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Now Phoebe, in her midnight reign,
Dark muffled, viewed the dreary plain ;
Still crowding thoughts, a pensive train,
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 bloodhounds from the slip,
Woe, want, and murder o'er a land!
E'en in the peaceful rural vale,
Truth, weeping, tells the mournful tale,
How pampered 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!
Oh, ye, 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 clam'rous call,
Stretched 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 crushèd low
By cruel Fortune's undeservèd blow?
Affliction's sons are brothers in distress,
A brother to relieve, how exquisite the bliss!'
I heard nae mair, for Chanticleer
Shook off the pouthery snaw,
And hailed the morning with a cheer,
A cottage-rousing craw.
But deep this truth impressed my mind—
Through all his works abroad,
The heart benevolent and kind,
The most resembles God.
ON SEEING ONE ON A LADY'S BONNET AT CHURCH.
HA! whare ye gaun, ye crowlin' ferlie'
Your impudence protects you sairly:
I canna say but ye strunt rarely
Owre gauze and lace;
Though faith, I fear ye dine but sparely
On sic a place.
Ye ugly, creepin', blastit wonner,
Detested, shunned by saunt an' sinner,
How dare ye set your fit upon her,
Sae fine a lady!
Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner
On some poor body.
Swith, in some beggar's haffet squattle;
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle
Wi' ither kindred jumpin' cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Whare horn nor bane ne'er dare unsettle
Your thick plantations.
Now haud ye there, ye 're out o' sight,
Below the fatt'rels, snug an' tight;
Na, faith ye yet! ye'll no be right
Till ye've got on it,
The vera tapmost, towering height
My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump and grey as onie grozet;
Oh, for some rank, mercurial rozet,
Or fell, red smeddum,
I'd gie ye sic a hearty dose o't,
Wad dress your droddum!
I wad na been surprised to spy
You on an auld wife's flainen toy,
Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,
But Miss's fine Lunardi-fie!
How daur ye do't!
Oh, Jenny, dinna toss your head,
An' set your beauties a' abread!
Ye little ken what cursed speed
The blastie's makin'!
Thae winks and finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin'!
Oh, wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursel's as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
And foolish notion:
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
And e'en Devotion!
IN ANSWER TO A MANDATE BY THE SURVEYOR OF TAXES, REQUIRING A RETURN FOR
THE ASSESSED TAXES.
SIR, as your mandate did request,
I send you here a faithfu' list
O' gudes and gear, and a' my graith,
To which I'm clear to gie my aith.
Imprimis, then, for carriage cattle,
I hae four brutes o' gallant mettle,
As ever drew afore a pettle.
My han'-afore's a guid auld has-been,
And wight and wilfu' a' his days been..
My han'-ahin's a weel-gaun filly,
That aft has borne me hame frae Killie,
And your auld burrough mony a time,
In days when riding was nae crime-
But ance, when in my wooing pride,
I, like a blockhead boost to ride,
The wilfu' creature sae I pat to,
(Lord, pardon a' my sins, and that too!)
I played my fillie sic a shavie,
She's a' bedeviled wi' the spavie.
My furr-ahin's a worthy beast,
As e'er in tug or tow was traced.
The fourth's a Highland Donald hastie,
A damned red-wud Kilburnie blastie!
Forbye a cowte, o' cowte 's the wale,
As ever ran afore a tail;
If he be spared to be a beast,
He'll draw me fifteen pun' at least.
Wheel-carriages I hae but few,
Three carts, and twa are feckly new;
An auld wheelbarrow, mair for token
Ae leg and baith the trams are broken;
I made a poker o' the spin'le,
And my auld mither brunt the trin'le.
I've three mischievous boys,
Run-deils for rantin' and for noise;
A gaudsman ane, a thrasher t 'other;
Wee Davoc hauds the nowte in fother.
I rule them, as I ought, discreetly,
And aften labour them completely;
And aye on Sundays duly, nightly,
I on the question targe them tightly,
Till, faith, wee Davoc 's turned sae gleg,
Though scarcely langer than my leg,
He'll screed you aff Effectual Calling