Page images
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

To grace the lad, her weel-hain'd kebbuck fell, Then homeward all take off their sev'ral way;
An' aft he's press'd, an' aft he ca's it good;

The youngling cottagers retire to rest :
The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell,

The parent-pair their secret homage pay,
How 'twas a towmond auld, sin' lint was i' the bell. And proffer up to Heaven the warm request

That he who stills the raven's clam'rous nest,
The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face,

And decks the lily fair in flow'ry pride,
They, round the ingle, form a circle wide;

Would in the way his wisdom sees the best,
The sire turns o'er, wi' patriarchal grace,

For them and for their little ones provide;
The big Ha’-Bible, ance his father's pride:

Butchiefly in their hearts with grace divine preside.
His bonnet rev’rently is laid aside,
His lyart haffets wearin thin an' bare;

From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur
Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide,

springs, He wales a portion with judicious care ;

That makes her lov'd at home, rever'd abroad: And "let us worship God!” he says, with solemn air. Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,

“ An honest man's the noblest work of God:" They chant their artless notes in simple guise;

And certes, in fair virtue's heav’nly road,
They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim:

The cottage leaves the palace far behind:
Perhaps Dundee's wild warbling measures rise,

What is a lordling's pomp? a cumbrous load,
Or plaintive Martyr's, worthy of the name :

Disguising oft the wretch of human-kind,
Or noble Elgin beats the heav'nward flame,

Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refin'd!
The sweetest far of Scotia’s holy lays:
Compar'd with these, Italian trills are tame; O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!

The tickled ears no heartfelt raptures raise ; For whom my warmest wish to hearen is sent!
Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise. Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil, (tent!

Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet con-
The priest-like father reads the sacred page,

And, O! may Heaven their simple lives prevent
How Abram was the friend of God on high;
Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage

From luxury's contagion, weak and vile!

Then, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent,
With Amalek’s ungracious progeny;

A virtuous populace may rise the while,
Or, how the royal bard did groaning lie

And stand a wall of fire around their much-lov'disle.
Beneath the stroke of heaven's avenging ire;
Or, Job's pathetic plaint, and wailing cry ;

O thou! who pour'd the patriotic tide
Or, rapt Isaiah's wild seraphic fire;

That stream'd thro' Wallace's undaunted heart;
Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre.

Who dar'd to, nobly, stem tyrannic pride,

Or nobly die, the second glorious part,
Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme,
How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed;

(The patriot's God, peculiarly thou art, How he, who bore in heav'n the second name,

His friend, inspirer, guardian, and reward!)
Had not on earth whereon to lay his head:

O never, never, Scotia's realm desert:
How his first followers and servants sped;

But still the patriot and the patriot bard,

In bright succession raise, her ornament and guard!
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 Bab'lon's doom pronoun'd by Hea-

GLENCAIRN. ven's command.

The wind blew hollow frae the hills,
Then kneeling down to heaven's eternal King, By fits the sun's departing beam

The saint, the father, and the husband prays: Look'd on the fading yellow woods
Hope “ springs exulting on triumphant wing,” That wav'd o'er Lugar's winding stream:

That thus they all shall meet in future days: Beneath a craigy steep, a bard,
There, ever bask in uncreated rays,

Laden with years and meikle pain, No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear,

In loud lament bewail'd his lord,
Together hymning their Creator's praise,

Whom death had all untimely ta'en.
In such society, yet still more dear; [sphere.
While circling time moves round in an eternal

He lean'd him to an ancient aik,

Whose trunk was mould'ring down with years; Compar'd with this, how poor Religion's pride,

His locks were bleached white wi' time, In all the pomp of method, and of art,

His hoary cheek was wet wi' tears! When men display to congregations wide,

And as he touch'd his trembling harp, Devotion's ev'ry grace, except the heart!

