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But haply, in some cottage far apart,
May hear, well pleas'd, the language of the soul;
And in his book 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 Heav'n the warm request,
That HE who stills the ravens' clam'rous nest,
And decks the lily fair in flow'ry pride,
Would, in the way his wisdom sees the best,
For them and for their little ones provide;
But, chiefly, in their hearts with grace divine pre
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 Heav'n is sent!
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil,
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content!
And, Oh! may Heav'n their simple lives prevent
From Luxury's contagion, weak and vile!
Then, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent,
A virtuous populace may rise the while,
And stand a wall of fire around their much-lov'd Isle!
O Thou! who pour'd the patriotic tide
That stream'd through 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!)
O never, never Scotia's realm desert;
But still the patriot, and the patriot bard,
In bright succession raise, her ornament and guard.
TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY,
ON TURNING ONE DOWN WITH THE PLOUGH, IN APRIL, 1786.
WEE, modest, crimson-tipped flow'r,
Thou'st met me in an evil hour:
For I maun crush amang the stoure
To spare thee now is past my pow'r,
Alas! its no thy neebor sweet,
The bonnie lark, companion meet!
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet,
Wi' speckled 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
Scarce rear'd above the parent-earth
The flaunting flow'rs or gardens yield,
High shelt'ring woods and wa's maun shield;
But thou, beneath the random bield
O' clod or stane,
Adorns the histie stibble-field,
There, in thy scantie mantle clad,
Thy snawie bosom sun-ward spread,
Thou lifts thy unassuming head
But now the share uptears thy bed,
An' low thou lies!
Such is the fate of artless maid,
Sweet flow'ret of the rural shade,
By love's simplicity betray'd,
Till she, like thee, all soil'd, is laid
Such is the fate of simple bard,
On life's rough ocean luckless starr'd,
Unskilful he to note the card
Till billows rage, and gales blow hard,
And whelm him o'er!
Such fate to suff'ring worth is giv'n,
Who long with wants and woes has striv'n,
By human pride or cunning driv'n
Till, wrench'd of ev'ry stay but Heav'n,
Ev'n thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate,
That fate is thine-no distant date;
Stern Ruin's pleugh-share drives, elate,
Till crush'd beneath the furrow's weight,
EPISTLE TO A YOUNG FRIEND.*
I LANG hae thought, my youthfu' friend,
A something to hae sent you,
Tho' it should serve nae other end,
Than just a kind memento;
But how the subject-theme may gang,
Let time and chance determine;
Perhaps it may turn out a sang;
Perhaps, turn out a sermon.
Ye'll try the world fu' soon, my lad,
And, ndrew dear, believe me,
Mr. A. A. Aikin, now of Liverpool: the son of Robert Aikin, Esq.
Ye'll find mankind an unco squad,
And muckle they may grieve ye:
For care and trouble set your thought,
Ev'n when your end's attained;
And a' your views may come to nought,
Where ev'ry nerve is strained.
I'll no say men are villains a' :
The real harden'd wicked,
Wha hae nae check but human law,
Are to a few restricted;
But och, mankind are unco weak,
An' little to be trusted;
If self the wavʼring balance shake,
It's rarely right adjusted!'
Yet they wha fa' in fortune's strife,
Their fate we should nae censure,
For still th' important end of life
They equally may answer.
A man may hae an honest heart,
Tho' poortith bourly stare him:
A man may tak a neebor's part,
Yet hae nae cash to spare him.
Ay free, aff han' your story tell,
When wi' a bosom crony ;
But still keep something to yoursel
Ye scarcely tell to ony.
Conceal yoursel as weel's ye can
Frae critical dissection;
But keek thro' ev'ry ither man,
Wi' sharpen'd sly inspection.
The sacred lowe o' weel-plac'd love1
Luxuriantly indulge it:
But never tempt th' illicit rove,
Tho' naething should divulge it:
I wave the quantum o' the sin,
The hazard o' concealing;
Bet och, it hardens a' within,
And petrifies the feeling!
To catch dame Fortune's golden smile,
Assiduous wait upon her;
And gather gear by ev'ry wile
That's justified by honour!
Not for to hide it in a hedge,
Not for a train-attendant;
But for the glorious privilege
Of being independent.
The fear o' Hell's a hangman's whip
To haud the wretch in order;
But where ye feel your honour grip,
Let that ay be your border:
It's slightest touches, instant pause-
Debar a' side-pretences;
And resolutely keep its laws,
The great Creator to revere
Must sure become the creature;
But still the creature can't forbear,
And ev❜n the rigid feature:
Yet ne'er with wits profane to range,
Be complaisance extended;
An atheist-laugh's a poor exchange
For Deity offended!
When rantin round in pleasure's ring,
Religion may be blinded;
Or, if she gie a random sting,
It may be little minded:
But when on life we're tempest-driv'n,
A conscience but a canker-
A correspondence fix'd wi' Heav'n,
Is sure a noble anchor.
Adieu, dear amiable youth,
Your heart can ne'er be wanting; May prudence, fortitude, and truth, Erect your brow undaunting!
In ploughman's phrase, God send you speed,' Still daily to grow wiser;
And may ye better reck the rede,
Than e'er did the adviser.