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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 sparkling in her e'e,
Or deposit her sair-won penny-fee,
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, tho' out o' sight, to jauk or play ;
An' mind your duty, duly, morn an' night! Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray,
Implore his counsel and assisting might : They never sought in vain that sought the Lord aright! 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
Sparkle in Jenny's e'e, and flush her cheek; Wi' 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' kindly welcome Jenny brings him ben ;
A strappan youth; he taks 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 ; The mother, wi' a woman's wiles can spy
What makes the youth sae bashfu' and sae grave; Weel pleas’d to think her bairn's respected like the lave. Oh happy love! where love like this is found !
O heart-felt raptures ! bliss beyond compare ! I've paced much this weary mortal round,
And sage experience bids me this declareIf Heaven a draught of heav'nly 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 honour, virtue, conscience, all exil'd ? Is there no pity, no relenting ruth,
Points to the parents fondling o'er their child ? 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 soup their only hawkie does afford,
That 'yont the ballan snugly chows her cood : The dame brings forth, in complimental mood,
To grace the lad, her weel-hain'd kebbuck fell,
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 lyart haffets wearin' thin and 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 ; Perhaps Dundee's wild warbling measures rise,
Or plaintive Martyrs, worthy o' the name. Or nobje Elgin beets the heav'nward flame,
The sweetest far o' Scotia's holy lays : Compar'd with these, Italian trills are tame;
The tickled ears no heart-felt raptures raise ; Nae unison hae thy with our Creator's praise.
The priest-like father reads the sacred page,
How Abraham was the friend of God on high ; Or, Moses bade eternal warfare wage
With Amalek's ungracious progeny ; Cr, 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 heav'n 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; [command. And heard great Bab'lon's doom pronounced by Heaven's
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,
Compar'd with this, how poor Religion's pride,
In all the pomp of method and of art, When men display to congregations wide,
Devotion's ev'ry grace except the heart ! The Pow'r, incens’d, the pageant will desert,
The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole; But haply, in some cottage far apart,
May hear, well pleas'd, the language of the soul; And in his buuk of life the inmates poor enrol.
Then homeward all take off their sev'ral 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 clam'rous nest,
And decks the lily fair in flow'ry pride,
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 : Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,
• An honest man's the noblest work of God:' And certes, in fair virtue's heav'nly 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 refin'd!
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 blest with health, and peace, and sweet contcat! And, O! may Heaven their simple lives prevent
From luxury's contagion weak and vile !
A virtuous populace may rise the while,
O Thou! who pour'd the patriotic tide
That stream'd thro’ Wallace's undaunted heart; Who dar'd 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 putriot barn,
OPPRESS'D with grief, oppress’d with care,
I sit me down and sigh:
To wretches such as I !
What sick’ning scenes appear !
Must be my bitter doom ;
But with the closing tomb !
Happy, ye sons of busy life,
No other view regard !
They bring their own reward :
Unfitted with an aim,
Forget each grief and pain ;
Find every prospect vain.
How bless'd the Solitary's lot!
Within his humble cell,
Beside his crystal well !
By unfrequented stream,
A faint collected dream :