PREFACE. THIS being tbe Third Edition of this little work, I think I have little reason to complain of the reception it has met with from the public. Some time previous to its first publication, a small Temperance Song Book, entitled the "Crystal Fount," made its appearance. It contained, among others, a number of pieces by Paul Rookford-author of the "Drunkard's Raggit Wean" - and myself. The book having been sent to the newspapers for review, a well-known writer for the local press, and a poet as well, characterised the contents of the "Fount" as "milk and water for Teetotal babies." Yet, it would appear, that said "milk and water" proved not only wholesome, but palatable; for that little book sold - and is still selling - by tens of thousands; while a number of the pieces in it are as familiar as household words in many houses in this and other lands. The same is true of the publications of the Scottish Temperance League; thus showing that there is a strong and no less healthy current of Temperance sentiment throughout the country. Readers will doubtless miss from the present Edition a number of pieces that were in the former; these - with the exception of a few of minor importance - are inserted in my little volume, "Tibbie's Garland," while a number of new dialogues and poems will be found to have been substituted for them. So that to those in possession of the former Editions, the present will be almost a new book. And being identical in size and price with the "Garland," it will be a very suitable companion to it. ======JAMES NICHOLSON. MERRYFLATS, GOVAN. PREFACE TO THE PRESENT EDITION. THE present Edition of "Kilwuddie" may be said to be composite in character. The Original Edition appeared in 1860. Then it grew to "Kilwuddie and Other Poems," published by the Scottish Temperance League. Afterwards I thought fit to withdraw some of the least meritorious of the poems, and substitute a number of dialogues on the subject of Temperance. This last Edition being all but exhausted, I have ventured upon the present, containing, probably, the last poems I shall ever write, together with a Biographical Sketch by Mr. Robert Ford. This Sketch first appeared in the _People's Friend_, and the new interest in the subject of it culminated in a banquet given in his honour by the _Friend_ contributors, whereof an account will be found in the following pages. The portrait of the author is that known as the "Kilwuddie likeness." I trust that these additions will help to make the volume acceptable to readers and subscribers, old and new. =======JAMES NICHOLSON. MERRYFLATS, GOVAN, April, 1895. INTRODUCTORY NOTICE. ABOUT eighteen years ago, being then the pastor of a country church, I adopted the plan, at the soirees of our Sabbath schools, of drawing the speeches and the music from the teachers themselves. It was a lucky circumstance for this plan, that the author of the following poems was one of the teachers. Sometimes he contributed a speech, sometimes an allegory, but more freqnently a poem or a hymn. At length, it came to be an almost invariable feature of our social meetings with the scholars, and of the annual sermon to children as well, that a hymn by young Nicolson was sung. He was a most diligent and conscientious teacher; but he was more fitted for retirement and quietness than for the bustle of a school. His hymns sung well, and were relished by those who sung them; but they were rather the promise of poetry than poetry itself. - Nicolson had been self-taught. He had at that time, read nothing better than weekly journals, and denominational magazines. His susceptible and untrained mind was open to all comers. New theologies, new polities, new views of the rights of labour began to lay hold upon him. A certain working of dissatisfaction with things in general was coming to light in his talk. The night-side of earth was turned upon his soul. All this told upon the hymns he produced. They ran in one groove, and under various metres, were still the expression of a bald and used-up train of thought. Excellent though they were for our particular purpose, one could not help remarking that it was an excellence which their author might live to surpass. They had here and there a happy turn, here and there a striking verse, but they were not the natural expression of a healthy, human soul. It was not in hymn-writing that Nicolson was to find his true sphere. At this time, the Progressist school of poetry began to sing its songs. It sang of labour, of its hardships and joys; and Nicolson turned from hymn-writing to the composition of labour-songs. But he was not yet at home. He, too, following in the wake of the new attractions, sang of "horny-handed sons of labour," but as yet only with the echo of what others had better sung. Insensibly, however, he glided into his proper element. Fancy a border land between external nature and the social life of the working classes, inhabited by a people speaking the provincial tongue of the West of Scotland. This was the sphere in which he found the voice to sing. Sallying from workshops, or the humble dwellings of the poor, his muse looked with a kindly spirit on nature, and rejoiced in the rainbows and flowers, of which society could not bereave its toiling members. Or he sat down by the fireside of the class with which he was best acquainted, and in the domestic joys and sorrows of his fellow-workers he took a friendly share. Powers of observation, which he possesses to a considerable degree, but which hymn-writing and labour-songs did not give play to, got leave now to come out and bring back their spoils. Powers of sympathy, which his own trials had served to develop, found now appropriate objects on which to rest. He sang without constraint, with less and lessening signs of the manner or ring of others. He became natural, and free, and poetic. And the more he felt himself at home, his zeal in the cultivation of his poetic faculties increased. He worked hard at poetry, and gave to it the best of his brain and heart. No student, for the high honours of his university, ever worked harder. Beneath the surface of his daily toil, there was the most unresting flow of observations and thoughts, which were turned into poetry when the day's toil was ended. His songs became more and more simple; and by and by there came welling up, in the _patois_ of the common folk, little rills of real pathos and humour. He wrote "Willie Waugh" and "The Curse of Kilwuddie." But if any reader of this, wishes at once, and within a smaller compass, to see a specimen, in which the best features of Nicolson's poetry are displayed, I advise him to turn to the inimitable story of "The Gaiters," in Part Third of "The Curse of Kilwuddie;" or, still better, to the "Clock and the Bellows," among the smaller poems. The last-named is a discussion of the "Twa dogs" - sort, on the parallel merits of married and single life, the Clock going in for the latter, and the Bellows powerfully for the former. It will not occupy much space to quote a few lines. The Bellows is speaking for matrimony:- "In time o' health, it may be fun to lichtly wife and wean, But wait till sickness lays him doun upon a bed o' pain, Where there's nae couthie, kindly han' tae wipe his clammy broo, Nor mak' the needfu' cordial tae wet his burnin' mou'. Nor only wi' her woman's han' tae lichten his distress, But a' an angel's tenderness to soothe, caress, an' bless; 0, it will be an awfu' thocht, when he lies doun to dee, That nae salt lips are there to kiss - nae han' tae close his ee." The clock loses temper, and falls back on its own righteousness:- "But ere the bellows could reply-to end this wordy war I startit to my feet, an' flang the window brods ajar: An' lo! owre a' the kindlen east the young Aurora blushed; I listened for the sounds again, but a' was saftly hushed." Akin to this piece, is another which I mention, not as more excellent than many others in the volume, but as more characteristic of the best that Nicolson can do. He has named it "The Wee Swiss Clock." I will match the following verse against any single verse of its own class which can be produced:- "There's something in the human heart that cleaves to meaner things;- Than ivy to the ruined wa', mair lovingly it clings; There's room within the lovin' heart for a' the human flock, Forbye an orra corner left for e'n a wee clock." I serve a double purpose by quoting these lines. Besides affording a glimpse into the characteristic traits of their author's style and power, they announce what I have as yet only hinted at, that he belongs himself to the working classes. His circumstances must, and ought to be taken into account. It would be a manifest injustice in reading his poems, to forget the life of the man who wrote them, and the kind of training he has had. And I therefore now proceed to acquaint the reader with such facts as will throw light upon these. It happens, very fortunately, that I can do this in the words of the author himself. A few years ago, some benevolent gentlemen connected with the _Commonwealth_ newspaper offered prizes for autobiographies written by working men. One of these prizes was obtained by James Nicolson, and his account of himself was published under a disguised name, by the promoters, in their paper. It is from this I am now to quote:- "I was born at Edinburgh on the 21st of October, 1822, the anniversary of Lord Nelson's death. Being ushered into the world in circumstances by no means flattering or propitious, the recollections of my early days are not so sunny as they might have been. I still retain a disagreeable impression of stinted meals-sour looks, and days of taciturnity, relieved here and there by scenes of conviviality. But, amid the gloomy firmament of my early recollections, tbere are little patches of azure, through which shines into my soul, even now, the radiance of joys then experienced. For example, my father used to take me on Sabbath mornings to St Bernard's Well - a favourite walk of his - where on the one hand ran the Water of Leith, and on the other a small stream that drove the mills in the locality. I still remember taking great pleasure in looking at the mossgrown strata that formed the bed of the stream, over and around which the waters leapt and danced, and broke the stillness of the sacred morn by their melodious gurgling. I remember one occasion in particular, on which I experienced feelings of exquisite delight. On this occasion, I was allowed to accompany my parents in an excursion to Inchkeith light-house, in the Firth of Forth. The blue bosom of the Firth was all studded over with boats and vessels, whose snowy sails spread wing-like to catch the breeze, whilst, overhead, the sky presented one wide field of glowing azure, diversified with light, fleecy clouds, whose snowy edges shone as if with living light; the whole forming a beautiful counterpart to the scene below. So strongly was my almost infant mind impressed with the beauty of the scene, that I can recall, even now, the delightful feelings it produced. =*=*=*=*=*=*=* Three weeks at school, and a family-flitting to Paisley, and domestic trials, and poverty and death, put their marks on the remaining portion of his childhood:- "By the time I had reached my seventh year, it was thought advisable that I should be sent out to do something, and I was, accordingly, despatohed to a tobacco work; where, for my services, I was proud to learn, I would receive the handsome salary of 1s per week. And here commenced my real education. There were six men in the work, and about twenty boys, with whom the former amused themselves by setting them up in pairs to fight, the rest forming around them what was termed a "London ring." The victor was generally lauded for his pluck, whilst the vanquished hero had to retire with a bleeding nose or mouth, amid the jeers of his companions. I had only been here about a month when the brute with whom I wrought - for some trifling inattention - struck me a blow on the mouth, which immediately gushed with blood, and caused me to go home that night with lips swelled to twice their natural size. My indignation at this brutal act was somewhat appeased by the assurance that I would not be sent back, although, the very next day, I was sent to another work of the same kind. Here I was treated with more kindness, yet I was not the less exposed to the blighting influence of immorality. The boys were of the very lowest class, ignorant and profane, yet very acute in wickedness. We were poorly clad, mostly shoeless, so that, in winter, those of us who had bonnets wore them as much on our feet as on our heads. Swearing and slang formed the major part of our conversation, whilst the men amused themselves and us by narrating those parts of their individual histories best fitted to excite the morbid imagination, and tickle our risible faculties. Stories of lewdness and debauchery, rioting and drinking, were our every day lessons. =*=*=*=*=*=*=* "And now I began in right good earnest to apply myself to the art of reading. My books were sign-boards and hand-bills, of which, God be praised, there was no lack. These, by the help of bigger boys who could read a little, I soon mastered - my tutors being no way backward in correcting me when they found me in error. Booksellers' windows, had specially strong attractions for me, particularly those which were well decorated with story books and pictures. Oh, that I could by an act of will have turned one other leaf of "Jack the Giant Killer," "Red Riding Hood," or "Whittington and his Cat!" But even as it was, these intellectual treats detained me so long, that I had to run bome with all my might and swallow my meals-no very difficult task-with no less rapidity, in order to get to my work before the expiration of the hour, and thus escape the customary flagellation. One bookseller, in particular, near the Cross, kept in his window a continual display of scripture engravings, which excited my youthful admiration and curiosity not a little. There was David in the act of smiting Goliah, with the host of Israel under a perfect forest of spears and banners, and the Philistines in full retreat in the back ground. Then there was the raising of Lazarus, the finding of Moses, &c., all which stories, I was agreeably surprised to learn, formed part of the Bible, and which my mother was kind enough to read to me, to my no small gratification. About this time, I fell in with a treasure, in the shape of an old school book, containing amongst other stories, a few of AEsop's Fables, which, besides being easily read, were very amusing. By these means, I soon became a tolerably good reader, excepting my pronunciation, which was very deficient. =*=*=*=*=*=*=* "Reading being now my chief source of enjoyment, I devoured almost everything that came before me in the shape of a book, which, I have no doubt, went a considerable way to counteract the blighting influences of the tobacco work. But Providence was kind enough to release me from this school of impurity, by means of a fever which I took, just as my father was recovering from the same. I was taken to the infirmary, where I was soon followed by my mother. She took the fever, I have no doubt, through anxiety and fatigue. Being but slightly affected, I was soon removed to the recovery ward, where I devoted my time to reading the Bible - the only book we had. I was also greatly amused, and not a little instructed by my fellow-patients, - some of whom were old soldiers, and no way backward in narrating their adventures. I very soon got better, and returned home, but my mother recovered slowly, not being able to leave her bed for many weeks after she came home. My eldest sister took the fever a little after, of which she died. I was little affected at the time, but afterwards I felt very lonely without her. It is not the first time I have stood at the Abbey gate, - [he was still at Paisley] - within which she lies buried, and cried till I felt both hoarse and heartsore. I was now suffered to remain at home, where I filled the united offices of message boy and maid-of-all-work to the family - consisting of my parents, my sisters, an infant brother, and myself - my mother being necessitated to work along with my father, who had now plenty of work on his own account. =*=*=*=*=*=*=* But this prosperity did not continue: the family removed to a country town in the South, and James became a herd: "I was engaged to a farmer, two miles distant from our village, to herd his cows during the six weeks of harvest. On my arrival at the house, I was regaled with some potatoes and float-whey, and then sent out with the cows - about sixteen in number - the old farmer accompanying me, to show me the marches, or boundaries, of the farm. In order to test my capabilities for the office, he made me leap over ditches, run up and down steep declivities, &c., the which feats, it would appear, were executed to his entire satisfaction, for he addressed me in these remarkable words, - "An t'ou be's a guid herd, I'll gie thee a bit saxpence to thy fairin' noos an' tans." He had no sooner left me, than I began to display my activity, and ignorance of my profession at the same time, by driving the cows across the farm, as if I were proceeding to a market to sell them, when I was startled by the shrill voice of the farmer's wife, commmanding me, in no very pleasing tones, to "let the kye alane, callan', an' no keep them frae their meat." She, then in somewhat softer tones, gave me to understand that herding consisted of unwinking vigilance, rather than of activityl that the cows were to be left to the freedom of their own will, except when they atempted to go in among the growing corn, or trespass on other people's land - habits, byt the bye, to which they were bery much addicted - in the event of which, my legs and lungs would require to be put in speedy locomotion. Of course this did not altogether come up to my ideas of herding, and a life of listlessness and monotony was to me no very pleasant prospect. Next day being Sabbath, I had a visit from my father, who left with me an old Bible, which, in order to while away the time, I determined to read from Genesis to Revelation, and, by that time, I was sure the term of my engagement would be at an end, being at the most, only about six weeks. The turnpike road leading to Glasgow passed through the whole length of my beat, at the side of which I was to be found more than anywher else, for this reason, that gentlemen, and sometimes lady pedestrians, passing by, and seeing me so eager at my Bible, often stopped to converse with me, and give me a word or two of commendation and encouragement, accompanied by a penny, or a handful of lozenges. Now, it was not to be expected that such a golden opportunity of displaying my piety should be lost, and the consequence was, that when a traveller hove in sight, I was sure to be in my place, and eagerly poring over my Bible. But this state of things was too good to last. =*=*=*=*=*=*=* A succession of changes was closed by an engagement on a sheep-farm: "I hired myself to a sheep-farmer in the neighbourhood, to take care of a portion of his sheep, and a dozen queys. I liked this situation exceedingly well. From the hill-top, I had a wide and varied landscape to contemplate, consisting of nearly the whole parish on the one side, and about a dozen miles of mountainous moorland on the other. But what I most prized was the amount of freedom I enjoyed from my having so large a field to traverse, so that, with my dog for my assistant, my office was almost a sinecure. My literary companions, at this time, were Bunyan's Visions of Heaven and Hell, which made a very deep impression on my mind; and a School Collection, containing, among other pieces, Blair's Grave, and the Hermit, by Parnell, with extracts from Milton, Shakspere, and Addison, &c., which, whilst I perused, I often wondered whether I should ever have the good fortune to peruse the works of which they formed a part. I also received an odd volume of Roman history, and a bundle of Wilson's Border Tales, which I read with untiring interest. =*=*=*=*=*=*=* But James got tired of agriculture and sheepwatching. Here is the closing scene of his bucolic existence:- "My mistress was rather an amiable lady, and no less intelligent. Being a great reader herself, she saw and understood my passion for books, and kindly ministered to the same by allowing me the use of those she possessed, of which my favourite, and hers no less, was the _Spectator_. This I read on rainy days, when field work was impracticable, and which I greatly enjoyed. But this was a great eye-sore to my master, who set his wits to work on such occasions to procure me work in doors. By and by, the hay cutting season came on, and it being my first season at such work, I entered upon it with great ardour. I wrought very hard, and; being but a raw youth, I felt myself very inadequate to the task. I got thoroughly disgusted with the work, and one