monarch! Rain in torrents played,
As when at sea a wave is borne to Heaven,
A watery spire, then on the crew dismayed
Of reeling ship with downward wrath is driven.
I could have thought that every living form
Had fled, or perished in that savage storm,
So desolate the day. To me were given
Peace, calmness, joy: then, to myself I said,
Can grief, time, chance, or elements control
Man's chartered pride, the Liberty of Soul?
I wandered lonely, like a pilgrim sad,
O'er mountains known but to the eagle's gaze;
Yet, my hushed heart, with Nature's beauty glad,
Slept in the shade, or gloried in the blaze.
Romantic vales stole winding to my eye
In gradual loveliness, like rising dreams;
Fair nameless tarns, that seemed to blend with sky
Rocks of wild majesty and elfin streams.
How strange, methought, I should have lived so near,
Nor ever worshipped Nature's altar here!
Strange! say not so — hid from the world and thee,
Though in the midst of life their spirits move,
Thousands enjoy in holy liberty
The silent Eden of unenvied Love!
LXV.
SILENT LOVE.
O woman! woman! ever true and kind,
Thou sweet perfection of the gentle mind!
Blest to refine thy lord-like brother-man,
The last, but noblest of the Almighty's plan!
How calm, how tender, and how full of love,
An earthly angel sent him from above; —
A being in whose soft expressive eyes
We read the light, the language of the skies!
What time the dulcet accents of thy voice
Mine ear receives, they make my heart rejoice;
What time I see thy graceful form divine,
I feel in truth that loveliness is thine; —
And in thy smile what matchless beauties blend,
Thou chasten'd gift! thou everlasting friend!
Teach me, ye muses! to portray her praise
In words of living fire, that burn always;
Let me unfold, in every glowing line,
Some charm, O woman! that alone is thine;
Inspire my pen, and dip it in my heart,
Let not a thought be chill'd by rigid art;
Chain to remembrance all my bosom feels;
Let time move slower on its viewless wheels,
Till all is writ on adamant, to stand
So long as light illumes my native land!
O mainspring of domestic love and joy!
Can man have haunts that would thy peace destroy
Can any pleasures which these scenes impart
Float with such genuine feeling round the heart?
Can gay companionship, or false desire,
More than their moment, mental breasts inspire?
Ah! no — in such society as thine,
Man only knows where truth and duty shine!
To thee alone belongs the syren power
To keep the odour in life's fading flower;
To thee alone belongs the power to bind
The vernal growth of glory to the mind,
And man, however great and good he be,
Soon turns a blank, if once he turns from thee!
With what ensanguine words shall I impart
The genuine love that fills the mother's heart;
That fond delight which glows in rapturous joy —
Nor poverty nor sickness can destroy,
When the first artless smile of love is given,
Which makes her baby more a thing of heaven,
And on the dimpling cheek of peachy hue
This sign of recognition meets her view.
When cares, like age, creep o'er us and destroy
The transitory flush of hope and joy,
Her glowing tear of sympathy outvies
The spangly dew that on the violet lies,
Distilling purely from affection's well,
Where all the pearls of dear attraction dwell.
O blissful thought! to see thee smile through these,
And all to give the burthen'd bosom ease; —
O more than sainted sight, far more than earth,
When we reflect the feeling's genuine birth —
To soften man, to lead him from his care; —
To wash away the stains of dark despair; —
To reconcile his bosom to his fate,
O this is surely, truly, being great!
Is thy heart gay, what can with thee compare?
What votive transports make thee still more fair!
Can the vermillion add a sweeter hue,
Or art excel where all is purely true
Can wealth or earthly vanities inspire,
Where love has set the vestal heart on fire?
Careless alike of their too mean control,
Heaven holds a higher banquet in the soul!
And Nature, as at first, free, undefiled,
Makes thee again as sinless as a child!
Does man desert thee, turn and love no more;
Is thy soft passion then as fleetly o'er? —
Ah, no! Is there in yonder varied bower
A fragile plant, a winter-breathing flower,
That, by degrees, droops into pale decay,
And wanes in silent loneliness away?
E'en so fade hopes and happiness in thee —
Emblem of spring — heir of eternity!
She was the heroine, then, of every tale
That flushed my cheek, or made it sickly pale;
In dreams I saw her vision'd forth in joy,
And felt as young and buoyant as a boy!
Heard her discourse of future joys, and tell
How much she lov'd, and thought she lov'd too well;
Thus fancy ever form'd ideal things,
Till I could hear the rustling of the wings
Of beings of the sky. — To love is given
A power to feel and taste the joys of heaven!
Hear with new ears, to see with seer-like eyes,
And, phoenix-like, from fear's pale ashes rise!
When love was young, the gods celestial lay
On gold-tinged clouds that hemm'd the skirts of day;
Gazing in glory from their couch on high,
A misty globe seem'd rolling down the sky,
And on its disc two speck-like forms did move —
The earliest pair wed to devoted love;
'Twas Eve and Adam wandering hand-in-hand,
The sole possessors of that sphere-like land!
Inspiring love! who shall thy powers portray,
Howe'er unbless'd thy votaries fade away?
Bridle the winds, set limits to the sea,
Bid wandering clouds to be no longer free;
Call eagles from the air on high, and bid
The hills decay, and in the seas be hid;
Tell Spring it must not bud, and Autumn brown,
To keep its leaves and throw no foliage down;
Bid structures rise in rows at thy command,
Without materials or the artist's hand;
Teach man to live on air, and rocks to fly,
Tell birds no more to roam the ambient sky:
Do all these things, — when ye so powerful prove,
Then put your definitions upon love!
Love framed the world, and love created man,
Love is the soul of the infinite plan;
Love is the spring of every glorious deed,
Love makes the patriot for his country bleed;
Love is the bliss of every Christian mind,
Love makes the generous to the needful kind;
Love makes the mother o'er her infant weep,
When death has closed its eyes in icy sleep;
Love bids the heathen worship at the sun,
Where truth and science have not yet begun;
Love made famed Wallace like a lion bold,
When she he lov'd was basely slain of old;
Love was the parent of the tear first shed,
When gentle Eve beheld her Abel dead;
Love breathes more sweet than seraph ever sung,
Its accents are too soft for human tongue;
Love has its sighs, on whose fair wings are borne
A beam of gladness brighter than the morn;
Love makes me write this retrospective lay,
Whatever readers think, or critics say!
Hush, then, nor deem it wisdom to be free
Of love's gold links — No man e'er loved like me!
O! wherefore then in anguish pine away?
Thus oft mine inward monitor would say,
Why not declare, in words not yet express'd,
The secret, silent sorrow of thy breast?
It shall be so, I boldly would reply,
And then reviving gladness lit mine eye;
It shall be so; O vain! O weak desire!
Dissolving like the snow when cast on fire.
Alas! alas! even when I grasped the pen,
I felt I could not act like other men —
A tremulous feeling shook my very frame,
I could not breathe, I could not write her name.
O sad resolve! how quickly wouldst thou fly
Upon the pinions of a pensive sigh!
For prudence, when it rules the mind aright,
With hope and doubt — alternate day and night —
Creates a fearful feeling, half insane!
Which dreads the merest semblance of disdain;
This wondrous sensibility of mind
Can brook no look, no accent that's unkind;
A no, instead of yes, — no more! no more!
The very thought sends poison to the core;
For this might to the sanguine soul convey
A dreaded fate, a desperate dismay,
An humbled, an abash'd, and startling pain,
That might no more be curb'd by reason's rein.
Better, O better far! in each degree,
Unspoken wish. — No man e'er loved like me!
Thus oft I long'd to tell my secret mind
To some dear friend whose sympathies were kind,
That we might meet, as if it were by chance,
Round festive board, or in the mazy dance;
But, oh! I durst not speak the tremulous tale,
So often sigh'd on evening's dewy gale, —
So deeply graven on each page of life,
The source of all my happiness and strife;
Yet when I oped the guest-inclosing door,
And tript in lightness o'er the velvet floor,
I've gazed around with wild and wond'ring stare,
Perhaps to see if such an one were there;
Ah! then my anxious spirit would grow still,
And reason reign with more quiescent will,
For what I long'd so much in joy to greet,
My timid spirit could not brook to meet.
I could not trust my heart, full well I knew
A sudden glance would all my frame subdue; —
Would thus expose the workings of my soul,
O'er which my manhood could not hold control.
She never came — O strange! O weak dismay!
Thus, day and night, my hours stole sad away,
For ever bent on one engrossing theme,
Yet all uncertain as a poet's dream!
At last I left my home, went far away
To mix with crowds of strangers, where the gay
And gorgeous wheels of luxury roll along
In an outvying and tumultuous throng!
Where painted pride and mimicry conspire
To peep contemptuous from their gay attire,
And toys in artificial, fond display,
Sleep all the morn to gild the eve of day!
Lolling in soft and indolent repose,
As if the poor lack'd none to soothe their woes.
O! hearts diseased by pride and fashion's glow,
Are these the only raptures that ye know?
Is there no joy in cheering lonely hearts, —
In plucking from fell poverty its darts?
Is there no aged breast by want subdued?
No flowers to spread where thorns are only strewed?
No sympathy, no gentle hand to give
To woe-worn wretches who scarce care to live?
Your pleasures cannot charm my marvelling eye,
Go teach those ones to smile whose life's a sigh; —
Go ease the couch of death — of deep dismay, —
'Twill give relief when earthly joys decay.
I've sought your haunts to mitigate my care,
But, ah! ye but contrast a world's despair;
So hapless beings fly to banish woe,
Forgetting 'tis within where'er they go.
Earth's noblest sights, earth's wonder-working men,
Cannot obliterate my immortal ken! —
The smile of peer or princess has no power
To wile my loved one from my breast an hour;
In every changeful scene, O! only she
Is present most, and holds supremacy.
Long, long, I wander'd 'mid the gay and fair,
Striving to seem the happiest mortal there; —
Striving to soothe my sad, my chequered life,
And thus extract sweet comfort from my strife.
Alas! they knew not when they saw me smile,
Another charmer charm'd me all the while.
I wore her beauteous image in my soul;
Through every thought the dear enchantment stole!
Through every vein I felt her being move,
Inhaled her spirit and exhaled her love!
The dreamy cup I drank of sparkling hope,
And suck'd it still, to drain the latest drop;
Deep in my breast, like dew-drop in a flower,
It lay conceal'd, but gave refreshing power;
Till high enraptured with the draught divine,
My soul dissolved at the enhallowed shrine!
Though poor the world, yet in one person joined,
Beauty and wealth more often meet than mind!
But she was mind to me, an endless theme
That fed my day-thoughts and my midnight dream;
The joy of life from which I always drew
Something delicious, something ever new!
Yet absence oft brought sorrow o'er my mind,
Like dark clouds sailing on the summer wind,
Till lost in thought, subdued in heart and speech,
Unbroken silence countless fears would teach;
And then they said, he treads his native hills,
And gazes fondly on their foaming rills, —
Sees the proud eagle in its heaven-ward flight
Towering above, 'mid clouds of storm and night! —
When dark-soul'd winter o'er his cottage hung,
And feeling, hope, and life, itself were young!
Hears downward streams, that, as the glide along,
Have all their own and most peculiar song; —
Draws beauty from the lakes, health from the breeze
That sails the surface of the weltering seas —
Nor love, nor art, nor sorrow could they see
In all my acts. — No man e'er loved like me!
LXVI.
THE SEA.
Talk of the sea! O 'tis wondrous grand!
When we walk in joy on the flowery strand;
When we fear not the billows that swell on high,
And our barque in the bay doth in calmness lie.
When the sun is full, and the heavens are blue,
And angel-faces seem smiling through,
And the winds are asleep on the aspen tree,
O then is the time to talk of the sea!
O then is the time to talk of the sea!
But, when afloat on the restless waves,
That open like tombs as the wild wind raves,
And hail-charged clouds hang o'er the hills,
And rashly each sail with a hurricane fills;
When our fragile barque on her side doth lie,
And the salt surge is dash'd in the upturn'd eye,
And the sluices of heaven are all set free,
O talk not then of the glorious sea!
O talk not then of the glorious sea!
LXVII.
OLD SCOTLAND I LOVE THEE!
Old Scotland I love thee! thou'rt dearer to me
Than all lands that are girt by the wide-rolling sea;
Tho' asleep not in sunshine, like Islands afar,
Yet thou'rt gallant in love, and triumphant in war!
Thy cloud-cover'd hills that look up from the seas,
Wave sternly their wild-woods aloft in the breeze!
Where flies the bold Eagle in Freedom on high,
Thro' regions of cloud in its wild native sky!
For, old Scotland, I love thee! thou'rt dearer to me
Than all lands that are girt by the wide rolling sea;
Tho' asleep not in sunshine like Islands afar,
Yet thou'rt gallant in love, and triumphant in war!
Thou art not the land where the Olive-tree grows,
Nor the land of the Shamrock, nor land of the Rose;
But where the green Thistle still waves its proud head,
Over heroes whose blood for their Country was shed.
For, old Scotland, I love thee ! thou'rt dearer to me
Than all lands that are girt by the wide-rolling sea;
Tho' asleep not in sunshine, like Islands afar,
Yet thou'rt gallant in love and triumphant in war!
Then tell me of Bards and of Warriors bold,
Who wielded their brands in the battles of old;
Who conquer'd and died for their lov'd native land,
With its Maidens so fair, and its mountains so grand!
For, old Scotland, I love thee! thou'rt dearer to me
Than all lands that are girt by the wide-rolling sea;
Though asleep not in sunshine, like Islands afar,
Yet thou'rt gallant in love and triumphant in war!
LXVIII.
SERENADE.
A maiden was lovely, a maiden was young;
A nobleman woed her with flattering tongue,
He talk'd of his power, of his palace, and all
The bright train of attendants to come at his call,
But the maiden replied, looking softly above,
Entreat not, my lord! for another I love.
O who is your love, lady, tell me his name,
Is he heard of in war; is he breathed of in fame,
Has he wealth, has he power, has he honour like mine
That he lives in this beautiful bosom of thine;
But the maiden replied, looking softly above,
Entreat not, my lord for another I love.
O Sire, she exclaimed, he may boast not like thee,
Of his palace, his power, and his high pedigree;
But he's manly in soul and he's honest in heart,
And he breathes no affection that's sullied by art; —
So the lady replied, looking softly above,
Entreat not, my lord! for another I love.
LXIX.
COME WANDER WITH ME.
Come wander with me, where the sweet scented rose
In the valley of sunshine with jessamine grows;
I'll twine thee a garland of balm-breathing flowers,
And dance with thee lightly 'mong fairy green bowers
While sparkling streamlets are leaping along,
'Mid banks flower-embroider'd and joyous with song;
And the Hart and the Roe in their gambols are free —
Then say thou wilt come, love! and wander with me.
Or, come when fair Luna is smiling above,
While Philomel chaunts her sweet cadence of love;
And watch the bright stars in their palace of blue,
As night is distilling her pearls of dew! —
And zephyrs are sighing among the green boughs,
Like tender affection when breathing her vows; —
No maiden on earth need be joyful as thee,
Then say thou wilt come, love! and wander with me.
LXX.
ODE TO ANNIHILATION.
Annihilation! gloomy power,
Whose reign alone the wicked hail;
We deprecate the direful hour,
If nothing shall o'er all prevail.
When sleepless Chaos and old Night
O'er regions dark their sceptre swayed,
In regions fair of life and light,
Fair Virtue's form was bright displayed.
Those gloomy powers of hideous form
In awful, unseen silence reigned;
They held their own, ne'er thought to storm
What other powers of right maintained.
But thy ambition's unconfined,
Thy grasp all rational nature dreads;
By fury mad, and anger blind,
Each misery dire thy raging feeds.
In awful gloom thou sitt'st enthroned,
'Mid shades of endless night involved,
With desolation's waste around,
And order horridly convolved.
Dread Horror guards thy awful seats;
There Terror, sullen fiend, awaits;
His sickening yells and shrieks repeats,
And fills the entrance to thy gates.
Upon thy steps Despair attends;
Alone, thy empire dire upholds;
Thy baneful reign alone commends,
Drives wretched mortals to thy holds.
Malevolence of sullen brow,
And Envy wrinkled, meagre fiend,
With Melancholy in darksome hue,
Each proved thy tried and faithful friend
These, sickening, pined at others' good,
Enraged themselves, others harass;
O'er Woe's abyss continual brood,
Or plunge into it — woeful pass!
Remorse, of vice and folly sprung,
Faithful awaits thy dire command,
And first augments the gloomy throng
That hurries to thy dreary land.
Near to thy throne, in close array,
A numerous band of fiends are ranged;
Hold all around in dread dismay,
And stand with horrid front, unchanged.
No ray of light athwart thy gloom,
No gleam of hope there ever darts;
Eternal darkness, direful doom,
Prevails o'er all these horrid parts.
No verdure e'er adorns thy fields,
A sullen, barren waste prevails;
No fruit thy empire ever yields:
Eternal want there never fails.
Insatiate power! both fierce and bold,
By truth and virtue both abhorred;
What mind will ever dare unfold
The horrors in thy dens upstored?
Has Tyranny destruction spread?
Has innocence its fury fled?
Have fairest regions been laid waste
By dire Resentment's furious blast?
Ambition's woes, who can recount,
Or war's dire rage the sad amount
Who fully knows volcanic rage?
What horrors spread when winds enraged,
Or earthquakes' desolating thrill,
That do the will of heaven fulfil?
Who counts the crimes of selfish pride,
The pestilence rage who can describe?
Or ills that human race betide,
When swept by passion's swollen tide?
Who raving's woes can full relate,
Or persecution's ire abate?
Who knows the extent of human pains,
Or all that misery's cup contains?
But more than this, in one combined,
Are to thy gloomy walls confined.
Immured in gloomy dungeons deep,
Thy wretched subjects lie enchained,
Tasting the horrors of eternal sleep,
And ceaseless dreams by dread maintained.
Immortal honours — glory bright —
The thrones of heaven and joy unknown —
The regions fair of life and light —
Lie lost beneath thy gloomy throne.
These are the triumphs of Despair;
There Virtue's wrecks lie scattered wide;
There Vice's trophies far declare,
All swept in dark Oblivion's tide.
But thanks to that Eternal Power
Enthroned in glorious rays of light,
That aye sustains the immortal tower —
Dispels Annihilation's night.
LXXI.
FRAGMENT.
In days when Scotland dealt in war,
And wild her banners flew;
And England drove her bloody car,
Which thunder'd on the hills afar,
In deep and deadly hue,
Edward saw Scotland sore distress'd,
And hard he then upon her press'd
And blood and plunder fir'd each breast,
Of all the warring throng.
Then, who at Scotland's weeping word,
Would kindly draw the vengeful sword,
And rid her of her wrong?
And who would set auld Scotland free
From the rude grasp of tyranny?
And who would bid her sons arise
And fight for freedom's glorious prize;
And cast in scorn the chains behind them,
In which base Edward seem'd to bind them?
No king she had, no warrior chief,
Till Wallace rose to her relief.
Obscure in birth, unknown to fame,
Like some portentous stranger came;
But came in time to set her free,
And rouse expiring liberty.
But why, unweeping, can I tell,
How Scotia's heroes fought and fell!
How Wallace dealt his blows around,
And Edward trembl'd at the sound
Of heavy armour's clash!
And how the flower of Scotia's line
Fell victims low at freedom's shrine,
With many a deadly gash!
LXXII.
A WISH.
O had I the power to call fortune at will,
My highest ambition would be,
A snug little cottage beside a green hill,
And that cottage o'erhung by a tree.
There lonely at night, with a studying mind,
I'd sit with my papers and muse;
And the groans of the tree, as it rock'd with the wind,
Would quick inspiration infuse.
And at morn ere the sun would emerge from his couch,
I'd ascend my green hill, and afar
I would hail his first beams as he made his approach,
Shining bright in his orient car.
With a rapture of heart, and devotion of soul,
I'd look to the heavens above;
And I'd praise the great Author and Guide of the whole,
Whose only existence is love.
With a mind thus estrang'd from the cares of the world,
How happy and blest would I be!
Where the dark brow of envy had never yet curl'd,
And contentment reign'd sov'reignly free.
I would envy no man, from the peer to the clown,
And I'd treat the gay fop with disdain;
I would laugh at the tyrant by freedom pull'd down,
And his fall, though inglorious, would give me no pain.
But ah, expectation, what art thou? at best
A shadow, — a light fleeting breath;
For dire disappointment hangs over thy crest,
And its gleam is the meteor of death.
I've hunted thee, fortune, long under a mask,
But now thou'rt unmask'd unto me;
Fain would I, disgusted, relinquish the task,
For a life independent and free.
LXXIII.
THE LASS OF WOODHOUSELEE.
How aft by Roslin's aged bield
I've wander'd where the Esk distils;
And aft I've climb'd, wi' weary feet,
The bleak, bare face o' Pentland hills.
But, ah! on them nae mair I'll rove,
Nor frae them view the rowin' sea;
Nor will I e'er behold again
The lass that liv'd near Woodhouselee.
Oh! mony a rough, rough blast will blow,
And mony a flow'r will grace the green,
And mony a bonnie lassie yet
In Caledonia will be seen;
But rougher blast will never blow
Than brought Death's tidings unto me,
Nor ever flow'r spring up again
Like her that liv'd near Woodhouselee.
Oh! I hae seen the morning sun
The highest heathery mountains gild;
And I hae seen his noon-tide rays
In radiance on the waving field;
But soon his lovely light was veil'd,
Red lightning flash'd along the lea,
Oh! sic has been my waefu' fate
For her that liv'd near Woodhouselee.
The Simmer sun may mildly shine,
And Winter moons may grace the night;
The sea may row its saftest waves,
But these can ne'er my heart delight.
How can I e'er be glad again,
My all of life is ta'en frae me;
Oh! I will wander waefu' still
For her that liv'd near Woodhouselee.
LXXIV.
THE LAKE IS AT REST.
The lake is at rest, love,
The sun's on its breast, love,
How bright is its water, how pleasant to see;
Its verdant banks shewing
The richest flowers blowing,
A picture of bliss and an emblem of thee!
Then, O fairest maiden!
When earth is array'd in
The beauties of heaven o'er mountain and lea,
Let me still delight in
The glories that brighten,
For they are, dear Anna, sweet emblems of thee.
But, Anna, why redden?
I would not, fair maiden,
My tongue could pronounce what might tend to betray;
The traitor, the demon,
That could deceive woman,
His soul's all unfit for the glories of day.
Believe me, then, fairest,
To me thou art dearest;
And though I in raptures view lake, stream, and tree,
With flower blooming mountains,
And crystalline fountains,
I view them, fair maid, but as emblems of thee.
LXXV.
LIFE'S LIKE THE DEW.
AIR. — "Scott's Boat Song."
No sound was heard o'er the broom-cover'd valley,
Save the lone stream o'er the rock as it fell,
Warm were the sunbeams, and glancing so gaily,
That gold seem'd to dazzle along the flower'd vale.
At length from the hill I heard,
Plaintively wild, a bard,
Yet pleasant to me was his soul's ardent flow;
"Remember what Morard says,
Morard of many days,
Life's like the dew on the hill of the roe.
"Son of the peaceful vale, keep from the battle plain,
Sad is the song that the bugle-horns sing;
Though lovely the standard it waves o'er the mangled slain,
Widows' sighs stretching its broad gilded wing.
Hard are the laws that bind
Poor foolish man and blind;
But free thou may'st walk as the breezes that blow,
Thy cheeks with health's roses spread,
Till time clothes with snow thy head,
Fairer than dew on the hill of the roe.
"Wouldst thou have peace in thy mind when thou'rt hoary,
Shun vice's paths in the days of thy bloom;
Innocence leads to the summit of glory,
Innocence gilds the dark shades of the tomb.
The tyrant, whose hands are red,
Trembles alone in bed;
But pure is the peasant's soul, pure as the snow,
No horror fiends haunt his rest,
Hope fills his placid breast,
Hope bright as dew on the hill of the roe."
Ceased the soft voice, for gray mist was descending,
Slow rose the bard and retired from the hill.
The blackbird's mild notes with the thrush's were blending,
Oft scream'd the plover her wild notes and shrill,
Yet still from the hoary bard,
Methought the sweet song I heard,
Mix'd with instruction and blended with woe;
And oft as I pass along,
Chimes in mine ear his song,
"Life's like the dew on the hill of the roe."
LXXVI.
THE RETURN OF OWEN.
The sun's descending glory
Illum'd high Penmannawr,
When Owen, worn and weary,
Beheld its peaks afar.
With joy his bosom bounded
His native hills to see,
With joy his harp strings sounded
Their notes of rapture free.
The shepherds' cots seemed neater
Than those on foreign strand;
The passing breeze was sweeter
That fann'd his native land;
The hills more green and dearer
Than mountains far away;
The sky more blue and clearer,
The setting sun more gay.
But, ah! how changed since morning
Of life on Owen smil'd;
No sire to hail 's returning,
No smile from maiden mild;
No mother's look so cheery,
To death, too, fall'n a prey;
But all was cold and dreary,
As blast of winter day.
There, on a green mound leaning,
Well known in life's young day;
Poor Owen, thus complaining,
Spontaneous pour'd his lay, —
"My harp, my harp, oh! cheer me,
For all are gone but thee;
And soon this green turf near me
Will cover thee and me."
Oh! don't you hear the numbers —
The wildly plaintive lay;
'Tis o'er, and now he slumbers
In death's dark bed for aye.
He rests beside the fountain,
Where dark green hazels grow;
And goat-herds from the mountain
Oft tell who lies below.
LXXVII.
THE AULD CLAYMORE.
That auld claymore, observe it weel,
Is truest Caledonian steel;
A thousand years and mair are spent
Since first it shone in battle front,
And cleared its way in fields of gore:
My blessings on the auld claymore.
'Twas not for private murder made,
Nor o'er the feeble waved my blade;
Before the world its sparkling blaze
Mix'd wi' the sun's meridian rays,
When bold invader stain'd our shore:
My blessings on the auld claymore.
My auld claymore is known to fame,
For Independence is its name;
Fair Freedom wi' an arm o' might
Unsheathed it in the hour o' fight;
And tyrants bled at every pore:
My blessings on the auld claymore.
Oh! ye whose souls in misery pine,
Revere this auld claymore o' mine;
And should you pant for Freedom's smile,
Spring forth and seize his brand the while,
And midst the battle's loudest roar,
Let despots feel your good claymore.
LXXVIII.
THE BATTLE OF TALAVERA.
Britons! anither laurel leaf
Plays on the wreath o' yonder chief;
While Victor, darkening in his grief,
Looks back on Talavera.
He saw his eagles, hapless things,
Wi' bluidy heads and clippet wings;
He saw the Royal Lion's springs,
And fled from Talavera.
Though Wisdom form'd his battle line,
And gar'd his thickening columns shine;
Britain! superior skill was thine —
It shone on Talavera.
Invincible is Gallia's host,
Was once Napoleon's haughty boast;
But, ah! the magic spell is lost —
Dissolved on Talavera.
Egypt still thunders in his ears,
The roar o' Maida's field he hears;
Now Fame to British valour rears
A stone on Talavera.
O! ye that fell in days o' yore,
Look up frae 'mang your honour'd gore;
See, Victor, two to one, and more,
Retreats frae Talavera.
Joseph beheld the spreading woe,
Saw the red streams o' battle flow,
His sickening heart wi' mony a throe
Was rent on Talavera.
But Anglia sings her hero's praise,
The pipe notes swell on Scotia's braes,
Frae Erin's harp heroic lays
Are heard o' Talavera.
LXXIX.
THE AFRICAN MAID.
On the fierce savage cliffs that look down on the flood,
Where to ocean the dark waves of Gabia haste,
All lonely, a maid of black Africa stood,
Gazing sad on the deep and the wide roaring waste.
A bark for Columbia hung far on the tide,
And still to that bark her dim wistful eye clave;
Ah! well might she gaze — in the ship's hollow side,
Moan'd her Zoopah in chains — in the chains of a slave.
Like the statue of Sorrow, forgetting to weep,
Long dimly she followed the vanishing sail,
Till it melted away where clouds mantle the deep;
Then thus o'er the billows she utter'd her wail: —
"O my Zoopah, come back! wilt thou leave me to woe
Come back, cruel ship, and take Monia too!
Ah ye winds, wicked winds! what fiend bids ye blow
To waft my dear Zoopah far, far from my view?
"Great Spirit! why slumber'd the wrath of thy clouds,
When the savage white men dragg'd my Zoopah away?
Why linger'd the panther far back in his woods?
Was the crocodile full of the flesh of his prey?
"Ah cruel white monsters! plague poison their breath,
And sleep never visit the place of their bed!
On their children and wives, on their life and their death,
Abide still the curse of an African maid!
LXXX.
WHA'S AT THE WINDOW?
Oh, wha's at the window, wha, wha?
Oh, wha's at the window, wha, wha?
Wha but blithe Jamie Glen,
He's come sax miles and ten,
To tak' bonnie Jeannie awa, awa,
To tak' bonnie Jeannie awa.
He has plighted his troth, and a', and a',
Leal love to gi'e, and a', and a',
And sae has she dune,
By a' that's abune,
For he lo'es her, she lo'es him, 'bune a', bune a',
He lo'es her, she loe's him, 'bune a'.
Bridal-maidens are braw, braw,
Bridal-maidens are braw, braw,
But the bride's modest e'e,
And warm cheek are to me
'Bune pearlins, and brooches, and a', and a',
'Bune pearlins, and brooches, and a'.
It's mirth on the green, in the ha', the ha',
It's mirth on the green, in the ha', the ha';
There's quaffing and laughing,
There's dancing and daffing,
And the bride's father's blithest of a', of a',
The bride's father's blithest of a'.
It's no that she's Jamie's ava, ava,
It's no that she's Jamie's ava, ava,
That my heart is sae eerie
When a' the lave's cheerie,
But it's just that she'll aye be awa, awa,
It's just that she'll aye be awa.
LXXXI
MY BROTHERS ARE THE STATELY TREES.
My brothers are the stately trees
That in the forests grow;
The simple flowers my sisters are,
That on the green bank blow.
With them, with them, I am a child
Whose heart with mirth is dancing wild.
The daisy, with its tear of joy,
Gay greets me as I stray;
How sweet a voice of welcome comes
From every trembling spray!
How light, how bright, the golden-wing'd hours
I spend among those songs and flowers!
I love the Spirit of the Wind,
His varied tones I know;
His voice of soothing majesty,
Of love and sobbing woe;
Whate'er his varied theme may be,
With his my spirit mingles free.
I love to tread the grass-green path,
Far up the winding stream;
For there, in Nature's loneliness,
The day is one bright dream.
And still the pilgrim waters tell
Of wanderings wild by wood and dell.
Or up the mountain's brow I toil
Beneath a wid'ning sky,
Seas, forests, lakes, and rivers wide,
Crowding the wondering eye.
Then, then, my soul on eagle's wings,
To cloudless regions upward springs!
The stars — the stars! I know each one,
With all its soul of love,
They beckon me to come and live
In their tearless homes above;
And then I spurn earth's songs and flowers,
And pant to breathe in heaven's own bowers.
LXXXII.
THE VALE OF KILLEAN.
O yes, there's a valley as calm and as sweet
As that vale in whose bosom the bright waters meet;
So bland in its beauty, so rich in its green,
'Mid Scotia's dark mountains — the Vale of Killean.
The flocks on its soft lap so peacefully roam,
The stream seeks the deep lake as the child seeks its home,
That has wander'd all day, to its lullaby close,
Singing blithe 'mid the wild-flowers, and fain would repose.
How solemn the broad hills that curtain around
This sanctuary of Nature, 'mid a wilderness found,
Whose echoes low whisper, "Bid the world farewell,
And with lowly Contentment here peacefully dwell!"
Then build me a cot by that lake's verdant shore,
'Mid the world's wild turmoil I'll mingle no more,
And the tidings evoking the sigh and the tear,
Of man's crimes and his follies, no more shall I hear.
Young Morn, as on tiptoe he ushers the day,
Will teach fading Hope to rekindle her ray;
And pale Eve, with her rapture tear, soft will impart
To the soul her own meekness — a rich glow to the heart.
The heavings of passion, all rocked to sweet rest,
As repose its still waters, so repose shall this breast;
And 'mid brightness and calmness my spirit shall rise,
Like the mist from the mountain, to blend with the skies.
LXXXIII.
PAISLEY ABBEY.
A scene most sternly solemn! Here the heart,
In all its living fervours, sunny hopes,
Is quenched and shrouded in a spectred gloom.
A dim mysterious grandeur wraps that pile.
Upon its massy walls, the hoary spirits
Of many a buried age are slumbering deep.
Reared when a mental night had whelmed the world,
And sable Superstition sat enthroned
'Mid phantoms dire, o'er terror-palsied hearts:
It seems the mystic work of goblin toil.
The spoiler has been here: the saintly choir;
The transepts, too, have felt his ruthless power;
Did he relent when he surveyed that arch
Which springs unfractured yet, although detached
From roof and buttress wall? Seen from this point,
It airy sweeps sublime the southern sky;
The portals of the ghostly world it seems,
Through which the disembodied spirits pass,
And men have glimpses of eternity.
A leaden weight of awe bears down the heart,
When gazing round this field of sepulchres.
Look where we will, but one dark truth is told —
That man is mortal — death, death, death, and naught
But death, is read in every shape, and hue,
And character: reiterated thus
With dire monotony, the soul becomes
But one dark chilling thought — the thought of death.
The very pulses of the body seem
Throbbing in dull accordance — death, death, death.
Oh, what a mockery of human life!
A soil of mouldering generations formed,
Where even the grave is one with what it holds —
The ashes of the dead — to dust decayed;
A billowy gulf roughened by death's rude breath,
A mare mortuum, to which the stream
Of time still flows, in which 'tis swallowed up —
The isthmus 'twixt this world and that beyond,
Within whose crowded bounds successive pause
The long array of following generations,
There waiting till the angel-trump is blown
That strikes Death's sceptre from his iron clench,
And wakes through all his wide and shadowy realms
His myriad slumberers — to sleep no more.
LXXXIV.
THE STOUP'S STILL FU'.
When hearts are merry in the ha',
Ower sparkling mountain dew,
Wha free the board wad gang awa',
An' lea' a stoup that's fu'?
The stoup's still fu', my frien's,
The stoup's still fu',
An' we'll ne'er rise while we can sing,
The stoup's still fu'.
Tho' lyart leaves drap frae the trees,
The spring will them renew,
An' spring's aye present when we seize
Upon a stoup that's fu'.
The stoup's still fu', &c.
The gouden sun has slippit down
Ayont the sea sae blue,
He's maybe gaun, the drouthy loon,
To share a stoup that's fu'.
The stoup's still fu', &c.
Wi' merry songs we'll cheer the night,
The laugh will joke pursue,
And aiblins, lads, morn's rosy light
Will see our stoup still fu'.
The stoup's still fu', &c.
The barley bree, then, let us share,
Keep aye the glass in view,
An' we'll soon drown the carlin, Care,
Within our stoup — it's fu!
The stoup's still fu', &c.
LXXXV.
BARLEY BREE.
I gaed out yestreen atween nine hours an' ten,
An' wha do ye think that I met wi'?
A warm-hearted chiel that I'm sure ye a' ken,
For aften wi' him ye hae sat wi', hae sat wi',
For aften wi' him ye hae sat wi'.
His smile is as sweet as a morning's in June,
His breath is to me mair endearing,
And wit sits and smiles frae the face o' the loon,
To courage wha never knew fearing, knew fearing,
To courage wha never knew fearing.
He's come o' a race that has long been renown'd
Thro' Scotland for pith an' for pleasure;
An' where is the Scotchman that ever disown'd
To drink barley bree in full measure, full measure,
To drink barley bree in full measure.
John Barleycorn's meat, an' John Barleycorn's drink,
His bree did our forefathers nourish,
An' we, their descendants, care naething for clink,
If Johnnie's at han' us to cherish, to cherish,
If Johnnie's at han' us to cherish.
On brandy some waste baith their health an' their gear,
On Frenchified wines some delight in,
And some condescend to the trash ginger-beer,
The merits o' barley bree slighting bree slighting,
The merits o' barley bree slighting.
But what are their brandies compared to the dew
Distill'd frae the barley we prize, sirs?
Or where lies the harm in a Scot being fu'?
If Scotland the beverage supplies, sirs, supplies, sirs,
If Scotland the beverage supplies, sirs.
Then gi'e me at e'en, and I'll ask for nae mair,
Atween John-o'-Groats and auld Dover,
The chiels wha wi' pleasure my bottle will share,
An' pledge me in cups that run over, run over,
An' pledge me in cups that run over.
We'll drink to the land that exults in the rose,
We'll drink to the land o' the thistle,
Nor will we forget where the sweet shamrock grows,
As long's we can moisten our whistle, our whistle,
As long's we can moisten our whistle.
LXXXVI.
TO MARY.
There are flowers, bonnie flowers, on Cart's margin, I trow,
But nane can compare, my dear Mary, to you;
The rose gemm'd wi' dew may seem fair to the e'e,
But the heart feels the charms that are blooming in thee.
They tell me of climes where the bright azure sky
Spreads o'er smiling vales that no winter comes nigh;
But sunshine or gold will ne'er tempt me to lea'
The vale where, my Mary, I aft meet wi' thee.
Yon rosy-fringed clouds floating far in the west,
Infaulding day's star as it glides to its rest,
Will light us to where spreads yon bonnie haw tree
That blossoms aye fairer when smiled on by thee.
There, wrapt in love's balmy endearments I'll trace
The magic that sheds such delights o'er the place,
Where aft, at mild evening, enraptured I see
The maid I lo'e best—and, my Mary, it's thee.
LXXXVII.
SWORD OF WALLACE.
Sword of the mighty!
Thy triumphs are o'er;
The arm that was weighty
Can wield thee no more.
Thou flambeau of freedom!
Thou brand of the brave!
The terror of foemen,
The death of the slave!
Thy Wallace hath left thee
To rot in thy rest,
Oh! where is the hand that is
Worthy thy trust?
Thou fell on the foe
Like the heav'n-shot star;
And where was the helm
Thy vengeance could mar?
No more in the battle
Thoult crush the proud mail,
Nor clang with war's rattle,
When foemen assail.
The thistle, aspirant,
Waves wildly and free
Since the blood of the tyrant
Is blanch'd upon thee.
LXXXVIII.
TO A WILD FLOWER.
Sweet, lovely flower, who planted thee
In this sequestered nook?
The winds when in their revelry
A seed unconscious took;
And here in carelessness it fell,
Unknown to mortal eyes,
In solitude its tale to tell,
And blossom to the skies.
It may be, thus thou sprang from earth,
Immersed in morning dew;
A sun-ray waited on thy birth,
Rejoicing as thou grew.
The balmy winds, the vernal showers,
Thy guardian spirits were;
They cherished all thy early hours,
Till summer saw thee fair.
Child of the dreary waste, thou ne'er
Sought vain man's shelt'ring hand,
And yet thou added to our sphere
Thy bloom of beauty bland.
Like modesty within its veil,
Which few uplift to praise,
Thou scented noon's refreshing gale
Through autumn's pleasant days.
Bloom on, sweet flower, and may no foe
With malice snap thy stem,
But let thee withering die, or grow,
A heaven-created gem.
LXXXIX.
LINES TO CROOKSTON CASTLE.
Thou proud memorial of a former age,
Time-ruined Crookston! Not in all our land —
Romantic with a noble heritage
Of feudal halls, in ruin sternly grand —
More beautiful doth tower or castle stand
Than thou, as oft the lingering traveller tells;
And none more varied sympathies command:
Though, where the warrior dwelt, the raven dwells,
With tenderness, thy tale, the rudest bosom swells.
Over the soul that pleasing sadness steals,
Which trembles like a wild harp's dying fall,
When Fancy's recreative eye reveals
To him, lone musing by thy mouldering wall,
What warriors thronged, what joy rung through thy hall,
When royal Mary — yet unstained by crime,
And with love's golden sceptre ruling all —
Made thee her bridal home. There seems to shine
Still o'er thee splendours shed at that high gorgeous time.
How dark a moral, shades and chills the heart,
When gazing on thy dreary deep decay:
To think what thou hast been, what now thou art!
Bleak desolation holds a reckless sway,
Where pomp and grandeur marshalled their array,
And gallant crowded many a noble guest,
Till all was splendour, joy, and revelry;
And Beauty smiled within thy sheltering breast,
Lulled in Love's radiant dreams of pure celestial rest.
Of what thou wert the shattered remnant now!
Age-worn to shapes fantastic; the clear sky
Is all thy roof; the bramble on thy brow,
Where waved the banner, nods in mockery;
Even like the tomb-stones of the years gone by,
Thy fragments sleep around, with briers entwined;
The clamorous wild birds wheeling o'er thee fly,
And claim thee for their own; and every wind,
Among thine ivied clefts, its harp of woe may find.
In cultured fields the lusty peasant plies,
And numerous stand the cheerful mansions round;
But sad and still thy form is seen to rise
In solitude, as from a funeral mound:
Thou to the living by no tie art bound;
O'er thee the cold airs breathe, the spirit broods
Of ages gone, whose reveries profound,
Lulled by the rushing wave, the sighing woods,
Are startled when one sound or passing step intrudes.
XC.
I ASKED THE SIMPLE FLOWER JUST DIPPED.
I asked the simple flower, just dipped
In morning's limpid dew,
Who made it smile so sweet, and gave
Its robes so fresh a hue —
It lowly whispered, 'God.
I asked the stately forest tree,
In all its summer sheen,
Who gave it such majestic grace,
And waving boughs so green —
It rustling answered, 'God.'
I asked the streamlet, as it laughed
Along the enamelled mead,
Who fed its urn, and gave its wave
Its song and dancing speed —
It gurgling answered, 'God.'
I asked the rushing waves, who bade
Their long array to roll,
Like warriors shouting in their strength,
From distant pole to pole —
Each hollow answered, 'God.'
I asked the gorgeous sun, who crowned
His brow with dazzling light,
The stars, who filled their golden urns,
High in the dome of night —
Each voice responded, 'God.'
I asked the harper bee, who taught
Him both to toil and sing,
The eagle soaring to the sun,
Who nerved his untired wing —
Each voice responded, 'God.'
And thus I found all Nature's tribes,
Through every varied sphere,
With thousand tongues oracular,
In Reason's listening ear —
To tell of Nature's God.
I turned me then to man, whose brow
A high-domed temple seems,
And there, I said, must dwell enthroned
'Mid Truth's encircling beams —
The law-proclaiming God.
I heard him plead with Him whose law
Is love to friend or foe;
Yet to his fellows saw him deal
Scorn, penury, and woe —
Denying thus a God.
I saw him, with fierce murderous bands,
In whirlwind fury sweep
O'er peaceful homes, when lo! 'mid blood
And ruins, orphans weep —
Denying thus a God.
Each to himself, so boldly claims
Whate'er to man is due
But sinks to thong-driven cattle, those
Whose crime 's a sable hue —
Denying thus a God.
Dungeons, the sword, the wheel, the stake
Have each its horrors lent
To aid the very PRINCE OF PEACE,
On love's own errand sent —
Denying thus a God.
Ah how devout self-flattering man,
In prayers, and forms, and creeds!
But Atheist to the core he's found,
When tested by his deeds —
Denying thus a God.
XCI.
MY HARP.
My lonely harp, my early friend,
From silent slumbers wake,
The dust of years now from thy strings,
With mournful measures shake.
Unseen, unheard, with thee I've sigh'd
At dewy morn and eve,
O'er friendship lost, o'er worth unknown,
O'er Beauty's early grave.
And when the fearless phantom Death
Broke Love's endearing tie,
When all that charmed on earth had fled,
Thou breath'dst my heartfelt sigh.
Awake, my harp, to this last lay,
Wake with a plaintive tone,
And mourn with me life's early joys,
All faded, past, and gone
Then shall thy trembling strings repose,
And slumber ever on.
Soon shall the minstrel, like his harp,
Breathe out his last sad sigh —
No one to wipe life's last cold sweat,
Or close his death-fixed eye.
XCII.
THE HAPPY HOME.
How I long for a home in some green shady place,
Far away from the throng, and unknown to the chase,
Where the stillness that reigns at the dawning of day
By the horn of no huntsman is hurried away;
Where the brier, and the birch, and the hazel tree spread
O'er a fair flowery sward where his foot dare not tread;
Where all creatures are free as the air that they breathe —
Safe in light or in shade from all danger and death;
Where the moors and the meads of their marshes are drained;
Where the soil with the blood of no victim is stained;
Where the cool breezes blow when the sun overwarms,
Giving birth unto Beauty, profuse in her charms;
Where the deer bathe their feet in the clear mountain dew
Where no horn or no hound dare their footsteps pursue,
Where they bound the long day on the green mountain
breast,
And at sunset sweep down the dark glen to their rest;
Where the hare has a home 'neath the green-spreading
brake,
And the swan sails secure on the calm slumbering lake;
Where the hawthorn embosoms the gold-blossom'd broom,
And the daisies and violets are crowding for room;
Where the streamlet's heard stealing away from its source,
And seen glancing along in a serpentine course;
Where the finny tribes leap in the sun's golden beams,
And enrich his bright rays with their silvery gleams;
Where the banks are all shaded with far-spreading trees,
And the youth are at labour — the aged at ease;
Where the birds flit in beauty, all sprightly in form,
Sing their mild mellow notes, free from tempest or storm,
And the strains that they sing no mortal hath given,
'Tis their own native wood-notes, the music of heaven;
Where the fields are perfumed with the fragrance of flowers
That are nursed into beauty by sunshine and showers;
Where the bee from the mountains at interval dwells,
Then off with the sweets to replenish its cells;
Where the butterfly banquets all day with delight,
Nor is tired of its revels at coming of night,
But waits on till the curtains of morning are drawn —
Till the mist moves away from the mountain and lawn,
When the flower-cups are filled with the brightest of dew,
They wake from their slumbers to banquet anew;
Where mercy has mingled, where harmony reigns,
And where man's bloody arm has been washed from all
stains;
Where carnage has ceased, where a truce has been given —
A place made an Eden, an emblem of Heaven!
XCIII.
MY BIRTH-PLACE.
A lovelier spot in this wide world
Was ne'er to mortals given,
Than that where first my infant eyes
Beheld the light of heaven.
