The sun had clos'd the winter day
The Curlers quat their roaring play,
And hunger'd Maukin taen her way
To kail-yards green
While faithless snaws ilk step betray
Whare she has been.
The Thresher's weary flingin-tree,
The lee-lang day had tir’d me;
And when the Day had clos'd his e'e,
Far i' the west,
Ben i' the Spence, right pensivelie,
I gaed to rest.
There, lanely, by the ingle-cheek,
I sat and ey'd the spewing reek,
That fill'd, wi' hoast-provoking smeek,
The auld clay biggin;
An' heard the restless rattons squeak
About the riggin.
All in this mottie, misty clime,
I backward mus'd on wasted time
How I had spent my youthfu' prime,
An' done naething,
But stringing blethers up in rhyme,
For fools to sing.
Had I to guid advice but harket,
I might, by this, hae led a market,
Or strutted in a Bank and clarket
While here, half-mad, half-fed, half-sarket,
Is a' th' amount.
I started, mutt'ring blockhead! coof!
And heav'd on high my wauket loof,
To swear by a' yon starry roof,
Or some rash aith,
That I, henceforth, would be rhyme-proof
Till my last breath----
When click! the string the snick did draw;
And jee! the door gaed to the wa';
And by my ingle-lowe I saw,
Now bleezan bright,
A tight, outlandish Hizzie, braw,
Come full in sight.
Ye need na doubt, I held my whisht;
The infant aith, half-form'd, was crusht;
I glowr'd as eerie 's I'd been dusht,
In some wild glen;
When sweet, like modest Worth, she blusht,
And stepped ben.
Green, slender, leaf-clad Holly-boughs
Were twisted, gracefu', round her brows,
I took her for some SCOTTISH MUSE,
By that same token;
And come to stop those reckless vows,
Would soon been broken.
A ' hair-brain'd, sentimental trace'
Was strongly marked in her face;
A wildly-witty, rustic grace
Shone full upon her;
Her eye, ev'n turn'd on empty space,
Beam'd keen with Honor.
Down flow'd her robe, a tartan sheen,
Till half a leg was scrimply seen;
And such a leg! my bonie JEAN
Could only peer it;
Sae straught, sae taper, tight and clean
Nane else came near it.
Her Mantle large, of greenish hue,
My gazing wonder chiefly drew;
Deep lights and shades, bold-mingling, threw
A lustre grand;
And seem'd, to my astonish'd view,
A well-known land.
Here, rivers in the sea were lost;
There, mountains to the skies were tost;
Here, tumbling billows mark'd the coast,
With surging foam;
There, distant shone, Art's lofty boast,
The lordly dome.
Here, DOON pour'd down his far-fetch'd floods;
There, well-fed IRWINE stately thuds:
Auld, hermit AIRE staw thro' his woods,
On to the shore;
And many a lesser torrent scuds
With seeming roar.
Low, in a sandy valley spread,
An ancient BOROUGH rear'd her head;
Still, as in Scottish Story read,
She boasts a Race
To ev'ry nobler virtue bred,
And polish'd grace.
By stately tow'r, or palace fair,
Or ruins pendent in the air,
Bold stems of Heroes, here and there,
I could discern;
Some seem'd to muse, some seem'd to dare,
With feature stern.
My heart did glowing transport feel,
To see a Race heroic wheel,
And brandish round the deep-dy’d steel
In sturdy blows;
While back-recoiling seem'd to reel
Their Suthron foes.
His COUNTRY'S SAVIOUR, mark him well!
Bold RICHARDTON's heroic swell;
The Chief on Sark who glorious fell
In high command;
And He whom ruthless Fates expel
His native land.
With secret throes I mark’d that earth,
That cottage witness of my birth;
And near I saw, bold issuing forth,
In youthful pride
A Lindsay race of noble worth,
Fam’d far and wide.