morning, at breakfast time, I threw down my scythe, resolved never to take it up again, and I kept my word. After breakfast, I slipped into the barn, from which I ascended by a ladder to the stable loft, where there was a heap of old straw, into the very heart of which I burrowed my way, and lay down to rest my weary frame and arrange my plans for the future. I determined to leave my situation at all hazards. I knew that in so doing I would forfeit my wage, but I was resolved to make an effort to save my wardrobe, no easy matter, for they were locked up in my chest, and that was up in the garret already alluded to, the stair of which was right over the bed of my master and mistress. Turning this difficulty over in my mind, I was startled by hearing the voice of my master down below in the barn, in earnest conversation with another member of the family. Their subject of discourse, I could soon learn, was myself. Both wondered where I could have gone to, as no one had seen me leave the house. In reply to a question of his, the other said that my chest was locked, and from the weight of it, it did not appear that I had taken any of my clothes with me. After they left, I fell into a profound sleep, from which I did not wake till they were putting in the cows, about ten o'clock at night. About twelve all was quiet, from which I argued that the family was in bed. To make sure, I waited for another hour, when I got up from my straw, and determined to attempt the rescue of my goods. The chief danger was the opening of so many doors. There was first the one leading from the barn to the byre-the whole length of which I had to traverse between two rows of cows - then there was the one leading from the byre to the dairy, and another from the dairy to the kitchen, and last, but not least in importance, the one at the foot of the garret stair; all of which I opened with the utmost caution, especially the latter. I ascended the critical stair as noiselessly as a ghost, stole along the loft, passed the bed where the two sons lay, but they were mere boys, consequently in little danger of being disturbed. I opened my chest, and took out my clothes, which I had previously made up in four bundles. I saw it would be impossible to take them all at once without rubbing the sides of the wooden staircase, and so awaken my enemies; so I came off with two, which I managed to convey to the barn in safety. Emboldened by the success of my first voyage, like Columbus, ventured on a second. I completed the remaining part of my perilous task with equal success, but my heart palpitated at no small rate when, in the act of crossing the kitchen on my return, the old gentleman turned himself in the bed, and gave a faint grunt, to my no small consternation. I did not wait to close the doors behind me, but hastened with all speed to the barn, where I stripped off my working clothes and put on my best. Having tied the former up in a bundle and otherwise prepared myself for the road, I began to experience the cravings of a rather sharp appetite, having tasted nothing since breakfast time the day before; the only means of satisfying which, within my power, was a tubful or two of sweetmilk standing on the barn floor. To this I applied myself, and drank as much as I was able, the most copious draught, I believe, I ever took in my life. I now addressed myself to my journey; I reached my father's house about four in the morning, but knowing the step I had taken would not meet with his approval, I did not ask admission, but merely left my working clothes and hobnailed boots at the door. I set out on the road for Edinburgh. =*=*=*=*=*=*=* Applications for situations not succeeding in the Metropolis, his grandfather, with whom he was staying,- "Proposed that I should learn the tailor business, and work along with himself, till he could procure me a proper master. So that, setting-to with a will, I, in a very short time, rendered myself of considerable value to him. Meanwhile, letters had arrived from my rather requesting me to return to my old master, or, if I preferred to learn a trade, to come west and he would engage me to a mason; but I determined to stick to the trade I had adopted. Ever since I had read the _Spectator_, my mind had been teeming with ideas; the mental crucible into which so many ingredients had been cast and fused, began to boil over, but I had no vessel at hand in which to mould and preserve them. In other words, up to this time I could not write my own name; when such an act became absolutely necessary, put down a X, followed by 'James Nicolson, his mark,' in another person's hand. To obviate this great difficulty, I got my kind relative to set me a copy of the written letters of the alphabet, so that, by great industry, I managed to write in a way, though not very legibly I must confess. At my father's request, I returned to my native village, and commenced work with a firm for which he acted as foreman. I got on rapidly with my profession, and was soon able to do the work of an ordinary hand, though at a greatly inferior wage. About this time, he says :- "I began to pour out my thoughts in verse, and very sorry verses they were, but they pleased me at the time, and stimulated me to continue the pleasing task. One of these productions-which chanced to be of a religious nature-so pleased me that I sent it to a magazine entitled the _Christian Journal_, of which the Rev. Mr Beckett was then editor. When the next number came out the following appeared in 'Notices to Correspondents:' - 'Some verses sent us by a friend in A--- have fallen out of sight. Would the author favour us with another copy?' Of course he did send another copy, greatly altered and amended, too much so it would seem, for I never saw any more of them. Once more, I tried my fortune with the same magazine, and with unexpected success, for the new number contained my verses, with the following notice on the cover :- 'Our first poetical contribution for this month merits a note of introduction. After reading verses containing so much true poetic fancy, the reader will be surprised to learn that the author is so far deficient in literary attainments, that scarcely a line of his MSS. but required some orthographical correction. We say this to J. N.'s credit, and for the encouragement of others." The following were the verses in question:- TO A CHILD GAZING ON THE STARRY HEAVENS. CHILD of all loveliness, emblem of purity! =Innocent, tell me at what dost thou gaze? Thy soul, like the seer's, seems wrapt in futurity; =Lovely thou art, 'neath the moon's pallid rays. Say, art thou tracing the course of yon milky way, =Stretching afar o'er an emerald sea? How can the blaze of the star-studded canopy =Fill with delight a sweet infant like thee? Still thou art gazing with childish intensity! =Say, art thou watching each bright little star Threading its way o'er the plains of immensity, =And casting on thee its sweet smile from afar? Why does the heavenly smile frisk o'er thy rosy cheek? =Why art thou straining thy bright-beaming eye? Are angels engaging thee with conversation sweet? =Dost thou, white-robed ones, yonder descry? Art thou enraptured, beholding their seats of bliss, =Searching out there thine own future abode? Yes, thou'rt in ecstasy; fain would'st thou fly from this =To the Eternal, thy Father, and God!" =*=*=*=*=*=*=* The ripple of the village fame created by this success was still visible, when I was called to reside in the same village. I have already traced his progress in poetry from this time onward, and there are only a few more quotations which would be of service here. It was now 1843, and James had reached his majority. He got married, set up in business for himself, and confesses, that his business prospects were anything but good. To compensate for his sorrow in this direction however, a new world opened itself for his mind. He began to study botany :- "I began with a Family Herbal, containing coloured plates of the most of our native wild plants, which enabled me, without much difficulty to find out the originals. The pleasure I derived, and still continue to enjoy, in the prosecution of this subject, it would not be easy to describe. A friend of mine, who is also an enthusiastic naturalist, accompanied me in my field excursions, which added not a little to my progress. In a short time, we had mastered all the plants in our neighbourhood within a circuit of eight miles, a distance which we thought nothing of travelling, in order to procure a new specimen. I remember going all alone nearly twice that distance to see the scarlet pimpernell, the favourite flower of Ebeneser Elliot, the Corn Law Rhymer. Indeed working men have no idea of the amount of pleasure they deprive themselves of by their inattention io this and kindred studies. =*=*=*=*=*=*=* "In the year 1849, Mr Cassell of London started a periodical entitled 'The Working Man's Friend,' in the pages of which he made known to the world, his magnanimous intention of bestowing a great and lasting boon on those, among the working classes, who possessed a literary taste, in the shape of a supplementary number to be published monthly, to be wholly devoted to the productions of working men. For the which productions, when found suitable, he agreed to give books to the amount of 5s for every page of letterpress taken up by such productions. I, like many others, hailed this as a golden opportunity for working men. The first article sent by me was entitled 'The Poor Man's Treasures.' For this article I, after a time, received two copies of Longfellow's Poems. I sent him another article of the same style entitled ' Winter Suggestions,' and received other 5s worth of books, but of my own selection this time. I afterwards sent other three small pieces, which were all accepted, and appeared in the 'Friend.' But the fountain of book-wealth became suddenly dry. No more payment arrived. Some time after this, I, with the concurrence of a reverend friend, got up a speculation of my own, consisting of a small volume of poems, comprising my fugitive pieces scattered throughout the various magazines. But like nine out of every ten of such projects, it proved a failure - in other words, it fell from the press still-born. I sent copies of it to various publications for notice, only one of which deigned to notice it. However, with what I received from my subscribers, together with a prize I received for an essay on the 'Capacity of the Working Man to Improve his Character and Circumstances,' I managed to defray the expenses of publication. =*=*=*=*=*=*=* "Nothing particular occurred in my history up to 1853, when, hearing by chance that a tailor was wanted for a public institution in Glasgow, I applied for the same, and through the kind recommendation of one of the directors. I was accepted; in which situation I still remain. Since then, I have employed the most of my leisure time in the study of geology, to which I was led by hearing a lecture delivered in a church one evening, and which the lecturer made very interesting by a good collection of minerals and drawings of geological phenomena. This opened up to me a new and very extensive field of discovery, in which I was aided not a little by my previous knowledge of natural history. I pursued with avidity some of the best works I could procure on the subject, including those of Lyell, Owen, Bakewell, Richardson, and our own Hugh Miller. I at the same time, to put my knowledge in practice, made a survey of my native district in order to determine the character of its formation. In some of the localities, I found some very interestiug fossils, mostly belonging to the lower carboniferous beds; the names of which, and the genera to which they belonged, I determined by the help of "Knight's English Cyclopedia," and by a few visits to the Andersonian Museum, and that of the Geological Society, during the few days it was in Glasgow last year. I think it would be a great boon to the working men of this city, if such places were open at all seasons at a small charge. As an instance of the pleasures to be derived from a slight knowledge of this science, I may state that during a walk a miles out of town one day last summer, I fell in with an old quarry in the neighbourhood, into which I descended out of mere curiosity. The rock consisted of a bed of coarse flag-stones, intersected by a bed of shale, groping ug the debris of which, I discovered a small slab, with a great many clear spots scattered over it. These I soon recognised as fish scales, and looking still more narrowly among the shale, I found the greater portion of a fossil fish, some portions of what appeared to be fir cones. Hastening home with my treasures, I found by referring to my books that the rocks in which I found them must be a portion of the tertiary formation, from the nature of the fossils. Nor was I aware till then, that any hard rock of tertiary origin existed in the neighbourhood. For the last ten months my leisure moments have been mostly employed in the construction of an epic poem, the subject of which is Man, in his relation to the Past, the Present, and the Future." =*=*=*=*=*=*=* Mr Nicolson is still in the employment of the public institution referred to, and, I have reason to know, he is highly esteemed by its Directors. Portions of the poem on which he was at work, at the time he wrote the Autobiography, appeared in the _Scottish Guardian_. But they did not impress me in the same way, as the humble lyrics and Scottish tales, which make up this volume. It would not be proper for me to tell here what I know of my friend's life-struggles. They are such as would have driven men of less principle to the bottle. I believe they drove him closer to God and poetry Shut out by his circumstances from the opportunities and the learning, the quiet comforts and privileges which wealth confers, there was opened for him, by his beneficent Father, an ideal world. Here, amid the visions and songs of his own heart, with occasional forays into the beauty of external nature, he is spending a life, whose level is far up beyond the reach of his circumstances, and which contains for him an inner well of bliss which riches could neither give nor take away. "The Curse of Kilwuddie" is a temperance tale. Mr Nicolson has been, from his earliest manhood, a firm and zealous abstainer. In undertaking the republication of this poem, the Scottish Temperance League is doing a service at once to its own cause, and to one who may justly claim a place among its poets. =======ALEXANDER MACLEOD. John Street U.P. Church, Glasgow, 1863. KILWUDDIE. "Noo wha this simple tale shall read, Each man and mother's son tak' heed." - Burns PART I. Auld Lang Syne. HEARD ye e'er o' auld Kilwuddie? =Ance a peacefu' market toun, For guid veal an' men o' study, =Famous a' the kintra' roun'. Whaur a burnie wimples bonnie, =Roun' green knowes an hazel shaws, Owre grey rocks an' cascades mony- =Whaur in snawy foam it fa's; Syne thro' fern an' brierymazes- =Joukin', dancin', hafflins seen; Syne a howm a' white w' daisies- =Auld Kilwuddie's village green,- Whaur in sunny days o' simmer, =Dimpl'd han's an' arms are thrang, Bonnie lass an' winsome kimmer =Dance the snawy suds amang. O! to see them plump an' bonnie, =Barefit trippin' owre the green; Lips mair sweet than blabs o' honey- =Cheeks o' crimson-an' sic een! Houses white an' snodly theekit, =Form'd Kilwuddie's ancient toon; Lums o' turf that spew't an reekit, =Curlin' to the lift aboon. Nocht kent they o' architecture, =Nocht o' Greek or Gothic schools; E'en the manse-a modern structure- =Had been built o' whunstane bools. Gates an' lanes had they in plenty, =Some ae story, ithers twa- Some were gleyd, some bow't's a shinty; =Rule o' thoom was a' their law! Pride wi' them was ne'er a passion, =Vanity as rare a sin; What car'd they for ootward fashion, =Sae that a' was bein within! Auld Kilwuddie's ruin'd castle =In the foregrun' stark an' grey, Lang wi' winter win's did wrestle; =In the backgrun' mountains lay. Roun' the castle ran the burnie, ='Mang the trees wi' mirthfu' din, Glancin' bricht at ilka turn aye, =Till it tottl't owre the lin. Ilka leaf an' floweret lavin' =Doon the howm it wound its path, On a tryst to meet wi' Avon =In Kilwuddie's flowery strath. Famous were Kilwuddie weavers, =For their courage, lear, and skill, Sin' they dang the bloody Clavers =On the bog near Loudon Hill. In that famous muirlan' battle =Trooper loons gat mony a stog, When they fled like hunted cattle =Owre the mosses o' Drumelog. Ance a feudal lord's dependants =Clingin' to his castle wa's; Noo the hames o' their descendants =Swarm like nests o' huddy craws. No a pauper in the parish, =Stent or taxes had they nane; Neither framert folk nor Erish ='Mang them yet had refuge ta'en. Ne'er was kent a thieving bodie =Steal the guids o' rich or puir- No' a lock in a' Kilwuddie, =Scarce a bar upon a door. Ilka guidwife had her barrel =Yerkit fu' o' guid ait meal; Ance a-week bak'd mony a farrel =0 guid cakes an' scones as weel. E'en puir weavers had their kebbocks- =Crocks o' butter-whiles a ham, Sneeshen mills to feed their nebbocks =Ilk ane's waistcoat pouch did cram. A the men folks gree't like brithers, =Love an' frien'ship bore the bell; When the bairns cuist out, their mithers =Didna' flyte and fecht themsel'. Syne at e'en, when owre wi' labour, =Ilk ane sportcd on the green- Jumpit, ran, an' threw the caber =Till the latest hour o' e'en. When the winter nichts cam' dreary- =Gaed to rockin's wi' their dames- Owre the fragrant cup sae cheerie =Ca'd the crack, an' stuff'd their wames. While the auld folk sat an' blether't, =Oot o' sicht gaed rock and wheel; To the floor the young one's gather't, =To enjoy the blythsome reel. Lasses a' weel hapt wi' druggit, =Swang an' bobbit roun' an' roun'; Facht when they were hiss'd or huggit, =Till the sweat cam' hailin' doon. Bloomers werena a' the rage then, =Makin' lasses look like fools- See them noo! ane would imagine =They were movin' puddock stools;- Noo, wi' crinolines an' flounces, =Like a man-o'-war full sail; Then, their stumpit linsey winceys =Scarce had three breedes in the tail. Buskit up wi' ribbons mony, =Haffet locks did sweetly fa'; Scarfs o' silken sheen sae bonnie =Veil'd their heavin' breests o' sna'. When they tir'd o' mirth an' dancin', =Turn aboot, they skirl't an' sang; Shafts o' love frae een flew glancin'- =Some in nooks were courtin' thrang. Thus the nichts gaed by like stourie, =Till the steeple clock strak ten; Wha can kep the passing hourie? =Earthly joys aye hae an' en'. Nane gaed hame the waur o' nappy, =Wives had then nae cause to blame; A' were sober, blythe, an' happy- =Lads convoy'd their lasses hame. Some nae doot whiles took a danner =Doon the howm or roun' the lin,- Folks in love aye like to wan'er =Neath the bonnie siller moon. Seldom had a love transgression =Been the scandal o' the place; Then, the black-stool o' the session =Aye was reckon'd a disgrace. PART Kilwuddie Worthies Let us name the village worthies! =First o' them comes Tailor Tam, Guid at theekin' farmer's hurdies =An' devoorin' braxy ham. Trowsers, then, were never thocht o', =But knee breeks that shaw'd the legs; Noo, when brans rnankin' hae nocht o', =They maun hide their shapeless pegs. Tam could fit breeks to a hair breede; =Men' the auld an' mak' the new, Drink had ne'er gi'en him a sair head, =To his board he stack like glue. Miles on miles, o'er hill and heather, =Late an' air' he toil't an' swat, Whiles for days an' weeks thegither, =When he gaed to "whip the cat." Sat aye by the kitchen winnocks- =Wrocht an' whusl't a' day lang: Barley scones to him, or bannocks- =Kail or _cabbage_-nocht cam' wrang. Syne at nicht wi' sangs an' stories =Kept the house a' in a roar- Blam'd the Whigs an' curs'd the Tories; =Tam the while _sat near the door_. Better wife than Leezie never =Wash'd a sark or scrubb'd a flair; Thriftie, shiftie, clean, and clever, =Tosh'd her bairnies up wi' care. Ance a farmer in a hurry =Cam' to tryst some Sunday braws, Whilk put Leezie in a flurry- =Tam was sewin' at the Hawse. Leezie, wha'd her apprehensions =Lest a customer shou'd tine, Vow'd tae tak' the chiel's dimensions, =Spite o' rule or measurin' line. On the floor she bade him saftly =Lay him doon an' streek him weel, Syne doon ilka side she deftly =Drew a score frae head to heel. Folk leuch a' when they heard tell o't- =Lasses blush'd an' said, "Fy shame!" Leezie, puir thing, saw nae ill o't- =Saw nae whaur she'd been to blame. But an' ben, leev'd Dan the souter, =Sic a trade he drave in shoon; Keept twa men, forbye a clouter, =Ne'er his like was roun' an' roun'. Dan for years had been a wanter, =Had twa dochters big an' braw, Wi' the young could joke and banter, =Leuch the loudest o' them a'. Rob the smith, for strength and stature =Kent roun' a' the kintra side, Cur'd the ills o' cattle nature =Frae the Irvine to the Clyde. Nane wi' him wad risk a tummle, =Like a horse-hoove was his paw; Couts wi' his ain