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His clean hearthstane, his thriftie wifie's smile,
The lisping infant prattling on his knee, Does a' his weary carking cares beguile, And makes him quite forget his labor and his toil.
Belyve, the elder bairns come drapping in,
At service out, amang the farmers roun’: Some ca' the pleugh, some herd, some tentie rin
A cannie errand to a neebor town;
Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman grown, In youthful bloom, love sparkling in her e'e, Comes hame, perhaps to shew a braw new
gown, Or deposit her sair-won penny-fee, To help her parents dear, if they in hardship be.
With joy unfeigned, brothers and sisters meet,
And each for other's weelfare kindly spiers : The social hours, swift-winged, unnoticed fleet;
Each tells the uncos that he sees or hears;
The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years ; Anticipation forward points the view.
The mother, wi' her needle and her shears,
Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new 45 The father mixes a' wi' admonition due.
26. a', all. 28. belyve, by and by ; bairns, children ; drapping, dropping. 29. amang, among. 30. ca', drive ; tentie, heedful ; rin, run. 31. cannie, easy ; neebor, neighbor.
33. e'e, eye.
34. braw, handsome.
Their master's and their mistress's command,
The younkers a' are warned to obey;
And ne'er, though out o’ sight, to jauk or play:
“ And oh! be sure to fear the Lord alway! And mind your duty, duly, morn and night!
Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray, Implore His counsel and assisting might: They never sought in vain that sought the Lord
But, hark! a rap comes gently to the door;
Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the same,
To do some errands, and convoy her hame.
The wily mother sees the conscious flame
name, While Jenny hafflins is afraid to speak; Weel pleased the mother hears it’s nae wild, worth
Wi' kindly welcome, Jenny brings him ben;
A strappin' youth; he taks the mother's eye;
47. younkers, youngsters. 48. eydent, diligent. 49. jauk, dally or trifle. 52. gang, go. 56. wha kens, who knows. 57. cam, came. 62. hafflins, partly. 63. nae, no. 64. ben, in. 65. taks, takes.
Blithe Jenny sees the visit 's no ill-ta'en;
The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye.
The youngster's artless heart o'erflows wi' joy, But blate and laithfu', scarce can weel behave;
The mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy What makes the youth sae bashfu' and sae grave; Weel pleased to think her bairn’s respected like the
Oh, happy love! where love like this is found !
Oh, heartfelt raptures ! bliss beyond compare ! I've pacèd much this weary, mortal round,
And sage experience bids me this declare:
If Heaven a draught of heavenly pleasure spare, One cordial in this melancholy vale,
'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair In other's arms breathe out the tender tale, Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the evening
Is there, in human form, that bears a heart,
A wretch, a villain, lost to love and truth,
Betray sweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth?
Is there no pity, no relenting ruth,
" And every shepherd tells his tale
Points to the parents fondling o'er their child ? 90 Then paints the ruined maid, and their distraction
But now the supper crowns their simple board,
The healsome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food; The soupe their only hawkie does afford,
That 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood :
The dame brings forth, in complimental mood, To grace the lad, her weel-hain'd kebbuck, fell,
And aft he's prest, and aft he ca's it guid; The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell, How ’t was a towmont auld, sin' lint was i’ the bell.
The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face,
They, round the ingle, form a circle wide ;
The big ha' Bible, ance his father's pride;
His bonnet rev'rently is laid aside,
Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide,
He wales a portion with judicious care, And “Let us worship God!” he says, with sol
92. healsome, wholesome ; parritch, porridge. 93. soupe, limited supply ; hawkie, cow.
94. 'yont, beyond ; hallan, partition wall; chows, chews : cood, cud.
96. well-hain'd kebbuck, carefully saved cheese ; fell, biting. 97. aft, often ; guid, good.
99. towmont, twelvemonth ; sin' lint was i' the bell, since flax was in the flower.
103. ha', hall ; ance, once. 105. lyart haffets, gray temples. 107. wales, chooses.
They chant their artless notes in simple guise ;
They tune their hearts, by far the noblest
Perhaps Dundee's wild-warbling measures rise,
Or plaintive Martyrs, worthy of the name,
Or noble Elgin beets the heavenward flame, The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays :
Compared with these, Italian trills are tame; The tickled ears no heartfelt raptures raise ; Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise.
The priest-like father reads the sacred page
How Abram was the friend of God on high; Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage
With Amalek's ungracious progeny ;
Or how the royal bard did groaning lie
Or Job's pathetic plaint, and wailing cry;
Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme —
How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed : How HE, who bore in heaven the second name,
Had not on earth whereon to lay His head ;
How His first followers and servants sped ; The precepts sage they wrote to many a land :
How he, who lone in Patmos banished,
111-113. Dundee, Martyrs, and Elgin are the names of old hymn-tunes found in many books. The adjectives applied to each are peculiarly fitting.
113. beets, feeds, adds fuel to. 117. hae, have. 133. Saint John.