No stagnant stream, no mossy marsh,
No weary waste was seen,
But smiling cot, with fertile fields,
And moorland spots of green.
No lurking adder lay concealed,
To make a lengthened spring,
No foot that ever wandered there
Received a deadly sting.
The rosy clouds at morning's dawn
Clear ushered in the day,
While on the wood-crown'd hills around
The slumbering light mists lay.
Bright rose the sun, his radiant rays
Removed the misty veil,
Then lovely light and shade were seen
O'er mountain, moor, and dale.
The shepherd on the purple heath
Lay screen'd within his plaid;
In his lone shade, his faithful dog
Was coiled close by his side;
And when the happy humming-bee
From opening beauties rose,
He started, gave an angry snap,
But soon lay down to doze.
There moorland flowers at early spring
Breathed freshness and perfume,
And long the lovely heather bells
Hung down their crimson bloom.
The echo from the rocky cells
Came wandering on the way,
Then o'er the grass-grown martyrs' grave
Would sadly die away.
Long o'er these hallowed spots of earth
The pious rustic hung,
And lingered till the Sabbath bell's
Last solemn peal had rung.
There Memory muster'd many a tale,
There Sympathy would sigh,
And Gratitude a short-breath'd prayer,
These bloody days were by.
Where's now my ivy-mantled cot,
With stately trees o'erhung?
Where are the leafy tenants now
That from their branches sung?
Where is the lovely village maid,
Whose sweet, endearing smile,
Showed her fond heart was full of love,
And free from every guile?
Where are my school companions all
For ever laid at rest;
No more by lonely tower and tree
We'll seek the wild bird's nest;
Nor wander by the winding stream,
Among the wild-sprung flowers —
We little thought them emblems then
Of Time's fast-fleeting hours.
From every pain the past was free,
The present full of joy,
On the dark future our gay minds
Did not one thought employ.
Along the banks, light as the breeze,
Our pastimes we pursued,
Then on the flowery brink would rest,
And drink the stream unbrewed;
And gaze upon its pictured breast,
Enchanted with the view —
A world of wonders far beneath,
A sky of lovely blue!
We watched the waves that wandered on
Beneath the sun's bright ray,
And softly kissed the border flowers,
Then gently stole away.
The stream that murmured to our ear,
And sparkled to our eye,
Alas! its bosom now is tinged
With many a deadly dye;
Its banks are bare and trodden down,
Low lie the stately pines,
Beneath whose shade we've often stood
And plied our slender lines.
Its current now is turned aside
In many a factory pool,
Its stunted trees are studded o'er
With tufts of Indian wool.
Dear Mother! where's thy smiling form,
Thy soft, sweet, soothing tongue,
That at the lonely midnight hour
A lullaby hath sung:
That soothed my early infant sighs,
That stayed the falling tears?
Strong was thy love in childhood's hours,
And strong in manhood's years.
Cold is thy heart, once full of love,
Those lips that love expressed,
That on the smile of innocence
Warm kisses oft impressed.
Time ne'er shall teach me to forget
Thy memory while I live;
The tear, the sigh that now escapes
Is all I here can give.
Time wastes away the warrior's fort,
The lofty marble tower,
But time shall ne'er thy worth efface,
Till death's dark trying hour.
Then may my soul, thy song once soothed,
When cradled on thy knee,
Reach the bright realms of life and light,
And live in love with thee!
XCIV.
TO THE MEMORY OF MY FATHER.
The last hour of the year, from the old Abbey bell,
Sounds slow through the aisle o'er each cold mouldering
urn;
O, how solemn's the chime of Time's fast-dying knell!
The past scenes it recalls never more shall return.
A stranger lives now in the cot of my childhood,
And borne to his grave's my last youthful compeer;
All the trees are cut down that formed the green wild-wood,
And drained dry is the fount that stood there ever clear.
And the bones of my father lie mouldering near.
Dear is his memory! O, how kind was his tongue
To impress my young mind, on the morn of each year,
That the tyrant might come though my days were but
young!
Enraptured, in youth o'er his harp I have hung,
When his fingers at eve touched each glad thrilling string;
Round his knees I have danced — then life's journey was
young —
The same airs, with light heart, I would o'er and o'er sing.
Tho' the green, flowery sward only covers his dust,
Yet all that I have for this spot would be given.
Quiet peace to his slumbers — sleep on with the just
Till they rise to their glory effulgent in heaven.
There Time's deepening furrows can be traced on no face,
There Age marks no victims out feeble and hoary;
Secure from all change live a pure ransomed race,
Immortal in youth and eternal in glory.
XCV.
TO THE MEMORY OF ALEXANDER WILSON,
POET AND ORNITHOLOGIST.
The gold-burnished sun from the world was retiring,
And his last parting rays had ting'd Cartha's pure stream;
Alone on the banks I lay careless, admiring,
When calmly I slumbered, and this was my dream.
The woods of Columbia around me extended,
And a bright heavenly form high appeared in my view;
To the tomb of our Bard the sweet goddess descended,
With rich balmy fragrance and pure drops of dew.
His grave, rising green, served her knee for a pillow,
At her woe-melting looks cheerful mirth quickly fled,
Her breast was adorned with a sprig of green willow,
Which was sadly bedewed with the tears that she shed.
"Let Nature alone, with her rich rural grandeur,
The willow-tree far o'er his lonely grave spread;
There the sad sons of Science around it shall wander,
And water the turf that now covers his head.
For Envy looks pale as she pores o'er his pages,
And Worth seeks for laurels to add to his fame."
She paused, while the silence that slumbered for ages
In wild melting pathos re-echoed the same.
Thus spoke the bright visitant, offspring of heaven,
Then with slow pensive steps from his grave she withdrew;
To her o'er the breezes full power had been given,
For away on their wings from our regions she flew.
XCVI.
THE CONVICT SHIP.
Morn on the waters! and, purple and bright,
Bursts on the billows the flushing of light!
O'er the glad waves, like a child of the sun,
See the tall vessel goes gallantly on;
Full to the breeze she unbosoms her sail,
And her pennant streams onward, like hope, in the gale!
The winds come around her, in murmur and song,
And the surges rejoice, as they bear her along!
Upward she points to the golden-edged clouds;
And the sailor sings gayly, aloft in the shrouds!
Onwards she glides, amid ripple and spray,
Over the waters, — away, and away!
Bright as the visions of youth, ere they part,
Passing away, like a dream of the heart! —
Who — as the beautiful pageant sweeps by,
Music around her, and sunshine on high —
Pauses to think, amid glitter and glow,
O, there be hearts that are breaking, below!
Night on the waves! — and the moon is on high,
Hung, like a gem, on the brow of the sky;
Treading its depths, in the power of her might,
And turning the clouds as they pass her, to light!
Look to the waters! — asleep on their breast,
Seems not the ship like an island of rest?
Bright and alone on the shadowy main,
Like a heart-cherished home on some desolate plain!
Who — as she smiles in the silvery light,
Spreading her wings on the bosom of night,
Alone on the deep, as the moon in the sky, —
A phantom of beauty! — could deem, with a sigh,
That so lovely a place is the mansion of sin,
And souls that are smitten lie bursting within!
Who — as he watches her silently gliding —
Remembers that wave after wave is dividing
Bosoms that sorrow and guilt could not sever,
Hearts that are parted and broken for ever!
Or deems that he watches, afloat on the wave,
The death-bed of hope, or the young spirit's grave!
'Tis thus with our life, while it passes along,
Like a vessel at sea, amid sunshine and song!
Gayly we glide, in the gaze of the world,
With streamers afloat, and with canvas unfurled;
All gladness and glory to wandering eyes,
Yet chartered by sorrow, and freighted with sighs! —
Fading and false is the aspect it wears,
As the smiles we put on — just to cover our tears;
And the withering thoughts which the world cannot know,
Like broken-hearted exiles, lie burning below;
While the vessel drives on to that desolate shore
Where the dreams of our childhood are vanished and o'er!
XCVII.
YOU REMEMBER THE MAID.
You remember the maid with her dark-brown hair,
And her brow, where the finger of beauty
Had written her name, and had stamped it there,
Till it made adoration a duty!
And you have not forgot how we watched with delight
Each charm, — as a new one was given,
Till she grew in our eyes to a vision of light,
And we thought her a spirit from heaven!
And your heart can recall — and mine often goes back,
With a sigh and a tear, to — the hours
When we gazed on her form, as she followed the track
Of the butterfly's wing through the flowers; —
When, in her young joy, she would smile, with delight,
On its plumage of mingling dyes,
Till she let it go free, — and looked after its flight,
To see if it entered the skies!
But she wandered away from the home of her youth,
One Spring, ere the roses were blown!
For she fancied the world was a temple of truth,
And she measured all hearts by her own! —
She fed on a vision, and lived on a dream,
And she followed it over the wave;
And she sought, where the moon has a milder gleam,
For a home, — and they gave her a grave!
There was one whom she loved, though she breathed it to
none, —
For love of her soul was a part! —
And he said he loved her; but he left her alone,
With the worm of despair on her heart!
And oh! with what anguish we counted, each day,
The roses that died on her cheek,
And hung o'er her form, as it faded away,
And wept for the beautiful wreck!
Yet her eye was as mild and as blue to the last,
Though shadows stole over its beam;
And her smiles are remembered — since long they are past!
Like the smiles we have seen in a dream!
And — it may be that fancy had woven a spell,
But — I think, though her tones were as clear,
They were somewhat more soft, and their murmurings fell
Like a dirge, on the listening ear!
And while sorrow threw round her a holier grace,
— Though she always was gentle and kind! —
Yet I thought that the softness which stole o'er her face,
Had a softening power on her mind! —
But, it might be her looks and her tones were more dear,
And we valued them more in decay,
As we treasure the last fading flower of the year, —
For we felt she was passing away!
She never complained, — but she loved to the last!
And the tear in her beautiful eye
Often told that her thoughts were gone back to the past,
And the youth who had left her to die! —
But mercy came down, and the maid is at rest,
Where the palm-tree sighs o'er her at even;
And the dew that weeps over the turf on her breast,
Is the tear of a far-foreign heaven!
XCVIII.
LINES
WRITTEN ON PARTING FROM SOME FRIENDS.
As one who leaves some blessed isle,
Where youth's unclouded hours were past;
Where all around him wore a smile,
Too bright, too rainbow-like, to last
Where beauty haunted every bower,
And fragrance breathed from every flower,
And heaven shed a softer hue
On all that slept beneath its blue; —
Roams through each well-known sunny glade,
And visits every leafy shade,
And sighs o'er every floweret's bell
That fancy hallows with a spell;
And strives to bid adieu, in vain,
To all he ne'er may see again!
And, like a phantom, wanders still
Through every vale, o'er every hill,
In every grove, by every stream,
Each blent with childhood's golden dream; —
Long lingering, with a fond distress,
To weep above their loveliness,
And sighing, as remembrance brings
The thousand thoughts upon its wings,
That over all have sweetly thrown
A milder magic of their own: —
While oft a tear (and O, in heaven,
That murmuring tear shall be forgiven!)
Will from his heavy eyelid start,
As fancy whispers to his heart,
That summer suns shall brightly smile
Upon his own beloved isle, —
And flowers as fondly shall exhale
Their incense to the passing gale, —
And violet vales and woodbine bowers
Shall consecrate the moonlight hours, —
And whispering streams still glide away,
Beneath the calm and holy ray,
Unerring as the path of duty,
Yet graceful as the step of beauty,
'Mid blossomed banks and greenwood groves,
When far from him the land he loves;
When, unto him, that witching scene
Shall be — as though it ne'er had been!
'Tis thus with me! — in fond delay,
I linger still, condemned to part
And cannot rend the ties away
That love has twined around my heart!
And every dear and cherished form,
That — as a sunbeam in the storm —
Looks brightest in the parting day,
Glides through my thoughts, in sad array
And every look and touch and tone,
And every happy moment gone,
And all the bright and blessed hours
That strewed my path of life with flowers, —
When daylight woke the heart to joy,
And night flew, winged with music, by, —
In long review before me pass,
Through memory's necromantic glass;
And seem — like ghosts that leave a blight
Where'er they wander, — through the night —
To "come like shadows, so depart,"
And cast a chill upon my heart,
And wave around my brain a spell,
That drowns the struggling word — farewell!
That withering word must come at last!
But memory shall survive its power,
And light, with visions of the past,
The gloom of many a future hour!
And, though I wander far away,
Yet, wheresoe'er my feet may stray,
O, never, never from my heart
The looks and tones it loved shall part! —
Oft will I turn from darkness nigh,
To catch the smile of days gone by;
And hallow oft, in future years,
Life's early dream with manhood's tears!
And then, methinks! with silent track,
My thoughts shall oft go wandering back,
And glide around the dear recess,
Built, as it were, for happiness!
Where, through the clustering vines, the eye
Looks out upon the moonlight sky,
When the night-spirit steals to kiss
The bower of silver clematis,
And to the whispering air replies
The jasmine, with its sweetest sighs;
When, on its wing, the voiceless breeze
Brings fragrance from the orange-trees;
When the white beams of evening fall
Along the darkly ivied wall,
And his light web the spider weaves
Among the bright acacia leaves; —
While, heard from some sequestered vale,
Sings to the stars the nightingale!
But, brighter than that witching scene
The little fairy world within;
Where happy hearts and smiling eyes
Were the pure planets of our skies!
Where we had lips, whose every breath —
More fragrant than the scented wreath
From which the zephyr stole its kiss —
Loaded the atmosphere with bliss!
And ringlets, in whose silken net,
Of shining brown, or raven jet,
There lurked a far more subtle snare
Than those the spider hangs in air!
And sounds on which the spirit hung,
Till all unheard the night-bird sung! —
While friendship, blending every soul,
Threw moonlight beauty o'er the whole!
Then O, how brightly thou wilt seem
To mingle in that blessed dream,
Such as thou wert in years of youth,
With looks of light, and soul of truth, —
The young and mild and snowy dove
That blessed that little ark of love!
When beauty with her zone had bound thee,
And music seemed to breathe around thee;—
When the rapt spirit fondly hung
On every murmur of thy tongue,
Or gazed, in calm and quiet joy,
On the soft lustre of thine eye,
Where dwelt a ray, too bright for sadness,
Yet O, too holy far for gladness!
When o'er thy very faults was thrown
Redeeming sweetness of their own!
With soul too firmly proud to bend,
Yet far to gentle too offend;
To smile at others' follies prone,
Too honest to conceal thine own;
In every weakness of thy heart
Some virtue sweetly bore a part;
And every failing, in its train,
Brought something to redeem its stain;
Till even thy faults grew dear to me,
I loved them — as a part of thee!
For thou hadst none which love would hide,
Which goodness had not sanctified!
Thou, too, shalt be remembered, then
The guardian-angel of the scene! —
Rich in the native untaught art
To rear a shrine in every heart!
With all the feelings of life's prime, —
But chastened and subdued by time!
A spirit high, an ardent soul, —
But taught to brook thy mind's control!
As pure a love as ever blest
The mansion of a stainless breast,
Which sweetly flowed, as dew showers fall,
In common kindness towards all!
An eye of mild and holy light,
Serenely glad, and calmly bright;
Yet fired, at times, with joyous gleams,
Gay as an infant's happy dreams!
'Twas thine, within thy magic bound,
To scatter sunshine all around,
Till every other face grew bright,
And shone in thy emitted light!
And — as the moon, the livelong day,
Drinks from the sun's eternal ray,
Then wanders forth, in borrowed light,
To shed a beauty o'er the night —
So, from thy presence, every eye
Grew radiant with reflected joy,
And half we seemed to win from thee
A portion of thy purity!
He, too, shall haunt that dreaming mood,
The kind, the generous, and the good, —
The open heart and liberal hand,
The genius of that fairy land!
Beneath whose fostering eye arose
That paradise of pure repose;
Who watched the little Eden spring
Under the shelter of his wing! —
Chartered, by nature, to dispense
The hidden oracles of sense,
And hang a new and living light
Along a page where all was night;
Whose eye explored, with steady ray,
The darkness of a rugged way, —
Till order out of chaos smiled,
And beauty blossomed in the wild,
And, at his country's feet, he placed
The fruits he gathered from the waste! —
Whose manly spirit, born to soar
Wherever genius trod before,
Loved still to stoop, in calmer hours,
And taste those humbler, sweeter flowers
That in the noonday blaze would fade,
But yield their fragrance in the shade! —
Whose grasping mind could still unbend,
The husband, father, brother, friend! —
Who, skilled in precedents and rules,
Could leave the jargon of the schools;
And owned no rule which would control
The overflowings of the soul,
No precedent whose stern behest
Would lock the floodgates of the breast! —
Who loved, beyond the terms of art,
The simple language of the heart;
Still true to all life's softer ties,
And nature's home-bred sympathies! —
O, memory will indeed be dim,
When she retains no trace of him!
Farewell, — farewell! — but think on one
Whose steps through many a maze have run
Whose follies wore the stamp of youth,
Whose soul was still a soul of truth! —
Who often erred, — for O, his head
For ever by his heart was led,
And Reason's voice was vain, address'd
Against the pleadings of his breast! —
And vain its warnings must be still,
His heart must lead him at his will;
And — though it take him far astray,
Too oft, through many a flowery way —
Yet, rather will he trust its song,
Which never can beguile him long,
Than shut it up within his breast,
(A jewel in a worthless chest!)
To follow prudence as his guide, —
Whose footstep will not turn aside,
Though all the flowers of life lay dead
Beneath the pressure of its tread, —
Which may not pause, to give a sigh
To all the sweets it wanders by! —
No! never shall his head control
The honest beatings of his soul;
And ne'er, by him, shall be repress'd
The gushing feelings of his breast!
As rivers, — which meandering glide
Through many a fair and winding way, —
Where'er their course may turn aside,
Howe'er their roving waters stray,
Still murmur till their home they gain,
And flow, unerring, to the main! —
My heart — though oft its restless tide
Awhile may wander far and wide —
'Mid all its ramblings, ne'er forgets
The point to which its current sets,
But fondly tends, where'er it roves,
In silent truth, to those it loves!
Be such the current of my fate! —
Though now it bears me far away
From hopes, whose beauty, long and late,
Shall haunt me on my devious way! —
O may it lead through golden bowers,
Through life-tracks gay with summer flowers;
And — all my wanderings brightly past —
May I flow calmly back, at last!
XCIX.
CHARADES.
I.
Ah, my First! — a little space
Sweep the ages from its face!
From its covers shake the dust, —
From its claspings clear the rust!
'Neath the faded fences thin
Let us catch the soul within! —
Through the dimness, through the stain,
Let us see thee as thou art,
Picture of some teeming brain!
Record of some grieving heart! —
Let us learn how ancient thought
At this altar prayed or wrought!
What dead limner left behind
This old copy of a mind!
Give thy message, stern or gay,
From some grave dug far away!
Tells it of the midnight toil
Wasted with the wasting oil,
Months of musing — maybe years,
Days of dreaming — haply tears,
Love that strove, and love that strayed,
Hopes that strengthened, fears that stayed,
Burning longings, doubtings cold,
Fancies young and feelings old,
Soaring wishes, failing wing,
That helped, perchance, to make this thing! —
All the bubbles blown and burst
In the birth-time of my First!
Boots not by what Muses nurs'd
To its fulness grew my First!
Boots not, if its web were wove
Out of learning, out of love!
Boots not, if it keep within
Tale of sorrow, trace of sin!
Whatsoe'er the sense or thought
O'er my First that ruled and wrought,
In its cradle, wrapt and worn,
Hath my Second since been born,
Near its life-fount, drained and dried,
Hath my Second lived and died.
How he revelled, — how he wrought
In that ancient house of thought!
Like to thought, still boring through
All the cells in which he grew!
Bringing down the rotten walls,
Laying waste the lonely halls,
Ruffling 'mid the rifled breast,
Prowling in the empty chest,
Groping, blind, the lamps about
Where the lights had long been out,
Making life where life was dead,
Waking up the weary head,
Creeping to the silent heart,
Stirring by the stagnant river,
Taking Time's unhandsome part
Where the clock had stopped for ever,
Breaker of the broken shrine!
Miner in the wasted mine!
Reckless reveller! feeder foul!
Robber of the robber-ghoul!
Spoiler in the home that nursed
All the fancies of my First,
For an hour that First shall be
Rescued from the moth and thee!
Ah, my First! — a little space
Sweep the ages from its face!
From its covers shake the dust,
From its claspings clear the rust!
Let not all the tears and toil,
Wasted with the wasting oil,
All the pantings, all the pain,
If they were, have been in vain! —
Though a fount of thought be dry,
Let its issues catch the sky!
Though the mine was closed of old,
Show the gem, and pass the gold!
Let not some poor ghost complain
Of a passion poured in vain,
Mourning o'er its second self
Dead upon this coffin-shelf! —
By my fifty-student power,
Thus I wake it for an hour: —
Whatsoe'er thy wit or worth,
Buried prophet, come thou forth,
In thy grave-clothes, dust and damp,
To the glimpses of the lamp! —
So it is, my First appears
Once in many weary years.
Ah, the patriarch well might sing
Would my foe had done this thing!
If the doer poured his soul
Only — only for my Whole.
Well! — I prize it not myself; —
Carry it back to its coffin-shelf!
Lay it up in its ancient dust!
Bind its clasps with the rivet rust! —
I forbid not, o'er my First
Though my Second work its worst.
Let it vex no more my soul!
It hath made that soul aware,
Like my Second, so my Whole
May feed on sorry fare.
II.
His heart was sad, and his foot was sore,
When a stranger knocked at a cottager's door;
With travel faint, as the night fell down,
He had missed his way to the nearest town, —
And he prayed for water to quench his thirst,
And he showed his purse as he asked for my First.
The cottar was moved by the stranger's tale,
He spread the board, and he poured the ale: —
"The river," he said, flows darkly down
Betwixt your path and the lighted town,
And far from hence its stream is cross'd
By the bridge on the road that you have lost:
Gold may not buy, till your weary feet
Have traversed the river and reached the street,
The thing you ask: — but the wandering moon
Will be out in the sky, with her lantern, soon,
Then, cross o'er the meadow, and look to the right,
And you'll find my Second by her light."
My Second shone like a silver floor
When the traveller passed from the cottar's door:
He saw the town on its distant ridge,
Yet he sighed no more for the far-off bridge;
And his wish of the night soon gained its goal,
For he found my First when he reached my Whole.
III.
When autumn winds are drear and chill,
And tempests o'er my Second burst,
I shun the heath and quit the hill,
To seek for shelter with my First:
But when the happy flowers are nurs'd
By July's soft and fragrant breath,
My Second wins me from my First,
Back to the scented hill and heath.
My Second takes a golden grace
From beam and breeze, on plain or knoll; —
My First, to help its pleasant face,
Demands the service of my Whole.
IV.
A traveller supped at a wayside inn,
Where the bacon was thick, but the ale was thin —
So it was not the latter that ran in his head
When he snatched up my First as he hurried to bed.
He rose from his couch at the dawn of day,
He shouldered my Second and went his way, —
His mind had a weight, and his pocket a load,
So he needed my Second to lighten the road.
Speed, traveller, speed! Alack! alack!
There are following those who would bring thee back!
O, they collared our friend ere the dark fell down,
Or his feet could reach to the nearest town!
He'd forgotten his supper of yesternight
When he "stole a march" in the morning light!
But, alas! besides the march he stole —
They found in his great-coat pocket my Whole.
V.
When but a boy, just newly nursed,
I stored my marbles in my First;
Grown to a man, when dull or sad,
My Second soothed and made me glad:
My Whole, through all my living years,
Has been a horror to my ears.
VI.
My Second has saddled the palfrey white,
And saddled the roadster brown,
And drawn on his boots by the stable door,
For a ride to the distant town.
But why is my lady's cheek so pale,
And why my lady's tear,
As she sweeps through the lane with a loosened rein,
And my Second in the rear?
Ah, me! that the hand which clips the mane,
And trims the palfrey's tail,
Should join my First's in the clasp of love
When they reach the altar rail!
My Second's First had been fitlier wooed
Near the milking-pail and bowl,
And my First is spoiling her Second good
By making him my Whole!
C.
THE DEVIL'S PROGRESS.
The Devil to St. Stephen's went,
And heard a long debate,
On the motion of O'C—l,
That the Devil take his seat;
That learned member showed, in a speech,
Of great research and nous,
That Satan, at all times, by usage had
A seat within that House: —
So the Devil took, and rose in his place,
And presented his petitions!
(He was puzzled, at first, to understand
The novel coalitions!)
He could not stay to give his vote
Against "emancipation"; —
But he spoke of Sixteen eighty-eight,
And the danger of innovation;
He spoke of the Pope, and he said that the nation
Had already one scarlet abomination;
He implored them to pause, ere they doubled that evil, —
And Sir Thomas L—b—e "paired off" with the Devil!
He saw, in the Ecclesiastical Court,
Its "familiars" ranged in a lane,
As a dandy peer, on an elephant tame,
Rode in, — and rode out, again
And he afterwards heard that the dandy went,
On his beast, through both Houses of Parliament.
He stood in a dim cathedral aisle,
With his foot upon a tomb,
And he wore his own dark, haughty smile,
'Mid its mystery and gloom.
The tomb of him who would have made
The world too glad and free;
And he trampled o'er the noble dead,
Like Hate o'er its enemy! —
The spirit he could not enslave! —
And he spit upon the dead man's grave.
The Devil went into Newgate, — and saw
A thief by a priest forgiven;
By the word of the priest and the rope of the law
Hanged — and sent straight to heaven! —
And the Devil grinned, with as bitter a grin,
As of devil was ever begotten,
To see the poor wretch turned off, with his ears,
And his conscience stuffed with Cotton.
The Devil looked in, when the House of Peers
Was discussing the Catholic question;
And heard many wise sayings that gladdened his ears,
And quickened the fiend's digestion;
While W—h—s— was mimicking
An alligator's sighs;
And tears — not "such as angels weep," —
Made Niles of E—d—n's eyes!
The Devil slowly from the Bank,
Went musing to the Mint, —
And each for tempting men to crime
Supplied him with a hint;
And many things at each he found,
That are a devil's food;
In that he saw the "Gates of Death,"
In this the "Field of Blood"!
And he made a note as he went his way,
That Monday next was hanging-day."
He stopped, on his way, in Lincoln's Inn,
And gave a young gownsman a guinea,
To move for an injunction,
Against Chabert and Aldini.
He took a drive to the India House,
Where he heard much pleasant news,
The shooting of ninety-five Sepoys,
And the burning of six Hindoos.
He stood beside a cottage lone,
And listened to a lute,
One summer eve, when the breeze was gone,
And the nightingale was mute.
The moon was watching, on the hill,
The stream was staid, and the maples still,
To hear a lover's suit,
That — half a vow, and half a prayer —
Spoke less of hope than of despair;
And rose into the calm, soft air,
As sweet and low
As he had heard — O woe! O woe! —
The flutes of angels, long ago! —
"By every hope that earthward clings,
By faith, that mounts on angel-wings,
By dreams that make night shadows bright,
And truths that turn our day to night,
By childhood's smile, and manhood's tear,
By pleasure's day, and sorrow's year,
By all the strains that fancy sings,
And pangs that time so surely bring,
For joy or grief — for hope or fear,
For all hereafter — as for here,
In peace or strife — in storm or shine,
My soul is wedded unto thine!"
And for its soft and sole reply,
A murmur and a sweet low sigh,
But not a spoken word;
And yet they made the waters start
Into his eyes who heard;
For they told of a most loving heart,
In a voice like that of a bird! —
Of a heart that loved, — though it loved in vain,
A grieving, — and yet not a pain! —
A love that took an early root,
And had an early doom,
Like trees that never grow to fruit,
And early shed their bloom.
Of vanished hopes and happy smiles,
All lost forevermore;
Like ships, that sailed for sunny isles,
But never came to shore.
A flower that, in its withering,
Preserved its fragrance, long; —
A spirit that had lost its wing,
But still retained its song.
A joy that could not, all, be lost,
A comfort in despair.
And the Devil fled, like a 'lated ghost,
That snuffs the purer air;
For he felt how lovers' own sweet breath
Surrounds them, like a spell,
And he knew that love — as "strong as death" —
Is far too strong for Hell;
And, from the country of its birth,
Brings thoughts — in sorrow or in mirth —
That sanctify the earth, —
Like angels, earthward tempest driven,
And waiting to return to heaven.
He saw a parson counting o'er
The parish fields in tillage;
Then tether his horse 'mid the waving grass
In the churchyard of the village!
And he thought of the agriculturist,
From the home of his fathers driven,
And the parson's wit, in making the dead
A portion of his Living!
He saw a patriarch of the fields,
A remnant of the past, —
Fresh as an aged thorn, that yields
Its blossoms to the last, —
Lead forth, from England's merry shore,
A young and sturdy brood,
To cross the wide Pacific's roar,
For shelter and for food! —
And he spoke, in his place, in parliament,
In defence of tithes and heavy rent.
He heard a lawyer "making the worse
Appear the better reason";
And, quoth he, "friend Belial's seed hath grown
Much good fruit, in its season!"
He saw a pauper sent to the wheel,
For starving and mendicity; —
And he thought of England's equal laws,
And a hungry Briton's felicity.
He saw two spouses, "newly blest,"
Quarrelling over their tea; —
"Why, 'devil with devil damned,' at home,
'Firm concord holds,'" quoth he!
He saw a Bow Street officer
Bear witness against a thief;
And a magistrate pocket a parish-bribe,
For refusing a pauper relief; —
And the Devil likened the one and the other
To the sons of Israel, selling their brother.
He subscribed to the society
For suppressing the growth of vice;
And the Devil showed his piety,
By giving donations, twice!
At present the chair is ably filled,
And, of course, they have no vice,
Or the Devil's zeal is such, he were sure
To be chosen, in a trice!
He saw a father pressed, in his bed;
And the Devil laughed his fill,
To think that Wilberforce was dead,
And the slave-trade living still; —
And he muttered one of our national staves,
"Britons never shall be slaves!"
The Devil went to the Opera-house,
At eight, on Saturday night,
And many things there he both saw and heard,
That tickled his ear and sight.
The manager's clock struck the hour of twelve,
Just as the Ballet was done,
So the Devil's watch must have been too fast,
For it pointed nearly one!
O, sweetest, in the Devil's eye,
Is the sin that is covered with a lie;
And dearest those who take his road,
Like monks of old, in the name of God!
A Hebrew knelt, in the dying light, —
His eye was dim and cold,
The hairs on his brow were silver-white
And his blood was thin and old.
He lifted his look to his latest sun,
For he knew that his pilgrimage was done.
And as he saw God's shadow there,
His spirit poured itself in prayer.
"I come unto death's second-birth,
Beneath a stranger-air,
A pilgrim on a dull, cold earth,
As all my fathers were.
And men have stamped me with a curse, —
I feel it is not Thine,
Thy mercy — like yon sun — was made
On me — as them — to shine;
And, therefore, dare I lift mine eye,
Through that, to Thee, — before I die.
"In this great temple, built by Thee,
Whose altars are divine,
Beneath yon lamp, that ceaselessly
Lights up Thine own true shrine,
O take my latest sacrifice, —
Look down, and make this sod
Holy as that where, long ago,
The Hebrew met his God!
"I have not caused the widow's tears,
Nor dimmed the orphan's eye,
I have not stained the virgin's years,
Nor mocked the mourner's cry;
The songs of Zion, in mine ear,
Have ever been most sweet,
And always when I felt Thee near,
My 'shoes' were 'off my feet.'
"I have known Thee, in the whirlwind,
I have known Thee, on the hill,
I have loved Thee, in the voice of birds,
Or the music of the rill.
I dreamt Thee in the shadow,
I saw Thee in the light,
I heard Thee in the thunder-peal,
And worshipped in the night.
All beauty, while it spoke of Thee,
Still made my soul rejoice,
And my spirit bowed within itself,
To hear Thy 'still-small voice.'
I have not felt myself a thing
Far from Thy presence driven,
By flaming sword or waving wing,
Shut out from Thee and heaven.
"Must I the whirlwind reap, because
My fathers sowed the storm,
Or shrink — because another sinned —
Beneath Thy red right-arm?
O, much of this we dimly scan,
And much is all unknown, —
But I will not take my curse from man,
I turn to Thee, alone!
O, bid my fainting spirit live,
And what is dark reveal,
And what is evil, O forgive,
And what is broken heal,
And cleanse my nature, from above,
In the deep Jordan of Thy love!
"I know not if the Christian's heaven
Shall be the same as mine,
I only ask to be forgiven,
And taken home to Thine.
I weary on a far dim strand,
Whose mansions are as tombs,
And long to find the father-land,
Where there are many homes.
O grant, of all yon starry thrones,
Some dim and distant star,
Where Judah's lost and scattered sons
May love Thee, from afar!
When all earth's myriad harps shall meet,
In choral praise and prayer,
Shall Zion's harp — of old, so sweet —
Alone be wanting there?
Yet, place me in Thy lowest seat,
Though I — as now — be there
The Christian's scorn, the Christian's jest;
But let me see and hear,
From some dim mansion in the sky,
Thy bright ones, and their melody!"
The sun goes down with sudden gleam,
And — beautiful as a lovely dream,
And silently as air —
The vision of a dark-eyed girl,
With long and raven hair,
Glides in — as guardian spirits glide —
And, lo! is kneeling by his side;
As if her sudden presence there
Were sent, in answer to his prayer!
(O, say they not that angels tread
Around the good man's dying-bed?)
His child! — his sweet and sinless child! —
And as he gazed on her,
He knew his God was reconciled,
And this the messenger, —
As sure as God had hung on high,
The promise-bow before his eye! —
Earth's purest hope thus o'er him flung,
To point his heavenward faith,
And life's most holy feeling strung,
To sing him into death! —
And on his daughter's stainless breast,
The dying Hebrew sought his rest!
The Devil turned uneasily round,
For he knew that the place was holy ground,
But, ere he passed, he saw a Turk
Spit on the bearded Jew;
And a Christian cursed those who could not eat pork; —
Quoth the Devil, "These worthies may do my work;
For one lost, here are two!
Turk or Jew, or their Christian brother,
I seldom lose one, but I gain another!"
He saw an ancient friend of his,
When a lean and a furious whig; —
But his voice was small and bell-like, now,
And his system sleek and big;
His sleeves were of lawn, — and each of them
Would have held a tithing pig;
And he looked like a clerk who would rather beg
Than either starve or dig;
And his words were full of wisdom, now
The "wisdom" that comes with "the wig"! —
And the Devil smiled, — and, quoth he, "We made
Our way in the world by the self-same trade!"
The Devil walked up Chancery Lane,
And into the Chancery Court,
Intending, like many who enter there,
To make his visit short! —
But the Printer's devil — a little black imp! —
Is waiting for his tail,
And swears — like a chip of the parent block —
That his time and patience fail; —
So, all we can add to the present strain
IS, THE DEVIL HAS NOT YET GOT OUT AGAIN!
REMINISCENCE OF CHILDHOOD.
TO AGNES.
Ροδοδάκτυλος Ηὼς. * — Homer
I wonder if ye ever think
Of sunny days long pass'd away,
When, plucking white and crimson flowers,
Together we were wont to stray;
Of how, when playing "hide and seek,"
Ye bounded, hare-like, from the walk,
With sparkling eye and dimpled cheek,
Behind some dahlia's leafy stalk,
To crouch 'neath currant bush or tree,
A stifled laugh revealing thee.
And when at last I found you out,
How ye would scream with wild delight,
Thy bonnet hanging from thy neck,
Thy silken ringlets dancing bright!
To me, then, Aggie dear! in truth
Ye seem'd a little elfin-sprite.
Then resting on the mossy green
We trill'd o'er many a pleasant song,
Of silver bells and cockle shells,
And of "the little bird" that tells
Whenever any one does wrong.
* Rosy-finger'd morn.
Rose-coloured satin dress ye wore,
With little snow-white pinafore:
And in the shady cool retreat
That shelter'd us from noon-day heat,
The summer-seat was painted green,
Whereon ye sat, a little queen
White pebbles lay upon the ground,
Golden laburnums droop'd o'erhead,
And lilacs too, their fragrance shed,
Rich scenting all the air around.
Therein we sat for many an hour,
Sooth'd, listening to the golden bee;
Or saying, "Hush!" when rustling bird
A-lit upon the lilac tree;
That we unseen — unheard — so near,
With fluttering hearts all joy might hear
Its dulcet-warbled melody;
And how, when came a passing shower,
We laughed to hear the rain-drops fall,
With heavy patter, on the leaves —
Warm sunlight beaming through them all.
These blissful moments in the Past,
Through golden mists, now glimm'ring shine,
As those same eyes, so darkly bright,
Gleam through me with a spirit light,
Thus peering deeply into mine.
Sweet Childhood roams from flower to flower
A-chasing bright-winged butterflies;
Aye finding, light and free from care,
In beauteous earth more beauty rare —
A deeper azure in the skies.
Ah! Agnes, these bright days have flown,
I love you still, a Ladye grown —
And yet — ye are not all my own!
CII.
DAY DREAM.
Close by the marge of Leman's Lake,
Upon a thymy plot,
In blissful rev'rie, half awake,
Earth's follies all forgot —
I conjured up a faery isle
Where sorrow enter'd not;
Withouten shade of sin or guile,
A lovely Eden spot.
With trellis'd vines, in cool arcade,
And leaves of tender green,
All trembling in the light and shade,
As sunbeams glanced between:
The mossy turf, bespangled gay,
With fragrant flowery sheen —
Bell, primrose, pink, and showers of May,
The fairest ever seen.
Near where a crystal river ran —
Into the rich warm light,
A domèd palace fair began
To rise, in marble white:
'Twas fill'd, as if by amulet,
With mirrors dazzling bright —
With antique vase and statuette,
A palace of delight.
And "Mignon," in a snow-white dress,
With circlet on her hair
Appear'd, in all her loveliness,
Like angel standing there:
She struck the cithern in her hand,
And sang with 'witching air,
Her own sweet song, "Know'st thou the land,"
To music wild and rare.
It died away — the palace changed,
Dream-like, into a bower!
Around, the soft-eyed dun-deer ranged,
Secure from hunter's power.
Wild thyme and eyebright tinged the ground,
With daisy, starry flower,
While crimson flower-bells cluster'd round
The rose-twined faery bower.
Therein "Undinè," lovely sprite!
Sat gazing on sunrise,
And sang of "morning, clear and bright" —
The tears came in her eyes:
She look'd upon the lovely isle,
And now up to the skies —
Then, in a silv'ry misty veil,
She vanish'd from mine eyes!
A music, as of forest trees,
Bent 'neath the storm-blast's sway,
Rose swelling — dying — in the breeze,
A strange, wild lullaby.
The islet, with its flowery turf,
Then waxèd dim and grey;
I look'd; — no islet gemm'd the surf,
The dream had fled away!
CIII.
SUMMER RAMBLE.
THE DREAM.
It was the summer time,
And our hearts with love beat high,
We heard the silvery murmuring
Of the brooklet purling by.
We tript the mossy bank,
With its myriad daisies sweet,
Lightly we trod on the purple heath,
For it rose beneath our feet.
There sat a singing bird,
It was perch'd on a wild rose tree,
Its singing fillèd all high heaven
With a thrill of melody.
The air was scented sweetly
Of that rich and balmy clime,
The gold'n bee revell'd wildly,
In the bells of the fragrant thyme.
We felt a "waking bliss,"
As we roam'd the live-long day,
For Peace illumin'd softly,
With a smile, our dreamy way.
I gazed on Rosabelle,
Young and angel-fair,
The wind stirr'd not a single tress
Of her glossy silken hair —
When wicked spirit came to me,
Whisp'ring to my soul,
"Lo! what angel loveliness —
Pure delight — and honied bliss!
Can HEAVEN itself
Be more than this!
Heaven! — tell me if it be?"
Thus, with glozings plausible,
My list'ning ear the tempter stole,
And o'er my senses hung
Spell of darkness, while I sung,
'Rosabelle! Rosabelle!
In this shady spot,
By clear cooling crystal well,
Hearing woodland music float —
Past and future all forgot —
With thee I would ever dwell,
THOU art Heaven,
Sweet Rosabelle!'
Thus I sung, when, well-a-day!
The ladye young, and fair to see,
All trembling waxéd wan;
Copious flood of briny tears
Adown her pale face ran;
Lily dew-besprent seem'd she;
Oh! piteously she looked on me;
Then gazing on the skies,
With fixéd eyes,
She moved her lips as she would pray,
And swoon'd away!
Feeble pulse has ceased to beat:
Ruby lips turn ashen pale;
Rosabelle! Rosabelle!
Hear me, love! — Oh! is she dead? —
This fluttering heart doth fail —
Rosabelle is gone,
And I am left to wail —
Lone — alone!
A thick'ning mist, diffusing, spread
O'er vale and mountain high,
With a dreary gloom it hung
In the darkling sky.
The sickening flowers a-weary droop'd,
Pining for the golden sun;
Velvet-soft leaves shrivell'd up,
Falling every one.
The flowers, all dead, alas!
Soon were buried 'neath a mass
Of forest leaves, that lay
Withering on the grass.
The very brook now flow'd,
With languid, scanty stream,
Nor voice of any bird was heard,
Save the famish'd vulture's scream.
Rosabelle, Rosabelle,
Lieth cold and pale!
Oh! she is gone —
Here I'm left to wail —
Lone — alone!
Suddenly, now came
A rustling through the trees,
And searéd leaves were dancing high
In the gusty breeze.
Through the wild wood, moaning winds
Whistled eerily,
Then the Storm-blast swept, on his whirlwind
The dreary sky.
The last leaf lonely hung
By its stem shred, swirling round;
It broke — and dancing to and fro,
Flutter'd to the ground.
From the leafless trees,
With their skeleton branches bare,
I turn'd aghast with a shrinking heart,
'Twas a sight enough to scare.
Rosabelle, Rosabelle,
Lieth cold and pale,
Oh! she is gone —
I'm left to wail —
Lone — alone!
Youth's visions will brighten me
Never again:
Wild feverish fancies
Course through my brain;
Boiling and seething,
Like water and fire,
Raging and foaming,
Higher and higher;
My spirit is crushed,
With a fearful night-mare;
Bright dreams fled for ever,
Where are they — where?
I am left alone!
On mossy turf lay Rosabelle,
Pale, yet, Oh! how beautiful:
Strangely glared the rising Moon
Through the racking cloud,
Like maiden buried in a swoon,
Tearing open her shroud!
I knelt beside the lovely form,
All that dismal night,
And watched the first grey dawn of light,
With streak of gold and crimson bright,
Up gloaming through the storm.
A piercing chilly wind
Rose, and moaning, died away;
Sunrise seem'd to herald in
A tranquil day, —
Memnon-like, my stony heart
Struck, began to pray.
Slanting falls the morning red
On Rosabelle;
Strange that thrill of joy and fear!
Is it her spirit that hovers near?
In truth I cannot tell.
A crimson glow is on that cheek,
Cold as Alpine peak;
A lustrous light is on that hair,
Dishevell'd all its ringlets rare,
By the night winds bleak.
The glow still rests upon her lips,
Though faded from her brow,
And tinges either cheek:
Rosabelle! Rosabelle!
Semblance strange of life art thou;
Hush! can it be! —
She MOVES her lips to speak.
She open'd her sun-like eyes,
And fondly look'd on me
"Edgar, I dream'd that I was dead,
I've slumber'd long, methinks," she said,
"Come, sit beneath this hawthorn tree,
I'll tell thee of bright beauteous things,
And angel-hosts, with sheeny wings,
That I did see."
Tears of joy were in my eyes,
Yet I strove to hide surprise,
And softly to the ladye said,
My own dear Maid,
Sweet Rosabelle,
Let me fetch from crystal stream,
Water in a pearly shell;
Ye've been slumb'ring — still appear
Weary, love: Again I'll hear
Thy wondrous dream.
The ladye drank and lightly slept:
For very joy I wept.
In the purple east I saw,
Looming through the light,
A distant, hazy, living shape,
And it ever wax'd more bright:
That gentle roseate Form
Was the spirit of the spring,
Down to the dreary waste, she flew
On sunny wing;
Surrounded by ethereal mist,
Tinged with purple amethyst,
And paley gold:
Floating incense-like it roll'd,
With coruscations sparkling bright,
Darting in cobweb fibrous shoots,
Network of silvery light.
The exhalations shed,
With their vivifying power,
A fresh exuberance of life,
On tree — on shrub — on flower;
Till all was fresh and green,
O'er the wide expanse,
For buds, and leaves, and flowers came forth,
At her lovely glance.
The goldèn-belted bee began
To tune his mellow horn,
And bustled 'mong the creamy blooms
Of the scented thorn:
In wild luxuriance twined
The tendrils of the vine,
The purple clusters richly
Swell'd in warm sunshine
The brook gushed forth again,
Fed by crystal streams,
Shimmering all with golden light,
In the bright sun-beams:
Fair, on its mossy banks,
The heath and wild thyme grew;
While under every tree,
Wildling wood-anemone;
Cuckoo flower, and meadow-sweet,
With tufted knots of hare-bells blue,
Were trembling at our feet.
There waver'd in the blossoms,
Bright colour'd butterflies;
Like golden thoughts they floated down
From sunny skies.
A myriad humming insects
Danced on lustrous wing,
And joyous birds with speckled breasts,
Soft warbling 'gan to sing.
On which the ladye woke, —
I held her lily hand —
In under-tone, said, "Rosabelle,
This blooming dell,
Seemeth faery land:
Yet in it were any one
TO LOVE the golden sun,
Twinkling star, or lowly flower,
Brook or bower,
Skylark sweetly carolling,
Or ANY EARTHLY THING,
For ITSELF ALONE: —
It's beauty soon would fade away,
Yielding to decay."
The warm light softly fell
Through the leaves of tender green,
But glimmering darted brightly,
With a diamond light between;
The fruit-tree blossoms fair,
They were bursting white and red,
Oh! rich was the balmy fragrance,
On our winding path down shed.
Then resting 'neath an old thorn tree,
Beside a babbling stream,
Singing low and musical,
Rosabelle began to tell
Her heavenly dream.
Even then I heard a faery chime
Of hare-bells ringing near, —
Now, from distance dreamily,
Falling on my ear;
Nearer, nearer,
Ever clearer
Rang the peal,
With tone acute, like glass or steel,
Yet to sense ethereal,
Intensely loud and clear!
