THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT. The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years ;

Anticipation forward points the view :

The mother, wi' her needle an' her shears, "Let not ambition mock their useful toil,

Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new;
Their homely joys and destiny obscure ;

The father mixes a' wi' admonition due.
Nor grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile,
The short but simple annals of the poor." - GRAY.

Their master's an' their mistress's command, My loved, my honored, much-respected friend,

The younkers a' are warned to obey ; No mercenary bard his homage pays : And mind their labors wi' an eydent * hand, With honest pride I scorn each selfish end ;

And ne'er, though out o' sight, to jauk or My dearest meed, a friend's esteem and

play; praise.

“An' 0, be sure to fear the Lord alway! 'To you I sing, in simple Scottish lays,

An' mind your duty, duly, norn an' night! The lowly train in life's sequestered scene ; Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray, The native feelings strong, the guileless ways ; Implore his counsel and assisting might ;

What Aiken in a cottage would have been ; They never sought in vain that sought the Lord Ah ! though his worth unknown, far happier

aright!" there, I ween.

But, hark !'a rap comes gently to the door. November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh ; Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the same,

The shortening winter-day is near a close ; Tells how a neibor lad cam o'er the moor, The miry beasts retreating frae the pleugh, To do some errands and convoy her hamne. The blackening trains o' craws to their The wily mother sees the conscious flame repose ;

Sparkle in Jenny's e'e, and flush her cheek; The toilworn cotter frae his labor goes,

Wi' heart-struck anxious care inquires his This night his weekly moil is at an end,

name, Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes, While Jenny hafflins + is afraid to speak ;

Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend, Weel pleased the mother hears it's nae wild, And weary, o'er the moor, his course does hame- worthless rake. ward bend.

Wi' kindly welcome, Jenny brings him ben ; At length his lonely cot appears in view,

A strappin' youth ; he taks the mother's e'e; Beneath the shelter of an aged tree ;

Blithe Jenny sees the visit 's no ill ta'en ; Th' expectant wee things, toddlin', stacher The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye. through

The youngster's artless heart o'erflows wi' joy, To meet their dad, wi' flichterin' noise an'glee. But blate and lathefu', scarce can weel beHis wee bit ingle, blinking bonnily, His clean hearthstane, his thriftie wifie's The mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy smile,

What makes the youth sae bashfu' an' sae The lisping infant prattling on his knee,

grave ; Does a' his weary carking cares beguile, Weel pleased to think her bairn 's respected like And makes him quite forget his labor and his toil. the lave. Belyve* the elder bairns come drapping in, O happy love ! where love like this is found !

At service out amang the farmers roun ; O heartfelt raptures ! bliss beyond compare ! Some ca’ the pleugh, some herd, some tentie + I've pacèd much this weary mortal round, rin

And sage experience bids me this declare : A cannie errand to a nejbor town ;

If Heaven a draught of heavenly pleasure spare, Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman grown, One cordial in this melancholy vale,

In youthfu' bloom, love sparkling in her e'e, 'T is when a youthful, loving, modest pair Comes hame, perhaps, to shew a bra' new gown, In other's arms breathe out the tender tale, Or deposit her sair-won penny-fee,

Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the To help her parents dear, if they in hardship be. evening gale. Wi' joy unfeigned brothers and sisters meet, Is there, in human form, that bears a heart,

An' each for other's weelfare kindly spiers : A wretch, a villain, lost to love and truth, The social hours, swift-winged, unnoticed fleet ; That can, with studied, sly, ensnaring art,

Each tells the uncos that he sees or hears ; Betray sweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth !

have ;

• By and by

| Cautious.

• Diligent.

+ Half.

Curse on his perjured arts! dissembling smooth! How his first followers and servants sped ;

Are honor, virtue, conscience, all exiled ? The precepts sage they wrote to many a land ; Is there no pity, no relenting ruth,

How he, who lone in Patmos banishèd, Points to the parents fondling o'er their Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand, child,

And heard great Bab'lon's doom pronounced by Then paints the ruined maid, and their distrac- Heaven's command. tion wild ?