And as he tun'd his doleful sang, The Pow'r, incens'd, the pageant will desert,

The winds, lamenting thro' their caves, The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole;

To echo bore the notes alang. But haply, in some cottage far apart,

May hear, well pleas'd, the language of the soul; “ Ye scatter'd birds that faintly sing, And in his book of life the inmates poor enrol. The reliques of the vernal quire!

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

Ye woods that shed on a' the winds

The mother may forget the child
The honours of the aged year!

That smiles sae sweetly on her knee;
A few short months, and glad and gay,

But I'll remember thee, Glencairn,
Again ye'll charm the ear and e'e;

And a' that thou hast done for me!"
But nocht in all revolving time
Can gladness bring again to me.

“ I am a bending aged tree,

TUNE-"Katherine Ogie."
That long has stood the wind and rain;

Ye banks, and braes, and streams around
But now has come a cruel blast,

The castle o' Montgomery,
And my last hald of earth is gane:

Green be your woods, and fair your flowers,
Nae leaf o' mine shall greet the spring,

Your waters never drumlie!
Nae summer sun exalt my bloom;

There simmer first unfald her robes,
But I maun lie before the storm,

And there the langest tarry;
And ithers plant them in my room.

For there I took the last fareweel
“ I've seen sae monie changefu' years,

O' my sweet Highland Mary.
On earth I am a stranger grown;

How sweetly bloom'd the gay green birk,
I wander in the ways of men,

How rich the hawthorn's blossom ;
Alike unknowing and unknown:

As underneath their fragrant shade
Unheard, unpitied, unreliev'd,

I clasp'd her to my bosom!
I bear alane my lade o' care,

The golden hours on angel wings
For silent, low, on beds of dust,

Flew o'er me and my dearie;
Lie a' that would my sorrows share.

For dear to nie, as light and life,
“ And last (the sum of a' my griefs!)

Was my sweet Highland Mary.
My noble master lies in clay;

Wi'mony a vow, and lock'd embrace,
The flow'r amang our barons bold,

Our parting was su' tender;
His country's pride, his country's stay:

And, pledging art to meet again,
In weary being now I pine,

We tore oursels asunder;
For a' the life of life is dead,

But oh! fell death's untimely frost,
And hope has left my aged ken,

That nipt my flower sae early !
On forward wing for ever fled.

Now green's the sod, and cauld's the clay,

That wraps my Highland Mary!
“Awake thy last sad voice, my harp!
The voice of woe and wild despair!

O pale, pale now, those rosy lips,
Awake, resound thy latest lay,

I aft hae kiss'd sae fondly!
Then sleep in silence evermair!

And clos'd, for ay, the sparkling glance,
And thou, my last, best, only friend,

That dwelt on me sae kindly!
That fillest an untimely tomb,

And mouldering now in silent dust,
Accept this tribute from the bard

That heart that lo'ed me dearly!
Thou brought from fortune's mirkest gloom. But still within my bosom's core

Shall live my Highland Mary.
“ In poverty's low barren vale,

Thick mists, obscure, involved me round;
Though oft I turn'd the wistful eye,

Nae ray of fame was to be found.

Thou found'st me like the morning sun

That melts the fogs in limpid air,
The friendless bard and rustic song

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
Became alike thy fostering care.

O, what a panic's in thy breastie!

Thou need na start awa sae hasty, “O! why has worth so short a date,

Wi' bickerin brattle!
While villains ripen grey with time!

I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Must thou, the noble, gen'rous, great,

Wi' murdoring pattle!
Fall in bold inanhood's hardy prime!
Why did I live to see that day?

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
A day to me so full of woe!

Has broken nature's social union,
O! had I met the mortal shaft

An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which laid my benefactor low!

Which maks thee startle

At me, thy poor earth-born companion, “ The bridegroom may forget the bride

An' fellow-mortal!
Was made his wedded wife yestreen;
The inonarch may forget the crown

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
That on his head an hour has been;

What then ? poor beastie, thou manu live!

