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Once on the raging seas I rode,
The storm was loud-the night was dark; The ocean yawned-and rudely blowed The wind that tossed my foundering bark.
Deep horror then my vitals froze,
Death-struck, I ceased the tide to stem;
When suddenly a star arose,
It was the Star of Bethlehem.
It was my guide, my light, my all,
It bade my dark forebodings cease;
And through the storm and dangers' thrall,
It led me to the port of peace.
Now safely moored-my perils o'er, I'll sing, first in night's diadem, For ever and for evermore,
The Star-the Star of Bethlehem !
A Hymn for Family Worship.
O Lord! another day is flown,
And we, a lonely band,
Are met once more before thy throne,
To bless thy fostering hand.
And wilt thou bend a listening ear
To praises low as ours?
Thou wilt! for thou dost love to hear
The song which meekness pours.
And, Jesus, thou thy smiles wilt deign, As we before thee pray;
For thou didst bless the infant train, And we are less than they.
O let thy grace perform its part, And let contention cease; And shed abroad in every heart Thine everlasting peace!
Thus chastened, cleansed, entirely thine,
A flock by Jesus led;
The Sun of Holiness shall shine
In glory on our head.
And thou wilt turn our wandering feet,
And thou wilt bless our way;
Till worlds shall fade, and faith shall greet
The dawn of lasting day.
[Concluding stanzas, written shortly before his death.] Thus far have I pursued my solemn theme,
With self-rewarding toil; thus far have sung Of godlike deeds, far loftier than beseem
The lyre which I in early days have strung; And now my spirits faint, and I have hung The shell, that solaced me in saddest hour,
On the dark cypress; and the strings which rung With Jesus' praise, their harpings now are o'er, Or, when the breeze comes by, moan, and are heard
And must the harp of Judah sleep again?
Shall I no more reanimate the lay!
Oh! Thou who visitest the sons of men,
Thou who dost listen when the humble pray,
One little space prolong my mournful day;
One little lapse suspend thy last decree!
I am a youthful traveller in the way, And this slight boon would consecrate to thee, Ere I with Death shake hands, and smile that I am free.
The Shipwrecked Solitary's Song.-To the Night.
Thou, spirit of the spangled night!
I woo thee from the watch-tower high,
Where thou dost sit to guide the bark
Of lonely mariner.
The winds are whistling o'er the wolds,
The distant main is moaning low;
Come, let us sit and weave a song-
A melancholy song!
Sweet is the scented gale of morn,
And sweet the noontide's fervid beam,
But sweeter far the solemn calm
That marks thy mournful reign.
I've passed here many a lonely year, And never human voice have heard; I've passed here many a lonely year A solitary man.
And I have lingered in the shade, From sultry noon's hot beam; and I Have knelt before my wicker door, To sing my evening song.
And I have hailed the gray morn high
On the blue mountain's misty brow,
And tried to tune my little reed
To hymns of harmony.
But never could I tune my reed, At morn, or noon, or eve, so sweet As when upon the ocean shore
I hailed thy star-beam mild.
The day-spring brings not joy to me,
The moon it whispers not of peace!
But oh! when darkness robes the heavens,
My woes are mixed with joy.
And then I talk, and often think
Aërial voices answer me;
And oh! I am not then alone-
A solitary man,
And when the blustering winter winds Howl in the woods that clothe my cave, I lay me on my lonely mat,
And pleasant are my dreams.
And Fancy gives me back my wife; And Fancy gives me back my child; She gives me back my little home,
And all its placid joys.
