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POOR MAILIE'S ELEGY
Lament in rhyme, lament in prose,
Past a' remead;
The last sad cape-stane of his woes;
It's no the loss o' warl's gear
That could sae bitter draw the tear,
The mourning weed:
He's lost a friend an' neebor dear
Thro' a' the toun she trotted by him;
A friend mair faithfu' ne'er cam nigh him
I wat she was a sheep o' sense,
I'll say 't, she never brak a fence
Our bardie, lanely, keeps the spence
Or if he wanders up the howe,
An' down the briny pearls rowe
She was nae get o' moorlan tips,
A bonier fleesh ne'er crossed the clips
Than Mailie's dead.
Wae worth the man wha first did shape
An' Robin's bonnet wave wi' crape
O a' ye bards on bonie Doon
His heart will never get aboon!
THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT
My dearest meed a friend's esteem and praise:
The native feelings strong, the guileless ways,
At length his lonely cot appears in view,
Th' expectant wee-things, toddlin, stacher through
November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh;
The short'ning winter-day is near a close; The miry beasts retreating frae the pleugh;
The black'ning trains o' craws to their repose. The toil-worn cotter frae his labour goesThis night his weekly moil is at an end,
Collects his spades, 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.
His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonilie,
His clean hearth-stane, his thrifty wifie's smile,
Belyve the elder bairns come drapping in,
At service out, amang the farmers roun'; Some ca' the pleugh, some herd, some tentie rin A cannie 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 shew a braw new gown,
With joy unfeigned, brothers and sisters meet,
And each for other's weelfare kindly spiers; 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 and her sheers, 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
Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray,
But hark! a rap comes gently to the door.
Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the same,
To do some errands and convoy her hame.
Sparkle in Jenny's e'e, and flush her cheek;
With heart-struck anxious care enquires his name, While Jenny hafflins is afraid to speak; Weel-pleased the mother hears it's nae wild, worthless rake.
With kindly welcome Jenny brings him ben:
A strappin' youth, he takes the mother's eye;
The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye.
Oh happy love, where love like this is found!
And sage experience bids me this declare:
But now the supper crowns their simple board:
That 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood.
'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, ensnaring art,
Betray sweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth? Curse on his perjured arts! dissembling, smooth! Are honour, 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? 90
To grace the lad, her weel-hained kebbuck, fell,
The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face
They round the ingle form a circle wide;
The big ha'-Bible, ance his father's pride;
His lyart haffets wearing thin and bare;
Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide,
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" beets the heavenward flame, The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays.
Compared with these, Italian trills are tame; The tickled ears no heart-felt raptures raise; Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise.
The priest-like father reads the sacred page:
With Amalek's ungracious progeny;
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;