[ocr errors]

4 ጊ 4 Z

A daimen icker in a thrave

The flaunting flow'rs our gardens yieki, 's a sma request:

High shelt'ring woods and was maun shield, I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,

But thou, beneath the random bield, And never miss't!

O'clod or stane,

Adorns the histie stibble-field,
Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!

Unseen, alane.
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,

There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
O’ foggage green!

Thy snawie bosom sun-ward spread, An' bleak December's win's ensuin,

Thou lifts thy unassuming head
Baith snell and keen!

lo humble guise ;

But now the share uptears thy bed, Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,

And low thou lies!
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,

Such is the fate of artless Maid,
Thou thought to dwell,

Sweet foweret of the rural shade!
Till, crash! the cruel coulter past

By love's simplicity betray'd,
Out through thy cell.

And guileless trust,

Till she, like thee, all soil'd is laid That wee bit lieap o' leaves an' stibble,

Low i' the dust.
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a'thy trouble,

Such is the fate of simple Bard,
But house or hald,

On life's rough ocean luckless starr'd! To thole the winter's sleety dribble,

Unskilful he to note the card
An' cranreuch cauld!

of prudent lore,

Till billows rage, and gales blow hard, But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,

And whelm him o'er! In proving foresight may be vain : The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men

Such fate to suffering worth is giv'n, Gang aft a-gley,

Who long with wants and woes has strive, An' lea'e us nought but grief and pain,

By human pride or cunning driv'n, For promis’d joy.

To mis'ry's brink,

Till wrench'd of ev'ry stay bnt Heav'n, Still thou art blest, compard wi' me! The present only toucheth thee:

Ev'n thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate, But, och! I backward cast my e'e

That fate is thine no distant date;
On prospects drear!
An' forward, though I canna see,

Stern Ruin's ploughshare drives elate,

Full on thy bloom, I guess an' fear.

Till crush'd beneath the furrow's weight,

Shall be thy doom! TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY,

He, ruin'd, siok!

[blocks in formation]

Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow'r,
Thou'st met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure

Thy slender stem;
To spare thee now is past my pow'r,

Thou bonie gem.

Alas! it's no thy neebor sweet, The bonie lark, companion meet! Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet,

Wi' spreckled breast,
When upward-springing, blythe, to greet

The purpling east.
Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Upon thy early, humble birth ;
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth

Amid the storm,
Scarce rear'd above the parent-earth

Thy tender form.

When chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neebors, neebors meet,
As market-days are wearing late,
An' folk begin to tak the gate ;
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
An' getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps, and styles,
That lie between us and our bame;
Whare sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gath’ring her brows like gath'ring storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter,
As he, fra Ayr, ae night did canter,

Ayr wham ne'er a town surpasses, For honest men and bonie tasses.)

[ocr errors]

And aye

[ocr errors]

O Tam! hads't thou but been sae wise,

Weel mounted on his grey mare, Meg,
As taen thy ain wife Kate's advice !

A better never listed leg,
She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum,

Tam skelpit on thro' dub and mire,
A blethring, blustering, drunken blellum;

Despising wind, and rain, and fire ;
That frae November till October,

Whyles holding fast his guid blue bonnet';
Ae market-day thou was


Whyles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet; That ilka melder, wi' the miller,

Whyles glow'ring round wi' prudent cares,
Thou sat as long as thou had siller;

Lest bogles catch him unawares;
That ev'ry naig was ca'd a shoe on,

Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh,
The smith and thee gat roaring fou on;

Whare ghaists and houlets nightly cry.
That at the L-d's house, ev'n on Sunday,

By this time he was cross the ford,
Thou drank wi' Kirton Jean till Monday.

