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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

The younkers a' are warnèd to obey,
And mind their labours wi' an eydent hand,
And ne'er, tho' out o' sight, to jauk or play:
'And O be sure to fear the Lord alway,
And mind your duty duly, morn and 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 came 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 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; Blythe Jenny sees the visit's no ill-taen;

The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye. The youngster's artless heart o'erflows wi' joy, But blate and laithfu', scarce can weel behave; The mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy What makes the youth sae bashfu' and sae grave, Weel-pleased to think her bairn's respected like the lave.

Oh happy love, where love like this is found!

Oh heart-felt raptures! bliss beyond compare! I've paced much this weary, mortal round,

And sage experience bids me this declare:

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'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, 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?

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, fell;
And aft he's prest, and aft he ca's it guid;
The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell

How 't was a towmond auld sin' lint was i' the bell.

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 lyart haffets wearing thin and bare;

Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide,
He wales a portion with judicious care,
And 'Let us worship God!' he says, with solemn air.

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;
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 Bab'lon'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 ev'ry 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.

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
And 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 behind:

What is a lordling's pomp? a cumbrous load, Disguising oft the wretch of human kind, Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refined!

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 blest with health and peace and sweet content! And O 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 thro' 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 never, never Scotia's realm desert, But still the patriot and the patriot-bard In bright succession raise, her ornament and guard!

TO A MOUSE

ON TURNING HER UP IN HER NEST WITH THE PLOUGH, NOVEMBER, 1785

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!

I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murdering pattle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken Nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave

'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin' wi' the lave,
An' never miss 't!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething now to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

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