Then hateful is the morning hour
That calls me from the dream of bliss,
To find myself still lone, and hear
The same dull sounds again.
in the year 1765. He studied the law, and practised The REV. JAMES GRAHAME was born in Glasgow
at the Scottish bar for several years, but afterwards took orders in the Church of England, and was successively curate of Shipton, in Gloucestershire, and of Sedgefield, in the county of Durham. Ill health compelled him to abandon his curacy when his virtues and talents had attracted notice and rendered him a popular and useful preacher; and on revisiting Scotland, he died on the 14th of September 1811. The works of Grahame consist of Mary Queen of Scotland, a dramatic poem published in 1801; The Sabbath, Sabbath Walks, Biblical Pictures, The Birds
of Scotland, and British Georgics, all in blank verse. 'The Sabbath' is the best of his productions, and the "Georgics' the least interesting; for though the latter contains some fine descriptions, the poet is too minute and too practical in his rural lessons. The amiable personal feelings of the author constantly appear. He thus warmly and tenderly apostrophises his native country :
How pleasant came thy rushing, silver Tweed! Upon my ear, when, after roaming long In southern plains, I've reached thy lovely bank! How bright, renowned Sark! thy little stream, Like ray of columned light chasing a shower, Would cross my homeward path; how sweet the sound, When I, to hear the Doric tongue's reply, Would ask thy well-known name!
And must I leave, Dear land, thy bonny braes, thy dales, Each haunted by its wizard stream, o'erhung With all the varied charms of bush and tree? And must I leave the friends of youthful years, And mould my heart anew, to take the stamp Of foreign friendships in a foreign land, And learn to love the music of strange tongues ! Yes, I may love the music of strange tongues, And mould my heart anew to take the stamp Of foreign friendships in a foreign land: But to my parched mouth's roof cleave this tongue, My fancy fade into the yellow leaf, And this oft-pausing heart forget to throb, If, Scotland! thee and thine I e'er forget.
An anecdote is related of the modest poet connected with the publication of the Sabbath, which affords an interesting illustration of his character. He had not prefixed his name to the work, nor acquainted his family with the secret of its composition, and taking a copy of the volume home with him one day. he left it on the table. His wife began reading it, while the sensitive author walked up and down the room; and at length she broke out into praise of the poem, adding, Ah, James, if you could but produce a poem like this! The joyful acknowledgment of his being the author was then made, no doubt with the most exquisite pleasure on both sides. Grahame in some respects resembles Cowper. He has no humour or satire, it is true, but the same powers of close and happy observation which the poet of Olney applied to English scenery, were directed by Grahame to that of Scotland, and both were strictly devout and national poets. There is no author, excepting Burns, whom an intelligent Scotsman, resident abroad, would read with more delight than Grahame. The ordinary features of the Scottish landscape he portrays truly and distinctly, without exaggeration, and often imparting to his descriptions a feeling of tenderness or solemnity. He has, however, many poor prosaic lines, and his versification generally wants ease and variety. He was content with humble things; but he paints the charms of a retired cottage life, the sacred calm of a Sabbath morning, a walk in the fields, or even a bird's nest, with such unfeigned delight and accurate observation, that the reader is constrained to see and feel with his author, to rejoice in the elements of poetry and meditation that are scattered around him, existing in the humblest objects, and in those humane and pious sentiments which impart to external nature a moral interest and beauty. The religion of Grahame was not sectarian; he was equally impressed with the lofty ritual of the English church, and the simple hill worship of the Covenanters. He is sometimes gloomy in his seriousness, from intense religious anxiety or sympathy with his fellow-men
suffering under oppression or misfortune, but he has less of this harsh fruit,
Picked from the thorns and briers of reproof, than his brother poet Cowper. His prevailing tone is that of implicit trust in the goodness of God, and enjoyment in his creation.
[From the Sabbath.]
How still the morning of the hallowed day!
Mute is the voice of rural labour, hushed
The ploughboy's whistle and the milkmaid's song.
The scythe lies glittering in the dewy wreath
Of tedded grass, mingled with fading flowers,
That yester-morn bloomed waving in the breeze.
Sounds the most faint attract the ear-the hum
Of early bee, the trickling of the dew,
The distant bleating midway up the hill.
Calmness seems throned on yon unmoving cloud.