Whare in the snaw the chapman smoor’d;
She prophesy'd, that, late or soon,

And past the birks and meikle stane,

Whare drunken Charlie brak's neck bane;
Thou would be found deep drown'd in Doon;
Or catch'd wi' warlocks in the mirk,

And through the whins, and by the cairn,

Whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn;
By Alloway's auld haunted kirk,
Ah, gentle dames ! it gars me greet,

And near the thorn, aboon the well,
To think how monie counsels sweet,

Whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel.
How monie lengthen'd sage advices,

Before him Doon pours all his floods ;
The husband frae the wife despises !

The doubling storm roars through the woods ;
But to our tale: Ae market night,

The lightnings flash from pole to pole;
Tam had got planted unco right;

Near and more near the thunders roll;
Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely,

When, glimmering through the groaning trees,
Wi' reaming swats, that drank divinely;

Kirk-Alloway seem'd in a bleeze ;
And at his elbow, souter Johnny,

Through ilka bore the beams were glancing :
His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony.

And loud resounded mirth and dancing.
Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither;

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
They had been fou for weeks thegither.

What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
The night drave on wi' sangs and clatter;

Wi' tippenny, we fear nae evil;
the ale was growing better:

Wi’usquabae, we'll face the Devil !
The landlady and Tam grew gracious,

The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's nodille,
Wi' favours secret, sweet, and precious :

Fair play, he car'd na Deil's a boddle.
The souter tauld his queerest stories ;

But Maggie stood right sair astonish'd,
The landlord's laugh was ready chorus:

Till, by the heel and hand admonish’d,
The storm without might rair and rustle,

She ventur'd forward on the light;
Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.

And, vow! Tam saw an unco sight!
Care, mad to see a man sae happy,

Warlocks and witches in a dance;
E'en drown'd himself amang the nappy;

Nae cotillion brent new frae France,
As bees flee bame wi' lades of treasure,

But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys and reels,
The minutes wing'd their way wi' pleasure: Put life and mettle in their heels.
Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,

A winnock-bunker in the east,
O'er a' the i!ls o' life victorious.

There sat auld Nick, in shape o' beast;
But pleasures are like poppies spread,

A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large,
You seize the flow'r, its bloom is shed ;

To gie them music was his charge:
Or, like the snow falls in the river,

He screwed the pipes and gart them skirl,
A moment white-then melts for ever:

Till roof an' rafters a' did dirl.
Or, like the borealis race,

Coffins stood round like open presses,
That flit ere you can point their place;

That shaw'd the dead in their last dresses;
Or, like the rainbow's lovely form,

And by some devilish cantrip slight,
Evanishing amid the storm.-

Each in its cauld hand held a light,
Nae man can tether time or tide;

By which heroic Tam was able
The hour approaches Tam maun ride;

To note upon the baly table,
That hour, o' night's black arch the key-stane,

A murderer's banes in gibbet airns;
That dreary hour he mounts his beast in;

Twa span lang, wee, unchristen'd bairns;
And sic a night he taks the road in,
As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.
The wind blew as 'wad blawn its last;

Five tomahawks, wi' bluid red-rusted;
The rattling show'rs rose on the blast ;

Five scymitars, wi' murder crusted ;
The speedy gleams the darkness swallow'd;

A garter, which a babe had strangled;
Loud, deep, and lang, the thunder bellow'd:
That night, a child might understand,

Whom his ain son o' life bereft,
The Deil had business on his hand.

The grey hairs yet stack to the hef:;

[ocr errors]

A thief, new cutted frae a rape,
Wi' his last gasp his gab did gape;

A knife, a father's throat had mangled,


Three lawyers' tongues turn'd inside out,

So Maggie runs, the witches follow, Wi' lies seam'd like a beggar's clout,

Wi' monie an eldritch skreech and hollow. And priests' hearts, rotten, black as muck,

Ah, Tam! ah, Tam! thou'll get thy farin! Lay, stinking, vile, in neuk.

In hell they'll roast thee like a herria! Wi' mair o' horrible and awfu',

In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin! Which ev'n to name wad be unlawfu'.