At the wondrous soul-like sound,
Rosabelle wax'd dim and rare;
And all things whirléd round and round,
Melting into air;
While muffled in a golden mist,
Fled the vision fair!
And waking from my dream —
A clear brook wimpled by —
Methought I heard a sweet voice fade,
Like music in the sky!
CIV.
DEATH OF THE OLD NORSE KING.
[NOTE. — "Old Kings, about to die, had their body laid into a ship; the ship
sent forth, with sails set, and slow fire burning it; that, once out at sea, it
might blaze up in flame, and in such a manner, bury worthily the old hero,
at once in the sky, and in the ocean." — CARLYLE.]
Haste, clothe me, Jarls, in my royal robe!
My keen biting sword gird ye:
Haste! for I go to the Father-land,
Both king of earth and sea.
My blade so true, with a spirit-gleam,
Death lurks in its skinkling fire,
I grasp thee now as of olden time
In conflict hot and dire.
I've trampled foes; from their blanchèd skulls
Now drain off the dark-red wine;
Fall bravely all in the battle field,
Be crowned with wreathes divine;
My eyes wax dim, and my once jet locks
Now wave with a silvery white,
Feeble, my arm cannot wield the blade
I dote on with delight.
Now Hela breathes a dark chilling shade,
I hear the Valkyrii sing;
Now to the halls of the brave I'll rise,
As fits an old Norse King.
Heindallar's ship, with the incense wood,
Prepare as a pyre for me,
Blazing, I'll rise to the Odin Halls,
At once in air and sea!
They've lit slow fire in the incense ship —
The sun has just sunk in the wave, —
Set are the sails — he is launched away,
This hero-king, so brave!
The death-chaunt floats in the deep blue skies,
All wild in the darkling night;
Fearful there glares from the blazing ship,
A wild red lurid light.
It, shimmering, gleams o'er the lone blue sea,
The flickers shoot wild and high —
Odin hath welcomed the brave old king
To his Palace in the sky!
The bale flames die, and a silence deep
Now floats on the darkness cold,
Where so fearless and free, on the deep blue sea,
Had died this Norse King bold!
CV.
AUGUST.
Now is it pleasing to survey
The fruit-trees' over-loaded spray,
At every pause of teasing wind,
Upon the friendly earth reclin'd:
The berry tribes, of different hue,
Stop the careering youngster's view:
So charmingly the clusters glow,
So violent temptations grow,
That highly should the gard'ner prize
His fence, that all ingress defies;
For now, to keep from plunderers free,
No bar the Decalogue would be.
Still Flora's gaudy children cheer
The garden's border and parterre;
Still decorating many a bush
The roses — Beauty's emblems — blush;
In their meridian finery crown'd,
The tall carnations flaunt around:
And faithful to his father's gaze,
The sun-flow'r his rich disk displays.
Now various kinds of stately grain
Their maturated shades attain:
The farmers, full of happiest thoughts,
Scour the old sickle's rusty spots;
Or, devastating beasts to fear,
The rag-constructed scare-crows rear:
The passengers, adverting, eye
How wide the wary ravens fly;
And now th' effect, or now the cause,
Their ridicule and laughter draws:
Conceited men! these sallies curb,
As baseless fears your peace disturb;
From feasts that joy's own hands prepare,
How often fancy's spectres scare!
See, the school-liberated crew
The thistle's subtle crown pursue!
When gain'd, what will the paltry thing,
To pleasure its possessor bring?
As much as when wealth or renown
The toils of earth's great children crown.
Next then, the mischief-loving fry,
The insect-tortur'd neat espy;
And mimicking the gad-fly's wings
To real add imagin'd stings:
In pain they scour th' inclosure's bound,
Still goaded by the hated sound;
Till from the grass th' unnotic'd bull
Starts, growling on the en'my full:
Fly, then, th' assailants' life to save,
Keen suff'ring all the pangs they gave.
When now of heav'n the sun takes leave,
Consigning all to mellow eve,
O, how magnificently drest,
In cloudy drapery, looks the west!
The nameless tinges, with delight,
Attract the most insensate sight;
And all the Hesperidean glow
Over the fruited orchard throw,
Whose radiant boughs that toss on high
Break, finely, the blue eastern sky.
The black-bird, to departing day,
Carols his valedictory lay:
The manly music to prolong,
Swains quaintly imitate his song.
Acquitted of their various toils
The rustics, leaning o'er the stiles,
Converse athwart the rushy lane;
And one another entertain
With many a tale of veering fate,
In country, family, and estate.
Nor shall the muse disdain to note,
Preceded by the reverend goat,
And sober cart-horse in the rear,
The cow-procession homeward steer;
While, from the crowded meadow-gate,
Where herds for like enlargement wait,
To the slow-moving cavalcade,
Far-echoing compliments are paid.
Hunting the evening butterfly
Low darts the swallow from the sky;
Wheeling its desultory flight,
The bat oft intersects the sight:
While corn-craiks from the grain-hid ground,
Unwearied croak th' unvarying sound.
The hazel's dusky shade beneath,
Their vows the whisp'ring lovers breathe:
With fairy-softness let me pass
Over the scarcely bending grass.
Curs'd be the foot that would intrude
Upon their heavenly solitude;
Or interrupt one beat of heart,
That springs from Cupid's sinless dart;
For oh! this memory still bears
Th' impression of those charming cares,
And sweet soul-tumults which excite
That undefinable delight
Their fine-nerv'd bosoms only prove
Who own the flames of virtuous Love.
CVI.
DECEMBER.
While Fideo, in the house-chok'd town,
Snores the long morning out on down,
I and my rapturous co-mates,
Trim sandal'd, on the steely skates,
By unset Cynthia's yellow light,
Our locks with morning hoar-frost white,
In spirit-speed, are scouring o'er
The ice-pav'd lake's pellucid floor;
Or, toughly, on the knee-deep plain,
The eager snow-ball fight maintain.
Rash was the inference we made,
My Fideo, loitering in the shade,
What time sweet summer to our view
Her heart-delighting transports drew,
That when her transient charms were fled
Pure misery would reign instead.
Through every term the healthful mind
Will pleasures gay, or serious find;
Abroad, when storms forbid to roam,
Like city folks, I lounge at home,
And from the rattling window spy
At large th' ill-natur'd tempest fly,
Less fortunate th' o'ertaken swain,
Who stems o'ertoil'd thro' wind and rain;
His dripping skirts and staggering pace,
His sore-slouch'd hat and rain-washed face
Draws from me sorrow as sincere,
As from you would the storm-caught Lear.
Then view, in moralizing mood,
The rivulet's conceited flood,
Its wonted narrow bourne disdain,
And carry mischief o'er the plain;
Often, like tyranny and pride,
In fortune's mushrooms are descried,
Whose lives, had fate's unlucky hour
Bestow'd not on them wealth and pow'r,
Would still have been, like brooks confin'd,
Pleasing and useful to mankind.
How vapid all theatric show
Contrasted with the day of snow;
When the mad blast the valley lifts,
Blending the fall'n and falling drifts;
Nor can the vaunted scenic art
Stir finer motions in the heart,
Than those my throbbing breast commove
For what inhabits field and grove;
From your white groves ye wooly herds,
From death's cold pow'r, ye weak-fram'd birds,
Would ye but come, and were there space,
I'd screen you all in my embrace.
But when the hush'd frost-breathing sky
Assumes the bright cerulean dye,
Blithely I quit my prison-home
O'er the Norwegian scenes to roam;
And, like to old Jaques in the play,
All with sententious eye survey,
When solemn nature seems as dead
And o'er her corpse the vast shrouds spread,
When no distinction I can trace
'Twixt beauty, rudeness, meanness, grace;
It throws o'er vanity a gloom
To think upon the levelling tomb.
Forward I see a merry train
Roll the huge snow-globe from the plain,
Uphill; and willingly sustain
Of wretched Sisyphus the pain;
While busy, on the other hand,
I see another noisy band
Demolishing, with many a blow,
The statue, they have formed of snow.
Youth — sport away thy vacant while,
Soon slighter labour will be toil;
No choice allow'd, soon must ye bear
Up life's steep hill the load of care;
Of pains and passions soon a crew,
Their cruel sport will make of you.
Attracted by the flail-beat floor
I gain the white-sleev'd thresher's door,
And mark of grain his high respect,
Of straw and chaff his cold neglect,
So, often valued, even on earth,
Are fops and fools and solid worth.
My nerves in vigorous ether brac'd,
With winter's rouge my count'nance grac'd,
How pleasant, on my onward way,
The ice-fring'd cot-eaves to survey,
And on their tiny fanes, to note,
The emblems quaint by hoar frost wrought;
To see the broad fac'd sun impinge
The white hills with an orange tinge,
The star of Venus to descry
Already in the eastern sky,
Sol, redd'ning at her rebel ray
That dares to shorten his brief sway.
CVII.
ON RESIGNATION.
Hail resignation! whom indulgent heav'n,
To cheer the sorrowing sons of earth, has giv'n.
Let the aspiring, arrogating king
O'er countless millions hold despotic reign;
Let stateless avarice and ambition gain
All the delights that wealth and honours bring;
The foodless, tatter'd beggar, by thee blest,
Is of more wealth, more happiness possess'd.
I've heard distemper'd Cymon curse and groan,
Whilst I have smil'd and the same anguish known:
Adversity has launch'd her keenest dart
Against this breast, and I esteem'd it blunt
I have beheld ev'n death's redoubted front,
While trivial terrors only scar'd my heart.
Prepar'd to suffer, and by thee upheld,
What foes, what evils cannot be repell'd!
When cross'd, how curs'd are those of thee deny'd?
How blest thy fav'rites let whate'er betide?
From them let blooming health and vigour fly;
Transfer them to affliction's fiery pains;
Let calumny befoul their fame with stains,
Let fortune from them turn her streams awry,
Stay'd by this faith, no troubles they regard,
"In Heav'n remains the righteous man's reward."
CVIII.
VERSES SENT TO MRS. —
ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF THEIR MARRIAGE, BY HER HUSBAND.
Dear Isabel, since Hymen made us one
Ten annual suns their rapid course have run
In these much joy we've tasted; but of care,
Adversity, and pain, a larger share:
Calm, sunny blinks have mixt our stormy day,
And flow'ry tracks, our rugged, upward way;
With gratitude's blythe hymns our hearts have glow'd;
But oft'ner resignation's dirge hath flow'd;
Stars, meteors, moons, by fits, have lent us light;
But of our fate the ground-work has been night.
So on, my Partner, must we sigh and sing,
Rejoice and mourn till death deliv'rance bring:
Then shall we, in that dear asylum, Heav'n,
Find endless bliss, to endless being giv'n.
CIX.
Clootie and Willie;
OR,
Gleniffer Warlock,
A TALE.
"Ye Farmers a' near Stanely shaw,
Tell Paisley Weavers, ane an' a';
That Clootie comes ilk night fra hell,
To Stanely Castle's vaulted cell."
Ae day auld Clootie shook his fetters,
An' swoor, by Jing, that a' his debtors
Were o' a min' that Will the Warlock
Wud lie in chains wi' Jud' Iscariot.
A towmond after an' some mair,
Auld Willie gaed to Neilston fair,
To see a frien', o' noted fame,
That lately had frae France come hame,
And wha had din'd wi' the niest man
To Bonaparte, Talleyran'.
When Willie frae the fair was comin',
Auld Clootie met him, wi' a summon,
To wait an' see a full inspection,
Into his annual re-election.
The warlock thought this summon nonsense,
But, — man, how it wrought his conscience,
His knees they smote, his body trembl'd,
Like ane in ague he resembl'd,
Till he came on Gleniffer brae,*
When in a swoon he fell away.
His hame he reach'd just at the gloamin',
When Nannie was in anger foamin';
An' tauld her that the deil himsel'
Had come to meet him out o' hell,
An' by him he had been sae frighted,
As caus'd him to be sae benighted.
"Ye silly man; ye hav'ral," greeting,
"I ken right weel it is a meeting
That Clootie wants you to atten',
That he may get you at the en',
An' to ken, also, your affection
Unto his annual re-election,
Or whether you think man deceiv'd
When Purgatory is believ'd;
For weel he kens you ha'e a pleasure
In hoarding up much stolen treasure;
An' kens as weel you're as complete
A rascal, an' a hypocrite,
As e'er was in his dark dominion.
This, Willie, is my firm opinion;
He kens your Sabbath profanation,
In working at your occupation,
In men'in' shoon, an' cawin' tackets,
In sewin' claes, an' raisin' rackets;
What marks you maist, you read an' pray,
Aye twa-three times, ilk Sabbath day."
* Gleniffer lies in the barony of Stanely, betwixt two and three miles
southward from Paisley. The Glen of it has a romantic appearance, and its
depth is very immense. A small rivulet runs through the middle of it, and
is adorned on both sides with a variety of trees. The rocks, which hang over
its coves, are pointed and irregular. The margin of its brook is edged with
weeds, hazel, and woodbine.
Auld Willie shook his head, wi' anger,
An' said, "Ye W—e, I've thol'd you langer,
Than onie man wad in the nation."
Then spak thae words, wi' indignation: —
"The race frae whilk you sprang in Mull,
Is somat like your Warlock Will,
But differs maistly in the gender,
For ye're the Goose, and I'm the Gander.
So ye're the witch, an' I'm the warlock;
The preference is to you — ye harlot.
"Ae Halloween, whan Tammie Lock,
Cam' frae the Green, to pou a stock,
A towzie elf cam' to the door,
An' ca'd you but, wi' awfu' roar;
Then it an' you did laugh an' tell
That ye caus'd Patie hang himsel';
Then wi' its eldritch face, sae grum,
It instantly sprang up the lum.
Ae ither night, whan it was wat,
Ye snugly by the ingle sat,
An' tauk'd about the skaithed kye,
That he had aften milked dry;
Then tauld me that ye had a notion
To gie me some of Clootie's potion,
To mak me understan' the matter,
Why kintra fo'k o' witches clatter."
Ye Black Art Dealers, an' ye Hoaxers,
Get ye that potion, rub the oxters
An' sen' some aff by cantraip wit,
To see you auld sulphureous pit.
At bed-time, ae night, Nannie rubbed
His outer-holes, then aff he scudded
Wi' her thro' glens, an' a' the coves,
Whar witches, warlocks, meet in droves;
They ran, — they flang, — they forward tramped;
At them, auld Clootie stood an' stamped,
Then by the Brae,* wi' whistling din,
An' Cragincore,† to the Hee-Linn,‡
Wi' furious speed, an' awfu' brattle,
Like when ye hear loud thunder rattle;
Or raging billows in the sea;
They scamper'd on wi' merry glee,
Owre dykes, owre ditches, and thro' rushes,
Thro' brambles, slae, an' hawthorn bushes,
Unto the Linn — But O! how awfu',
Auld Clootie, — not to say unlawfu'.
Ye Cottars a' about Gleniffer,
Altho' your views o' Clootie differ,
Remember that the warlocks' den,
Is some spat in Gleniffer glen.
On ilka place that jutted out,
Auld Clootie plac'd a fiend-like brute;
Some o' them mares, an' ithers stots,
Some o' them swine, an' bearded goats,
An' some o' them had on a saddle,
But fient a ane had on a bridle.
Now loud and louder blew the blast,
Down owre the braes, out frae the wast;
* The house of BRAE farm, now [1815] almost in ruins, stands on the south
side of Stanely lime-work, and scarcely a quarter of a mile eastward, from
the foot of Gleniffer Glen.
† The height of CRAIGINCORE rock is about 60 feet, and stands nearly a
quarter of a mile eastward, from Brae house.
‡ Hee-Linn is nearly a half mile eastward, from Craigincore. — The rock of it
is very irregular, and of a stupendous height. The water falls in horrible
magnificence from the summit of the rock, into the Linn, and is heard at a
considerable distance in stormy weather. — The rock over which the water
falls, is about 63 feet high.
The heavens now in sable lour,
Th' electric clouds down torrents pour:
The zig-zag lightnings darting by;
The awful thunders rend the sky;
All Nature now in horrid jar,
Wages this elemental war;
The tempests raise a fearfu' din;
The waters roar out owre the Linn,
An' swell its banks in one vast sheet —
It looks as heav'n an' earth wad meet —
When Clootie cried down, "Nannie, here, —
Come up to me. — Mount on your mare,
An' bring up Willie — O I'm fain,
To see anither stranger taen!"
Wi' cantraips shockingly uncannie
Auld Clootie gat him up wi' Nannie.
Then hags, an' a' the crew thegither
Plung'd in the Linn, wi' ane anither,
Wi' sic a squaich, an' sic a croon,
That Clootie cri'd out — "It is done,
For never will I mair defraud,
Auld Willie wi' our annual squad,
For it is said by high decree,
That Death will sen' him soon to me."
Ah! Willie, if ye had taen care,
Ye might hae cheated Clootie sair;
Ye might hae landed on the shore,
Where — reigns for evermore.
Auld Clootie wily gaz'd aroun',
When a' thae legions sallied down,
An' roar'd out—"Rise up frae your wrestle,
Get aff in speed to Stanely Castle."*
* Stanely Castle is nearly a quarter of a mile northward from Gleniffer.
The most part of its walls, and a great part of the cornice, are still standing.
It appears to have been four stories, or about 40 or 50 feet high. It has only
one door on the south side, and a very few windows.
In haste ilk ane gat on his beast,
Then up the Linn, an' by the east,
They took their flight, an' hi'd awa'
Alang the braes, by Duchal law.*
When Willie was on Grumphie's shouther,
He then ran aff, as quick as pouther
An' roar'd out, wi' a voice sae hollow,
An' tint the gang he was to follow.
Then to Gleniffer, thro' yon heather,
There wi' an auld House, † they forgather,
Whare Clootie aften sent his Spunkies,
Aroun' the yard, in shape o' monkies;
Then owre the dykes, an' thro' the whins,
To Robin's loup, ‡ he straightway rins;
Then rais'd himsel' on his tae en',
An' flew like lightning owre the Glen.
The saddle now was gaen a glee,
But yet it didna en' the spree;
For Grumphie ran to Stanely wud §
As fast as ever he could scud,
An' cours'd aroun' the Maukin's knowe, ‖
* Duchal law lies in the Parish of NEILSTON, and is about a mile south-east
from Hee-Linn.
† The remains of that old house stand at a small distance eastward from
the head of Gleniffer glen, and is called "WARDHOUSE."
‡ Rab's loup stands near the head of Gleniffer glen. On the east side of
that place there is a hollow, about forty-four yards long, and eight broad. —
It is traditionally reported that some centuries ago a person of eminent
character, called Robert Montgomery, had a quarrel with a gentleman.
Robert, in order to be avenged on him, stabbed him with a sword, in a treacherous
manner, at the Abbey Kirk of Paisley. Having committed this atrocious
deed, he immediately fled to Gleniffer, and went up the east side of its Glen,
then leaped over it, and went to his estate at Skelmorlie, betwixt Greenock
and Largs.
§ Stanely wood lies contiguous to Stanely Castle, and the farm of Stanely
Green.
║ Maukin's knowe stands near the south-east corner of Stanely wood. —
How it received this name is uncertain.
An' back, an' furat, ev'ry howe,
Till he cam to yon Danish stane, *
Where Grumphie flang Will owre his mane.
But here its far aboon my Muse,
To sing, or tell the dreadfu' views
That Willie had o' Grumphie gotten,
Where Danish Kings lay cent'ries rotten;
An' how he ran, an' how he snowket,
The vaulted tomb that he had howket;
An' how he wrought, by cantraip slight,
To male thae Heroes stan' upright;
An' how he wrought, by some like plan,
To change himsel' to shape o' man;
An' how he was by Grumph forsaked,
An' dragged to the Orchard, † naked,
An' saw frae 'mang the op'ning trees,
The Stanely Castle in a bleeze;
An' at ilk place whare there was light,
An' ugly hag set out to sight.
Auld Willie ance wad ne'er consort,
Wi' ony Devil but for sport;
But now he's catch'd in Clootie's gin,
An' far an' near maun wi' him rin.
Ye Farmers a' near Stanely shaw,
Tell PAISLEY WEAVERS, ane an' a';
* That stone stands on a pedestal, at the north-west corner of Stanely
wood. It is betwixt four and five feet high. The cross piece on the top is
broken off, and has the same wreathed work on the edges, as all other
Danish Stones have There are on the west side of it, the figures of two
lions near the base, and two boars a little above. It is reported that these Danish
Heroes who lived at Stanely Castle, in ancient times, were there interred;
and also that a great general of the Danes fell there, at an engagement; and
that stone, in consequence of which, was there erected in order to perpetuate
his memory.
† The Orchard lies on the north side of STANELY CASTLE, and marches with
the garden of Stanely green.
That Clootie comes ilk night frae hell,
To Stanely Castle's vaulted cell. *
The horrid sight that here presented
Made Willie flee't, an' discontented
But soon a loud huzza an' cheer,
Resounded, "Willie, never fear."
He ventur'd on, wi' trembling heart,
An' what he saw, this is a part: —
Beside the Stanely Castle dyke,
Appear'd a large an' towzie tyke,
An' Nannie wi' him, staunin' laughin',
An' wi' ilk ither makin' daffin',
An' gray-hair'd hags, as black as pitch,
Lie welt'ring in the Castle ditch;
An' then the tyke took to the turrets,
In stately form, to guard the gurrets,
Whare was reposed monie a creature,
O' diff'rent name, an' diff'rent nature;
Dominies, Doctors, Priests, an' Lawyers,
An' Taylors, Cobblers, Smiths, an' Sawers;
Wi' kintra wives, were dancing frisky,
An' drinking beggar-carri'd whisky;
An' in the cells aroun' the wa',
Ware skulls, an' tongues, hung in a raw,
An' clashing wives lay sweating there,
In agony an' black despair;
An' yon wile Jade in wretched fear,
Who cut her bairn frae ear to ear;
An' it expiring in its gore,
A few steps frae the Castle door;
An' tippling Tam, there lying choked,
* The vaulted cell, in which Clootie makes his nocturnal appearance, is on
the east corner of the Castle. There was a school kept in it about the year
1788. The teacher was then pleased to confer on those who were therein
educated, the appellation of "CASTLE SOLDIERS."
An' a' his tongue, thro' an' thro' mauked,
An's mouth, an' een, set open wide,
An' fourteen holes in his tae side,
An's heart, as white's a bowkail stock,
An' stinking like a vera brock;
An' Davie's wife was crying, "Tammie,
Ye werena true to Mary Lammie;"
An' Lorie's Ellers, at the Session,
Bewailin' sairly his oppression;
An' Maggie, wi' a drucken beggar,
Was fightin' like a vera tiger;
An' a' the priests that aye negleckit,
The poor man, an' the rich respeckit;
An' butcher Jock, a boasting bully,
Had in his han's a lang-kail gully,
An' roun' his neck, a guid strang rape,
That girt his mouth baith girn an' gape;
An' Dominies, a pridefu' gang,
Lay roasted there, — knows how lang.
Ah, Dominies! ye needna strut,
Nor wi' your han's the air sae cut;
For Warlock Will was mortified,
To see you there, like herrings fri'd,
At the east en', frae yon black winnock,
Auld Clootie hotched out wi' Nannock;
An' yon twa tarry-finger'd fallows,
Whase ways soon brought them to the gallows.
Then monie a squad, in diff'rent hue,
Cried, "Clootie, frien' — How do ye do?
Dance us a reel — do it complete;
Thump hard wi' your twa cloven feet;
Shew us ae caper, syne anither;
Divert us while we stay thegither."
Auld Clootie then wi' awfu' growl,
Commanded each infernal soul,
To stan' aroun', an' he wad show,
Some capers that they ought to know.
He jigged but, — he caper'd ben,
He cutted wily in his den;
Then turn'd himsel' aroun' to bring
Into some diabolic fling;
But e'er he reach'd the Castle wa',
The Stanely Cock began to craw.
As soon as ere a man is eager
To shun the danger o' the tiger,
As soon as ere a gleam o' light
Is swallowed in the darksome night,
So aff got a' that hellish ban',
An' left auld Cloots his lane to stan',
An' never minded whan they did it,
But a' thegither hameward scudded;
But afterward, they sair reflekit,
That they had Clootie disrespekit;
Because he ne'er asked his connection
Unto his annual re-election.
Whan they got hame, at break o' day,
Twa wearied bodies baith ware they
For sic a rinning here an' there
They ne'er had met wi' onie where.
When Willie was, ae day, frae hame,
Auld Nannie lent their Rippling kame
To ane wha tak's a decent len' —
Sometimes a month, and sometimes ten;
When eighteen owks ware near han' spent,
This Rippling kame ne'er hame was sent.
That rais'd auld Will to sic a pitch,
That he swoor baith by deil an' b—h
That he wad hae it, an' that soon,
Before anither day was done.
In angry mood, that very hour,
He swiftly ran wi' pith an' pow'r;
But, lo! he saw, as he was runnin',
Auld Clootie by the Hollhouse † comin',
Wi' grimer looks than ere he'd seen;
Then flang he Willie on the green,
An' took his saul wi' him away,
An' left his body cauld as clay.
Thae news were soon taen hame to Nannie,
By ae douce woman aye ca'd Grannie;
Whae her instructed by example
That — was very free an' ample,
An' that this was a dispensation
O' heavy loss an' lamentation;
An' that we ought to acquiesce,
When we loss what we here possess.
Auld Nannie coudna be compos'd,
Because her fate, to view disclos'd;
An' chiefly, as she took for granted,
That Cloots wad gie her what she wanted;
For he had sworn by ev'ry aith,
That she wad ne'er see Willie's death,
But afterwards she often said it,
"Never to the deil gie credit."
When his cauld body hame was got,
Auld Nannie lous'd his Jockey-coat,
An' felt his pulse, wi' heavy moan,
An' roar'd out — O my Willie's gone!
Wi' honest Grannie she was keen,
To get his body dress'd an' clean;
An' then to hae him snugly laid
On twa lang deals, within the bed.
The niest day, Jamie Hogg did warn,
Ilk neebour, an' ilk near concern,
* Hollhouse is about a quarter of a mile north-west from Glennifer glen.
An' then to-morrow Nannie got,
The warlock in the dust to rot.
Twa weeks thereafter, Lizzie Tullie
Gaed by where liv'd heroic Willie,
An' there she saw an apparition,
Not of a human composition;
There, stanin' on a crag in plaiden,
As it had been at 'tatoe-diggin',
An' wi' a spade into its han's,
An' there it like a statue stan's;
Its eldritch leuk, an tied-up head,
Its plaiden hue, an' delvin' spade,
Its breeks a' patch'd, an' shoon an' a',
Its beard as white as new fa'n snaw,
Did this young woman sae affright,
That hame she coudna reach that night.
As Willie in his life time hated
To be in onie point defeated,
So now its sair against his mind
To be in Clootie's den confin'd.
Altho' the folk at Paisley braes, ‡
Saw monie a ane o' Willie's ways,
Yet they mourn sair for that auld carl,
Sin' he has gane to yon het warl.
When the last trumpet loud shall blaw,
Auld Willie's banes will rattle a';
An' then they shall be sent to hell,
To suffer what nae tongue can tell.
Whae'er you be that read this tale,
Tell ye this far o'er hill an' dale,
That ilka man, wha has a wife,
Maun shun her rubbin' a' his life;
Tak' this advice, before too late —
Remember WARLOCK WILLIE'S fate.
* Paisley Braes, commonly so called, are those on the east and west side of
Gleniffer Glen.
CX.
LINES ADDRESSED TO THE LADIES WHO
CONDUCTED THE PAISLEY RAGGED SCHOOL
BAZAAR.
The Moslem's paradise may bloom
With flowers of rich and rare perfume,
While founts amidst its groves may play,
To cool its bright and fragrant day.
And lovely Houris may recline
In bowers of dreamy, soft delight;
For such a heaven I'll not repine,
Though it were still more dazzling bright.
I'd rather dream of future bliss
Arising from a scene like this;
Where rank and female sweetness bend,
To be the poor one's truest friend.
These mimic bowers I'd rather prize,
Which round this spacious hall are seen,
And gaze on lovely, laughing eyes,
Beaming beneath each sylvan screen.
When such as you with seraph zeal
Can labour for the general weal,
I'll never dread that my loved clime
Is doomed to misery, vice, and crime.
Though oft the sky may lour, I ween,
And, robed in gloom, may mar the view,
Yet even then dark clouds are seen
Rimm'd with a sun-bright golden hue.
In fiction's legendary page,
Fame speaks of happy Golden Age,
But better times are yet in store
Than ever bless'd the world before.
Let culture rouse the female mind,
'Twill prove the richest moral soil,
And soon a race, redeem'd, refined,
Will rise to bless you for your toil.
Let but a race of matrons rise,
Meek, pious, modest, prudent, wise,
To train the youthful pliant mind,
To deeds beneficent and kind.
Then raze your prisons to the ground,
And burn the hated gallows tree;
Nor let the hangman's craft be found
Amid the cities of the free.
Then peace and joy will be your lot,
And blessings round your dwellings float,
While cherubs, o'er your pillow'd sleep,
To guard your dreams will vigils keep.
O! say not, ladies, I am bold,
Or that from youth such strains proceed —
A grey-hair'd sire, whose heart is cold,
Can love you for each holy deed.
CXI.
LINES IN MEMORY OF ALEXANDER WILSON,
THE ORNITHOLOGIST.
Seek not to nurse the vain desire
Of winning fortune by the Lyre,
Or gaining lustre to your name,
From hollow praise or empty fame;
For oft I ween the gaudy wreath,
Which minstrel pride would fondly wear,
Is shrivelled up by envious breath,
And fades into the yellow sear.
What boots it though the poet's eye,
Holds converse with the earth and sky;
It matters little though his art
Enchant the mind, enthral the heart,
And bear the willing crowd along,
Through many a listless ling'ring hour;
Or in a tide of sparkling song,
A rapture o'er the senses pour;
Or give to laughter loving joy,
A buoyancy without alloy;
Or with a bolder bearing dare,
To touch tho chords of wild despair.
O! he may train his mental powers,
Till rare imaginings are rife,
And scatter fancy's brightest flowers,
To cheer the sombre path of life;
And yet be cast, a humble wreck,
Upon the tide of cold neglect —
No beacon light to lead him forth,
No haven for poor struggling worth,
To shield from scathe the humble bard,
Whose reckless freaks and biting truth,
A harvest brings of chill regard,
To sear the heart of thoughtless youth.
I felt as if a tinge of shame
Came o'er me when I breathe the name
Of Wilson, while across my mind
Flit feelings dark and ill-defined;
It may be that the mental light
That lur'd him on, might lead astray;
Yet stern and bitter was the blight
That fell upon his early day.
Still blame not fate, though doomed to cower
Beneath the stern behest of power;
His early dreams and prospects foiled,
His pride of manhood crushed and soiled,
Were prelude signals for the flight
Of his bold spirit unresigned,
Where beamed in lineaments of light,
The splendours of unconquered mind.
No throbbing pulse or quivering nerve,
Bespoke the purpose that would swerve
From any task, however stern,
Where Nature's lessons he might learn.
Though danger, solitude, and toil
Beset each access to research;
No baffled energy the while,
Ere rose a barrier on the march.
Within, around, the vast excess
Of mighty forest wilderness,
He spent his toilsome lonely hours,
And, leagued with science, trained his powers;
Till, as with magic's touch the while,
Endeared instruction sprang to view,
Dress'd in young painting's rainbow smile,
Of many a lovely blending hue.
The muse which he in youth had woo'd,
Solaced him still in solitude;
And with a richer, purer fire,
Gave lustre to his desert lyre.
Harp of the wilderness, how I
With pure and unfeigned love delight
Through upper air with thee to hie,
And mark the wheeling eagle's flight.
Bard of my heart, thy day hath sped,
Thy course is o'er, thy spirit fled;
Ere yet thy fame had well begun,
Thy toilsome, bright career was run.
Farewell, thy graphic pencil rests;
Farewell, thy forest lyre is mute;
Farewell, but never from our breasts,
Thy cherish'd mem'ry shall we root.
Then say not it is weak or vain,
To bid the monumental fane,
With richly sculptured beauty, rise,
In honour of the worth we prize,
For spirits love to hover round,
And mental influence soft impart
To spots of consecrated ground,
Made dear and sacred to the heart.
CXII.
THE LANELY LAY.
A BALLAD.
Oh, my love was fair as the siller clud
That sleeps in the smile o' dawn,
An' her een were bricht as the crystal bells
That spangle the blossom'd lawn;
And warm as the sun was her kind, kind heart,
That glowed 'neath a faemy sea;
But I feared, by the tones o' her sweet, sweet voice,
That my love was nae for me.
Oh, my love was gay as the summer time
When the earth is bright an' gled,
An' fresh as the spring when the young buds blaw,
In their sparkling pearl-draps cled;
An' her hair was like chains o' the sunset sheen
That hangs 'tween the lift an' sea;
But I feared, by the licht that halo'd her face,
That my love was nae for me.
Oh, my love was sweet as the violet flower
That waves by the moss-grown stane,
An' her lips were rich as the rowans red
That hang in forest lane;
An' her broo was a dreamy hill o' licht
That struck ane dumb to see;
But I feared, by signs that canna' be named,
That my love was nae for me.
Oh, my love was mild as the autumn gale
That fans the temples o' toil,
An' the sweets o' a thousand summers cam'
On her breath an' sunny smile;
An' spotless she gaed on the tainted earth,
Of a' mortal blemish free,
While my heart forgat, in its feast of joy
That my love was nae for me.
Oh, my love was kind, an' I loe'd her lang
Wi' a' heart o' burning fire,
An' woo'd her in strains that her charms had rung
Frae the saul o' my oaken lyre.
She gied me her han', and I press'd her lips,
As the tears gush'd frae her e'e,
Tho' a voice seem'd whisp'ring at my breast
That my love was nae for me.
Oh, my love was leal! an' my cup o' bless
Was reamin' to the brim,
When ae gloamin' chill, to her sacred bower,
Cam a grisly carl fu' grim,
Wha' dash'd the cup frae my raptured lips,
Wi' a wild, unearthly glee;
Sao the ghaistly thought was then confirmed,
That my love was nae for me.
Oh, my love was young, and the grim auld carl
Held her fast in his cauld embrace,
An' suck'd the red frae her hinnied mou',
An' the blush frae her peachy face;
He stifled the sounds o' her charmed throat,
An' quench'd the fires o' her e'e;
But fairer she blooms in her heavenly bower,
For my love was nae for me.
Sae I tyned my love an' I tyned my heart,
An' I tyned baith wealth an' fame;
Syne I turned a sad, weary minstrel wicht,
Wi' the cauld warld for my hame:
Yet my minstrelsy's but a lanely lay,
My wealth, my aumous fee;
Oh, wae that I were wi' the grim auld carl,
For this warld is nae for me.
CXIII.
SONG OF THE SEASON.
The sunny days are come, my love,
The gowan's on the lea;
An' fragrant flow'rs wi' hinnied lips
Invite the early bee;
The scented winds are whispering by,
The lav'rock's on the wing;
The lintie on the dewy spray,
Gars glen and woodland ring.
The sunny days are come, my love,
The primrose decks the brae;
The violet in its rainbow robe,
Bends to the noontide ray.
The cuckoo in her trackless bow'r,
Hath waken'd from her dream;
The shadows of the newborn leaves,
Are waving in the stream.
The sunny days are come, my love,
The swallow skims the lake,
As o'er its glassy bosom clear,
The insect cloudlets shake.
The heart of nature throbs with joy,
At love and beauty's sway;
The tiniest thing on earth or air,
Shares in her ecstasy.
Then come wi' me my bonny Bell,
An' rove Gleniffer o'er;
An' ye shall lend a brichter tint,
To sunshine an' to flow'r;
An' ye shall tell the heart ye've won,
A blessing or a wae;
Awake a summer in this breist,
Or bid hope's flow'rs decay.
The spring may spread her mantle green,
O'er mountain, dell, an' lea;
An' summer burst in ev'ry hue,
Wi' smiles an' melody:
To me the sun were beamless love,
An' scentless ilka flow'r,
Gin ye were no' this heart's bricht sun,
It's music an' its bow'r.
CXIV.
THE LAND WHERE I WAS BORN.
There is a land, a lovely land,
Encompassed by the sea,
Whose every mountain, glen, and strand,
Thrice hallowed is to me.
It is the land whose heathery hills
No foe e'er trod with scorn;
The land of rocks and dancing rills —
The land where I was born.
Hail! Scotia, hail! with love for thee
My raptured bosom swells;
Land of the brave, the good, the free,
Of woods and flowery dells;
Land where the thistle proudly blooms,
Fresh as the rising morn;
I'll love, till time this heart consumes,
The land where I was born.
Land where proud Rome, in days of yore,
Forth led her countless hordes,
Till Scotia gleamed from shore to shore
With empire-winning swords;
But glory to our sires of old!
All stainless and untorn,
Still bloom the laurels which enfold
The land where I was born.
In thee, when South'ron foes assailed
To load thy neck with chains,
And Edward's whetted vengeance pealed
In thunder o'er thy plains;
A Wallace, matchless, dauntless, good,
His threats defied with scorn,
And nobly saved, in fields of blood,
The land where I was born.
Hail, Bruce! dread essence of the brave!
Hail, monarch of my soul!
Thy deeds, where thraldom found a grave,
To endless fame shall roll;
Thy deeds on Bannock's bloody field
Thy name shall aye adorn;
Bright glory crowns, and valour shields
The land where I was born.
Land of the mist! where dauntless Knox
First rent the Papal veil —.
Where covenant hymns, from glens and rocks,
Came floating on the gale —
Where martyr hosts, to piles of fire,
By Papal vengeance torn,
For truth upon your breast expired,
Great land where I was born.
Hail, land of song! where countless bards
Have tuned the heavenly lyre;
Where Tannahill's soft strains were heard
To blend with Burns' fire —
Where Scott in peerless splendour reigned,
And Hogg awoke his horn,
Till echo swelled through wood and glen —
Bright land where I was born.
Land of my love! land of my joy!
Land where my life began!
Land where I rambled when a boy,
And sojourn when a man!
Land where the eagles cleave the sky,
And view the world with scorn,
I'll breathe your name in life's last sigh,
Dear land where I was born.
CXV.
A SONG.
Noo winter's cauld win's hae departed,
The snaw has forsaken the plain,
An' Nature, sae lang broken-hearted,
Is wakening to glory again.
The flowers, sweetly buskit in blossom,
Are blinkin' in glen, mead, an' shaw,
But sair, sair, alas! pines this bosom
For frien's that I loe far awa.
Wi' joy noo the laverock is pouring
His amorous notes frae the cluds;
Wi' joy, too, the thrush e'es him soaring,
An' answers his sang frae the woods.
The wee gentle lambkin is bleating
An' dancin' wi' joy on the law,
But sair, sair, this vext heart is beating
For frien's that I loe far awa.
CXVI.
ON SEEING THE SWORD OF SIR WILLIAM
WALLACE.
Art thou the weapon which, in days of yore,
None but the Scottish Champion could wield?
The blade that oft was dyed in Southern gore,
And many a tyrant's base existence seal'd,
Compell'd the foes of liberty to yield;
Proud Edward's slaves to — trembling — fly abash'd,
That heap'd with dead, and drench'd with blood the
field,
And through the ranks of war resistless dash'd,
Scattering dismay and ruin wheresoe'er thou flash'd?
Methinks thy godlike master now I see,
Grasping thy hilt within his mighty hand,
Vowing to conquer England's chivalry
Rather than brook her insolent command.
Along with him, resolv'd to fall or stand,
To welcome death, or Edward's power o'erthrow;
A small, but faithful, patriotic band,
Within whose breasts the fires of freedom glow,
Are eager to out-brave the onset of the foe.
Eventful years are to my mind recall'd,
When thy unwieldy mass of steel I see;
And know by thee, when Scotland was enthrall'd,
The foremost blow was struck for liberty.
But knowledge now has superseded thee,
And despotism has been taught to yield
To justice, reason, and philosophy:
These, to the injur'd, have become the shield,
And, to maintain our rights, the quill we only wield.
Great God! who art of Nature's self the soul,
Who earth and ocean hold'st within thy hand,
Who bids the lightnings flash, the thunders roll,
And sea and tempest still'st at Thy command —
Diffuse the beams of truth o'er every land!
"Knowledge is power," let every nation know,
That every slave may burst his iron band,
That equal rights to all mankind may flow,
From Afric's burning sands, to Lapland's hills of snow.
CXVII.
BLACKLAW MILL.
AN ODE.
Let Nature's face be sad or gay,
In musing mood I love to stray,
Where I, unknowing care or crime,
Of youth's sweet morning spent the prime.
I passed my early, guiltless days,
Where Espedair meandering strays,
And where the plantin' crowns the hill
That rises o'er the Blacklaw Mill.
My old companions now are gone;
I wander o'er the fields alone;
Alas! I know not where they be,
Or if they still remember me.
With not a care to cloud the brow,
We gambol'd o'er the broomy knowe
How joyously we ran at will
Among the fields of Blacklaw Mill!
The harmless cattle are no more,
I tended there in days of yore; —
Since I beheld them grazing last,
How many changeful years have past!
Hawkie no more the gate can leap,
When, tired with play, I used to sleep:
Nor Crummie's heavy lowing fill
The silent vale of Blacklaw Mill.
Though now the stones are lying loose,
That once composed my little house;
The hawthorn gone, whose bushy form
Oft screen'd me from the heat and storm
Yet still unchang'd flows on the burn,
That us'd my little mill to turn;
And, as of old, it murmurs still
Beneath the brae at Blacklaw Mill.
I often pause beside the pool,
Wherein my limbs I used to cool —
That oft my little vessel bore —
And think on days that are no more.
There everything to me is dear,
The flowers I see, the birds I hear
The very breeze, though cold and chill,
Is dear to me at Blacklaw Mill.
But yet, with a regardless eye,
May others view, when passing by,
The woods and streams so sweet to me,
The fields endear'd to memory.
Though I have seen them o'er and o'er,
'Tis but to love them more and more
And till my bosom cease to thrill,
I'll love to muse o'er Blacklaw Mill.
CXVIII.
ON MATRIMONY.
Hail! soul-cementing Matrimony, hail!
From thee, to man, what countless blessings flow?
The social system without thee would fail,
And barbarous soon the race of man would grow!
How much to thee do feeling mortals owe?
To thee we trace those sweet dependencies,
Those soft emotions in our breasts that glow,
With all the tender, sympathetic ties,
Which make mankind to brutes so far superior rise!
O! I have felt thy sweet and soothing charms; —
Of thee, no wonder I presume to say,
Thy very name my grateful bosom warms —
A thousand pleasant recollections bring.
Thou hast repaid, with interest, every sting,
I've felt throughout my pilgrimage in life,
And to existence made me fondly cling,
And set at nought the world and all its strife;
How dear a hopeful offspring, and a virtuous wife.
What happiness and comfort can they have
Who jostle through this weary world alone
By none belov'd, and to the gloomy grave
Descend at last, unpitied and unknown?
Those, left beneath a load of years to groan,
Who wife nor children's soothing voice e'er knew,
Must own, the friends to be relied upon,
And earthly consolations all are few,
To those who singly strive life's ills to wrestle through.
What though, when wed, no more the town we leave,
To talk of love beside the woods and streams,
And tread no more the dewy fields at eve,
Nor sit entranc'd beneath the moon's pale beams?
When Heav'n's unclouded arch bespangled gleams,
And the rude winds are hush'd their caves within,
And nought is heard, save, when the lone owl screams,
Or on the solemn stillness breaks the din
Of the attentive watch-dog, or the roaring linn!
What though no more the sprightly dance we join;
Appear no more among the young and gay;
Delight no more in vain attire to shine
At kirk, or market, or at ball, or play;
And fly the morning joys of life's short day?
Yet not to youth are all our joys confin'd; —
Wedlock whate'er the profligate may say,
To those whom love and sympathy have join'd,
Has joys — and joys that leave all other joys behind.
But who, so lonely, wanders on the shore
At midnight's dreary hour, depriv'd of sleep —
And shrinks to hear the foaming billows roar,
And through the sky the angry tempest sweep?
With trembling limbs oft climbs the jutting steep,
And to the ocean turns a wistful eye?
'Tis her, whose husband ploughs the trackless deep,
And who, for her, beneath a foreign sky
Oft lifts his eyes to Heaven, and heaves the deep-drawn
sigh.
At last the long-expected bark appears —
Th' advent'rous keel the dark blue wave divides,
Till she, at length, the wish'd-for harbour nears,
And, safely there, once more at anchor rides.
The hardy tar in whom Old England prides —
Who ploughs the unfathom'd deep from pole to pole;
Who fearless braves the rudest storms and tides —
O'erwhelm'd, now meets the mistress of his soul,
While down his cheeks, with joy, the bursting torrents roll.
Away! ye rude, who mock those bursts of joy —
Those melting scenes of ecstacy and bliss;
Who deem that wedlock's pleasures soon must cloy,
And in debauch'ry revel to excess:
The false and short-liv'd pleasures ye possess,
Vanish like bubbles on the stream that flows.
Alas! ye nothing know of happiness, —
Your joys produce an endless chain of woes
That never can but with your own existence close.
And, hence, ye dormant few, who ne'er have felt
The soft impulse of love's delicious flame —
Whose callous bosoms never learn'd to melt —
Nor thrill to hear the mention of a name!
And, hence, ye sordid souls, whose only aim
Is deep in "Mammon's filthy mine" to plod;
Who nothing care for honour, love, or fame,
But bow submissive to his potent nod: —
Hence, hence; and grovelling, fall before your glittering
god.
CXIX.
THE LOMOND BRAES.
"O, lassie, wilt thou go
To the Lomond wi' me?
The wild thyme's in bloom,
And the flower's on the lea;
Wilt thou go my dearest love?
I will ever constant prove,
I'll range each hill and grove
On the Lomond wi' thee."
"O, young men are fickle,
Nor trusted to be,
And many a native gem
Shines fair on the lea:
Thou mayst see some lovely flower,
Of a more attractive power,
And may take her to thy bower
On the Lomond wi' thee."
"The hind shall forsake,
On the mountain the doe,
The stream of the fountain
Shall cease for to flow;
Ben Lomond shall bend
His high brow to the sea,
Ere I take to my bower
Any flower, love, but thee."
