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Though now ye dow but hoyte an’ hobble An' wintle like a saumont-coble, That day ye was a jinker noble
For heels and win?! An’ran them till they a' did wauble,
Far, far behin'.
And every time great care is ta’en,
To see them duly changed :
Sin Mar's year did desire,
In wrath that night.
I wat they dinna weary ;
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.
When thou an' I were young an’skeigh, An’stable-meals at fairs were dreigh, How thou wad prance, an' snore, an' skreigh,
An' tak the road! Town's bodies ran, and stood abeigh,
An' ca't thee mad.
When thou was corn't, an' I was mellow, We took the road aye like a swallow: At brooses thou had ne'er a fellow,
For pith an' speed: But every tail thou pay't them hollow,
Where'er thou gaed.
THE AULD FARMER'S NEW-YEAR MORN
ING SALUTATION TO HIS AULD MARE MAGGIE,
ON GIVING HER ACCUSTOMED RIPP OF CORN TO
HANSEL IN THE NEW-YEAR.
The sma', droop-rumpl’t, hunter cattle, Might aiblins waur't thee for a brattle ; But sax Scotch miles thou try't their mettle,
An' gar't them whaizle: Nae whip nor spur, but just a wattle
O'saugh or hazel.
On guid March weather, Hae turn'd sax rood beside our han',
For days thegither.
Thou never braindg’t, an' fetch't, an' fliskit, But thy auld tail thou wad hae whiskit, An’spread abreed thy weel-fill'd brisket,
Wi' pith, an' pow'r, Till spritty knowes wad rair't and risket,
An' slypet owre.
A Guid new-year I wish thee, Maggie! Hae, there's a rip to thy auld baggie : Though thou's howe-backit, now, an' knaggie,
I've seen the day, Thou could hae gaen like ony staggie
Out-owre the lay. Though now thou's dowie, stiff, an' crazy, An' thy auld hide's as white's a daisy, I've seen thee dappl’t, sleek, and glaizie,
A bonnie gray:
Ance in a day.
As e'er tread yird ;
Like ony bird.
An' fifty mark;
An' thou was stark. When first I gaed to woo my Jenny, Ye then was trottin wi' your minnie: Though ye was trickie, slee, an' funnie,
Ye ne'er was donsie ;
An' unco sonsie.
Wi' maiden air !
For sic a pair.
When frosts lay lang, an' snows were deep, An' threaten'd labour back to keep, I gied thy cog a wee-bit heap
Aboon the timmer; I kennd my Maggie wad na sleep
For that, or simmer.
The cart or car thou never restit; The stevest brae thou wad hae fac't it : Thou never lap, and sten't, and breastit,
Then stood to blaw; But just thy step a wee thing hastit,
Thou snoov't awa.
My pleugh is now thy bairn-time a': Four gallant brutes as e'er did draw: Forbye sax mae, I've sell't awa.
That thou hast nurst: They drew me thretteen pund an’twa,
The vera warst.
Monie a sair daurk we twa hae wrought, An' wi' the weary warl’ fought! And monie an anxious day, I thought
We wad be beat! Yet here to crazy age we're brought,
Wi' something yet.
• Sowens, with butter instead of milk to them, is al. ways the Halloween supper.
See stern oppression's iron grip,
O life! thou art a galling load, Or mad ambition's gory hand,
Along a rough, a weary road, Sending, like blood-hounds from the slip,
To wretches such as I ! Wo, want, and murder, o'er a land !
Dim backward as I cast my view, E’en in the peaceful, rural vale,
What sickening scenes appear! Truth, weeping, tells the mournful tale,
What sorrows yet may pierce me through, How pamper'd luxury, flattery by her side,
Too justly I may fear! The parasite empoisoning her ear,
Still caring, despairing, With all the servile wretches in the rear,
Must be my bitter doom ; Looks o'er proud property, extended wide ;
My woes here shall close ne'er, And eyes the simple rustic hind,
But with the closing tomb !
Happy, ye sons of busy life,
Who, equal to the bustling strife, Where, where is love's fond, tender throe,
No other view regard ! With lordly honour's lofty brow,
E’en when the wished end's denied, The powers you proudly own?
Yet while the busy means are plied, Is there beneath love's noble name,
They bring their own reward : Can harbour, dark, the selfish aim,
Whilst I, a hope-abandon'd wight, To bless himself alone?
Unfitted with an aim, Mark maiden innocence a prey
Meet every sad returning night, To love-pretending snares,
And joyless morn the same ; This boasted honour turns away,
You, bustling, and justling, Shunning soft pity's rising sway,
Forget each grief and pain : Regardless of the tears, and unavailing prayers !