Kate soon will be a woefu' woman! As Tammie glowr'd, amaz'd, and curious, Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg, The mirth and fun grew fast and furious :

And win the key-stane of the brig; The piper loud and louder blew;

There at them thou thy tail may toss, The dancers quick and quicker flew ;

A running stream they dare na cross. They reel'd, they set, they cross'd, they cleckit, But ere the key-stane she could make, Till ilka carlin swat and reekit,

The fient a tail she had to shake! And coost her duddies to the wark,

For Nannie, far before the rest, And linket at it in her sark!

Hard upon noble Maggie prest, Now Tam, O Tam! had they been queans, And few at Tam wi' furious ettle; A' plump and strapping in their teens ;

But little wist she Maggie's mettleTheir sarks, instead o creeshie flannen,

Ae spring brought aff her master hale, Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linen!

But left behind her ain grey tail: Thir breeks o' mine, my only pair,

The carlin claught her by the rump, That ance were plush, o' guid blue hair,

And left poor Maggie scarce a stump. I wad hae gi'en them aff my hurdies,

Now, wha this tale o' truth shall read, For ae blink o' the bonie burdies!

Ilk man and mother's son take heed: But wither'd beldams, auld and droll, Rigwoodie hags wad spean a foal,

Whene'er to drink you are inclin'd, Lowping an' Ainging on a crummock,

Or Cutty-sarks run in your mind, I wonder didna turn thy stomach.

Think, ye may buy the joys o'er dear, But Tam kenn'd what was what fu' brawlie,

Remember Tam o' Shanter's mare.
There was ae winsome wench and walie,
That night inlisted in the core

(Lang after kenn'd on Carrick shore !
For monie a beast to dead she shot,

As I stood by yon roofless tower, And perish'd monie a bonie boat,

Where the wa'-flower scents the dewy air, And shook baith meikle corn and beer,

Where the howlet mourns in her ivy bowa, And kept the country-side in fear),

And tells the midnight moon her care: Her cutty-sark o' Paisley harn, That while a lassie she had worn,

The winds were laid, the air was still, In longitude tho' sorely scanty,

The stars they shot alang the sky; It was her best, and she was vauntie.

The fox was howling on the hill, little kenn'd thy reverend grannie,

And the distant-echoing glens reply. That sark she coft for her wee Nannie,

The stream, adown its hazelly path,
Wi' twa pund Scots ('twas a' her riches),

Was rushing by the ruin'd wa's,
Wad ever grac'd a dance o' witches!
But here my Muse her wing maun cow'r;

Hasting to join the sweeping Nith,

Whase distant roaring swells and la's. Sic flights are far beyond her pow'r! To sing how Nannie lap and flang,

The cauld blue north was streaming forth (A souple jad she was and strang)

Her lights, wi' hissing eerie din ; And how Tam stood, like ane bewitch'd,

Athort the list they start and shift,
And thought his very een enrich'd :

Like fortune's favours tint as win.
Even Satan glowr’d, and fidg'd fu' fain,
And hotch'd and blew wi' might and main :

By heedless chance I turn'd my eyes,
Till first ae caper, syne anither,

And, by the moonbeam, shook, to set Tam tint his reason a' thegither,

A stern and stalwart ghaist arise, And roars out,“ Weel done, Cutty-sark!"

Attir'd as minstrels wont to be. And in an instant a' was dark:

Had I a statue been o'stane, And scarcely had he Maggie rallied,

His darin look had daunted me; When out the hellish legion sallied,

And on his bonnet grav'd was plain,
As bees bizz out wi' angry fyke,

The sacred posy-LIBERTIE !
When plundering herds assail their byke;
As open pussie's mortal foes,

And frae his harp sic strains did flow,
When, pop! she starts before their nose;

Might rous'd the slumbering dead to hear; As eager runs the market-crowd,

But oh it was a tale of woe, When, “ Catch the thief!" resounds aloud; As ever met a Briton's ear!

« PreviousContinue »