Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

A PRAYER IN THE PROSPECT OF DEATH. LYING AT A REVEREND FRIEND'S HOUSE ONE NIGHT, THE

AUTHOR LEFT
I.

THE FOLLOWING VERSES
O Thou unknown, Almighty Cause

IN THE ROOM WHERE HE SLEPT.
Of all my hope and fear!
In whose dread presence, ere an hour,

I.
Perhaps I must appear!

O Thou dread Power, who reign'st above !

I know thou wilt me hear:
II.

When for this scene of peace and love,
If I have wander'd in those paths

I make my prayer sincere.
Of life I ought to shun,

II.
As something, loudly, in my breast,

The hoary sire-the mortal stroke,
Remonstrates I have done;

Long, long be pleased to spare !
III.

To bless his little filial flock,

And show what good men are.
Thou know'st that thou hast formed me
With passions wild and strong;

III.
And listening to their witching voice,

She, who her lovely offspring eyes
Has often led me wrong.

With tender hopes and fears,

O bless her with a mother's joys,
IV.

But spare a mother's tears !
Where human weakness has come short,
Or frailty stept aside,

VI.
Do thou, All-Good! for such thou art,

Their hope, their stay, their darling youth,
In shades of darkness hide.

In manhood's dawning blush ;

Bless him, thou God of love and truth,
V.

Up to a parent's wish !
Where with intention I have err'd,

V.
No other plea I have,
But thou art good; and goodness still

The beauteous, seraph sister band,
Delighteth to forgive.

With earnest tears I pray,
Thon know'st the snares on every hand,

Guide thou their steps alway!

[ocr errors]

STANZAS ON THE SAME OCCASION.

[ocr errors]

VI.
When soon or late they reach that coast,

O'er life's rough ocean driven,
May they rejoice, no wanderer lost,

A family in heaven!

THE FIRST PSALM.

Why am I loath to leave this earthly scene?

Have I so found it full of pleasing charms ? Sazne drops of joy with draughts of ill between:

Some gleams of sunshine ʼmid renewing storms: Is it departing pangs my soul alarms ?

Or death's unlovely, dreary, dark abode ? Por guilt, for guilt, my terrors are in arms;

1 tremble to approach an angry God,
And justly smart beneath his sin-avenging rod.
Fain would I say, “ Forgive my foul offence !”

Fain promise never more to disobey ;
But, should my Author health again dispense,

Again I might desert fair virtue's way;
Again in folly's path might go astray ;

Again exalt the brute and sink the man; Then how should I for heavenly mercy pray,

Who act so counter heavenly mercy's plan?
Who sin so oft have mourn’d, yet to temptation

ran?
O thoa, great Governor of all below!
If I may dare a lifted eye to thee,
Thy nod can make the tempest cease to blow,
Oz still the tumult of the raging sea :
With what controlling power assist e’en me,

Those beadlong, furious passions to confine ;
For all unfit I feel my powers to be,

To rule their torrent in th' allowed line ; Omid me with thy help, Omnipotence Divine !

THE man, in life wherever placed,

Hath happiness in store,
Who walks not in the wicked's way,

Nor learns their guilty lore!
Nor from the seat of scornful pride

Casts forth his eyes abroad,
But with humility and awe

Still walks before his God.

That man shall nourish like the trees

Which by the streamlets grow;
The fruitful top is spread on high,

And firm the root below.
But he whose blossom buds in guilt

Shall to the ground be cast,
And, like the rootless stubble, tost

Before the sweeping blast.
For why? that God the good adore

Hath given them peace and rest,
But hath decreed that wicked men

Shall ne'er be truly blest.

914

A PRAYER

UNDER THE PRESSURE OF VIOLENT ANGUISH,
O THOU Great Being! what thou art

Surpasses me to know:
Yet sure I am, that known to thee

Are all thy works below.
Thy creature here before thee stands,

All wretched and distrest;
Yet sure those ills that wring my soul,

Obey thy high behest.
Sure thou, Almighty, canst not act

From cruelty or wrath!
O free my weary eyes from tears,

Or close them fast in death!
But if I must afflicted be,

To suit some wise design ;
Then man my soul with firm resolves

To bear and not repine !

