Written in Friar’s Carse Hermitage on the banks of Nith [A] ——June—-1788

THOU whom chance may hither lead,
Be thou clad in russet weed,
Be thou deckt in silken stole,
Grave these maxims on thy soul.----

Life is but a day at most,
Sprung from night, in darkness lost;
Hope not sunshine every hour,
Fear not clouds will always lour.----
Happiness is but a name,
Make CONTENT and EASE thy aim.----
Ambition is a meteor gleam,
Fame a restless, airy dream;
Pleasures, insects on the wing
Round Peace, the tenderest flower of spring;
Those that sip the dew alone
Make the butterflies thy own;
Those that would the bloom devour,
Crush the locusts, save the flower.---
For the FUTURE be prepar'd,
Guard, wherever thou canst guard,
But thy utmost duly done,
Welcome what thou canst not shun:--------
Follies past, give thou to air;
Make their consequence thy care:
Keep the name of MAN in mind,
And dishonor not thy kind.----
Reverence with lowly heart
Him whose wondrous work thou art;
Keep his Goodness still in view,
Thy trust-------and thy example too.--------

Stranger, go! Heaven be thy guide!
Quod, the BEADSMAN ON NID-SIDE.------

[B] Altered from the foregoing------Dec------1788

THOU whom chance may hither lead,
Be thou clad in russet-weed,
Be thou deckt in silken stole,
Grave these maxims on thy soul.----

Life is but a day at most,
Sprung from Night, in darkness lost,
Hope not sunshine every hour,
Fear not clouds will always lour.----

As Youth and Love with sprightly dance
Beneath thy morning star advance,
Pleasure with her siren air
May delude the thoughtless pair;
Let Prudence bless Enjoyment’s cup,
Then, raptur’d, sip and sip it up.----
As thy day grows warm and high,
Life’s meridian flaming nigh,
Dost thou spurn the humble vale?
Lifes proud summits would’st thou scale?
Check thy climbing step elate,
Evils lurk in felon-wait;
Dangers, eagle-pinion’d, bold,
Soar around each cliffy hold,
While cheerful Peace, with linnet-song,
Chants the lowly dells among.------

As the shades of evening close,
Beckoning thee to long repose,
As life itself becomes disease,
Seek the chimney-nook of Ease:
There, ruminate with sober thought
On all thou ‘st seen, and heard, and wrought;
And teach the sportive Younkers round,
Saws of Experience, sage and sound.--------
Say, Man’s true, genuine estimate,
The grand criterion of his fate,
Is not, art thou High, or Low?
Did thy fortune ebb or flow?
Did many talents gild thy span?
Or frugal Nature grudge thee, One?
Tell them, and press it on their mind,
As thou thyself must shortly find,
The smile, or frown, of awful Heaven,
To Virtue, or to Vice, is given:
Say, to be just, and kind, and wise,
There solid Self-enjoyment lies;
That foolish, selfish, faithless ways
Lead to be wretched, vile and base.--------

Thus, resigned and quiet, creep
To thy bed of lasting sleep:
Sleep, whence thou shalt ne’er awake,
Night, where dawn shall never break,
Till Future Life, future no more,
To light and joy the Good restore,
To light and joy unknown before.---

Stranger, go! Heaven be thy guide!
Quod, the BEADSMAN OF NID-SIDE.------