Billeder på siden

Hence sweet harmonious Beattie sung

His Minstrel lays;
Or tore, with noble ardour stung,

The sceptic's bays.
“To lower orders are assign'd
The humbler ranks of humankind,
The rustic bard, the labouring hind,

The artisan ;
All choose, as various they're inclined,

The various man.
“When yellow waves the heavy grain,
The threatening storm some, strongly, rein ;
Some teach to meliorate the plain,

With tillage skill ;
And some instruct the shepherd-train,

Blithe o'er the hill.
“Some hint the lover's harmless wile ;
Some grace the maiden's artless smile;
Some soothe the labourer's weary toil,

For humble gains,
And make his cottage-scenes beguile

His cares and pains.
"Some, bounded to a district-space,
Explore at large man's infant race,
To mark the embryotic trace

Of rustic bard :
And careful note each opening grace,

A guide and guard. “Of these am I—Coila my name, And this district as mine I claim, Where once the Campbells, * chiefs of fame,

Held ruling power,
I mark'd thy embryo tuneful flame,

Thy natal hour.
“With future hope, I oft would gaze,
Fond, on thy little early ways,
Thy rudely-caroll’d, chiming phrase,

In uncouth rhymes,
Fired at the simple, artless lays

Of other times.
“I saw thee seek the sounding shore,
Delighted with the dashing roar ;
Or when the north his fleecy store

Drove through the sky
I saw grim nature's visage hoar

Struck thy young eye.

* The Loudoun branch of the Campbell family is here meant.

“Or when the deep green-mantled earth Warm cherish'd every floweret's birth, And joy and music pouring forth

In every grove,
I saw thee eye the general mirth

With boundless love.
“When ripen'd fields, and azure skies,
Call’d forth the reaper's rustling noise,
I saw thee leave their evening joys,

And lonely stalk,
To vent thy bosom's swelling rise

In pensive walk. “When youthful love, warm-blushing, stroig, Keen-shivering shot thy nerves along, Those accents, grateful to thy tongue,

Th'adorèd Name,
I taught thee how to pour in song,

To soothe thy flame.
“I saw thy pulse's maddening play,
Wild, send ihee Pleasure's devious way,
Misled by Fancy's meteor-ray,

By passion driven ;
But yet the light that led astray

Was light from Heaven.
“I taught thy manners-painting strains,
The loves, the ways of simple swains,
Till now, o'er all my wide domains

Thy fame extends ;
And some, the pride of Coila's plains,

Become thy friends.
“Thou canst not learn, nor can I show,
To paint with Thomson's landscape glow;
Or wake the bosom-melting throe,

With Shenstone's art;
Or pour, with Gray, the moving flow

Warm on the heart.
“Yet all beneath the unrivall’d rose,
The lowly daisy sweetly blows;
Though large the forest's monarch throws

His army shade,
Yet green the juicy hawthorn grows

Adown the glade.
“ Then never murmur nor repine;
Strive in thy humble sphere to shine:
And, trust me, not Potosi's mine,

Nor kings' regard,
Can give a bliss o'ermatching thine -

A rustic bard.

"To give my counsels all in one,
Thy tuneful flame still careful fan;
Preserve the dignity of man,

With soul erect;
And trust, the universal plan

Will all protect.
“And wear thou this,” she solemn said,
And bound the holly round my head :
The polish'd leaves, and berries red,

Did rustling play;
And, like a passing thought, she fled

In light away.

A WINTER NIGHT. CARLYLE says of this Poem-"How touching is it, amid the gloom of personal misery that broods over and around him, that, amid the storm, he still thinks of the cattle, the silly sheep, and the wee harmless birdies !-yes, the tenant of the mean lowly hut has the heart to pity all these. This is worth a whole volume of homilies on mercy, for it is the voice of mercy itself. Burns lives in sympathy: his soul rushes forth into all the realms of being : nothing that has existence can be indifferent to him."

“Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,

That bide the pelting of the pitiless storm!
How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you,

From seasons such as these?"-SHAKESPEARE,
WHEN biting Boreas, fell? and doure, 2
Sharp shivers through the leasless bower;
When Phoebus gies a short-lived glower3

Far south the lift,
Dim-darkening through the flaky shower,

Or whirling drift:
Ae night the storm the steeples rocked,
Poor labour sweet in sleep was locked,
While burns, wi' snawy wreaths up-choked,

Wild-eddying swirl,
Or through the mining outlet bocked,

Down headlong hurl.
Listening the doors and winnocks6 rattle,
I thought me on the ourie? cattle,
Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle 8

O' winter war,
And through the drift, deep-lairing sprattle, 9

Beneath a scaur.
Ilk happing11 bird, wee, helpless thing,
That, in the merry months o' spring,


1 Keen. 2 Stern. 3 Look.

5 Belched.
6 Windows.
7 Shivering.
8 Dashing storm.

9 Struggle.
10 Cliff.
11 Hopping.

4 Sky.


Delighted me to hear thee sing,

What comes o' thee?
Whare wilt thou cower thy chittering wing,

And close thy ee !
Even you, on murdering errands toil'd,
Lone from your savage homes exiled,
The blood-stain'd roost, and sheep-cot spoil'd,

My heart forgets,
While pitiless the tempest wild

Sore on you beats.
Now Phæbe, in her midnight reign,
Dark muffled, view'd the dreary plain ;
Still crowding thoughts, a pensive train,

Rose in my soul,
When on my ear this plaintive strain,

Slow, solemn, stole :-
Blow, blow, ye winds, with heavier gust!
And freeze, thou bitter-biting frost !
Descend, ye chilly, smothering snows !
Not all your rage, as now united, shows

More hard unkindness, unrelenting,

Vengeful malice unrepenting,
Than heaven-illumined man on brother man bestows !

“ See stern Oppression's iron grip,

Or mad Ambition's gory hand,
Sending, like blood-hounds from the slip,

Woe, Want, and Murder o'er a land !
Even in the peaceful rural vale,

Truth, weeping, tells the mournful tale,
How pamper'd Luxury, Flattery by her side,

The parasite empoisoning her ear,

With all the servile wretches in the rear,
Looks o'er proud Property, extended wide ;
And eyes the simple rustic hind,

Whose toil upholds the glittering show,
A creature of another kind,

Some coarser substance unrefined,
Placed for her lordly use thus far, thus vile, below.

Where, where is Love's fond, tender throe,
With lordly Honour's lofty brow,

The powers you proudly own?
Is there, beneath Love's noble name,
Can harbour dark the selfish aim,

To bless himself alone!
Mark maiden innocence a prey

To love-pretending snares :
This boasted Honour turns away,
Shunning soft Pity's rising sway,


Regardless of the tears and unavailing prayers !

Perhaps this hour, in misery's squalid nest,

She strains your infant to her joyless breast,
And with a mother's fears shrinks at the rocking blast!

“Oye who, sunk in beds of down,
Feel not a want but what yourselves create,
Think for a moment on his wretched fate

Whom friends and fortune quite disown!
Ill satisfied keen nature's clamorous call,

Stretch'd on his straw he lays himself to sleep,
While through the ragged roof and chinky wall,

Chill o'er his slumbers piles the drifty heap !
Think on the dungeon's grim confine,
Where Guilt and poor Misfortune pine !

Guilt, erring man, relenting view !
But shall thy legal rage pursue
The wretch, already crushed low

By cruel Fortune's undeserved blow?
Affliction's sons are brothers in distress,
A brother to relieve, how exquisite the bliss !”

I heard na mair, for chanticleer

Shook off the pouthery snaw,
And hail'd the morning with a cheer,

A cottage-rousing craw.
But deep this truth impress'd my mind-

Through all His works abroad,
The heart benevolent and kind

The most resembles God.

SCOTCH DRINK. DUNCAN FORBES of Culloden, who did so much to pacify the country after the defeat of Culloden, received from the government as a reward for his services the privilege of distilling whisky free of duty. So popular did his whisky become, that Ferintosh, the name of his barony in which his whisky was manufactured, became a recognised name or synonym throughout the country for all sorts of whisky.

When the privilege was withdrawn in 1785, his family received from the government compensation to the amount of £21,580.

In addition to this the public attention was further turned to "the national beverage," on account of the stringent way in which the Excise laws were being enforced at the various distilleries. These circumstances gave the poet

Writing to Robert Muir, Kilmarnock, he says, “I here enclose you my 'Scotch Drink,' and may the devil follow with a blessing for your edification. I hope some time before we hear the gowk, (cuckoo, ) to have the pleasure of seeing you at Kilmarnock, when I intend we shall have a gill between us in a mutchkin

stoup, which will be a great comfort and consolation to your humble Servant, R, B.

“Gie him strong drink, until he wink,

That's sinking in despair :
And liquor guid to fire his bluid,

That's prest wi' grief and care :

his cue.

« ForrigeFortsæt »