She's taken her mantle,
He's taken his plaid;
He coft her a ring,
And he made her his bride:
They're far o'er yon hills,
To spend their happy days,
And range the woody glens
'Mang the Lomond braes.
CXX.
THE SCOTTISH EMIGRANT.
AIR — "Flowers o' the forest."
On board of a bark, in the deepest emotion,
An emigrant sigh'd at the close of the day;
Fast fell his tears as he gazed on the ocean,
That danced in the beams o' the sun's parting ray.
Land of my childhood, now that we sever,
Ne'er to mine eyes was thy woodlands so fair,
Mild as the flow of my own native river,
Scotia, my hame, will I ne'er see ye mair!
Lands o' the sun, ye may boast o' your pleasures,
Sweet your perfume's on the breast o' the wave,
Stern independence is Scotia's treasure,
Sad is her heart wi' the wails o' the slave.
The sons of the North, in their moss-covered dwellings,
Freedom inhale with their own mountain air,
Voices I hear, on the night breezes swelling,
Hame o' my heart, will I ne'er see ye mair
Land o' my kindred, so famous in story,
Factions and foes thou hast ever defied;
Unchanged in thy worth, and untarnished in glory,
Land for whose freedom my fathers have died.
France may rejoice in her gay sparkling fountains,
Italy boast of her gardens so rare,
Dearer by far are your snow-covered mountains,
Scotia, my hame, will I ne'er see ye mair!
CXXI.
NOW SPRING RETURNS.
Now spring returns, and early buds
Around our feet appear,
The voice o' music frae the woods
Fa's sweet upon the ear;
But oh! this heart wi' sorrow burns,
And saut tears dim my ee',
For never mair to me returns
My Jamie frae the sea.
How aft, when e'ening's sunshine fell
Upon the distant braes,
We wandered here, our love to tell,
In the lang, lang simmer days!
I see a face, I hear a voice
By every spreading tree;
Oh, Jamie! little thought we ance
Your bed would be the sea.
I aften daunner out alane,
By bonnie winding Clyde,
Whar we hae sat, whar ye hae said
I soon would be your bride;
And dreaming o' your kind embrace,
Wi' a' ye promised me,
But soon, I mind — heart-rending thought —
Ye're in the deep, deep sea.
And oh! to see your mither's wae
Wad break a heart o' stane;
She greets and prays the lee-lang day —
They say her mind is gane.
While gazing on the water deep,
If strangers catch her e'e,
Her tale is aye, "I'd but ae son;
He perished far at sea."
My Jamie, dear, returning spring,
Wi' a' its flowers sae fair
That gars young bosoms dance wi' joy,
Can gladden us nae mair.
The scented breeze, the birdies' sang,
Are naething noo to me,
For a' my heart, and a' my hopes
Are wi' ye in the sea!
CXXII.
SONG.
Sweet is the gloamin' hour, wild flowers are sleeping,
An' veil'd their fair breasts till the dawn o' the day;
Sweet is the rosy bower whar one love is keeping
Its loneliest watch on the banks o' the Tay.
Oh! Henry, my true love, say, why did we sever;
Thy absence I'll mourn till my life shall decay
Thy name on my soul is engraven for ever —
'Twas here we last met by the banks of the Tay.
How soon didst thou rush into warfare and danger,
When the cry of oppression was heard o'er the wave;
Unknown was thy worth in the land of the stranger,
And gory thy bed 'mid the ranks of the brave.
'Tis night; but its darkness no longer can fear me,
'Twas here where we lov'd and in transport did stray;
Howl on, ye night breezes, I'll think he is near me,
As lonely I weep by the banks of the Tay.
CXXIII.
SCOTLAND'S CURSE.
O weary fa' the drinkin' o't,
The gill stoup, and the clinkin' o't;
And weary fa' the drunkards a',
Wha canna rest for thinkin' o't.
Some twa three happy, happy years,
My John and me hae seen.
They fled — now sorrow's scaddin' tears
For ever blear my een.
O weary fa', &c.
The wee short mornin' blink o' life
Flew by in pleasure's bowers;
But drink and want, and endless strife,
Soon wither'd fancy's flowers.
O weary fa', &c.
Our cozie house, kail-yard and a',
Bless'd fruit o' thrift and care,
Soon melted; — now through winter's snaw
We wander cauld and bare.
O weary fa, &c.
Borne headlong to destruction's flood,
On ruin's ragged wings,
Our bairns are fleein' — scarce a dud
To hap the naked things.
I've clouted, darned, and stitch'd the dears,
Till I can clout nae mair:
Sad patches I sew on wi' tears,
Vile tatters wi' despair.
O mony a dreary day and night
I've silent borne my load;
I needna look to man for light,
Help, help me, gracious God.
CXXIV.
BACK O' MY HAND TO YOU.
Pack off wi' your lingles, ye souter, gae wa',
What hae ye that's takin' aboot ye ava?
Nae pence in your pouch, no a sark on your back —
Your earthly estate wouldna bring you a plack.
If e'er I tak' up wi' a dyvour like you,
Right sma's my conceit o' mysel', man, I trow;
To tell you a truth, lad, I daurna weel hide —
To keep me frae skaith, I've a sma' grain o' pride.
It's no the fool's pride that's made up o' vain vapours,
That snuffs at poor folks, and wi' vanity capers,
But pride that says, "Lassie, tak' tent o' thysel';
The better the browst, lass, the better the yill."
Sae gae your wa's hame, lad, I'll ne'er loot sae laigh;
What! — change wholesome bread for a morsel o' daigh;
Ye haud na yoursel' man, how could ye haud me?
Hame, hame then, for you and I ne'er will agree.
CXXV.
STICK TO YOUR LAST.
What think ye o' chiels wha's conceit
Would mend the affairs o' our nation,
Without either gumption or wit
To govern themsel's wi' discretion?
Wha think that a' knowledge and sense
Are wrapt up in flimsy newspapers;
And grudge neither time nor expense
To fill their vain noddles wi' vapours?
Wha grumble — and envy the great,
Reviling a' statesmen as jobbers;
Wha envy their betters, and hate
A' rulers, and curse them as robbers?
Wha mak the warkshop, wi' their din,
A perfect political hot-house;
And flee, when a saxpence they win,
To wrangle and roar i' the pot-house?
I think they should stick to their wark,
And haud them within their ain tethers;
Nor rin, like lowse nowt in a park,
Rowtin' a' kinds o' nonsense and blethers.
Let ilka man look to himsel',
And set his ain biggin' in order;
Draw water frae out his ain well,
And seek peace within his ain border.
CXXVI.
HAUD THEM AT THE STAFF'S END.
Nae harum-scarum chiels for me,
Nae roaring Rob the Ranters,
Wha's graceless wit, and godless glee
Bode naething but mishanters.
Our modesty's our maiden crown,
Let every maiden wear it;
And keep abeigh the graceless loon
Wha frae her head would tear it.
True modesty can put a mute
On wanton follies' fiddle;
The roughest rogues e'er ran thereout,
Ken wha they daurna meddle.
If godliness be your defence,
The rudest men will fear ye;
Abash'd and fley'd — on nae pretence
Will impudence come near ye.
CXXVII.
THE DYING HOUR.
Why does the day, whose date is brief,
Smile sadly o'er the western sea?
Why does the brown autumnal leaf
Hang restless on its parent tree?
Why does the rose, with drooping head,
Send richer fragrance from the bow'r?
Their golden time of life had fled —
It was their dying hour!
Why does the swan's melodious song
Come thrilling on the gentle gale?
Why does the lamb, which stray'd along,
Lie down to tell its mournful tale?
Why does the deer, when wounded, fly
To the lone vale, where night-clouds low'r?
Their time was past — they lived to die —
It was their dying hour!
Why does the dolphin change its hues,
Like that aërial child of light?
Why does the cloud of night refuse
To meet the morn with beams so bright?
Why does the man we saw to-day,
To-morrow fade like some sweet flow'r?
All earth can give must pass away —
It was their dying hour!
CXXVIII.
THE MIDNIGHT WIND.
I've listen'd to the midnight wind,
Which seem'd, to fancy's ear,
The mournful music of the mind,
The echo of a tear;
And still, methought, the hollow sound
Which, melting, swept along,
The voice of other days had found,
With all the powers of song.
I've listen'd to the midnight wind,
And thought of friends untrue —
Of hearts that seem'd so fondly twined,
That nought could e'er undo;
Of cherish'd hopes, once fondly bright —
Of joys which fancy gave —
Of youthful eyes, whose lovely light
Were darken'd in the grave.
I've listen'd to the midnight wind
When all was still as death;
When nought was heard before, behind —
Not e'en the sleeper's breath.
And I have sat at such an hour
And heard the sick man's sigh;
Or seen the babe, like some sweet flow'r,
At that lone moment die.
I've listen'd to the midnight wind,
And wept for others' woe;
Nor could the heart such music find
To bid its tear-drops flow.
The melting voice of one we loved,
Whose voice was heard no more,
Seem'd, when those fancied chords were moved,
Still breathing as before.
I've listen'd to the midnight wind,
And sat beside the dead,
And felt those movings of the mind
Which own a secret dread.
The ticking clock, which told the hour,
Had then a sadder chime;
And these winds seem'd an unseen pow'r,
Which sung the dirge of time.
I've listen'd to the midnight wind,
When, o'er the new-made grave
Of one whose heart was true and kind,
Its rudest blasts did rave.
Oh! there was something in the sound —
A mournful, melting tone —
Which led the thoughts to that dark ground
Where he was left alone.
I've listen'd to the midnight wind,
And courted sleep in vain,
While thoughts like these have oft combined
To rack the wearied brain.
And even when slumber, soft and deep,
Has seen the eyelid close,
The restless soul, which cannot sleep,
Has stray'd till morning rose.
CXXIX.
OUR AIN GREEN SHAW.
They tell me o' a land whar the sky is ever clear,
Whar rivers row ower gowden sands, and flowers unfading
blaw,
But, oh! nae joys o' nature to me are half sae dear
As the flow'rets springing wild in our ain green shaw.
They speak o' gilded palaces, o' lords and leddies fair,
And scenes that charm the weary heart in cities far awa';
But nane o' a' their gaudy shows and pleasures can compare
Wi' the happiness that dwells in our ain green shaw.
Oh, weel I lo'e when summer comes wi' sunny days an' glee,
And brings to gladden ilka heart her rural pleasures a',
When on the thorn the mavis sings and gowans deck the
lea, —
Oh, then nae spot's sae bonnie as our ain green shaw.
While Heaven supplies each simple want and leaves me still
my cot,
I'll bear through life a cheerfu' heart whatever may befa',
Nor envy ither's joys, but aye be happy wi' my lot
When wand'ring in the e'enin' through our ain green
shaw.
CXXX.
RONALD MACGIECH.*
O, Ronald Macgiech was a kenspeckle loon,
Had cash in ilk pocket, and feres in ilk toun;
He was idle and throwther, and drucken an' a',
His face it was round, and his back was aye braw.
He ate o' the daintiest, drank o' the best,
At sma' cost to him, as the neighbourhood wist;
He troubled the change-folk baith often and dreigh —
Yet wha was sae welcome as Ronald Macgiech?
Tho' landlord and maid wad fain answer'd his bell,
The landlady ever served Ronald hersel';
She'd sit to taste wi' him, though ever sae thrang,
And see him a' right, though a' else should gae wrang.
And rise when he liket at e'en to gae 'wa',
He ne'er got a hint for his lawing ava;
Baith merchants and customers boost stand abeigh,
No ane wad she look at but Ronald Macgiech.
* Ronald Macgiech — with other aliases — paid the forfeit of his crimes
in front of the Glasgow Jail, along with an associate in crime — Robert
M'Kinlay, alias Rough Rab, in 1819. Ronald was a veteran in his profession,
and thoroughly understood all the Outs and Ins of burglary. He had attained
the moral hardihood — which only a course of crime can induce — to
turn into humorous burlesque the exit from the scaffold — by remarking
that "It was sair on the e'e-sicht." When his hosiery had been the worse
for wear, he used to say that "It saved him trouble, for he could draw them
on by whatever end he catched first" — Whistle-Binkie.
Sae lichtly, nae lad in the hale kintra side,
Could dance you a hornpipe, or set to a bride;
At fairs, in the reel-house he'd caper and spreigh,
Till the rantle-tree rattled wi' Ronald Macgeich.
Though o' him the men were a' rede and unfain,
The lassies aye leuch when they met him again;
To a' ither wooers though saucy and skeigh,
They were aye unco cosh-like wi' Ronald Macgiech.
Whate'er was awn him he was aye sure to get,
But ne'er could remember to pay his ain debt;
The luckiest wight, too, he was in the land,
For ithers aft lost things, but Ronald aye fand.
At last he did something — no ane could tell what,
The Wiggies were down on him — nae gude sign that;
He died in his shoon, about twa stories heich —
'Twas sair on the e'esicht of Ronald Macgiech.
CXXXI.
HOW EARLY I WOO'D THEE.
How early I woo'd thee, how dearly I lo'ed thee;
How sweet was thy voice, how enchanting thy smile;
The joy 'twas to see thee, the bliss to be wi' thee,
I mind, but to feel now their power to beguile.
I gazed on thy beauty, and a' things about thee,
Seem'd too fair for earth, as I bent at thy shrine;
But fortune and fashion, mair powerfu' than passion,
Could alter the bosom that seemed sae divine!
Anither may praise thee, may fondle and fraise thee;
And win thee wi' words, when his heart's far awa';
But oh, when sincerest, when warmest, and dearest,
His vows — will my truth be forgot by thee a'?
'Midst pleasure and splendour thy fancy may wander,
But moments o' solitude ilk ane maun dree;
Then feeling will find thee, and mem'ry remind thee,
O' him wha through life gaes heart-broken for thee.
CXXXII.
OUR AIN GUDE TOWN.
O leeze me now on our ain gude Town!
I wat there's few like our ain gude Town;
On the crown o' the land, may be mony mair grand —
But there's nae ane sae dear as our ain gude Town.
There's lads fu' rare in our ain gude Town,
And lasses fu' fair in our ain gude Town;
The light o' their e'e is a fountain o' glee,
And it flows to the heart in our ain gude Town.
O leeze me now, &c.
O dearly we loe thee, our ain gude Town,
And meikle we owe thee, our ain gude Town
The friendship, the love, we were fated to prove,
Were happiest aye in our ain gude Town.
O leeze me now, &c.
Then here's to the health o' our ain gude Town,
The wisdom and wealth o' our ain gude Town;
May plenty and peace, ilka blessing increase,
And sweet freedom aye halo our ain gude Town!
O leeze me now, &c.
CXXXIII.
WATTY M'NEIL.
When others were boasting 'bout fetes and parades,
Whar silken hose shine, and glitter cockades,
In the low-thatched cot mair pleasure I feel
To discourse wi' the aul'-farint Watty M'Neil.
The gentles may hoot, and slip by his door;
His mien it is simple, his haudin' is poor:
Aft fashion encircles a heart no sae leal —
Far, far will ye ride for a Watty M'Neil.
His welcome is touching, yet nought o' the faun —
A warmth is express'd in the shake o' his han';
His cog and his bed, or ought in his biel,
The lonely will share frae kind Watty M'Neil.
He kens a' 'bout Scotland, its friends and its foes,
How Leslie did triumph o'er gallant Montrose;
And the Covenant's banner ower Philiphaugh's fiel'
Waved glorious — 'twas noble, says Watty M'Neil.
Then gang and see Watty ere laid in the mools,
He's a help to the wise folk, a lesson to fools;
Contentment and innocence mingle sae weel
Mid the braw lyart haffits o' Watty M'Neil.
CXXXIV.
A GOOD OLD SONG.
I have wander'd afar, 'neath stranger skies,
And have revell'd amid their flowers;
I have lived in the light of Italian eyes,
And dream'd in Italian bowers,
While the wondrous strains of their sunny clime
Have been trill'd to enchant mine ears,
But, oh, how I longed for the song and the time
When my heart could respond with its tears.
Then sing me a song, a good old song —
Not the foreign, the learn'd, the grand —
But a simple song, a good old song
Of my own dear fatherland.
I have heard, with the great, and the proud, and the gay
All, all they would have me adore
Of that music divine that, enraptured, they say
Can be equall'd on earth never more.
And it may be their numbers indeed are divine,
Though they move not my heart through mine ears,
But a ballad old of the dear "langsyne"
Can alone claim my tribute of tears.
I have come from a far and a foreign clime
To mine own loved haunts once more,
With a yearning for all of my childhood's time
And the dear home-sounds of yore;
And here, if there yet be love for me,
Oh, away with those stranger lays,
And now let my only welcome be
An old song of my boyhood's days.
CXXXV.
THE LANE AULD MAN.
He sorrowfu' sat by the ingle cheek,
Its hearth was cauld to his weary feet,
For a' were gane, an' nae mair would meet
By the side o' the lane auld man.
To the wreck o' his hopes fond memory clung
When flowers o' his heart on his hearthstane sprung;
But death's cauld hand had cruelly wrung
The heart o' the lane auld man.
A leafless tree in life's wintry blast,
He stood alane, o' his kin the last,
For ane by ane frae his side they pass'd,
An' left him a lane auld man.
His bonnie bairns, o' his heart the prize,
Wi' their bounding step and sunny eyes,
Hae left his hearth for hame in the skies;
Alack for the lane auld man!
The weel-lo'ed form o' his ain auld wife,
Wha sooth'd the cares o' a lang bleak life,
Has gane to rest wi' her weans frae strife,
An' heeds na her lane auld man.
Owre the turf on their breast he lo'ed to weep,
And sair he lang'd wi' the lost to meet,
Till death did close, in his ain calm sleep,
The een o' the lane auld man.
Whar yew-trees bend owre the dark kirk-yard,
An' gowans peep frae the lang green-sward,
The moss-clad stanes o' the cauld grave guard
The last o' the lane auld man.
CXXXVI.
COME AWA, HIE AWA.
Come awa, hie awa,
Come and be mine ain, lassie;
Row thee in my tartan plaid,
An' fear nae wintry rain, lassie.
A gowden brooch, an' siller belt,
Wi' faithfu' heart I'll gie, lassie,
Gin ye will lea' your Lowland hame,
For Highland hills wi' me, lassie.
Come awa, &c.
A bonnie bower shall be thy hame,
And dressed in silken sheen, lassie,
Ye'll be the fairest in the ha',
And gayest on the green, lassie.
Come awa, &c.
ANSWER.
Haud awa, bide awa,
Haud awa frae me, Donald;
What care I for a' your wealth,
And a' that ye can gie, Donald?
I wadna lea' my Lowland lad
For a' your gowd and gear, Donald;
Sae tak' your plaid, an' o'er the hill,
An' stay nae langer here, Donald.
Haud awa, &c.
My Jamie is a gallant youth,
I lo'e but him alane, Donald;
And in bonnie Scotland's isle,
Like him there is nane, Donald;
Haud awa, &c.
He wears nae plaid, or tartan hose,
Nor garters at his knee, Donald;
But oh, he wears a faithfu' heart,
And love blinks in his e'e, Donald;
Sae, haud awa, bide awa,
Come nae mair at e'en, Donald;
I wadna break my Jamie's heart,
To be a Highland Queen, Donald.
CXXXVII.
THE COVENANTER'S LAMENT.
AIR. — "The Martyr's Grave."
There's nae Covenant now, lassie!
There's nae Covenant now!
The Solemn League and Covenant
Are a' broken through!
There's nae Renwick now, lassie,
There's nae gude Cargill,
Nor holy Sabbath preaching
Upon the Martyrs' Hill!
It's naething but a sword, lassie!
A bluidy, bluidy ane!
Waving owre poor Scotland,
For her rebellious sin.
Scotland's a' wrang, lassie,
Scotland's a' wrang —
It's neither to the hill nor glen,
Lassie, we daur gang.
The Martyrs' Hill's forsaken,
In simmer's dusk sae calm;
There's nae gathering now, lassie,
To sing the e'ening psalm!
But the martyr's grave will rise, lassie,
Aboon the warrior's cairn;
An' the martyr soun' will sleep, lassie,
Aneath the waving fern!
CXXXVIII.
MEG MEIKLEJOHN.
Ye kentna Meg Meiklejohn, midwife in Mauchlin?
She was the widow of lilti-cock Lauchlan;
He was a body gaed rockin' and rowin' —
His ae leg was stracht — its neibour a bow in't.
Maggy was boussie frae croon to the causey,
Lauchie was gizen'd 's an auld girnal bassie;
And as for their features, folk said it that kent them,
If nature meant sour anes, she needna repent them.
Of the stark aqua vitæ they baith lo'ed a drappie,
And when capernutie then aye unco happy;
Of a' in the parish this pair was the bauldest,
As burns brattle loudest when water's the shaulest.
Whiles Lauchie wad spurn at the whisky like poison
But after he preed it, wad drucken an ocean;
Maggy, too, had a fell tippling gate o't,
An' aye took a drappie whene'er she could get it.
Lauchie had looms, but was lag at the weaving,
His fingers and thumbs though, were active in thieving;
Lauchie had looms that but few could hae wrought on,
For Lauchie had schemes that but few wad hae thought on.
Lauchie had secrets weel worthy the keeping,
For Lauchie made siller while ithers were sleeping,
Lauchie a second sight surely had gi'en him,
An' saw things wi' less light than ithers could see them.
But Lauchie did dee, and was welcomely yirdet,
The folks said his conscience was unco weel girdet;
When it took a rackin', it beat a' description,
His oily-gaun tongue, too, was fu' o' deception.
Now Lauchie's awa, and the bodies in Mauchlin,
Wish Meg in her kist, and as deep sheugh'd as Lauchlan;
But Lauchie for cunning surpass'd a' his fellows,
He dee't just in time for escaping the gallows.
CXXXIX.
RHYMING RAB THE RANTER.*
When Scotia's pipe had tint her tune,
Lang reestin' in the reek, man,
And pipers were sae faithless grown,
They scarce could gar her squeak, man;
A doughty chiel cam' down the hill,
Ca'd Rhymin' Rab the Ranter —
But pipers a' their chafts might claw,
When he blew up the chanter.
* This song was produced on the Anniversary of the Kilbarchan Burns'
Club.
It may not be known, generally, that Kilbarchan was the birth-place of
Habbie Simson, rival to Rab the Ranter. There is a tradition that Habbie,
who could not bear a rival, was fairly beat by Rab in a trial of their musical
powers, and that, determining to be avenged, he put his hand to his sword,
and aimed a most dreadful blow at his successful rival, turning away his head
at the same time to avoid seeing the deadly gash that his weapon had inflicted.
Taking the direction of Blackstone Moss, he bogged himself for three days
in one of the hags. The stomach, ever selfish, and not caring about the sympathies
of the neck, put in her irresistible alternative, "Better be hanged
than starved;" so the combative piper returned to a friend's house, who was
anxious about him, and could not account for his absence. Rabbie, relating
the detail of the murder, claimed his protection against the fangs of justice.
"Gae wa', ye daft gouk! my certie, Rob's baith meat and claith like. I saw
him this verra day, and there didna appear to me the scart o' a preen about
his face." Habbie, though relieved from fear, would not have cared though
his rival's drone had been for ever silenced. On examining the scabbard of
his sword, he found, the blade sleeping quietly and bloodless; the hilt having
come away in the haste and fury of the enraged piper.
A statue of Habbie graces a niche in the Kilbarchan church steeple, blowing
with as much expression as rudely chiselled freestone can give: at least two
bagfuls of spare wind in his inflated cheeks. — Whistle-Binkie.
He blew sae sweet, he blew sae shrill,
He blew sae loud and lang, man,
Baith hill and dale can tell the tale,
They ne'er gat sic a sang, man,
Fame heard the soun' a' Scotland roun',
My sooth he didna saunter,
Like fire and flame flew fast the name,
O' Rhymin' Rab the Ranter.
From John o'Groats to cross the Tweed,
And round the English border,
Was heard the rant o' Rabbie's reed,
Sae weel 'twas kept in order.
To shepherd knowes where shamrock grows,
Wi' sic a' stound he sent her,
Auld Erin's drone her hood put on,
To shun the Scottish chanter.
Our lasses linket to the lilt,
The lads they lap and caper'd,
The carlins coost their crummies tilt,
Sae vauntingly they vapour'd.
Auld gutchers grey streek't up their clay,
To club the merry canter;
Whilst wood and glen prolong'd the strain,
O' Rhymin' Rab the Ranter.
But Scotia weel may wail her skaith,
And break her drones an a', man,
For death has marr'd her piper's breath,
Nae langer can he blaw, man.
She e'en may sit her down and sigh,
And wi' a greet content her,
She'll ne'er again on hill or plain,
Meet Rhymin' Rab the Ranter.
Here's health to Scotland and her lair,
Her heighs and hows sae scraggie;
Her doughty sons and dochters a',
Her haggis and her coggie.
And when the wee drap's in her e'e;
To 'fend her frae mishanter,
Her toast triumphant still shall be,
Here's Rhymin' Rab the Ranter.
CXL.
THE LAIRD O' HAZEL HA'.
Let us roam, my bonnie lass, o'er Gleniffer's sloping brow,
The sweet flow'rets growing there I will gather a' for you;
Busk a bouquet for thy breast, twine a wreath to bind thy
hair,
And we'll speel the giddy steep while the day is clear and
fair.
In the bank beside the burn I will pu' the nuts and slaes,
And the berries growing wild we can gather on the braes;
Frae Gleniffer to Bardrain we may roam or rest at will,
And inhale the balmy breeze 'mang the heather on the hill —
View the far-famed Newton woods, tow'ring proudly in their
sheen,
Where the laverocks fan the clouds, and the siller saughs are
seen, —
Siller saughs, wi' downy buds, where a thousand minstrels
sing,
Woo and win their winsome brides, and get wedded in the
spring —
Be enchanted wi' the view o' the landscape smiling roun';
We can lean us on the brow, and look down upon the town.
Sae let's roam, my lassie fair, while the bell invites the bee,
And the birds in chorus there sing to welcome you and me.
We will tread the classic ground, where our modest minstrel
sang,
Till the woods and dales around, and the welkin sweetly
rang;
And the burns danced to the tune o' his matchless, mellow
lays,
As they blithely wimpled down through the glens that cleave
the braes.
'Mang these scenes, my bonnie lass, there are pleasures
waiting thee,
Not the riches o' Peru nor the miser's pelf can gie;
There's a wee cot 'mang yon bow'rs, clad wi' broom and
heather bell,
That I've built at leisure hours for my lassie and mysel'.
Sae, just come awa wi' me and I'll lead you to the bow'r
I'm prepared to ca' your ain when you name the happy hour.
"Say nae mair, I've aye been yours, tak' me noo for guid
and a',
I'll be proud to be the bride o' the Laird o' Hazel Ha'."
CXLI.
KATE MAURNEY.
"Guid e'en to you, lassie, I hope ye are weel;"
"The same to you, Laird, what's the news o' the day?"
"I have something important to ask, but atweel,
It's a thing I hae scarce gotten courage to say.
"I've come, my dear lassie, to ask you aff haun',
If you'll wed a braw wooer, wha's as rich as a Jew,
Wha has plenty o' gear, and houses and lan',
And love he has gather'd this towmont for you."
"'Tis a plain, simple question, but too premature
For me, a young lassie, wha's just in her teens;
I hae nae guarantee that your love may be pure,
Besides, I maun tak' the advice o' my frien's.
"Your houses and lan' recommend you sae far;
But your auld wrinkled face speaks a warld o' woe;
When I think I micht tak' you for better for waur,
Your goud whispers Aye, but your age whispers No."
"Come, hoolie, my lassie, tak' tent what thou says,
For mony a lass has been rash wi' the tongue,
And left to repent a' the rest o' her days
That she tookna the lad that lo'ed her when young."
"Ye auld doited dotard, ye're surely gane gyte,
And tint a' the sense that ye ever could boast;
Had ye ta'en the advice ye ha'e given to-night,
Your love for Kate Maurney had never been lost.
"If I e'er get a bode frae ane like mysel',
Poor tho' he may be, if no out o' his teens,
The parish church beadle shall jingle the bell,
And warn to my wedding the whole o' my frien's.
"But an auld wither'd wight, wi' a chin and a nose
Aye threatening ither to keep their ain place,
Wha, in their real senses, could ever suppose,
Kate Maurney wad wed the fair sex to disgrace?"
CXLII.
YE BONNIE WOODS ROUND QUARRELTON.
Ye bonnie woods round Quarrelton,
Frae whence the pleughland springs,
Amang your bosky banks and glens
The goldfinch sweetly sings.
Fu' aft I roamed in life's gay morn
To cull the sweetest flowers,
And gather berries red and ripe
In your green sylvan bowers.
I've hied me to the dark skirf wood
When hawthorn was in bloom,
The suckle and the lily-oak
A' shedding their perfume.
And I hae speel'd Glenfeoch brae
At harvest time to pu'
The bramble berries, black as jet,
And sweet as honey-dew.
I've clim'd the clifted heigh crag rocks
In search of hips and haws,
Pu'd row'ns and geans, and nuts and slaes,
Down in your hazel shaws.
Fu' many happy days I've spent
About your heights and howes,
And paddled in the bonnie burn
That wimples round the knowes.
Wi' feath'ry fern and gouden broom,
Wild thyme and heather bell,
I wove a gown o' shimm'ring sheen
To busk my bonnie Nell;
And twined a wreath o' treble braid,
Wi' rashes fresh and green,
To bind the brow, and span the waist
O' my young artless queen.
CXLIII.
THE BOWER OF BEAUTY.
On Thursday week twa sober callans
Had cause to meet in Sandy Allan's,
Some odds an' en's to stracht an' balance;
Their bus'ness o'er, syne they began
The crack, an' thus their subject ran,
Whether real beauty dwelt or shone,
On face, in heart; or both, or none.
The bow'r of beauty they disputit,
Justly, calmly — if you doubt it,
Read this lay, then if you choose, sir,
Say who had the brightest views, sir?
A. Can'st thou tell me where beauty dwells?
T. 'Tis not in cheeks like heather bells.
A. Is it then in lips like roses?
T. No, nor dimpl'd chins or Roman noses.
A. Then can it be in rolling eyes?
T. No, 'tis somewhere else real beauty lies.
A. Then it must be in yellow hair?
T. No; nor black, nor brown, nor fair.
A. Why then, can'st thou not tell the spot
Where beauty dwells, since I know not?
T. Yes, beauty dwells serenely pure
In Emma's bosom. A. Art thou sure?
T. Quite satisfied. A. Tis not the case;
I know thou'rt wrong, for I can trace
A spark of beauty shining bright,
In Ellen's eyes of dazzling light.
T. I question much if e'er a spark
Of beauty thou'st seen in the dark.
A. I have not said that beauty shone
In darkness, sir, for light alone
'S the only way to show it best.
T. Beg pardon, sir, I only jest,
Contain thyself, restrain thy fire,
I do not mean to call thee liar.
I frankly own that beauty lies
On cheek, chin, nose, brow, hair and eyes;
Still, I insist that there's a part
Of beauty in an honest heart,
The part too, that's of most avail,
That stands the test when others fail.
The cheek may tine its rosy hue,
And wrinkles gather on the brow,
The nose may almost meet the chin,
The lips get dry, the eyes get dim,
The head, where grew black glossy hair,
May change to grey, or turn quite bare, —
All outward beauty may depart,
But the beauty of an honest heart
Shines brilliant while a spark of life
Remains in either man or wife.
A. I own thou'st acted well thy part
In favour of an honest heart;
But can'st thou tell me, if't be common,
That thing, inconstancy, in women?
T. I've heard it told by Aunty Bell,
That Scotland's Queen, tho' beauty's sel',
Was fickle as the winds that blaw,
'Tween Crookston Tow'r and Stanley shaw.
Yes, Scotland once a Queen could boast,
An outward beauty, to her cost,
For tho' that face was sweet and fair
As a May morn, or ev'ning air,
There was a rancour dwelt within —
The biggest, and the greatest sin
'Tween this and where the auld chap dwells;
(But whilst this tale I wouldna tell
To ony living save thysel',
I wishna ane to here or know it
Wha bears the name o' Bard or Poet,
For they're sic creatures, if they catch
A single word, they'll clout and patch
It to a song, and make it look
Some great affair, in some great book;)
But, trusting much to thy discretion,
She wha rul'd this very nation
Once, wore a heart sae sinfu' black,
'Tis scarcely fitting for our crack.
'Tis said there was a chiel wha kept
Her siller a', paid a' her debt,
Paid compliments, I blush to tell,
And kissed her when it pleased himsel'.
(I know that Poets sometimes write
Of Mary in a diff'rent light,
But I ha'e proof for what I say,
And dare not write another way,
I winna for my country's sake
Aught but a true likeness take.)
If such was conduct for a Queen,
I leave it to thysel', my frien';
If this be beauty I ha'e lost
A' knowledge o't I e'er could boast,
If a' be true that thou hast telt,
(And I the same rat ha'e smelt,)
I envy not the beauteous mould,
Tho' cover'd wi' a robe o' gold,
Unless they wear a heart within,
Free frae every kin' o' sin,
I wouldna trust them though they'd smile
Wi' mouth extended to beguile.
I'm half a convert to thy faith,
I gi'e thee thanks and credit baith,
For clearing up the ravel'd hesp,
Between the bee and venom'd wasp.
I yield the plea. I own that your
Argument's baith just and pure.
Now let me greet thee wi' a prayer:
May God protect thee late and ear',
And keep thee free frae ev'ry snare
And guard thee wi' a Father's care.
O! may'st Thou be his lamp and guide
When searching for a faithfu' bride;
And if he e'er should'st get a wife,
Be thou the sweet'ner o' his life.
And when his earthly race is run
Brilliant be his setting sun;
When the happy signal's given,
Welcome! Welcome! come to Heaven,
May angels bear a soul away
Ting'd wi' beauty's brightest ray.
Alas! my frien', this gratefu' heart,
Sufficient thanks cannot impart;
Thou'st said a prayer that might'st shame
Thousands better known to fame.
CXLIV.
RHYMING RAB O' OUR TOUN.
Doun by, near our smiddy, there lives a queer bodie,
As couthie an' canty's the simmer day's lang;
An auld funny story sets him in his glory,
For aft he knocks 't into some pithy bit sang.
Tho' aye haflins modest, his cracks are the oddest
That ever were heard thro' the hale kintra roun',
Aye tauld aff sae freely, sae pawky an' sleely,
He's far an' near kent, Rhyming Rab o' our toun,
Tho' deep read in pages o' auld langsyne sages,
As meikle 's micht maist turn the pows o' us a'.
Sent soon to the shuttle, his schule-craft 's but little,
Yet auld mither Nature him kindness did shaw;
Wi' first glint o' morning he's up, slumber scorning,
Enraptur'd to hail ilk melodious soun'
Whar clear wimplin' burnie trots slow on its journey,
Ye're sure then to see Rhyming Rab o' our toun.
When e'en bit a younker, he'd cow'r in a bunker
Wi' 's beuk, daft gaffawers to mixna amang,
It pleas't him far better than gowk's silly clatter,
The deeds o' our gutchers in auld Scottish sang.
When e'ening's clud's fa'in', and cauld win's are blawin',
His fireside 's the shelter o' ilk beggar loon,
Wi' kimmer or carl he'd share his last farle,
A warm-hearted chiel's Rhyming Rab o' our toon.
He's free o' deceivry, the basest o' knavery,
An's blythe aye the face o' a crony to see;
Wi' him the lang mouter, mysel' an' the souter,
Hae aften forgather't an' had a bit spree;
There's naething we crack o' but he has the knack o',
When we owre the stoup an' the cauppie sit doun.
Tho' chiel's we've had clever, the equal we never
Had yet o' this bauld Rhyming Rab o' our toun.
There 's nae Gothic chaumer, whar deils their black glaumer
Hae niffert wi' auld wives langsyne, late at e'en;
Nae cave, crag, nor cairnie, by time-blasted thornie,
Owre Scotland's braid borders that he hasna seen.
But this Monday comin' we meet at the gloamin',
In wee Andro Sibbal's, our sorrows to droun,
Sae gin, my auld hearty, ye're ane o' the party,
Ye'll baith see an' hear Rhyming Rab o' our toun.
CXLV.
KATE MACVEAN.
AIR — "There's nae luck about the house."
'Mang hielin' folk an' lawlan' folk ye may gang far an' near,
Ye even may tak' thro' the Shaws, * that's famed for bodies
queer,
An' yet ne'er fin' the equal o' this couthie crone I wean,
Wha's kent to a' folk roun' about as blythe auld Kate Macvean

Cracky Kate Macvean, knacky Kate Macvean,
O wha can cheer the sinkin' saul like blythe auld Kate
Macvean?
* Pollokshaws.
She needs nae brod aboon her door to tell she sells a gill,
A bleezin' ingle's a' her sign, wi' rowth o' reamin' yill,
Whaur queer auld-fashion'd carles meet to crack their jokes
at e'en,
An' tell their tales o' auld langsyne wi' blythe auld Kate
Macvean —
Stumpy Kate Macvean, dumpy Kate Macvean,
Aye but an' ben, wi' tappit hen, gangs stoitin' Kate Macvean.
There's ne'er a chiel that blaws the pipes or draws a fiddle--
bow,
Gangs near her door, but 's bade gae in, an' sit as lang 's he
dow;
Her ingle-neuk gi'es shelter e'en to ballad-singer louns,
An' a' sic like clanjamphry, when gaun to burgh-touns —
Trusty Kate Macvean, lusty Kate Macvean,
The very brute beast shaws gudewill to blythe auld Kate
Macvean.
O wha wad count their time mis-spent though they should
chance to sit
At least twa hours 'hint sober folk, wi' sic a flash o' wit!
She gars auld kimmers haud their sides while tears drag frae
their een,
An' youngsters giggle an' guffaw — auld pawky Kate Macvean

Gashy Kate Macvean, pashy Kate Macvean,
A' Scotland through, nane dings, I trow, auld rantin' Kate
Macvean.
CXLVI.
THE DAINTY BIT PLAN.
AIR. — "Brose and Butter."
Our May had an e'e to a man,
Nae less than the newly-placed Preacher;
And we plotted a dainty bit plan
For trapping our spiritual teacher.
O, we were sly, sly! O, we were sly and sleekit!
But ne'er say a herring is dry until it be reestit and reekit.
We treated young Mr. M'Gock,
We plied him wi' tea and wi' toddy;
And we praised every word that he spoke,
Till we put him maist out o' the body.
O, we were sly, sly, &c.
And then we grew a' unco guid —
Made long faces aye in due season;
When to feed us wi' spiritual fuid,
Young Mr. M'Gock took occasion.
O, we were sly, sly! &c.
Frae the kirk we were never awa',
Except when frae hame he was helping;
And then May, and often us a',
Gaed far and near after him skelping.
O, we were sly, sly! &c.
We said aye, which our neighbours thought droll,
That to hear him gang through wi' a sermon,
Was, though a wee dry on the whole,
As refreshing as dews on Mount Hermon.
O, we were sly, sly! &c.
But to come to the heart o' the nit —
The dainty bit plan that we plotted
Was to get a subscription afit,
And a watch to the minister voted.
O, we were sly, sly! &c.
The young women-folk o' the kirk,
By turns lent a hand in collecting;
But May took the feck o' the work,
And the trouble the rest o' directing.
O, we were sly, sly! &c.
A gran' watch was gotten belyve,
And May, wi' sma' prigging, consentit
To be ane o' a party o' five
To gang to the manse and present it.
O, we were sly, sly! &c.
We a' gied a word o' advice
To May in a deep consultation,
To hae something to say unco nice,
And to speak for the hail deputation.
O, we were sly, sly! &c.
Taking present and speech baith in hand,
May delivered a bonny palaver,
To let Mr. M'Gock understand
How zealous she was in his favour.
O, we were sly, sly! &c.
She said that the gift was to prove
That his female friends valued him highly,
But it couldna express a' their love;
And she glinted her e'e at him slyly,
O, we were sly, sly! &c.
He put the gold watch in his fab,
And proudly said he would wear it;
And after some flattering gab,
Tauld May he was gaun to get marryit.
O, we were sly, sly! O, we were sly and sleekit!
But Mr. M'Gock was nae gowk wi' our dainty bit plan to be
cleekit.
May cam' hame wi' her heart at her mouth,
And became frae that hour a Dissenter;
And now she's renewing her youth,
Wi' some hopes o' the Burgher precentor.
O, but she's sly, sly! O, but she's sly and sleekit!
And cleverly opens ae door as soon as anither ane's steekit.
CXLVII.
MATTHEW M'FARLANE,
THE KILBARCHAN RECRUIT.
AIR. — "Kenmore's on an awa'," &c.
Whare cam' the guineas frae, Matthew, my dear?
I trow thou had nane till the sodgers cam' here;
If they be the king's, or the sergeant's, my son,
Gi'e them back, for thou never maun carry the gun.
Could thou e'er think to gang o'er the braid sea,
To lea'e the loan-head, the auld bigging, and me;
The smith and the smiddy, thy loom, and the lass
That stands at the gavel and laughs when ye pass?
Mind, Matthew! for thou likes thy belly fu' weel,
There is naething abroad like our hearty aitmeal,
Nor guid sheep-head-kail, for nae outlandish woman
Has the gumption to ken that they need sic a scummin'.
In thy lug tho' that wild Highland sergeant may blaw,
And talk o' the ferlies he's seen far awa,
And the pleasures and ease o' a sodgering life,
Believe me, it's naething but labour and strife!
If thy fit should but slip in the midst o' the drilling,
The ranking and raving, and marching and wheeling,
The sergeant would cry, "Shoot the stammering loon!" or
else,
"Tie the scoonerel up to the halberds, ye scoonerels!"
And when our King George to the wars wad be prancing,
Wi' the crown on his head, and his sceptre a' glancing,
Wi' chariots, and horsemen, and cornels, a host o' them,
And Sergeant M'Tavish as proud as the best o' them;
My son, and the rest o' the puir single men, would be
Trudging behint them wi' their legs twining wearily;
Laden like camels, and cringing like collie dogs,
Till the Frenchmen in swarms wad come bizzin' about their
lugs.
Then to meet Bonaparte rampaging and red
To the verra een-holes wi' the spilling o' bluid!
O, maybe the fiend in his talons wad claught thee!
And rive thee to spawls without speering whase aught thee!
Thou mauna wear claes o' red, Matthew M'Farlane!
Nor ringe wi' twa sticks on a sheep's-skin, my darlin'!
Nor cadge wi' a knapsack frae Dan to Beersheba, nor
Dee like thy father at wearifu' Baltimore!
Bide still in Kilbarchan! and wha kens but thou
May be some day an elder, and keep a bit cow,
And hae for thy wife the braw through-ither lass
That stands at the gavel and laughs when ye pass.
But if thou maun sodger, and vex thy puir mither,
It's ae comfort to me, should I ne'er ha'e anither,
Whaever may shoot thee, their prey when they mak' o'
Will e'en get a quid linen sark on the back o' thee!
CXLVIII.
THE AMERICAN FLAG.
Float forth, thou flag of the free;
Flash far over land and sea,
Proud ensign of Liberty —
Hail, hail to thee!
The blue of the heavens is thine,
The stars on thy canvas shine;
Thy heraldry tells thee divine —
Hail, hail to thee!
Thy white proclaims thee unstain'd,
Thy crimson thy love unfeign'd
To man, by despots enchain'd —
Hail, hail to thee!
Under thy God-given light
Our fathers went forth to fight
'Gainst sceptred wrong for the right —
Hail, hail to thee!
The Lion of England no more
'Gainst thy proud Eagle shall roar
Peace strideth from shore to shore —
Hail, hail to thee!
Float forth, thou flag of the free —
Flash far over land and sea,
Till the world shout, Liberty —
Hail, hail to thee!
CXLIX.
BROKEN!
"Saepius ventis agitatur ingens
Pinus: et celsae graviore casu
Decidunt turres. — Horace. Ode 10, Lib. 2.
Ah, me! what themes for mournful rhyme
Wake at this word — the epitaph of Time.
Look back, look round, look on, and read it there,
In all the forms which highest art declare;
See it in hopes, in aspirations riven —
Strewed o'er the earth that once arose to heaven.
The arch is broken! On its firm embrace
For ages rested what you yet can trace
Of fretted roof and dim cathedral aisle,
Once massed in grandeur, now a fallen pile;
One shattered arm aloft in air you greet,
The other lies in fragments at your feet.
The column's broken! E'en the good and brave
Lie half-forgotten in the silent grave;
And statued-gods, the fame of Grecia's land —
With forms defaced — all mutilated stand.
Palmyra's pillars, Egypt's temples tell
A state as certain, with a fate as fell.
The oak is broken! Lo! but splintered wood —
What blast and tempest had so long withstood
No more shall spread its ample cooling shade
To screen the pilgrim, or the trysted maid.
The mountain brow has lost its noblest plume,
And forest subjects weep their monarch's doom.
The barque is broken! See the foaming tides
Lash into torture her deep panting sides.
Onward she's driven to the jagged rock,
And every timber shivers 'neath the shock,
To breast the billows shall be hers no more;
Grim wreck and corpses strew the lonely shore.
The harp is broken! Time's unpitying stroke
Hath swept the chords whence slumbering strains
awoke.
No high-born dame bends o'er its trembling strings,
Nor gallant knight to his love-lady sings.
Silence pervades the hall — unbroken, dread,
As if re-thronged by spirits of the dead.
The vase is broken! Were soft odours there?
These have been wafted to the desert air.
Is it an urn which sacred ashes fill?
This, with the dust it held, shall mingle still;
Each has to each a form, a substance lent,
Till marble tombs with human bones be blent.
High health is broken! Mournful 'tis to see
Where wont the rose, the lily now to be;
Strength glorying in itself, alas! too much,
Reduced to weakness leaning on a crutch.
Beauty has fled, and manhood passed away —
Emblems too faithful of life's swift decay.
The heart is broken! Deeper, sadder tale
(Than all that mouldering masses can unveil)
Of blighted loves, of death-beds, and of fears,
Of secret sighs, and grief without its tears!
Such is the record of the stricken heart —
The widow feels — the orphan knows its smart.
Whate'er else is must break. The solid earth
Shall fall in fragments, like its varied birth.
The trumpet calls — swift flaming shafts descend
To cleave the globe and heaven's wide arches rend.
Broken! aye, broken! down to ruins hurled —
All must be broken in this ruined world.