Then, kneeling down, to heaven's eternal King, But now the supper crowns their simple board, The saint, the father, and the husband prays:

The halesome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food ; Hope “springs exulting on triumphant wing," The soupe their only hawkie * does afford, That thus they all shall meet in future days ;

That'yont the hallantsnugly chows her cood; There ever bask in uncreated rays, The dame brings forth, in complimental mood, No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear, To grace the lad, her weel-hained kebbuck I Together hymning their Creator's praise, fell,

In such society, yet still more dear ; An' aft he's prest, an' aft he ca's it guid ; While circling Time moves round in an eternal The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell,

sphere. How 't was a towmond & auld, sin' lint was i' the bell.

Compared with this, how poor Religion's pride,

In all the pomp of method and of art, The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face, When men display to congregations wide,

They, round the ingle, form a circle wide ; Devotion's every grace, except the heart ! The sire turns o'er, wi' patriarchal grace, The Power, incensed, the pageant will desert,

The big ha’-Bible, ance his father's pride : The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole ; His bonnet reverently is laid aside,

But, haply, in some cottage far apart, His lyart haffets || wearing thin an' bare : May hear, well pleased, the language of the Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide, soul ;

He wales a portion with judicious care ; And in his Book of Life the inmates poor enroll. And “ Let us worship God!” he says with sol. emn air,

Then homeward all take off their several way ;

The youngling cottagers retire to rest : They chant their artless notes in simple guise ;

The parent-pair their secret homage pay, They tune their hearts, by far the noblest And proffer up to Heaven the warm request, aim :

That He who stills the raven's clamorous nest, Perhaps “Dundee's" wild-warbling measures And decks the lily fair in flowery pride, rise,

Would, in the way his wisdom sees the best, Or plaintive "Martyrs," worthy of the name; For them and for their little ones provide ; Or noble “Elgin ” beets the heavenward flame, But, chiefly, in their hearts with grace divine The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays :

preside. Compared with these, Italian trills are tame;

The tickled ears no heartfelt raptures raise ; From scenes like these old Scotia’s grandeur Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise. springs,

That makes her loved at home, revered The priest-like father reads the sacred page,

abroad; How Abram was the friend of God on high ; Princes and lords are but the breath of kings, Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage

“ An honest man 's the noblest work of With Amalek's ungracious progeny ;

God!” Or how the royal bard did groaning lie

And certes, in fair Virtue's heavenly road, Beneath the stroke of Heaven's avenging ire; The cottage leaves the palace far behind : Or Job's pathetic plaint, and wailing cry; What is a lordling's pomp? — a cumbrous load, Or rapt Isaiah's wild, seraphic fire ;

Disguising oft the wretch of humankind, Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre. Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refined ! Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme, O Scotia ! my dear, my native soil !

How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed ; For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is How He, who bore in heaven the second name, sent, Had not on earth whereon to lay his head :

Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil

Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet $ Twelvemonth.


• Cow

* Cheese.

+ Partition
I Gray locks.




And, 0, may Heaven their simple lives prevent His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal ;

From luxury's contagion, weak and vile ! Nor number, nor example with him wrought Then, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent, To sweive from truth, or change his constant A virtuous populace may rise the while,

mind, And stand a wall of fire around their much-loved Though single. From amidst them forth he isle.


Long way through hostile scorn, which he susO Thou ! who poured the patriotic tide,

tained That streamed through Wallace's undaunted

Superior, nor of violence feared aught; heart;

And with retorted scorn his back he turned Who dared to nobly stem tyrannic pride,

On those proud towers to swift destruction: Or nobly die, the second glorious part,

doomed. (The patriot's God peculiarly thou art,

His friend, inspirer, guardian, and reward !) 0, never, never Scotia's realm desert ;

But still the patriot and the patriot bard
In bright succession raise, her ornamentand guard! It lies around us like a cloud, -

A world we do not see ;

Yet the sweet closing of an eye

May bring us there to be.
He was of that stubborn crew

Its gentle breezes fan our cheek ;
Of errant saints, whom all men grant

Amid our worldly cares To be the true church militant ;

Its gentle voices whisper love, Such as do build their faith upon

And mingle with our prayers. The holy text of pike and giin ;

Sweet hearts around us throb and beat, Decide all controversies by

Sweet helping hands are stirred, Infallible artillery,

And palpitates the veil between
And prove their doctrine orthodox

With breathings almost heard.
By apostolic blows and knocks ;
Call fire, and sword, and desolation

The silence - awful, sweet, and calm
A godly, thorough Reformation,

They have no power to break; Which always must be carried on

For mortal words are not for them
And still be doing, never done;

To utter or partake.
As if religion were intended
For nothing else but to be mended.

