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And every time great care is ta’en,

To see them duly changed :
Auld uncle John, wha wedlock's joys

Sin Mar's year did desire,
Because he gat the toom-dish thrice,
He heaved them on the fire

In wrath that night.

XXVIII.
Wi’ merry sangs, and friendly cracks,

I wat they dinna weary;
An’unco tales, an' funnie jokes,

Their sports were cheap an' cheery, Till butter'd so'ns,* wi' fragrant lunt,

Set a’ their gabs a-steerin; Syne, wi' a social glass o' strunt, They parted aff careerin

Fu’blythe that night.

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Still thou art blest, compared wi' me ! The present only toucheth thee: But, och! I backward cast my e'e,

On prospects drear; An’forward, though I canna see,

I guess an' fear.

And think na, my auld trusty servan', That now perhaps thou's less deservin, An' thy auld days may end in starvin,

For my last fou, A heapit stimpart, I'll reserve ane

Laid by for you. We've worn to crazy years thegither; We'll toyte about wi'ane anither: Wi’tentie care, I'll fit thy tether,

To some hain'd rig, Where ye may nobly rax your leather,

Wi' sma’ fatigue,

A WINTER'S NIGHT.

Poor, naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm!
How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these ?-

SHAKSPEARE

TO A MOUSE.

ON TURNING HER UP IN HER NEST WITH THE

PLOUGH, NOVEMBER, 1785.

When biting Boreas, fell and doure, Sharp shivers through the leafless bower; When Phæbus gies a short-lived glower

Far south the lift, Dim-darkening through the flaky shower,

Or whirling drift:

WEE, sleekit, cow'rin, timorous beastie, 0, what a panic's in thy breastie ! Thou need na start awa sae hasty,

Wi’ bickering brattle ! I wad be laith to rin an'chase thee,

Wi’murdering pattle!
I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,

Which maks thee startle At me, thy poor earth-born companion,

An' fellow mortal.

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Ilk happing bird, wee, helpless thing, That, in the merry months o' spring, Delighted me to hear thee sing,

What comes o'thee? Whare wilt thou cower thy chittering wing,

An' close thy e'e ?

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ waste, An' weary winter comin' fast, An' cozie here, beneath the blast,

Thou thought to dwell, Till crash! the cruel coulter past

Out through thy cell.

E’en you on murdering errands toil'd, Lone from your savage homes exiled, The blood-stain'd roost, and sheep-cote spoil'd,

My heart forgets, While pitiless the tempest wild

Sore on you beats.

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Now Phæbe, in her midnight reign Dark muffled, view'd the dreary plain ; Still crowding thoughts, a pensive trai,

Rose in my soul, When on my ear this plaintive strain,

Slow, solemn, stole

But, mousie, thou art no thy lane, In proving foresight may be vain : The best laid schemes o' mice an'men,

Gang aft a-gley, An' lea'e us naught but grief an' pain,

For promised joy.

“ Blow, blow, ye winds, with heavier gust! And freeze, thou bitter-biting frost! Descend, ye chilly, smothering snows! Not all your rage, as now united, shows More hard unkindness, unrelenting,

Vengeful malice, unrepenting, Than heaven illumined man on brother man be

stows!

O life! thou art a galling load,
Along a rough, a weary road,

To wretches such as I !
Dim backward as I cast my view,

What sickening scenes appear!
What sorrows yet may pierce me through,
Too justly I may fear!
Still caring, despairing,

Must be my bitter doom;
My woes here shall close ne'er,

But with the closing tomb !

See stern oppression's iron grip,

Or mad ambition's gory hand,
Sending, like blood-hounds from the slip,

Wo, want, and murder, o'er a land!
E'en in the peaceful, rural vale,

Truth, weeping, tells the mournful tale,
How pamper'd luxury, flattery by her side,

The parasite empoisoning her ear,
With all the servile wretches in the rear,
Looks o'er proud property, extended wide ;
And eyes the simple rustic hind,

Whose toil upholds the glittering show,
A creature of another kind,

Some coarser substance, unrefined,
Placed for her lordly use, thus far, thus vile, below;

Where, where is love's fond, tender throe,
With lordly honour's lofty brow,

The powers you proudly own?
Is there beneath love's noble name,
Can harbour, dark, the selfish aim,

To bless himself alone?
Mark maiden innocence a prey

To love-pretending snares, This boasted honour turns away, Shunning soft pity's rising sway, Regardless of the tears, and unavailing prayers!

Perhaps, this hour, in misery's squalid nest,

She strains your infant to her joyless breast, And with a mother's fears shrinks at the rocking

Blast!

II.
Happy, ye sons of busy life,
Who, equal to the bustling strife,

No other view regard !
E’en when the wished end's denied,
Yet while the busy means are plied,

They bring their own reward : Whilst I, a hope-abandon’d wight,

Unfitted with an aim, :
Meet every sad returning night,
And joyless morn the same ;
You, bustling, and justling,

Forget each grief and pain :
I, listless, yet restless,

Find every prospect vain.