And thus it is, and thus it e'er shall be,
That harps and urns and every stately tree,
With arching temples, statues sweet and fair —
"Shall seek the earth to sleep for ever there" —
All but the soul: that soul Time's waste defies,
And to its home unhurt, unbroken flies.
CL.
THE DOMINIE'S DELIGHTS.
Nae mair speak o' strife wi' a wrangling wife,
Or quarrelsome chields that ye ca', man;
If ye want endless pain join the Dominie train —
And, I warrant, ye'll ne'er want it ava', man.
Frae morning till e'en, ilk day it's a scene
O' troubles that mak' ony fear, man;
Ye fight and ye fleech, ye war and beseech,
Till you're hardly able to steer, man.
First, wee bairnies tease ye wi' "Reading made Easy —
That's ne'er been invented at a', man;
Tween their abs an' their obs, their sighs an' their sobs,
Your patience flees quickly awa', man.
Some skulls are sae thick that e'en wi' a stick
Ye could not drive learning in there, man;
And still ye maun hammer, wi' rules o' the grammar,
Till your own heid is dizzy and sair, man.
Mood, gender, and case, are a glorious race
To try o' your lungs a' the force, man;
An' when a' is dune, ye may almost as sune
Hae been preaching unto a dead horse, man.
Hark to their repeating — I vow it is heating —
To hear a' their hums an' their haws, man;
On the neist laddie's book, they steal a sly look,
An' then ye maun handle the tawse, man.
The sing-sang, the stutter, — the drawl and the sputter
How sweetly refreshing to hear, man!
Puir poets are mangled and orators strangled;
'Tis no vera easy to bear, man.
Explain but Addition, with utmost precision,
About a' this time they will glower, man;
Syne ask them to count o' twa three's the amount,
An' they'll soberly tell you it's four, man.
Wi' Multiplications increase those vexations,
Division will never work sma', man;
Nor Practice reduce, though daily its use,
Nor Fractions diminish ava, man.
And then, 'stead of writing, their pens they are biting,
Or dashing wi' blots the white page, man;
Their turns all agee, with an l for an e,
Would set even Job in a rage, man.
Just hear sic a din! it's hard to keep in
The words ye mauna let fa', man;
And the sham catterawaulin', when thumps are befallin',
Incline ye to rin clean awa, man.
The younger subdued, the aulder mair rude,
Will set up their jaw and rebel, man;
Noo, fight for the field, they either maun yield,
Or ye be defeated yoursel', man.
The day comes to examine, 'tis worse than a famine,
For terror will no let you eat, man;
The bairns say a' wrang, and as we daurna hang,
Your broo rins over wi' sweat, man.
Returned hame at last, worn out wi' the blast,
Wi' heid hangin' dowie and low, man,
Beside your ain fire, to soothe down your ire,
An' het tea, at leisure, to blow, man;
Ere yet the first sip has moistened your lip,
In bounds a mither clean wild, man;
Her een in a flame, her flushed cheeks the same,
And all about "killing" her child, man.
Wi' firm doubled neeve, and noise fit to deeve,
She stamps and she foams evermore, man;
Nor ceases her din, till ye hastily rin
An' clash in her visage the door, man.
Whenever ye gang the young folk amang,
Their dread of you chases each smile, man;
Even mammy and dad are quietly glad,
When ye're gone frae their house half-a-mile, man.
So nae mair speak o' strife wi' a wrangling wife,
Or quarrelsome chields that befa' man;
Gin ye want ceaseless pain, join the Dominie train,
An' I warrant ye'll ne'er want it ava, man.
CLI.
LINES TO THE LAURUSTINUS.
When bright the eye, and soft the smile,
Of Summer's early day —
When young in age, and high in hope,
She laughs her hours away.
When richly decked in verdant robes
Trips forth her virgin form;
When songs re-echo through her bowers —
Her calm, without a storm,
Then rush the flatt'ring throng of flowers,
In gay attire arrayed;
They breathe perfume, they blush, they bend,
To win the graceful maid.
Like wretched man, they court her smile
When plenty crowns her store;
But oh! like him, when want assails,
They court her smile no more.
One after one drops silent off,
Till all are passed and gone,
And then what once they cheered and decked
Is left to sigh alone.
But thou, brave plant, for ever true;
When Fortune's favours fled,
'Tis thy delight to dwell with age,
And crown the snowy head.
When all her charms and lovers fly —
When shivering in the blast,
To coldness doomed and nakedness,
Thou'rt Nature's friend at last.
When freezed her veins, her beauty shed,
Her eye when quenched in gloom,
'Tis thine to soothe her fallen state,
Thy buds bedeck her tomb.
O! give me, give me such a friend
When evils fast befall;
When sickness pines, or slander lies,
And I shall bear them all.
CLII.
WINTER.
Alone, upon a lonely shore,
Beside a dismal sea
Whose surging billows rise and roar,
And rage eternally.
And still we fear to launch away
Upon the angry tide,
For shadows of the fading day,
Have hid the other side.
Alone, beneath a starless sky,
Around, a cloudy gloom,
While wailing night winds pause to sigh
Above each floweret's tomb.
A weary waiting for the light —
Deep sighing for the day,
We fear the shadows of the night
Shall never flee away.
Alone, upon a frozen height,
Beneath, a world of snow,
A dreary, still, dead sea of white
Without or ebb or flow.
And still we weep, and wait, and pray,
Afraid the April showers
Can ne'er recall to light and day
The snow-enshrouded flowers.
The gloomiest waves of sorrow's deep
Shall roll themselves to rest,
The buried flowers but be asleep
Upon their mother's breast.
Even in the night what transport fills
Our vision, as we pray:
Light from the far-off heavenly hills:
Gleams of eternal day.
CLIII.
JENNY. — A LOVE LAY.
I knew a child, so sweet, so fair,
You must have known her too,
With floating waves of sunny hair
Above her eyes of blue.
Of household born, alike unknown
To fortune and to fame —
Fair as the daughter of a throne,
Sweet Jenny was her name.
I knew her when a child she played
Beneath yon aged tree;
I knew her when to school she strayed
Across the verdant lea.
The day was dark, the lessons long —
All cheerless was the play;
There was no music in our song
When Jenny was away.
I knew her as my schoolmate then,
My glad companion now;
When care first writes, with iron pen,
His name upon my brow.
Her very smile my heart could move
To strange wild throbs of joy;
With Jenny I'd have fallen in love,
If I had been a boy.
Her voice may lose its witching tone,
Her step its girlish glee:
Dear Jenny still can lose not one
Of all her charms for me!
As did she once, she doth to-day,
The same sweet strength impart:
Let none my jewel steal away,
My Jenny from my heart!
CLIV.
BABY IN HEAVEN.
Under the willow's whispering shade,
Under the daisies our baby is laid;
Under the snow-drop, under the snow,
Molly, our darling wee Molly, lies low.
Her sweet childish prattle re-echoes no more,
Her toddling footsteps ne'er run to the door.
It is hard to believe our wee darling is gone,
As we silently sit in the twilight alone.
Ah! carefully keep it; that soft golden curl
Is all that we have of our dear baby girl;
For the sunlight that danced in her bonnie bright e'en,
And her chubby wee cheeks will no longer be seen.
Dry up that tear, love; dry up that tear,
Though no longer our darling wee Molly is here,
For the angels in Heaven were not less defiled
Than the tender young life of our own precious child.
Yes, I know it is hard, for her innocent glee
Was precious as rubies to you and to me;
Her ways all so winning, her presence so bright,
Of our love and our home were the life and the light.
But why for this heaven-sent babe should we weep —
She is back to her home, with the angels asleep.
Hark! hark! 'tis her innocent prattle I hear:
Our baby in Heaven is hovering near!
CLV.
THE MOUNTAIN STREAM.
Wanderer from the mountain,
Singing, sighing stream,
Born of star-like fountain,
Where the mist-wreaths dream;
Dimpling where the heather
Sheds a fresh perfume,
And the wild bees gather
Sweets from every bloom.
There the lapwing, wheeling
O'er its tufted den,
Sees thee winding, stealing,
Down into the glen,
Leaving far behind thee
Moor and misty hill,
Lone, where few may find thee,
Sporting at thy will.
O'er the slant rocks sliding
Swift in arrowy spray,
Under moss-banks hiding,
Wimpling on thy way;
Now, with gleesome glisten
'Neath the braken shade,
Lingering there to listen
Music from the glade.
Now, swift, onward bounding
Careless in thy sweep,
Joyfully resounding
O'er the crags ye leap;
Then, slow reappearing
Out from tangled gloom,
'Mong the boulders steering,
Wreathed with snowy foam.
There, with golden dazzle,
Shines the sunny ray
Through the leafy hazel
Where ye lingering stray;
There pale flow'rets blossom
In the mossy nook,
And upon thy bosom
Lady birch-trees look.
Ere o'er pebbled shallows
From the bosky glen,
Ye among the hollows
Seek the haunts of men —
Lingering 'neath yon willows
With undimpled face,
Where the skimming swallows,
Wheel in wanton chase —
Streamlet, onward flowing,
Where thy wanderings be,
Boon of bliss bestowing,
Oh! to roam with thee
All around the meadows,
Through the flowery glade,
And the dusky shadows
By the old trees made;
Where the raven sitteth
High on arching bough,
Or on pinion flitteth
Darkly to and fro;
O'er thy waters winding,
Onward and away,
Till their pathway finding
Round the ruin grey;
There the mill-wheel plying
Cheerily on the ear,
Or in sadness sighing
O'er the shelving weir;
On, to the broad river
Hurryingly ye pour,
Like lost wanderer, never,
Returning, — never more.
CLVI.
LEVERN REVISITED.
Again I've sought, in musing mood, the scene of boyhood's
hours,
And sweetly sad it is to stray among the old wild flowers,
And list the lark, whose sires I've heard pour down the same
wild strain,
Or gaze around on all the charms that grace the summer's
reign.
Nature! thy smiles are ever fair, and much I love them still
Yet canst thou not my bosom stir to wild enraptured thrill,
Nor move me at thy will;
Those robes — thy boon — which summer wears,
Look sadder through the mists of years.
All now seems changed: the pearly clouds, high on their
azure way,
Wear less of gold, and yon fair hills seem veil'd in darker
grey;
The cottage where my fathers dwelt, the "auld thack house
is gone —
Where round my mother's feet I play'd there's no remaining
stone;
Gone are the bowers where age reposed, or youth, with whispering
tale,
Sat, when the gloamin' hours were past, beneath the star-light
pale,
Though there with chiding wail,
The Levern winds by brake and loan,
And fills my ear with sorrowing moan.
You castle mouldering lone and old, the Tower of Stuart's
Rais,
Recalls the times long, long gone by — youth's wayward
dreamy days,
When fancy peopled all the scene with warriors grim and tall,
And saw where arrow-shafts had sped from forth the loop--
holed wall,
Where now the marten scarce finds space to nurse her clamorous
brood,
Old Time, relentless there, hath pass'd, and crumbled wall
and wood.
No more, in wakeful mood,
I'll hear the owl at night's still hour
Hoot from thy roofless walls, old tower.
Where now are all the rustic paths that wound at wanderer's
will
By hawthorns green to trysting spots, 'mid sylvan shadows
still?
From where the voice "o' Jamie's flute" came tuned to some
Scotch lay —
"The Mill, Mill O!" the "Forest flowers," or kind "Auld
Robin Gray;"
Sweet were the tones, but far more sweet if maiden's voice
was there
With dulcet strain to charm the ear and fill the list'ning air,
Or win the heart from care;
But few as leaves on wintry bough
Are they who heard those soft notes flow.
The Rais-wood and the old wood house still crown yon rising
hill,
And glist'ning o'er the rough lea meads, comes down yon
glist'ning rill;
But where are they who sported there with me in life's young
day?
That passing breeze, with sad accord, seems sighing "where
are they?"
Yon kirk-yard green has silent mounds whereon the chill
dews weep,
Though few may stay to mark the place of their last dreamless
sleep;
Yet there in silence deep,
With ears that list not passing sign,
Are hearts I loved, — beloved hearts lie.
No gilded dreams of days to come, no careless wand'rings
now,
'Mong the dark woods of Hairlaw, nor up the Brownside's
brow,
Where from the misty moorland springs the burn with rambling
din,
Foams round the moss-incrusted stones, and down the shelving
linn,
To dimpling pools green braken-fringed, thence o'er its pebbled
way,
'Neath primrose bank, 'neath tassel'd broom, and birks of
fragrant spray,
And round the crags so grey,
Meand'ring 'mang the whisp'ring reeds
Where Meadow Queen waves round the meads.
Wild wanderers of the woods were we, careless of place or
time,
Revering still the lonely haunts of fairy tale or rhyme:
Green Darnley's banks, old Crookston's towers, and oft
from this broom hill
We gaz'd o'er Levern's flowery holms away by Cross's mill,
While from the Tower-wood's sombre shades, we heard the
cushat's call,
With the brown thrush, and black-bird's hymn, at dewy
gloaming's fall;
While Echo from her hall,
Seem'd listening ready to prolong
Each woodland minstrel's liquid song.
Loved scene, sad scene, no more so fair to me as thou hast
been,
When through the vale of threescore years with all thy
changes seen,
These groveless banks, those ruined walls, their dwellers
passed away,
The few loved friends my boyhood knew seem weary, old,
and grey;
The flowers of life are fading fast, and yet they say 'tis well,
For pilgrims down the steeps of life that earth should lose
its spell,
Ere the last warning knell,
With solemn tone falls on the ear,
Chiding our longing lingering here.
Sad scene, loved scene, again farewell! though far my wanderings
be,
Home of my youth, friends of my youth, dear still to me:
But ah ! how soon, how swift, how soon our early visions
pass
With life, like yon brown waves that glide along the ripening
grass;
Or like the drifting clouds of gloom, lit with a passing ray —
A gleam of joy at morn or noon; but evening's shadows
grey
Tell of the setting day;
Yet far beyond the dreaded bourne
Fair Hope descries a nightless morn.
CLVII
DAISIES.
The daisies all lie dead,
And with them mem'ries dear
Of those who gladly with us went
Through the departed year.
The spring shall come again,
And other daisies bloom;
But other hands shall gather them —
Theirs are within the tomb!
O daisies dead and dear!
What yearnings do ye bring
For those who ne'er will walk with us
Through the bright days of spring.
Daisies will come again;
But they are not the same
As those that little hands have pressed,
Or lov'd feet trod upon.
Our daisies all lie dead,
And nought their rest can break,
Until at their Great Maker's word
The sleeping blossoms wake.
CLVIII.
O FAIR MOON!
"O moon! pale moon! say what hast thou seen
In the lands where latest thy path hath been?
Hast thou skimmed o'er cities of high renown,
Or gazed on the faces of friends I have known?"
"The spirit of sleep is often with me
As I hold my journey o'er land and sea;
And hushed is each city of high renown,
And markets and forums are quiet and lone.
"But all, not all, have this spirit of sleep:
There are some who watch, there are some who weep,
There are some who work, there are some who pray
In the silence of night as in the day.
I've lingered o'er graves of the lowly dead,
I've peered into vaults where the rich are laid,
I've peeped in at windows of minsters old,
And silvered each fluting and carving and mould.
"I've loitered by chambers where children prayed,
A mother's hand on their young heads laid;
I've toyed with the ivy o'er cottages grown,
I've made wan-like and weird-like each leaf and stone;
I've brightened the face of the watch at sea, —
He thought of his home as he gazed on me,
Of the cairn and the loch, of the mountain and dell,
And the voice of the maiden he loved so well.
"Of cities; but O! let me silent be
Of their sin, their woe, and their misery, —
Of crimes which walk in the darkness veiled,
Of faces which 'neath the sweet sunlight quailed, —
Of murders done in some hidden spot,
Of which men knew not, nor caréd aught;
But I wrap my face in a kindly cloud,
To hide my eyes from these sights of blood.
I've traced each fiord and rocky bay,
Where the galleys of old Norse Vikings lay;
I've whitened the tops of Schwartzwald pines,
And lightened each crag of the Appenines;
I've crept o'er the ruins of Athens and Troy,
I've trembled o'er Carthage; — in beauty and joy
I've hung o'er the Lake of a Thousand Isles,
And the lands which nature has clad in smiles.
"I've swept by halls where the song and dance
Woke the restful night, — I gave but one glance,
Then shimmered by icebergs with quivering gleam
Till each pinnacle shone like a pure moonbeam.
Then wonder not that I'm pale and cold, —
A life of change makes the heart feel old;
Think in the stars, clouds, and changes I see,
If every life is not somewhat like me."
CLIX.
THE DEPARTED.
The dim shadows of night had long
Kissed the skirts of day;
In masses of purple and red,
Mountains in cloudland lay.
The soft fluttering breeze of June,
Was filling all with breath,
Save she on whom his sign was set
By the Angel of Death.
We watch'd the darkening shadows,
We watch'd the ebbing life,
We watch'd our best belovéd one,
In that unsharéd strife.
And when the soul in drear midnight
Fled from its earthly home,
We felt a sickening longing,
As we, too, would have gone.
Our smitten hearts burst forth in grief —
One agony of tears;
Why was it she whom death would take
In spring-time of her years?
In days when life was beautiful,
When hope was fresh and strong,
She loved whate'er was good and true
She scorned the base and wrong.
We cried in sorrow and in pain;
"Death take her not — she's ours:
O gather ye the ripened fruits —
Leave us the budding flowers."
Then came to quiet our contrite hearts
The knowledge God has given,
That, what we hold as fairest here
Shall purer grow in Heaven.
CLX.
A PROLOGUE. *
Ye lofty gods! and you who quietly sit,
In mild submission, crowding box and pit,
Lend me your ears, for I would tell the cause
Which brings us here to win your kind applause.
Our cause is holy; but you know it well —
'Tis over all the town, as every child can tell.
What more becoming than to soothe the pain
Of fever's brow, and fell corruption's stain,
Or heaven-ward lead the dying penitent again?
Naught can become us with so good a grace
As Mercy does. Does it not cheer the face
Of him who gives as well as him who takes?
So are we here for our sick townsmen's sakes.
Thus let us strive, and, striving, we are sure
The Infirmary will soon become "the perfect cure."
Come, stern Melpomene, our poor wits assist,
(For with thy help we surely will be blest.)
Now for the players; but, alas! we fear
You'll think us bold in daring to appear
And strut upon the boards where erst were seen
Macready, Glover, Vandenhoff, and Kean.
Our aim is humbler than such stars as these;
We only seek to-night our audience to please.
Our pinions would not bear such starry flights,
We must content us with less giddy heights;
* Spoken at an amateur performance, for the benefit of the Infirmary
which took place in the Theatre Royal, Paisley, in April, 1862. The plays
acted were "Romeo and Juliet" and "Rob Roy."
Nor will you think our presence far amiss
If you do carefully consider this, —
Since Paisley has produced such wild profusion
Of poets, don't we need a slight infusion
Of the dramatic breath to fan the blaze
On which the world hangs with envious gaze;
And, lo! in Glasgow, t'other day — I speak the truth —
Wallace was acted by a Paisley youth!
Our muse is lenient; be you a little blind
To all our faults, and to our virtues kind.
Spare us, ye cynics; take a friendly hint,
And don't attempt to cut us up in print,
For if you do, there will be bloody work —
Rob Roy's with us, and he may use his dirk;
Or a bold Montague, demanding satisfaction,
May drive your hornets' brood to sheer distraction.
You want me off? Well, I'll no longer stay,
For Romeo's ardour will not brook delay.
Again, ye stormy gods! I ask you this, —
Lavish your praise, but spare! oh, spare the hiss!
CLXI.
SOLILOQUY OF MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS, FROM
THE TOP OF CRAIG OF CARNOCK.
Ye crags, ye whispering woods, ye murmuring streams,
Ye verdant pastures, ye far distant hills,
Ye are the echoes of my sweetest dreams —
Ye are the anodyne for Royal ills!
Fair solitude! to thee I fain would fly,
And lay my head upon thy silent breast.
What's all the gilded pomp of Royalty?
Hail, sweet tranquility! hail, holy rest!
Thy healing balm is worth the brightest gem
That flashes in my regal diadem.
CLXII.
SPRING.
Now vernal offerings adorn the fruitful ground,
And whirling blossoms snow-flake all around;
Now May, the glorious, the fragrant queen,
Has come, arrayed in drapery of green.
Now clouds of rose-pink on the apple trees
Send blushing gifts to every whispering breeze;
Now hedge-rows are bedight with silvery haze,
And cherry-blossoms sparkle in the rays
Of the glad sun. The May-fly o'er the stream
Skims, all unconscious, in his summer's dream,
Of wary trout who in the shadow lies; —
Then with one lightning leap poor May-fly dies!
Now swallows from the sunny south prepare
To hawk a sea of midges in the air;
Now the hedge-sparrow in her tiny nest
Presses five oval sapphires with her breast:
Now myriad ants in Lilliputian fights,
Turn here, then there, like true Adullamites.
Oh, what a wondrous universe God has hurled
On space, when in this speck we call the world,
Each dew-drop with a universal host is rife,
And every blade of grass is big with life!
CLXIII.
WE'LL A' BE BRAWLY YET.
Auld Rabbie sat wi' tearfu' een —
Wi' runkled brow, and pale —
Lamentin' owre what ance he'd been,
Wi' mony a sigh and wail;
An' Mirren yerk't her spinning wheel,
An' tauld him no to fret,
Quo' she, "tho' poortith sair we feel,
We'll a' be brawly yet."
"O Mirren! Mirren! forty years
Wi' mony a stormy blast —
The' lyart noo wi' toil and tears —
Thegither we hae past,
Since first the simmer sun o' life
On our young hopes has set; —
Then dinna tell me noo, gudewife,
That we'll be brawly yet."
"Gudeman! gudeman! frae e'en to morn
'Bout warldly gear ye pine,
An' sae wad ye had ye been born
To heir a gowden mine;
Ha'e we no had o' health our share? —
An' aften ha'e ye set
A wilfu' snare for grief and care —
But we'll be brawly yet!"
"O tell na me o' what I've been,
Owre what I'm left to mourn;
O tell na me that sunken een,
Can e'er to joy return.
Nor can this heart renew its life,
These lyart locks their jet;
Then dinna tell me noo, gudewife,
That we'll be brawly yet.
"O feckless eild, can e'er ye look
Wi' pleasure owre the past?
Or smile on memory's sakeless book
When cluds your joys o'ercast?
The bairns that cheer'd our lichtsome hearth
How can I e'er forget? —
They're gane! an' lown's the voice o' mirth,
Or we'd be brawly yet."
"Gudeman, gae lift your thochts aboon
This cauldrife warld o' care,
An' seek, through God, baith late an' soon,
A balm for your despair;
An' let ilk qualm o' youthfu' shame
Wi' penitence be met;
Nae mair your luckless fortune blame,
An' we'll be brawly yet."
"My ain gudewife! my dear gudewife!
Nae mair my failin's name;
I'll bless, through a' my after-life,
The day I brought you hame
To be a leadin' star to me;
Then ne'er again I'll fret,
To a' your wishes I'll agree —
An' we'll be brawly yet."


CLXIV.
OUR BONNY GREEN-AIK TREE.
DEDICATED TO THE GREENOCK "FOLK."
Gae sing o' saunts an' seers o' auld —
Nae patron saunt hae we —
Our faithers maskt their hamert maut,
An' drank its halesome bree;
An' as their drouth they sloken'd down,
They sang wi' cantie glee —
"Oh! stately fair may flourish aye,
Our bonny green-aik tree."
An' 'neath its spreadin' branches wide,
When storms our lift o'ercast,
May buirdly chiels for aye be rear'd
To brave ilk threaten'd blast;
An' when a foreign soil they tread,
Or stem the briny sea,
The homely chorus let them raise —
"Our bonny green-aik tree."
Oh! ne'er may pleasure warm the heart,
Nor beauty smile to bless
The bairn wha slights a mither's hearth,
Nor langs her haun to press —
Wha thinks na o' his kindly hame,
Tho' distant far be he
That wadna then the chorus raise —
"Our bonny green-aik tree."
Our faithers drank their nappy yill
Our gaucy mithers span;
Ilk lassie bucket trig and braw,
To win a young gudeman;
An' as they trippet fair an' fond,
They sang wi' lightsome glee —
"Our sunny shore, our broomy braes,
An' bonny green-aik tree."
A crooked steeple tower'd na then
Aboon our neighbour toun;
The bairnies toddled thro' the glen
To pu' the Bowden broom, —
Whan circlin' roun' ilk grassy knowe,
They sang wi' blithesome glee —
That ne'er a potted bell wad hing
A neath their green-aik tree. *
CLXV.
MARY.
A NURSERY RHYME.
Baulie loo! wee waukrife peerie,
Naething ill shall ever steer ye;
Dream o' lilies, dream o' roses,
Sunny flowers and scented posies,
'Neath a sky o' cloudless licht,
Where the saikless ken nae nicht.
Baulie loo! wee winsome fairy,
Dream o' heaven, my bonnie Mary.
* For an elucidation of the above verses, "Young Greenock"
the works of the highly accomplished author of "Annals of
"Lowrie Todd," &c. — Author.
Baulie loo! thy mammie near ye,
What ava' can fash or fear ye?
Fain to see my lassie sleepin'
Doon ilk starny's kindly keekin',
Drowsie bum-bees winna sip
Hinny frae the gowan's lip,
For the sun has gane to harry
Gowden warlds for my dear Mary.
Baulie loo! thy mither's bozie
For her wean aye warm and cozie,
Kens nae wealth it wouldna gie
For the tottie on her knee.
Weary hours she aft has haen
Ere her lammies gaed their lane,
Yet her back the lade shall carry
A' for thee, my darling Mary.
CLXVI.
AN ANECDOTE VERSIFIED. *
A Pat — an odd joker — and Yankee more sly,
Once riding together, a gallows passed by.
Said the Yankee to Pat, "If I don't make too free,
Give that gallows its due, and pray, where would you be?"
"Why, honey!" said Pat, "faith, that's easily known:
I'd be riding to town by myself all alone!"
* The above was long ascribed to Theodore Hook, in whose version there
is a change of a word or two, but a writer in Notes and Queries quotes it
from an old magazine. It occurs in one of the note books of the late Rev.
Dr. Fleming, of Neilston, and must have been written by him in 1819. From
internal evidence, also, there is reason for believing it to be the doctor's own
composition.
CLXVII.
THE PYRAMIDS.
Great is your age! — but greater far the Nile's,
That wizard-water of a rainless land;
The great magician of earth's mightiest streams.
That river — richer than the orient rills
Which glide o'er sands of gold and burnished gems —
In ocean majesty, has rolled his floods
Of annual offerings to your land on which
No clouds drop fatness; and, with giant power,
Has circled gorgeous cities, like the soiled
And hazy light around a clouded moon,
When ye were nameless, shadowless, unknown,
And sunshine rested on the spot ye stand.
How often have ye seen the gladsome Nile —
Studded with light-winged coracles and barks —
Bright with the setting sun, o'erflow your fields,
And, like a deluge, sweep across your plains;
While pillared streets and temples, groves and spires,
Gardens and palaces, and gilded towers,
And broken columns, porticos, and tombs,
Seemed from your summits floating on his wave,
Like parti-coloured sea-birds, when their plumes
Are bathed in all the orient hues that glow
Upon a rainbow's lovely face in spring!
How often have ye heard the merry din
Of sistrums, castanets, and cymbals shrill —
The universal shout of joyous hearts
That followed yearly, when his waters reached
Their highest point, and promised happy days
And smiling harvest homes; while thousands stooped
Upon his banks, with lotus lilies fringed,
And drank the sacred draught that passed their doors,
And knelt, and worshipped, and quaffed again!
How often have ye seen, in ancient times,
The charming dark-eyed maidens of your land
Lead on the mystic dance, while music rose
In strains of melting melody, which seemed
To mingle with the whisperings of shades,
And die away within your gloomy vaults!
Kingdoms have risen, flourished, and decayed;
And from their ruins mightier ones have sprung,
Which, floated down the rapid stream of time,
Have all been buried in Oblivion's wave
As things that never were. How passing strange,
That, from your rocky height, ye still look out
Upon the glittering waters of your land,
As ye were but of yesterday! The voice
Of sighing winds, which sweep in mournful gusts
Along the surface of your ponderous steps,
Still makes the pilgrim start, who thinks he hears
The smothered groans of spirits wandering
Throughout your winding vaults. The drifting sands
Still feel your cooling shade, in which have stood
"The blind old man of Scio's rocky isle" —
The world's melodious heart — and he whose strains
Of heavenly music charmed the dancing woods; —
The favourite sons of genius and of song; —
Fathers of law, of literature, and art:—
The world's famed heroes on the battlefield,
Whom blinded nations deified at death;
The mighty conquerors of three thousand years!
Oh, this is hallowed ground! the gathering place
Of men from every clime. And ye have heard
The Babel-strife of words in many tongues
And dialects of earth. Let him retire,
Unworthy of your looks, who cannot feel
As if he held communion with the past,
And all its greatest spirits. Who can stand
Untroubled in your presence? Here have sat
The brave, the beautiful, the young, the old,
The purpled tyrant, and the naked slave —
The festal throng, the wailing funeral band;
They who have shivered on Siberia's plains,
Or quenched their burning thirst in torrid climes;
The Jew, the Greek, the Roman, and the Gaul —
The swarthy Indian, and the Persian lord;
Circassians, Tartars, Turks, and Scythian hordes —
Men of all lands, of every age and hue.
Proud monuments of kings, whose very names
Have perished from the records of the past;
The oldest works of man upon the earth,
Which Time has spared, what is the boon or gift
Of pleasant memories, or cheering hopes
Of future blessing to the world ye bring,
As the result of all the slavish toil
Which placed you in this wilderness of sand?
Alas! what labour lost, what years mis-spent,
What power abused! without a single heart
Or home improved — without an aim which sought
To make the earth a happier dwelling-place;
The work of wretched slaves, who toiled and died,
And others took their place, and they, in turn,
Dropped off in death, less valued than the stones
They quarried from the rock, and shaped and placed
In countless layers on your mountain sides.
But what is all your monumental worth
As relics of an age whose name is lost,
And yours a dateless birth? What noble deeds
Do ye commemorate? What name preserved,
Which even to utter makes the world rich
In all that dignifies our race, and warms
The hearts of many nations? Where the name
Of patriot, toiling for his country's good,
And striking down some old and crushing wrong?
Of martyr dying for the noblest truths?
Or of the moral teacher who, amid
The grossest darkness, sheds the light of heaven
We look in vain along your granite blocks,
Or uncouth hieroglyphs, for any name
Entwined with generous, most heroic deeds
Of charity and faith. But why expect
Such names, such virtues, from an age without
The light of Christian truth?
Who would compare
Your worth as records of a single act,
With the immortal honour which these words
Have fixed for ever on the scroll of fame,
Never to be effaced while time endures —
"THIS HUMBLE WOMAN DID WHATE'ER SHE COULD" —
No monument on Egypt's plains like this.
Turn to that upper room where widows stood
And showed the garments which their friend, now dead
Had made to cheer them in their lonely woe:
Though dead she lived, and spoke to many hearts,
And homes made glad; and, as the widows gazed
Upon Tabitha stretched in death, and wept,
And showed again the garments which she wrought,
They raised a nobler monument than all
The Pyramids which ancient kings have reared.
When these shall all have crumbled into dust,
And every vestige disappeared from earth,
The sacred records of immortal fame
Ascribed to humble worth shall last for aye.
Hail, holy light of Heaven! — for what is man
Without thy sacred influence! — shed thy beams,
Illuminate thy path; — inspire my thoughts,
And lead me in those ways that brighter shine
Unto the perfect day. Shall darkness reign,
And settle down for ever, deep as night,
Upon the sons of men? Oh! haste the time
When all shall know the truth and feel its power!
When all the wandering tribes of Israel's sons,
Gathered from every zone, shall gladly come,
With outstretched arms, to own their rightful King,
And, in His name, to claim their Fatherland —
The boldest heralds of the Cross. They come
To publish peace in every distant clime;
And in the very cities where their sires
Toiled in ignoble slavery, shall declare
To wondering Arabs how a Saviour died
For guilty men, and how He sits enthroned
To bless a suffering world, and has a name
Above all other names, though once despised,
Yet now the most revered. Then, gentle Peace,
With olive branch and aspect mild — as when
The golden radiance of the setting sun,
The blush of heaven's inner glory spreads
O'er all the summer or the autumn sky,
Like the great wing of Love infolding all
The weary ones of earth — shall pour the oil
Of holy joy upon the troubled waves
Of strife's dark waters, healing every wound
Of fierce contention, drying every tear,
And bidding every nation join the song
Of universal harmony and love.
Look down, ye awful Pyramids, and smile:
Ye sombre waters of the Nile, look glad,
And sparkle with delight: ye burning sands,
Put on the garb of joy. Behold, your land
Shall rise in pristine beauty, and resume
Her ancient robes of loveliness, unstained
With blood of barbarous rites, and she shall sit
The fairest queen among the nations free,
And on her head a coronet of joy:
And peace, and liberty, and glad acclaims,
Shall follow in her train. That dreary night
Of mortal darkness, which so long has reigned,
Shall be dispelled before the brightening beams
Of Gospel purity, and light, and love.
Yes! ye shall see, and at no distant day,
The Christian Missionary take his stand
Where once Osiris stood, while thousands fell
And worshipped at his feet; and ye shall hear
The voice of Mercy and the song of Praise,
Like angel-whispers wafted on the breeze,
In peaceful murmurs o'er your desert wastes.
CLXVIII.
EXTRACTS FROM
THE TRAGEDY OF CABUL. *
CANTO I.
The dark tremendous Pass! Oh, Mercy! save
The sad and weary remnant of the brave.
Rocks heaved on rocks in awful piles ascend,
And like the ruins of a world impend;
The horrid avalanche hangs shelving o'er —
A moment calm, then bursts with dreadful roar;
* These lines refer to the destruction of the British troops in the Khyber
Pass during the Affghan insurrection in 1842.
A foaming cataract swells the thundering din,
And dashes headlong in the boiling linn.
Athwart this "Strait of Death" no brightening ray
Of summer sunshine finds its cheerless way:
And now — appalling thought! — this floundering mass
Of men and horses crowd the dreary Pass;
Pent up like sheep for slaughter, every life
Quivers beneath the traitorous Affghan's knife.
The net was spread, and, in an evil hour,
These helpless thousands fell within the power
Of fiend-like foes, who never knew to spare,
Nor ever listened to a dying prayer.
The long-planned work of treachery is done —
On every height is placed the murderous gun.
Whom deadly weapons spared, the falling snow
Wrapped in its winding sheet of death below.
Ah, me! what scenes of horror meet the view
When war's fierce hounds of hell let loose pursue
The struggling remnant of a mighty host —
Life, hope, and home, and country, all are lost —
The trembling spirit starts in wild affright,
Closed in the hideous womb of death and night.
Brave hearts with anguish and dismay were torn,
To scan the sorrows of the coming morn.
In vain they strove to snatch a brief repose,
And cast their toil-worn limbs on hardened snows.
The ceaseless musketry with deafening boom
Pealed the dire requiem of their awful doom;
Death breathed at midnight in the piercing blast;
If eyes were closed in sleep, it was their last;
Or if in troubled dreams of shortest bliss,
A vision bright might cross a scene like this,
The wretched dreamer only woke to hear
The random gun of foes still hovering near.
Delusive fancy led him far away
To native glens, where sunny streamlets play,
To bosky dells, where weeping willows seem
To soothe the spirit of the murmuring stream.
His own dear hills, where life's glad morn was spent,
Where every hour a new enchantment lent,
Now lift their summits to the smiling skies,
And towering pines in light and beauty rise;
His ear is ravished by a melting air,
Soft as the breath of angels when they bear
A parted spirit to the realms above —
Sweet as the first fond whispered pledge of love:
His icy hand is clasped, and warmly pressed
In youth's wild rapture to his Mary's breast.
Ah! sport not, Fancy, with his cruel woes,
He wakes encircled by the drifting snows,
O'er which the frosty winds of midnight sweep,
And bear his hollow groans along the steep;
The curdling blood is chilled in every vein,
And maddening furies seize his troubled brain;
He smiles, he shrieks, the vision melts away,
With quivering lips he fondly bids it stay.
The spell is broke — the mocking phantom flies,
Poor child of ruin! thou shalt never rise
From the cold icicles that freeze thy breath,
And wrap thee shivering in the arms of death.
Oh, Woman! where on life's tempestuous sea,
Is joy not clad in sweeter smiles by thee?
Does wailing grief not wipe the trembling tear,
And beam in pensive calm when thou art near?
Where is the pang that rends the aching breast
Thy gentle spirit cannot soothe to rest?
Search all the annals of the saddest hour
When darkest clouds of grim Misfortune lower,
Where is the tale unblest by woman's smile,
Though Ruin darkly gather all the while?
These dreary snows shall wreathe around thy name
Another garland of immortal fame:
Thy tearful beaming eye so mildly meek,
'Mid heaps of frozen slain had oft to seek
The mangled corpse — thy fondly treasured care —
Rocks only heard thy shriek of wild despair: —
Yet could thy shivering form and looks so brave
Shed gleams of hope across that living grave,
Speak words of daring to the soldier's heart,
And short-lived dreams of fame anew impart,
Till chilled by cold he grasped his arms in vain,
And stiff and giddy fell among the slain.
Then sank the Spirit of resistless Ire
Nor dared one withering glance, one word of fire;
Then dropped the nerveless arm, when Treachery bore,
The half-dead remnant to a distant shore.
Ill-fated band! sad was the reckless hour
That placed your freedom in the traitor's power,
That blushed to see your country's banner torn,
Your boasted might the sport of savage scorn.
Alas! the high-souled dames of England weep,
And climb with bleeding hearts the rugged steep.
But dry these gushing tears, ye trembling fair:
Let hope's bright gleams dispel your dark despair.
Bear up, ye captive brave: these mountains drear
Shall swell the trumpet tongue of Victory near;
The honoured Shakespear, and the gallant Sale,
Shall crown with glory your romantic tale.
CANTO II.
When shall the din of furious battle cease,
And Love triumphant bring the reign of Peace?
Come, blessed Epoch! with thy golden beams
That shed their radiance o'er the Prophet's dreams,
That gild with living hues his Heaven-taught song,
And make his ravished soul the strains prolong;
Till, wrapt in visions of a brighter time,
Earth new-created seems, as in her prime,
When angel music fell upon her ear,
And Heaven blessed the young revolving sphere.
But, ah! before that halcyon morn shall rise
And spread its beauties o'er the smiling skies,
The tragic muse shall weep o'er nations' woes,
And tears of blood their awful strifes disclose.
The gloomy, wintry day, was closing fast,
The biting cold came rushing on the blast
And from the sentry's breath, as to and fro
He paced his rounds amid the drifting snow.
He paused at times, and strained both eye and ear,
Lest some poor wounded comrade might be near,
Who, from the foe escaped, had struggled on
To reach the fort where British valour shone
With wonted lustre on that dismal night
Of darkest treachery and disastrous flight;
For gallant Sale and his devoted band,
Few, but all heroes, joined in heart and hand,
Resolved that, come what might, they there had found
Their field of triumph, or their burial ground:
They stood for months at bay, and kept their post,
When British power and honour all seemed lost.
The sentry saw at last, through sleet and rain,
Some one on horseback staggering o'er the plain:
The faint and foaming steed was sorely pressed,
And he who rode leant forward on his breast;
With one encumbered hand he held the rein,
The other sought to staunch a wound in vain;
All soaked in blood, the rider and the horse
Came reeling forward on their perilous course.
"Help!" was the feeble cry, and many ran
In quick response to save the dying man.
They brought him in — the faithful steed that bore
Him on in safety sank to rise no more.
They dressed his wounds, and each, with skilful art,
Stood round to help and do a comrade's part.
Plucked from the jaws of death, with streaming eye,
And bated breath, and many a long-drawn sigh,
He told at intervals his woeful tale,
Which made the stoutest heart in horror quail;
His desperate ride for life through fire and flood,
Through heaps of frozen slain and pools of blood —
The once proud "Army of the Indus" lost —
A wild battue where famine, cold, and frost,
And savage foes and treachery combined,
Left not a single living wreck behind.
Weep! O my country, weep, for who can tell
The horrors of that Pass where thousands fell.
The soldiers heard, and bitter tears fell fast;
As Brydon told the sufferings of the past.
In breathless silence over him they hung,
Then muttered vengeance rose from every tongue.
The pealing trump, the fife, the stirring drum,
Proclaim anew that Albion's warriors come.
With doubtless step, and spirit soaring high,
And stern resolve in every kindling eye,
They come to vindicate their country's name,
And seal your dreadful doom with sword and flame.
The bleaching bones of comrades on their path
Nerve every arm to deeds of fiercest wrath;
Low muttered sounds of vengeance deepening roll,
And rouse the darkest passions of the soul.
These murmurings deep are but the calm before
The ocean lashes on the trembling shore
The tide of battle sweeps to Ghiznie's walls,
And all her boasted pride of ages falls.
Where now, proud city of the mountain crest,
Are all the gems that decked thy queenly breast?
"Celestial Bride," that, with the eagle's eye,
Looked from the rock-built citadel on high,
Weep o'er thy blazing streets and pillaged domes,
Thy wandering children and deserted homes,
Great Mahmoug's trophies, won from every shore,
Shall grace the halls and battlements no more.
Fair Istaliff, that like a star of night,
Sat throned in beauty on her giddy height,
'Mid terrace groves, and minarets, and spires,
Lies deeply buried in her smouldering fires.
The Bala Hissar, girt in hoary might,
That long hath stood the shock of feudal fight,
Sees proudly waving from his loftiest tower,
The fame-wreathed token of the British power.
Victoria's far-spread name, in shouts sublime,
Wakes all the echoes of that distant clime.
But why these bursts of joy, these sunlit eyes,
These deafening peals that loud and louder rise?
When England's sons and daughters, far away,
Are captives yet, and dragged a helpless prey?
Where is the knight that braved a thousand storms,
And death and ruin in their ghastliest forms?
Whose deeds of glory shed redeeming light,
And chased the spectres of the darkest night,
In which his dauntless spirit never quailed,
'Mid classic scenes where Grecian valour failed,
When Macedonia's hero madly bore
His toil-worn phalanx to the Indian shore?
Shall gallant Sale now rest his conquering arms,
And breathe untroubled amid war's alarms?
In him the hero, husband, father, friend,
In firm but manly union nobly blend;
And though the flag of triumph waves on high,
The rising tear of sorrow dims his eye:
His own, Florentina brave, whose much-loved name
Had early woo'd his heart to deeds of fame;
Whose high-souled daring, in an evil hour,
Sustained his spirit with unwavering power,
Is now far distant, with a sister band
Of sorrowing captives, in a barbarous land;
His widowed daughter, young and sweetly mild,
Strains to her yearning breast her orphan child;
And while her moistened eyes can fondly trace
A father's graces beaming in its face,
Tears flow afresh for him who nobly bled,
And won a place among the mighty dead.
His lonely grave is on the cypress steep,
O'er which no friendly eye shall ever weep.
In all the force that anguish can impart,
These thoughts rush crowding on the hero's heart;
And sweetest memories fondly cherished there,
Oft breathe to Heaven the warrior's fervent prayer:—
"Land of my Sire! what deeds of deathless fame
Has glory twined around thy honoured name!
Where is the rocky isle, or sea, or shore,
That hath not trembled at thy cannons' roar?
And shall thy bravest sons and daughters kneel
To kiss the hand that grasps the treacherous steel,
Which now is raised to strike the fatal blow,
And deal destruction on a helpless foe?
Oh Thou who reign'st above, whose mighty power
Has led me safe through dangers till this hour;
Whose guiding hand has been my strength and shield,
When death reigned furious on the battle-field;
Oh! shield my wife, my child, my comrades brave,
And bless my country's sword unsheathed to save."
Hark! from the dingy streets of dark Cabul,
Too long the scene of carnage and misrule,
The trumpet twangs ere yet the morning beams
Have scattered beauty on the murmuring streams.
With gleaming sword and helm and waving plume,
Like streamers dancing through the midnight gloom,
A chosen troop, in bright and long array,
Rush to the triumphs of a glorious day.
No mean, ambitious aim — no selfish deed,
Thus urge them forward with impetuous speed;
This morn shall either break the captives' chain,
And bid their trembling spirits breathe again,
Or add new fury to the oppressor's stroke,
And rivet closer still his iron yoke.
Oh! for the spirit of the Ukraine steed,
That bore the Tartar youth with lightning-speed!
Let horse and rider feel the inspiring power,
The dread suspense and peril of this hour.
Oh, speed! in Heaven's great name, one moment's pause,
And lost for ever is your holy cause.
Urge on with lance and spur and loosened rein,
In headlong fury scour the opening plain,
Sweep o'er the mountains, as their torrents flow,
Dash thundering onward to the vales below;
Fair eyes are dim with tears that once were bright,
And beamed in beauty like the morning light,
Dragged o'er these dreary plains and mountains bare,
The captives brave are sinking in despair.
Far — far beyond the snow-clad hills conveyed,
Where lone Feringhees' footsteps never strayed;
Shut in by horrid rocks that frowning rise,
And claim the homage of the bending skies:
There shall they pine and toil as wretched slaves.
And end their sorrows in untimely graves.
On to the rescue! — death is in delay,
The frantic clans advance in dread array.
Another rising sun, and ye shall strain
The maddening fury of your steeds in vain.
Swift, then, and swifter be your winged flight!
Restore the captives ere the star of night
Shall rise to light them o'er the desert wild,
Where gladdening hope and beauty never smiled.
The die is cast! Rejoice! The day is won!
The perilous march of freedom has begun,
The captive band have burst the ignoble chain
That Affghan fraud shall never forge again.
Torn with a thousand fears, they looked on high,
Resolved to break their yoke or nobly die.
They nerved their spirits for the daring flight,
And British valour crushed the traitor's might.
Hark! — 'tis the tramp of the returning few,
Whom deadly hearts and weapons still pursue;
The furious Akbar wings his Arab blood,
Unchecked by toppling crag or mountain flood.
Haste! — haste, ye brave! that long-suspended breath,
Is life and freedom, or a cruel death.
Oh, shout in triumph now! and freely breathe,
Your gallant friends are bounding o'er the heath;
They sweep the mountain's side — "They come! they
come!"
