Page images
PDF
EPUB

But as for thee, thou false woman,

My sister and my fae,
Grim vengeance, yet, shall whet a sword

That thro' thy soul shall gae :
The weeping blood in woman's breast

Was never known to thee;
Nor th“ balm that draps on wounds of woe

Frae woman's pitying e'e.

My son! my son! may kinder stars

Upon thy fortune shine :
And may those pleasures gild thy reign,

That ne'er wad blink on mine!
God keep thee frae thy mother's faes,

Or turn their hearts to thee : And where thou meet'st thy mother's friend,

Remember him for me!

O! soon, to me, may summer-suns

Nae mair light up the morn!
Nae inair, to me, the autumn winds

Wave o'er the yellow corn!
And in the narrow house o' death

Let winter round me rave;
And the next flowʻrs, that deck the spring,

Bloom on my peaceful grave.

TO ROBERT GRAHAM, ESQ.

OF FINTRA.

Late crippld of an arm, and now a leg, About to beg a pass for leave to beg; Dull, listless, teas’d, dejected, and deprest, (Nature is adverse to a cripple's rest); Will generous Graham list to his poet's wail? (It soothes poor misery, harkening to her tale), And hear him curse the light he first ey'd, And doubly curse the luckless rhyming trade.

Thou, nature, partial nature, I arraigu;
Of thy caprice maternal I complain.
The lion and the bull thy care have found,
One shakes the forests, and one spurns the ground;
Thou giv'st the ass his hide, the snail his shell,
Th' envenom'd wasp, victorious, guards his cell.
Thy minions, kings defend, controul, devour,
In all th' omnipotence of rule and power.-
Foxes and statesmen, subtile wiles ensure;
The cit and polecat stink, and are secure.
Toads with their poison, doctors with their drug,
The priest and hedgehog in their robes are snug.
Ev'n silly woman has her warlike arts,
Her tongue and eyes, her dreaded spear and darts.

!

But 0! thou bitter step-mother and hard,
To thy poor, fenceless, naked child-the bard !
A thing unteachable in world's skill,
And half an ideot too, more helpless still.
No heels to bear him from the op'ning dun;
No claws to dig, his hated sight to shun;
No horns, but those by luckless Hymen worn,
And those, alas! not Amalthea's horn :
No nerves olfact’ry, Mammon's trusty cur,
Clad in rich dulness' comfortable fur.
In naked feeling, and in aching pride,
He bears th' unbroken blast from ev'ry side :
Vampyre booksellers drain him to the heart,
And scorpion critics cureless venom dart.

Critics-appall’d, I venture on the name,
Those cut-throat bandits in the path of fame :
Bloody dissectors, worse than ten Monros;
He hacks to teach, they mangle to expose.

His heart, by causeless wanton malice wrung,
By blockhead's daring into madness stung;
His well-won bays, than life itself more dear,
By miscreants torn, who ne'er one sprig must wear;
Fo bleeding, tortur'd, in the unequal strife,
The hapless poet flounders on through life ;

Till fled each hope that once his bosom fir'd,
And fled each muse that glorious once inspir'd,
Low sunk in squalid, unprotected age,
Dead, even resentment, for his injurd page,
He heeds or feels no more the ruthless critic's

rage!

So by some hedge, the gen’rous steed deceasd, For half-starv'd snarling curs a dainty feast; By toil and famine wore to skin and bone, Lies senseless of each tugging bitch's son.

O dulness ! portion of the truly blest ! Calm shelter'd haven of eternal rest! Thy sons ne'er madden in the fierce extremes Of fortune's polar frost, or torrid beams. If mantling high she fills the golden cup, With sober selfish ease they sip it up: Conscious the bounteous meed they well deserve, They only wonder “some folks” do not starve, The grave sage hern thus easy picks his frog, And thinks the mallard a sad worthless dog. When disappointment snaps the clue of hope, And thro’ disastrous night they darkling grope, With deaf endurance sluggishly they bear, And just conclude that “ fools are fortune's care." So, heavy, passive to the tempest's shocks, Strong on the sign-post stands the stupid ox.

Not so the idle muses' mad-cap train, Not such the workings of their moon-struck brain ; In equanimity they never dwell, By turns in soaring heav'n, or vaulted hell.

I dread thee, fate, relentless and severe,
With all a poet's, husband's, father's fear !
Already one strong hold of hope is lost,
Glencairn, the truly noble, lies in dust;
(Fled, like the son eclips'd as noon appears,
And left us darkling in a world of tears):
0! hear my ardent, grateful, selfish pray'r!
Fintra, my other stay, long bless and spare !

Thro'a long life his hopes and wishes crown;
And bright in cloudless skies his sun go down
May bliss domestic smooth his private path;
Give energy to life; and soothe his latest breath,
With many a filial tear circling the bed of death!

LAMENT

FOR JAMES, EARL OF GLENCAIRN.

The wind blew hollow frae the hills,

By fits the sun's departing beam Look'd on the fading yellow woods

That wav'd o'er Lugar's winding stream: Beneath a craigy steep, a bard,

Laden with years and meikle pain, In loud lament bewail'd his lord,

Whom death had all untimely ta'en.

[ocr errors]

He lean'd him an an ancient aik,

Whose trunk was mould'ring down with years ; Ht: locks were bleached white with time,

His hoary cheek was wet wi' tears ; And as he touch'd his trembling harp,

And as he tun'd his doleful sang, The winds, lamenting thro' their caves,

To echo bore the notes alang.

“ Ye scatter'd birds that faintly sing,

The reliques of the vernal quire !
Ye woods that shed on a' the winds

The honours of the aged year!
A few short months, and glad and gay,

Again ye'll charm the ear and e'e;
But nocht in all revolving time

Can gladness bring again to me.

“I am a bending aged tree,

That long has stood the wind and rain; But now has come a cruel blast,

And my last hald of earth is gane :

Nae leaf o' mine shall greet the spring,

Nae simmer sun exalt my bloom ; But I maun lie before the storm,

And ithers plant them in my room.

" I've seen sae mony changefu' years,

On earth I am a stranger grown;
I wander in the ways of men,

Alike unknowing and unknown:
Unheard, unpitied, unreliev'd,
I bear alane

my

lade o' care, For silent, low, on beds of dust,

Lie a' that would my sorrows share.

“And last, (the sum of a' my griefs !)

My noble master lies in clay ; The flow'r amang our barons bold,

His country's pride, his country's stay: In weary being now I pine,

For a' the life of life is dead, And hope has left my aged ken,

On forward wing for ever fled.

“ Awake thy last sad voice, my harp!

The voice of woe and wild despair ! Awake, resound thy latest lay,

Then sleep in silence evermair! And thou, my last, best, only friend,

That fillest an untimely tomb, Accept this tribute from the bard

Thou brought from fortune's mirkest gloom.

“ In poverty's low barren vale,

Thick mists, obscure, involv'd me round; Though oft I turn'd the wistful eye,

Nae ray of fame was to be found : Thou found'st me, like the morning sun

That melts the fogs in limpid air, The friendless bard and rustic song,

Became alike thy fostering care,

« PreviousContinue »