Where, hid behind a spreading wood
An ancient, Pict-built Mansion stood,
I spy’d, among an angel brood,
A female pair;
Sweet shone their high maternal blood,
And father’s air.
An ancient tow’r to mem’ry brought,
How Dettingen’s bold heroe fought;
Still far from sinking into nought,
It owns a lord,
Who far in Western climates fought
With trusty sword.
There, where a sceptr'd Pictish shade
Stalk'd round his ashes lowly laid,
I mark'd a martial Race, pourtray'd
In colours strong:
Bold, soldier-featur'd, undismay'd
They strode along.
Among the rest I well could spy
One gallant, graceful, martial boy;
The sodger sparkl’d in his eye,
A diamond water;
I blest that noble Badge with joy,
That own’d me frater.
Thro' many a wild, romantic grove,
Near many a hermit-fancy’d cove,
(Fit haunts for Friendship or for Love,
In musing mood)
An aged Judge, I saw him rove,
[Nearby] arose a mansion fine,
The seat of many a Muse divine;
Not rustic Muses such as mine,
With holley crown’d,
But th’ ancient, tuneful, laurell’d Nine,
From classic ground.
I mourn’d the card that Fortune dealt,
To see where bonie Whitefords dwelt;
But other prospects made me melt;
That village near;
There Nature, Friendship, Love, I felt,
Hail! Nature’s pang, more strong than death!
Warm Friendship’s glow, like kindling wrath!
Love, dearer than the parting breath
Of dying friend!
Not ev’n with life’s wild devious path,
Your force shall end!
The Pow’r that gave the soft alarms
In blooming Whiteford’s rosy charms,
Still threats the tiny, feather’d arms,
The barbed dart,
While lovely Wilheminia warms
The coldest heart.
With deep-struck, reverential awe,
The learned Sire and Son I saw,
To Nature's God and Nature's law
They gave their lore,
This, all its source and end to draw,
That, to adore.
Where Lugar leaves his moorland plaid,
Where lately Want was idly laid,
I marked a busy, bustling Trade,
In fervid flame,
Beneath a Patroness’s aid,
Of noble name.
Wild countless hills I could survey,
And countless flocks as wild as they;
But other scenes did charms display,
That better please,
Where polish’d manners dwell with Gray,
In rural ease.
Where Cessnock pours with gurgling sound;
And Irwine, marking out the bound,
Enamour’d of the scenes around,
Slow runs his race,
A name I doubly honor’d found,
With knightly grace.
Brydone’s brave ward, I saw him stand,
Fame humbly offering her hand,
And near, his kinman’s rustic band,
With one accord,
Lamenting their late blessed land
Must change its lord.
The owner of a pleasant spot,
Near sandy wilds, I last did note;
A heart too warm, a pulse too hot
At times, o’erran;
But large in ev’ry feature wrote,
Appear’d the Man.
BRYDON's brave ward I well could spy,
Beneath old SCOTIA's smiling eye;
Who call'd on Fame, low standing by,
To hand him on,
Where many a Patriot-name on high,
And Hero shone.
With musing-deep, astonish'd stare,
I view'd the heavenly-seeming Fair;
A whisp'ring throb did witness bear
Of kindred sweet,
When with an elder Sister's air
She did me greet.
Duan the Second
All these in colours, strong imprest,
I marked chief among the rest,
While favor’d by my honor’d guest,
In converse sweet;
Who, as I said, in blushes drest,
Thus me did greet.
‘All hail &c.
'All hail! my own inspired Bard!
In me thy native Muse regard!
Nor longer mourn thy fate is hard,
Thus poorly low!
I come to give thee such reward,
As we bestow.
Know, the great Genius of this Land,
Has many a light, aerial band,
Who, all beneath his high command,
As Arts or Arms they understand,
Their labors ply.
They SCOTIA's Race among them share;
Some fire the Sodger on to dare;
Some rouse the Patriot up to bare
Some teach the Bard, a darling care,
The tuneful Art.