THE FIRST SIX VERSES OF THE NINE

TIETH PSALM.
O tuou, the first, the greatest Friend

Of all the human race !
Whose strong right hand has ever been

Their stay and dwelling place!
Before the mountains heaved their heads

Beneath thy forming hand,
Before this ponderous globe itself

Arose at thy command :
That power which raised and still upholds

This universal frame,
From countless, unbeginning time

Was ever still the same.
Those mighty periods of years

Which seem to us so vast,
Appear no more before thy sight

Than yesterday that's past.
Thou givest the word : Thy creature, man,

Is to existence brought:
Again thou say'st,“ Ye sons of men,

Return ye into naught!”
Thou layest them, with all their cares,

In everlasting sleep ;
As with a flood thou takest them off

With overwhelming sweep.
They flourish like the morning flower,

In beauty's pride array'd ;
But long ere night cut down it lies

All wither'd and decay'd.

Alas! it's no thy neebor sweet, The bonnie lark, companion meet! Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet!

Wi' spreckled breast.
When upward-springing, blythe to greet

The purpling east.
Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Upon thy early, humble birth;
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth

Amid the storm,
Scarce rear'd above the parent earth

Thy tender form. The flaunting flowers our gardens yield, High sheltering woods and wa’s inaun shield, But thou beneath the random bield

O'clod or stane, Adorns the histie stibble-field,

Unseen, alane. There, in thy scanty mantle clad, Thy snawy bosom sun-ward spread, Thou lifts thy unassuming head

In humble guise ;
But now the share uptears thy bed,

And low thou lies !
Such is the fate of artless maid,
Sweet floweret of the rural shade!
By love's simplicity betray'd,

And guileless trust,
Till she, like thee, all soil'd is laid

Low i' the dust,
Such is the fate of simple bard,
On life's rough ocean luckless starr'd !
Unskilful he to note the card

Of prudent lore,
Till billows rage, and gales blow hard,

And whelm him o'er! Such fate of suffering worth is given, Who long with wants and woes has striven, By human pride or cunning driven,

To misery's brink,
Till wrench'd of every stay but Heaven,

He, ruin'd, sink !
E'en thou who mourn'st the daisy's fate
That fate is thine-no distant date;
Stern ruin's ploughshare drives, elate,

Full on thy bloom,
Till crush'd beneath the furrow's weight

Shall be thy doom !

TO RUIN.

TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY,
ON TURNING ONE DOWN WITH THE PLOUGH IN APRIL,

1786.
Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flower,
Thou's met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure

Thy slender stem;
To spare thee now is past my power,

Thou bonnie gem.

I. ALL hail ! inexorable lord ! At whose destruction-breathing word,

The mightiest empires fall ! Thy cruel wo-delighted train, The ministers of grief and pain,

A sullen welcome, all!
With stern-resolved, despairing eye,

I see each aimed dart;
For one has cut my dearest tie,

And quivers in my heart.

Then lowering, and pouring,

The storm no more I dread; Though thickening and blackening Round my devoted head.

II. And, thou grim power, by life abhorr'd, While life a pleasure can afford,

0! hear a wretch's prayer !
No more I shrink appall’d, afraid ;
I court, I beg thy friendly aid,

To close this scene of care !
When shall my soul, in silent peace,

Resign life's joyless day;
My weary heart its throbbing cease,
Cold mouldering in the clay ?
No fear more, no tear more,

To stain my lifeless face;
Enclasped, and grasped

Within thy cold embrace !

TO MISS L-, TUE BEATTIE'S POEMS AS A NEW-YEAR'S GIFT,

JANUARY 1, 1787.
AGAIN the silent wheels of time

Their annual round have driven,
And you, though scarce in maiden prime,

Are so much nearer heaven.

No gifts have I from Indian coasts

The infant year to hail ;
I send you more than India boasts,

In Edwin's simple tale.
Our sex with guile and faithless love

Is charged, perhaps, too true; But may, dear maid, each lover prove

An Edwin still to you !

III.
I'll no say, men are villains a';

The real, harden'd wicked,
Wha hae nae check but human law,

Are to a few restricked:
But och! mankind are unco weak,

An' little to be trusted;
If self the wavering balance shake,
It's rarely right adjusted !

IV.
Yet they wha fa? in fortune's strife,

Their fate we should nae censure, For still th' important end of life

They equally may answer ;
A man may hae an honest heart,

Though poortith hourly stare him ;
A man may tak a neebor's part,
Yet hae nae cash to spare him.

V.
Aye free, aff han' your story tell,

When wi' a bosom crony ;
But still keep something to yoursel

Ye scarcely tell to ony.
Conceal yoursel as weel's ye can

Frae critical dissection ;
But keek through every other man,
Wi’ sharpen'd, slee inspection.

VI.
The sacred lowe o' weel-placed love,

Luxuriantly indulge it;
But never tempt th' illicit rove,

Though naething should divulge it! I wave the quantum o'the sin,

The hazard of concealing; But och! it hardens a' within, And petrifies the feeling!