I, listless, yet restless, Perhaps, this hour, in misery's squalid nest,
Find every prospect vain. She strains your infant to her joyless breast,
How blest the solitary's lot,
Who, all-forgetting, all-forgot, “) ye! who, sunk in beds of down,
Within his humble cell, Feel not a want but what yourselves create,
The cavern wild with tangling roots, Think, for a moment, on his wretched fate,
Sits o'er his newly-gather’d fruits, Whom friends and fortune quite disown!
Beside his crystal well! Ill satisfied keen nature's clamorous call,
Or, haply, to his evening thought, Stretch'd on his straw he lays himself to sleep, By unfrequented stream. While through the ragged roof and chinky wall, The ways of men are distant brought, Chill o'er his slumbers piles the drifty heap!
A faint collected dream: Think on the dungeon's grim confine,
While praising and raising Where guilt and poor misfortune pine !
His thoughts to heaven on high, Guilt, erring man, relenting view !
As wandering, meandering, But shall thy legal rage pursue
He views the solemn sky.
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,
At perfidy ingrate!
When dancing thoughtless pleasure's maze,
To care, to guilt unknown!
To feel the follies, or the crimes,
Of others, or my own!
Ye tiny elves that guiltless sport,
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
At length his lonely cot appears in view,
Beneath the shelter of an aged tree;
Th’expectant wee things, toddlin, stacher through The wintry west extends his blast,
To meet their dad, wi’ flichterin noise an'glee. And hail and rain does blaw;
His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonnily, Or, the stormy north sends driving forth
His clean hearth-stane, his thrifty wifie's smile, The blinding sleet and snaw:
The lisping infant prattling on his knee, While tumbling brown, the burn comes down,
Does a' his weary, carking cares beguile, And roars frae bank to brae;
An' makes him quite forget his labour an’ his toil. And bird and beast in covert rest, And pass the heartless day.
Belyve the elder bairns come drapping in,
At service out, amang the farmers roun': “ The sweeping blast, the sky o'ercast,
Some ca’ the pleugh, some herd, some tentie rin The joyless winter day,
A cannie errand to a neebor town: Let others fear, to me more dear
Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman grown, Than all the pride of May:
In youthfu' bloom, love sparkling in her e'e, The tempest's howl, it soothes my soul,
Comes hame, perhaps, to show a braw new gown, My griefs it seems to join,
Or deposit her sair-won penny-fee, The leafless trees my fancy please,
To help her parents dear, if they in hardship be. Their fate resembles mine.
Wi' joy unfeign'd, brothers and sisters meet, Thou Power Supreme, whose mighty scheme An' each for others' weelfare kindly spiers : These woes of mine fulfil,
The social hours, swift-wing'd, unnoticed fleet; Here, firm, I rest, they must be best,
Each tells the uncos that he sees or hears; Because they are thy will!
The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years; Then all I want, (0, do thou grant
Anticipation forward points the view. This one request of mine !)
The mother, wi’ her needle an' her sheers, Since to enjoy thou dost deny,
Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new: Assist me to resign.
The father mixes a' wi' admonition due.
The younkers a' are warned to obey;
“ An’mind their labours wi' an eydent hand, INSCRIBED TO R. A****, ESQ.
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! Nor grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile,
Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray,
Implore his counsel and assisting might:
They never sought in vain that sought the Lord
aright !" My loved, my honour'd, much respected friend!
VII. No mercenary bard his homage pays;
But hark! a rap comes gently to the door ; With honest pride I scorn each selfish end;
Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the same, My dearest meed a friend's esteem and praise ; Tells how a neebor lad cam o'er the moor, To you I sing, in simple Scottish lays,
To do some errands, and convoy her hame. The lowly train in life's sequester'd scene; The wily mother sees the conscious flame The native feelings strong, the guileless ways: Sparkle in Jenny's e’e, and flush her cheek;
What A**** in a cottage would have been ; With heart-struck, anxious care, inquires his Ah! though his worth unknown, far happier there,
name, I ween.
While Jenny haflins is afraid to speak;
Weel pleased the mother hears, it's nae wild, * Dr. Young
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.
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
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
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 parriteh, chief o' Scotia’s food :
When men display, to congregations wide, The soupe their only hawkie does afford,
Devotion's every grace, except the heart ! That 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood :
The Power, incensed, the pageant will desert, The dame brings forth in complimental mood,
The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole ;
But haply, in some cottage far apart,
May hear, well pleased, the language of the soul;
And in his book of life the inmates poor enrol. The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell, How 'twas a towmond auld, sin' lint was i' the bell.
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 air.
From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur XIII.
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 fame,
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 Foresi.