Mong swelling floods of reeking gore,
They ardent, kindling spirits pour;
Or, mid the venal Senate's roar,
They, sightless, stand,
To mend the honest Patriot-lore,
And grace the hand.
And when the Bard, or hoary Sage,
Charm or instruct the future age,
They bind the wild, Poetic rage
Or point the inconclusive page
Full on the eye.
Hence, FULLARTON, the brave and young;
Hence, DEMPSTER's truth prevailing tongue;
Hence, sweet harmonious BEATTIE sung
His “Minstrel lays;”
Or tore, with noble ardour stung,
The Sceptic's bays.
To lower Orders are assign'd
The humbler ranks of Human-kind,
The rustic Bard, the lab’ring Hind,
All chuse, as, various they're inclin'd,
The various man.
When yellow waves the heavy grain,
The threat'ning Storm, some, strongly, rein,
Some teach to meliorate the plain,
And some instruct the Shepherd-train,
Blythe o'er the hill.
Some hint the Lover's harmless wile;
Some grace the Maiden's artless smile;
Some soothe the Lab’rer's weary toil,
For humble gains,
And make his cottage-scenes beguile
His cares and pains.
Some, bounded to a district-space,
Explore at large Man's infant race,
To mark the embryotic trace,
Of rustic Bard;
And careful note each op’ning grace,
A guide and guard.
Of these am I COILA my name;
And this district as mine I claim,
Where once the Campbells, chiefs of fame,
Held ruling pow'r:
I mark'd thy embryo-tuneful flame,
Thy natal hour.
With future hope, I oft would gaze,
Fond, on thy little, early ways,
Thy rudely-caroll'd, chiming phrase,
In uncouth rhymes,
Fir'd at the simple, artless lays
Of other times.
I saw thee seek the sounding shore,
Delighted with the dashing roar;
Or when the North his fleecy store
Drove thro' the sky,
I saw grim Nature's visage hoar
Struck thy young eye.
Or when the deep green-mantl’d Earth
Warm-cherish'd ev'ry floweret's birth,
And joy and music pouring forth,
In ev'ry grove,
I saw thee eye the gen'ral mirth
With boundless love.
When ripen'd fields, and azure skies,
Call'd forth the Reapers' rustling noise,
I saw thee leave their ev'ning joys,
And lonely stalk,
To vent thy bosom's swelling rise,
In pensive walk.
When youthful Love, warm-blushing, strong,
Keen-shivering shot thy nerves along,
Those accents, grateful to thy tongue,
Th' adored Name,
I taught thee how to pour in song
To soothe thy flame.
I saw thy pulse's maddening play,
Wild-send thee Pleasure's devious way,
Misled by Fancy's meteor-ray,
By passion driven;
But yet the light that led astray,
Was light from Heaven.
I taught thy manners-painting strains,
The loves, the ways of simple swains,
Till now, o'er all my wide domains,
Thy fame extends;
And some, the pride of Coila's plains,
Become thy friends.
Thou canst not learn, nor I can show,
To paint with Thomson's landscape-glow;
Or wake the bosom-melting throe,
With Shenstone's art;
Or pour, with Gray, the moving flow
Warm on the heart.
Yet, all beneath th' unrivall'd Rose,
The lowly Daisy sweetly blows;
Tho' large the forest's Monarch throws
His army shade,
Yet green the juicy Hawthorn grows,
Adown the glade.
Then never murmur nor repine;
Strive in thy humble sphere to shine;
And trust me, not Potosi's mine,
Nor King's regard,
Can give a bliss o'ermatching thine,
A rustic Bard.
To give my counsels all in one,
Thy tuneful flame still careful fan;
Preserve the dignity of Man,
With Soul erect;
And trust the UNIVERSAL PLAN
Will all protect.
‘And wear thou this' She solemn said,
And bound the Holly round my head:
The polish'd leaves, and berries red,
Did rustling play;
And, like a passing thought, she fled,
In light away.