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THE COTTER’S(1) SATURDAY NIGHT.
INSCRIBED TO R. A****, ESQ.
BY ROBERT BURNS.
“ Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
« Their homely joys, and destiny obscure ; “ Nor Grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile, “ The short and simple annals of the poor."
No mercenary bard his homage pays;
My dearest meed, a friend's esteem and praise : To you I sing, in simple Scottish lays,
The lowly train in life's sequester'd scene ; The native feelings strong, the guileless ways;
What A**** in a cottage would have been ; Ah! though his worth unknown, far happier there, I
II. November chill blaws(2) loud wi’(3) angry sugh ;(4)
The shortening winter-day is near a close; The miry beasts retreating frae(5) the plew :(6)
The blackening trains o'(7) craws(8) to their repose; The toil-worn Cotter frae his labor goes,
This night his weekly moil(9) is at an end,
(1) The inhabitant of a cot-house or cottage. (2) Blows. (3) With. (4) The continued rushing noise of wind or wafer. (5) From. (6) Plow. (7) Of. (8) Crows. (9) Labor.
Collects his spades, his inattocks, and his hoes,
Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend, And weary, o'er the moor, his course does hameward (1)
At length his lonely cot appears in view,
Beneath the shelter of an aged tree: Th' expectant wvee-things, (2) todlin,(3) stacher(4)
through To meet their dad, wi' Aichterin(5) noise an'(6) glee. His wee bit(7) ingle(8) blinkin(9) bonnily,(10) His clean hearth-stane,(11) his thriftie wifie's(12)
smile, The lisping infant prattling on his knee,
Does a'(13) his weary carking cares beguile, An' makes bim quite forget his labor an' his toil.
Belyve(14) the elder bairns(15) come drapping(16) in,
At service out amang(17) the farmers roun’;(18) Some ca’(19) the plew, some herd,(20) some tentie (21)
rin(22) A cannie(23) errand to a neebor(24) town: Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman grown,
In youthfu'(25) bloom, love sparkling in her e?e,(26) Comes hame,(27) perhaps to show a braw(28) new gown,
(1) Homeward. (2) Little ones. (3) Tottering: (4) Stagger. (5) Fluttering. (6) And. (7) A small matter. (8) A fire, or fire-place. (9) Smirking. (10) Beautifully. (11) Hearth-stone. (12) An endearing term for wife. (13) All. (14) By and by. (15) Children. (16) Dropping. (17) Among. (18) Around, in the circle of the neighborhood. (19) Drive. (20) To tend focks. (21) Heedful, cautious. (22). Run. (23) Gentle, mild, dexterous. (24) Neighbor. (25) Youthful. (26) Eye. (27) Home. (28) Fine, handsome.
Or deposite her sair-won(1) penny fee,
An' each for other's weelfare(2) kindly speirs:(3) The social hours, swift-wing'd, unnoticed fleet ;
Each tells the uncos(4) that he sees or hears ; The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years ;
Anticipation forward points the view. The mother, wi' her needle an' her sheers,
Gars(5) auld (6) claes(7) look annaist(8) as weel's(9)
the new ;
The father mixes a' wi' admonition due.
The younkers a' are warned to obey ;
An' ne'er, though out oʻsight, to jauk(11) or play;
“ An’ mind your duty, duly, morn an' night! 6 Lest in temptation's paths ye gang(12) astray,
“ Iinplore his counsel and assisting might; 66 They never sought in vain, that sought the LORD aright.”
Jenny, wha(13) kens(14) the meaning o' the same,
(1) Service-won. (2) Welfare. (3) Inquires. (4) News. (5) Makes. (6) Oid. (7) Clothes. (8) Almost. (9) Well (10) Diligent. (11) To dally, to trifle. (12) To go, to walk. (13) Who. (14) Knows. (15) Came.
The wily mother sees the conscious flame
Sparkle in Jenny's e'e, and flush her cheek; With heart-struck, anxious care, inquires his name,
While Jenny hafilins(1) is afraid to speak; Weel pleased the mother hears, it's nae(2) wild, worth
A strappan (4) youth: he takes the mother's eye ; - Blithe Jenny sees the visit's no ill ta’en ;
The father cracks(5) of horses, plews, and kye.(6) The youngster's artless heart o'erflows wi' joy,
But, blate and laithfu',(7) scarce can weel behave; The mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy
What makes the youth sae(8) bashfu’(9) and sae grave; Weel pleased to think her bairn's respected like the lave.(10)
O heart-felt raptures! bliss beyond compare !
And sage Experience bids me this declare66 If Heaven a draught of heavenly pleasure spare,
6 One cordial in this melancholy vale, •ó 'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair,
“ In other's arms breathe out the tender tale, 6 Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the evening
(1) Nearly half, partly. (2) No. (3) Into the spence or parlor. (4) Tall and handsome. (5) Converses. (6) Cows.
(7) Bashful, sheepish. (8) So. (9) Bashful.. (10) The rest, the remainder, the others,
x. 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 honor, virtue, conscience, all exiled ? Is there no pity, no relenting ruth,
Points to the parents fondling o'er their child : Then paints the ruin'd inaid, and their distraction wild!
The healsome(1) parritch(2) chief o' Scotia's food :
cood ;(8) The dame brings forth, in complimental mood, To grace the lad, her weel-hain'd(9) kebbuck,(10)
fell,(11) An' aft(12) he's press’d, an'aft he ca's(13) it guid ;(14),
The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell, How 'twas a towmond(15) auld, sin'(16) lint(17) was i'(18) the bell.(19)
They round the ingle form a circle wide;
(1) Healthful, wholesome. (2) Oatmeal pudding, a well-known Scotch dish. (3) A spoonful, a small quantity of any thing liquid. (4) A cow-properly, one with a white face. (5) Beyond, (6) A particular partition wall in a cottage. (7) Chews. (8) Cud. (9) Well-spared. (10) A cheese. _(11) Keen, biting, (12) Oft. (13) Calls. (14) Good. (15) Twelvemonth. (16) Since. (17) Flax. (18) In. (19) Flower. (20) Cheerful.