III.

“) ye! who, sunk in beds of down, Feel not a want but what yourselves create, Think, for a moment, on his wretched fate,

Whom friends and fortune quite disown! Ill satisfied keen nature's clamorous call,

Stretch'd on his straw he lays himself to sleep, While through the ragged roof and chinky wall, Chill o'er his slumbers piles the drifty heap! Think on the dungeon's grim confine, Where guilt and poor misfortune pine ! Guilt, erring man, relenting view! But shall thy legal rage pursue The wretch, already crushed low

By cruel fortune's undeserved blow? Affliction's sons are brothers in distress, A brother to relieve, how exquisite the bliss!"

How blest the solitary's lot,
Who, all-forgetting, all-forgot,

Within his humble cell,
The cavern wild with tangling roots,
Sits o'er his newly-gather'd fruits,

Beside his crystal well!
Or, haply, to his evening thought,

By unfrequented stream.
The ways of men are distant brought,
A faint collected dream:
While praising and raising

His thoughts to heaven on high, As wandering, meandering,

He views the solemn sky.

I heard nae mair, for chanticleer

Shook off the pouthery snaw, And hail'd the morning with a cheer,

A cottage-rousing craw. But deep this truth impress'd my mind

Through all his works abroad, The heart benevolent and kind

The most resembles God.

IV.
Than I, no lonely hermit placed
Where never human footstep traced,

Less fit to play the part;
The lucky moment to improve,
And just to stop, and just to move,

With self-respecting art:
But ah ! those pleasures, loves, and joys,

Which I too keenly taste,
The solitary can despise,
Can want, and yet be blest!
He needs not, he heeds not,

Or human love or hate,
Whilst I here must cry here,

At perfidy ingrate!

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OPPRESS'd with grief, oppress’d with care, A burden more than I can bear,

I sit me down and sigh:

0! enviable, early days,
When dancing thoughtless pleasure's maze,

To care, to guilt unknown!
How ill exchanged for riper times,
To feel the follies, or the crimes,
of others, or my own!

II.

Ye tiny elves that guiltless sport,

Like linnets in the bush, Ye little know the ills ye court, When manhood is your wish. The losses, the crosses,

That active man engage! The fears all, the tears all,

Of dim-declining age.

WINTER.

November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh;

The shortening winter day is near a close; The miry beasts retreating frae the pleugh,

The blackening trains o'craws to their repose : The toil-worn cotter frae his labour goes,

This night his weekly moil is at an end, Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes,

Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend, And weary, o'er the moor, his course does hareward bend.

III.
At length his lonely cot appears in view,

Beneath the shelter of an aged tree;
Th’expectant wee things, toddlin, stacher through

To meet their dad, wi' flichterin noise an'glee. His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonnily,

His clean hearth-stane, his thrifty wifie's smile, The lisping infant prattling on his knee,

Does a' his weary, carking cares beguile, An' makes him quite forget his labour an' his toil.

A DIRGE.

I.

The wintry west extends his blast,

And hail and rain does blaw;
Or, the stormy north sends driving forth

The blinding sleet and snaw:
While tumbling brown, the burn comes down,

And roars frae bank to brae; And bird and beast in covert rest, And pass the heartless day.

II.
“ The sweeping blast, the sky o'ercast,"

The joyless winter day,
Let others fear, to me more dear

Than all the pride of May:
The tempest's howl, it soothes my soul,

My griefs it seems to join,
The leafless trees my fancy please,
Their fate resembles mine.

III.
Thou Power Supreme, whose mighty scheme

These woes of mine fulfil,
Here, firm, I rest, they must be best,

Because they are thy will!
Then all I want, (0, do thou grant

This one request of mine !)
Since to enjoy thou dost deny,

Assist me to resign.

IV.
Belyve the elder bairns come drapping in,

At service out, amang the farmers roun': Some ca’ the pleugh, some herd, some tentie rin

A cannie errand to a neebor town: Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman grown,

In youthfu' bloom, love sparkling in her e'e, Comes hame, perhaps, to show a braw new gown,

Or deposit her sair-won penny-fee,
To help her parents dear, if they in hardship be.

V.
Wi' joy unfeign'd, brothers and sisters meet,

An' each for others' weelfare kindly spiers: The social hours, swift-wing’d, unnoticed fleet;

Each tells the uncos that he sees or hears; The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years;

Anticipation forward points the view. The mother, wi’her needle an' her sheers,

Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new: The father mixes a' wi' admonition due.

VI.

THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT.

INSCRIBED TO R. A****, ESQ.

Let not ambition mock their useful toil,

Their homely joys, and destiny obscure; Nor grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile, The short but simple annals of the poor.

GRAY.

My loved, my honour'd, much respected friend!

No mercenary bard his homage pays; With honest pride I scorn each selfish end;

My dearest meed a friend's esteem and praise; To you I sing, in simple Scottish lays,

The lowly train in life's sequester'd scene; The native feelings strong, the guileless ways:

What A**** in a cottage would have been ; Ah! though his worth unknown, far happier there,

I ween.