han' could whommil, =Horse shoon he could rive in twa. Yet, a mair guid-natur'd bodie, =Han' mair helpfu', frien' mair true, Ne'er blew bellows in a smiddy- =Won the hearts o' a' he knew. Like his craft, guid yill he likit- =Smiths were aye a drouthy crew- In his throat some spark had skytit, =No that Robin e'er gat fou'. Usqueba, they never keepit, =Far frae ony whisky still, Whiles a pickle maut they steepit =When they made a cask o' yill. Pate Macfarlane wi' his fiddle =Play't at a' the waddin's roun'. Till his howdie wife, Meg Riddell, =Ae nicht brak' it owre his croon. Maggie was a raxin' carlin', =Stood near twa ell in her shoon; While her spousie, Pate Macfarlane, =Jimply measur'd four feet ane. Whether 'twas her length inspired him, =Or her breadth, let savans tell, Aiblins 'twas her gear that fir'd him, =Pate nae doot kent best himsel'! Maggie glowr't at sic ambition =In a droich o' four feet ane, Syne thocht o' her lane condition, ="Better sma' fish far than nane." Neist their pastor, reveren' bodie! =Bow'd wi' years, his locks like sna', Had been settl'd in Kilwuddie =Half a century years an' twa. Few wi' him could preach a sermon, =Few sae fervent in their prayer- Could ilk kittle text determine: =Frae the kirk, folk miss'd him sair. Nor to empty wa's he thun'ert, =Folk cam' aye in croods to hear; Sinfu' sauls gaed hame dumfoun'ert, =Firm resolv'd to sin nae mair. Ten lang miles he wad ha'e ridden =To a bodie in distress; His was ne'er a talent hidden, =A' his aim mankin' to bless. But his helper, Tam Macmurdo, =Wi' his papish airs an' pride, Scarce his pray'r ane heard a word o': =Him the hearers couldna' bide. A' his doctrines were newfangl'd, =Some said he was scant o' grace; Mony a fair discourse he mangl'd; =Wi' his gapin' an' grimace. PART III. Peerless Phoebe! Snug, the manse lay in a hallow, =A' but hid 'mang shelterin' trees; Twa guid parks in grass lay fallow, =Whaur the pony graz'd at ease. Like rich mines their wealth concealin' =Frae the bonnie beams o' day, In that wood-embosom'd sheelin' =Lang a priceless jewel lay. Pearless Phoebe! his ae dochter =Wi' the auld man leev'd alane, Gentle youths in scores had socht her, =But she gied her heart to nane, Surely he was half a prophet, =Wha had nam'd the bonnie wean; Owre the lan' frae Nairn to Moffat =Phoebe's like there wasna' ane. In her face ye saw Aurora, =In her step a regal queen; E'en the stars their licht did borrow =Frae the lustre o' her een. Ilka flow'ret in the garden =Simmer'd in her bonnie smiles; Bird an' beast her bounty shar'd in, =Ta'en wi' her bewitchin' wiles. Nor wi' beauty sae uncommon =Was alane sweet Phoebe blest; A' the wealth o' love in woman =Lay enshrin'd within her breast! An' hoo blest the favour'd wooer, =Be he cottar, be he king; E'en the priceless Koh-i-noor =Wadna sic a dowry bring! Day an' nicht it was her study =Hoo to lessen folk's distress; In her visits to Kilwuddie, =Still an angel come to bless. Phoebe thus in ilka dwellin' =Won the hearts o' auld an' young; When she left the peacefu' hallan, =Blessin's fell frae ilka tongue. E'en the bits o' weaver callans, =When she pass'd, jamp aff the loom; Ilk ane wad hae gi'en his balance =For ae blink bestow'd on him. Was there no' in a' Kilwuddie- =Aiblins ye'll be askin' me- Some Adonis, fair an' ruddy, =That could please the lassie's e'e? Ane there was, o' humble station, =Worshipp'd her baith nicht an' day, Wi' a poets adoration, =Yet a word o't wadna say. Lo'ed the trees that wav'd aboon her- =Lo'ed the turf her footsteps press'd- E'en the flowers that blush'd aroun' her =To his manly bosom prest. Habbie Graham, the parish teacher, =Was her faither's protege: Some day hope't to be a preacher, =Tho' a humble dominie. Thro' the kindness o' her faither, =He had gotten muckle lear, Studied lessons lang's a tether =Ilka hour he had to spare. Still his brain grew mair rapacious- =Books, like buns, he could devour; Turn'd ilk leaf wi' een voracious, =Gart the folk a' roun' him glow'r. Then sic stories he could tell, o' =Douohty heroes lang syne dead; A' folk won'ert hoo the fallow =Gat them a' into his head. He could name ilk stane aroun' him- =Kent the rock whaur ilk cam frae; Nam't ilk star that shone aboon him- =Kent whaur a' the planets lay. Socht the barn for stares an' fossils, =Fill't the house wi' klokes an' flees, Dry't the heads o' whins an' thrusles, =Kent the names o' plants an' trees. Mair than a', it was reportit =He cou'd mak' a dainty sang; Nor in vain the muse he courtit, =Favours on his head she flang. An' sin' time an' space are ample, =Here aboots I fain wad cram Twa three verses for a sample, =Habbie made on Tailor Tam:- "The Gaiters." The farmer by the ingle sat, =Tobacco clouds ejectin', While by his lug sat Tailor Tam, =His auld black coat dissectin'. For farmer's coats, like ither things, =Gae sadly oot o' fashion; But fashions are jist Satan's wiles, =And puir folk's ruination. Tam soon declared it past his pow'r =To change its antique features; "But laird," quo he, "I'll tell you what, ='Twill mak' a pair o' gaiters!" "The very thing!" exclaimed the laird, =Wi' arm in air extendit; Sae doon the seams, wi' lichtnin's speed, =The supple shears descendit. The farmer's coat it seems had been =A rival snip's creation, Wham Tam resolved that day to stab- =At least, in reputation. The farmer talk'd o' horse an' kye, =Swine, stots, an' beasts o' burden; The rise o' wheat, what cheese wad bring- =Tam scarce could get a word in. He clip't awa as lang's he could, =Till he could thole nae langer; Syne cried, "Sic doings! look guidman! =A very sant 'twad anger;- "Sic stuff! to put into a coat! =Wha ever saw sic paddin'? Frae back to sye ilk breast is stuff'd =Wi' clouts instead o' waddin'! "The button-holes no' wrocht wi' twist! =Nae stitchin' in the shouthers! The very red stuff in the neck =Some auld cloak o' his mither's! "The buttons burstin' thro' their hools, =Jist bits o' airn red roostit; Nae won'er we by dacent folk =Can hardly e'er be trustit!" The simple farmer quick believed, =An' got into a passion; His staff he struck upon the floor, =His een wi' fury flashin'! Quo he, "Ere I be cheated sae, =I'll lea' claes a' thegither, An' deck mysel' wi' cabbage blades, =Like Eve, our ancient mither!" That magic word gied Tam the hint, =Wi' spite he grew mair savage; Resolv'd ance mair to wound his foe, =Though Tam himsel' lik'd _cabbage_. "An' laird," quo he, "if that was a'- =Ye ha'ena' heard the warst o't! He's cut yer coat wi' swallow tails =To save himsel' a waistcoat!" "Weel!" quo the laird, "let byganes be, =The past can ne'er be mended; I'll watch the loon for time to come;" =And sae his choler ended. The day gaed past-the gaiters made, =Weel brush'd an' set in order- Wi' pearl buttons up ilk side, =An' stitch'd a' roun' the border. The clock struck eight, the supper hour; =The parritch graced the table- The servin' lads an' lasses were =Ca'd in frae byre an' stable. The auld man waits to say the grace, =Tam thro' the house is marchin' "What hae ye lost?" cries ane; quo Tam, ="It's for my coat I'm searchin'." Syne up they gat, socht but an' ben, =A'boot the house an' round it; Strange whispers pass'd frae lug to lug, =Tam stood like ane confoundit. "My guid black coat! whaur can it be? =The auld folks g1owr't in wonder, The young were snirtin' in their sleeves- =Tam's broo grew black as thunder. At length the laird cries, "Wha's aucht this? =Mine! no! 'twas cut to tatters; Unless-unless I he's ta'en his ain, =And made it into gaiters?" "My ain?" quo Tam-his cheeks wi' shame =Like steaks upon a brander- "Ay yours, ye loon! an' ser's ye weel, =For a' yer ill-tongued slander." Tam couldna' speak, but frae the house =He dartit like a bullet; An' to this day the farmer's coat =Sticks sairly in his gullet. PART IV. The Gloamin' Meetin'. Wha kens what strange things may happen, =Whaur a blister yet may light? Could lass see a youth sae strappin', =An' no' feel her heart grow licht? For to lo'e (nae doubt) was heinous, =Ane sae penniless as he; Wealth to her was nocht to genius- =Wealth to worth should yield the gree! Surely she was second sichtit! =Wi' a woman's witchin' art, Saw the lad, tho' blate an' frichtit, =Wore her image in his heart. When his visits grew mair seldom, =Weel she kent the reason why; Phoebe brawly could hae tell't him =What made him sae blate an' shy. Books she sent the lad, in plenty- =Books whiles lover's thochts can tell;- Weel the pawky fairy kent aye =He wad bring them back himsel'! When he cam', like simmer roses =Cam' the blushes to her cheek; Strange, that love in looks discloses =What the heart whiles daurna speak. Then sae maidenly an' gracefu' =Phoebe led him by the han' To her books; - a muckle pressfu' =In her cozy room did stan'. There, like ony lovin' sister, =Did her best the youth to please- Habbie soon forgat his fluster, =Felt himsel' grow mair at ease. Then she gat him on his hobby- =Show'd a foreign butterflee; Syne she brocht him frae the lobby =Branches aff a fossil tree. Talk'd o' mugworts, mints, an' mosses, =Bindweeds, bedstraes, burrs, and birns. Algaes, orchids, reeds, an' grasses, =Starworts, stitchworts, docks, an' ferns; Monogynias, an' monandrias =She could screed him by the ell; Anthers, umbels, an' octandrias, =Siccan' names ye ne'er heard tell. Thus the time gaed by like winkie, =Hours to minutes dwindled doon; Still ilk smile an' bonnie blinkie =Gied his heart anither stoun'. But ae bonnie simmer gloamin', =In the glen beneath the manse- Bees owre bank an' brae were roamin'- =Hab an' Phoebe met by _chance_. She had come some plants to gather; =He, to seek some unco stane; First they talk'd aboot the weather- =Baith, nae doot, were unco ta'en. Habbie help't her owre the burnie, =Fed wi' dew an' simmer rain; Took her hand at ilka turn aye, =While she stap'd frae stane to stane! While he pu't the crimson heath peas, =Phoebe on a bank o' thyme Sat her doon to gather heart's-ease, =For sic flowers were in their prime. While behint her Habbie lingers, =Wi' the Irailin' flowers o' heath, Quickly wi' his nimble fingers =Wove for her a queenly wreath. Breathlessly syne bending o'er her, =Press'd it roun' her temples fair; Syne upon his knees before her, =A' his love tale did declare. Phoebe nae doot glowr'd in won'er, =Still she didna tak' the gee- Didna' cleed her brow wi' thun'er, =Nor into a passion flee;- Rather like a bonnie flow'ret, =Droopin' on its slender stem, On his breast the while she cowerit, =Blushin' own'd a kindred flame. Owre them baith in rich profusion =Phoebe's hair cam' flichterin' doon- Nicht, to hide her sweet confusion, =Kindly drew her mantle roun'. Frae a scene sae blest an' holy =Wha wad ruthless lift the veil? Theirs was love unmix'd wi' folly- =A' that lovin' hearts can feel. Hoo he press'd her lips o' honey, =Hoo he drank her halmy breath, I micht tell ye, but I winna- =Rest God's blessin' on them baith! In the dim licht, ilka feature =0' the lcodscape seem'd mair fair; Steep'd in rapture seem'd a' nature, =Sweet an' balmy was the air. But the hours will bide for nae ane; =Time flew owre them like a bird; Stars thro' the blue lift cam' strayin'- =Hameward low'd the distant herd. Boomin' thro' the hazy distance =Stole Kilwuddie's ten-hours' bell; Thus recall'd to real existence, =Up they rose an' left the dell. Owre an' owre their troth they plichtit- =Vow'd to ither to be true, Till by Hymen's tapers lichtit, =To the nuptial nest they flew;- Laid their plans a' for the future: =First she'd win her faither's ear, Tell hoo Habbie was her suitor- =For the rest she didna fear. Habbie soon wad aff to college- =Nicht an' day toil like a Turk; Cram his head wi' ilka knowledge- =Be licensed, syne get a kirk. Thus they met, an' thus they partit, =Habbie happier than a king; Lauchin', daffin', an' licht heartit, =Like twa birdies on the wing. Like the sun on simmer mornin', =Love mak's a' our future bricht, Hicht an' how alike adornin'- =Flegs awa' the shades o' nicht. PART V. The Village Bella. 'Mang the village population =There was ane maun grace my tale; For her beauty and flirtation =Bell was kent owre hill an' dale. Bella had a queenly figure- =Saft blue e'en and sunny hair- Tall an' strappin', nane gaed trigger =In their dress, to kirk or fair. Cupid lurk'd in ilka feature, =An' her jokes gaed aff like squibs, Gart yer heart whene'er ye met her =Dunt against yer very ribs. Bell at least had fifty wooers, =But the jaud was ill to please; Weavers, wanters, lairds, an' fenars, =Flock'd aroun' the house like bees. At ilk haddin' in the kintra =She was still the reignin' queen: E'en the wealthy lairds an' gentra =Felt the glamour o' her een. Lasses a' should stick to ae ane, =Sae folk said o' bonny Bell; But she wad be tied to nae ane- =Wad be mistress o' hersel'. Jamie Bletherim was precentor, =Like a lintie, sang as clear; But gat roupit aye in winter, =Sae he sang jist half the year. Still his wee bit penny stipen' =Aye gat keepin' to himsel'; Yet when a' the rest were sleepin', =Had to rise an' ring the bell. Last I'll name in a' Kilwuddie, =Him wha kin'ly haps us a'; Maist as usefu' as the howdie- =Tearin, swearin' Johnnie Law! Hoo he used to chase the younkers =Frae his yard wi' sticks an' stanes, When they sat upon their hunkers, =Glowrin' at the lang shank banes. Lay the kirkyard green an' bonnie =On a hill aboon the toon, Whaur in mounds an' hump'ocks mony =Lay the dead a' sleepin' soun'. Whaur aneath the clear blue heaven, =Wi' the dead a' roun' my feet, Mony a day I've watch'd the leevin' =Wanderin' up Kilwuddie street. Scarce ye'd see a finer picture- =E'en an artist's e'e micht please: First the castle like a spectre =Rises grimly owre the trees. Like a spectre, still confrontin' =Lichtnin's bolt an' winter's blast- Like a spectre, ev'er pointin' =Frae the present to the past. In the howe, Kilwuddie sleepin' =In her robe o' rokely grey; In the solemn, quiet keepin' =0' a Scottish Sabbath day. Yonder like a thread o' siller, =Avon's bonnie waters glance. There the mill o' Mac, the miller, =Yon the kirk, an' that the manse. Far awa' the hill o' Loudon, =Frownin' owre his craigie wa'; Fields a' roun' wi' harvest gowden- =To the left, Kype's waterfa'. But the charms o' a' creation, =E'en the sweets o' Eden's yard, Wi' a virtuous population =Canna ever be compar'd. A' were pious, leal, and sober, =In Kilwuddie's peacefu' toon, Till STRONG DRINK, like midnicht robber, =Stole the jewels frae her croon. 0 that sic braw times had lastit =Thro' a lang millennial year! But her prospects a' were blastit- =Hoo it happen't ye shall hear. PART VI. The Curse. Like the cloudy panorama, =Flittin' owre the placid moon, Life is but a shiftin' drama- =Ilka day some change brings roun'. By an' by, the trade in cottons =Gied the weavers sic a lift, Guineas grew as rife as buttons, =Siller flew like winter drift. Arkwright, wi' his spinnin' jennies, =Dang oor grannies to the wa', A' to cleed ootlandish queanies, =Far in heather lands awa'. Wabs cam to the toon in plenty; =I've heard weavers say mysel', 'Stead o' ane ye could get twenty, =Some at half-a-croon the ell. Quarrymen flang doon their barrows, =Sweeps wash'd frae their face the coom, E'en the farmers left their harrows, =A' to get upon the loom. Soon the place was fill'd wi' strangers, =Guid an' ill a' roun' did flock, Gaberlunzies, tramps, an' rangers, =A' to get a "stan'en stroke." Syne cam' tradesmen, butchers, bakers; =Shops sprang up like puddock stools- Drapers, grocers, mantu-makers, =Ane to sell Kilmarnock cools. Syne cam' ane - the mair's the pity!- =Liquid ruin to dispense- Drink! the bane o' toon an' city- =Source o' crime an' indigence! Cam' as ance to flowery Eden, =Ere our guileless parents fell, Auld King Clooty, pechen - laden =Wi' the poison'd shafts o' hell. Ane wha'd kept a whisky tavern, =Far awa' 'mang bawds an' knaves- Ane wha sent folk, doilt an' davern, =Downward gaspin' to their graves!- Took a shop in auld Kilwuddie, =Hung a braw new painted sign, Tellin' ilka simple body =He selt whisky, yill, an' wine. Wha on earth has pow'r to license =Man to work sic fell mischief? As weel micht we mak' conditions =Wi' the murderer or thief! Folk at first gaed in wi' caution, =Jist to crack an' taste the yill, But it soon grew a' the fashion =Ilk ane roun' should stan' his gill. Neebors here met lown an' couthie =Owre the glass o' mountain dew; While they drank, they grew mair drouthy, =Till they a' get roarin' fou'. Mair an' mair they grew loquacious, =A' their tongues did wag at ance; Some grew funny, some grew furious, =Some wad fain be up to dance. Won'rin' what could hae come owre them, =Wives rose neist an' took the gait; Tell't hoo lang they'd waited for them, =Hoo the nicht was wearin' late. Sichts they saw to mak' them scunner; =Some lay snorin' 'mang their feet; Wives, puir bodies, glowr't in won'er, =Scarce kent whilk to lauch or greet. Lauch, sweet dears! nae doot it's funny =When a man to ruin rins; While the comb lasts, sip the honey, =By an' by ye'll change yer tunes! Mornin' comes! wi' drouth they're bockin', =A' in fire seems heart an' brain; Nocht on earth the fire will slocken, =But the auld thing owre again. Like the law homoepathic, =That whilk kills they tak' to cur'; Thus gaes on the cursed traffic, =Whisky! whisky! evermair! Ne'er was heard sic mirth an' daffin', =Ne'er were men folks made sic fools; Lasses held their sides wi' lauchin', =Till they coupit aff their stools. Sic gilravagin' an' sportin's =In the place, was ne'er heard tell; Queer mishaps an' sad misfortunes, =Whiles to mair than ane befell. Nor alane in big Jock Gemmell's, =Sat they doon to drink galore; But at hame they took their rambles, =An' for days kept up the splore. Ilka guidwife, her doon lyin' =Hansell'd wi' the barley bree, Owre ilk wab an' harness tyin' =Shopmates met to haud the spree. Ilka guidwife, honest bodie! =Held that drinkin' was a sin; Still, a wee drap made in toddy =Sooth'd the nerves an' brak' the win'. Lasses blate an' unco laithfu', =Had to be sae coax'd at first; By an' by they whip'd their toothfu', =Syne were reckon'd past the warst. Past the warst? no feth! but rather =A' the warst had yet to come; Black the storm had yet to gather- =Ills on ills, a countless sum. PART VII. The Mishaps o' Whisky. When to bed gaed Nelly Gowdie, =Bent on increase o' her kin', Fast her spouse ran for the howdie =To attend his fruitfu' vine. Weel prepar'd wi' jars o' whisky, =A' the neebors were ca'd in; A' gat blythemeat, a' gat frisky, =Till the nicht rang wi' their din. A' gat fou', e'en Maggie Riddell, =Wha at least should been the last, Through the house could scarcely widdle, =Syne asleep fell snorin' fast. Hoo they drank an' wat their wizens- =Hoo they hame gat nane can tell; She wha brocht hame folk in dizens =Had to be fetch'd hame hersel'. An' when hame at length she wauchel'd, =To undress she ne'er began, But into the bed she sprauchel'd, =Swith beside her wee gudeman. An' the story gaed, she neither =Cuist her stockin's nor her shoon; But ye ken an idle blether =In a clachan sune gets win'. At Jock Wabster's harness tyin', =Drink gaed like a whisky still; A' were fou', while Jock was lyin' ='Neath the loom dead drunk himsel'. Sae jist at the screech o' mornin' =Some ane's lamp had caught a thrum, Set the hale affair a burnin', =Bleezin' like a smiddy lum. Some for water roar'd out fiercely, =Some gat up, but couldna' rin, Till o' Jock's new harness scarcely =Thread or thrum was left behin'. Yet, 'mid a' the din an' clatter, =Jock himsel' lay sleepin' sound, Till 'mang sparks an' streams o' water, =Hafflins smother'd, hafflins droon'd,- Up he gat an' look'd sae curious, =Wi' a face as red's a moon, Syne wi' rage ran swearin' furious, =When he saw what had been dune. On the braid road swith to ruin, =Doonward, hellward! on they drave: Tailor Tam an' Dan MacEwan =Took to drinkin' like the lave. Ae May mornin' in a flurry, =Tailor Tam set aff to sew, Waddin' braws were in a hurry, =But owre nicht he had been fou'. His bit heed wi' bees a bizzin', =Lav'd aye in ilk burnie near, While to cool his burnin' wizen =Took sic wauchts o' water clear. When he reach'd the farmer's hallan', =Fever ragin' in his bluid, To commence his peacefu' callin' =Wasna in a fittin' mood. The guidwife, to hain her table, =Spread a coverin' white as snaw, Syne as fast as he was able, =Tam to shape the coat did fa'. She beside him couthly crackin', =Saw the bodie unco daiz'd, Brocht him milk his drouth to slocken- =Tam the claith weel roos'd and prais'd. Siccan claith! hear hoo it runted! =Scarcely wad the sheers gae thro', Ne'er had been their edge sae blunted =Since the day he coft them new! Siccan claith! 'twad ne'er be worn thro'; ="Stop! quo she, "preserve us a'! Blast yer sheers! for they ha'e shorn thro' =Table-coverin', claith, an' a'!" Tam look'd sheepish as a collie, =While his face grew het as fire; In his heart he curst his folly- =Scarce could soothe the guidwife's ire. PART VIII. The Sunday Fair. Noo, the Sabbath wasna' keepit =As the Sabbath used to be; At twal' hours their buns they steepit =In Jock Gemmell's barley bree. Lang syne, kirk folk ate their farrels =On some knowe ayont the toun; Noo, to Gemmell's kegs an' barrels =Young an' auld gaed marchin' doun. Till the bell had gi'en owre ringin', =Drave they at the foamin' yill; Some e'en when the psalms were singin' =Roar'd oot for anither gill. Ance they wad hae read their bibles- =Slack'd their drouth wi' Eden's wine; Noo they crack'd o' horse an' stables, =Craps an' markets, stots an' swine. A' the house rang wi' their clangour, =Like a fair wi' very din; Aye the house was gettin' thranger, =As anither lot cam' in. To provide accommodation, =Jock, the loon, paid strict regard; Whiles maist half the congregation =Sat an' fuddl't in his yard. Ance a muirlan' farmer bodie- =Wha till Monday morn's mirk hour, Guzzl'd at the reekin' toddy- =Tint his gait gaun owre the muir; Whaur the auld brig spans the Avon, =On the ledge he laid him doun; Hoarse below the flood was ravin', =Came the spate doun big an' broun. Wha upon a bed sae kittle, =In his sober state wad sleep? By an' by oot owre the settle =Swift he tummled in the deep; But when laverocks sweet an' clearly =Sang the welcome o' the day, Lifeless in the mornin' early, =On a flooded howm he lay. Drink, for a', was nane negleckit- =Jock grew rich, an' fat's a stirk; Ilka day was mair respeckit, =Was made _elder o' the kirk!_ Had it been o' pandemonium! =Surely elder folks were scant Christian men are at a premium, =When the deil becomes a saunt! Woman's heart is sure a puzzle! =Ne'er did happen ocht sae queer- Jock, the cause o' a' the guzzle, =Won the heart o' Bella Weir. A' the talk was noo o' Bella, =Sune it gaed the kintra through, Jock was sic a walthy fallow, =Bell wad be a leddy noo! Like a pampered fish she'd waited, =Lettin' nobler prey gae past, Till the deadly hook cam' baited =Wi' a bloated worm at last. Like the simmer's sun to nature, =Sweet first love the young heart warms; Bella ilka day grew sweeter, =Fairer bloom'd her thousan' charms. Puir thing! she was daft aboot him, =Whilk soon lessen'd his regard; Auld folks syne began to doot him: =Had puir Bella been mislear'd? By an' by, the parish beauty =On the street was seldom seen; Bella had forgot her duty! =Ilk ane miss'd her on the green. Nor alane on bonnie Bella =Fell frail woman's warst disgrace; Mony mair were soon heard tell o' =Baith within an' roun' the place. Consternation seiz'd the session, =Ae black stool wad never dae; A' they said was stilt nae lesson, =Cam' new cases ilka day. 'Mang the lave for whisky swillin' =Nane could equal Johnnie Law, Spent on drink his hin'most shillin'. =Sat ilk nicht till ane an' twa. Ae day cam' a black procession =Wi' a hearse bo Johnnie's gate; Lang they rattl't for admission, =Till they could nae langer wait. Owre the wa' a laddie ventur'd, =Search'd a' roun' wi' wistfu' e'e- Drew the bolt, sune in they enter'd, =But o' Johnnie nocht could see. 'Mang the lang grass green an' bonnie, =Whaur the yird lay in a heap, Drunk asleep lay Seaton Johnnie, =In a grave near sax fit deep. At his feet, a skull, lang dead, lay- =In his bannet, farther ben, Lay a toom stoup. while his head lay =Pillow'd on a coffin en'. Ane roar'd doon wi' accents deeving, ="Johnnie man! say, are ye dead?" Syne to try an' he were leevin', =Shool't some yirth doon on his head. Wi' an oath up Johnnie startit- =Want o' wit was ne'er his crime- "Friens!" quo' he, "I hae departit =Jist a wee thocht ere my time!" This set a' the folk a lauchin', =Johnnie ran to clean his face, While they lower't doon the coffin =Snugly in to Johnnie's place. PART IX. Rabbie's Disgrace. Still the stream o' ill grows braider, =Still the drouthy grow mair dry; No' for porter, yill, or cider; =Whisky! whisky! a' the cry. 0, thou weary curse o' Scotlan'! =Black befa' thee, madd'nin' drink! Sens't her best an' bravest totlin' =Owre perdition's fiery brink! He wha made thee first was owre grit =Surely wi' the powers o' hell- Maun at least ha'e got the secret =Frae the evil ane himsel'. O that men, immortal creatures, =Left to choose 'tween weel an' woe, Should degrade their noble natures =Wi' a vice sae curst an' low! Wha possess'd o' sense an' reason =Owre strong drink wad nichtly nod? Wha be guilty o' sic treason =To his country an' his God? Wha wad countenance an evil =In oor hames works sic dismay? They wha dae sae help the deevil =Souls immortal to betray! Like bumbee skeps a' a bizzen, =Drink-howfs raise in ilka lane; 'Stead o' ane there was a dizzen, =But Jock Gemmell's was the main. Syne a monkey chiel cam' prancin' =Ilka nicht to Gemmell's ha', Whaur he held a schule for dancin'- =Thus the young were led awa'. Drink an' dancin' gang thegither: =Artfully was laid the snare; Mony a puir heart-broken mither =Rue't the day her bairns gaed there. Syne the men grew politicians, =Ilka nicht they read the news; Bills discussed, an' signed petitions, =When they werena' in the blues. In the onward march o' science, =Auld Kilwuddie wasna lame; Some wi' noble self-reliance, ='Mang the rest young Habbie Graham, Startit a mechanic's meetin' =In the session-clerk's ben-en'; But philosophy to sweeten, =They adjourned to Gemmell's den, Whaur ilk lang an' loud oration =Met wi' thunders o' applause; Toddy lent sic inspiration =To clear up auld nature's laws. Nane gaed deeper in the wassail =Than their chairman, Habbie Graham; Tho' the joe o' Phoebe Cassell, =Whiles he had to be ta'en hame! Think ye a' this drucken revel =Hadna' reach'd Miss Phoebe's ear? Dark'nin' clouds o' comin' evil =Fill'd her bodin' heart wi' fear! Mony lovin' hints she gied him, =Show'd his danger e'en wi' tears, But the lov'd ane didna' heed them, =Aye he kiss'd awa' her fears; Till ae nicht he cam' before her, =Wi' the freedom o' a sot; Phoebe shrank free him in horror, =Modesty he'd clean forgot! To her cheeks, the bluid gaed flushin', =Syne to deadly white they turn'd, Grief within her heart was gushin', =While her e'en like candles burn'd. "Halbert rise! this instant lea' me! =Never let me see thy face! While I leeve, I winna see thee, =Till ye've rued this black disgrace! "Ance I'm wed, deceiv'd I may be, =Love may change to cauld neglect; But the man wha marries Phoebe =Maun at least ha'e her respect!" Habbie, burnin' wi' vexation, =Feelin' deep the sad rebuff, Wi' nae word o' explanation, =Aff an' left her in the huff. Sair her love, as he was leavin', =Strove to maister her disdain; Ilka fibre o' her bein' =Pled for him, but pled in vain. Phoebe kept her resolution, =To her heart she wadna yield; Love, wi' a' his elocution, =Foiled and vanquished left the field! Cam' the morn wi' beams caressin'- =Cam' the news up frae the toon, Habbie Graham had gane amissin', =Had been socht for roun' an' roun'. Syne cam' news frae Glasca' market, =Wi' the sodgers he'd been seen; Some said he had gane to clerk it =Wi' a frien' at Aberdeen. PART X. The Closing Day. Simmer pass'd, syne autumn yellow, =Clad the rigs wi' stooks o' corn; Still o' Hab, was nocht heard tell o'- =Phoebe's heart grew quite forlorn. While to add mair to her sorrow, =Near his en' her faither lay, Waitin' for that brichter morrow =That succeeds our mortal day. Noo the sun wi' beams sae gowden, =Smiles his last on muir an' lea, Slantin' owre the hill o' Loudon =In his course doun to the sea. Owre the bedside o' the dyin' =Saint, her faither, Phoebe leans. Ilka want her love supplyin' =Nicht an' day, yet ne'er compleans. Like the sun, awhile he lingers, =Ere he sinks to blissfu' rest, Claspin' Phoebe's rosy fingers, =Kindly her he thus address'd:- "Tell me, Phoebe! ere I lea' thee, =What has made thy cheek sae pale; Something on thy breast lies heavy, =Tell thy faither a' thy tale? "Tell me, has thy lad grown fickle?- =Whaur has faithless Habbie gane? True! o' gear he hadna mickle, =Yet I lov'd him as my ain." Phoebe, leanin' on his bosom. =Tell't him a' that had befell, An' hoo hard it was to lose him- =Whaur he'd gane she couldna tell. Like a seer wha scans the future, =Faintly to himsel' he said, "No! he canna leeve withoot her, =Ilk seems for the ither made." Then he said, still gazin' on her, ="Phoebe dear, nae langer mourn, In prosperity an' honour, =Halbert Graham shall yet return- "Shall return! in strength an' beauty, =Shall return my bairn to bless; In the path o' love an' duty, =Servin' God in righteousness!" Thro' the blue light, stars cam' peepin', =Saftly beamed the risin' moon, Hill an' dale in radiance steepin'; =Silence reigned a' roun' an' roun'. Phoebe watched him lang an' constant, =Till the lea lang nicht gaed past, When as calm as sleepin' infant, =Wi' a sigh he breathed his last. 0' the manse she kept possession, =Like a lane bird in its nest, Till the solemn-paced procession =Bore his ashes to their rest. Gatherin' a' her gear thegither, =Mournfully the road she took, Wi' an' auld frien' o' her faither, =To his hame in Ferny-Nook; Whaur 'mang frien's that kept her cozy, =In the deep howe o' a glen, Phoebe's cheeks again grew rosy, =E'en her heart began to men'. There we lea' the sweet wee bodie =To regain her cheerfu' smile, While we turn to Auld Kilwuddie, =Strange events to watch the while. PART XI. Bella's End. Ne'er a word yet o' Jock Gemmell =Makin' Bella Weir his bride; Fain wad she her state dissem'le, =But her case it wadna hide. Slichtit love had turned the honey =O' her life to bitter ga'; Frae her cheek the roses bonnie =Wi' her peace had flown awa'. Till ae Sunday it was rumour'd =Jock had been three times proclaim'd, But the folks were a' dumfoun'er't, =When they heard the fair ane named. 'Stead o' Bella ane Kate Miller, =He had courted i' the North; Some auld hen wi' clauts o' siller, =But wi' neither sense nor worth. A' the gossips flate wi' anger, =Ca'd him scroun'rel, blackguard, wicht; Since he'd been sae base as wrang her, =Surely he should mak' her richt? Bella's dream o' joy departit, =Ilka day mair sad she grew; Hopeless, feckless, broken heartit, =To the drink at last she flew. Ae ill whiles brings on anither- =Bell ae day gaed doon the gait Some bit errand for her mither: =Lasses said "She wasna blate!" Neebors a' were glowrin' at her; =Bella glided lichtly past, As if nocht had been the matter- =Gossips a' stood quite aghast! Ilk ane e'ed her wi' suspicion- =Could it be they were mista'en? Folk sae skill'd in her condition! =What had come o' Bella's wean? Ane had heard a groan at midnicht- =Ane a bairnie's greet had heard- Ane at mirk had seen a red licht =In the howe o' Bella's yard. Some wi' pious rage were gnashin', =Wha, when sable nicht cam' doon, Slippit owre the dyke wi' caution, =An' the yard socht roun' an' roun' Mang the lang kail-stocks they lampit, =Nocht suspicious could be seen, But a spot a' birz'd an' trampit =In the bonnie bleechin' green. Frantic, here the turk they tore up, =But wi' terror maist gaed gyte, When frae 'mang their feet they bore up =Something a' row'd up in white. Wi' their prize they ran triumphant =To the licht, the truth to learn; Sure enough! there lay an infant =Stark an' stiff-'twas Bella's bairn. In the mornin', swift as eagles, =Twa flew to the burgh toon, Frae the jail to fetch the beagles, =An' to raise the kintra roun'. Raise the folk in consternation, =When the news spread thro' the toun- Raise a storm o' indignation ='Gainst tha vile, betrayin' loon. Wi' their warrants, writs, an' letters, =Cam' the sleuth-hounds o' the law, Wi' their batons, gyves, an' fetters, =To tak' Bella Weir awa'! Hun'ers roun' the house had gather't, =Scarce the beagles could get in; Doors an' winnocks fast were tether't, =Lest the pris'ner aff should win. What mak's beagle bodies ferly? =Paralyz'd the arm o' law- Bella in the mornin' early =Had ta'en wing and fled awa'! Some ran ae gait, some anither, =Led on wi' a beagle loon; Some to cateheeze the mither, =By the ingle sat them doun. Socht they roun' the strath o' Avon, =Ilka pool and bosky dell, Till ane owre the lugs gaed stavin' =An' amaist gat droon't himsel';- Till the gloamin' licht grew fainter, =When up-rose the glowrin' moon; Syne twa three wha best had kent her, =Took the gait to Kype's dark linn. Whaur the trees in leafy grandeur =Rise aboon the eerie pool- Whaur puir Bella lo'ed to wander =In the simmer e'enin's cool; Whaur the rocks hing rent an' riven =High aboon the roarin' linn, Whaur the stream in fury driven, =Gushes doon wi' fearfu' din. A' was silent save the rumble =0' the water owre the rocks, An' below the eerie grumble =0' the pool aneath the oaks. Some gaed grapin' thro' the plantain, =Socht a' roun' amang the trees; Ane at length wi' terror pantin' =In the moonlicht something sees. Frae the rock a white scarf dangled, =Tether' t to a lonely brier, An' beneath a' bruiz'd an' mangled, =Lay the form o' Bella Weir! Wi' her blue e'en heav'nward starin', =Wi' her han' raised stark an' stiff, Driven dementit, or despairin', =She had flung her frae the cliff. =*=*=*=* Gemmell, her fause joe, gat married; =An', hoo strange! that very day, Past his door was Bella carried =To her cauld bed on the brae. Shore the villain's triumph lastit; =On his heart fell black remorse; Nicht an' day his sicht was blastit =Wi' her pale an' bleedin' cor'se- Lay an' drank his ain curs'd liquor, =But e'en that avail'd him nocht; E'en the biggest brandy bicker =Couldna droun the pangs o' thocht. Ilka nicht saw shapes o' evil, =Gart his cheeks grow pale as deaths Whiles it seem'd an' ugsome deevil, =Whiles it seem'd fair Bella's wraith. Till at last folk durstna meddle 'im, =Drink an' thooht had dang him mad; Sae they wheel'd him aff to Bedlam- =Ne'er a heart for him was sad. PART XII. Kilwuddie Fair. While they drave at wine an' wassail, =Mornin', noon, an' midnicht mirk, In the room o' Mess John Cassell- =Helper Tam had got the kirk; Wha, wi' boozin' an' guid keepin', =Soon grew fat's a Hielan' pig: Gat the folk to raise his stipen', =Coft a pony and a wig. But the pastor o' Kilwuddie =Fell a victim like the lave; To his glass o' brandy toddy =He became a perfect slave. Waddin's, deaths, examinations, =Tam flang prudence clean awa'! E'en frae past'ral visitations =Hame cam' stottin' like a ba'. Comin' ae nicht frae a bridal, =Bung't wi' whisky, blin's a mole, Rockin' rowin' in his saddle, =Took a yett-post for a toll. Cried oot, "Hey, man! Rabbie Miller! =Lowse the yett, ye lazy crew! What's com'd owre ye? there's yer siller!" =Whilk upon the road he threw. Syne upon the yett he thumpit =Wi' his stick, while to his beast Cried, "Come Sally! let its jump it! =Sall' ye jaud! What-wad ye reist?" Sally, wha'd mair sense a hantle =Than her maister, gied a snirt; Cuist her heels up wi' a cantle, =Left him spraulin' i' the dirt! Whaur until the grey o' mornin' =He lay snorin' like a pig, Docken leaves his scaup adornin' ='Stead o' his guid hat an' wig. But the carrier, Willie Carswells, =Saw the matter at a glance, An' amang his ither parcels, =Wheel'd him all straucht to the manse. By an' by, folk's tongues grew busy, =E'en the priests whiles gang agee: Ae day wi' his servant hizzie, =Tam took leg an' owre the sea. Nor alane Kilwuddie gentry, =Sense an' siller flang awa; Farmer bodies frae the kintra =Cam' ilk week to ha'e a blaw. Ae nicht owre the reekin' toddy, =Wi' an aith ane did declare, For the gude o' Auld Kilwuddie, =They should ha'e a hirin' fair. 'Twas agreed, an' settl'd fully, =Word was sent baith far an' near, On the second day o' July =They would hand a rantin' fair. Cam' at length the wish'd for mornin'- =Cam' the pedlars wi' their packs, Cam' the drouths to get their hornin', =Toy-folks wi' their queer nick-nacks; A' the rif-raff' cam' like sparrows, =Some to grab an' some to sell; Swettie stan's an' lang nit harrows, =Rock an' candy by the ell. Cam' the shows a' painted yellow, =Ane a muckle caravan, Wi' a monster ne'er heard tell o', =Ca'd the great Chimpanzee man. Twa she-lions an' a tiger, =Leev'd thegither in ae den; In the nest a monster figure, =Wi' a tail on ilka en'. Rowly-powly! wheel o' fortune, =Prick the garter, hide the pea; For the chiels wha, bent on sportin', =Gart the cash aroun' them flee. Folk cam' in, in scores an' dizens, =Some to hire an' some to fee; Maist, nae doot, to weet their wizens, =See the fair, an' haud the spree. Barefit herds frae 'mang the thrussles, ='Mang the lays their maiks to spen', Laid them oot on knives an' whussels, =Candy-rock an' ginge-bread men. Horses tails were busk'd wi' strae ban's, =Lasses heads wi' silken snoods, Servin' lads wi' babs o' ribbons, =Farmers' wives wi' scarlet hoods. Drink howfs rang wi' noise an' clatter, =Young an' auld alike gat ree; Drink gaed roun' like jaws o' water, =A' were blythe as blythe could be. Lasses drave at pies an' porter, =Syne wi' screech the lads them press'd; Jist a taste it wadna hurt her, =Syne "Ye maun coup oot the rest!" Dais'd at length wi' swats an' claver, =Aff to join the penny reels, Whaur to "Jenny daug the weaver" =Blythely they flung up their heels. Noo like barm within an oven, =In ilk brain the barley works; Rivin', drivin', stoitin', stovin', =In the crood they fecht like Turks! Ane cries hoo his lug it goupit! =This ane hauds his bluidy nose; Sweetie stan's owre heels are coupit, =Frien's in deadly conflict close. Sic a roarin' fechtin' rabble =Ne'er met underneath the moon, Sin' the donnert deils o' Babel =Rent the welkin' wi' their din. Foul blaspheming, mixt wi' curses, =Met ane's ear in ilka nook; While the keelies cleek't the purses, =Whiles a weel stuff'd pocket-book. Hoo like beasts they foucht throu'ither, =A' nicht lang, nae tongue can tell: A' seem'd reft o' wit thegither- =Nocht could mair resemble hell. Doun on a' the hellish hudder =Stars look'd wi' their dewy een, While pale nicht, wi' mony a shudder, =Drew her mantle owre the scene. Few o' them gat hame till mornin', =Syne ilk ane bewail'd his loss; Some wi' quenchless thirst were burnin', =Some were leftna' wi' a cross. Some as souple as a docken, =In the dyke-sheugh lay a' nicht, Some wi' noses clour't an' broken, =Some wi' een swell'd oot o' sicht; PART XIII. The Radicals. Black day! for Kilwuddie weavers, =Perish'd a' their hard won gains; Wives cried, "O ye heartless reevers! =Will ye starve yer bits o' weans?" A' their bonnie bits o' biggins, =Unrepair'd sune gaed to wrack; Wa's ance white grew black's their riggins, =Stuff'd the winnocks-hol't the thack. But within the change was greater, =Dirt in ilka nook did lie- Dirt on ilka face an' feature, =An' their beds wad fyl'd a stye. Noo the wives gaed on the batter, =Wadna' pay what they were awn; Syne to raise the needfu' catter, =Aff gaed claes into the pawn. Men an' wives continual differ't, =Peace an' comfort fled their hames; Cuffs an' kicks they freely niffer't, =Ca'd ilk ither fearfu' names. Bairns grew lank an' lean as harrows, =Scant o' cleedin', scantly fed, Cower't aboot the hearth like sparrows, =A' their bloom an' beauty fled. Lips that ance wad socht God's blessin', =Prais'd his name upon the Beuk; Ban'less noo were heard expressin' =Aiths deep forged in hell's black neck. Ither ills danced in attendance, =Ignorance took place o' lear; Puirtith crushed a' independence, =Scores o' paupers _noo_ were there. But at last the bodies gather't =Owre the dram to trace the cause O' the countless ills they suffer't- =A' agreed it was the laws. A' was wrang wi' the taxation, =Government were sair to blame, Debt sae lay upon the nation, =Gart folk fa' in debt at hame. Whigs and Tories baith were riff-raff, =Wha made laws folk's richts to steal; France had ta'en her monarch's head aff, =Michtna' Geordie's gang as weel? Black Nebs, Radicals, Aggressors, =Put Kilwuddie in a fyke, Vow'd they'd rise on their oppressors =Wi' the musket an' the pike. Soon the word gaed thro' the kintra =A' the Radicals wad rise, Plunder first the kintra gentra, =Syne tak' Glasca' by surprise. Guns an' pistols werena' plenty, =Swords were scarce as philibegs; Some a rung gat, some a shinty, =Some had pikes, and some had clegs. Ilka nicht they held a meetin', =In the mornin' met for drill; Wives were ragin', weans were greetin', =Less thro' fear than want o' meal. Cam' at last the morn agreed on, =Aff they march'd in motley raws, To regain their lang lost freedom, =And reform oppressive laws. On they tramp'd wi' flauntin' banners, =Owre them fortune seem'd to smile; Glasca' soon wad be in dan'ers, =Nocht to dae but share the spoil. Tir'd at length, the braves encampit =On the side o' Cathkin' brae, Whaur like lions bauld they rampit, =Eager to begin the fray. But their courage sair was dounkit, =When twa ootposts word brocht in, That they had been a' begunkit, =Gart ilk ane shake in his shoon. Aff they ran a' helter-skelter, =Flang their pikes an' clegs awa', Ilk ane saw auld Hangie's helter =Owre his head aboot to fa'. Some come back to auld Kilwuddie, =Some for months were never seen; While Jock Wabster, donnert bodie, =Lost his head on Glasca Green. They wha suffer frae an evil, =Seldom see the cause at hame; Wyte their sins upon the deevil, =Sel' is aye the last to blame, Had they look'd in the direction =O' Jock Gemmell's whisky kegs! But the cup o' their affliction =Wasna' yet drain'd to the dregs! PART XIV. Night and Morning. Cam' a fell distemper stealin' =Owre the lan' frae toun to toun, To the ha' as weel's the sheelin'; =Mony thousan's were cut doon. Like a lan' gi'en up to plunder, =Trampl'd 'neath an en'my's feet; Strong heart-ties were rent asunder, =Dead folk lay in ilka street. Whaur the demon o' Intemp'rance =Left his track o' witherin' skaith, Cam' the pale horse o' the pest'lence, =Wi' his ghastly rider Death! Fell the scourge o' desolation =Maist on dirt-polluted hames; Folk lang gi'en to dissipation =Gaed like fuel in the flames. Owre Kilwuddie, sunk in error, =Viewless fell the clud o' woe; Ilka bosom quak'd wi' terror, =Waitin' the expeckit blow. Bairnies were depriv'd o' mithers, =Mithers o' their bairns bereft; Men o' wives, an' bairns their brithers, =In some hames no' ane was left! Lay the dead beside the deein', =Infants tugg'd the milkless breast; Hope forsook ilk human bein', =Horror ilka heart opprest. In the hour o' death an' danger, =Mony a prayer for mercy raise; God had sent a stern avenger =To convince them o their ways! But the plague wi' a' its horrors, =Phoebe Cassell stoutly braved, Grappl'd wi' the king o' terrors, =Mony a usefu' life she saved. Like an angel, sweet and bonnie, =Fell her shadow still to bless; Words drap't frae her lips like honey, =While she lessened folk's distress. Joined wi' some in fervent prayer, =Syne wi' ithers scripture read; Mony a cordial she brocht wi' her, =Some she keep't in daily bread. When the Presbytery heard o' =Sic distress within the toun; In the room o' Tam M'Murdo =Soon they sent a preacher doun. A' wha' could gaed to the preachin', =Some thro' ferly, some thro' fear; Scarce a word o' gospel teachin' =Had they heard for mony a year. Manly did he seem, an' gracefu', =When he rose to read the psalm; In his look, a wee thocht bashfu', =But his voice was clear an' calm. Syne he prayed wi' siccan fervour, =Ilk ane there wi' him took part; Felt he was nae _puir time-server!