To him who wanders o'er the upland leas,
The blackbird's note comes mellower from the dale;
And sweeter from the sky the gladsome lark
Warbles his heaven-tuned song; the lulling brook
Murmurs more gently down the deep-sunk glen;
While from yon lowly roof, whose curling smoke
O'ermounts the mist, is heard at intervals
The voice of psalms, the simple song of praise.
With dove-like wings Peace o'er yon village broods:
The dizzying mill-wheel rests; the anvil's din
Hath ceased; all, all around is quietness.
Less fearful on this day, the limping hare
Stops, and looks back, and stops, and looks on man,
Her deadliest foe. The toil-worn horse, set free,
Unheedful of the pasture, roams at large;
And, as his stiff unwieldy bulk he rolls,
His iron-armed hoofs gleam in the morning ray.
Hail, Sabbath! thee I hail, the poor man's day.
But chiefly man the day of rest enjoys.
On other days, the man of toil is doomed
To eat his joyless bread, lonely, the ground
Both seat and board, screened from the winter's cold
And summer's heat by neighbouring hedge or tree;
But on this day, enibosomed in his home,
He shares the frugal meal with those he loves;
With those he loves he shares the heartfelt joy
Of giving thanks to God-not thanks of form,
A word and a grimace, but reverently,
With covered face and upward earnest eye.
Hail, Sabbath! thee I hail, the poor man's day:
The pale mechanic now has leave to breathe
The morning air pure from the city's smoke;
While wandering slowly up the river side,
He meditates on Him whose power he marks
In each green tree that proudly spreads the bough,
As in the tiny dew-bent flowers that bloom
Around the roots; and while he thus surveys
With elevated joy each rural charm,
He hopes (yet fears presumption in the hope)
To reach those realms where Sabbath never ends.
But now his steps a welcome sound recalls: Solemn the knell, from yonder ancient pile, Fills all the air, inspiring joyful awe: Slowly the throng moves o'er the tomb-paved ground; The aged man, the bowed down, the blind Led by the thoughtless boy, and he who breathes With pain, and eyes the new-made grave, well-pleased; These, mingled with the young, the gay, approach The house of God-these, spite of all their ills, A glow of gladness feel; with silent praise They enter in ; a placid stillness reigns, Until the man of God, worthy the name, Opens the book, and reverentially The stated portion reads. A pause ensues. The organ breathes its distant thunder-notes, Then swells into a diapason full:
The people rising sing, with harp, with harp,
And voice of psalms;' harmoniously attuned
The various voices blend; the long-drawn aisles,
At every close, the lingering strain prolong.
And now the tubes a softened stop controls;
In softer harmony the people join,
While liquid whispers from yon orphan band,
Recall the soul from adoration's trance,
And fill the eye with pity's gentle tears.
Again the organ-peal, loud, rolling, meets
The hallelujahs of the quire. Sublime
A thousand notes symphoniously ascend,
As if the whole were one, suspended high
In air, soaring heavenward: afar they float,
Wafting glad tidings to the sick man's couch:
Raised on his arm, he lists the cadence close,
Yet thinks he hears it still his heart is cheered;
He smiles on death; but ah! a wish will rise-
'Would I were now beneath that echoing roof!
No lukewarm accents from my lips should flow;
My heart would sing; and many a Sabbath-day
My steps should thither turn; or, wandering far
In solitary paths, where wild flowers blow,
There would I bless His name who led me forth
From death's dark vale, to walk amid those sweets
Who gives the bloom of health once more to glow
Upon this cheek, and lights this languid eye.'
It is not only in the sacred fane
That homage should be paid to the Most High;
There is a temple, one not made with hands,
The vaulted firmament. Far in the woods,
Almost beyond the sound of city chime,
At intervals heard through the breezeless air;
When not the limberest leaf is seen to move,
Save where the linnet lights upon the spray;
Where not a flow'ret bends its little stalk,
Save when the bee alights upon the bloom-
There, rapt in gratitude, in joy, and love,
The man of God will pass the Sabbath-noon;
Silence his praise: his disembodied thoughts,
Loosed from the load of words, will high ascend
Beyond the empyreal.