So thin, so soft, so sweet they glide,
A sect whose chief devotion lies

So near to press they seem, In odd perverse antipathies;

They seem to lull us to our rest,
In falling out with that or this,

And melt into our dream.
And finding somewhat still amiss ;
More peevish, cross, and splenetic,

And in the hush of rest they bring
Than dog distract, or monkey sick ;

"T is easy now to see That with more care keep holiday

How lovely and how sweet a pass
The wrong than others the right way;

The hour of death may be.
Compound for sins they are inclined to,
By damning those they have no mind to ;

To close the eye, and close the ear,
Still so perverse and opposite,

Rapt in a trance of bliss, As if they worshipped God for spite ;

And gently dream in loving arms

To swoon to that — from this.
The self-same thing they will abhor
One way, and long another for.

Scarce knowing if we wake or sleep,

Scarce asking where we are,

To feel all evil sink away,

All sorrow and all care.

THE seraph Abdiel, faithful found Sweet souls around us ! watch us still, Among the faithless, faithful only he ;

Press nearer to our side, Among innumerable false, unmoved,

Into our thoughts, into our prayers, Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified,

With gentle helpings glide.


[blocks in formation]

SOME murmur when their sky is clear

And wholly bright to view,
If one small speck of dark appear

In their great heaven of blue ;
And some with thankful love are filled

If but one streak of light,
One ray of God's good mercy, gild

The darkness of their night.

The forms of men shall be as they had never been ; The blasted groves shall lose their fresh and ten

der green ;

In palaces are hearts that ask,

In discontent and pride, Why life is such a dreary task,

And all good things denied ; And hearts in poorest huts admire

How Love has in their aid (Love that not ever seems to tire)

Such rich provision made.


The birds of the thicket shall end their pleasant

song, And the nightingale shall cease to chant the even

ing long. The kine of the pasture shall feel the dart that

kills, And all the fair white flocks shall perish from

the hills. The goat and antlered stag, the wolf and the fox, The wild boar of the wood, and the chamois of

the rocks, And the strong and fearless bear, in the trodden

dust shall lie; And the dolphin of the sea, and the mighty

whale, shall die. And realms shall be dissolved, and empires be

no more, And they shall bow to death, who ruled from

shore to shore ; And the great globe itself, so the holy writings

tell, With the rolling firmament, where the starry

armies dwell, Shall melt with fervent heat,

they shall all pass away, Except the love of God, which shall live and last


DEAR Friend! whose presence in the house,

Whose gracious word benign, Could once, at Cana's wedding feast,

Change water into wine ;

Come, visit us! and when dull work

Grows weary, line on line, Revive our souls, and let us see

Life's water turned to wine.

for aye.

From the Provençal of BERNARD RASCAS. Trans.


Gay mirth shall deepen into joy,

Earth's hopes grow half divine, When Jesus visits us, to make

Life's water glow as wine.


In the still air the music lies unheard ;

In the rough marble beauty hides unseen : To make the music and the beauty, needs

The master's touch, the sculptor's chisel keen.

The social talk, the evening fire,

The homely household shrine, Grow bright with angel visits, when

The Lord pours out the wine.

Great Master, touch us with thy skilful hand;

Let not the music that is in us die !
Great Sculptor, hew and polish us; nor let,

Hidden and lost. thy form within us lie !

For when self-seeking turns to love,

Not knowing mine nor thine, The miracle again is wrought, And water turned to wine.


[graphic][ocr errors][merged small]

O World, thou choosest not the better part !
It is not wisdom to be only wise,
And on the inward vision close the eyes,
But it is wisdom to believe the heart.
Columbus found a world, and had no chart,
Save one that faith deciphered in the skies;
To trust the soul's invincible surmise
Was all his science and his only art.
Our knowledge is a torch of smoky pine
That lights the pathway but one step ahead
Across a void of mystery and dread.
Bid, then, the tender light of faith to shine
By which alone the mortal heart is led
Unto the thinking of the thought divine.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »