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ON TURNING HER UP IN HER NEST WITH THE PLOUGH,
WEE, sleekit, cowrin', timorous beastie,
Oh! what a panic 's in thy breastie !
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickerin' brattle:
I wad be laith to rin' an' chase thee,
Wi' murderin' pattle.
I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor earth-born companion,
I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve,
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request: I'll get a blessin' wi' the lave, And never miss 't:
Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin :
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin';
An' naething, now, to big a new ane
O' foggage green;
An' bleak December's blast ensuin',
Baith snell and keen.
Thou saw the fields laid bare an' wast,
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.
That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble
Has cost thee mony a weary
Now thou 's turned out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld.
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 nought but grief an' pain,
For promised joy.
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.
All are architects of fate,
Working in these walls of time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.
Nothing useless is, or low,
Each thing in its place is best; And what seems but idle show Strengthens and supports the rest.
For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.
Truly shape and fashion these,
Leave no yawning gaps between : Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen.
In the elder days of art,
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part,
For the gods are every where.
Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house where gods may dwell
Beautiful, entire, and clean.
Else our lives are incomplete,
Standing in these walls of time ;
Broken stair-ways, where the feet
Stumble as they seek to climb.
Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base,
And ascending and secure
Shall to-morrow find its place.
Thus alone can we attain
To those turrets, where the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.
A Garden in Spring.
The finished garden to the view Its vistas opens, and its valleys green Snatched through the verdant maze, the hurried eye Distracted wanders: now the bowery walk Of covert close, where scarce a speck of day Falls on the lengthened gloom, protracted sweeps; Now meets the bended sky; the river now Dimpling along, the breezy ruffled lake, The forest darkening round, the glittering spire,
Th' ethereal mountain, and the distant main.
But why so far excursive? when at hand,
Along these blushing borders, bright with dew,
And in yon mingled wilderness of flowers,
Fair-handed Spring unbosoms every grace;
Throws out the snow-drop and the crocus first;
The daisy, primrose; violet, darkly blue;
And polyanthus, of unnumbered dyes;
The yellow wall-flower, stained with iron brown,
And lavish stock, that scents the garden round;
From the soft wing of vernal breezes shed,
Anemones; auriculas, enriched
With shining meal o'er all their velvet leaves;
And full ranunculas, of glowing red.
Then comes the tulip race, where Beauty plays
Her idle freaks; from family diffused
To family, as flies the father dust,
The varied colours run, and while they break
On the charmed eye, th' exulting florist marks,
With secret pride, the wonders of his hand.
No gradual bloom is wanting from the bud,
First-born of Spring, to Summer's musky tribes:
Nor hyacinths, of purest virgin white,
Low-bent, and blushing inward; nor jonquils,
Of potent fragrance; nor Narcissus fair,
As o'er the fabled fountain hanging still;
Nor broad carnations, nor gay spotted pinks;
Nor, showered from every bush, the damask rose.
Infinite numbers, delicacies, smells,
With hues on hues expression cannot paint,
The breath of Nature, and her endless bloom.