_ =But a man o' God's ain heart. An' sic halesome truths he uttered, =When his sermon he began; Ilk ane to his neebor muttered, ="Isna he an unco man!" Tell't them o' their dissipation, =That had shed sic misery roun'; Syne o' the dark visitation =That lay heavy on the toun; Quoted scripture verse by verse aye, =A' to prove the Lord was kin': Hoo sic ills were sent in mercy, =To reform an' bless mankin'. Some were seizd wi' strong conviction, =Some did weep in sair distress, An' in depth o' their affliction, =Pled for God's forgiveness. 'Mang the rest, tho' worn an' wearit, =Phoebe Cassell cam' to hear; But a chill cam' owre her spirit, =When his woids fell on her ear. Something in his look peculiar =Gied her heart an unco stoun; Something in his tones familiar =Gart the tears come gushin' doon. O' his sermon or his prayer =Scarce she heard a word ava'; A' her senses seem'd gaun frae her- =Phoebe fainted clean awa'. Bletherum bore her to the vestry, =Jaw'd some water in her face; But when reason gat the maistry, =Wild she glowr't a' roun' the place. "Tell me, Bletherum! say, instanter, =What may be yon preacher's name?" Leuch, an' said the sly precentor, ="'Tis the Reverent Halbert Graham!" Up gat Phoebe, scarlet blushin', =Like a bird her plumage shook; Joy within her bosom gushin', =Aff she flew to Ferny-Nook. Ne'er had passed sae quate a Sunday, =Nane were seen gaun doon the brae, To imbibe the cursed pundie- =Maist gaed hame to read or pray. Flew the news hoo their auld teacher, =Lang amissin', Habbie Graham, Jist leecens'd, a famous preacher! =To Kilwuddie had come hame. Whaur the fearfu' visitation =In the toun did maist abound, On his mission o' salvation, =A' that nicht was Halbert found. Pour'd the balm o' consolation =In sad hearts by death bereaved, Fill'd wi' joy and exultation, =Them wha in the truth believed. Soon they heard wi' hearts elated =The disease was on the wane; Death, like ruthless tyrant, sated, =Gaz'd upon his thousan's slain. Sin' she left the kirk on Sunday, =Nocht o' Phoebe had been seen; Folk look'd for her a' day Monday, =Young an' auld wi' wistfu' e'en. What's come o' the bonnie beauty? =Can she the disease hae ta'en? Has the quean forgat her duty? =They wha think sae, are mista'en. In the love-lot o' puir mortals =There is mony a fearfu' crook! Stey the road to Hymen's portals- =Turn we noo to Ferny-Nook. Men an' beasts hae a' been skepit, =Nicht's black wing is deepenin' roun'; Bairns by kin'ly hans weel happit, =Wi' ilk ither cuddle doun. Phoebe's room is cauld an' empty, =Phoebe's bed has ne'er been prest; Whaur at mirk can she hae gane tae? =Like a ghaist that canna rest? Whaur the burn in moonlicht dazzles, =Jinkin roun' ilk mossy stane; In the glen amang the hazels, =Phoebe wan'ers a' her lane. Prest wi' care in deep dejection =Frae her een the saut tears well; Syne like ane in deep reflection, =Sadly mutters to hersel'- "Peerless Halbert! hapless Phoebe! =Is it thus oor love maun en'? Brichtest hopes are but a maybe! =Wha on earth can trust to men? "Blessed hope, sae fondly cherish'd, =Quench'd for aye thy joyous beam- A' love's bonnie blossoms perish'd- =A' the past a painfu' dream! "Ne'er were heav'nly gifts sae blendit- =Learnin', sense, religion, worth; O that Phoebe's days were endit, =Closed her pilgrimage on earth! "Lang I waited his returnin' =Like the wood-dove for her mate- Lang for him my heart kept mournin'- =Langer still maun Phoebe wait. "Hame return'd wi' fame an' honour, =Visits ilka weel-kent spot, But his Phoebe, disna ken her, =Ance sae dauted, noo forgot! "Realised ilk fond ambition- =Nocht could daunt a mind sae will'd: Noo he fills a high position, =Ilka wish he had fulfill'd." "A' but ane," a voice said near her; ="Yet remains his dearest aim." Phoebe startin', wild wi' terror- =Saw before her Habbie Graham. Soon his arms were clasp'd aroun' her, =Lang he strain'd her to his breast- Phoebe, lost in love an' won'er, =Sabb'd in tears, though she was blest. In the glow o' that blest meetin', =In that hour o' ecstacy, A' the past seem'd but the fleetin' =Moment o' a' wintry day. "Hoo, dear Haihert, could ye lea' me =Withoot e'en a pairtin' word? But wi blessin's I forgie thee, =Sin' to me thou art restor'd." "Capstane o' my earthly pleasure! =Peerless Phoebe I noo my ain, Life can yield nae richer treasure! =Sweet reward for years o' pain! "Inward blamin' my ain folly, =When I left that nicht, I sware Ne'er to taste the drink unholy, =Nor a drink-howf enter mair. "Nor alane to lea' the toddy, =But to lea' in my despair- A' that boun' me to Kilwuddie, =Nor to see my Phoebe mair. "Till the humble village teacher =Mada amends for his disgrace, An' cam' hame a leecens'd preacher- =Only then I'd see thy face. "Hoo I've focht wi' fate, believe me, =Mair than I wad like to tell- Love for thee inspir'd me, Phoebe! =Frae them a' to bear the bell. "But for thy strong indignation, =Crimson'd cheek, an' flashin' een, Lost in drink an' dissipation =Thy fond Halbert micht ha'e been, "Nor alane ha'e gat my license, =But ha'e offers mair than ane; Last week cam' twa deputations, =But I pledg'd mysel' to nane. "No, sweet Phoebe, I wad raither, =If 'twere the Almichty's will, Fill the pu'pit o' thy faither, =In the auld kirk on the hill. "What to me are wealth an' bonours? =What to me a cozie biel'? Tein's an' stipen's, glebes an' hun'ers, =When compar'd wi' human weal? "Lang I've pled wi' Him abune me =To reclaim oor native toun; Strong I feel the wish within me =To complete the work begun. "By an' by, reliev'd frae terror, =Folk will then get time to think- By an' by, renounce their error, =An' gi'e owre the cursed drink." Conclusion. But, to end this lang narration, =Halbert Graham receiv'd a ca' Frae Kilwuddie congregation, =Whilk gied joy to ane an' a'. Pass'd awa' the cloud that hover'd =Grimly owre Kilwuddie toun! Mony sick to health recover'd, =But fell mony were cut doun. Dan the souter, Meg the howdy, =Rab the smith, an' Johnnie Law, Tailor Tam, an' Nelly Gowdie, =By the plague were ta'en awa'. Syne cam' roun' their pastor's marriage, =When sweet Phoebe chang'd her name, Wheel'd awa', syne, in a carriage, =To her auld beloved hame; Whaur she's hid the strong foundation =O' her house in rosy twins- Whaur she's lo'ed to adoration, =An' a' hearts wi' kindness wins. Auld Kilwuddie ment her manners, =Closed her drink-howfs ane by ane; A' the folk grew steeve abstainers, =Joys lang dead sprang up again! 'Mang the guidfolks o' Kilwuddie =Ne'er were kent sic alter't days; Wives an' bairns wha gaed sae duddy, =Noo can brag o' Sunday claes. When compass'd wi' drink an' danger, =Bits o' weans were famish'd clean; Noo they leeve at heck and manger- =Cheeks like roses, clear their een. Peats to big the fire in winter- =Beds weel happit, sheets like snaw; Jock Galbraith, the blanket dunter, =Thinks he'll ne'er get rest ava'. Jock's guidwife ilk day is singin' =Like a mavis, loud an' clear, Till ilk nook an' bole is ringin', =An' her sang I'll let you hear. Song. WHISKY'S AWA'. AIR - "_My Nannie's Awa'_." _As sung by Leezie Galbrait to a delighted audience, viz., her Guidman and Bairns_. Noo 'winter has blawn ilka leaf frae the tree, =The bluebell an' gowan lie dead on the lea, A' roun' oor wee biggin deep lies the white snaw, But within there is simmer when whisky's awa. =But within there is simmer, &c. Oor hame, ance sae haunted wi' sorrow an' care, Noo rings wi' the music o' lovin' hearts there; While John, like a hero, noo toils for us a', In the pride o' his manhood, sin' whisky's awa. =In the pride o' his manhood, &c. But the cauld days o' winter will soon whistle by, An' the green brace be clad wi' the sheep an' the kye, Then we'll aff to the glens whaur the wild roses blaw, An' sing wi' glad nature, vile whisky's awa'. =An' sing wi' glad nature, &c. Let warldly minds warsle for riches an' fame, Gie me but the wealth o' a love-lichtit hame, An' the cloud o' affliction mair lichtly will fa' Owre the hames o' the lowly, when whisky's awa'. =Owre the hames o' the lowly, &c. The Clock and the Bellows. THERE'S truth in the auld sayin'-as experience can tell- That "Harkeners but seldom hear a guid word o' themsel';" Even when twa neebor gossips meet, wi' clashin' tongues accurst, To rip ane's character to rags, they tak' the failings first. But when folk stan' at neebors' doors inquisitive to hear, They weel deserve a random prog frae scandal's venom'd spear; [hole; It's no for ony guid they come an' keek through ane's key But in a bodie's ain hoose, siccan things are hard to thole Ae simmer nicht-the fire shone bricht, the ribs were like a kiln, Jist after I had ta'en o' brose an' guid sweet milk my fill- But whether 'twas the book I read, the sweet milk, or the brose, It matters nae-but in my chair I fell into a doze. The lamp gaed oot, the fire grew laigh, a' roun' was silence deep, But yet for a' sae snug's I felt, somehoo I couldna sleep; Then, by-an'-by, I seemed to hear a sough o' risin' win', As if to blaw the fire themsel' the bellows had begun. Astonishment sae held me doun, I tried, but couldna stir, When something in my wee Swiss clock began to whiz an' whirr, An' syne in words the soun's took shape, in clinkin' verse they ran- In earnest colloquy the twa, alternate, thus began:- BELLOWS. "Haud still a wee, auld waggity! the maister's sleepin' soun', I ken when frae his han' I see the book fa' birlin' doun: I like to see the bodie sleep, it speaks o' soothing rest, For mortals in their waukin' hours, they say, are seldom blest. I'm wearit hingin' here my lane, on nail beside the jam, Like some auld fiddle wantin' strings, or reekit braxy ham, Wi' naebody to speak to me, no' even a cat or doug, While you wi' everlastin' tick, ye never fash yer lug. It canna' be a pleasant thocht-noo that he's getting auld- To come hame to a fireless hearth, a hoose sae dark an' cauld- The bed to mak', the flair to soop, to ken'le his bit fire, His wee bit hoosie, at the best, as touzie as a byre. I won'er what he wad ha'e dune had it no' been for me. To blaw his fire an' sen' the lowe up dancin' owre the swee; O then to see hoo blythe he looks, it's a' the bliss I ha'e, An' whiles I think mak's up for a' the sorrows o' the day. Sae close he steeks the window brods, ane canna see the gleam 0' gowden day unless a ray come glintin' through the seam; My very heart within me fails ilk morn when he gaes oot, A cauldrife shiver owre me creeps doun to the very snout. Anither sort o' hame 'twad be, had he some thrifty quean To mak' his bed an' warm his heart wi' her love-lichted een; Depend upon't, my wee Swiss frien', the sum o' human life Is to possess, at ony cost, a jewel o' a wife. CLOCK. O haud yer whist, ye silly gowk! ye've nae richt to complain, Oor maister has sae pettit ye, yer waur than ony wean; Nor tho' ye were his only bairn could ye be better nursed, Till noo, wi' sloth an' idleness yer very life is cursed. It's no'-ye'll min', that I'm exposed to hardship or neglect, No, Guid be prais'd! he treats _me_ aye wi' honour an' respect; I tak' the owre sicht o' the house, his treasurer o' time, An measure oot the moments, as he measures oot his rhyme. A wife! a wife! is a' yer cry; the creature's fair gane gyte- Some randy-guid-for-naething slut to roar an' rant an' flyte- Wha's rauckle tongue frae morn till nicht wad like a clapper gang, An' in her tantrums, to the wa' whiles fling ye wi' a bang. Ye talk o' thrifty, scourin' wives! ye'll scarce fin' sic a thing; Sic wives are no' the fashion noo, frae earth they've a ta'en wing; [ease- A servant noo maun dae the wark, the _mistress_ tak' her But gi'e her a piano-fort' she'll rin ye owre the keys,- Kens half a dizzen languages, yet canna spell her ain,- Deep read in science, she can tell a fossil means a stane; But set her to a washin'-tub, or doun to scrub a flair, She'd skirl awa' into a fit or fent clean aff her chair. Sae haud yer tongue! auld puff-the-win', be thankfu' ye're sae weel, An' thankfu' be ilk day-_like me_-ye hae a maister leal; The greatest bliss o' clocks an' men, springs frae a life weel spent, And e'en a bach'lor's bellowses should learn to be content. BELLOWS. It's easy freen' for you to speak! wha can divert yoursel', Ye ha'e yer pen'lum aye to wag, yer hammer an' yer bell; While I ha'e naething to amuse, no' e'en a breath o' win', Till maister tak's me by the han' at e'en when he comes in. Noo were he blest wi' a sweet wife-for I maun still maintain The greatest bliss a man can ha'e, is in a wife an' wean- She'd keep the hoose aye in a steer, an' aye a cheery fire, While on her knee richt cozily I'd blaw me till I'd tire. The bairnies playin' on the hearth, or sportin' roun' her knee, Their ringin' laugh like siller bells wad keep the hoose in glee; The life o' kindred sauls when wed, is heaven on earth begun, The hame that wants dear woman's smile's a worl' without a sun. I grant that 'mang the middle-class, the wives are owre genteel, But sic are no' for workin'-men, an' that ye ken fu' weel! Puir workin'-lasses haena time for ony sic like sport, The washin'-tub or pirn-wheel is their piano-fort'. Puir things! _they're_ no' oppress'd wi' tear, they're no lang at the schule Till they maun trudge awa' to work in warehoose or in mill; An' though e'en to the marriage bond they canna sign their name, They mak' guid through-gan' wives nae less-sweet dears! they're no' to blame. CLOCK. Ay, e'en the lasses noo-a-days wha marry workin'-men Tak' ne'er a thocht, when they get wed, but hoo to waste an' spen'; [room, A ten pound rent noo they maun ha'e, wi' a braw furnish'd But whaur the siller's to come frae, they never fash their thoom. A sofa for their lazy sides, noo naething will dae less- Their quiltit coats, their crinolines, an' faldarals o' dress; An' should the man but say a word, she'll runckle up her nose, Syne gie her head a saucy toss, an' bid him mind his brose. She lies till aucht (whiles nearer nine) like ony lazy drone, Then, when at len'th she wauchels up, her claes she hudders on. An' ere she gets the pat to boil, she wastes as mony sticks On ae bit fire, as ony carefa' quean wad dae on six. Her man, as punctual as _mysel'_, comes in exac' at nine, But sic a mess o' scouthart meal! fit only for a swine; [legs, Puir chiel! he's glad to scare them oot to keep him on his But ance he's oot her _leddyship_ maun feast on ham an' eggs. Then 'stead o' snoddin' up her hoose, she busks her kind o' braw, An' to ilk neebor in the lan' she gies a frien'ly ca'; [wink They praise her dress, her hoose, her gear, while paukily they Ilk to the ither, while she sen's oot for a drap o' drink. Then Scandal wags her wicked tongue, the clash gaes freely roun'; [doon; Meanwhile they manufacture lees wad bring a judgment Thus, bit by bit they bring her in, till she's as bad's the lave, And ten to ane she dinna fa' into a drunkards grave. An' as for weans, I ne'er could thole sic clatty steerin' things, They'd ding my pen'lum aff the hinge, and harl my very strings; O' you they'd mak a hurly-cant, an' kytch ye owre the flair- I wish ye had ae week o' them! ye wadna grien for mair! Oor ain dear maister tak' a wife! he'll ne'er be sic a fule! Na, na! they pay owre dear for lear in matrimony's schule; Sae wi' yer praise o' woman-kind nae langer me molest, A life o' single blessedness, depend on't, is the best! BELLOWS. Guid pity on the lovely dears! an' men were a' like him, The worl' wad be a wilderness, deserted, cauld an' toom; We'd hae to steek its windows up, an' 'boon the door-head get A brod to tell the planet folk we had a worl' to let. But hark ye weel, auld ting-a-ling! ye're no' unlike himsel', A narrow-hearted selfish thing, as ever was heard tell; Ye're baith sae used wi' bach'lorhood, an' gane the gate sae lang, Like heathen folks wha boo to stocks, ye dinna ken its wrang. In time o' health, it may be fun to lichtly wife an wean, But wait till sickness lays him doun upon a bed o' pain; When there's nae couthie kindly han' to wipe his clammy broo, Nor mak' the needfu' cordial to wet his burnin' mou'. Nor only wi' her woman's han' to lichten his distress, But a' an angel's tenderness to soothe, caress, an' bless; O it will be an awfu' tho~ht, when he lies doun to dee, That nae saft lips are there to kiss - nae han' to close his ee! I kenna if it's want o' wit, or want o' heart, or fear That the expense wad mak' a hole in his weel-hoarded gear, Or whether 'tis he's gettin' auld - for 'tweel he's growin' grey- I rather think it's want o' pluck, lest he should be said nay. I sometimes think - I may be wrang - the bodie's scarce himsel', But somewhat crackit in the head, jist like yer ain auld bell; But keep yer temper my wee freen', tho' you should preach a' nicht, I'll stan' my ain for wife an' wean! I ken I'm in the richt! CLOCK. Ye're in the richt! of course ye are! an' I'll be in the wrang; Say that again! I'll heave at ye my wechts wi' sic a bang! I'll learn ye hoo to speak to them that's better than yersel- _Ye'll_ ha'e the baseness to cast up to me my crackit bell! Ye micht be thankfu' that ye ha'e a steady freen' like me, Wha dae my best baith day an' nicht to bear ye company: But 'stead o' thanks, ye gie me still the warst names ye can ca', The mair a body does, the mair _their back's held to the wa'_. But though the maister took a wife, an' brocht her hame the morn, [an' worn; D'ye think she'd keep a thing like you? sae breathless, auld, I'll keep my credit an' my place, whatever may befa', But you for whitnin, or for saut, wad soon be swapt awa'. But ere the bellows could reply-to end this wordy war- I startit to my feet, an' flang the window brods ajar; An' lo! owre a' the kindlin' east the young Aurora blushed, I listened for the sounds again, but a' was saftly hushed. I lay an' listened in my bed, but ne'er a ane played cheep, Though ance I thocht I heard the bellows sabbin' in my sleep; Sometimes I rue I didna wait that nicht to hear the rest o't, For to this day I canna say whilk o' them had the best o't. The Backelor to his Auld Bellows. MY guid auld trusty bellowses, like me ye're wearin' dune, Yer cracket sides an' shugglie brods 'll scarce haud in the win'; Ye helplessly fa' frae my han' when I attempt to blaw, While the bit lifter thing below'll no play clank ava. Yer kyte that day I brocht ye hame was steeve as ony drum, An' mony a cart o' coals to me ye've blawn richt up the lum, An' mony a bonnie bow o' meal in parritch ye hae made, That stood their lane upon the spoon like divot on a spade. Yet ne'er a bit! ye've ser'd me weel-an't hadna been for thee, A weary time I'd haen to wait my cheerie cup o' tea; Tho' whiles ye made a dander o' my haddie or my toast, Ye couldna help it-to be sure-I kent that to my cost. Like wean, new-fangled wi' a toy, that nicht I coft ye new, Upon a stool, afore the fire, I blustert an' I blew, While like a blacksmith at his forge I reekit an' I swat, Till doun the soot cam' wi' a bout and fill'd my parritch pat! It fill'd my mouth, my nose, my een, it gart me hoast an sneeze, But a' the while I didna ken the lum was in a bleeze; Sae up I sprang, a pailfu' brocht o' water frae the sink, Put oot the flame, while there ye lay afloat in dubs o' ink. O, mony a roarin' fire we've had, an' cozy hearth sin' then, Aye thankfu' that a darker clond ne'er fell on oor fire-en'; An' when ye ken'lt up the bleeze, my heart warm'd wi' the glow, While ilka object in the hoose shone in the blithesome lowe. When bairns against the winnock pressed their noses braid to see The sparks like spunkies tak' the lum, or Salamanders flee, They leuch to see the dancin' lowe, an' clapt ilk buffy han', An' to ilk ither whisperin' spak' aboot the crazy man. Be thankfu' ye were never worn by wastefu' woman's han', Or lang ere this ye wad hae been hung up in spont or pawn,- That steerin' weans were ne'er allow'd wi' ye to sport an' play, Nor stap yer nozzle in the ribs as I hae seen them dae. I'll no say women folks are a' to misbehaviour gi'en; Na, Guid forbid! - Ah! that reminds me o' my darlin' Jean, The idol o' my youthful heart, but death took her awa'; To keep awa' the thocht o't yet, aft gars me hotch an' blaw. Nor could a mither's only bairn than you mair dauted be, Like infant in it's minnie's lap, ye've lain across my knee,- My beuk-brod aft, my table whiles, my dask in time o' need, For on yer back my rustic muse has written mony a screed. But dinna fear, auld Sough-the-win', that noo I'll fling ye doun, Or sell or swap ye frae my aught to ony tinker loon; Rather than see a frien' sae leal gang ony siccan roads, I'd mak' a poker o' yer stroop, twa pat lids o' yer brods. Na, even that I winna dae; I'll rather tak' ye doun, An' get yer auld ribs clad anew, in leather stout an' brown. My ain auld buffs, are no jist dune, sae we'll jist wag awa', An' keep cauld puirtith frae the hearth while we hae breath to blaw. The Wee Swiss Clock. I'LL croon ye a sang aboot an article richt sma', A wee auld-fashioned waggity that clicks upon the wa', The cantiest, the jauntiest, o' a' my hoosehold stock, A wee conceit, a perfect treat, a wee Swiss clock. O, I'm a bachelor bodie, in a wee hoose, a' my lane, Wha ne'er kent the pleasure o' a wifie or a wean; O, I hae milk, an' I hae meal, an taties in a pock, But nane to speak a couthie word except my wee clock. Awa' wi' yer cankered wives! yer greetin' weans, gae wa'! 