Near and still nearer rolls the welcome drum;
"The meteor flag of England" waves on high,
And shouts of mutual greeting rend the sky.
The echoes, wakened in their sparry cave,
Swell the tumultuous pæans of the brave;
The hills, responsive to the joyous lay,
Reverberate the long and loud huzzah!
What silent rapture when the hero pressed
His own Florentina to his manly breast!
The slumbering memories of the sad past year,
By absence long restrained — how fondly dear! —
Now gush tumultuous forth beyond control,
And pour delicious transport on the soul:
Like streams deep-buried in the flinty rock
On which the light of sunshine never broke,
Till oozing forth they blend with kindred rills,
And rush in beauty down the sunlit hills.
Now free from dread suspense and war's alarms,
And fondly circled in each other's arms,
Her gentle accents fall upon his ear,
And sorrows melt in rapture's glistening tear.
The meeting of the parted brave! — Again,
From crag to crag repeat the welcome strain!
Let Albion's hoary cliffs the notes prolong,
And breathe the spirit of a grateful song;
In household words, let merry England hail,
With conscious pride, the honoured name of SALE!
CLXIX.
THE NOBLEST VICTORY.
Yes! there are sacred spots on earth,
Blessed fanes of Faith and Love,
Hallowed by the second birth
Of spirits quickened from above.
To all God's earnest workers here,
Who Christ and glory seek,
Dear is the spot where first the tear
Of Godly sorrow, hope, and fear,
Trembled on the sinner's cheek,
And fell to nourish fairer flowers
Than ever grew in Eden's bowers.
Yes! there are sacred spots on earth,
For ever dear to faith and love,
Though to the world unknown,
Yet ne'er forgot in Heaven above,
But fondly cherished by the soul
That worships now before the throne,
Where shines the Uncreated Light.
And, as the ceaseless cycles roll —
One blessed day without a night —
These hallowed spots shall form a part
Of Heaven's sweetest memories,
And fill each overflowing heart
With highest, holiest ecstacies.
Aye! there are sacred spots on earth,
And lucid hours of holy rest!
Name not the trophied battle-field,
Nor fabled "Islands of the blessed;"
That is the noblest battle-field
Where the unclean birds of sin,
Like a raven brood that cloud the light,
On the face of a troubled sky,
By conquering Faith are put to flight,
When the Dove of Peace from on high
Comes with her gently waving wing,
Like an angel passing by.
Here is the soul's great battle-field!
And the vulture flock of sin,
To the beauteous Messenger must yield
Their dark abodes within.
And, O, how sacred is the hour?
The place, the feelings, all, how dear,
When first the sinner gains the power
To break the yoke of slavish fear;
Tears from his breast the serpent sin,
Which long has poisoned all within,
Twined to his bosom's inmost core,
Covering with impurest slime,
Thoughts that struggled hard to soar
Far beyond the reach of time.
Now, the golden chain of Love
Binds them to the throne above.
That the hour of truest gain,
When the serpent sin is slain;
That the noblest spot on earth,
When man awakened feels the pain,
The struggles of the second birth.
To angel spirits sweeter far,
The dawn of freedom to the soul,
Than the first-created star
That shot its quivering light along
The weltering billows of the pole —
Theme of a more exalted song,
Than the last creation eve,
When the world in beauty shone,
Like a bride about to leave
The home that blessed and doated on;
While music o'er the waters stealing,
Greeted earth from hill and dell,
And the notes of joy pealing,
On the ear of Chaos fell,
Publishing from shore to shore,
The weary reign of darkness o'er.
Brighter day! a Spirit born;
Dawn of a new creation morn;
Birth-hour of a ransomed soul?
Jesus speaks — "Let there be peace!"
And the storms of passion cease.
Bid the joyful tidings roll!
Blessed Spirit! who thus hath won
The victory over sin —
Who feels the life of God begun,
A holier peace within —
Than the stillness of the twilight hour,
When the reckless storm is o'er,
And the weary waves are laid to rest
On the lap of the silent shore.
A balmy freshness breathes around,
As the dews of evening fall,
And the calm expanse of the blue profound
Looks tenderly on all.
The aspen leaf scarce quivers,
And nature seems to die,
In the smile of hope and purity,
Spread o'er the peaceful sky.
But calmer, purer still, the breast,
Where sin's dark strife is hushed to rest.
But ah! the sable cloud of night
Will gather darkly from the main,
And wrap in mist the brightest light
That shines on ether's glittering plain.
The bird of song that soars on high
Must leave the regions of the sky,
And droop to earth again.
Fear not, ye saints! the smoking flax
Shall flame in heaven, a radiant star;
The bruised reed shall stronger wax
In grace and strength, surpassing far
The cedar on the mountain's brow,
No wasted, wavering, weakling now,
But fairest workmanship of Love,
A pillar in the courts above.
CLXX.
THE CHILD AND THE ROSE.
Sweet April flower, the dearest
Of all Spring flowers to me;
First blossom thou appearest
Upon our family tree!
Dear pledge of many sacred vows,
When days were fresh and young!
And life was like the summer boughs,
With golden blossoms hung.
Thou wert but two or three hours old
When a hardy monthly rose,
Its fragrant leaflets did unfold,
Pure as the Alpine snows.
I plucked this earliest blossom
Fresh from its mother earth,
And placed it on the bosom
Of her who gave thee birth.
A rosebud on the one breast,
Thyself upon the other,
Two loving hands around thee pressed —
How happy was thy mother!
She, whispering, said — "This rose tree
Must grow beneath our roof;
It will be ever dear to me,
With its leaves of silken woof.
But more because it marks the spring
When baby dear was born,
And brought its early offering
To grace this happy morn."
I raised the rose tree blooming fair
With buds on every bough,
And planted it with tender care
Where thy cradle standeth now.
But, ah me! every green leaf
Fell withering from the tree,
And then we thought, with bitter grief,
Of early death to thee.
Our friends all said, — "No skill or toil
Can keep this tree alive;
'Twas wrong to take it from the soil,
Where it alone could thrive."
We heard the words with blank dismay,
So deep a wound they made:
"It must not die — No! come what may,
'Twill live," — we rashly said.
We lifted it with anxious care,
And we planted it once more
In the dear old spot, in the open air,
Beside our cottage door.
We screened it that the sun might spare,
We fed with gentle rain;
And buds and leaves and blossoms fair
Rewarded all our pain.
What joy was ours when every stem
Gave signs that life was there!
Each to our hearts a precious gem —
Ay! more than jewels rare.
Look there! it veils our cottage wall,
With branches spreading wide;
And round our windows clustering fall,
Sweet flowers on every side.
And so, dear child, when sickness sore,
And sorrow come to thee,
Bright hopes will cheer us at our door,
By the flowers of our fair rose tree.
Each one will speak, as an emblem flower,
The promise of thy youth; —
God grant to thee the richest dower
Of piety and truth!
For these are flowers that never fade,
They bloom when all shall die,
In purer loveliness arrayed
In their home beyond the sky.
CLXXI.
TO MY FIRST-BORN:
(IN THE VALE OF LEVEN.)
Sweet bud of many youthful hopes, the harbinger of good,
Thou camest when the snowdrop died, when, in the
awakening wood,
The thrush began his mellow song, and the lark, with fluttering
wing,
Rose merrily to greet thee with the freshest song of Spring.
There were many sad and stricken hearts on the morning of
thy birth,
For the famine and the pestilence spread havoc o'er the
earth;
But to our cottage home of love thy coming was a light,
Which, like a star of promise, rose on a dark and troubled
night.
Oh! be not like the flowers of Spring that bloom but for a
day,
The snowdrops and the crocus have already passed away;
And, ah me! many little graves in the "Auld Kirk Yard"
are green,
And the faces of the beautiful shall on earth no more be seen.
The fairest flowers are soonest gone, may it not be so with
thee,
For thou, my earliest household flower, wilt aye be dear to
me;
And I will guard most tenderly, and shelter from the storm,
Each blossom as it spreads to give new beauties to thy form.
God keep thee, floweret of the Vale, and shield thee from all
harm,
In wintry tempests hold thee up by His Almighty arm;
And may His blessed Spirit live within thy heart of hearts,
Then thou shalt bloom in Heaven above when this frail life
departs.
CLXXII.
JESUS IN THE STORM.
Sad, sad thoughts, and weary,
Had preyed upon my mind;
A darkness deep and dreary
Had made me sick and blind.
No star by night to brighten —
No ray of hope by day;
No soothing word to lighten
The load that on me lay.
I groped my way in sorrow;
In vain I sought to find
Some promise that to-morrow
Would leave all grief behind.
The morning broke in sadness,
And fiercer grew the strife,
Till every form of gladness
Passed from my wasted life.
But now, upon the ocean
Of troubled thoughts, I see
My Saviour's graceful motion —
He cometh unto me.
The winds and waves He stilleth,
And all is calm again;
My soul with light He filleth,
Like sunshine after rain.
The eye of faith is beaming
With joy sent from above;
The rainbow cloud is streaming,
The pledge of constant love.
My loosened tongue adoreth
The greatness of His might;
His smile alone restoreth
The darkened soul to light.
CLXXIII.
In Memoriam.
C. C. L.
The summer's air, floating o'er beds of flowers,
Enters the silent room,
Where a pale mother, counting the lone hours,
Waits her boy-infant's doom,
As he lies, like a snow-drop on a snowy bed,
In his pale loveliness, while, overhead,
Looking, unseen, on the dying child, are God's good angels.
Very pale are the poor boy's pale cheeks now,
Paler than his pale mother's;
Where now, child of God, is the ruddy glow
That rivalled your rosy brother's?
The blush of beauty has begun to fade —
The rose droops that God's own fingers made,
To be gathered soon, with loving care, by God's good angels.
Moisten his lips — soft let his young head lie;
As you hold his little hand,
Ask him, fond mother, will your poor boy die,
And go to the other land:
Those lips will never speak, but the dark, bright eye,
Beneath the long fringed eye-lids, will reply —.
"Mother, your boy is waiting for God's good angels."
Part his silken hair o'er his broad high brow,
Over those lustrous eyes;
He never looked more beautiful than now —
This poor mother's best prize.
Hist! the step of the Angel of Death!
Or is it only the sweet summer's breath? —
It is the rustling wings of God's good angels.
All is again silent, save the low breathing
Of the dying boy;
Weep not, mother! angels, heaven's flowers, are wreathing,
To crown your heart's joy.
What a long, low sigh — longest and last! —
He breathes not here again — Life and Earth are past —
He breathes in Heaven now, with God's good angels.
CLXXIV.
THE LOVE-PULLED ROSE.
Ah! well do I remember that bright day, long ago,
When hopes were high, and years were young, and love was
all aglow;
Ah! well do I remember, in the sun's rich setting prime,
The love-pulled gentle rose-bud of the golden, olden time.
The lily in her loveliness, the pansy in her pride,
The daisy in her dainty grace, grew sweetly side by side;
But no flower bloom'd so sweetly, at that early evening
chime,
As the love-pulled gentle rose-bud of the golden, olden time.
My love she bent her slight form o'er the little moss rose tree,
While o'er her snowy neck her curls clustered wild and free,
And she plucked a bud while the mavis sang his sweetest
vesper hymn —
The love-pulled gentle rose-bud of the golden, olden time.
The rose-tree dropped a tear for the loss of the little flower,
Till she knew my love had plucked it as a true lover's
dower,
And she sighed for the Bulbul loves of her own warm Eastern
clime —
The love-pulled gentle rose-bud of the golden, olden time.
Many a year has come and gone since that old, happy day;
Pleasures have come, and pains have come, aye, come and
gone away;
But should I e'er forget thee, 'twould be the saddest crime,
Thou love-pulled gentle rose-bud of the golden, olden time.
Then let me love thy memories, thou present of the past,
Thou token of affection, that ever still shall last:
While reason holds, I'll ne'er forget that sunset's glowing
prime,
And the love-pulled gentle rose-bud of the golden, olden
time.
CLXXV.
THE LOVERS' WALK UNDER THE LIMES.
Shall I forget the golden June —
Alas! the pleasure passed too soon —
When Liz and I, in wandering mood,
Crossed the small stream beside the wood,
And lingered, till the evening chimes,
In the Lovers' Walk under the Limes.
The eye spoke fonder than the tongue,
And many a love-song was unsung,
And many a thought was ne'er expressed,
Though nestling warmly in the breast;
The feelings were too deep for rhymes
In the Lovers' Walk under the Limes.
O fond, fair girl, with clustering hair
Of chesnut curls, rich and rare,
Shall I forget the brimming bliss
Of your fond balmy, parting kiss?
Ah! how it haunts my dreams betimes,
That Lovers' Walk under the Limes.
Oh! why so cruel, yet so fair,
To leave me thus in dark despair!
Yet though of ever life bereft
One bright, fond memory still is left:
'Twas mine in many varied climes —
The Lovers' Walk under the Limes.
CLXXVI.
WINTER STANZAS.
Sad, sad, is the drip, drip,
Drip, drip, of the falling rain;
Summer is gone with her rosy lips,
And luscious autumn, berry-brown,
Has thrown the last of her red leaves down,
And winter has come again.
Sad, sad, is the leaden sky!
It hangs like a pall o'er the loaded air;
It scarce can echo the crow's hard cry,
As wearily along it flies —
A dark spot on the mirky skies,
Over the trees so bare.
Oh! for an hour of the glad sunshine,
And the song of bird, and the bloom of flowers,
And the glistening leaves that intertwine
Overhead, o'er my love and me,
While the balmy zephyrs, fresh and free,
Play with the summer hours.
But still the monotonous rain-drops fall —
Drip, drip, from the clammy eaves;
The ivy has lost its hold on the wall,
The daisy is dead, and rotting lies,
Nature is sick of the cheerless skies,
And man will fall like the leaves.
CLXXVII.
THE PAST AND THE FUTURE.
THE PAST.
Remember, ah! there's magic in the sound
Which wakens all the echoes of the heart,
Thrilling our softer feelings with a deep
Awakening influence, till we stand apart
From all the present, and with joyous start
Fall back upon the vanished days of old
When Hope itself was younger, and our love
Gushed forth with freshness, even to the cold
Life-wakened world clinging, in the quest
Of something to be loved, something to move
And sway with the same throbbings of our breast
Linked in the fervid ties by passion wove.
Thus when our present is by clouds o'ercast
We joy in sunshine in the smiling past.
THE FUTURE.
We live but in the future. Who is he
Who coldly vegetates in drowsy mead
Content to feel the present, and to be
Just as he has been planted — a dull weed.
No! there is that within us which the sear
Of care and disappointment ne'er can blot.
The soul aye rises, spurning what is here,
And feeds itself, with thoughts of what is not,
But which Hope paints, with fairy colours bright
In the dim vista of our coming lot.
And Fancy, with its ever-changing hues
Tints all the features with a radiant light.
Alas! that such sweet visions of Hope born
Should vanish at the coming of that morn.
CLXXVIII.
CHILDHOOD AND AGE.
CHILDHOOD.
Gambol! ye happy ones, gambol in glee,
Without the shadow of a care to check;
Revel with joy beneath the old oak tree,
And with the blooming flowers your bright hair deck.
Ruddy 's the faces with heaven's blessed air,
And all embrowned by sun's each little neck,
And the light ringlets, bleached still more fair,
Of this small chubby urchin. 'Neath yon thorn
Sit weaving garlands, one fair girl and boy,
Looking with radiant faces — the blessed pair,
Into each other's eyes. Oh! rosy morn,
Ne'er comes again your pure and buoyant joy.
First hopes, first pleasures, memory in their light,
Makes nought in after years so glad, so bright.
AGE.
Who may divine the many-coloured dreams,
Thronging like shifting shadows o'er his heart,
As coolly sheltered from the sun's fierce beams,
In rustic seat, he silent sits apart,
And eyes, with feeble gaze, the thronging crowd
Of sportive youngsters. Oft he seems to start,
And sometimes frowns or smiles as Memory's flood
Rolls o'er him. To his feeble knee oft clings,
With lisping voice, some favourite, and as Youth
And Age look on each other, how it brings
That wrinkled brow, wan cheeks, and sunken mouth
In shady contrast. One voice blithely sings,
The other wheezes at his cracked tone's height —
Here, smiling, opening Morn — there, fading Night.
CLXXIX.
SONNET. — DAY DREAMS.
In the dim twilight, when the fading day
Soothes lovingly to rest the care-worn heart,
Oftly the forms of dear ones passed away,
In shadowy dreamings to our fancy start,
And, in illusive joy, we live again
The long lost yesterdays which never part
From memory's fondness. Soft tones are ringing
Of well-remembered voices, and, oh! fain
Would we believe the sweet, dear lips were singing
With warbling melody some olden strain.
The sad, low, wailing notes the hot tears bringing
Of mingled woe and gladness, bliss, and pain.
'Tis true, 'tis all but fitful fancy's gleaming;
But when the true hath fled, we prize the seeming.
CLXXX.
SONNET. — SUMMER NOON.
Dim, hazy vapours twinkle in the air,
As if the very winds themselves were dead,
And to the eye were palpable. O'erhead,
And all around in sight, one same blue sky,
Spotless, save these thin fleecy clouds which lie
Like Beauty's eyelashes, making more fair
By their soft radiance. What a golden glow
Glistens amongst the trees, tipping with rare
And gorgeous hues, the blossoms clustering hung
Luxuriantly. Yon silvery streamlet's flow
Scarce moves the lilies which its waters bear
Floating upon their breast. Care off is flung;
My book, neglected, lies amongst the leaves,
While busy Fancy dreams of rapture weaves.
CLXXXI.
THE DEAD.
Strange awe of breathless clay,
Of dust, cold dust,
Of bright youth passed away
In Death's dark rust.
We feel spell-bound and lone,
Mute, wan, and low,
Speaking as if the gone
Could hear our woe.
Shadows seem all clinging
To each sad brow,
And the lips late singing
Are silent now.
All the pass'd away hours
Spent together,
Roving amongst the flowers
Soon to wither,
Memory calls up bright,
But also brings
The wrong, the peevish slight,
The venomed stings.
Our words have often brought
The dear one fled,
Who grants forgiveness now —
The dead! the dead!
Stamped deep, deep in the heart,
The last words breathed,
The last long, lingering gaze
The love bequeathed.
The last grasp so thrilling —
How thrilling cold,
Of the hand unwilling
To loose its hold.
The last lone muttered sigh,
The heart-breaking,
The glazing, vacant eye
Light forsaking.
Oh! Life, a bubble's breath,
Blown and burst soon,
Thy best are snatched by Death
Before their noon.
CLXXXII.
NEVER DESPAIR.
Can sighing aught improve ye,
Or shedding tears avail?
Will fortune aught more love ye
For looking sad and pale?
Come, throw away this moping,
And brooding all alone;
Betake yourself to hoping,
And half your grief is gone.
Dame Fortune loves the smiling,
And those who slight her frown;
And laughing, nor go toiling,
She raises from the ground.]
"Nil desperandum!" aye, then
Laugh common cares away;
Ne'er heed what cynics say, then,
In sad and solemn way.
But wipe away your tear-drops,
Nor let your wrinkles grow;
Earth still has love and dear hopes,
If gaily on we go.
CLXXXIII.
MOMENTS OF PLEASURE.
They have pass'd, they have pass'd,
Like the summer wind,
And what have they left
Of their glory behind?
A languid eye, a brow fevered o'er,
And a heart that beats
With rapture no more.
Oh, pleasure! thy charms
Are but perishing bubbles
That float round our path.
Through this dark sea of troubles,
They glitter around us —
All gorgeous they gleam.
We grasp them, they burst,
And we sink in the stream.
CLXXXIV.
ON A SLEEPING CHILD.
Softly, oh! softly tread, breathe lightly now,
Recal not rudely from its slumbers bright
The fair young dreamer. O'er its sunny brow
Floats pure-eyed innocence, and see what light
Smiles dimple all its face, as if a sight
Of radiant beauty stirred its little heart,
Or some bright being whispered words of love,
And breathed a spell around it. What may part
From the fond mother's bosom? what may move
Her deep devotion towards thee. Oh! strong
And holy are her feelings, as with hushed
And softened notes she lulls thee with a song,
And gazes with her hand upon her cheek,
Smiling in tears, so proud, and yet so meek.
CLXXXV.
SONG OF THE OLD YEAR.
My sands are well nigh shaken
One by one,
Morn and eve hath fleeted
In shade and sun,
And the glory of starry skies,
The bloom of the flowers' bright dyes,
The balmy summer's zephyr sighs,
Gone, all gone!
I have scattered woe and gladness,
Bliss and pain,
I have soothed the heart in sadness
To peace again;
I have brought rest to the weary,
Warm hearths I've rendered dreary,
Wan despair I've oft made cheery
With love's chain.
And though departed, often
Shall memory bring
Me freshly back again,
While fancy's wing
Shall slow flutter o'er sorrow's stream,
Or back in joy's soft sunny beams,
Recalling all the heart's fond dreams
Which round me clings.
CLXXXVI.
THE SONG OF DEATH.
I journeyed along, bold, hopeful and strong,
On the arduous pathway of life;
And pleasant it seemed as my fancy had deemed
When I mingled at first in the strife.
The past might be sad but the present was glad,
And the future lay bright in my view;
And I saw not the cloud that was soon to enshroud
The whole in a gloomier hue.
Till there suddenly fell, as if brought by a spell,
A shadow across my fair path,
And I cowered in fear when I saw it appear,
For I knew 't was the Shadow of Death.
And the dearly-loved form that in sunshine and storm
Had long been my stay and my pride,
Felt the chill of his touch as she shrank from his clutch,
And sank down at last by my side.
But while the grim foe, to my horror and woe,
Was sapping the issues of life,
Came a higher command, came a mightier hand,
And, baffled, he turned from the strife.
Yet, though robbed of his prey, e'er he turned away,
He shrieked in my terrified ear
The following strain, which still rings in my brain,
And chills heart and spirit with fear: —
"I stand in the way of mankind every day,
I intrude on their mirth and their joy,
Unmoved by their grief or their cries for relief,
I wander about to destroy.
The young and the old, the timid and bold,
I strike with a merciless hand;
And no courage can save from the grasp of the grave,
The mortals whose lives I demand.
"No mercy I show to the mother's deep woe,
I heed not her prayers to God,
When her infant I clasp in my desperate grasp,
And crush its young life in the bud.
I seize the young bride in her beauty and pride,
And laugh at the bridegroom's despair;
I feast on her charms, and my skeleton arms
I twine round her bosom so fair.
"I strike down the strong in the midst of the throng,
And he who is proudest of strength,
When my javelin I throw lieth fainting and low,
And conscious of weakness at length.
The patriarch sage, though hoary with age,
And bent with the burden of years,
I remorselessly bear to my horrible lair
Despite all his hopes and his fears."
CLXXXVII.
GLAZERT.
On Kelvinside I've happy been,
I've strayed on Luggie's margin green,
But sweetest joys were mine I ween,
On the banks o' Glazert,
For there in youthful days I ran,
There wooed the pride of a' the lan' —
I won her heart, I won her han',
On the banks o' Glazert.
And tho' the years are fleeting fast
An' 'mang new scenes my lot is cast,
I still recall the happy past
On the banks o' Glazert.
And evermore my blessing dwells
On a' the woods, and streams, and dells,
Frae Kelvinside to Campsie Fells. —
Blessings on the Glazert.
CLXXXVIII.
THE LINTHILLS WELL. *
Far up on the brae where the hillside is green
And the flowers o' the mountain in beauty are seen;
Where the curlew is screaming its pleasure to tell,
Stands the gem of the moorlands, the Linthills Well.
And the young and the gay who on pleasure are bent,
The weary and worn, whom misfortune hath sent;
The rich and the poor, all who pass thro' the dell,
Remember wi' blessings the Linthills Well.
* The Linthills Well lies on the road leading from the village of Lochwinnoch,
to the well known hills of Cockmalane and Mistylaw.
Refreshing and sweet were its waters to me,
As I roamed thro' the heather, rejoicing and free,
Ere the years brought their changes, and love's mighty spell,
Had ta'en me frae hame and the Linthills Well.
My Jamie is kind, and his love is my pride,
For he's dearer to me than the world beside;
But the tears often come, and my bosom will swell,
When I think on the days by the Linthills Well.
For I'm far frae the hame and the friends that I loved,
And far frae the scenes where in childhood I roved,
And I yearn with a longing nae language can tell
To drink ance again frae the Linthills Well.
Whate'er be my lot, be it sickness or health,
Be it pleasure or sadness, misfortune or wealth,
I'll return to the hame where my kindred still dwell,
And spend my last days near the Linthills Well.
CLXXXIX.
CRAIGIE LINN.
I hae seen mony scenes, noo, baith awfu' and stern —
Scenes rugged and gloomy, scenes covered wi' fern;
But there aye was a scene I lo'ed better than a',
'Twas the dash o' the burnie as doun it did fa,'
And glided awa' where the broad seggin grows,
Whiles washing the leaves o' the wee pale primrose,
And the strawberries red on the bank I would pu',
And list to the sound as it pour'd the linn through.
Craigie Linn, sweet Craigie Linn,
I've loved you dear since childhood's days;
Craigie Linn, sweet Craigie Linn,
Around thee slope sweet flowery braes.
The broom blooming yellow, the foxglove and rose
Fling their shades o'er the Burnie as downward it flows;
There it sighs and it murmurs sae clear and sae bright,
On its bosom reflected the hedge hung in white
Up abune, ere it dashes itself into spray,
'Tween green banks and flow'rets it smoothly doth stray;
There the violet and dewdrop in beauty excel,
And there wave the heather and bonnie blue bell.
Craigie Linn, &c.
The bloom o' the rowan tree sends fragrance aroun',
Where gloamin' aye lingers frae morning till noon,
Till sorrow is banish'd as here oft I rest,
For a heavenly calmness steals over my breast.
Wherever I wander, wherever I roam,
I aye will remember my birth-place, my home,
For my heart will rejoice as in fancy I hear
The sound o' the Linn falling soft on mine ear.
Craigie Linn, &c.
CXC.
CONSIDER.
Consider the sparrows, the little house sparrows,
That twitter on house-top and wall,
That flit round us daily, and chirp away gaily,
Unnoticed because they're so small,
Yet God knows if one of them fall.
Consider the lilies, the little white lilies,
Whose bloom so soon passes away,
Yet we're told in true story, that kings in their glory,
Are not so arrayed are all they,
Though decked in their purple so gay.
Consider the bud, and consider the flower,
That cheer our dull pilgrimage way;
They are found in green valleys and tree-shaded alleys,
Where bright little rivulets stray —
Are we of less value than they?
Consider the birds, and consider the flowers,
That toil not and spin not at all;
God lists to their singing, and these He sees springing
And keeps a watch over them all.
CXCI.
WHERE'S THE WREATH.
Where's the wreath which hope entwining,
Gaily bound on love's young brow;
Where each gem in fancy shining;
Flowers of hope, where are you now
Gone for aye with years gone by;
Love's sweet echo's but a sigh.
Where, where now thy cheek's young blooming,
Youth and beauty's early dower;
Bloom so sweet that while consuming,
Time e'en blushed to own his power.
Gone for aye, &c.
But though all hath changed around us,
Changed, like us, since first we met,
Why should vain regret confound us?
Calm affection lingers yet.
Still, we turn to years gone by —
Love's sweet echo's but a sigh.
CXCII.
MINNIE GLEN.
Oh! Minnie Glen, dear Minnie Glen,
I lo'e ye far o'er weel —
I lo'e ye, as in fond return,
Ye ne'er for me can feel.
Ye're aye sae cool, ye're aye sae coy —
I canna say unkin',
Oh! Minnie Glen, dear Minnie Glen,
Say, will ye e'er be mine.
Oh! Minnie Glen, what means that sigh —
That tear upon thy cheek —
Why quake thy lips — thy heart grows fu',
I see ye canna speak.
Come lean thee, lean thee on my breast,
I'll wipe thy saft blue e'e —
Oh! Minnie Glen, dear Minnie Glen,
Ye're pale as pale can be.
I've wranged, I've wranged thee, Minnie —
Thy very touch reveals —
Thy very light, yet timid touch
The warmth thy bosom feels.
'Tis modesty alone restrains
The emotion of thy heart;
And doubly dear, thou'lt ever be,
As now for this thou art.
CXCIII.
IT IS NOT BEAUTY BINDS THE SOUL.
It is not beauty binds the soul,
Nor words that power can claim;
'Tis something ever, ever dear,
We feel, but cannot name.
We gaze, we blush, we glow, we sigh,
And wonder why 'tis so;
But still, we cannot e'er divine
What gives that joy or woe.
It is not beauty binds the soul,
And yet, though strange, 'tis true,
Whate'er we fondly, truly love,
Is beautiful to view.
Though others laugh while we admire,
Would mock where we have knelt,
They turn but to another's smile
To feel as we have felt.
CXCIV.
THE HILLS OF HOME.
The hills of home, the hills of home,
How beautiful! how bright!
When o'er the waves we hail them,
Thus bathed in evening's light.
The sun of morn hath kissed them;
But e'en his latest beam,
Oh! no, it cannot leave them,
So lovely do they seem.
The spire in distance towering
Far o'er the waving wood,
The cottage sweetly gemming
The well known solitude.
Oh! all seems peace and joy; but
A dearer gem is there,
The lips we love are breathing
For us their fondest prayer.
Oh! would the winds but waft us —
Oh! why, why do they sleep
When all around seems blending
To woo us o'er the deep?
When e'en the vesper chime,
As it breaks upon the ear,
Comes like affection's whisper,
To ask, "Why linger here?"
But see, the waves are rippling;
See, see they creep along!
The distant breeze is breathing
Its hollow ocean-song.
Oh! day may fade around us,
We need its beams no more;
A dearer light is waiting
To welcome us on shore.
CXCV.
HARK, THE LARK IS UP.
Hark! the lark is up,
The first sweet bird of Spring,
High, and yet more high still,
And gaily carolling.
Earth hath not yet one blossom,
By fountain, bower, or brake;
Yet loud, more loud, he warbles,
As if to bid them wake.
Thus in fancy bright,
He sees each opening flower,
And by anticipation
Lives twice each sunny hour.
Then here why should we linger?
Go breathe the vernal air;
Away! through wold and woodland,
The lark is singing there.
CXCVI.
THE STAR OF ENGLAND. *
There is a star whose chastened ray
Requires no shade from night —
There is a star which shining day
But proves more purely bright.
Oh, many a land hath wooed its beams,
But one loved isle alone
May claim the light which round it streams,
May call that star its own.
While war and slaughter sweep the world,
And shake its proudest throne,
Old Britain, with her banners furled,
In peace looks calmly on.
Her homes secure, her Queen beloved,
In mutual trust repose,
Nor fear need be while o'er the free
The star of England glows.
* Written immediately after Her Majesty's coronation.
CXCVII.
THE GRIEF WE MAY NA TELL.
Oh! wearily, wearily, life lags on,
O'er fate's still changing wave;
And there's many an up, and there's many a down,
'Twixt the cradle and the grave.
There's many a wish, and there's many a want,
Of false friends and of foes right fell,
But there's nought on earth that the heart may brook,
Like the grief we may na tell.
There's nought on earth that heart may brook,
Like secret, searing woe,
Which love, or pride, or prudence says
The world must never know.
The poisoning rust which taints each spring
Of joy's most secret well,
That bane which hath no antidote,
The grief we may na tell.
O'er mother's, sire's, or brother's tomb,
Go shed affection's tear;
'Tis done, and now e'en sorrow's gloom
Makes all we've spared more dear:
More closely binds our kindred ties,
Till bound a changeless spell;
Sighs, soothing sighs: but what may calm
The grief we may na tell?
CXCVIII.
THEY GAVE ME A BROOCH.
They gave me a brooch of gems and gold,
And they braided my flowing hair,
But the tale of joy which they gaily told
Was strange to my deep despair.
The lonely dell, the rosy bower,
And the star that shone bright at our parting hour;
Oh! these, these alone were dear to my heart,
Oh! these can alone with life depart.
They brought me to the festive throng,
And they called me young and fair;
And they led the dance, and they poured the song,
But I saw not my loved one there.
And still I thought of his last fond sigh,
His amorous look, yet prophetic eye;
Oh! these, these alone were dear to my heart,
Oh! these can alone with life depart.
The dys of youth we ne'er forget,
Though their joys be for ever fled;
In fond remembrance they linger yet
With dreams of the loved and the dead.
The years of bliss which we thought upon,
And the hopes that were blighted ere yet they had
blown;
Oh! these, these alone were dear to my heart,
Oh! I these can alone with life depart.
CXCIX.
THE TOUCH OF A MAIDEN'S HAND.
Oh! there's magic, yes, there's a nameless spell
In the touch of a maiden's hand;
For it woos, it wins with sweeter power,
Than all love's wiles command.
So light, and yet impressive, too,
So electric, yet so bland; —
Oh! there's more revealed than sages dream,
By the touch of a maiden's hand!
When the whispered vow, unconsciously,
Is hallowed by a sigh,
When the soul's most deep felt sympathies
Are mirrored on the eye, —
When the dewy lips part with each pulse,
That bids the heart expand,
What thousand things at once are told
By the touch of a maiden's hand!
CC.
THE MINSTREL'S THEME.
Were I the fairest little flower
That e'er in garden grew,
I'd glow with pride 'neath sun and shower,
Did I but bloom for you!
Were I the sweetest bird that sings
Upon the blossom'd tree,
I'd fly from far on weary wings,
And warble aye to thee!
Were I the gentlest fragrant breeze
That fills the summer air,
I'd come across the golden seas,
And linger round thy hair!
Alas! I'm but a minstrel boy,
Who sings his life away,
With not a note of hope or joy
In his sad roundelay!
Oh! quicken thou my wasted strains
With thy dark flashing eye,
Or bid me seek far distant plains,
To sing, and fight, and die!
CCI.
THE THORN TREE.
When the gloamin' fa's,
When the saft win' blaws,
Laden wi' fragrance frae moorland and lee,
Come, my lassie, then,
Down the lonely glen,
And meet wi' your true love beneath the thorn tree.
Come at day's sweetest hour,
Come 'mid each closin' flower,
Come wi' the hum o' the last stragglin' bee;
Come frae the clachan's din,
Come when your lambs are in,
For then your love waits you beneath the thorn tree.
Come when the south winds sigh
O'er where the violets lie,
When Simmer's Lang day is closin' its e'e;
Come when the laverock sings
His sang on wearied wings,
And nestle beside me beneath the thorn tree.
Ah! lassie, weel I ken
There are shepherds in the glen
Would part wi' a' their gowd your rosy lips to pree;
Yet care na for them a',
But blithely come awa',
An' meet wi' him that lo'es you beneath the thorn tree!
CCII.
A SONG OF LIFE.
I left my love in the homeland dear,
And oh! my heart was dreary!
I wandered alone by rivers clear,
And the sedgy banks of the sluggish mere,
Aweary and aweary!
I heard the wayside minstrel sing,
And oh! my heart was dreary!
I heard the convent vespers ring,
But peace they ne'er to my soul could bring —
Aweary and aweary!
I paced mirth's halls, ablaze with light,
But oh ! my heart was dreary!
I turned me from the soulless sight,
And wept out in the starry night,
Aweary and aweary!
I thought of my love at break of day,
And oh! my heart was dreary,
For ah! he was miles and miles away,
And his sweet farewell on my sad heart lay,
Aweary and aweary!
A dove was away from its homeland long,
And oh! its heart was dreary!
But now it is safe from the world's wild throng —
Safe by a bosom that's true and strong;
And never again will its low, sweet song,
Be weary and aweary!
CCIII.
WAITING.
"Mors Janua Vitae."
I have waited till Spring's first breath came over the rippling
streams,
And kissed the opening flowers as it lightly skimmed along;
Till the woodland lilies waved all white in the morning
beams,
And the deep dells echoed again to the sound of the wild--
bird's song.
I have waited till Summer came forth, all wreathed in a
thousand flowers,
Shedding a luscious balm o'er the meadows, and glades,
and hills,
Twining the daffodil sweet with the rose in her fragrant
flowers,
And fringing with verdant moss, the sides of the bubbling
rills.
I have waited till Autumn has gone from the woods with
waning sigh,
Leaving the half-dead trees of their emerald tresses all
shorn;
When the branches revealed in the night the stars in the
far-off sky,
Or shook in a tremulous chill at the sob of the early morn.
have waited through dreary December's hours of shadowy
gloom,
Till the Old Year, weary and worn, had passed away to his
rest;
Till his midnight knell had rung in the dark with a tongue
of doom,
And echoed above the snow that lay like a shroud on his
breast.
I have waited a dreary time on the verge of the Border-land,
Consumed by languishing pain, and shadowed with grief
profound;
Living again in the thrill of the grasp of a long-loved hand,
Lingering over the tones of a voice of the tenderest
sound.
I wait through the balmy hours of the twilight soft and
still,
Watching the crimson flecks in an azure and western sky;
Lulled by the vesper chimes from the church on the far-off
hill,
Borne on the softest wings of the night-wind's lingering
sigh.
I linger here on the verge of this shadowy Border-land —
How long, Lord, yet to stay from the land I have seen
afar?
Thine own time, Lord; then lead me up with a gentle hand!
And open Thou wide the gates that have stood so long
ajar!
CCIV.
ROBERT BURNS.
A CENTENARY ODE, 1859.
We hail to-day his glorious birth,
One hundred years ago,
Who taught his brothers o'er the earth
To think, to feel, to glow;
Whose independent spirit fires
In countless thousands now.
Aye, and will burn till Truth expires —
That Roman from the plough! —
Who spurned the falsehoods of pretence,
The insolence of pride,
Who measured men by worth and sense,
And not by mere outside;
Who, from the mob that worship State,
Turned to the sterling few
That honour — what alone is great —
The Good, the Just, the True! —
Who round the lot of lowly life
Has warmth and beauty flung;
Who shared its pleasures, cares, and strife,
And as he found them, sung;
Who, in his own brief chequered course,
Proved that though Fortune's ban
Goes far — too far — it need not force
Real manhood from a Man!
Thy story, Burns, a tale unfolds
As thrilling as thy song;
Oh! that the age which now beholds
Might hate thy crying wrong —
The cold neglect, contemptuous airs,
The cruel callous sneers
Proud Dullness towards Genius bears;
And, worse mayhap, the tears —
The maudlin tears which only fall
As soon as men are dead,
And flow full-coursing down the pall
Of Bards who wanted bread;
The hypocritic tears accurst,
So like their ways and doom,
Who used to kill the prophets first,
And garnished next their tomb!
Away, away, the ignoble train!
What duty have they here?
Could ever Poet's ardent strain
Reach to their frozen ear?
Could intellect's bright flashing beam
Their barren being start?
Or feeling's glorious headlong stream
Run rushing through their heart?
But come, all men, true, human-souled,
Whatever your degree —
Men cast in honest nature's mould,
And, like that nature, free —
Whom love, and hate, and pity's yearn
Alternate sway by turns,
For ye, indeed, should crown the cairn —
The towering cairn of Burns!
He gave a voice to every mood,
A tongue to every scene;
His scorn fell like a lashing flood,
Electric wit between;
And satire's blast, rough, roaring, loud,
Came on like driving hail;
How shrunk the shivering liars, cowed,
Behind their rotten pale!
But humble hope, and virtue pure,
And faith divinely calm,
In his affection stood secure,
And poured their holy psalm —
Alike from Loudoun's manse of love,
Or cottar's kitchen hall —
And breathed their souls to One above,
The Father of us all!
The truly reverend he revered,
Who lived, not lipped, their creed,
Who served the God they felt and feared,
By righteous word and deed;
Nor, till in Scotland's homesteads fair
Devotion's lamp grows dim,
Can die the fervour of that prayer,
The music of that hymn.
No, no, ye shallow sceptic crew,
'Tis false what bigots say;
Our poet was as far from you,
As from the night the day;
That light of his — most awful dower
To erring mortal given —
In every calmer, loftier hour,
Approved its native Heaven.
No pale phosphoric gleam, which plays
Round stale corruption, here;
No feeble taper's glimmering rays
Beside some dismal bier;
No Etna-flame, with sulph'rous breath,
Its dust and ashes showers;
No lurid levin, charged with death,
That dazzles and devours;
His genius, like the sun, forth shone,
To bless our human sight,
And clasp the world in one broad zone
Of bright and living light;
To banish gloom — alas that gloom
His own career should mark!
Yet, though the Sun all else illume,
The Sun itself is dark.
In Burns's lustre, oh! how sweet
The wild flowers round us spread!
The mountain-daisy at our feet
Lifts up its modest head;
The broom puts on a yellower flush
Along our banks and braes;
The heather dyes a deeper blush
As conscious of our praise.
The bird sings blyther on the tree,
Or twitters in the brake;
The bees they hum more busily,
And sweeter honey make;
While all the creatures of the hill
Forget their hiding place,
And come to lick our hand at will —
We know them by their face.
Fairies foot lighter on the lea,
And dress in gayer green;
Fate wears more pleasing mystery,
When he holds Hallowe'en;
He waves his wand — witches and ghosts
Our wizard's spell abide;
He speaks, and lo! the hellish hosts, —
And "Tam's" immortal ride!
How lovelier lovely Woman too,
In maiden charms arrayed!
So artless, innocent, and true,
Who is not captive made?
And oh, what ecstacy as both
Confess the mutual thrall,
And pass the word, and plight the troth,
Which leal hearts ne'er recall.
How softly blow those westland winds
Around the happy spot,
Where married love its dwelling finds,
Care and the world forgot;
Where peace gives joy a deeper zest
And sanctifies our lives,
And each believes his "Jean" the best
Of women and of wives.
And when the swiftly-footed Time
Steals on us unaware,
Writes wrinkles on young Beauty's prime,
Binds Vigour to his chair,
Age looks not crabbed or forlorn
Although its strength be gone —
The fresh dew of a second morn
Is round "John Anderson."
What mirth in "roaring Willie's" laugh,
And soul in every stave!
What pith in Dr. Hornbook's staff!
What shrewdness, gay and grave,
And fund of honest friendly lore,
In every friendly line
To "Davie," "Graeme," and twenty more,
Which sages might enshrine!
His lyrics stir our British blood
Wherever Britons toil;
They fell the far Canadian wood,
Dig the Australian soil;
Where Northern winters hold their reign,
And Eastern summers long,
They bind our sons in one strong chain
Of Sentiment and Song.
A soldier, once by conquest led —
So old historians write —
Slept with his Homer 'neath his head
To nerve him for the fight;
Wherever Freedom's battle's fought,
And patriots seek the fray,
They'll rouse them to that trumpet-note —
Heroic "Scots wha hae!"
Hail Scotia's Bard! Long shalt be felt
Thy lyre so many-stringed;
To soothe, to madden, or to melt,
What words like thine are winged?
One age — and do we deem it hard
That but one Burns appears?
Nay, men were blessed with such a Bard
Once in a thousand years!
For He shall live, and still live on,
When all those years are past;
While harvests wave, and rivers run;
While pangs and passions last;
He'll be, till nature's final hour
Looks wan in nature's face,
A name, a presence, and a power,
To move the human race.
CCV.
PAST AND PRESENT.
I.
In the childhood I remember, now some forty years ago,
The tales we heard were Fairy tales; how pleasant was the
flow,
As the kind old faithful foster-nurse — peace to her, simple
soul! —
To quiet her noisy auditors rehearsed her well-known ròle;
How Jack had mounted the Bean Stalk, the Giant grim had
slain,
And how his Mother wondered when the boy came back
again;
The sights by sailor Sinbad seen within the magic cave;
And how men lived up in the moon, and Mermaids 'neath
the wave!
Or, if it chanced her auditors were in a different mood,
How touchingly she told us of the two Babes in the Wood,
And how the Robin happed them in their lone and leafy
bower —
My heart warms to the Robin yet, and has warmed since
that hour!
The Bells that rang out fortune to the little Whittington,
There's music in their memory — I'm not ashamed to own
The charm, whene'er my ear drinks in some distant tinkling
chimes,
They seem the happy echoes of those old and happy times!
How cheery were the songs she sung, and never tired to
sing;
The ballads, too, now softly sweet, now weirdly wild their
ring,
Now gentle as a breathing lute, now like the tempest's
race —
Fair Helen of Kirkconnell Lee, or Cheviot's bloody Chase!
And as our group responsive felt the savage or the sad,
Were vexed with tender pity, or anon with laughter glad,
How carefully she watched each turn, improved it as she
might,
To make us bolder for the weak, and braver for the right!
Dear Betty, I recall you still, though humble was your lot,
Such home-spun honest worth as thine can never be forgot.
If whiles you scolded us yourself, none else at least dare try,
Not father, mother, granny, aunt, if you were standing by.
No hireling monthly hack, dear Bet, of this "progressive"
age,
Yours was the service of the heart, not task-work for a wage.
But then your "house" was made a home, nor was there
known at all
So wonderful a distance from the kitchen to the hall!
Is it I'm growing critical because growing gray; —
Yet nursery tales like these, methinks, have all but passed
away;
And childish fancy now-a-days is not so bold and free,
Nor fed upon the simple lore it once was wont to be.
Perhaps there's something better now — the folks think so,
at least,
And stronger meat they all uphold a fitter childish feast.
So be it! Still, I'll keep my creed, and say there may be
worse
To warm the heart of Childhood than those fables of the
nurse.
II.
In the shiny summer Saturdays, when we were boys at
school,
Noon found us nestling in the woods, or angling in the pool;
And then the evening twilights, with their shadows lengthening
down,
Assembled us for sport in lanes of the dear native town.
No strict preceptor's frown to fear with the to-morrow's sun,
For tasks neglected over night, and 'Bland' and ‘Mair'
undone;
To-morrow is the Sabbath, so, our satchels on the peg,
We'll have it out to-night till ten at 'Corby,' or the 'Gegg'!
No niceness in our company, no modish pride was there;
Each boy his neighbour's equal, if he choose the game to
share;
The piecer from the mill hard by, the drawboy from the
loom,
And the laddie from the ropery — all welcomely had room!
Cloth-jacket chummed with Corduroy, and loved him dearly
too;
And whatsoe'er the one proposed the other one would do;
So clear the shouts rang up the street, and fast and far the
run,
While quaint weavers in red night-caps, looked intently at
the fun!
