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Th' expectant wee-things, toddlin', stacher thro'
To meet their dad, wi’ flichterin' noise an’ glee. His wee bit ingle, blinkin' bonnily,
His clean hearth-stane, his thriftie wifie's smile, 25 The lisping infant prattling on his knee,
Does a' his weary, carking care beguile,
Belyve, the elder bairns come drappin' in,
At service out, amang the farmers roun':
A cannie errand to a neebor town:
In youthfu' bloom, love sparklin' in her e'e, Comes hame, perhaps, to show a braw new gown, 35
Or deposit her sair-won penny fee,
Wi' joy unfeign'd, brothers and sisters meet,
And each for other's welfare kindly spiers: The social hours, swift-winged, unnotic'd 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 and her shears,
Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new; 45 The father mixes a' wi' admonition due.
Their master's an’ their mistress's command,
The yonkers a' are warned to obey; “An’ mind their labors wi’ an eydent hand,
An' ne'er, tho' out o’ sight, to jauk or play: 50 An’O! be sure to fear the Lord alway!
An' mind your duty, duly, morn an' night!
Implore his counsel and assisting might:
55 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 60 Sparkle in Jenny's e'e, and flush her cheek; With heart-struck, anxious care, inquires his name,
While Jenny hafflins is afraid to speak; Weel pleas'd the mother hears, it's nae wild, worthless rake.
Wi' kind'y welcyme, Jenny brings him ben: 65 A strappin' youth; he takes the mother's eye; Blythe Jenny sees the visit's no ill ta’en;
The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye. The youngster's artless heart o'erflows wi' joy,
But blate and laithfu’, scarce can weel behave, 70 The mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy
What makes the youth sae bashfu' an' sae grave; Weel pleas'd to think her bairn's respected like the lave.
O happy love! where love like this is found!
O heart-felt raptures! -- bliss beyond compare! 75 I've paced much this weary, mortal round,
And sage experience bids me this declare “If heaven a draught of heavenly pleasure spare,
One cordial in this melancholy vale, 'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair,
In other's arms, breathe out the tender tale, Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the ev'ning gale.”
Is there, in human form, that bears a heart
A wretch, a villain! lost to love and truth! That can, with studied, sly, ensnaring art,
Betray sweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth? Curse on his perjur'd arts! dissembling smooth!
Are honor, virtue, conscience, all exil'd ? Is there no pity, no relenting ruth,
Points to the parents fondling o'er their child ? 90 Then paints the ruin'd maid, and their distraction wild ?
But now the supper crowns their simple board,
The halesome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food: The sowpe their only Hawkie does afford,
That 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood; 95 The dame brings forth in complimental mood,
grace the lad, her weel-hain'd kebbuck fell
An' aft he's prest, an' aft he ca's it guid;
The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell,
100 The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face,
They, round the ingle, form a circle wide;
The big ha’-Bible, ance his father's pride;
His lyart haffets wearing thin an' bare;
He wales a portion with judicious care;
They chant their artless notes in simple guise;
They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim:
Or plaintive Martyr's, worthy of the name,
She sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays:
The tickl'd ears no heart-felt raptures raise;
The priest-like father reads the sacred page,
How Abram was the friend of God on high; 120 Or, Moses bade eternal warfare wage
With Amalek's ungracious progeny;
Beneath the stroke of Heav'n's avenging ire;
Or Job's pathetic plaint, and wailing cry; I 25 Or rapt Isaiah's wild, seraphic fire;
Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre.
Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme,
How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed;
How He, who bore in heaven the second name, 130 Had not on earth whereon to lay his head;
How his first followers and servants sped;
The precepts sage they wrote to many a land:
Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand, 135 And heard great Bab'lon's doom pronounc'd by Heaven's com
Then kneeling down, to Heaven's Eternal King,
The saint, the father, and the husband prays:
That thus they all shall meet in future days: 140 There ever bask in uncreated rays,
No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear,
In such society, yet still more dear;
145 Compar'd with this, how poor Religion's pride,
In all the pomp of method and of art,
Devotion's ev'ry grace, except the heart!
The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole; 150 But, haply, in some cottage far apart,
May hear, well pleased, the language of the soul;
Then homeward all take off their sev'ral way; 155 The youngling cottagers retire to rest:
The parent-pair their secret homage pay,
And proffer up to Heaven the warm request,
And decks the lily fair in flow'ry pride, 160 Would, in the way his wisdom sees the best,
For them and for their little ones provide;
From scenes like these, old Scotia's grandeur springs,
That makes her lov'd at home, rever'd abroad: 165 Princes and lords are but the breath of kings.
"An honest man's the noblest work of God!”
The cottage leaves the palace far behind;
Disguising oft the wretch of human kind,
O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent!
Long may thy hardy sons of rusty toil 175 Be bless’d with health, and peace, and sweet content!
And, O! may Heaven their simple lives prevent
Froin luxury's contagion, weak and vile!
A virtuous populace may rise the while, 180 And stand a wall of fire around their much-lov'd isle.
O Thou! who poured the patriotic tide
That steam'd thro’ Wallace's undaunted heart,
Or nobly die, the second glorious part: 185 (The patriot's God peculiarly thou art,
His friend, inspired, guardian, and reward!)
But still the patriot, and the patriot bard,
Ca'. Drive. 30 Tentie rin. Diligently run -- heedfully, cautiously. 31 Cannie. Trustworthy, easy. 35 Sair-won penny fee. Hard won wages. 38 Spiers. Asks, inquires.
40 Uncos. News, uncommon incidents; as an adjective unco means strange, uncouth; and as an adverb is used intensitively, as unco little. 44