'Twad tak' a langer purse than mine to keep sic bodies braw; Yer wife maun hae a satin gnwn, wee Jeanie a new frock, But ne'er a maik it costs to cleed my wee Swiss clock. As merry as a cricket, while as musical its tones- Nae auld clumsy codger like yer dreary aucht-day drones; It's wee bit face ye'll scarcely see 'twixt flee-dirt and the smoke, Yet ne'er the less it wags awa', my ain wee clock! Its wee fairy pendulum sae waggishly it flings, While early in the morning it rumbles and it rings- As if it said, "Get up ye loon! like ither decent folk, And aye keep waggin' at yer wark, jist like yer wee clock." And when I sit me doun at e'en to croodle owre a sang, By my ain cozy fire when the nichts grow drear and lang; Patchin' up my auld breeks, or darnin' at a sock; I aye tak' the key-note frae my ain wee clock. There's something in the human heart that cleaves to meaner things, Than ivy to the ruin'd wa' mair lovingly it clings- There's room within the lovin' heart for a' the human flock, Forbye an orra corner left for e'en a wee clock. O mony a weary winter's nicht, when lyin' a' my lane, The win's roarin' doun the lum, while clashin fa's the rain, Wi' naething yont me but the wa', and nae ane at the stock, I'm thankfu o' the company o' e'en a wee clock. It's no-keep mind-that I repine, or think mysel' ill-used; Dame Fortune's gifts e'en when possest are aften sair abused; Far better wi' an empty hoose than fu' o' selfish folk, Wha haena half the sympathy o' e'en a wee clock! But O, I kenna what I'll dae, should my wee clock gae wrang; When I dinna hear its blithesome "tick," I'll sing anither sang- I'd hae to get a wifie then, tho' that wad be nae joke, But even then I couldna want my wee Swiss clock! Sabbath Bells. ==WHAT are those sounds I hear, ==Soft in the distance pealing, Into this leafy solitude-into my spirit stealing? ==O, they are the Sabbath bells, ==From tower and steeple flinging Their cheerful call to worship God-to church his people ringing. ==To formal ears they tell ==The hour of church convening, But to the eanest worshipper they have a deeper meaning. ==To them those Sabbath bells ==Impart a gospel gladness, That flouts the Sabbath Pharisee, and mocks his solemn sadness. ==Like the old Christmas chimes, ==They still repeat the story, How God the Father sent his Son to lead us home to glory. ==How He, the Prince of Life, ==Lay cradled in a manger, And trod for us life's thorny path, unheeded and a stranger. ==And while the chosen flock, ==To cushion'd pews they summon, They cheer the wand'rer's heart no less, both man and loving woman. ==Even city arabs tell, ==How 'neath the sky's blue ceiling The joyous Sabbath bells awake a gush of purer feeling. ==The while yon spires to heav'n ==Point with uplifted fingers, Those pealing Sabbath bells no less are God's love-message bringers. ==Light borne upon the breeze, ==They come on wings of fleetness, Like God's own voice, they fill my soul with holy Sabbath sweetness. ==The blue-bells in the wood ==Have ceased their fairy tinkle, To list those loving melodies the summer air besprinkle. ==The green leaves hardly stir, ==The dew-pearls how they glisten, The wild-wood warblers cease their songs as if intent to listen. ==Down yonder in the glen, ==Methinks the laughing burnie, Like child by street musician caught, doth loiter on its journey. ==All nature list'neth mute, ==To catch the last faint tremble Flung from the dome of yonder fane, where praying souls assemble. ==Why do those Sabbath bells ==Thus stir within my bosom The love I bear to man and beast-to bird, and bee, and blossom? ==Things beauteous everywhere ==In love are sweetly blended, And kindred are to human thoughts, though seldom comprehended. ==They cease, those Sabbath bells! ==Their echoes faint are dying, Yet Fancy deems she hears the sound of bells in heaven replying. ==Thus through the fleshly veil, ==That round the soul enfoldeth, The glory of our future life, the inner eye beholdeth. The Burnie. HEY, bonnie burnie! loupin' doon the dell, Like a happy maiden singin' to thysel'- Like a modest maiden hidin' frae the view, Whaur the wavin' hazel rocks the cushie doo. Come an' rest thee, burnie! these coolin' shades amang, Syne gae on thy journey singin' thy glad sang; While the dazzlin' sun o' June beeks wi' burnin' glare, Here wi' me, wee burnie, this leafy shelter share. Ye're wimplin' aff, wee burnie! I see ye winna bide, Then let me bear thee company, an' wan'er by thy side; 'Tween restlessness an' idleness, the first is aye the best,- On earth, for man or burnie, there's nae abidin' rest. I aften think, wee burnie, there's something in thy sang That lifts the burden o' my care, an' draws me frae the thrang; That stirs the fount o' memory, an' opes the mystic well, Whence sweet emotions o' the heart come gushin' like thysel'. Hey, bonnie burnie, whaur are ye stealin' noo? In beneath the willow bank, clean oot o' view; Keekin' into corners whaur the rattan glides, Into gloomy chambers whaur the otter hides. Noo amang the pebbles, dancin' in the sun, Whaur the lambies on thy banks fecht in their fun; Wheelin' roun' the grey rock, tumlin' owre the linn, Plunging in the dark pool wi' a roarin' din. Ca' aboot the mill wheel, lay the risin' stour: Yonder stan's the miller, white a' owre wi' flour; Syne ye'll reach the clachan raw, whaur I leve mysel'- Hark the distant anvil ringin' like a bell! See yon blue reek curlin' owre aboon the trees, Whaur the thrifty villagers toil like busy bees- Whaur the lauchin' bairnies, wadin' to the knee, Chase among the chuckle stanes the dartin' minnows wee. Jouk atween their stumpy legs, dinna jaup the dears- Source to us o' mony joys, mony hopes an' fears. O the ringin' melody o' bairnies at their play! O that I were fu' o' life, an' free o' care as they! Swirl aboot the stappin' stanes, whaur yon maiden fair Wistfu' looks into thy wave while she snods her hair; Seem' in thy crystal the picture o' hersel', Blushes while she gazes, why she canna tell. Poised upon ae lily foot, swithers ere she springs- Aft syne like a butterfly borne on breezy wings; Tell me, bonnie burnie, did ye ever see A flower in a' thy bosky haunts half so fair as she? Whiles I think, wee burnie, as on yer way ye glide, Ye lengthen sair yer journey, ye wan'er sae wide; Turnin' an' twinin' roun' ilk bank an' brae, While through holm or meadow wad be the nearest way. Unlike the lords o' commerce, wi' road and wi' rail, Boring through the mountain, bridgin' owre the vale; While, like an arrow whizzin' owre the plain, The steam horse hears onward the truck an' the train. There's nae doubt, wee burnie, wi' a' oor eager haste To reach the winnin' post o' wealth, life's treasures we waste; So bent on the bauble we ettle aye to win, The best o' life's blessings we lee far behin'. Like thee, bonnie burnie, I'll try the wiser plan, Aye linger 'mang life's bosky nooks as lang as I can: The wisest amang us hae mickle yet to learn- Experience mak's a' the odds betwixt the man an' bairn. Aillie and the Puir Auld Man. AULD MAN. Wae's me! it's awfu' to think it should come to this at the last, Oot a' day lang in the rain, an' I haena yet broken my fast, Seekin' a bite an' a bed frae them wha hae them to spare; But thae wha are weel themsel's for puir bodies dinna care. It wasna aye thus; ah, no! my cup was ance reemin' fu', For then I had gear an' guid frien's, but they dinna ken me noo; Horses, baith ridin' an' race, an' servants had I than, But noo there's naebody cares for the pennyless, puir, auld man! Sad an' sair is the weird the auld an' puir hae to dree, When oor manhood an' means we've spent on the fumes o' the barley-bree. Ah, drink! ye hae brocht me to this, an' marred my bonnie life's plan, Dang a' to ruin an' wrack, an' made me a wretched man. AILLIE. Wheesht, wheesht, my puir auld man! an' dinna vex thysel' sae; An' hae ye nae frien's ava'? nae hame o' yer ain to gang tae? Puir auld bodies like you shoudna wan'er awa' their lane, Daudit aboot by the win', an' drookit oot-through wi' the rain; Puir auld folk like you should aye hae a place to lay Their weary banes at e'en, wer't but on a pickle strae; A cosy wee hoose o' yer ain, wi' a kisftu' o' guid oatmeal, A bit fire to toast yer taes, an' mak' your brose as weel. Cauld an' hunger, losh me! maun be unco sair to bide, And sae ye'll no tak' it ill if I hap ye wi' my plyde; An' ye'll eat this bonnie wee scone my mither bakit for me, While I rin an' fetch you a waucht o' yon waal, sae caller an' free. AULD MAN. Bless thee, my angel-bairn! mair kin' than words can tell; My heart's owre fu' to eat, an' my heid rings like a bell. There's something - what can it be? - in that face sae lovin' an sweet, In the tones o' thy voice, nae less, that's like to gar me greet, Remindin' me o' the past, an' the faces o' them that are gane- Nae won'er the tears frae my een fa' down like simmer rain- Revealin' the days o' langsyne, an' the deeds I fain wad hide Frae mysel, nae less than frae thee-things dune in my day o' pride; Wad ye think, to see me noo, that I ance had hooses an' lan'; Siller an' notes comin' in; cash, baith in bank an' in han'; My wife in her silks sae braw, an' servants to wait on us baith? But it seems to me noo like a dream, a vision o' splendour an' death. AILLIE. Strange is thy tale, auld man, an' waesome thy words, I ween, Yet fain wad I hear the end, sae mony things ye hae seen; There's muckle I fain wad spier, and maybe ye'll tell me this- Had ye ony wee tots o' yer ain? wee darlin's to cuddle an' kiss? An' sleep in yer arms i' the nicht, sae cosy, like mither an' me, When the win cries boo! doon the lum, an' soughs through the apple tree? Were yer laddies onything like oor steerin' cowts noo-a-days? Did yer lassies gang oot wi' the lads; an' were they as fond o' braw claes? Hoo auld were they when they gat wed? and wha did they get for men? What like were their waddin' braws; had their hooses a but an' a ben? An' had they bonnie wee bairns? But I'm vexin' thee I see; I ken by thy waefu' look an' the tears that blin' thy e'e. AULD MAN. Three bonnie bairns had we-ae lassie an' laddies twa; Left wi' servants to guide, what else could they dae but fa'? Siller ne'er cost them a thocht, except hoo to waste an spen'. My sons were the talk o' the kintra, the brag o' a' the young men, For they drank, gaed to races an' games, an' itherwise sportit aboot, Till ae day the youngest cam' hame, wi' his face as white as a cloot, An' tauld, wi' the tear in his e'e, hoo Anera, his brither, had fa'n In a duel, through madness an' drink, shot doon by a villain's han'; Syne Will, in a fit o' remorse, ran aff an' was lost at sea, An' Jessie alane was left to comfort her mither an' me. Lo'ed an' courtit by a' was oor lass, but only ane Held tbe key o' her trustin' heart an' he promised to mak' her his ain; But he cam' like a thief in the nicht, an' stole oor treasure awa', An' God alane kens whaur she's gane, or gin she be leevin' ava'. Her puir mither brak' her heart; as for me, I gaed straught to the deil, Drank and wasted the gear that through life micht hae kept us weel; An' noo my puir wife is deid, an' I hope it mayna be lang Till I gang the same gate mysel', the gate we a' maun gang; Yet strong in my heart is the wish my Jessie ance mair to see- An' strange, the langer I look I see her image in thee. AILLIE. It's a won'erfu tale ye tell, auld man, an' waefu' nae less; But the thing that puzzles me is that mither's name is Jess, An' her faither, langsyne a laird, for years she hasna seen; Twa hrithers had she, an' they're deid, an' she dreamt o' them yestreen; An', noo, wad it no' be queer if oor Jess an' yours were the same- Losh! mither wad gang clean daft, as sure's her name is Graham! AULD MAN. Graham! did ye say? my God! rin, rin, au' fetch her to me; Or, stay, tak' a haud o' my arm-oh, that I had wings to flee! An' to think that my Jessie's bairn should come an' fin' me here, When the cry o' my heart gaed up to Him wha alane can hear My ain wee darlin' oe! come nestle close to my heart; God grant, sin' thus we hae met, we never again may part. An' ye'll drive fell hunger awa', an' no' turn me oot to the street, Nor sen' me aff to the puir's-hoose? it's no sae muckle I'll eat; An' I'll dae the best that I can, though I'm auld, to work for ye baith, As bidable be as a bairn to yer mither, as sure as death! AILLIE. Hoots', gran'faither, dinna ye fear! we hae a wee shop o' oor ain, That keeps us in a' that we need, forbye some siller we hain; An' oh, sic a cosy wee hoose! an ye'll sit in the auld arm chair, An' help me to herd the hens aff the beds in oor garden fair; An' mither 'll be sae prood, an' busk ye up sae braw, Sae jist tak' a grip o' my han', an' hame let us toddle awa'. Faither's Awa' Wi't. TIBBIE. WHAT waefu' news is this I hear? Oh faither! can it be That ye're awa' wi't, an' ance mair the slave o' barley bree? Broken thy obligation, tae, that solemn promise giv'n Within the sacred circle, an' before the face o' heav'n. Ah, me! 'twill be an unco change - an awfu' thought to think- Oor hame, a paradise on yirth, a' flooded owre wi' drink; Its flowers a' deid, its treasures tint, its bonnie sky owrecast Wi' mirkest clouds o' comin' woe, foretellers o' the blast. An' faither, noo, will be a wreck, drink mak's sae fell a change, The loving look, the lichtsome step, his very voice seem strange. But I'll awa' straucht to my bed, an' hap me owre the heid! Close steek my e'en, an' stap my lugs, an' wish that I were deid! The blink o' happiness we've had we'd better never haen; Far better I had kept my rags and been a beggar wean: The things that were my bliss short syne will be my torment noo, While ilka object dear to me will bring the past to view. Oh waggity, upon the wa'! thy tick is no the same, An' oh ye winna tell me noo o' faither comin' hame! Oh cheerie fire! thy lichtsome lowe nae langer bricht will be- The face on which thy licht will fa,' will shine nae mair for me! Looks dark an' dour, words cauld an' sour, ilk day I'll hae to meet, Instead o' love's familiar tones, an smiles that were sae sweet; An' maddened by the fumes o' drink, the oath be heard ance mair By angels hoverin' roun the hearth, instead o' praise an' prayer. But what's a' this to me, compared wi' what he'll hae to dree, When he comes to himsel' an' thinks o' what he's dune to me: He'll hate himsel' wi' perfect hate-greet till the tears like rain Fa' doun, then like a man clean wud, flee till the drink again. Hear me, Oh Heaven! no for mysel', for him alone I pray, Lead this puir sheep back to thy fauld that he nae langer stray! Restore him thy salvation's joy, thy grace to him bring near; But hark! his fit - Ah me! it brings nae music to my ear. =(_Throws her apron over her head_.) FAITHER. Hallo! what's this o't, Tibbie lass?-she's fa'n asleep, I fear: An' yet the hour is no' that late - What! greetin', Tibbie dear? Puir Tib! her tongue's owre grit to speak, her wee heart's sabbin' fu'- What's this? ye're smilin' through yer tears-guid saf's! what ails ye noo! TIBBIE. Oh faither! is't no true the tale they're tellin' here the day, That ye hae broke yer Templar's pledge-awa' wi't, as they say? An' yet you're no the waur o' drink - you're lookin' jist yersel'; Oh I'm sae glad, sae fu' o' joy, nae words my bliss can tell. FAITHER. What! broke my pledge, my Templar's vow? that solemn obligation! Tine a' I've won - health, peace o' min', respect an' reputation? Barter thy happiness, for what? strong drink, the demon's dole! Tine a' my precious hopes o' heav'n, an' lose my deathless soul? No, Tibbie, what I've borne through drink I'll never bear again, An' what ye've suffer'd for my sake-cauld, hunger, grief, an' pain; God kens, ye've had enough o' that - God hens I've been to blame, For whilk ilk day I mourn an' pray, an' hide my heid wi' shame. TIBBIE Oh faither, dinna gar me greet, sic things are past an' gane, God pardons us when we repent, an' wipes oot ilka stain. But wha mang a' thy neebers roun' could raise sae big a lee? They surely haena human hearts, or cruel they maun be. FAITHER. They're maybe no sae sair to blame, or e'en sae ill's ye think- D'ye ken, I was in Kirty's howf - but no in search o' drink; A puir man fainted at the door, I drave in wi' the crood, Resolved to see him get fair play, an' save him if I could. They tried to pour the burnin' drink his lock-fast lips between. When wi' a cry he gain'd his feet an' open'd wide his e'en; He gazed upon the temptin' cup, then wi' a hatefu' grue He turned awa', took baith my han's, an' frae the place me drew. He'd been a victim like mysel', yet bravely stood the test! I took him to his humble hame, an' left him to his rest. An' that's the hale foundation, Tib, o' a' ye've had to fear, Hae mair faith in thy faither, lass, an' less in what ye hear. Hameless Effie. Cauld blaws the win' an' dark's the nicht, the stars ane canna see; The birds seek shelter in the wuds, but ah! there's nane for me. The hame we had though comfortless, and scant its crust o' breid, Had still a mithers love to bless; but noo, waes me! she's deid! Nae doot she took the wee drap drink, an' wasna aye hersel', I saw my duty was to thole - I couldna think to tell; For I kent the love was in her heart, an' the drink ance cleared awa, She'd sit an sab for what she'd dune, till the big tears doon wad fa'. She wasna aye sae gi' en to drink; I've heard folk say, mysel', That she was ance the village pride-a beauty and a belle. 