No stiff' policeman meddled us, he rather liked the sport,
As out and in, and up and down, we threaded every court;
If, unawares, we overset a candy-woman's stall,
For reasons of her own she said but little of the fall;
Even servant-lasses seemed to like their errand very well,
If whiles we raised a knocker, or whiles we tugged a bell:
And called out 'mischiefs' after us as fast away we fled,
Or turning round we laughed outright to see them shake
their head!
It may be that I'm getting blind as age comes creeping on;
And yet it seems such olden sports have out of fashion gone,
At least as they were played in years of unforgotten joys,
When every town could count by troops its happy, thoughtless
boys.
I miss them in the summer eves, the lanes seem still to me,
Deserted like, and very changed from what they used to be.
I miss the girls, too, on the paves, with skipping rope and
ball,
A-chanting the 'mintanzie,' or a-hopping at 'pal-lal.'
Perhaps there's merriment as blythe and hearty as was
then;
Yet, somehow, bairns now seem to start from babies into
men;
So trim their dress, so tight their drill, their looks so very
wise,
We call them boys, and think them so, from nothing but
their size.
If this be right, then I am wrong; I like the good old way,
When boys were boys, and dearly loved a rough and roaring
play;
Got into scrapes, got out again; and knew no deeper shame
Than to have Tell-tale, Liar, Cheat, or Coward to their
name!
III.
In the hearty, happy gatherings at homes — ah, roofless now! —
Care did not brood so heavily on each assembled brow;
The Old were pleasant in their ways, and ready with their
jest;
And had a kindly word to speak with every younger guest;
And, when the lively reel struck up, you might have seen
Threescore
Select his partner, choose his set, and foot it on the floor
As lightsomely as e'er he did when dancing days were new;
And, after, when the song went round, he sang his ditty too!
Beside a presence hoar with years, yet still at heart so green,
'Twas vain to put on prudish airs when one was but eighteen;
So, speed the dance, and quicker let inspiring music fly
Till wearied maidens for respite imploringly shall cry!
Then, change the venue for a time, and take a breathing
space,
And, if we can, let's quietly slip into some cornered place,
Where, safe from the too prying eyes of jealous rivals near,
We'll steal a rapture from her lips, or pour one in her ear!
I miss these genial hale old men! the race seems all but
dead,
Who slipped the 'fairing' in the hand, or kindly stroked
the head,
We never felt them a restraint at feast, or fete, or dance,
But gathered gladness from their voice, and pleasure from
their glance.
The Old are now so hard, and dull, and sour, and callous
grown,
They cannot bear a youngster's glee, but freeze it with a
frown;
So changed in all from those who shared our mirth one scarce
can grieve
That Hallowe'en is seldom kept, and jolly New-Year's Eve!
And neighbours then were neighbourly, they shrank from
being shy;
At kirk or market never thought to pass each other by,
Nor measure out cold stately bows by some capricious scale,
But jauntily and brotherly they bade each other hail.
Now they may live for years at hand, and scarce exchange a
word;
Perhaps you're sick in the next street — ah, well, they never
heard;
Your child is dead — they recollect a hearse was at the door;
Your daughter married — on their word, they never knew before!

Well, well, the mode is altered now, the manners more
demure;
But, then, at least, you must admit the manners are so pure;
The frankness of the by-gone time is now quite laid aside,
But 'tis because we're more refined — that cannot be denied;
Age has grown graver with its years, youth more correct
behaves;
Before Propriety alone we bow as willing slaves!
Who would the olden coarseness change for good so passing
fair,
Or wish Society to lose such a becoming air?
Oh, Sophistry, what power is thine, to cheat plain honest
sense;
Thou slimy Tempter, as of yore, thy wile lies in Pretence;
Is vice less vicious that 'tis hid beneath thy snakish hood? —
Makes man so oft but hypocrite, and woman but a prude?
Thinks ill where nothing ill was thought, sin where no sin
was done,
And to dissemble the first law of life beneath yon sun?
Are Honour, Virtue, Truth to-day more safe, or oftener shown,
Than in the years when people wore no colours but their own?
Let bankrupt lists, and swindling schemes, and crimes
might sicken hell,
Of these enlightened days of ours the bitter story tell!
Let wise young men, who will not wed, at least till years are
gone,
Their fortunes made, position gained, and all their wild oats
sown;
Let rifled rose-buds cast away by thousands every year —
Truth must speak out — it speaks, alas, in bitter accents
here! —
Palled appetites, and hardened hearts, what matter if you
make
Yon old man wretched in his age, who was in youth a Rake?
CCVI.
A HALLOWE'EN DREAM.
They hae brunt twa nits on Hallowe'en nicht,
An' the nits were for my luve an' me;
I low't on my love, and my luve low't bricht,
Till in aizles sweetly we seem't to die.
I gather't the ase, an' I carry't it hame,
And laid it aneath my pillow wi' care;
An' I trew't, though my luve I couldna name,
I wad dream o' my luve, and see her fair.
I pu't me a stock on Hallowe'en,
It was a stracht an' a gracefu' kail;
The curly blades sae fair and green,
Of her ringlets they told a bonnie tale.
It's roots war deep, an' they shaw't her sprung
Frae a kin' for honour fam't in arms;
A hussock o' yird for a tocher was hung —
A tocher o' goud, an' a tocher o' charms.
I cut out the heart for the heart o' my love,
An' a bonnie heart it was to see;
I ate a wee slice her temper to prove,
An' a sweet, sweet heart it was to pree.
My bonnie kail heart, I carry't it hame,
An' laid it aneath my pillow wi' care;
An' I trow't, though my luve I couldna name,
I wad dream o' my luve, an' see her fair.
I dream't a dream, an' I thocht I saw
A gallant barge that sail't the sea;
I step't on board, an' was waft't awa',
An' was land't safe in a fair countree.
The sun shone bricht, an' the wud grew green,
An' busk't the braes fu' bonnily;
The burns they skinkl't wi' silver sheen,
An' the wee fish play't fu' merrily.
I wauk't by burn, I wauk't by fell,
An' sport't wi' ladies fair to see;
But yet, on my life, I couldna tell
Whether the number was twa or three.
Their persons were fair, an' their minds were bricht,
Their hearts they were warm an' kind,
For earth it made their forms perfect,
An' heaven had gi'en their mind.
I thocht that on me was bestow't a tythe
O' the joys o' heaven abuve;
An' the little wee songsters chirp't blythe,
An' bade us, like them, to luve.
Now, wha will read my Hallowe'en dream?
An' wha will my freit reveal?
An' wha will tell me the lassie's name
That I met on the green wud hill?
CCVII.
A SIMILE.
The ivy, when young, 'gins to creep along,
And needs nothing but food to nourish,
But well it knows, as it older grows,
By itself it ne'er can flourish,
So it twines it round some stout old oak,
Not at once, but by slow degrees,
And so tight, that it clings through the fiercest storms
Which uproot the strongest trees.
E'en the oak itself, to which it clings,
May be levelled amid the storms,
But it clings as tight, though the oak laid low
Be decayed, and the food of worms.
So Love at first in our youthful breast
'Gins to creep and feel its way,
Till it twines it round our beating hearts,
And for ever there 'twill stay.
It heeds not the storms which rage without,
Nor the cold world's selfish breath,
But the more 'tis crossed it the tighter clings,
Till it outlive even death.
Adversity comes like the winter frost,
But it ne'er can Love appal;
The one we love may be laid full low,
But Love lives through it all.
CCVIII.
CHARITY.
Charity! of kind thought the sweetest mother,
Bending now fondly o'er the fallen one;
Pouring forth love in joy, which may not smother
The cold, chill feelings which the heart o'errun,
Of the world's care begotten; tears down showering
From thy smooth cheek bespeak thy soul's deep sorrow,
And thy lip's quiver; the cold and heedless louring
Of the dull eye but causeth thee to borrow
New strength and fervour, and thy hand up-raised
Imploring, pointeth ever to the heaven.
And oh! how glad thy smile when meek hath gazed
That now dimmed eye with hope to be forgiven.
Much do I love thee, soother of hearts that bleed,
Raising the bruiséd — almost broken — reed.
CCIX.
TO —
Oh! deem not thou my heart is cold,
Though cold at times it seem to thee;
Think not I ever cease to hold
Thee dearest in my memory.
Oh! heed not thou what others say,
Though cold to them I seem to be,
And turn my careless glance away,
My heart forgets its vows to thee.
I seek not friends, I would but rest
Upon thy faithfulness alone;
In joy or woe of thee possessed,
Life's sweetest hopes could ne'er be gone.
No thought have I of times to be,
No wish unto my heart so dear
Could stir to act, unless, sweet one,
I still could hope thou would'st be near.
Then heed not thou my clouded brow,
Deem not I careless turn away.
No one to me so dear as thou —
My love is more than I can say.
The deep warm feeling of my youth,
My fondest hopes but thee enfold;
Oh! rest thou on my bosom's truth,
Oh! think not thou my heart is cold.
CCX.
TO MY MOTHER.
Years have passed
Since first my lisping tongue pronounced thy name,
And as they roll'd, they wound around my heart
Affection's golden chains, and slowly op'd
The inward eyelids of my mind to see
How great my boon — how deep the debt I owed,
When I could call thee "Mother." Unto me
Each hour makes thee appear more lovely still,
And decked more richly in the bright attire
Of grace acquired and native excellence.
Thy counsels, perfect — cast in wisdom's mould,
Are built within my heart, by love cemented.
Thy words, with chasten'd power, fall on my ear
Like distant waters on a summer's eve
Murmuring into sweetness. Thy presence,
Like the fair orb of night, casts all around
A reflex of its silvery beauty
That illumes life's darkest scenes with hallowed light
To thee I owe life's sweetest joys; from thee
Obtained life's purest blessings; and to thee,
From off the altar of my willing heart,
May the sweet savour of the sacrifice
Of filial love in endless flame ascend.
All-beatific be thy course through life
With every blessing crowned? May honour,
Reverence, love, as rightful dues be paid thee?
And when around thy path the withered leaves
Of autumn's blast lie scatter'd, may there be
Many a grateful heart, by love inspired,
To soothe declining years, and bless the name
Of Her whose humble life raised and adorned
Nature's holiest office.
CCXI.
"I THINK OF HIM."
I think of him — when now the year brings round
That morn on which his spirit passed away
From friends to whom his youthful heart was bound
By that true love that ne'er can feel decay.
I think of him — and sitting lone and drear,
With my own thoughts, amid the Winter's storm,
At times I start as if I heard him near,
And in the distance saw his well-known form.
I think of him — while others come and go,
And this strange world moves forward on its way,
And wonder often that our lives can show
Such pleasures when the loved ones are away.
I think of him — he cometh not again,
Save through the medium of undying love,
Why to revisit sin and grief and pain
Should he one moment leave the joys above?
I think of him, and know he is not far
Removed from those that loved him on the earth;
His love comes sweetly to me, like the star
Whose light in silent evening has its birth.
I think of him — and swayed by memory, roam
Backward the road I've travelled year by year,
To that old spot that once we called our home,
To that short Summer which he made so dear.
I think of him — ah! time has passed since then,
And brought to me a change in thought and scene,
But still 'mid present days and living men,
Mem'ry delights to dwell with what has been.
I think of him — and wish he still were nigh
To cheer my footsteps along duty's road,
To bid me, by example, live and die
A brother to all men, a child of God.
I think of him — for life is passing on,
And all we value here must fade from sight;
I pray that I may go as those have gone
Who pass'd through darkness into endless light.
I think of him — as one still close and dear,
And only gone a few short hours before
Into that land where saints are ever near
The "Elder Brother" who reigns evermore.
CCXII.
SONNET. *
See Scotland's Hero bending o'er his shield,
In meditation deep upon his country's ills!
His large eye flashes, and his bosom fills
With youthful ardour for the tented field.
To Edward's mandates, must the free-born yield?
The very thought his valiant spirit chills,
Yet nerves with vigour — every sinew thrills
With ardent courage, while his heart is steel'd.
"My country shall be free. Turn, brothers, turn!
Let tyrants' dictates wasted be on air.
My indignation and my valour burn,
Of Fatherland the injuries to repair." —
Forth spring the young, the valiant, and the free;
And follow firmly HIM of Elderslie.
* Suggested by a Picture of Sir William Wallace, in the Paisley Royal
Grammar School Exhibition in behalf of the Library, Feb. 18, 1847.
CCXIII.
ASPIRATION.
"OH! father, we read in the schoolroom to-day
Some lines that from memory will not pass away;
And they've caused in my heart such a pleasing sing-song,
I've done nothing but think of them all the day long:
No sum would come right, and how stupid I felt
When the master had marked all the words I misspelt.
I was forced with my long-cherished medal to part;
But less than the ode my disgrace fills my heart.
And yet there seems nought to make any one sing,
For the verses were all about cuckoos and spring.
What's poetry, father? (for, doubtless, you know),
And whence the strange power of its jingle and flow?"
"Ah! boy, you your father's poor wisdom o'ertask —
No mortal can answer the questions you ask;
Some say, ''Tis the sweetest words happily waled;'
And some, ''Tis where rhyme has o'er reason prevailed.'
In grammar you find it reduced to a rule,
But it is not a thing to be learned at the school:
The source of its power long a mystery has been,
And, here, it will aye be a mystery, I ween.
Great minds full of learning to solve it have striven,
But it baffles them still, like the star blaze of heaven."
"And where did it come from?"
"Some say from above,
The first gift to man from the Father of Love.
The one deathless pleasure that flits o'er the earth —
In human emotions it daily has birth:
'Tis it that gives sadness to sorrow's wild wail;
'Tis it that gives gladness to mirth's happy hail.
To thrill a pleased world it from peace emanates;
It shouts on the war-fields of mad human hates.
On the flower-hills of heaven to revel it soars,
And regions where stars have not ventured explores.
Now a bird calls it forth, now a bud, now a flower;
Now gloaming awakes it — now dawn's holy hour;
Now it hangs o'er a dewdrop, now floats on a river,
And all that it touches is sacred for ever."
"What wonder this wakens! but surely I've heard
That poetry's only the voice of a bard,
Or the tones of a harp. — Is it so, father? Well,
In what happy land do the harper-bards dwell?"
"In all lands, my son. In the city they're found,
And out in the country; on hills; under ground.
They croon in the hut by the wild couching sea,
And in the old cot 'neath the lone moorland tree.
Some live by their song, while the world wonders how;
Some pine at the shuttle, some follow the plough;
Some sweat at the forge, and some bend o'er the awl —
They dream in the palace, the manse, and the hall:
For the spirit that whispers, 'Thy lot is to sing,'
Now speaks to a peasant, and now to a king."
"Oh! father, how much I am longing to sing
But one ode like that of the cuckoo and spring;
I long 'mong the singers of earth to be heard,
And when I am old to be hailed as a bard;
For, doubtless, on everything pleasant they fare,
And are of their countries the pride and the care."
"Ah, no! silly boy, they are nobody's care,
And they must, as they can, on life's pleasant things fare.
A few have with Fortune tript on as they sung,
But many have wandered life's sorrows among;
Yet singing so well that the world oft declared
Their song grew the grander the harder they fared.
They spring, like the coltsfoot, where men least expect,
And seldom droop chilled by the blight of neglect.
In the hardest of lots they find something that's sweet;
They stoop and lift beauties at common men's feet.
With hope in the future, and joy in the past,
They sing, as the lark warbles, facing the blast."
"And what good do they do?"
"You may ask me as well
What good does the blackbird that sings in the dell,
Or the violet that blooms on the brow of the hill,
Or the music that lives in the linn-leaping rill:
They brighten our lives, and they lighten our cares,
But the bard has a mission far nobler than theirs.
To him human language its beauty all owes —
The graces of virtue 'tis his to disclose;
And Liberty's stay on the earth he prolongs,
For tyranny fears less the sword than his songs.
Let bards and their poetry bid us farewell,
And men would he demons, and earth would be hell."
"Are they happy and wise, father?"
"Tuts! how you ask
Why should you the wit of your father o'ertask
There are people who say — but perhaps say amiss —
'The bard's but a finger-post pointing to bliss.'
'Poor fellow,' say others, 'his wit's taken wing;
But his business is not to be wise, but to sing.
His sayings with sound are so sweetly relieved,
Their lack of sound wisdom is little perceived.
He's not very stable, but prone to do wrong,
But we pardon him much for the sake of his song —
And singing, you know, is a simple affair,
He has only to think of some old happy air,
And look at the sky with his chin lifted — so,
And his words of themselves in sweet measure will flow.
If e'er he goes fishing for thoughts, he's at fault,
For the thought that is angled for's never worth salt.'
So lightly, my son, of his wisdom talk men,
And he justifies all that they say, now and then.
"Myself have seen one standing still, like a fool,
In the rain, at the brink of a little road-pool,
There weaving the first happy lines of a strain,
Whose burden (to be) was 'The beautiful rain;'
What music its low measured pattering awoke,
And to those who would listen how wisely it spoke!
How it scorned in the clouds to be longer confined,
And to reach the dull earth made a steed of the wind;
How it paused in its flight the bare hedge to adorn,
By hanging a pearl on the point of each thorn;
How it trickled down trees in the tiniest rills,
Or gathered in torrents to rush from the hills;
How it came when it chose, not at any one's call,
And meant no offence in its falling at all.
"But the wise ones of earth might have envied the fool,
Who stood so entranced by the little road-pool —
Not fearing the storm nor complaining of fate,
He smiled like an angler on Garnock in spate.
He was craving an alms at the threshold of thought,
And took with delight the poor pittance he sought.
"The rain-drops were mortals, the little pool earth,
And the bubble each drop made at falling was birth,
And the circle that spread round each drop when if fell,
To the mark a man makes in the world answered well;
And the meeting and breaking of circles the strife
Of men jostling men in the battle of life;
Though the bubbles and circles to some might reveal
The bob and the whirl of a blithe Scottish reel,
That memory would waken, and make the cheeks glow
With the music and dancing of long years ago.
"In the brattling of burns, and the glistening of leaves,
The Bard more than others aye hears and perceives;
The mountain afar, through the mist peering dim,
Is more than a vapour-veiled mountain to him.
Dear, dear is the glen where the green ivy creeps,
And the beech-bough the face of the mossy crag sweeps;
And, oh! how delicious the vague gloaming dream,
Where the fern-royal's dipping her fronds in the stream —
How dear the delight when he stealthily roams
In the wood's sacred shade where the great river foams;
For inanimate things, that to others are mute,
For him have a voice and a cheerful salute."
"How grandly your words on my wondering ears fall!
But, father, their meaning comes not at my call:
That bards should hear ought in the voice of the stream,
Beyond a sweet murmur, a marvel doth seem;
Why flowers in their presence should cease to be dumb,
And mountains ought else than great mountains become,
Seems more than a wonder — but why it is so,
I fear is not meant that a schoolboy should know.
Sometimes as I walk from the school all alone,
I smile when I think what a dreamer I've grown;
And once — more than once, father, many a time —
I've wondered to find myself thinking in rhyme,
And wondered still more when a thought, ere I wist,
Would start into view like a ship in the mist,
And startle me strangely, and then, ere I knew,
Like a ship in the mist it would flit from my view;
And often I've found my tears ready to fall,
When the phantom thought would not return at my call.
And now I've but one wish, and that is, to sing
Just one ode like that of the cuckoo and spring."
CCXIV.
SONG.
When summer's sun shone warm and bright,
"An' saft the westlan' breezes blew,"
As fair a maiden met my sight
As ever poet's fancy drew.
'Twas on the banks of Locher's stream,
Where roses bloomed in a' their pride,
I saw this lass — so fair her mien —
She might hae been a monarch's bride.
Though violets there did flourish fair,
An' on their blades hung drags o' dew
These sparkling gems outrivalled were
By "her twa een sae bonny blue."
Her lovely eyes' resplendent beam,
Was far too bright for me to bear:
I turned, abashed, and in the stream
Beheld her form, divinely fair.
A zephyr gently curled the stream,
An' did her lovely image hide;
Then all the osier boughs would seem,
Bending to her by Lecher's side.
When I beheld a' nature pay
Such homage to this charming maid,
I deemed she might be Queen of May —
Had come to visit Locher's shade.
I'd made a garland for her breast,
Of every wild flower I could view:
But could nae mair her charms resist;
So silently from her withdrew.
My soul a moment's pleasure knew;
I fear the like will ne'er return,
Except, when spring the fields renew,
I meet this lass by Locher burn.
CCXV.
TANNAHILL'S WELL.
Here would the poet sit and sing,
And kiss the bosom of this spring;
Stranger, draw near and drink thy fill,
In memory of our Tannahill,
Whose love of Nature, ever strong,
Still glows in all his deathless song;
For though his form no more can cheer,
His harp yet sounds in Scotia's ear.
CCXVI.
PUNCTUALITY.
The Sun is punctual when he mounts on high,
And punctual when he leaves the western sky;
The Moon is punctual when she comes to shine, —
Waxes by rule, — that rule guides her decline;
The ocean has a time to ebb and flow,
And never disappointed friend or foe;
The birds of passage keep their trysting-time,
And fly together to a distant clime;
The budding Spring keeps her appointed hour,
And Summer follows with her full-blown flower,
Autumn as faithful with her waving grain,
And Winter's snowflakes duly white the plain:
Shall these be punctual to the hour they set,
And men stand loitering when their friends have met?
CCXVII.
SONNET.
I sat me down and mused on former days,
When eyes shot beams of gladness all around,
When hearts leapt high, and many a joyous sound
Rose on the air in passion's wildest lays.
Where are they now — those hours of infant mirth
Made sweet by Father's smile, or Mother's kiss;
My boyhood's rioting in careless bliss,
My youth's fond dreaming, that this sin-clad earth
Might treasure love sincere and friendship's worth?
Delusion all! Gone with th' eternal past,
Leaving behind no portion save regret,
For on the present mem'ry scarce hath cast
A faint effulgence of their glories set;
And ev'n life's remnant hours are fading fleet and fast.
CCXVIII.
THE WISH.
A small neat cot, retired from worldly din,
Where envy cannot taint with noxious breath;
A conscience pure, that without fear of death
I may enjoy a life that knows no sin.
A few choice books t' assist in my commune
With Nature: and a little spot of ground
To cultivate for exercise; and groves around
Where I may hear the airy songster's tune.
A bubbling stream that winds through grassy dales,
In which the silver trout delight to sport,
Whom I with cunning fly may drag ashore;
And last, not least, (without which, what avails
All these) to crown the whole, a sweet consort,
Affectionate and kind — I wish no more.
CCXIX.
SONNET.
Unconscious I have wandered far, alone,
Into the deep recesses of a wood,
Till darker and more dark the gloom had grown,
And stayed my erring course; then I have stood
Awhile, bewildered sore, — then gazed around,
And floundered on again thro' dismal glades
Ne'er sought before by man. Silence profound,
Arrayed in horrors, reigned 'neath midnight shades.
Oh! then — methought — the human race had passed
The bourne of Time, and I was left behind —
My doom eternal! through the desert vast
Of a dispeopled world to range, nor find
One kindred soul; — forbidden to elude
The pangs of never-ending cheerless solitude!
CCXX.
FAREWELL.
ADDRESSED TO —
Fare thee well! oh, not for ever!
Heaven grant that may not be!
Fare thee well! I go — but never
Shall I cease to think of thee!
Though no smile thou deign'st to give,
That my drooping soul might cheer;
Still I'll love thee, while I live —
But to mem'ry drop a tear.
Should another's bosom press thee, —
Should another's lips meet thine, —
Still my latest breath would bless thee,
Though a broken heart were mine.
Dare I hope thou wilt not blast
Th' only blossom of my life?
Yet I reek not — soon 'tis past —
Death can end all mortal strife!
If, indeed, thou canst not love me,
Life's best sweets can only cloy;
Death must then — death shall remove me
From a world that gives no joy.
If e'er chance thy footsteps lead
To the churchyard — to my tomb —
There perhaps thou mayest read
Of my sad, untimely doom.
Wilt thou then refuse a tear —
Wilt thou then refuse a sigh
To his mem'ry, who, while here,
Loved thee, and unloved did die?
Fare thee well! I go — but never
Shall I cease to think of thee;
Fare thee well! — and if for ever —
E'en for ever let it be.
CCXXI.
MY LOVE.
Her black jet locks, in playful ringlets, fall
Adown a neck more white than virgin snow;
Her gazelle eyes to lovers' mem'ry call
The maid who bade the blood of thousands flow.
Her cheeks, bespangled with the dew of youth,
Blush like a sweetly blooming rose of May;
Her coral-coloured lips — a fairy mouth —
Inclose a set of pearls in bright array.
Her bosom, lightly heav'd, emits a sigh
Soft as the mournful breath of angel's plaint,
When they behold some harden'd sinner die,
And leave the stage of life, and not a saint!
She moves, but not like human form she moves,
So light and gay along the pebbled shore,
One would suppose she was a sp'rit that loves
To trip in airy dance to ocean's roar.
CCXXII.
ON THE APPROACH OF CHRISTMAS.
Hail! blessed hour! that saw the Saviour rise,
Like morning sun in Bethl'em's clouded skies,
Glowing with light to show the happy way
That leads to Heaven, where shines eternal day.
Thrice happy hour! when God, to sinners won,
Proclaimed redemption through His only Son,
And called on all t' accept the offer given,
That after Time they might abide in Heaven.
O gladsome hour! when Christ resigned His throne,
Where late in majesty divine He shone,
The garb of fall'n mortality assumed,
And spotless, suffered all to sinners doomed.
So great that hour! all Nature felt and stood, —
Drew in her breath, and paused in stilly mood;
Waveless and calm were the recumbent seas, —
Stormless and silent was each boist'rous breeze.
Hail! blessed hour may thy return persuade
Many to come and look to Christ for aid,
Who hath declared — "To him, who calls on me,
I will give life and immortality!"
NOTES.
Sir James and Robert Sempill.
The Sempills of Beltrees were distinguished as Scottish poets at
a time when poets were few and obscure. Sir James Sempill
flourished towards the close of the reign of James VI., after
whom he was named. His father, "the dancer," was the
youngest son of the third Lord Sempill. In 1602 he was appointed
Sheriff Clerk of Renfrewshire. Sir James was the
author of two prose works of an ecclesiastical character, but is
chiefly remembered by the poem with which this volume opens,
A Pick-Tooth for the Pope: or the Packman's Pater-Noster. Set
Down in a Dialogue betwixt a Packman and a Priest. The Pack--
man is, in the poem, entitled "a Polands Pedler." Lithgow, in
his Painefull Perigrinations, asserts that thirty thousand Scottish
families had established themselves in Poland early in the seventeenth
century. This is, probably, an exaggerated statement,
but there is abundant evidence that many Scottish traders carried
on business in Poland. The Dialogue is an exceedingly spirited
one, and the arguments urged against the superstitions of Romanism
are shrewd and well put. The poem is the joint production
of Sir James and his son Robert, the latter still more distinguished
than his father as a Renfrewshire poet. His contributions to the
Packman's Pater-Noster are distinguished by the initials R. S., and
it is wonderful how aptly the portions harmonize. Purgatory,
the Invocation of Saints, Latin Prayers, and other Popish beliefs
and practices, are assailed with unsparing sarcasm, and doubtless
the pithy poetical hits of the Packman, familiar in the peasants'
mouths, did much to strengthen the Protestant spirit which
Romanising parsons in the Abbey and other parishes of the
county found too strong for them. The conclusion of the poem
is a clever and sarcastic hit at the selfishness and greed of the
Romish clergy. The priest with whom the Packman holds
dialogue, finding himself worsted in the controversy, offers to refer
the matters in dispute to the prior of a neighbouring convent.
The proposal is accepted, and next day the disputants resort
to the referee, who, however, gives them anything but a welcome,
branding both as heretics, and threatening pains and penalties.
The Packman, thinking discretion the better part of valour,
makes off quickly from the cloisters; but as he passes, a friar seizes
his pack and appropriates its contents.
Francis Sempill,
son of Robert, and grandson of James, better known perhaps
than either of his predecessors, was the last Sempill of Beltrees,
as difficulties in which he was involved by "cautionrie" obliged
him to sell the family estate. His poem, entitled The Banishment
of Poverty, by James, Duke of Albany, is a lively and humourous
production, containing many graphic pictures of hardships
experienced by himself, narrated with the utmost good humour.
In it he describes Poverty as clinging to him, somewhat as the
Old Man of the Sea did to Sindbad: —
"On me, to my great grief and pain,
Ere I the thrang cou'd wrestle through,
The lown was at my heels again.
I grein'd to gang on the plain-stanes
To see if comrades wad me ken;
We twa gaid pacing there our laines,
The hungry hour 'twixt twelve and ane."
At last he is driven to the Palace, where arrest for debt contracted
elsewhere is illegal. Here James, Duke of York and
Albany, finds him out, and
— one blink of his princely eye
Put that foul foundling to the flight;
Frae me he banished Povertie,
And gart him take his last good-night."
Several of Francis Sempill's productions appear in the Harp of Renfrewshire.
In this volume he is represented by his best known
piece, Maggie Lauder. Some of his other ballads attained great
popularity, as The Blythsome Bridal, Hallow Fair, and She Raise
and loot me in, but none continued so popular as Maggie Lauder,
which is still a favourite song at Scottish convivial gatherings.
An excellent edition of the works of the Sempills was published
some years ago by Mr. Stevenson of Edinburgh, and we are glad
to observe that a new edition of the volume is in the press. Mr.
Stevenson has recovered several unpublished manuscripts over
which Motherwell, in his introduction to the Harp, mourns as
irretrievably lost. Francis Sempill held the office of Sheriff--
Depute of Renfrewshire.
James M‘Alpie.
The question as to the authorship of the volume claiming to be
the production of James M'Alpie, Sheriff-Substitute of Renfrewshire,
and other ingenious hands, will probably never be accurately
solved. The following is the title page: —
"CERTAIN CURIOUS POEMS WRITTEN AT THE CLOSE OF
THE XVIITH AND BEGINNING OF THE XVIIITH CENTURY, ON A
VARIETY OF SUBJECTS, LOCAL AND POLITICAL, PRINCIPALLY FROM
THE PEN OF MR. JAMES M'ALPIE, SHERIFF-SUBSTITUTE OF RENFREWSHIRE,
ANNO MDCXCIV, WITH A FEW PIECES BY OTHER
INGENIOUS HANDS."
This little book, of which only thirty copies were printed, was
given to the world in 1828, by W. M. — initials that do not disguise
the editorial responsibility, while they are supposed by
many to cover, not editorial responsibility alone, but authorship
as well. That Motherwell was in the habit of introducing his
own productions to the world under the shield of some obscure
name is well known, and is made manifest in another portion of
this work. His alleged discovery of the manuscripts of M'Alpie
is described with minuteness of detail worthy of Poe, or of "the
marvellous boy who perished in his prime." But this very minuteness
is of itself suspicious, and we have little hesitation in placing
on record our own conviction that for the poems Motherwell
is himself responsible. The volume is so scarce that we have
been led to embody the greater portion of the contents in these
pages.
Ebenezer Picken,
published a volume entitled Poems and Epistles, in 1788. He
was born in Paisley about the year 1769 or 1770, and attended
classes for several years in the University of Glasgow. His first
work was published during his student career, when he was above
eighteen years of age. He became a schoolmaster at Falkirk
about 1791, and on the 14th April in that year he delivered a
speech in blank verse on the comparative merits of Allan Ramsay
and Robert Ferguson, espousing the side of Ramsay. Ferguson's
superiority was maintained in the debate which ensued by
Picken's companion and townsman, Alexander Wilson, the ornithologist,
and the two rival orations survive in the works of the
respective poets. He married in 1791 the daughter of an eminent
Burgher minister in Falkirk, named Beveridge, and, like many
other poets, found the res augusta domi press very hard on him.
From Falkirk he went to Edinburgh, where he tried many occupations,
among others, haberdashery, music-selling, and teaching
of languages, but with little success. —
"Misfortune fell sae lang has kept
My nose upo' the grunstane,
That but for rhyme my heart wad break
Tho' t'war as hard's a whunstane."
Picken was also the author of A Dictionary of Scots Words,
which was published anonymously after his death. This is a
work of considerable value, and Dr. Jamieson, in the supplement
to his elaborate Dictionary, refers to it with commendation.
Picken died in 1816 of consumption.
Ballantine and Thom.
Poems on Several Occasions — the volume from which the
poem entitled View of a Summer Evening and the two
following pieces have been extracted — has now become exceedingly
scarce. It was published in 1789, and was the joint
production of J. Ballantine and A. Thom. The poems are of
considerable merit, and abound in local allusions. In a preface
by Thom, he states that several of his contributions were written
when he was only 15 or 16 years of age.
Alexander Tait.
Poems and Songs, by Alexander Tait. This work, published in
1790 has also become exceedingly rare. Tait's rhymes are somewhat
homely, and are more remarkable for vigour than delicacy.
The selections from his volume give an interesting sketch of the
streets and the inhabitants of Paisley in his day.
Thomas Crichton.
The Library, a poem, was published in 1803, and was dedicated
to the President and Curators of the Paisley Library
Society. Mr Crichton long occupied the position of Preceptor
of the Town's Hospital. He was born in 1761, and died in
1844. He contributed to various periodicals of the day, particularly
The Scots Magazine, and The Edinburgh Christian Instructor.
He wrote interesting biographical sketches of Dr.
Witherspoon, Dr. Snodgrass, Dr. Findlay, &c. As the intimate
friend of the American ornithologist, he furnished much interesting
information regarding him, which has been embodied in the
various sketches that have appeared.
Robert Hendry, M.D.,
was a native of Paisley, born in 1791. He studied medicine at
the University of Glasgow, and practised his profession in his
native town. He was strongly attached to literary pursuits, and
wrote much in the periodicals of the day. He took much interest
in the poor of Paisley during the memorable depression of trade
in 1826, and his services were gratefully acknowledged by the
Magistrates and general community. He took an active part in
promoting sanitary reform, and succeeded in introducing an excellent
supply of water to the burgh.
James Scadlock.
Scadlock's works were published in 1818, after his death. A
sketch of his life by William M'Laren, the author's half-brother,
and himself the author of a life of Tannahill and of Emma, or the
Cruel Father, is prefixed to the volume published in 1818. Scadlock
began life as a weaver, but, disliking that occupation,
became a book-binder and stationer. Exhibiting a taste for
drawing, he was apprenticed to a copper-plate engraver, but, like
many other votaries of the Muse, was very unsuccessful in business.
He was an intimate friend of Tannahill and R. A. Smith.
He died in 1818.
Rev. W. Wilson, Greenock,
was a famous minister of the Secession Church in Greenock. (See
notes pp. 87 and 89.)
Isaac Brown.
Whatever dubiety may exist as to Motherwell's share in the
poems attributed by him to M‘Alpie, there is none as to the
"ingenious hands" that were concerned with Renfrewshire
Characters and Scenery. The volume so entitled was given to
the world in 1824, and is a most amusing and humorous jeu
d'esprit. The notes appended are very racy, and contain rare
funning. The following address "To the Public" is explanatory
of the circumstances under which the poem came to be presented
to the world: —
"I am requested, as trustee on the estate of Isaac Brown, the author, the
inventor, or manufacturer, of this superior article, now offered to the public,
to say in what manner, and on what account it has been brought to sale. —
Mr. Brown was a manufacturer of Lappets, Suffles, and Foundations, or, as
ordinary people would call him, a Muslin Manufacturer, in Orchard Street, commonly
called Plunkin, * in this Burgh. He had been, though otherwise a correct
man, always very careless about his business. He was a remarkably friendly
man, in his way, perhaps more so than he should have been for his own good.
It was aye said of him, that as long as there was a friend to serve, he would
not serve himself. For a short while he had been more inattentive than ever,
both to the manufacture and sale of his goods. His warehouse was often,
for days together, locked up, and he himself wandering about the country for
no end; so that neither the weavers, nor the merchants from Glasgow,
Renfrew, or London, who might be calling round, could gain admission
thereto. I am informed, too, that, when in his warehouse, he spent much
of his time in dozing in a corner by the fireside; and, when in these sleepy
moods, he could not bear to be disturbed by any one whatsomever. What
was worse, he was often unmannerly to these merchants, if they happened
to call when he was occupied with some of the sundry trifles he was in the
way of spending his time with — such as making pictures of his cronies, and
rhymes for those of them that might be courting. A report runs that he
turned a great Glasgow merchant out of his warehouse, by the shoulders, for
having made some remarks disagreeable to him, on his refusing to show him
(the said Glasgow merchant) his goods, and for which he would have paid him
cash down, because he was at the time examining an old worn-out farthing.
But, though he was a very imprudent man, I cannot allow myself to think
that he dared to do so dreadful a thing. Things could not go on long that
way, and, accordingly, he, a short while ago, disappeared altogether, and left
his creditors to look to themselves. They, and all of them, I may say, are
very sensible, acute men, at their first meeting appointed me as trustee to
manage the estate; and, in justice to myself, I may say that I have managed
it wholly to the mind and satisfaction of my employers, and shall be glad to
be employed in any similar business that may cast up, either in Paisley,
* "In Plunkin which runs off the Causeyside." The street called Plunkin, is
by the genteel denominated Orchard-street. What the etymology of
Plunkin is may be as difficult, for ought I know, to resolve as the etymology
of Paisley, and that is sufficiently puzzling. Both of them might poze Dean
Swift, who was fruitful enough in devising whimsical etymologies. The
Causeyside was at one time a small clachan in the neighbourhood of Paisley,
and took its name from its vicinity to the Roman Causeway which was at
this place. It is now a street of manufacturer's warehouses." — AUTHOR.
Glasgow, Kilbarchan, Beith, or in any of the other trading towns in the
vicinity. Testimonials of my character and fitness will be given, if required.
But to return to Mr. Brown. On being appointed trustee, I lost no time in
taking an account of all the goods and property he had left behind him.
There were a good many blankets of goods in the warehouse; and I had gone
over most of them, when the young man, a nephew of my own, and a well--
doing young man he is, who was assisting me, said he had come to a small
blanket of goods he could not lift from its great weight. I immediately supposed
that it was a blanket of rich silk shawls, which Mr. Brown might have
purchased, and which are much heavier than his own manufacture. I
hastened to open the blanket, but what was my surprise, and also astonishment,
to find, in place of Silk Shawls, Tippets, or Plaids, a great mass
of paper, written over, with a ticket on the top, having these words, "Renfrewshire
Scenery and Characters, in 365 cantos, written during the year
1821." All this put me quite to a stand. Had the paper not been written
on, I would have sold it to a dealer in the article, but every leaf and page
had some writing upon it, so that I could not tell what to do with it. In
case, however, there might have been anything of the nature of bills or title
deeds amongst it, I thought it my duty to peruse the whole. It cost me
eight days to do this, working from 7 o'clock in the morning, till 8 o'clock at
night; but, after all my labour, I found nothing of the kind I was in search
of. I got my eye at one time on an expression, "Twenty thousand pound,"
and concluded that I had made an important discovery for the creditors, but
on looking more particularly, I found that Mr. Brown was merely telling the
price of the brigs at Inchinnan. In this difficulty, I called a meeting- of the
creditors to receive instructions from them in the business. A good many
of them reckoned that the paper in question should be sold by the pound to
the highest bidder. One gentleman, however, who told them he knew well
about these matters, said that Rhymes, like Flounces and Trimmings, took the
market well just now; for that wholesale dealers in the article gave at the
rate of five shillings per yard for them. The creditors, hereupon, directly
resolved to print, and sell the whole web, if I may call it; but as that would
be too much to offer at once to the public, they proposed that it should be
sold in pieces, or cantos, as they are called. I can recommend it strongly
to the public as an excellent article; the lines are all of a good length; for
Mr. Brown was a fair dealing man; and the paper and print, as may be
seen, are of the best quality. As I am not in the way of describing and
ticketting such goods, I have, by permission of the creditors, put it into the
hands of a very learned schoolmaster, a sticket minister, and a friend of my
own, who, I am sure, will do it all justice. I should mention, in justice to
Mr. Brown, that his estate has already produced nineteen shillings and nine--
pence per pound, and that it is only the last threepence, with the expenses,
that is now wanted, to let every one have their own. Most of the creditors,
perhaps, should be content with what they have got, for Mr. Brown was not
very particular about the price he paid for his yarn, &c., &c. Should there
be a few hundred pounds over by this sale, after paying all, it will be safely
deposited in the Union Bank here, to be paid to Mr. Brown, or his heirs,
when they apply for it, and give me a proper discharge. It is supposed that
Mr. Brown has gone to the Cape of Good-Hope.
"N.B. — In perusing the public prints, I find that a number of gentlemen,
in different parts of England, have unaccountably disappeared. As Mr. B.
was in the way of visiting London, peradventure he may have gone off with
them; being of a vagrant turn, and fond of strange companions. It would
be a great ease to my mind, if, in their inquiries for their strayed friends,
they would also speir after mine.
"ANDREW WILSON.
"Paisley, 2d Jan., 1824."
James Paterson
was a hand-loom weaver, and continued at that occupation all
his life in his native town of Paisley, where he died in 1844. He
was an associate of Tannahill and Wilson, and writes of the
latter that "he was the most expert writer of reports and resolutions
he had ever seen."
Alexander Wilson,
the famous American ornithologist, was born at Paisley, July 6,
1766; became a weaver's apprentice in 1779, and subsequently
spent several years in working at the loom, and travelling as a
pedler over the country. He published a volume of poems in
1790. In 1792 his poem of Watty and Meg, which was attributed
to Burns, was given to the world without the author's
name, and became so popular that a hundred thousand copies
were sold in a few weeks. In 1794 he emigrated to Philadelphia,
where he wrought at copper-plate printing, at weaving and
peddling, and occasionally as a school-master. The specimens
for his ornithology were collected by himself in personal explorations
of the fields, rivers, and forests of America. Mr. Leslie,
in his Autobiographical Recollections, thus describes him: — "He
looked like a bird; his eyes were piercing, dark, and luminous,
and his nose shaped like a beak. He was of a spare, bony
form, very erect in his carriage, inclining to be tall; and, with
a light elastic step, he seemed qualified by nature for his extraordinary
pedestrian achievements." *
Robert Tannahill,
born in Paisley, June 3rd, 1774, was the son of a weaver, and
followed his father's occupation. Some of his songs are among
the most popular of Scottish lyrics; full of simplicity and natural
* A complete edition of Wilson's poems, including his Journal and a number
of unpublished Letters, edited by the Rev. Alexander B. Grosart, of
Blackburn, Lancashire, is in the press at this date.
expression, they have been by competent critics pronounced to be
the very perfection of song-writing. Tannahill drowned himself
during an attack of derangement, in a pool near his native town,
May 17th, 1810. Recently a mural tablet has been set in the
front wall of the house in Castle Street in which the poet was
born. A new edition of the poems and songs of Tannahill is in
preparation. *
William M'Laren
was born at Paisley about 1772. He was the half-brother of
James Scadlock, and wrote a sketch of that poet's life prefixed
to the edition of his works published in 1818. He was a hand--
loom weaver, but neglected his trade for the sake of literature.
He wrote prose with even more elegance than poetry, and was the
author of many pamphlets. He went to Ireland for a time,
and began business there, but his political utterances brought
him into trouble, and he was glad to return to Paisley. He died
in 1823.
William Crawford,
a native of Paisley, born about 1803, wrought as a weaver in
Paisley, but in 1825 enlisted as a soldier in the 59th Foot.
David Webster,
a native of Dunblane, was born in 1787. He removed at an
early age to Paisley, where he became a weaver. In 1835 he
published a volume, entitled Original Scottish Rhymes. Many of
his poems are of a sarcastic, humorous turn, and his style is free
and vigorous.
Wm. Motherwell,
the son of an ironmonger in Glasgow, received his education at
Edinburgh and in Paisley, became an assistant in the office of the
Sheriff-Clerk of Paisley at the age of fifteen, and, when twenty--
one was appointed Sheriff-Clerk Depute of the County of Renfrew.
He wielded a very busy pen as an antiquary and poet. He
edited the Harp of Renfrewshire and the Paisley Magazine in
1828. The Paisley Advertiser was also under his editorial care;
the Glasgow Courier became his charge, which he conducted
until his death in 1835.
* We learn, just as the last sheets are passing through the press, that the
poet's fellow-townsman and correspondent, James King (see page xii.), left
materials for a Life of his friend Tannahill.
Rev. Alexander Fleming, D.D.,
was born in Kilmarnock in 1769, and received his early education
at the Grammar School of that town. He studied
at the University of Glasgow, and in 1799 received license
from the Presbytery of Irvine. He was elected by the
parishioners of Neilston as their minister, and thereafter presented
to the charge by A. Spiers, Esq., of Elderslie, in 1804.
Through increase of population, and his popularity as a preacher,
the Parish Church became too small for the worshippers, and the
heritors let the sittings by auction in the church to the highest
bidders. This practice offended the minister and parishioners,
and Mr. Fleming, at their request, ceasing to preach in the
church, assembled his people in the churchyard. The heritors
complained to the General Assembly, which, in 1828, enjoined him
to return to the church; but in 1830 the Assembly asserted the
right of the parishioners to church accommodation. A protracted
litigation followed, but finally the heritors succeeded in their resistance.
Mr. Fleming received the thanks of the Assembly in
1833 for his zeal, labours, and great exertions in the cause. The
case of Neilston drew attention to the want of church accommodation
in other places, and originated the Church Extension
Movement which is associated with the name of Dr. Chalmers.
The University of St. Andrews conferred the degree of D.D. on
Mr. Fleming in 1834. He died in 1845, at the age of 75, having
been forty years minister of Neilston. His knowledge of
Church law was extensive and accurate, and he was consulted
by parties from all quarters. He was prominent in
Church Courts, an able debater, and published many pamphlets
on the leading ecclesiastical and political questions of his day.
When he went to London to watch over his case on church accommodation,
he was hospitably entertained by the members
of the late Sir Robert Peel's Cabinet of that date, and by
the Bench of Bishops, and received great kindness especially
from the late Dr. Bloomfield, Bishop of London.
John Wilson,
the famous "Christopher North," was the son of a cloth manufacturer
in Paisley. He was born at Paisley, May 18th, 1785, and
was educated under Dr. M'Latchie, minister of the parish of
Mearns, amid scenery whose influence is apparent in all his
writings, and he afterwards studied with distinction at the
University of Glasgow, and at Magdalene College, Oxford. In
1808 he purchased the small estate of Elleray in Westmoreland,
where he found congenial society in the many distinguished men
of letters who at that time resided around the Lakes. In 1814
he was enrolled as an advocate of the Scotch bar, but, preferring
literature to law, speedily abandoned the profession. He became
a contributor to the seventh number of Blackwood's Magazine in
October, 1817, and acted as literary editor until September, 1852.