Nor yet less pleasing at the heavenly throne,
The Sabbath service of the shepherd boy!
In some lone glen, where every sound is lulled
To slumber, save the tinkling of the rill,
Or bleat of lamb, or hovering falcon's cry,
Stretched on the sward, he reads of Jesse's son ;
Or sheds a tear o'er him to Egypt sold,
And wonders why he weeps: the volume closed,
With thyme-sprig laid between the leaves, he sings
The sacred lays, his weekly lesson conned
With meikle care beneath the lowly roof,
Where humble lore is learnt, where humble worth
Pines unrewarded by a thankless state.
Thus reading, hymning, all alone, unseen,
} The shepherd-boy the Sabbath holy keeps,
Till on the heights he marks the straggling bands
Returning homeward from the house of prayer.
In peace they home resort. Oh, blissful days!
When all men worship God as conscience wills.
Far other times our fathers' grandsires knew,
A virtuous race to godliness devote.
What though the sceptic's scorn hath dared to soil
The record of their fame! What though the men
Of worldly minds have dared to stigmatise
The sister-cause, Religion and the Law,
With Superstition's name!-yet, yet their deeds,
Their constancy in torture and in death-
These on tradition's tongue still live, these shall
On history's honest page be pictured bright
To latest times. Perhaps some bard, whose muse
Disdains the servile strain of fashion's quire,
May celebrate their unambitious names.
With them each day was holy, every hour
They stood prepared to die, a people doomed
To death-old men, and youths, and simple maids.
With them each day was holy; but that morn
On which the angel said, 'See where the Lord
Was laid,' joyous arose-to die that day
Was bliss. Long ere the dawn, by devious ways,
O'er hills, through woods, o'er dreary wastes, they
The upland moors, where rivers, there but brooks,
Dispart to different seas. Fast by such brooks
A little glen is sometimes scooped, a plat
With green sward gay, and flowers that strangers seem
Amid the heathery wild, that all around
Fatigues the eye: in solitudes like these
Thy persecuted children, Scotia, foiled
A tyrant's and a bigot's bloody laws;
There, leaning on his spear (one of the array
That in the times of old had scathed the rose
On England's banner, and had powerless struck
The infatuate monarch and his wavering host,
Yet ranged itself to aid his son dethroned),
The lyart veteran heard the word of God
By Cameron thundered, or by Renwick poured
In gentle stream: then rose the song, the loud
Acclaim of praise; the wheeling plover ceased
Her plaint; the solitary place was glad.
And on the distant cairns, the watcher's ear
Caught doubtfully at times the breeze-borne note.
But years more gloomy followed, and no more
The assembled people dared, in face of day,
To worship God, or even at the dead
Of night, save when the wintry storm raved fierce,
And thunder-peals compelled the men of blood
To couch within their dens; then dauntlessly
The scattered few would meet, in some deep dell
By rocks o'er-canopied, to hear the voice,
Their faithful pastor's voice: he by the gleam
Of sheeted lightning oped the sacred book,
And words of comfort spake: over their souls
His accents soothing came-as to her young
The heath-fowl's plumes, when at the close of eve
She gathers in mournful her brood dispersed
By murderous sport, and o'er the remnant spreads
Fondly her wings, close nestling 'neath her breast
They cherished cower amid the purple blooms.
But wood and wild, the mountain and the dale,
The house of prayer itself, no place inspires
Emotions more accordant with the day,
Than does the field of graves, the land of rest.
Oft at the close of evening-prayer, the toll,
The funeral-toll, announces solemnly
The service of the tomb; the homeward crowds
Divide on either hand: the pomp draws near;
The choir to meet the dead go forth, and sing,
'I am the resurrection and the life.'
