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By contemplation's help, not sought in vain,
THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT.
NOVEMBER chill blaws loud with angry sugh ;
The shortening winter-day is near a close; The miry beasts retreating frae the pleugh ;
The blackening trains 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 aged tree; Th’expectant wee-things, toddlin, stachera thro',
To meet their dad wi' flichterin noise and glee. His wee bit ingle blinkin bonnilie,
His clean hearth-stane, his thriftie wifie's smile, The lisping infant prattling on his knee,
Does all his weary, carking cares beguile, An' makes him quite forget his
labour and his toil.
Belyve the elder bairns come drappin in,
At service out, amang the farmers roun';
A cannie errand to a neebour town;
In youthfu’ ħloom, love sparkling in her e'e,
Or deposite her sair-won penny-fee,
An each for other's weelfare kindly spiers;
Each tells the uncosd 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,
Garse auld claes look amaist as weel 's the new;
Their yonkers a' are warned to obey ;
An' ne'er, tho' out oʻsight, to jauk or play;
An' mind your duty, duly, morn an' 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 !
The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face,
They, round the ingle, form a circle wide; The sire turns o'er, wi' patriarchal grace,
The big Ha’-Bible, ance his father's pride: His bonnet reverently is laid aside,
His lyarta haffetsb wearin 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, While circling time moves round in an eternal sphere.
Then homeward all take off their several way ;
The youngling cottagers retire to rest : The parent pair their secret homage pay,
And proffer up to Heaven the warm request, That He who stills the raven's clamorous nest,
And decks the lily fair in flowery pride, Would, in the way his wisdom sees the best,
For them and for their little ones provide ; But chiefly in their hearts with grace divine preside.
A MOTHER'S DEATH.
THEN died lamented, in the strength of life,
But when to all that knit us to our kind,
Slowly they bore, with solemn step, the dead :When grief grew loud, and bitter tears were shed, My part began; a crowd drew near the place, Awe in each eye, alarm in every face: So swift the ill, and of so fierce a kind, That fear, with pity, mingled in each mind; Friends with the husband came, their griefs to blend ; For good-man Frankford was to all a friend. The last-born boy they held above the bier, He knew not grief, but cries express'd his fear: Each different age and sex reveal'd its pain, In now a louder, now a lower strain; While the meek father, listening to their tones, Swell'd the full cadence of the grief by groans. The elder sister strove her pangs to hide, And soothing words to younger minds applied : "Be still, be patient,” oft she strove to say; But failed as oft, and weeping, turn'd away.
Curious and sad, upon the fresh-dug hill, The village lads stood melancholy, still; And idle children, wandering to-and-fro, As nature guided, took the tone of woe.
Arrived at home, how then they gazed around,
sorrows Pierced the full heart, and forced them still to rise.
in the eyes,
MELROSE ABBEY AS IT IS.
IF thou would’st view fair Melrose aright,
SCOTT's LAY OF THE LAST MINSTREL.