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THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT.
The sire turns o’er, wi' patriarchal grace,
The big ha' Bible, ance his father's pride:
His bonnet rev'rently is laid aside,
His lyart haffets 1 wearing thin an' bare ;
Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide,
He waleso 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 10 heartfelt 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
Bencath 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
THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT.
Then kneeling down, to Heaven's Eternal King, The saint, the father, and the husband prays : Hope“ springs exulting on triumphant wing.” 1 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 every 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 enrol.
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
That 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 :"2
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 !
Pope's “ Windsor Forest.” Pope's “ Essay on Man.”
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.
0 Thou ! who poured the patriotic tide
That streamed through 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!)
O never, never, Scotia's realm desert ;
But still the patriot, and the patriot bard,
In bright succession raise, her ornament and guard !
ADDRESS TO THE DEIL. [Burns told his brother it was suggested to him by the many ludicrous accounts we have of this august personage.]
Oh Prince! Oh Chief of many throned Pow'rs,
That led th' embattled Seraphim to war – Milton,
( THOU! whatever title suit thee,
Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie,
Wha in yon cavern grim an' sootie,
Closed under hatches,
Spairgest about the brunstane cootie,
To scaud poor wretches.
Hear me, auld Hangie, for a wee,
An let poor damned bodies be;
I'm sure sma' pleasure it can gie,
Ev'n to a deil,
To skelp3 an' scaud poor dogs like me,
An' hear us squeel !
Great is thy pow'r, an' great thy fame;
Far ken’d an' noted is thy name;
An', tho' yon lowin heugh's' thy hame,
Thou travels far;
An', faith! thou's neither lag nor lame,
Nor blate nor scaur.?
Whyles, ranging like a roarin lion,
For prey a' holes an' corners tryin;
Whyles on the strong-wing'd tempest flyin,
Tirlin3 the kirks ;
Whyles in the human bosom pryin,
Unseen thou lurks.
I've heard my reverend Grannie say,
In lanely glens ye like to stray;
Or where auld ruin'd castles, gray,
Nod to the moon,
Ye fright the nightly wand'rer's way,
Wi' eldritch croon.4
When twilight did '
my Grannie summon, To
say her pray’rs, douce, honest woman !
Aft yont the dyke she's heard you bummin,
Wi' eerie drone;
Or, rustlin, thro’ the boortriesó comin,
Wi' heavy groan.
Ae dreary, windy, winter night,
The stars shot down wi' sklentino light,
Wi' you, mysel, I gat a fright,
Ayont the lough;
Ye, like a rash-bush,7 stood in sight,
Wi' waving sugh.
Flaming pit. 2 Neither bashful nor fearful. 4 Horrid moan.
5 Elder bushes. 7 Bush of rushes.
The cudgel'in my nieve! did shake,
Each bristl'd hair stood like a stake,
When wi' an eldritch stoor, quaick, quaick,
Amang the springs,
Awa ye squatter, like a drake,
On whistling wings.
Let warlocks grim, an' wither'd hags,
Tell how wi' you on ragweed nags,
They skim the muirs, an' dizzy crags,
Wi' wicked speed;
And in kirk-yards renew their leagues,
Owre howkitt dead.
Thence, countra wives, wi' toil an' pain,
May plunge an' plunge the kirn5 in vain ;
For, Oh! the yellow treasure's taen
By witching skill;
An' dawtit,ộ twal-pint? Hawkie's gaen
As yell's 8 the bill.9
Thence mystic knots mak' great abuse,
On young guidman, fond, keen, an crouse ; 10
When the best wark-lume i' the house,
By cantrip 11 wit,
Is instant made no worth a louse,
Just at the bit.
When thowes 12 dissolve the snawy hoord,
An’ float the jingling icy-boord,
Then water-kelpies haunt the foord
By your direction,
An' ’nighted trav’llers are allured
To their destruction.
2 Hoarse. 3 Wizards. + Digged up.
5 Churn. 6 Petted.
9 Bull. 7 Twelve-pint.
8 Without milk. 10 Courageous.