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Good he refused with future ill to buy,
He had no party's rage, no sect’ry's whim,
Nor his firm feet could one persuading sect
In times severe, when many a sturdy swain
At length he found, when seventy years were run, His strength departed and his labour done; When, save his honest fame, he kept no more, But lost his wife and saw his children poor ; 'Twas then a spark of-say not, discontentStruck on his mind—and thus he gave it vent:
“Kind are your laws—’tis not to be denied-
stomachs with an anxious look:
November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh;
The short'ning winter day is near a close; The miry beasts retreating fra' the pleugh;
The black’ning train o' craws to their repose : The toil-worn cotter frae his labour goes,
This night his weekly moil is at an end, Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes,
Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend, And weary, o'er the moor, his course does hameward
At length his lonely cot appears in view,
Beneath the shelter of an agèd tree;
To meet their dad, wi' flichterin noise an' glee.
His clean hearth-stane, his thrifty wifie's smile,
Does a' his weary carking cares beguile,
Belyve, the elder bairns come drappin' in,
At service out, amang the farmers roun’;
A cannie errand to a neebor town:
In youthfu' bloom, love sparklin' in her e'e,
Or deposite her sair-won penny fee .
With joy unfeign'd brothers and sisters meet,
And each for other's weelfare kindly spiers; The social hours, swift-wing'd, unnoticed fleet;
Each tells the uncos that he sees and hears; The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years ;
Anticipation forward points the view : The mother wi' her needle, and her shears,
Gars auld claes look amaist as well's the new; The father mixes a' with admonition due.
Their master's and their mistress's command,
The younkers a' are warned to obey ;
And ne'er, though out o' sight, to jauk or play ; “And O! be sure to fear the Lord alway!
And mind your duty duly, morn and night! Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray,
Implore His counsel and assisting might: They never sought in vain that sought the Lord aright.'
But now the supper crowns their simple board,
The halesome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food; The
soupe their only Hawkie does afford, That 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood; The dame brings forth in complimental mood,
To grace the lad, her weel-hain'd kebbuck, fell, And aft he's prest, and aft he ca's it guid;
The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell, How 'twas a towmond auld, sin' lint was i' the bell.
The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face,
They, round the ingle, form a circle wido; The sire turns o'er, with patriarchal grace,
The big ha’-Bible, ance his father's pride; His bonnet rev'rently is laid aside,
His lyart haffets wearing thin and bare; Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide,
He wales a portion with judicious care, And, “Let us worship God!” he says, with solemn air.
Then kneeling down, to Heaven's Eternal King,
The saint, the father, and the husband prays; Hope “springs exulting on triumphant wing,”
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; Whilo 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