Ah me! these youthful bearers robed in white,
They tell a mournful tale; some blooming friend
Is gone, dead in her prime of years 'twas she,
The poor man's friend, who, when she could not give,
With angel tongue pleaded to those who could;
With angel-tongue and mild beseeching eye,
That ne'er besought in vain, save when she prayed
For longer life, with heart resigned to die-
Rejoiced to die, for happy visions blessed
Her voyage's last days, and hovering round,
Alighted on her soul, giving presage
That heaven was nigh. Oh what a burst
Of rapture from her lips! what tears of joy
Her heavenward eyes suffused! Those eyes are closed;
Yet all her loveliness is not yet flown:
She smiled in death, and still her cold pale face
Retains that smile; as when a waveless lake,
In which the wintry stars all bright appear,
Is sheeted by a nightly frost with ice,
Still it reflects the face of heaven unchanged,
Unruffled by the breeze or sweeping blast.
And he who cried to Lazarus Come forth!' Will, when the Sabbath of the tomb is past, Call forth the dead, and reunite the dust (Transformed and purified) to angel souls. Ecstatic hope! belief! conviction firm! How grateful 'tis to recollect the time When hope arose to faith! Faintly at first The heavenly voice is heard. Then by degrees Its music sounds perpetual in the heart. Thus he, who all the gloomy winter long Has dwelt in city crowds, wandering afield Betimes on Sabbath morn, ere yet the spring Unfold the daisy's bud, delighted hears The first lark's note, faint yet, and short the song, Checked by the chill ungenial northern breeze; But, as the sun ascends, another springs, And still another soars on loftier wing, Till all o'erhead, the joyous choir unseen, Poised welkin-high, harmonious fills the air, As if it were a link 'tween earth and heaven.
[A Spring Sabbath Walk.]
Most earnest was his voice! most mild his look,
As with raised hands he blessed his parting flock.
He is a faithful pastor of the poor;
He thinks not of himself; his Master's words,
'Feed, feed my sheep,' are ever at his heart,
The cross of Christ is aye before his eyes.
Oh how I love with melted soul to leave
The house of prayer, and wander in the fields
Alone! What though the opening spring be chill!
What though the lark, checked in his airy path,
Eke out his song, perched on the fallow clod,
That still o'ertops the blade! What though no branch
Have spread its foliage, save the willow wand,
That dips its pale leaves in the swollen stream!
What though the clouds oft lower! their threats but end
In sunny showers, that scarcely fill the folds
Of moss-couched violet, or interrupt
The merle's dulcet pipe-melodious bird!
He, hid behind the milk-white sloe-thorn spray
(Whose early flowers anticipate the leaf),
Welcomes the time of buds, the infant year.
Sweet is the sunny nook to which my steps Have brought me, hardly conscious where I roamed, Unheeding where so lovely, all around, The works of God, arrayed in vernal smile! Oft at this season, musing I prolong
My devious range, till, sunk from view, the sun
Emblaze, with upward-slanting ray, the breast
And wing unquivering of the wheeling lark,
Descending vocal from her latest flight,
While, disregardful of yon lonely star-
The harbinger of chill night's glittering host-
Sweet redbreast, Scotia's Philomela, chants
In desultory strains his evening hymn.
[A Summer Sabbath Walk.] Delightful is this loneliness; it calms
My heart pleasant the cool beneath these elms
That throw across the stream a moveless shade.
Here nature in her midnoon whisper speaks;
How peaceful every sound!—the ring-dove's plaint,
Moaned from the forest's gloomiest retreat,
While every other woodland lay is mute,
Save when the wren flits from her down-coved nest,
And from the root-sprigs trills her ditty clear-
The grasshopper's oft-pausing chirp-the buzz,
Angrily shrill, of moss-entangled bee,
That soon as loosed booms with full twang away-
The sudden rushing of the minnow shoal
Scared from the shallows by my passing tread.
Dimpling the water glides, with here and there
A glossy fly, skimming in circlets gay
The treacherous surface, while the quick-eyed trout
Watches his time to spring; or from above,
Some feathered dam, purveying 'mong the boughs,
Darts from her perch, and to her plumeless brood
Bears off the prize. Sad emblem of man's lot!
