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“O stay at home, my only son!
O stay at home with me!
Of ills awaiting thee.
“ Last night I heard the dead-bell sound,
When all were fast asleep; And ay it rung, and ay it sung,
Till all my flesh did creep.
"And when on slumber's silken couch
My senses dormant lay,
Would make of thee their prey.
“ With feeble step 1 ran to help,
Or death with thee to share; When straight you bound my hands and feet
And left me lying there.
“I saw them tear thy vitals forth;
Thy life-blood dyed the way ; I saw thy eyes all glaring red
And closed mine for ay.
“ Then stay at home, my only son !
O stay at home with me!
Thy guardian it shall be.”
"Hence, old fanatic, from my sight!
What means this senseless whine ? I pray thee mind thine own affairs,
Let me attend to mine."
"Alas, my son! the generous spark
That warm'd thy tender mind Is now extinct, and malice keen
Is only left behind.
“How canst thou rend that aged heart
That yearns thy woes to share ? Thou still hast been my only grief, . My only hope and care,
“Ere I had been one month a bride,
Of joy I took farewell;
Thy valiant father fell.
“I nurs’d thee on my tender breast,
With mickle care and pain; And saw, with pride, thy heart expand,
Without one sordid stain.
“With joy, each night, I saw thee kneel
Before the throne of grace;
Frequent his holy place.
“But all is gone! the vespers sweet
Which from our castle rose Are silent now, and sullen pride
In hand with envy goes!
• Thy wedded wife has sway'd thy hcar
To pride and passion fell ;
Renounce that path of hell.
“Then stay at home, my only son !
O with thy mother stay!
That for thee I may pray.”
He turn'd about, and hasted out,
And for his horse did call; “ An hundred fiends my patience rend
But thou excell'st them all."
She slipt beneath his saddle lap
A book of psalms and pray’rs, And hasten’d to yon ancient fane,
To listen what was there.
And when she came to yon kirk-yard,
Where graves are green and low, She saw full thirty coal-black steeds
All standing in a row.
Her Willie's was the tallest steed,
'Twixt Dee and Annan whole; But plac'd beside that mighty rank,
He kyth'd but like a foal.
She laid her hand upon his side;
Her heart grew cold as stone ! The cold sweat ran from every hair,
He trembled every bone!
She laid her hand upon the next,
His bulky side to stroke, An' ay she reach'd, and ay she stretch'd
Was nothing all but smoke.
It was a mere delusive form
Of films and sulphry wind;
A gap was left behind.
She pass'd through all those stately steeds,
Yet nothing marr'd her way, And left her shape in every shade,
For all their proud array
But whiles she felt a glowing heat,
Though mutt'ring holy prayer; And filmy veils assail'd her face,
And stifling brimstone air.
Then for her darling desperate grown,
Straight to the aisle she flew;
No mortal ever knew.
But yells, and moans, and heavy groans,
And blackest blasphemye,
Of hell seem'd there to be.
And after many a horrid rite,
And sacrifice profane, " A book! a book !" they loudly howl'd;
“Our spells are all in vain.
“Hu! tear him, tear him limb from limb,"
Resounded through the pile, “ Hu! tear him, tear him straight, for he
Has mocked us all this while."
The tender matron, desperate grown,
Then shriek'd most bitterlye : "O spare my son, and take my life,
The book was lodged by me.”
“Ha! that's my frantic mother's voice!
My life or peace must end :
“ Take her, and spare thy friend !”