'Twas then she won my faither's heart, an' a prood, prood man was he That day he led her hame a bride, his darling wife to be. But sune a' things gaed wrang at hame, an' faither couldna think What was the cause-at length he saw it was the demon Drink! His hame a wreck, owre heid in debt, his claes a' in the pawn, He left his wark for very shame, an' socht a foreign lan'. Whaur is he noo? he's aiblins deid, an' left me here alane, To pine an' greet through cauld an' weet, a puir, wee orphan wean. Were but a roof aboon my heid to fend me frae the storm, The wee'st spunkie o' a fire to cheer an' keep me warm- I'd lay me doon wi' thankfu' heart upon a pickle strae, Wi' a rug to hap me frae the cauld, until the break o' day, The sweetest meal to me wad be a scone an' cup o' tea, On a wee, laich stool afore the fire, sae happy wad I be. What can it be that gars me gaze in ilka face I meet? An' listen aye for some kent fit when nan ane's on the street? An' when I get a blink o' rest what blissfu' sichts I see, Bairns like mysel' in snawy robes come linkin' owre the lea. They clasp my han', they kiss my cheek, and tell me ane an' a' To love an put my trust in Him wha marks the sparrow's fa' But hark! a fit-wha's this that comes? a stranger he maun be, Sae wistfully he looks aboot-he's comin' straucht to me. STRANGER "Hilloa! my girl, been weeping? ah, that is not quite so well! Stay, here's a fairing for the child,-perhaps now, thou canst tell Where Mistress Joseph Austin lives? - 'Tis somewhere here I'm told; She had a little daughter, too, 'bout ten or twelve years old." EFFIE. "Waes me! owre weel I ken that name, a name mair dear to me Than a' the wealth the heart could wish, or gowd the earth could gie. Jean Austin was my mither, sir, but, ah, her weary heid Is lying in the cauld kirkyard. Alas! pair mither's deid!" STRANGER. "Can this be true? my poor wife dead! What mean these feelings wild That wring my heart? Oh, can it be that I behold my child? Thy mother's very face, her eyes, those lips that were my bliss! Come, let me clasp thee to my heart, thy pale cheek let me kiss." EFFIE. "My faither! what a sweet, sweet word, sae fu' o' love it seems; D'ye ken I whisper't a' day Lang, an' hear it in my dreams! An' oh, ye'll let me bide wi' ye? ye'll gang nae mair awa, Ae wee bit hoose will haud us baith, a bed, a chair or twa. "An' will ye hap me frae the cauld, pit shoon upon my feet. An' drive cauld hunger frae my heart wi' guid and halesome meat? An' I'll be mistress o' thy hoose, keep a' things tosh an' clean, An' will ye kiss an' cuddle me when ye come hame at e'en!" STRANGER. "Oh, blest reward! she little dreams that golden wealth is mine! A fortune I've brought home with me, that fortune child is thine! And this torn heart, that lov'd and long'd for fiends far o'er the sea, Bereft of all it once held dear, finds all its wealth in thee. "A cottage home for thee awaits, with all that wealth can give, Except strong drink, which we'll ne'er taste nor touch while we do live! Then, come, thou darling of my heart, my carriage waits outside To bear thee to a happy home where joy and peace abide." Wha's to Blame. TIBBIE. WHAT'S wrang wi' ye the nieht, faither? ye glunch an' look sae sour; Ye're cauld, nae doot; the fire's gane oot, the win' blaws cauld an dour, The snawy drift scours through the lift-an' mither's oot an' a'; She's gane, nae doot, to seek ye oot, yeve been sae lang awa'. We waited lang an' wearily, aye thinkin' ye wad come, An' aye the win' sang drearily adoon the empty lum; Till mither could nae langer thole, but a' begrutten said- "Than leeve sic life I'd rather dee!" syne oot the door she gaed. FAITHER. Nae won'er I look sour, my bairn! thy mithers ban'less tongue Will drive me yet to tak' her life, an' then ye'll see me hung. To think I canna sit me doon wi' cousin Pate or Tam, To haud the crack an' tell the news oot owre a freenly dram, But she maun bounce into the room, an' tell me to my face, That I'm a doonricht drucken loon, to her a black disgrace. But I'm resolv'd frae this time forth sic things I shanna stan'- No, Tibbie, or as sure as ocht tae her I'll lift my han'! TIBBIE. Whisht, faither, dinna speak sic words o' her that lo'es ye weel; Think hoo, for weeks, she's kept the hoose in fire an' milk an' meal, Wi' her ain han's when she had wark; but noo that wark is scant, An' ye oot drinkin' a' day lang, nae won'er we're in want! Oh, faither! if ye only kent the ills we hae to dree- This day we haena broke oor fast, a fire we seldom see; An' here, without a leme o' licht, we've sat sin' gloamin' grey, The scad o' Dixon's bleezes noo is a' the licht we hae. FAITHER. An' wha's to blame for that, d'ye think? nae doot ye'll say it's me, Wha dae my best to mak' ye weel-at least, when aff the spree. Nae doot, I whiles forget mysel', but better men by far Than me for weeks gae on the drink-na, some o' them dae waur: Their wives, instead o' flytin', help to keep the puddin' het, Weel kennin' gin ae word they said, a broken head they'd get. But nane can sae sic things o' me; no, Tibbie, bad's I am, Still dear to me are wife an' bairn, e'en though I tak' the dram. TIBBIE. Dear to thee, faither! whaur's the proof? Ah, me! what hae I dune, That I'm no kept, like ither bairns, in meat an' claes an' shoon? Ye never tak' me to the fields to see the flowrets blaw, Nor yet to hear the mavis sing sae bonnie in the shaw The wee'st birdies in the wud aye min' their scuddies wee, An' when they fin' a denty pick, fast hame to them they flee. Ye micht bring something hame to me, wer't but a nirl o' cake: I've heard ye say that to the dram they whiles gied ye a bake. FAITHER. An' has it come to this? Guid Lord, that I should live to see't! My wife an' bairnie starvin' here, through cauld an' want o' meat; An' I wha should provide for them, wi' a' a parent's care, Instead o' helpin', heavier mak' the load they hae to bear! Kind Heav'n, in mercy help thou me, an' sen' us better days! I'll join the Templar ranks, an' pray for grace to guide my ways; An' to begin-there's half-a-crown I thocht on drink to spen'; An' first we'll mak' a rousin' fire, Tibbie, my lass, an' then- TIBBIE. I'll hing the kettle on, faither, an' while the fire ye blaw, I'll rin an' buy the things we need-tea, sugar, laif, an' a'; A can'le first, to let us see, some butter on a plate; Ham's unco dear, sae, if ye like, we's hae a "magistrate." I'll sen the man up wi' the coals-I think that's a we need; But let us see-there's sugar, tea, a herrin', butter, bread. FAITHER. An' min' the can'le, Tibbie, lass; noo let me see thee rin, An' haste thee back, for in a crack thy mother will be in. =(_Solus_.) An' when she comes, what will she say? puir lass, what will she think, As soon's she learns that I hae sworn to lea' the cursed drink? I see the smile licht up her face, the cloud melt frae her broo, An' then for very joy she'll greet, her heart will be sae fu'. Aye, Jean, you've been a faithfu' wife, despite thy raucle tongue; The happy days can I forget, the days when we were young! God grant that mine may be the task to smooth her path o' life; An' may she yet hae cause to bless the day she was my wife. Gracie and her Blind Grandfather. WRITTEN FOR, AND GIVEN AT A SOIREE TO THE BLIND. GRACIE. HERE, grandfaither, gie me thy han'-noo sit thee saftly doon On this green bank and rest a blink-it's like a day in June. The fields are in a flood o' licht, the kye beek in the sun, While shadows o' the April cluds fast gallop owre the grun'. Noo, grandfaither, I'm sure ye're glad that ye've come oot wi' me, An' left behin' the smeeky toon, the caller air to pree- But first let's hae a bite o' piece-ye'll tak' it for my sake?- Here's toastit laif, a whang o' cheese, forbye some crumpy cake. GRANDFATHER. Thanks, Gracie; but I canna eat, this day brings back to min' The days when I was young mysel'-the days o' auld langsyne- Ere that unhappy accident depriv'd me o' my sicht, An' quenched for aye the licht o' day, for me, in hopeless nicht. For I was then jist in my prime, a husband an' a faither, Five bairns could neither work nor want, no ane could help anither! It's strange, though, hoo we warsled through-help cam' frae here an' there; For God aboon, the helpless bin', aye mak's his special care. GRACIE. Hoots, grandfather, ne'er min' the past, yer laddies noo are men, Yer lassies twa are through-gaun wives: an' as for me, ye ken, I'm jist yer ain grandochter, an' the dearest bairn ye hae Tae kiss an' cuddle ye at e'en, an' lead ye oot by day. An' here oot bye amang the wuds, ye'll spend the day wi' me- We'll breathe the scent o' April buds, an' pu' the flowrets wee; An' though ye canna see, like me, the trees an' meadows green, The want o' sicht ye'll never miss as lang's ye've Gracie's een. GRANDFATHER. Aye, Gracie, it's a blessed thocht, that they wha canna see Hae licht provided by the Lord in lovin' souls like thee; An' though the bonnie licht o' day be darkness to the blin', We miss the precious boon the less when a' is bricht within; An' by the leme o' that strange licht we see the things ye see- The sunny braes, the wavin' wuds, the daisies on the lea, The cluds that sail aboon oor heids, when wast win's saftly blaw, An' while we list the burnie's sang, we see its waters fa'. GRACIE. Hoots, grandfaither, ye're fair gane gyte! hoo can a body see That's blin's a mole, though that's nae blame, unless, gudesaf's! ye be A warlock, or a Hielan'man, that's got the second sicht- Folk that hae dealin's wi' the deil, an' that ye ken's no richt. But richt or wrang, whate'er it be, I weel believe it's true, That ye should ken a' that's gaun on, I've often wondered hoo; D'ye min' that day I drank the cream, an' thocht ye didna see? When pap yer stick cam' owre my croon, an' fairly frichted me. GRANDFATHER. Gracie, my lass, the secret's this-the man wha looks aboon To God, the source o' licht an' life, will see though he were blin'; His grace ance kenilt in the heart, will guide oor steps aricht- His presence in the human soul turns darkness into licht. An' when, belyve, thir crazy banes are in the yird laid by, I'll see ance mair the glorious licht-the licht o' sun an' sky. Meanwhile, gae pu' yon speedwells blue, the gowden kingcups bring, An' syne we'll hae a hearty wacht o' yonder caller spring. GRACIE. Aye, grandfaither, that will I dae, doon yonder whaur the snipe Darts frae the bog wi 'whirrin' wing, I'll pu' the puddock pipe, An' fresh young ferns, for weel I ken the lown nooks whaur they hide, Wi' cuckoo flower, an' celandine, doon by the burnie's side; The scented primrose frae the bank, and cresses frae the spring, An' there the gowden catkins frae the saughen bush I'll bring. Ilk thing that grows to you I'll bring, an' them I canna name, Ye'll tell me a' their histories, for weel ye ken the same. GRANDFATHER. Gracie, my bairn, aye thankfu' be that God has gi'en ye sicht; An' bless his name that ye've been led thus far to use it richt- In lovin' admiration o' this fair creation given To us wha sojourn here below, a sweet foretaste o' heaven. Within' oor hearts, the beautiful, let's cherish while we may, This fleetin' life o' mortal breath is only for a day; Nor let us swerve to richt or left for either praise or blame; An' sae at last, when life is past, to heaven we'll toddle hame. Stern Words and True. COME, let us be earnest, thank God! we are free; As brothers, as sisters, united are we, While here, as Good Templars, our glory and boast Is to rescue the fall'n and to succour the lost. We were not sent here to make pleasure our aim, To join the mad scramble for riches and fame; Nor yet, like blind moles, in earth's bosom to burrow, But work while 'tis day, nor take thought for to-morrow. With Christ for our Captain, and God for our Guide, And hearts beating bravely, we fight side by side; No steel weapons clashing, no cannon's loud rattle- For Truth is the weapon that will win us the battle. Our foe, the Drink Traffic, that well-spring of evil, Protected and held by the hosts of the devil; Their ranks well recruited by publicans, brewers, Distillers, fat Justices, landlords, and feuars. Even Members of Parliament march in the van- A disgrace to the name and the mission of man: Aye, even God's ministers, blind to what's right, Are found on the side of those demons of night. Then, brothers, stand fast, to the foe never yield, Our wounded lie scattered all over the field; And lo! in each victim a friend, sister, brother, Awaiting that help which we owe one another. Cast aside your pet schemes, they but live for a day, The prize that awaits you is glory for aye; For mighty's the work God has given us to do- The harvest is great, the _real_ workers are few. Then on to the conflict, our cause is the right! For our homes and our children like heroes we fight: And remember that Truth-God's alone and eternal- Is the weapon we wield against falsehood infernal. Hark, the cry of the orphan! the widow's low wail! Every wind to our ears brings some sorrowful tale Of husbands distracted, poor women heart-broken, While deep in some hearts lie great sorrows unspoken. Even while we are sleeping the dark work goes on, Our brave youths are ruin'd, our daughters undone; Hark, the suicide's knell! how the stars pale and quiver As she sinks out of sight in the dark flowing river. Oh, God can this last? this vile curse still prevail? Iniquity flourish and righteousness fail? In our age, as of old, must men witness in wonder Thy vengeance break forth in red lightning and thunder. No; the day of our triumph is not far away, Our hope-star is rising, I see its bright ray; Far up on the mountains the young day is breaking, And men from the nightmare of drink are awaking. Soon flowers of affection will bloom round the hearth, And the pleasures of home be the sweetest on earth; Then the grain of our fields will all go to the eater, By industry earned, and by toil made the sweeter. God's ministers then will not stumble and fall, But be, like their Master, examples to all; Their hearers rejoice in the gospel's glad story, And tread in the paths that lead upward to glory. Then love and forbearance will banish all strife, The _angel of home_ be the name of the wife; For Truth shall flow on with the force of a river, And bury from sight the vile Traffic for ever! The Tick:Tick. A RHYME FOR THE BAIRNS. COME awa' to grandfaither, Charlie, my doo! Hae ye fa'n, puir wee man, an' hurt yer wee broo? Eye, awa', nasty rug! trippin' Charlie's feet; Sic a daud the flair gat, yet it disna greet. Let me kiss awa' the pain; there noo, it's weel; See pussy on my knee wantin' to spiel; Charlie he'll be first though; come, my dautit wean, Come an' see the tick-tick wi' its gowden chain. Haud it tae thy wee lug, noo tae the ither- Clara, ye're to come an' hear, sae is yer brither; Edith, ye're to come nae less, mam an' daddy tae, A' maun here the tick-tick ere to bed we gae. What's that yer sayin' noo? Dolly, haud yer ear; Losh me! she wants the heid-hoo can she hear? Never min', bring her ben ; dae the best she can- A penny for thy thochts, noo Charlie, my man? Wonder in that wee face plainly tells me There's something in the inside ye want to see; Is't some wee beastie: hoo gat it in? What gars the han's gang? What mak's the din? There's a wheel within a wheel, Charlie, my man; What the e'e canna see it's hard to un'erstan'; In the warl' I hae been auchty years e'noo, Yet there's mony things in't I dinna weel see through. Tick, tick, short han', tell us the hour; Tick, says the lang han', half past four; Gallop, gallop, wee han', wanrestfu' thing! Like a pownie prancin' roun' aboot a ring. Charlie's gaun to fa' asleep; pit the tick awa' Into its cosy pouch-tick's bedie ba; Kiss us a' roun' aboot, in yer wee nicht-goun, Steek yet e'en, that's a man; noo he's sleepin soun. Song - Be Kind to Puir Bodies. BE kind to puir bodies, an' aft wi' them share The bit an' the brattie that ye hae to spare; Nor frown when ye meet them, but aye let them see; That ye own them as brithers, though low their degree; For the Faither aboon us in mercy still yearns To bless e'en the warst o' his puir feckless bairns; Then be kind to puir bodies, an' aye let them see That ye own them as brithers, though low their degree. Doon bye in yon big hoose what scenes I hae seen- Whaur puirtith drives mony puir bodies, I ween- Puir women left widows, an' bairns orphans made, By the fell han's o' death or disease heavy laid. Nae doot they're to blame, some o' them wha gae there, But the best o' us fail, an' the faultless are rare; Then be kind to puir bodies, an' aye let them see That ye own them as brithers, though low their degree. But a sadder misfortune, I'm wae, wae to tell, Is that o' puir bodies wha arena themsel'- Bereft o' that gift that mak's kings o' us a'. They droop like the flowers when the nicht-shadows' fa'; Then, oh! dinna lichtly the queer things they say. For the angels are wi' them by nicht an' by day; Then be kind to puir bodies, an' aye let them see That you own them as brithers, though low their degree. Blythe Simmer a' the Year. THE wind blaws cauld wi' eerie sough amang the leafless trees, A' deid an' dowie lie the flowers that decked the dewy leas; Yet what o' that? though on the yird the leaves lie broon an' sere, Within the breist, whaur love abides, it's simmer a' the year. The waters o' the wimplin' burn John Frost has turn'd to stane, When mornin' comes what sichts we'll see upon the window pane; For John the cunnin' artist, kens the objects we lo'e dear, Sae does his best to bring about blythe simmer a' the year. Weird shapes he draws o' phantom flowers the green earth never grew, Weaves skinklin' robes o' cranreugh lace to cleed the wuds anew. Meanwhile, aboon the mist-hung hills fair Hope her bow doth rear, While in her fitstaps we may trace blythe simmer a' the year. At e'en we hae the cheerie hearth, whaur by the dancin' lowe We watch the antics o' the bairns-the fairest flowers that grow; Their rosy cheeks an' hinnied lips, far mair than warld's gear, Bring pleasure to our hearts, an' mak' blythe simmer a' the year. Forbye, we hae the lan' o' dreams to wander in unseen, When balmy sleep wi' kindly haun' has closed the weary een; When voices o' the loved an' lost fa' sweetly on the ear, Oor sorrows a' tak' wing, for there it's simmer a' the year. Yestreen I dreamt the Spring had come, I saw the primrose fair Sweet bloomin' on the mossy bank an' scentin' a' the air, While birds aboon sang joyously the dreamer's heart to cheer, An' aye the burden o' their sang was - "Simmer a' the year." There snawy-hued anemones were nestlin' in the wuds, The hazel wav'd its tasseled flowers an' bonnie crimson buds, For there the fields are ever green, the skies are ever clear, To him at least within whase briest is simmer a' the year. We think o' heaven as far awa', its scenes beyond oor ken, An' yet its music may be heard at lowliest fire-en'; An' mony hearts there be wha get a foretaste o' it here, Its glories see, and bask like me in simmer a' the year. The Lassie's Dilemma. AIR. - "_I wonder wha'll be my man._" THERE's queer folk in the 'Shaws, they say. =An' droll folk in Strathbungo; But ance ye've heard my sang ye'll think, =There's queerer in St. Mungo! For I'm a lassie blythe an' braw, A strappin quean without a flaw; An' after me the lads rin a' =To plague me wi' their lingo. ==_Chorus_- ===Noo lassies say what wad ye dae ====An' ye had lads as plenty, ===Tak' ane, or twa, or wed them a'? ====For I ha'e mair than twenty. There's Joiner Jock, a jaunty chiel', =Wad fain mak' me his dearie: But his ainsel' he likes sae weel, =My lot wad be but dreary, They say the men are selfish a', That in our lugs saft win' they blaw, Till ance they've wild our hearts awa', =An' syne o' us they weary. ===Noo lassies say, etc. There's Rory Bann, the Hielan' man, =My fegs, but he's a prancer! Wi' philibeg an' weel-shaped leg, =Ye ne'er saw sic a dancer. But, Rory, lad, ye're no for me, =Ye dinna tak' the auld folk's e'e: An' ye had lumps o' gowd to gi'e, =Ye'd get anither answer. ===Noo lassies say, etc. The auld folk fain wud ha'e me wed =That wealthy carle, Laird Mather; But wha wad be an auld man's bride, =The carle micht be my faither. For sooner than wed sic as he, I'll wait till I be saxty-three; But I'll hae ane ere lang, ye'll see, =An' no an auld ane aither! ===Noo lassies say, etc. For there is ane aboon them a', =A lad that wee1 does lo'e me, But deil be in his bashfu' skin, =He winna come to woo me! An' he's a Templar stanch and true, A 'Totaler o' the rale true blue; Wi' him I'd range creation through, =An' he'd but come and woo me. ===Noo lassies say, etc. It's true he hasna muckle gear, =But, oh, he's guid an' bonnie! An' I hae thretty pounds a year, =Was left by uncle Johnnie. An' I hae thocht me o' a plan,- To help this bonnie blate young man To break the ice, speak oot, and than =We'll wed in spite o' ony. ===Then lassies say, etc. The Cur'osity Man. WAS there ever a body like auld Robin Wright? Aye toilin' an' moilin' frae mornin' tae nicht; For his creed is that idleness, when ane is weel, Is jist temptin' the "Auld Ane" - that's courtin' the deil. But Robin's opinion regardin' Auld Clootie Is that he is human-the mair is the pity- An' sib to ilk saul sin' creation began, No exceptin' himsel', the cur'osity man. What though at the kirk Robin's seldom seen there, Through a' his hale life rins a ripple o' prayer. For sermons on Sunday he caresna a straw, An' as for the ministers, Guid guide us a'! He says they're _but men;_ an' though servants o' Heeven, At Mammon's draff pock they're aye rivin' an' reivin'. Awa' wi yer preachin' that tickles the ears! Auld Robin thinks mair o' the sermons he hears In the sang o' the burnie, the sough o' the trees, When their leaf-laden branches they bend to the breeze; In the lilt o' the bird, in the croon o' the bee, In the lauch o' the bairnie, sae joyous an' free; In short, there is nocht in creation's wide span That disna instruct the cur'osity man. Himsel' a cur'osity, clever as weel, He'll count a' yer banes frae the heid to the heel; An' yer back get a jirk, or yer neck a bit thraw, Ae waff o' his han', an' the pain flees awa'. Wi' a glower o' his een he can pit ye to sleep, And gar ye believe ye are sailin' the deep, Or spielin' the lift, like Pegasus new shod, An' tellin' the ferlies ye see on the road; Gar ye sing, dance or whistle, mak' faces, an' ban- He's a warlock, or waur, that cur'osity man! He's skill'd in the bumps o' the heid, ye maun ken- That's the humplocks that rise on the heids o' some men- No guid anes an' bad anes, as ance was pretendit, For a' hae their use, an' the warst can be mendit. Then sic a cur'osity shop is his dwellin'. Ye're sure amang nick-nacks to tum'le pell-mell in. Bee-skeps an' birds' cages, toom bottles an' banes Sea coekles an' winkles, an' fossils an' stanes; A puddock in water he keeps for conceit, Wee powheids in plenty that soom in a plate, An ask in a tumbler, a leech in a can- Did ye ever ken sic a cur'osity man? An' then, as for plants, wise King Solomon's sel' Micht hae sat at his feet - a' their names he can tell, Their virtues, their vices, their tribes an' societies, Their orders, their genera, species, varieties. The spots whaur they grow he can tell to a hair, The plants that can kill, and the yirbs that can cuir, Hoo to wale the best sorts, ken the right frae the wrang; While the books that embalm them in story an' sang He'll screed ye aff loof - losh, to hear him it's gran'! What a heid he maun hae, that cur'osity man. Wha'd hae thocht sic a body wad e'er fa' in love, Yet a bonnie young lassie his fancy did move; An' when he gaed oot to the green or the garden To court her at e'en, gudeness me! had ye heard him! The way he gaed on aboot fossils an' flowers, The flicht o' the comets, an' meteor showers, While the bonniest flower in the hale o' creation Look'd up wi' a face fu' o' fond admiration. "Was there ever a wooer," quo' pawkie wee Nan, "Made love in sic fashion? 