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May feel it too; affectionate in look,
And tender in address, as well becomes
A messenger of grace to guilty men.
Behold the picture! Is it like ? - like whom ?
The things that mount the rostrum with a skip,
And then skip down again; pronounce a text;
Cry “ Hem !” and, reading what they never wrote
Just fifteen minutes, huddle up their work,
And with a well-bred whisper close the scene.

ROBERT BURNS.

1759–1796.

Chiefly renowned for his pathetic and spirit-stirring songs. Other proofs of his high rank as a poet are “ The Cotter's Saturday Night,” “Elegy on Captain Matthew Henderson," “ The Jolly Beggars," “ Tam O'Shanter," and others.

THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT.

INSCRIBED TO ROBERT AIKEN, ESQ.
My loved, my honored, much-respected friend,

No mercenary bard his homage pays:
With honest pride I scorn each selfish end ;

My dearest meed a friend's esteem and praise.
To you I sing in simple Scottish lays

The lowly train in Life's sequestered scene,
The native feelings strong, the gaileless ways, –

What Aiken in a cottage would have been:
Ah! though his worth unknown, far happier there, I ween.
November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh;

The shortening winter-day is near a close ;
The miry beasts retreating frael the pleugh ;

The blackening trains o' craws to their repose ;
The toil-worn cotter frae his labor goes,

(This night his weekly moil? is at an end,)
Collects his spailes, his mattocks, and his hoes,

Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend;
And, weary, o'er the moor his course does hameward bend.
At length his lonely cot appears in view,

Beneath the shelter of an aged tree:
The expectant wees things, toddlin'', stachers through

To meet their dad wi' flicterin'ö noise and glee.

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His wee bit ingle' blinkin"? bonnily,

His clean hearth-stane, his thrifty wifie's smile,
The lisping infant prattling on his knee,

Does a” his weary, carking* cares beguile,
An' makes him quite forget bis labor and his toil.
Belyve the elder bairns come drappin' in,

At service out amang the farmers roun':
Some ca" the pleugh, some herd, some tentie' rin

A cannies errand to a neebor-town.
Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman grown,

In youthfu' bloom, love sparkling in her e'e,
Comes hame, perhaps, to show a brawo-new gown,

Or deposit her sair-wono penny-feel
To help her parents dear if they in hardship be.
Wi' joy unfeigned brothers and sisters meet,

An' each for other's weelfare kindly spiers :12
The social hours, swift-winged, unnoticed fleet;

Each tells the uncos" that he sees or hears. The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years ;

Anticipation forward points the view :
The mother, wi' her needle an' her shears,

Gars' auld claes look amaist as weel's the new;
The father mixes a' wi' admonition due.
Their master's and their mistress's command

The younkers a' are warned to obey;
An' mind their labors wi' an eydent hand;

An'ne'er, though out o' sight, to jauk or play: “ An', oh! be sure to fear the Lord alway,

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 ; With heart-struck anxious care inquires his name;

While Jenny hafflins' is afraid to speak : Weel pleased, the mother hears it's nae wild, worthless rake. Wi' kindly welcome, Jenny brings him ben ;17

A strappan's 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.90

i Fire. 2 Shining at intervals. : All. Consuming. 5 By and by. Drive. 7 Cautions. * Kindly dexterous. Fine, handsome. 10 Sorely-won 11 Wages. 12 Asks. 18 News. 14 Makes. 15 Diligent. 16 Partly. 17 Into the parlor.

18 Tall and handsome. 10 Converses. 20 Kine, cows.

The youngster's artless heart o'erflows wi' joy,

But, blate' an' laithfu', scarce can weel behave: The mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy .

What makes the youth sae bashfu' an' sae grave; Weel pleased to think her bairn's respected like the lave.

O happy love, where love like this is found !

O heartfelt raptures ! bliss beyond compare ! I've pacèd much this weary mortal round,

And sage experience bids me this declare, — “ If Heaven a draught of heavenly 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 evening gale."

Is there in human form that bears a heart,

A wretch, a villain, lost to love and truth, That can, with studied, sly, insnaring art,

Betray sweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth? Curse on his perjured arts ! dissembling smooth!

Are honor, virtue, conscience, all exiled ? Is there no pity, no relenting ruth,"

Points to the parents fondling o'er their child, Then paints the ruined maid, and their distraction wild ?

But now the supper crowns their simple board,

The healsome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food : The soupe their only hawkie' does afford,

That 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood. The dame brings forth in complimental mood,

To grace the lad, her weel-hained" kebbuck,11 fell ;12 An' aft he's pressed, an' aft he ca's it good :

* The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell How 'twas a towmond1auld" sin lint was i' the bell.16

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 bonnet reverently is laid aside,

His lyart1 haffets's wearin' thin an' bare:
Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide

He wales” a portion with judicious care ;
And “Let us worship God ” he says wi' solemn air.

1 Bashful.

2 Reluctant. 8 The rest, the others. 4 Mercy, kind feeling. * Oatmeal-pudding. € Sauce, milk.

A pet name for a cow.

Beyond. 9 A partition-wall in a cottage.

10 Carefully-preserved.

11 Acheese. 12 Biting to the taste. 13 Twelve-month. 14 Old. 13 Since. 16 Flax was in blossom. 17 The great Bible kept in the hall. 18 Gray. 19 The temples, the sides of the head. 20 Chooses.

1b11

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 of the name; Or noble Elgin' beats the heavenward flame,

The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays : Compared with these, Italian trills are tame;

The tickled ear no heartfelt raptures raise; Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise.

The priest-like father reads the sacred page,

How Abram was the friend of God on high; Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage

With Amalek's ungracious progeny; Or how the royal bard did groaning lie

Beneath the stroke of Heaven's avenging ire;
Or Job's pathetic plaint and wailing cry;

Or rapt Isaiah's wild, seraphic fire;
Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre.

Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme,

How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed; How He who bore in heaven 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, And heard great Babylon's doom pronounced by Heaven's command.

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,
Together hymning their Creator's praise

In such society, yet still more dear,
While circling Time moves round in an eternal sphere.

Compared with this, how poor Religion's pride,

In all the pomp of method and of art, When men display to congregations wide

Devotion's every grace except the heart ! The Power, incensed, the pageant will desert,

The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole; But haply, in some cottage far apart,

May hear, well pleased, the language of the soul, And in his book of life the inmates poor enroll.

1 The names of Scottish psalm-tnnes.

Then homeward all take off their several 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 clamorous nest,

And decks the lily fair in flowery 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 preside.

From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs,

That makes her loved at home, revered 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 heavenly road,

The cottage leaves the palace far bebind: What is a lordling's pomp? — a cumbrous load,

Disguising oft the wretch of human kind, Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refined i

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 blessed with health and peace, and sweet content ! And, oh, may Heaven 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-loved isle.

O Thou who poured the patriotic tide

That streamed through Wallace's undaunted heart, Who dared 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 :)
Oh I 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 PLOW IN APRIL, 1786.

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

Thy slender stem:
To spare thee now is past my power,

Thou bonnie gem.

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