« PreviousContinue »
Still long she nursed him ; tender thoughts, meantime, Were interchang'd, and hopes and views sublime. To her he came to die, and every day She took some portion of the dread away : With him she pray'd, to him his Bible read, Sooth'd the faint heart, and held the aching head ; She came with smiles the hour of pain to cheer ; Apart, she sigh’d ; alone, she shed the tear; Then, as if breaking from a cloud, she gave Fresh light, and gilt the prospect of the grave.
One day he lighter seem'd, and they forgot
She plac'd a decent stone his grave above, Neatly engrav'd-an offering of her love; For that she wrought, for that forsook her bed, Awake alike to duty and the dead ; She would have griev'd, had friends presum'd to spare The least assistance—'twas her proper care.
Here will she come, and on the grave will sit,
Forbear, sweet maid ! nor be by fancy led, To hold mysterious converse with the dead; For sure at length thy thoughts, thy spirit's pain, In this sad conflict, will disturb thy brain ; All have their tasks and trials ; thine are hard, But short the time, and glorious the reward ; Thy patient spirit to thy duties give, Regard the dead, but, to the living, live.
252. FROM THE PARISH REGISTER.'
AN ENGLISH PEASANT.
and pageantry in nought allied, A noble peasant, Isaac Ashford, died. Noble he was, contemning all things mean, His truth unquestioned, and his soul serene : Of no man's presence Isaac felt afraid, At no man's question Isaac looked dismayed : Shame knew him not, he dreaded no disgrace ; Truth, simple truth, was written in his face ; Yet while the serious thought his soul approved, Cheerful he seemed and gentleness he loved : To bliss domestic he his heart resigned, And, with the firmest, had the fondest mind : Were others joyful, he looked smiling on, And gave allowance where he needed none : Good he refused with future ill to buy, Nor knew a joy that caused reflection's sigh ; A friend to virtue, his unclouded breast, No envy stung, no jealousy distressed ; (Bane of the poor ! it wounds their weaker mind, To miss one favour which their neighbours find :) Yet far was he from stoic pride removed ; He felt humanely, and he warmly loved : I marked his action when his infant died, And his old neighbour for offence was tried ; The still tears, stealing down that furrowed cheek, Spoke pity plainer than the tongue can speak. If pride were his, 'twas not their vulgar pride, Who, in their base contempt, the great deride ; Nor pride in learning, though my clerk agreed, If fate should call him, Ashford might succeed ;
Nor pride in rustic skill, although we knew
Robert Burns. 1759-1796. (Manual, p. 392.)
253. FAREWELL TO THE HIGHLANDS. My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here; My heart's in the Highlands, a chasing the deer : Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe, My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go. Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North, The birthplace of valour, the country of worth ; Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.
Farewell to the mountains high cover'd with snow; Farewell to the straths and green valleys below; Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods ; Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods : My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here; My heart's in the Highlands, a chasing the deer; Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe, My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go.
254. TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY.
Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow'r,
Thy slender stem;
Thou bonnie gem.
Alas! it's no thy neebour sweet, The bonny Lark, companion meet! Bending thee ʼmang the dewy weet
Wi' speckled breast, When upward-springing, blithe, to greet
The purpling east.
Cauld blew the bitter-biting north,
Amid the storm,
Thy tender form.
The flaunting flow'rs our gardens yield, High sheltring woods and wa’s maun shield, But thou beneath the random bield
O'clod or stane, Adorns the histie stibble field,
There, in thy scanty mantle clad, Thy snawy bosom sunward 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 flow'ret of the rural shade! By love's simplicity betray'd,
And guileless trust, Till she, like thee, all soild, is laid
Low i' the dust.
Such is the fate of simple Bard,
Of prudent lore,
And whelm him o'er!
Such fate to suffering worth is given, Who long with wants and woes has striven, By human pride or cunning driven
To mis'ry'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 !
255. To MARY IN HEAVEN.
Thou lingering star, with lessening ray,
That lovest to greet the early morn, Again thou usher’st in the day
My Mary from my soul was torn. O Mary! dear departed shade!
Where is thy place of blissful rest ? Seest thou thy lover lowly laid ?
Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast ? That sacred hour can I forget,
Can I forget the hallow'd grove, Where by the winding Ayr we met,
To live one day of parting love? Eternity will not efface
Those records dear of transports past; Thy image our last embrace !
Ah, little thought we 'twas our last !
Ayr gurgling kiss'd his pebbled shore,
O’erhung with wild woods thick’ning green: The fragrant birch, and hawthorn hoar,
Twined amorous round the raptured scene.