Their master's an' their mistress's command,

The younkers a'are warned to obey ; “ An’mind their labours wi' an eydent hand,

An'ne'er, though out o’ sight, to jauk or play: An’O! be sure to fear the Lord alway!

An' mind your duty, duly, morn an' night! Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray,

Implore his counsel and assisting might: They never sought in vain that sought the Lord aright !”

VII.
But hark! a rap comes gently to the door ;

Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the same,
Tells how a neebor lad cam o'er the moor,

To do some errands, and convoy her hame. The wily mother sees the conscious flame

Sparkle in Jenny's e’e, and flush her cheek; With heart-struck, anxious care, inquires his

name, While Jenny haflins is afraid to speak; Weel pleased the mother hears, it's nae wild,

worthless rake.

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VIII.

XIV. Wi' kindly welcome Jenny brings him ben; The priest-like father reads the sacred page,

A strappan youth; he taks the mother's eye; How Abram was the friend of God on high ; Blythe Jenny sees the visit's no ill ta'en;

Or, Moses bade eternal warfare wage The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye. With Amalek's ungracious progeny ; The youngster's artless heart o’erflows wi' joy. Or how the royal bard did groaning lie

But blathe and laithfu', scarce can weel behave; Beneath the stroke of Heaven's avenging ire ; The mother, wi'a woman's wiles, can spy

Or, Job's pathetic plaint, and wailing cry; What makes the youth sae bashfu’an'sae grave; Or rapt Isaiah's wild, seraphic fire ; Weel pleased to think her bairn's respected like or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre. the lave.

XV.
IX.

Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme, O happy love! where love like this is found !

How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed; O heartfelt raptures ! bliss beyond compare !

How He, who bore in heaven the second name, I've paced much this weary mortal round,

Had not on earth whereon to lay his head: And sage experience bids me this declare

How his first followers and servants sped; If heaven a draught of heavenly pleasure spare,

The precepts sage they wrote to many a land: One cordial in this melancholy vale,

How he, who lone in Patmos banished, 'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair,

Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand; In other's arms breathe out the tender tale, And heard great Babylon's doom pronounced by Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the even

Heaven's command. ing gale.”

XVI.

Then kneeling down, to Heaven's Eternal King, Is there, in human form, that bears a heart

The saint, the father, and the husband prays : A wretch ! a villain ! lost to love and truth!

Hope “ springs exulting on triumphant wing, "* That can, with studied, sly, insnaring art,

That thus they all shall meet in future days : Betray sweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth ?

There ever bask in uncreated rays, Curse on his perjured arts ! dissembling smooth!

No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear, Are honour, virtue, conscience, all exiled ?

Together hymning their Creator's praise, Is there no pity, no relenting truth,

In such society, yet still more dear ; [sphere. Points to the parents fondling o'er their child ? | While circling time moves round in an eternal Then paints the ruin'd maid, and their distraction

XVII.
wild?
XI.

Compared with this, how poor religion's pride, But now the supper crowns their simple board,

In all the pomp of method, and of art, The halesome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food :

When men display, to congregations wide,

Devotion's every grace, except the heart ! The soupe their only hawkie does afford,

The Power, incensed, the pageant will desert, That 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood : |

The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole ; The dame brings forth in complimental mood,

But haply, in some cottage far apart, To grace the lad, her weel-hain'd kebbuck, fell,

May hear, well pleased, the language of the soul; An'aft he's prest, an' aft he ca's it guid;

And in his book of life the inmates poor enrol. The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell, Hou 'twas a towmond auld, sin' lint was i' the bell.

XVIII.

Then homeward all take off their several way; XII.

The yougling cottagers retire to rest : The cheerfu' supper done, wi’ serious face, The parent pair their secret homage pay, They round the ingle form a circle wide;

And proffer up to Heaven the warm request The sire turns o'er, wi' patriarchal grace,

That He who stills the raven's clamorous nest, The big ha' Bible, ance his father's pride :

And decks the lily fair in flowery pride, His bonnet reverently is laid aside,

Would, in the way his wisdom sees the best, His lyart haffets wearing thin an' bare ;

For them and for their little ones provide; Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide, But chiefly, in their hearts with grace divine preside. He wales a portion with judicious care;

XIX. And “Let us worship God !” he says, with solemn

From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur air. XIII.

springs,

That makes her loved at home, revered abroad : They chant their artless notes in simple guise ;

Princes and lords are but the breath of kings, They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim:

" An honest man's the noblest work of God :" Perhaps Dundee's wild warbling measures rise,

And certes, in fair virtue's heavenly road, Or plaintive Martyrs, worthy of the name:

The cottage leaves the palace far behind; Or noble Elgin beets the heavenward flame,

What is a lordling's pomp? a cumbrous load, The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays :

Disguising oft the wretch of human kind, Compared with these, Italian trills are tame;

Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refined ! The tickled ears no heartfelt raptures raise ; Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise.

* Pope's Windsor Forest.

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