He, giddy insect, from his native leaf
(Where safe and happily he might have lurked)
Elate upon ambition's gaudy wings,
Forgetful of his origin, and worse,
Unthinking of his end, flies to the stream,
And if from hostile vigilance he 'scape,
Buoyant he flutters but a little while,
Mistakes the inverted image of the sky
For heaven itself, and, sinking, meets his fate.
Now, let me trace the stream up to its source
Among the hills, its runnel by degrees
Diminishing, the murmur turns a tinkle.
Closer and closer still the banks approach,
Tangled so thick with pleaching bramble shoots,
With brier and hazel branch, and hawthorn spray,
That, fain to quit the dingle, glad I mount
Into the open air: grateful the breeze
That fans my throbbing temples! smiles the plain
Spread wide below: how sweet the placid view!
But, oh! more sweet the thought, heart-soothing
That thousands and ten thousands of the sons
Of toil partake this day the common joy
Of rest, of peace, of viewing hill and dale,
Of breathing in the silence of the woods,
And blessing him who gave the Sabbath-day.
Yes! my heart flutters with a freer throb,
To think that now the townsman wanders forth
Among the fields and meadows, to enjoy
The coolness of the day's decline, to see
His children sport around, and simply pull
The flower and weed promiscuous, as a boon
Which proudly in his breast they smiling fix.
Again I turn me to the hill, and trace
The wizard stream, now scarce to be discerned,
Woodless its banks, but green with ferny leaves,
And thinly strewed with heath-bells up and down.
Now, when the downward sun has left the glens, Each mountain's rugged lineaments are traced Upon the adverse slope, where stalks gigantic The shepherd's shadow thrown athwart the chasm, As on the topmost ridge he homeward hies. How deep the hush! the torrent's channel dry, Presents a stony steep, the echo's haunt. But hark a plaintive sound floating along! 'Tis from yon heath-roofed shieling; now it dies Away, now rises full; it is the song Which He, who listens to the hallelujahs Of choiring seraphim, delights to hear; It is the music of the heart, the voice Of venerable age, of guileless youth, In kindly circle seated on the ground Before their wicker door. Behold the man!
The grandsire and the saint; his silvery locks
Beam in the parting ray; before him lies,
Upon the smooth-cropt sward, the open book,
His comfort, stay, and ever-new delight;
While heedless at a side, the lisping boy
Fondles the lamb that nightly shares his couch.
[An Autumn Sabbath Walk.]
When homeward bands their several ways disperse,
I love to linger in the narrow field
Of rest, to wander round from tomb to tomb,
And think of some who silent sleep below.
Sad sighs the wind that from these ancient elms
Shakes showers of leaves upon the withered grass:
The sere and yellow wreaths, with eddying sweep,
Fill up the furrows 'tween the hillocked graves.
But list that moan! 'tis the poor blind man's dog,
His guide for many a day, now come to mourn
The master and the friend-conjunction rare!
A man, indeed, he was of gentle soul,
Though bred to brave the deep: the lightning's flash
Had dimmed, not closed, his mild but sightless eyes.
He was a welcome guest through all his range
(It was not wide); no dog would bay at him:
Children would run to meet him on his way,
And lead him to a sunny seat, and climb
His knee, and wonder at his oft-told tales.
Then would he teach the elfins how to plait
The rushy cap and crown, or sedgy ship:
And I have seen him lay his tremulous hand
Upon their heads, while silent moved his lips.
Peace to thy spirit, that now looks on me
Perhaps with greater pity than I felt
To see thee wandering darkling on thy way,
But let me quit this melancholy spot,
And roam where nature gives a parting smile.
As yet the blue bells linger on the sod
That copse the sheepfold ring; and in the woods
A second blow of many flowers appears,
Flowers faintly tinged, and breathing no perfume.
