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Th’ expectant wee-things, toddlin stacher thro'

To meet their Dad, wi' flichterin noise and glee, His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonnily,

His clean hearth-stane, his thriftie wifie's smile,
The lisping infant prattling on his knee,

Does a' his weary carking care beguile,
An' make him quite forget his labor an' his toil.

*

*

But now the supper crowns their simple board,

The halesome parritch, chief o’Scotia's food; The sowpe their only hawkie does afford,

That 'yout the hallan snugly chows her cood.

*

The cheerful 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, and his father's pride.

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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.

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From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs

That make her loved at home, revered abroad; Princes and lords are but the breath of kings ;

" An honest man's the noblest work of God.”

ROBERT BURNS.

LXXIII. — AIR-MOTHERS.

1. Who are these who follow us softly over the moor in the autumn evening? Their wings brush and rustle in the fir-boughs, and they whisper before and behind us, as if they called gently to each other, like birds flocking homeward to their nests.

The woodpecker on the pine-stems knows them, and laughs aloud for joy as they pass. The rooks above the pasture know them, and wheel around and tumble in their play.

2. The brown leaves on the oak trees know them, and flutter faintly, and beckon as they pass. In the chattering of the dry leaves, there is a meaning, and a cry of weary things, longing for rest.

“Take us home, take us home, you soft air-mothers, now our fathers, the sunbeams, are grown dull. Our green summer beauty is all draggled, and our faces are grown wan and thin; and the buds, the ungrateful children whom we nourished, thrust us off from our seats. Waft us down, you soft air-mothers, upon your wings, to the quiet earth, that we may go to our home, as all things go, and become air and sunlight once again.”

3. The bold young fir-seeds know them, and rattle impatiently in their cones. “Blow more strongly, blow more fiercely, slow air-mothers, and shake us from our prisons of dead wood, that we may fly and spur away northeastward, each on his horny wing. We will dive like arrows through the heather, and drive our sharp beaks into the soil, and rise again, as green trees, toward the sunlight, and spread our lusty boughs.”

4. They never think of what is coming to bring them low in the midst of their pride, -— of the reckless axe which will fell them, and saws which will shape them into logs, and the trains which will roar and rattle over them, as they lie buried in the gravel of the way, till they are ground and rotted into powder, and dug up and flung upon the fire, as they, too, may return home, like all things, and become air and sunlight once again.

5. The air-mothers hear their prayers, and do their bidding; but faintly, for they themselves are tired and sad, and their garments are rent and worn. Ah! how different were those soft air-mothers, when, invisible to mortal eyes, they started on their long sky journey, five thousand miles across the sea.

6. Out of the blazing caldron which lies between the two New Worlds, they leaped up, when the great sun called them, in whirls and spouts of clear, hot steam, and rushed to the northward, while the whirling earth-ball whirled them east.

7. So northeastward they rushed aloft, across the gay West Indian Isles, leaving below the glitter of the flying-fish and the side-long eyes of cruel sharks; above

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