In 1820 be succeeded Dr. Thomas Brown as Professor of Moral
Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh. There is an admirable
bust of Wilson in marble, executed by the late Mr. Fillans,
in the Paisley Reading Room. He died at Edinburgh, April 3,
1854.
Andrew Park,
a native of Renfrew, was born in 1811, and attended the Parish
School of his native town, and the University of Glasgow. He
afterwards held a situation in a Paisley warehouse, and published
his first poem in that town. From Paisley he went, first
to Glasgow, and afterwards to London. After a residence of
some years in England, he returned to Glasgow, where he
settled as a bookseller. He died in 1863, and a handsome monument,
consisting of a fine bronze bust by Mossman on a granite
pedestal, to his memory, has been erected, by public subscription,
in Paisley Cemetery. Of his poems, that entitled Silent
Love, published under the pseudonym of "James Wilson, Esq.,"
was most popular, and many of his songs are great favourites.
Dr. James Muir
was a native of Kilmarnock, and partner in Paisley of Dr. Robert
Watt, the author of the Bibliotheca Britannica. He wrote much
poetry and prose, and was a good painter. A notice of him appears
in Chambers' Distinguished Scotchmen.
James Patrick,
a native of Beith, removed with his parents to Houston in 1808,
was apprenticed to a weaver, and in 1829 became a clerk in the
warehouse of Messrs. Carlile, of Paisley. His poems were published
posthumously.
James King
was born in 1776, in Causeyside Street, Paisley. His paternal
ancestors, for many generations, were small farmers. In his
seventh year he was put to school, but his instruction there was
confined to a little reading and writing. In his eighth year he was
taken to assist his father in weaving figured muslin. He had a
great desire for reading, but books were not so easily got then
as now, and vulgar pamphlets and eight-page ballads were all
he could command for a considerable time. In his twelfth year
he joined a circulating library, and by his fourteenth had read
much of the history and ballads of his own country, and of the
poetry, history, and mythology of ancient Greece and Rome;
"but these Eastern bards," he says, "almost ruined me! I began
to write verses myself; and as I could not be inspired by a
draught from Helicon, nor see the sun from the top of Parnassus,
rising in glory from the eastern sky, I thought that Saucel Hill
and Espedair Burn would be excellent substitutes; so, for several
mornings I arose before day-break and ascended that hill, and
there waited with impatience for the first glimpse of the 'powerful
god of day,' and regularly when I ascended took a hearty
draught of the then limpid stream of Espedair." But his father
"put an end to the delusion." His solitary rambles were after
a time shared by Alexander Borland — the A. B—d to whom
one of Tannahill's epistles is addressed — his first playmate, and
whose tastes were kindred to his own. In the same year,
his verses secured him the companionship of Robert Tannahill,
and a number of other verse-makers, who, he writes,
"are now in the house appointed for all living; yet some of
them have left a sweet smelling savour behind." His walks
were now extended to the Braes of Gleniffer, and, to make up
for time thus lost to reading, he read in bed, until his health began
to give way, when his eldest sister revealed the secret of his
having a lamp for this purpose, and his father forbade the injurious
practice. Thus time passed till his eighteenth year, when,
fired with the patriotic stories of Scotland's wars, and full of a
strong desire to see the scenes of her battles, he enlisted in the
West Lowland Fencibles, expecting that in the changing of
stations he would be enabled to gratify his desires; and in the
course of his service he did visit many of the notable places in
both Scotland and England. Up till he joined the Fencibles, all
that he had seen was comprised within the horizon from the
top of Gleniffer. But in his first march from Ayr to Inverness
by the highland road, he beheld more than ever he imagined of
the awful and sublime in nature, and afterwards, amongst other
places, he had the great pleasure of being on the fields and
battle scenes of Culloden, Killiecrankie, Luncarty, Methven,
Tibbermuir, Grampians, Kilsyth, Stirling Bridge, Sauchie, Bannockburn,
Sheriffmuir, Falkirk, Prestonpans, Pinkie, Roslin,
Largs, Dunbar, Philliphaugh, Berwick, Flodden, Newcastle,
Durham, Deal, and Hastings. "But," he says, "it is a light
thing to moralise on the field of the dead by day, compared to
wandering among the cairns of a battlefield by night, and
imagining yourself surrounded by the ghosts of the fallen heroes
coming down from the hills on beams of fire, and the dim stars
twinkling through their forms, with no light but meteors at
times gleaming over-you." "After five years' service," he says,
"the battalion was disbanded, and I returned to the place of
my nativity. I now became acquainted with a host of verse--
makers and musical men, and in tippling, reciting, and singing,
our evenings were generally spent till 1803. When the militia
was embodied, I entered the ranks, but soon found that I
had been a gentleman in the Fencibles." In 1811 when he was
stationed in Edinburgh Castle, he married a young woman with
whom he had become acquainted when he was in the Fencibles.
Shortly afterwards his battalion was sent to Perth to do duty
over French prisoners, and while there, very simply, and without
really having anything to do with the matter, which he
actually advised against, he became involved in an agitation in
the regiment, which resulted in great insubordination. Being
warned that he was marked as the ringleader, and to act for
himself, he left the regiment and became a wanderer. A
number of men were severely punished, but the prime
movers escaped. Clothed in rags, after sunset of the following
day, amidst "a very hurricane," he left Dundee, "and when
clear of the town, lay down by the roadside and implored the
protection of Heaven. God hears and sees in the tempest as well
as in the breeze that curls the breast of the lake." On his way
he managed to elude several sentries posted to arrest him. At
two o'clock in the morning he reached Perth, and went to some
friends of his wife's, who had heard of what had taken place,
but gladly showed him every kindness. On the following evening
he left, and took his way by country roads from Kincardine,
where his wife was with her mother. "My altered dress," he
says, "and expression of countenance told of my unfortunate
situation. My wife was in a state that baffles all description.
I mustered as much strength as withstood the shock, yet I
looked upon my boy, (about two months old), for a considerable
time without having power to speak to him, or touch
his hand. On the morning of the third day, I prepared to leave
them. As I was about to take my departure, my wife uncovered
my boy's face, who was asleep, that I might see him, perhaps for
the last time; and as I examined his countenance with a bursting
heart, he looked up in my face and smiled." His young wife
never recovered this shock. To a relation serving under a gentleman
sheep farmer in Galloway, he now took his way, by circuitous
routes, to escape the roads generally used by the military,
for Glenkins, where his friend was, and thus had to walk sixty
miles more than by direct roads. "At every turning of the
way new and beautiful scenery appeared, but the face of nature
had already become dead to me. What a change! Even when
worn out by fatigue, on a march, the sight of a fine valley, or
grove of varied hues cheered my bosom, and when the band, or
drums and fifes struck up 'Duncan Gray,' or 'Paddy O'Rafferty,'
the left foot was planted with animation to the notes;
but now, sullen and gloomy, I lounged along, while the demon of
despair continually hung over me, urging me to raise my hand
against myself." Horrified, he cried, "O banish it for ever from
my view. Thou Almighty Preserver of men, let me die by the
law, let me die on a dunghill, let me die in any way that
seemeth good to Thee, but, oh! preserve me from falling by my
own hand." Shortly after arriving at the farm his friend had to
go to England, and, sad to say, died on the return journey.
But the gentleman made him welcome to remain, at the same
time informing him that he knew of his having been in the
Militia, but notwithstanding this assured him of safety while he
pleased to stay. "I had now almost arrived at the climax of
my woe, without knowing where to retire to, or what to do, and,
as hope began to leave me, a darker shade of despair than ever
hung on me and settled around." He resolved to remain in Galloway
for some time, and, in coarse country clothes, began to
lead horses to the ploughman, and perform other ordinary farm
work. The peat-cutting tried his strength most severely. He
says, "Early in the morning my old friend the ploughman
yelled out the old appellation 'Paisley!' at my bedside. We
took the moor barefooted, and every step that I made went to
my heart; but I disdained to speak. I was appointed to wheel
away the wet peats, but by mid-day my hands were covered with
blisters, which broke in the evening, and left the palms of my
hands all red flesh. The pains in the small of my back and
shoulders were excessive, and as we had still a week of the same
labour to perform, I wished death would take me by the morning.
Next day the shafts of the barrow were soon red with
the blood of my hands, which were sore beyond anything I had
ever felt; and, to add to my affliction, the clowns sported with
my misery by telling me that I might be proud of the barrow
with the red shafts." After this he resolved to leave the farm,
come death, come life, and accordingly took the road circuitously
to see his wife. He reached Kincardine, but he could not remain,
so he left, and, passing northward, settled at Crieff, where
he got work at weaving, and there, passing through various
vicissitudes, he remained until he got his discharge in 1815. Of
his discharge he says, "The reader will remember the cause of
my leaving the battalion — namely, the signing of a letter — a letter
which ought to have been written and signed by Barr; but
he had more of the fox's cunning than I had. Well, when the
regiment was disbanded, he boasted of what he had
done, and how that I, a poor simpleton, had run off
with the sins of the battalion on my back." In 1826 he
removed to Paisley, to the very property in which he was
born. It then belonged to James Campbell, who had been
a private in the same company of the Renfrews with himself.
But whatever the house may have been in his boyhood, it was
now unfit for a comfortable residence, and in 1827 he removed to
Charleston, south of Paisley, where his wife died in 1847, and
himself on 28th September, 1849. They both lie in the Paisley
Cemetery. A good number of his poetical pieces have appeared
in magazines and other periodicals, spreading over many
years. Of his prose, A Legend of Stanley Castle was contributed
to the Renfrewshire Annual for 1841; but the writings of his
youth — that is, up to about thirty years of age, were mostly lost.
When he was in the army, many of them were forwarded to a
friend in Paisley, but were never recovered, and most of those
he had with him were lost when he left the regiment. In 1842
he commenced publishing a volume in sixpenny numbers. He
was ill-advised in the matter, as he was ill-fitted for carrying
out a work of the kind. Besides, it was poorly got up, and
only reached the third number. King was the author of the
piece entitled The Battle of Busaco, which appeared in the
Harp of Renfrewshire, and which Motherwell in a note ascribed
to the Ettrick Shepherd.
Robert Pollok,
a native of Eaglesham, was born in 1799, became a student at
Glasgow University, and in 1827 was licensed to preach by the
United Associate Presbytery of Edinburgh. Weak health, however,
obliged him to give up the hope of following his profession,
and he died a few months after he had become a preacher. His
most famous work, the Course of Time, which he published
anonymously while a student, has gone through many editions.
It was published by Messrs. Blackwood on the recommendation of
Professor Wilson.
Alexander Carlile
was a native of Paisley, and not a few members of his family
have been distinguished by a fine literary taste. The late Dr.
Carlile, minister of Mary's Abbey, Dublin, well known as one of
the Original Commissioners of the Irish National Education
Board, was his eldest brother. Alexander was educated at the
Grammar School of his native town and the University of Glasgow,
and he afterwards settled as a manufacturer in Paisley.
Besides the popular song Wha's at the window? which has gained
for itself a place in all collections of national lyrics, he wrote
several pieces that speedily became favourites.
Charles Fleming,
a hand-loom weaver, has contributed many excellent songs to
local serials.
Thomas Kibble Hervey
was born in Paisley, but was taken by his father to Manchester
in 1802, or 1803, where he was educated at the Free Grammar
School, and was afterwards apprenticed to a firm of solicitors.
He went to Cambridge, where he studied for two years, publishing,
during his residence there, a poem entitled Australia, which
was so favourably received that he resolved to devote himself
entirely to literature. He became editor of the Athenæum, and
contributed largely to the Annuals and other fashionable serials
of the day. He was a severe critic, and his extensive reading
made his reviews racy and popular. The Art Journal was
largely enriched by his pen. He died in 1859.
Thomas Spreull
was a teacher in the Laigh Parish School, St. George's Parish,
Paisley, and also at Uplawmoor, Neilston. He afterwards removed
to Glasgow, where he died about the year 1854. He was
the author of a work on practical mathematics, and compiled
several other school books. In a letter to the late Mr. James
Anderson, he says, "I have, at much trouble, made many improvements
on Clootie and Willie, or Gleniffer Warlock, for another
edition, along with which I intend to publish another tale,
entitled The Battle of Stanely." This intention was never carried
out.
James Yool
was born in Paisley in 1792. At a very early age he was apprenticed
to the loom, at which, except for a number of years during
which he was employed in a printing office, he wrought till a
short time before his death in 1860. In 1814 he was one of the
founders of a Literary and Convivial Association, some of whose
members published the Caledonian Lyre, meant to be a poetical
monthly periodical, but which expired with the third number.
Several of his pieces appeared in the Harp of Renfrewshire.
He took an active part in political affairs, and was obliged for a
season to remain concealed, but the troubles of the "Radical
Time" came to an end, and Yool was again free to cultivate the
Muse. He contributed to R. A. Smith's Scottish Minstrel, the
Harp of Caledonia, the Portfolio of British Song, Blackie's Book
of Scottish Song, and other poetical collections. In 1825, along
with William Stewart, John Fraser (of the Renfrewshire Chronicle),
and John King, Yool projected and edited The Gaberlunzie, a
miscellany of verse and prose, which extended to twelve numbers.
Unlike very many weaver versifiers, he was industrious in his
calling, and when the Weavers' Union of 1832 was formed, he
was chosen a member of its Central Committee.
Rev. Charles Marshall,
minister of the Free North Church, Dunfermline, is a native of
Paisley. After a University education in Glasgow and Edinburgh,
he was appointed in 1827 governor of John Watson's Institution
in the latter city, and, while in this position, gained the
esteem and confidence of the directors. In 1840, he received
license as a probationer of the Church of Scotland, and in 1841
accepted a call to Dunfermline, where he has continued ever
since. Mr. Marshall's writings are addressed chiefly to the
working classes, and have been very popular. In 1853 he published
a volume, entitled Lays and Lectures to Scotia's Daughters
of Industry, and in 1856 a second, termed Homely Words and
Songs for Working Men and Women.
Daniel Weir
was the son of a Greenock merchant, and was in 1809 apprenticed
to a bookseller. In 1815 he commenced business on
his own account. He edited several volumes of poetry for a
Glasgow publisher, in which a number of his own poems appeared.
He died in 1831, in his thirty-fifth year.
Thomas Dick
was a weaver in Paisley, who afterwards became a bookseller and
teacher. He contributed to Whistle Binkie and The Book of
Scottish Song.
Allan Gibson,
a native of Paisley, died in 1849, at the age of 29. A posthumous
volume of his writings appeared in 1850.
Robert Stewart
was a weaver in Elderslie, and afterwards settled in Glasgow.
In 1850 he published a volume, entitled Stray Musings.
Rev. R. Gillan, D.D.,
minister of the parish of Inchinnan, and at the date of publication
of this volume Moderator Elect of the General Assembly of
the Church of Scotland, has occupied several important pastoral
charges. He received a call soon after the Disruption of 1843,
while minister of Abbotshall, from the congregation of St. John's
in Glasgow, which he accepted, and since that time he has occupied
a prominent place as a pastor and preacher, and his
popularity makes him in great request for special services.
"J. R. M."
is a native of Paisley, where he still resides. He is one of the
"Grammar School Boys," and, under Dr. Brunton, and afterwards
in Glasgow, he received the principal part of his education.
At an early age he began to write verse, some of which has appeared
from time to time in the local newspapers, to which he
also contributes prose writing.
Miss Stirling,
a daughter of the late Patrick Stirling, M.D., of Johnstone,
where she still resides.
John Crawford
was born in 1816, at Greenock, in the room where his relative,
Burns' Highland Mary, died. He went to Alloa when about
eighteen years of age, where he follows the trade of a house
painter. His first publication, a small volume, entitled Doric
Lays, appeared in 1850. Lord Jeffrey highly commended it,
and Miss Mitford, in a letter to Mr. Alexander Bald, of Alloa,
wrote regarding it: "There is an originality in his writings.
This is the true thing — a flower springing from the soil, not
merely cut and stuck into the earth."
Rev. Alexander Wallace, D.D.,
is a native of Paisley, and received his education there and at the
University of Glasgow. He is well known as a popular minister
of the United Presbyterian Church, and as a lecturer and
writer on social subjects. He takes a great interest in all that
concerns the welfare of the working classes. He has held various
pastoral charges in Scotland and England, and is now
minister of Campbell Street U. P. Church, Glasgow.
James J. Lamb.
James J. Lamb was born on the 24th day of October, in the
year 1817, at Underwood Cottage, Paisley, then the residence of
his father, and now that of his widow and family. He died on
the morning of Friday, the 27th day of September last. In
his boyhood, Paisley had three leading schools, distinct
from each other, but all under the patronage of the Town
Council. They were — first, the Town's English School, taught
by Mr. Alexander Macome; second and third, the Town's English
School and the Grammar School, taught respectively by the
brothers Peddie. In those three seminaries Mr. Lamb received
his education. His father was an architect, with extensive
connections in Paisley and Renfrewshire, whose office his
son entered on leaving school. On the death of the elder Mr.
Lamb in 1843, his son succeeded to the business, and began public
life as an architect, measurer, land surveyor, and property valuator.
In these capacities he held foremost rank, and numbered
among his clients nearly all the landowners in the upper ward of
Renfrewshire. And this position possibly was the reason that he
was so often employed by the law officers of the Crown in criminal
cases in which the services of his profession were necessary; and
it is not too much to say that, in such circumstances, he had
alike the confidence of the Crown and the accused. But great as
his professional abilities were, they alone might not have sufficed
to keep his memory fresh and green in the hearts of the people.
It was his big, manly soul, his unostentatious yet highly cultured
life, and his great knowledge of men and things, that made nearly
all sections of the community his friends and admirers. Amid
the turmoil of a busy professional life, he snatched time to study
and master many branches of knowledge, and often, when Paisley
was asleep, he was plodding in his library. It may surprise
some to be told that it was as an amateur musician that he first
impinged upon Paisley as aught else than the rising young architect.
In his youth music became with him a passion, and he
acquired a profound knowledge of it. He played upon the violin
with much taste and ability, and was one of the leading instrumentalists
at the Philharmonic concerts of bygone days. He was
to the last an enthusiastic lover and patron of the opera, and
when a London company was in Glasgow, few Paisley men were
oftener there to hear. On such occasions, if any air specially impressed
him, he noted the melody in his pocket book, and
had it played over to him next morning by one of his daughters.
To the last he would spend hours at home playing
on the pianoforte those half-forgotten Scotch tunes of which
he was so fond; and if he was not much known to the
younger part of this generation as a musician, it was not
that he had begun to love music less, but that he loved
literature more. Apart from his profession, it was as a man of
letters that he was known to the outside world for the last
twenty years. Numismatics and archæology were specialities
with him, and, in regard to the latter, no year passed
over his head without his making, in company with valued
friends, excursions to places of interest. His last excursion
was to Loch Nell, in the neighbourhood of Oban, more
fully to examine into the theory of his friend, Mr Phené, as to
"Serpent Worship." He was an excellent judge, and fond of oil
paintings, although investing in them was not one of his hobbies;
but as spring after spring came round, he looked forward
with pleasure to a few days snatched from business to spend in
Edinburgh, visiting the fine Art Exhibition, and his extensive
circle of literary and artistic friends there. His criticisms on
their productions were highly valued by artists. Although not a
scientific botanist or florist, he had considerable knowledge of,
and great love for flowers and ferns. He loved to associate our
floral gems with their popular names — the name by which they
are known to our poets, rather than by the hard unpronounceable
ones of scientific botanists. Last year he gave a prize to be competed
for at the Paisley Horticultural Society Show, for the best
collection of flowers and plants named by Shakspere, with appropriate
quotations from the great dramatist's work in reference
to each flower or plant. The prize was gained by Mr. Elder of
the Fountain Gardens, and his collection afforded a rich treat
to the lovers and students of Shakspere. Mr. Elder signalised
the occasion by publishing in pamphlet form his numerous
quotations; a booklet which no lover of Shakspere should be
without. Mr. Lamb had a mania for books and coins, his collection
in both being very valuable, as the catalogues published
after his death showed. As a literary man, he possessed high
and varied gifts. Few men could skim the surface of current
literature better than he, and yet at will he could descend to its
depths. He had great facility in composition, and his taste and
critical faculty were so pure and true, that he seldom required
to amend for the press the most rapidly written manuscript.
He regularly reviewed the magazines, and many of the new
books as they appeared, and wrote leaders, and archæological
and literary articles for the local newspapers, and other literary
serials. He was a great admirer of Thomas Carlyle, and had
spent much time in collecting from the great cynic's works, the
proverbs and aphorisms so plentifully scattered through them,
to publish which he had received permission. He edited a reprint,
just about to be published, of The Soldier's Return, and other Poems
and Songs, by Tannahill, the only book of the poet's productions
published during his lifetime. It is to be reprinted from the 1807
edition, with notes by Mr Lamb, who was also engaged on a life of
Tannahill up till the week of his death. Indeed, it must astonish
the outer world to be told the extent of Mr. Lamb's writings. Almost
all consisting of contributions to newspapers and magazines,
they were necessarily anonymous, but seldom a week occurred
without something appearing from his prolific pen. For many
years he wrote in the Paisley Herald under the heading "Literary
Memoranda," short articles, Addisonian in their purity of
English, and many of them as piquant as those in that old
classic. Later, and perhaps more unique contributions it is not
necessary to specify, as doubtless a collection of his fugitive
writings will ere long form another volume of literature emanating
from the Paisley Press. And yet, with the great mass of
Paisley men, even literature could not be said to be Mr. Lamb's
strong point. He seemed, in spite of himself, to possess the
thorough confidence of the working men of Paisley, and this is
the more remarkable as in home politics he was a Tory. However,
he was no party politician in any mean sense, and was
most catholic in all his doings and dealings. He was for some
years a member of the Town Council of Paisley, a Bailie of
the Burgh, and a Justice of the Peace for Renfrewshire.
As a county magistrate he discharged his duties faithfully
and fearlessly. It is not too much to say that no death in Paisley
of late so affected all grades of the community. Mr. Lamb vas
respected by all. He was a kind husband and father, and a true
friend. When the sad news of his sudden death became known,
a gloom seemed to pervade all hearts. The last act of his public
life was singularly appropriate and characteristic. The Tuesday
evening preceding his death was spent by him in the Free Public
Library, assisting in arrangements for the current winter's course
of lectures, to none of which he was destined to listen. His funeral
was a public one, and the largest that has taken place in Paisley
for years. The Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council,
the Member for the Burgh, representatives of the different
Incorporated and other societies with which Mr. Lamb
had been connected, many of our County men, and the
leading members of the Masonic body, joined the funeral
procession, which constituted an assembly highly representative
of all classes in the town of Paisley and County of
Renfrew. It was a touching sight to notice the shops in Moss
Street, up and down which Mr. Lamb had so often walked,
closed as the funeral cortege passed along, a tribute rarely
paid to the dead, but in this case justly earned. An influential
meeting, convened by Provost Murray, has been held in
the Council Chambers, at which it was resolved to erect a monument
to Mr. Lamb's memory, to consist of a granite monolith,
surmounted by a colossal bronze bust. Mr. George E. Ewing,
sculptor, is commissioned to execute the work, which is
expected to be completed this summer, and erected in the
Cemetery: a just tribute to a man whose cultivated and
catholic tastes, genuine religiousness without one taint of bigotry
or meanness, and entire freedom from asceticism, constituted
him a high type of THE CHRISTIAN GENTLEMAN.
J. C. M'Lean
was born and educated at Greenock, and began writing verses, at
a very early age, for local papers. When scarcely eighteen, he,
along with two other youths, brought out a weekly magazine.
The little venture had but a brief existence. Undeterred by a
long bill for printing, and other expenses, the youths bought
type and a small wooden press, and, aided and abetted by a precocious
printer's apprentice, set to work at the triple task of
writing, printing, and publishing a continuation of the little
work. The Galaxy, that being the title, finally, however, went
out. He contributed both prose and verse to the Glasgow, Edinburgh,
and Greenock papers and magazines for some years, in
particular to the Scottish Magazine, and to a very clever little
waggish brochure 'yclept, The Salt Water Gazette. His connection
with the Greenock Journal introduced him to John Galt,
who, then a confirmed invalid, had just come to Greenock to
spend the few last years of his life. Amidst the anguish and
pain of hopeless paralysis, he had always a warm welcome and a
genial smile, and was ever ready to give advice or assistance.
Some of the happiest hours of a widely-varied life were engaged
in drinking tea from fairy-like Oriental china cups, dispensed
by Mrs Galt, while Galt himself kept an unceasing flow of sage
remarks and interesting anecdotes of literature and literary men
and women. On one well-remembered occasion he related a
very good story told him by Byron, with whom he had been on
very intimate terms. Byron's story was rendered more effective
by the presence of some very rare Greek wine they were discussing,
and, said Galt, "You shall taste some of the identical
beverage;" and so, to the delight of his visitor, he gave him a
sip of the remains of a few flasks presented to him by the author
of Childe Harold. From the association of ideas, it tasted like
Ambrosia. The Clyde was in these days the resort of many of
the great names in literature, and "our author" remembers
well with what reverential awe he looked on Campbell the poet,
though at the moment the author of the idealistic Pleasures of
Hope was engaged in the very realistic feat of discussing a beef.
steak in the parlour of Tom Campbell, the bookseller of Greenock,
the poet's relation; — or watching Professor Wilson at an
Agricultural Show, pacing to and fro like a magnificent lion — to
which, with his flowing locks and massive, noble head, he bore a
striking resemblance — fancying that "Christopher North"
chewed tobacco as he kept now and again putting something into
his mouth, which he evidently relished with great gusto; a narrower
inspection, however, showed that the editor of Blackwood
was munching barley sugar; — or how delighted when bathing at
Dunoon, on being joined by Lockhart, Sir Walter Scott's son--
in-law, and his boys, and, at Lockhart's request, giving the
veritable "Hugh Littlejohn" of Sir Walter's Tales of a Grandfather
— his first lesson in swimming. Most potent seems the
charm which the beautiful river has on the hearts of those who
have roamed in childhood on its shores. From long distances —
from the very antipodes, it draws them to feel the keen breeze
from off the hills, and gaze on its sparkling waters. It was therefore
with the utmost delight that in one of our author's frequent
visits to the banks of Clyde, he found one of his once boy coeditors,
after a lengthy sojourn in the far East Indies, nestled
down in summer quarters by the Kyles of Bute. A small volume
of poems, entitled Leisure Lyrics, was published in 1842, and favourably
received. Mr. M'Lean removed to Westmoreland shortly
after, and again further into the heart of England, where, although
at times wooing the Muses, he kept the pursuit strictly in the background,
deeming commerce more profitable than carols, and, in
the ancient and loyal city of Dr. Johnson, appeared but as an
active man of business. Elected as a good citizen to the offices
of Councillor and Alderman, selected for the Civic Chair as Mayor
twice in succession, and, finally, from his zeal on the bench, appointed
J. P. for the City and County of Lichfield, and in all public
matters doing his part with earnestness and ability.
William Alexander
is well known in Paisley as an esteemed contributor of poetical
pieces to the local newspapers. He has long taught writing
classes in his native town, and other parts of the country.
Alexander Lamont
was born at Johnstone in 1842, attended Glasgow University
Arts Classes, and at present is headmaster in Quarter Ironworks'
School, Lanarkshire. He is the author of a romance, entitled
Destiny's Daughter, also of Papers from Deepdale, a series of
critical and miscellaneous essays. Mr. Lamont is also a contributor
to Chambers' Journal, London Society, and other magazines.
Rev. William Buchanan
was born in Paisley about 1821; educated at the Grammar
School under Dr. Hunter; went to Glasgow College about 1835;
distinguished himself in several of his classes, specially took the
prize for the best poem in the Logic Class; became a licentiate of
the Church of Scotland about 1843-4. After acting for a short
time as assistant at Kilbirnie, he was presented to Kilmaurs, of
which parish he was minister for some years. He acquired a
reputation as a very eloquent preacher, but afterwards devoted
himself entirely to literature. He became editor of the Ayr
Observer, and conducted the paper with such ability and vigour
that the managers of the Edinburgh Courant invited him to become
editor of that metropolitan paper. He died a few years
ago at Ayr.
Robert M'Aslan,
a native of Glasgow, and son of a manufacturer there, studied at
the University, and afterwards resided in Paisley for some years
as a partner in the firm of M'Aslan & Muir, Nethercommon.
He emigrated to Auckland, New Zealand, where he died some
years ago. He had a fine literary taste, and contributed many
excellent poetical pieces to newspapers and other periodicals.
John Robertson,
author of The Toom Meal Pock (introduction to Harp, page 69),
was the son of a grocer in Paisley, and was apprenticed in early
life to a weaver, but his literary tastes led him to scorn the loom,
and in the society of Alexander Wilson, Ebenezer Picken, and
other votaries of the Muse, he passed the time congenially that
should have been devoted to business. His father became involved
in pecuniary difficulties, and Robertson found it necessary
to give more attention to work, and for some time did so. He
soon grew tired of industry, and enlisted in a Militia regiment,
where his literary abilities speedily attracted the attention of his
commanding officer, who appointed him to an extra regimental
clerkship. He was an excellent artist, and a proficient in music.
In 1809 and 1810, when several Scottish Militia regiments were
quartered in the South of England, he and James King, a fellow--
townsman and poet, who held an appointment similar to his
own, often met. King thus wrote regarding his friend: — "In
his company I passed some of the pleasantest hours that I spent
in the army. At our interviews I was often indulged with a
perusal of his MSS.; but how sadly was the spirit of his song
changed. The earlier part of his writings breathed a liveliness
that in the compositions of his riper years had given way to the
elegiac, and from the lengthened, well-designed, and soaring
poem he had descended to the dull sonnet of fourteen lines, or
ode of three or four stanzas. In 1810, when the regiment I belonged
to was quartered in Portsmouth, his battalion arrived in
Hilsea, three miles distant, and as I had just received a letter
from Tannahill — the last I got from him — I walked out to see
him a few days after his arrival, expecting a 'feast of reason'
for an hour or two; but as I approached the barrack gate, I
passed over a quantity of loose earth and stones, upon which
several soldiers stood, looking very pensively down. I inquired
of them where I would find my friend, but none seemed willing
to give me an answer. At length one of them, pointing to the
loose earth and stones, informed me that I had just walked over
him, and, had I been a little sooner, I should have seen him
buried. 'Poor man,' said he, 'your friend raised his hand
against himself, and was buried here just as he was found.'"
William Chalmers
was a tobacconist in Paisley, but, being unfortunate in this business,
he engaged successively in many undertakings, and finally
kept a refreshment stall at Paisley Railway Station. He was
born in 1779, and died in 1843.
Rev. Mathew Rodger,
a native of the parish of Erskine, where for many generations his
ancestors possessed the estate of Rossland. He studied at the
University of Glasgow, and since he was licensed in 1855 has held
charges as a minister of the Church of Scotland at Crieff,
Shettleston, and St. Andrew's. He is now minister of the College
Church of St. Andrews.
Rev. Alex. Rennison, M.A.,
a native of Berwick-on-Tweed, was born in 1807. His father was
Mr. John Rennison, a respected bookseller in that town. He
was educated at the Grammar School, and afterwards was a distinguished
student at Edinburgh University. He was ordained
pastor of a church in Lancashire in 1839, and in 1844 was elected
by the congregation of St. George's Church, Paisley, where he
laboured with much acceptance until his death in 1867.
INDEX.
Ae day in May the maids and men, . . Ballantine, . 49
Ae day a peacock nest I gat, . . . Thomson, . 70
As I came o'er the moor yestreen, . . . Hendry, . 79
Again I court the Muse's friendly aid, . . Scadlock, . 81
A jolly comrade in the port, a fearless mate at sea, Kennedy, . . 138
A cloud lay cradled near the setting sun, . . John Wilson, . 201
A maiden was lovely, a maiden was young, . Park, . . 213
Annihilation! gloomy power, . . . Muir, . . 215
A scene most sternly solemn, . Carlile, . . 235
A lovelier spot in this wide world, Black, . . 249
As one who leaves some blessed isle, Hervey, . . 259
Ah, my First! a little space . . . ib. . . 266
Ae day auld Clootie shook his fetters, . . Spreull, . . 304
Art thou the weapon which in days of yore, . M'Gilvray, . 328
Ah, me! what themes for mournful rhyme, . Dr. Gillan, . 375
Alone, upon a lonely shore, . . . "Isabel," . 382
Again I've sought in musing mood, . . M'Arthur, . 388
Auld Bobbie sat wi' tearfu' een, . . . Crawford, . 399
A Pat — an odd joker — and Yankee more sly, . Dr. Fleming, . 403
Ah! well do I remember that bright day, . . Lamb, . . 430
A small, neat cot, retired from worldly din, . Rennison, . 490
Beneath a lofty, shelt'ring, shaggy pile, . . Scott, . . 60
Britons! another laurel leaf, . . . King, , . 228
Baulie loo! wee waukrife peerie, . . . John Crawford, . 402
Come sit you down, my pretty lass, . . Tait, . . 57
Come home to your lingels, ye ne'er-do-weel loon, Tannahill, . 135
Cooper Davie gat a wife, . . . . Allan, . . 182
Come wander with me where the sweet scented rose, Park, . . 214
Close by the marge of Lemon's Lake, . . Symington, , 284
Come awa, hie awa, . . . . . Allan, . 353
Can sighing aught improve ye, . . Maclean, . 439
Consider the sparrows, the little house sparrows, MacPhail, . 448.
Charity! of kind thought the sweetest mother, . M'Aslan, . . 477.
Dearest — My heart and ey are wholly now, . M'Alpie, . . 39.
Dear John — I yours received with hand and mind, M'Alpie, . . 41.
Droll Will Dunbar was a rhymer, they say, . Webster, . . 157.
Dear Isabel, since Hymen made us one, . . Fyfe, . . 303.
Doun by, near our smiddy, . . . . Clark, . . 367.
Dim, hazy vapours twinkle in the air, . . Maclean, . . 437.
Floweret of the lonely dale, . . . . Scadlock, . . 84.
Float forth, thou flag of the free, . . . Dickson, . . 374.
Far up on the brae, . . . . . Shaw, . . 445.
Fare thee well! oh, not for ever, . . . Rennison, . 492.
Go up among the mountains, when the storm, . John Wilson, . 200.
Guid e'en to you, lassie, . . . . R.Stewart, . 360.
Gae sing o' saunts an' seers o' auld, . . Crawford, . 401.
Great is your age! — but greater far the Nile's, . Dr. Wallace, . 404.
Gambol! ye happy ones, gambol in glee, . . Maclean, . 435.
How pleasant is the midnight hour, . . Thomson, . 66.
Have you seen the old tree that stands lone on the
moor, . . . . . . Maclaren, . 137.
He's in hot youth, who, with a hasty step, . Kennedy, . 140.
How aft by Roslin's aged bield, . . . King, . . 222.
How I long for a home in some green shady place, Black, . . 248.
Haste, clothe me, Jarls, in my royal robe, . . Symington, . 294.
Hail! resignation, whom indulgent heaven, . Fyfe, . . 302.
Hail! soul-cementing matrimony, hail, . . M'Gilvray, . 331.
How early I wooed thee, . . . . Dick, . . 348.
He sorrowfu' sat by the ingle cheek, . . Gibson, . 352.
Hark! the lark is up, . . . . Alexander, . 452.
Here would the poet sit and sing, . . Brown, . 489.
Her black jet locks, in playful ringlets fall, . Rennison, . 493.
Hail! blessed hour! that saw the Saviour rise, . ib. . 494.
Instade of rendring thanks to God, . . M'Alpie, . . 37.
I've wandered east, I've wandered west, . . Motherwell, . 170.
In a saft simmer gloamin', . ib. . 178.
It chanced three merry fairies met, . . John Wilson, . 187.
Is this the lake, the cradle of the storms, . . ib. . 199.
It was a dreadful day when late I passed, . ib. . 202.
In days when Scotland dealt in war, . . Patrick, . . 219.
I gaed out yestreen atween eight hours and ten, . Mitchell, . . 238.
I asked the simple flower just dipped, . . Carlile, . . 244.
I wonder if ye ever think, . . . . Synangton, . 282.
It was the summer time, . . . . ib. . . 286.
I've listened to the midnight wind, . . Weir, . . 344.
I have wandered afar, 'neath stranger skies, . Polin, . . 351.
I knew a child, so sweet, so fair, . . . "Isabel," . 383.
In the dim twilight, when the fading day, . Maclean, . . 436.
I journeyed along, bold, hopeful, and strong, . Shaw, . . 443.
I hae seen many scenes, . . . . Macnair, . . 446.
It is not beauty binds the soul, . . . Alexander, . 450.
I left my love in the homeland dear, . . Lamont, . . 459.
I have waited till Spring's first breath, . . ib. . . 460
In the childhood I remember, . . . Buchanan, . 468.
I think of him when now the year brings round, Rodger, . 479.
I sat me down and mused on former days, . Rennison, . 490.
Keen the frosty winds were blawing, . . A. Wilson, . 109.
Loudon's bonnie woods and braes, . . Tannahill, . 132.
List! while I tell what forms the mountain's voice, John Wilson, . 200.
Let Nature's face be sad or gay, . . . M'Gilvray, . 329.
Let us roam, my bonnie lass, . . . R. Stewart, . 359.
'Mang hielan' folk an lowlan' folk, . . Clark, . . 369.
My sands are well nigh shaken, . . Maclean, . 441.
My Dear — Since first I see'd, . . . M'Alpie, . . 42.
My Very Good Sir — In this rhyming age, . . Wilson, . . 87.
My brothers are the stately trees, . . Carlile, . . 232.
My lonely harp, my early friend, . . Black, . . 247.
Morn on the waters! and, purple and bright, . Hervey, . . 255.
Now leaves the sun this motley hemisphere, . Ballantine & Thom, 48.
Now from the east, day's lamp began to rise, . Wm. Crawford, . 143.
Now, row thee weel, my bonnie built wherry, Allan, . . 180.
No sound was heard o'er the broom-covered valley, King, . . 224.
Now is it pleasing to survey, Fyfe, . . 296.
Noo winter's cauld win's hae departed, . . Mardock, . . 327.
Now spring returns, and early buds, . . M'Intyre, . 336.
Nae harum-scarum chiels for me, . . . Marshall, . 342.
Nae mair speak o' strife wi' a wrangling wife, . Dr. Gillan, . 377.
Now vernal offerings adorn the fruitful ground, . J. R. M., . 398.
O Yess, O Yess, O Yess, consider well, . . M'Alpie, . . 33.
One time, with a neighbour, I chanced to stray, . Picken, 47.
Our monitors and guardians now, . . Ballantine, . 52.
O! long may pure, disinterested love, . . Finlayson, . 72.
Oh yes, we have full many a varied scene, . Isaac Brown, . 90.
O saftlie, saftlie laie him down, and hap upo' his heid, Motherwell, 173.
O leeze me on the housewife's thrift, . . Allan, . 181.
O woman! woman! ever true and kind, . . Park, . . 204.
Old Scotland, I love thee, thou'rt dearer to me, . Park, . . 212.
O had I the power to call fortune at will, . . Patrick, . . 220.
On the fierce savage cliffs that look down to the flood, . . Pollock, 230.
Oh, wha's at the window, wha, wha? . . Carlile, . . 231.
O yes, there's a valley as calm and as sweet, . Carlile, . . 233.
Oh! my love was fair as the siller dud, . . M'Lardy, . 321.
O, lassie, wilt thou go, . . . . . . 334.
On board of a bark, in the deepest emotion, . M'Intyre, . . 335.
O weary fa' the drinkin' o't, . . . Marshall, . 339.
O Ronald Macgiech was a kenspeckle loon, . Dick, . . 347.
O leeze me now on our ain gude town, . . ib. . . 349.
On Thursday week twa sober callans, . . R. Stewart, . 363.
Our May had an e'e to a man, . . . Cross, . . 370.
O moon! pale moon! say what hast thou seen, . Stirling, 393.
On Kelvinside I've happy been, . . . Shaw, . . 444.
Oh! Minnie Glen, dear Minnie Glen, . . Alexander, . 449.
Oh wearily, wearily, life lags on, . . ib, . . 454.
Oh! there's magic, yes, there's a nameless spell, . ib. . . 456.
Oh! deem not thou my heart is cold, . . M'Aslan, . . 477.
O father, we read in the schoolroom, to-day, - Wingate, . . 482.
Pack off wi your lingels, ye souter, gae wa', - Marshall, . 340.
Remember, ah! there's magic in the sound, . Maclean, . 434.
Stay, passenger, as thou goeth by, . . M'Alpie, . 30.
Sweet little flower, in yellow claes, . . Picken, . 45.
See Howard, messenger of love, pursue, . . Crichton, . 65.
Serenely the morning was dawning, , . Webster, . . 150.
Sword of the mighty, . . . Allan Stewart, . 240.
Sweet, lovely flower, who planted thee, . . C. Fleming, . 241.
Seek not to nurse the vain desire, . . Yool, . . 318.
Sweet is the gloamin' hour, . . . . M'Intyre, . 338.
Sweet April flower, the dearest . . Dr. Wallace, . 423.
Sweet bud of many youthful hopes, . ib, . . 426.
Sad, sad thoughts, and weary, . . ib, . . 427.
Shall I forget the golden June, . . Lamb, . . 432.
Sad, sad, is the drip, drip, . . . ib. . . 433.
Strange awe of breathless clay, . . . Maclean, . . 437.
Softly, oh! softly tread, breathe lightly now, . ib. . . 441.
See Scotland's hero bending o'er his shield, - Dr. Brunton, . 481.
To Paisley town they ha'e three bells, . . Tait, . . 54.
The sun is punctual when he mounts on high, . Brown, . . 489.
The rifles of Paisley, by eight in the morn, . Paterson, . . 105.
Thou bonnie wood of Craigie-lea, . . . Tannahill, . 133.
The eagle hearts of all the North, . . Motherwell, . 160.
Tis not the grey hawk's flight, . . . Motherwell, . 166.
The flourish is sounded, the onset is made, . Dr. Fleming, . 184.
The spring, the spring, has come again, in all his
leafy pride, . . . . . ib. . 185.
Together will ye walk, through long, long streets, John Wilson, . 197.
There is a lake hid far among the hills, . . ib. . 198.
Talk of the sea! O 'tis wondrous grand, . . Park, . . 211.
The lake is at rest, love, . . . . King, . . 223.
The sun's descending glory, . . . . ib. . . 226.
That auld claymore, observe it well, . . ib. . . 227.
There are flowers, bonnie flowers, . . . Mitchell, . . 240.
Thou proud memorial of a former age, . . Carlile, . . 243.
The last hour of the year, from the old Abbey bell, Black, . . 253.
The gold-burnished sun from the world was retiring, ib. . . 254.
The Devil to St. Stephen's went, . . . Hervey, . . 272.
The Moslem's paradise may bloom, . . . Yool, . . 316.
The sunny days are come, my love, . . M'Lardy, . 323.
There is a land, a lovely land, . . . Mardock, . . 325.
They tell me o' a land where the sky is ever clear, Donald, . 346.
There's nae covenant now, lassie, . . . Allan, . 354.
The daisies all lie dead, . . . . Stirling, . . 392.
The dim shadows of night had long, . . ib. . . 394.
The dark tremendous pass! oh, mercy! save, . Dr. Wallace, . 409.
The summer's air, floating o'er beds of flowers, . Lamb, . . 429.
They have pass'd, they have pass'd, . . Maclean, . . 440.
The hills of home, the hills of home, . . Alexander, . 451.
There is a star whose chastened ray, . . ib. . . 453.
They gave me a brooch of gems and gold, . . ib. . . 455.
They hae burnt twa nits on Halloween night, . Crawford, . 474.
The ivy when young 'gins to creep along, . . Vallance, . 476.
Under the willow's whispering shade, . . J. R. M., . 384.
Unconscious I have wandered far, alone, . Rennison, . 491.
Wha wadna be in love, . . . . Sempill, . . 28.
What means this Presbiterian Rage? . . M'Alpie, . . 32.
We laff to sie such scurlous verses, . . ib. . 35.
When in the western main an orb of light, . A. Wilson, . 116.
Whoe'er across the Schuylkill's winding tide, . ib. . 127.
When I was a miller in Fyfe, . . . Webster, . . 155.
When, by God's inward light, a happy child, . John Wilson, . 201.
When hearts are merry in the ha, . . . Mitchell, . . 237.
While Fideo, in the house-choked town, . . Fyfe, . . 299.
What think ye o' chiels wha's conceit, . . Marshall, . 341.
Why does the day, whose date is brief, . . Weir, . . 343.
When others were boasting 'bout fetes and parades, C. Fleming, . 350.
When Scotia's pipe had tint her tune, . . Macindoe, . 357
Whare cam' the guineas frae, . . . Cross, . . 372
When bright the eye, and soft the smile, . . Dr. Gillan, . 380
Wanderer from the mountain, . . . M'Arthur, . 385
Where's the wreath which hope entwining, . Alexander, . 448
Were I the fairest little flower, . . . Lamont, . . 457
When the gloamin' fa's, . . . . ib. . . 458
We hail to-day his glorious birth, . . . Buchanan, . 462
When summer's sun shone warm and bright, . Stevenson, . 489
Ye nymphs of the woods, and ye nymphs of the groves, . Picken, . 44
Yon high-tow'ring hill, with its broom-skirted vale, . Scadlock, . 85
Yell a' hae heard tell o' Rab Roryson's bonnet, . Tannahill, . 134
You remember the maid with her dark brown hair, Hervey, . . 257
Ye kentna Meg Meiklejohn, Webster, . . . . 355
Ye bonnie woods round Quarrelton, . . R. Stewart, : 362
Ye lofty gods, and ye who quietly sit, . J. R. M., . 396
Ye crags, ye whispering woods, . . ib. . . 397
Yes! there are sacred spots on earth, . Dr. Wallace, . 419
Years have passed, . . Rodger, . . 478

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Harp of Renfrewshire, Second Series

Document Information

Document ID 114
Title Harp of Renfrewshire, Second Series
Year group 1850-1900
Genre Verse/drama
Year of publication 1873
Wordcount 118249

Author information: Various

Author ID 478
Surname Various