VII. To catch dame Fortune's golden smilo,

Assiduous wait upon her ; And gather gear by every wile

That's justified by honour; Not for to hide it in a hedge,

Not for a train-attendant; But for the glorious privilege Of being independent.

VIII.
The fear o'hell's a hangman's whip,

To haud the wretch in order ;
But where ye feel your honour grip,

Let that aye be your border ;
Its slightest touches, instant pause--

Debar a' side pretences ;
And resolutely keep its laws,
Uncaring consequences.

IX.
The great Creator to revere

Must sure become the creature;
But still the preaching cant forbear,

And e'en the rigid feature;
Yet ne'er with wits profane to range,

Be complaisance extended ;
An atheist's laugh's a poor exchango

For Deity offended!

EPISTLE TO A YOUNG FRIEND.

YAY, 1786.

I. I LANG hae thought, my youthfu' friend,

A something to have sent you,
Though it should serve nae other end

Than just a kind memento ;
But how the subject theme may gang

Let time and chance determine ;
Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

II.
Ye'll try the world soon, my lad,

And, Andrew dear, believe me,
Ye'll find mankind an unco squad,

And muckle they may grieve ye. Por care and trouble set your thought,

E'en when your end's attained ; And a' your views may come to naught,

Where every nerve is strained.

916

X.

Wi' his proud, independent stomach

Could ill agree ;
When ranting round in pleasure's ring,

So row't his hurdies in a hammock,
Religion may be blinded;

An' owre the sea.
Or if she gie a random sting,
It may be little minded;

He ne'er was gien to great misguiding,
But when on life we're tempest-driven, Yet coin his pouches wad na bide in ;
A conscience but a canker

Wi' him it ne'er was under hiding;
A correspondence fix'd wi' heaven

He dealt it free:
Is sure a noble anchor !

The muse was a' that he took pride in,

That's owre the sea.
XI.
Adieu, dear, amiable youth !

Jamaica bodies, use him weel,
Your heart can ne'er be wanting :

An'hap him in a cozie biel;
May prudence, fortitude, and truth

Ye'll find him aye a dainty chiel,

And fu' o' glee ;
Erect your brow undaunting!
In ploughman phrase, “God send you speed,"

He wad na wrang'a the vera dicl,

That's owre the sea,
Still daily to grow wiser:
And may you better reck the rede

Fareweel, my rhyme-composing billie!
Than ever did th' adviser.

Your native soil was right ill-wilie;
But may ye flourish like a lily,

Now bonnilie!

I'll toast ye in my hindmost gillie,
ON A SCOTCH BARD GONE TO THE WEST

Though owre the sea,
INDIES.

TO A HAGGIS.

A'ye wha live by soups o' drink,
A' ye wha live by crambo-clink,
A'ye wha live and never think,

Come mourn wi' me !
Our billie's gien us a'a jink,

An' owre the sea.

Lament him, a' ye rantin core,
Wha dearly like a random-splore,
Nae mair he'll join the merry-roar,

In social key;
For now he's ta'en anither shore,

An' owre the sea.
The bonnie lasses weel may wiss him,
And in their dear petitions place him ;
The widows, wives, an'a' may bless him,

Wi' tearfu' e'e ;
For weel I wat they'll sairly miss him

That's owre the sea.
O fortune, they hae room to grumble !
Hadst thou ta'en aff some drowsy bummle,
Wha can do naught but fyke and fumble,

'Twad been nae plea ;
But he'was gleg as ony wumble,

That's owre the sea.

FAIR fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin race !
Aboon them a'

ye

tak your place,

Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace

As lang's my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill

In time o' need,
While through your pores the dews distil

Like amber bead.
His knife see rustic labour dight,
An'cut you up with ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright

Like onie ditch;
And then, 0 what a glorious sight,

Warm-reekin, rich !
Then horn for horn they stretch an'strive,
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a'their weel-swall’d kytes belyve

Are bent like drums';
Then auld guidman, maist like to ryve,

Bethankit hums.
Is there that o'er his French ragout,
Or olio that would staw a sow,
Or fricasee wad make her spew

Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scorpfu' view

On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip lash,

His nieve a nit;
Through bloody flood or field to dash,

O how unfit!

[ocr errors]

Auld, cantie Kyle may weepers wear,
An' stain them wi' the saut, saut tear;
'Twill mak her poor auld heart, I fear,

In flinders flee;
He was her laureate monie a year,

That's owre the sea.

