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May feel it too; affectionate in look,
Chiefly renowned for his pathetic and spirit-stirring songs. Other proofs of his high rank as a poet are The Cotter's Saturday Night,” “ Elegy on Captain Matthew Henderson,'
" " The Jolly Beggars,” “ Tam O'Shanter,” and others.
THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT.
INSCRIBED TO ROBERT AIKEN, ESQ.
My loved, my honored, much-respected friend,
No mercenary bard his homage pays:
My dearest meed a friend's esteem and praise.
The lowly train in Life's sequestered scene,
What Aiken in a cottage would have been:
The shortening winter-day is near a close ;
The blackening trains o' craws to their repose ;
(This night his weekly moilis at an end,)
Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend;
Beneath the shelter of an aged tree:
To meet their dad wi' flicterin' noise and glee.
• Tottering in their walk.
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,
At service out amang the farmers roun':
A cannies errand to a neebor-town.
In youthfu' bloom, love sparkling in her e'e,
Or deposit her sair-wono
An' each for other's weelfare kindly spiers :**
Each tells the uncos" that he sees or hears. The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years ;
Anticipation forward points the view :
Gars! auld claes look amaist as weel's the new;
The younkers a' are warned to obey;
An' ne'er, though out o' sight, to jauk or play: " An', oh! be sure to fear the Lord alway,
An' mind your duty duly, morn an' night.
Implore His counsel and assisting might:
Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the same,
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 hafflins is afraid to speak : Weel pleased, the mother hears it's nae wild, worthless rake. Wi’ kindly welcome, Jenny brings him ben ;'?
A strappan's youth, he taks the inother's eye: Blythe Jenny sees the visit's no ill ta'en;
The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye.”'
6 Drive. 8 All. 4 Consuming. 5 By and by. 7 Cautious.
11 Wages. * Kindly dexterous. 9 Fine, handsome. 10 Sorely-won. 12 Asks, 1s News. 14 Makeg. 15 Diligent. 16 Partly
17 Into the parlor. 18 Tall and handsome. 19 Converses. 20 Kine, cows.
The youngster's artless heart o’erflows wi' joy,
But, blate' an' laithfu',' scarce can weel behave: The mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy
What makes the youth sae bashfu' an' sae grave; Weel pleased to think her bairn's respected like the lave.3
O happy love, where love like this is found !
O heartfelt raptures! bliss beyond compare ! I've pacèd 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 evening gale.”
Is there in human form that bears a heart,
A wretch, a villain, lost to love and truth, That can, with studied, sly, insnaring art,
Betray sweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth ? Curse on his perjured arts ! dissembling smooth!
Are honor, virtue, conscience, all exiled ? Is there no pity, no relenting ruth,"
Points to the parents fondling o'er their child, Then paints the ruined maid, and their distraction wild?
But now the supper crowns their simple board, —
The healsome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food : The soupe their only hawkie' does afford,
That 'yonto the hallano snugly chows her cood. The dame brings forth in complimental mood,
To grace the lad, her weel-hained" kebbuck," fell ;12
The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell
The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face
They round the ingle form a circle wide. The sire turns o'er wi' patriarchal grace
The big ha' Bible," ance his father's pride. His bonnet reverently is laid aside,
His lyart18 haffets' wearin' thin an' bare:
He walego a portion with judicious care;
1 Bashful. 2 Reluctant. 3 The rest, the others. Mercy, kind feeling. * Oatmeal-pudding. & Sauce, milk. ? A pet name for a cow. & Beyond. 9 A partition-wall in a cottage.
11 A cheese. 12 Biting to the taste. 13 Twelve-month. 14 Old. 13 Since. 16 Flax was in blossom. 17 The great Bible kept in the hall.
19 The temples, the sides of the head. 20 Chooses.
They chant their artless notes in simple guise ;
They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim : Perhaps Dundee's wild, warbling measures rise;
Or plaintive Martyrs,' worthy of the name; Or noble Elgin' beats the heavenward flame,
The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays : Compared with these, Italian trills are tame;
The tickled ear no heartfelt raptures raise; Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise.
The priest-like father reads the sacred page,
How Abram was the friend of God on high ; Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage
With Amalek's ungracious progeny; Or how the royal bard did groaning lie
Beneath the stroke of Heaven's avenging ire ;
Or rapt Isaiah’s wild, seraphic fire;
Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme,
How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed; How He who bore in heaven the second name
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; How he, who, lone in Patmos banished,
Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand, And heard great Babylon's doom pronounced by Heaven's command.
Then, kneeling down, to heaven's Eternal King
The saint, the father, and the husband prays: Hope "springs exulting on triumphant wing
That thus they all shall meet in future days, There ever bask in uncreated rays,
No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear,
In such society, yet still more dear,
Compared with this, how poor Religion's pride,
In all the pomp of method and of art,
Devotion's every grace except the heart !
The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole;
May hear, well pleased, the language of the soul, And in his book of life the inmates poor enroll.
1 The names of Scottish psalm-tnnes.
Then homeward all take off their several way;
The youngling cottagers retire to rest; The parent-pair their secret homage pay,
And proffer up to Heaven the warm request, That He who stills the raven's clamorous nest,
And decks the lily fair in flowery pride,
For them and for their little ones provide ;
From scenes like these old Scotia’s grandeur springs,
That makes her loved at home, revered abroad. Princes and lords are but the breath of kings :
“ An honest man's the noblest work of God.” And certes, in fair Virtue's heavenly road,
The cottage leaves the palace far behind: What is a lordling's pomp? a cumbrous load,
Disguising oft the wretch of human kind, Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refined !
O Scotia, my dear, my native soil,
For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent ! Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blessed with health and peace, and sweet content! And, oh, may Heaven their simple lives prevent
From luxury's contagion, weak and vile ! Then, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent,
A virtuous populace may rise the while, And stand, a wall of fire, around their much-loved isle.
O Thou who poured the patriotic tide
That streamed through Wallace's undaunted heart, Who dared to nobly stem tyrannic pride,
Or nobly die, the second glorious part ! (The patriot's God peculiarly thou art,
His friend, inspirer, guardian, and reward :)
But still the patriot and the patriot-bard
TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY,
ON TURNING ONE DOWN WITH THE PLOW IN APRIL, 1786.
WEE, modest, crimson-tippèd flower,
Thy slender stem :
Thou bonnie gem.