But fruits, not blossoms, form the woodland wreath
That circles Autumn's brow. The ruddy haws
Now clothe the half-leafed thorn; the bramble bends
Beneath its jetty load; the hazel hangs
With auburn bunches, dipping in the stream
That sweeps along, and threatens to o'erflow
The leaf-strewn banks: oft, statue-like, I gaze,
In vacancy of thought, upon that stream,
And chase, with dreaming eye, the eddying foam,
Or rowan's clustered branch, or harvest sheaf,
Borne rapidly adown the dizzying flood.
[A Winter Sabbath Walk.]
How dazzling white the snowy scene! deep, deep
The stillness of the winter Sabbath day-
Not even a foot-fall heard. Smooth are the fields,
Each hollow pathway level with the plain :
Hid are the bushes, save that here and there
Are seen the topmost shoots of brier or broom.
High-ridged the whirled drift has almost reached
The powdered key-stone of the church-yard porch.
Mute hangs the hooded bell; the tombs lie buried;
No step approaches to the house of prayer.
The flickering fall is o'er: the clouds disperse, And show the sun, hung o'er the welkin's verge, Shooting a bright but ineffectual beam On all the sparkling waste. Now is the time To visit nature in her grand attire. Though perilous the mountainous ascent, A noble recompense the danger brings. How beautiful the plain stretched far below, Unvaried though it be, save by yon stream With azure windings, or the leafless wood! But what the beauty of the plain, compared
To that sublimity which reigns enthroned,
Holding joint rule with solitude divine,
Among yon rocky fells that bid defiance
To steps the most adventurously bold?
There silence dwells profound; or if the cry
Of high-poised eagle break at times the hush,
The mantled echoes no response return.
But let me now explore the deep-sunk dell.
No foot-print, save the covey's or the flock's,
Is seen along the rill, where marshy springs
Still rear the grassy blade of vivid green.
Beware, ye shepherds, of these treacherous haunts,
Nor linger there too long: the wintry day
Soon closes; and full oft a heavier fall,
Heaped by the blast, fills up the sheltered glen,
While, gurgling deep below, the buried rill
Mines for itself a snow-coved way! Oh, then,
Your helpless charge drive from the tempting spot,
And keep them on the bleak hill's stormy side,
Where night-winds sweep the gathering drift away:
So the great Shepherd leads the heavenly flock
From faithless pleasures, full into the storms
Of life, where long they bear the bitter blast,
Until at length the vernal sun looks forth,
Bedimmed with showers; then to the pastures green
He brings them where the quiet waters glide,
The stream of life, the Siloah of the soul.
A parent's roof; yes, at the word, join hands,
A tear reluctant starts, as she beholds
Her mother's looks, her father's silvery hairs.
But serious thoughts take flight, when from the barn,
Soon as the bands are knit, a jocund sound
Strikes briskly up, and nimble feet beat fast
Upon the earthen floor. Through many a reel
With various steps uncouth, some new, some old,
Some all the dancer's own, with Highland flings
Not void of grace, the lads and lasses strive
To dance each other down; and oft when quite
Forespent, the fingers merrily cracked, the bound,
The rallying shout well-timed, and sudden change
To sprightlier tune, revive the flagging foot,
And make it feel as if it tripped in air.
When all are tired, and all his stock of reels
The minstrel o'er and o'er again has run,
The cheering flagon circles round; meanwhile,
A softened tune, and slower measure, flows
Sweet from the strings, and stills the boisterous joy.
Maybe The Bonny Broom of Cowdenknowes
(If simply played, though not with master hand),
Or Patie's Mill, or Bush Aboon Traquair,
Inspire a tranquil gladness through the breast;
Or that most mournful strain, the sad lament
For Flodden-field, drives mirth from every face,
And makes the firmest heart strive hard to curb
The rising tear; till, with unpausing bow,
The blithe strathspey springs up, reminding some
Of nights when Gow's old arm (nor old the tale),
Unceasing, save when reeking cans went round,
Made heart and heel leap light as bounding roe.
Alas! no more shall we behold that look
So venerable, yet so blent with mirth,