He saw misfortune's cauld nor-west
Lang mustering up a bitter blast;
A jillet brak his heart at last,

Ill may she be!
So took a birth afore the mast,

An' owre the sea.
To tremble under fortune's cummock,
On scarce a bellyfu' o' drummock,

But mark the rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,

He'll mak it whissle ;
An' legs, an' arms, an' heads will sned,

Like taps o' thrissle. Ye powers, wha mak mankind your care, And dish them out their bill o' fare, Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware

That jaups in luggies; But, if ye wish her gratefu’ prayer,

Gie her a haggis !

It's no through terror of d-mn-tion;
It's just a carnal inclination.

Morality, thou deadly bane,
Thy tens o' thousands thou hast slain !
Vain is his hope, whose stay and trust is
In moral mercy, truth, and justice !

No-stretch a point to catch a plack; Abuse a brother to his back; Steal through a winnock frae a wh-re, But point the rake that taks the door : Be to the poor like onie whunstane, And haud their noses to the grunstane, Ply every art o' legal thieving; No matter, stick to sound believing.

Learn three-mile prayers, and half-mile

graces, Wi’weel-spread looves, an' lang wry faces ; Grunt up a solemn, lengthen'd groan, And damn a' parties but your own; I'll warrant then, ye’re nae deceiver, A steady, sturdy, staunch believer.

A DEDICATION TO GAVIN HAMILTON, ESQ.

Expect na, sir, in this narration,
A fleechin, fleth’rin dedication,
To roose you up, an' ca’you guid,
An’sprung o'great an' noble bluid,
Because ye’re surnamed like his grace,
Perhaps related to the race;
Then when I'm tired—and sae are ye,
Wi' mony a fulsome, sinfu' lie,
Set up a face, how I stop short,
For fear your modesty be hurt.

This may do—maun do, sir, wi’ them wha
Maun please the great folk for a wamefou;
For me! sae laigh I need na bow,
For, Lord be thankit, I can plough ;
And when I downa yoke a naig,
Then, Lord be thankit, I can beg ;
Sae I shall say, an' that's nae flatterin,
It's just sic poet, an' sic patron.

The poet, some guid angel help him,
Or else, I fear, some ill ane skelp him,
He may do weel for a’ he's done yet,
But only he's no just begun yet.

The patron, (sir, ye maun forgie me,
I winna lie, come what will o' me,)
On every hand it will allow'd be,
He's just—nae better than he should be.

I readily and freely grant,
He downa see a poor man want ;
What's no his ain he winna tak it,
What ance he says, he winna break it;
Aught he can lend he'll no refuse't,
Till aft his guidness is abused:
And rascals whyles that do him wrang,
E’en that, he does na mind it lang:
As master, landlord, husband, father,
He does na fail his part in either.

But then, na thanks to him for a' that ;
Nae godly symptom ye can ca' that;
It's naething but a milder feature
Of our poor, sinfu', corrupt nature !
Ye'll get the best o’moral works
'Mang black Gentoos and pagan Turks.
Or hunters wild on Ponotaxi,
Wha never heard of orthodoxy.
That he's the poor man's friend in need,
The gentleman in word and deed,

O ye wha leave the springs of C-lv-n,
For gumlie dubs of your ain delvin !
Ye sons of heresy and error,
Ye'll some day squeel in quaking terror!
When vengeance draws the sword in wrath,
And in the fire throws the sheath;
When ruin, with his sweeping besom,
Just frets till Heaven commission gies him:
While o'er the harp pale misery moans,
And strikes the ever deepening tones,
Still louder shrieks, and heavier groans !

Your pardon, sir, for this digression,
I maist forgat my dedication ;
But when divinity comes cross me,
My readers still are sure to lose me.

So, sir, ye see 'twas nae daft vapour,
But I maturely thought it proper,
When a' my work I did review,
To dedicate them, sir, to you:
Because (ye need na tak it ill)
I thought them something like yoursel.

Then patronize them wi’ your favour,
And your petitioner shall ever-
I had amaist said, ever pray,
But that's a word I need na say:
For prayin I hae little skill o't;
I'm baith dead-sweer, an’ wretched ill o't;
But I'se repeat each poor man's prayer,
That kens or hears about you, sir-

“May ne'er misfortune's gowling bark
Howl through the dwelling o' the clerk!
May ne'er his generous, honest heart,
For that same generous spirit smart !
May K******'s far honour'd name
Lang beet his hymeneal flame,
Till H*******s, at least a dizen,
Are frae their nuptial labours risen :
Five bonnie lasses round their table,
And seven braw fellows, stout an’able

« ZurückWeiter »