'Od, he's a queer man!" He woo'd her an' won; ye may think it seems strange, But the lanely bit assie was prood o' the change; For she saw in the body what nane else could see, In his far-awa' look, in the blink o' his e'e, A love that was priceless, deep lasting, an' pure, Alike in the sunshine, the shade, an' the shower; A foe to self-love an' to ilka thing mean, Yet aye to the humble an' helpless a freen'. Then belyve, a wee lassie cam' toddlin' hame, An' sic a cur'osity, ettlin' to name A' her faither's nick-nacks, but her tongue couldna soun' them (The lang-nebbit words, it's sae ill to get roun' them). An' noo the wee fairy's the licht o' his e'e, He's nae sooner in than she's up on his knee. Whaur she lauchs to her minnie, an' says hoo it's gran' To cuddle an' kiss the cur'osity man. My Cuddler. MY cuddler! dye ken wha I mean? =A kimmer baith swankey and gaucey; I ne'er kent a couthier queen, =No, even exceptin' oor Bessy. In cuddlin' she tak's sic a pride, =Aye ready to row an' to wrap me; I canna steer frae the fireside, =But aye she maun cuddle an' hap me. ===_Chorus_-Ri-tol-the-rol-lol-the-rol-lol. ====[Pit the rest o't yersel'.] In presence o' Bessy, my wife, =Ye wad think she wad hide this bit passion; But Bessy's a native o' Fife, =Whaur cuddlin' has long been the fashion. But the warst thing aboot it is this, =In the public she plays aff her capers; An' pu's my moustache for a kiss, =In spite o' baith glowrers and gapers. ===Ri-tol-the-rol-lol. A bit cuddle an' bye in the hoose, =No mortal on earth wad fin' fau't wi'; But folk when oot-bye should be douce, =An' no jist go on like a gawkie. My throat frae the cauld to protec', =Yestreen, in the tramway, Guid guide us! She claspit me close roun' the neck, =Though dizens o' folk were beside us. ===Ri-tol-the-rol-lol. Yet nae ane can say she is bauld, =Immodest, a flirt, or a fuddler; She's guileless as lamb frae the fauld, =An', oh, sic a gem o' a cuddler. Last Sunday, as sure as a gun, =In the Kirk I grew perfectly dizzy, When to cuddle me there in her fun, =She commenc'd, the unmainerly hizzie, ===Ri-tol-the-rol-lol. Ye wha dinna ken me, nae doot =Will say I've ta'en up wi' a limmer, But ance my bit secret were oot, =Ye will say she's a braw dacent kimmer. For the truth o' this story, I pen, =Ye're welcome to my affidauvit, For cuddler's the name, ya maun ken, =That I gie to my braw worsit grauvit. ===Ri-tol-the-rol-lol-the-rol-lol. Beautiful Scone. (RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED TO THE WOMEN'S RIGHTS ASSOCIATION.) BEAUTIFUL scone, all piping hot, With plenty of butter, how blest my lot; Thy sides so sonsy now seldom I see, Scone of the past thou art dear to me. =_Chorus_ - Beautiful scone, beautiful scone, ==Scone of my ancestors, beautiful scone. Beautiful scone of the long ago, When women could bake thee-high and low- Then women were women, and cared for men, No indigestion our stomachs knew then- Heartburn nor headaches tormented us then. ==Beautiful scone, &c. Beautiful scone, for you I feel, I could borrow or beg-yea, starve or steal- So seldom I see thee, where hast thou gone, Where is thy hiding place - beautiful scone? Where is thy resting - place, beautiful scone? ==Beautiful scone, &c. Even the oat-cakes, I sometimes see Are scarce the ghost of what cakes should be; In the milk shop hard bye they are sold by the score, But ah! not the cakes so substantial of yore, But ah! not the cakes so inviting of yore. ==Beautiful scone, &c. Till women have righted our sex's wrongs Still must I sing my dismal songs; Meanwhile, with cold toast I must tickle my gums, And wait till the blessed Millenium comes, And wait till the happy Millenium comes. ==Beautiful scone, &c. Isobell OR THE REASON WHY. WE are Good Templars-that is, Effie and I;- Effie is my wife, and worthy of the name! You laugh, but if you knew the reason why,- No matter, you shall hear it all the same. It's easy to laugh, but let them laugh who win! And we have won, thank God! the victory, Through Him who nobly vanquish'd death and sin, Who came to seek and save poor waifs like me. When she and I were wed, long years ago, We were a winsome, well-matched pair, I tell you; A sweeter, purer blossom ne'er did blow Than she, a jewel far beyond all value. Fair as the daisy on the green hill-side, Fresh as the bloom upon her native heather; What bliss was mine that day she was my bride, As hand in hand we left the church together. Our love was crown'd with blessing from above, As if the glad millenium had come; We lived and moved each in the other's love; By day, by night, our paradise was _home_. Our day of bliss was far too bright to last, As long ago in Eden's blissful bowers, On us the fiend his baleful shadow cast, We found the serpents trail among the flowers. My parents left me, by some vile mischance- Unconscious to themselves-what do you think? Lands, houses, wealth, as my inheritance? No! but they left me this, _the lore of drink!_ Poor Effie! 'twas to her a sad surprise, Though ne'er one word of censure would she speak; I read it in her dark upbraiding eyes, And in the tears that glistened on her cheek. One weapon she could wield, and well, 'twas pray'r- Nay, rather 'twas a wrestling with her God, Her husband to reform, the victim spare, And in his stead bring down on _her_ the rod. Heaven ever kind, had sent us from above, A blue-eyed angel innocent and wee; The fruitage and the pledge of virtuous love, To cheer our hearts and fill our home with glee. We loved our darling dearer as the days Flew onward, with delight we saw unfold Her budded beauty, while her winning ways And sage remarks upon our hearts took hold. But ah! the drink had ta'en a deeper hold, Like devotee fast to his idol wed; Health, home, and comfort to the fiend I sold, For what? not even a stone in lieu of bread! Scant were my earnings, from uncertain toil, Yet even these were to the drink-god given; Some one must fill the pot and make it boil, So Effie. to the work herself, was driven. Leaving at home our precious Isobell, To tend the house and me, when she was gone; With what remorse and shame now must I tell, How oft I left her there to starve alone. One morning-are you listening? that is well, For I shall wring your bosoms to the core- Effie had gone, asleep lay Isobell, I had been drinking all the day before. I woke in misery, all my veins on fire, My temples throbbing with a sick'ning pain; Lips baked with thirst, drink, drink! my one desire- The foe that held me while I hugged his chain. My last coin spent, nor cash but credit gone; Effie alone would help me in my need, But she had gone to work long ere the dawn; I felt so ill I scarce could hit my head. What's to be done? I have it, Isobell! She knows the mill, it is not far away- She'll run and fetch the money, so far well, 'Twill soon be light, it must be nearly day. Obedient as a lamb our darling rose, Too well she loved, and feared me to refuse, She looked, as she drew on her scanty clothes, Fair as a flower besprent with nightly dews. The little shawl drawn close around her head, The shoeless feet, the unkempt golden hair, I see them yet, methinks I hear her tread So light as she went tripping down the stair. 'Twas only then I heard for the first time The wintry tempest howling over head; Like one convicted of some fearful crime, I could not rest but started from my bed. Ran to the window where, with beating heart, I heard the downward plashing of the rain; Strange horror shook my frame in every part, As to the street I rushed like one insane. Ready to yield my life for her dear sake, I flew along the dimly lighted street, Expecting still her steps to overtake, And clasp and cover her with kisses sweet. No sign, no vestige of her could I trace. My God! what if the nearer way she's ta'en- The path that leads beside the old mill-race, By this time flooded with the heavy rain. Swiftly I turn and take the other way, The sullen waters seem to warn me back, I hear them dashing in the distance grey, Along their marge I scarce discern the track. Onward I dash, unmindful of the road, Hush! can it be I heard a feeble cry? Yonder's the bridge, and clinging there, my God! 'Tis she, my child! God help her or she'll die! I plunged into the deep, what did I care, Now life and death to me were all the same; The waters bore me onwards, in despair I fought them back and loudly called her name. No answer save the angry surge and roar Of waters as they leapt upon the edge Of that frail footway joining shore to shore, Now, Heaven be praised! I grasp its tottering ledge: And there I found fast clinging to it still My Isobell, and in the dawning light Kiss'd frantically her lips so pale and chill, And oh her face! it looked so deathly white. At length I stood upon the slippery plank, And staggering bore her to the farther shore; As sounds of voices came along the bank, With flash of lights, then I knew nothing more. For days I lay unconscious like one dead, No one believed I would survive the shock; Nor night, nor day, had Effie left my bed, Until one morn to consciousness I woke. There, by the table, sat my ill-used wife, Before her spread a tress of golden hair, But no sweet Isobell to cheer my life; I looked, but only saw her empty chair. "Oh Effie!" I exclaimed, "can this be you? Am I awake? or is it all a dream? Some fearful nightmare! say it is not true! Say there is hope, were't but the faintest gleam!" "Hush!" Effie said, "dear husband do not grieve; With Isobell, our darling, all is well! She lived one day to bless us, then took leave Of earth, with Christ her Lord in heaven to dwell." Oh, I was glad to think she was not drowned,- That she for one brief day awoke from death; That round my neck her wee white arms she wound, Forgave and blest me with her latest breath. 'Twas I that killed her! I and the vile drink! And now that you have heard _the reason why_, Was it a laughing matter, do you think, That made Good Templars of my wife and I? The AUld Hearthstane. WEEL I mind oor wee biggin' that stood on yon lea, Wi' its blue reek ascendin' sae joyous an' free, Wi' a cheery bit winnock afore an' behin', Refiectin' the joy o' the leal hearts within; Noo roofless an' doorless it stan's in the rain, An' the rank nettles wave on its auld hearthstane. In winter's cauld time, when the dour winds did blaw, An' the hills roun' aboot were a' covered wi' snaw, While doon owre the easin, the icicles hang, Within', roun' the ingle, we cantily sang; Be it greyhaired auld granny or toddlin' wean, They a' fand a place roun' the auld hearthstane. There my faither wad sit while my mither did spin, An' lilt some auld sang to her wheel's cheery din, While the wee toozie heads granny drew to her knee, An' in oor lugs whispered. "Noo 'gree, bairnies, 'gree." Then faither wad lauch till the wa's rang again, At the antics we played on the auld hearthstane. 'Twas there in the neuk stood my faither's big chair; The bink, wi' its pewter and crockery, there; An' the auld aucht-day nook, wi' its solemn tick-tack, Stood close by the wa' at my granny's chair-back, While a broken cart wheel, that was cross in the grain, Was the fender we had for the auld hearthstane. A muckle box-bed on ilk han's ye gaed in, A wisp at the door lay to keep oot the win'; An' there in the hurley us weans took our rest, When we cuddled a' doon like wee birds in a nest. Noo sadly I muse whaur the wee feet hae gane, That danced wi' sic glee on the auld hearthstane. When the cruizie was lichtit, an' chappit the coal, The muckle ha-bible was brocht frae the bole; Then silent we sat, while my faither wad say- "Let us fa' to the readin', to God let us pray," Then he'd pray for us a', e'en the wee'st bit wean, As lowly we knelt on the auld hearthstane. Noo lanely I linger, the last o' them a', Near the hame o' my kindred a' deid an' awa'. On the gate they hae gane I am followin' fast, Yet the heart, like the ivy, still clings to the past; An' I whiles hae the thocht we shall a' meet again, Though it mayna be here roun' the auld hearthstane. [Since the publication of the above piece in "Wee Tibbie's Garland," the last verse but one has been added, hence its appearance in the present volumes.] Midnight on the Hills. THE sun had roll'd behind the western wave, =Leaving behind a track of golden spray; Soft evening crept around us silent, save =The tide that lapsing left the sandy bay. 'Twas God's sweet Sabbath, we had spent it well, =Not worshipping, as wont, in cushion'd pew, But far away within a highland dell, =Where purple heath and azure hare-bells grew. 'Mid rocks fantastic, where white cascades dash'd, =Leaping from caves their winter floods had made, To foamy ire their tortur'd waters lash'd, =Till lost in depths where agile minnows play'd. Strange stony crypts, where daylight half-reveal'd. =In shining heaps, far down the golden sand- Where nightly Luna dips her silver shield, =And grim Orion floats his starry wand. Like a great breaker in the hand of God, =That grand old glen brimm'd o'er with joyous light; On high the clouds like glowing chariots rode, =Flecking with shade each hill and mountain height. Who would not worship God in such a place? =To us it seem'd a glimpse of Paradise, Where silent joy lit up each flowret's face, =While love shone through the dew-gems in their eyes. And all around were happy, living things, =The feathered songsters dreaming in the shade; Insects, with strangely spotted emerald wings, =Frisk'd o'er the path, or flew from blade to blade. In fairy nooks, 'mid boulders stark and stern, =Cool crystal wells in limpid beauty lay, Bordered with beaded moss and crispy fern, =The spreading birch above for canopy. Forced by the fervid heat, we sought the shade =Of lichened crag and green umbrageous tree; And from the folded leaves of sorrel made =A rare repast, nor hard to please were we. Such was the day; more beauteous still, the night =Crept dreamily o'er moorland, field, and fell, While softly dawned from heaven a holier light =Above the hills that hid our Highland dell. 'Twas not the shifting pale Aurora light, =Nor the red radiance of the planet Mars, The soft effulgence of the Queen of Night, =Nor yet the dewy lustre of the stars. Ah, no! it made the star-lamps twinkle dim, =Deep'ning the shades that lay on tower and tree, While rose the mountain ridge clear cut and grim, =Like some huge monster stranded 'mid the sea. We sat and gaz'd with longing, earnest eyes =Along the line of soft, celestial light, As if awaiting, from the silent skies =Reveal'd, some wond'rous vision of the night. We seem'd to feel on the surrounding air =The tread of angels, felt their presence near; The heavens seem'd wrapt in ecstasy of prayer, =The glit'ring star-worlds blending sphere with sphere. Such blissful sights and scenes to mortal eyes =May well compensate for life's countless ills; God grant to each the power to realise, =Be't day or night, His presence on the hills. In Memoriam. "On, come again!" thou saidst, "and bring with thee =The young spring flowers that bloom in wood and dell: The daisy fair, the pale anemone, =Bright celandine, and hyacinthine bell, =And all fair things of innocence that tell." So when the sun shone regal o'er the hill, =And sent along the vale his living flood, I sought again the path beside the rill, =Which led me upward winding through the wood, =Where sings the thrush in leafy solitude. There bloom the flowers by thee loved long ago, =Like innocent that waits to be caressed- Wood-sorrel ope'd its bells of veined snow, =And merely droop'd within its mossy nest, =The gentlest thing upon the earth's green breast. Anemones, with petals all ablush =With celandines-for yet spring flowers were few- The young leaves hardly out yet on the bush, =Nor yet had ope'd the speed well's eye of blue, =Yet those I'd found would please thee well, I knew. Long hadst thou press't the thorny couch of pain, =A patient sufferer, meek as any child, Knowing thou ne'er would'st tread green fields again, =Nor cull with fond delight the flowerets wild; =God will'd it so-and thou wert reconciled. I felt so pleased, to think my flowers would bring =A thrill of gladness to thine aged heart- Awake within thy soul the voice of spring, =And kindle with new hope thy better part, =While to thine eye the grateful tear would start. Alas! ne'er thinking that the friend I lov'd =Needed no longer such poor gilt from me: Nine days before, the angels had removed =Thy long-imprisoned spirit, set thee free, =Crowning thy brow with immortality. The startling tale! with sorrow and surprise =I learned from those still left-bereaved pair! They viewed my little gift with streaming eyes- =The eyes they came to brighten were not there, =But drinking beauty in a world more fair, Where winter comes no more to vex the year, =Nor sore disease to try our feeble faith; Where love-lit eyes no longer hold a tear, =Nor love-knit hearts asunder torn by death, =But calmly rest from all their toils beneath. Nor only rest! but life begin anew- =Life higher, purer, in a loftier sphere, With kindred natures, loving, tried, and true, =By death long parted-rendered the more dear- =To roam through scenes they never dreamt of here. Oh! if from thine abode in yon bright sky =Thou hear'st the sobs that rend fair bosoms twain, Thou'lt come and kiss away the tears that lie =On cheeks yet pale-bid the heart's fount be dry, =Cheer'd by the hope of meeting thee again. Last Wishes. I WOULD not have my tomb With the great in sculptured gloom =When I die; But 'neath a low green sod, All in the sicht of God, =Would I lie. I'd have a simple stone, With my name engraved thereon, =But no more! Not a symbol, not a sign, Nor the swelling bardic line, =To deplore. For the lichen and the moss With soft fingers would emboss, =And erase What the chisel's tempered blade And the cunning hand had said =In my praise. 0, Nature, thou art kind To the part we leave behind!- =O'er my tomb Shall the buttercup yet spread, And the daisy lift its head =In full bloom. I'd have a little tree To wave softly over me =Its green wings, Where a little bird may perch, And its speckled bosom arch, =As it sings. And o'er me all the night The stars, with spirit-light =In their eyes, Will so lovingly look down On my lowly grave so lowne =Where it lies. I'd have one faithful friend To be with me at my end- =To be near, When my spirit took its flight To the happy realms of light; =While the tear, To our deathless friendship given, I would bear with me to heaven =As a gem, Where its drop of living crystal I would wear in my celestial =Diadem. O to feel the friendly grasp! While my other hand would clasp =Jewelled fingers Of the beautiful, the blest, Smiling through the dreamy mist. =That aye lingers 'Twixt the living and the dead- Round the soul to dust yet wed; =For Christ's sake! When my spirit sinks to rest, In the mansions of the blest =May I awake! LATER POEMS. 1800-95. The Unwelcome Guest. A queer carle cam' to oor door ae day, His een were blear'd an' his locks were grey; He spakna a word, but stoitered ben, An' drew in his stool to oor fire-en'. Quo' I, "Auld frien', if frien' ye be, Ye seem quite at hame, ye mak' sae free! But aiblins ye've something to say to me?" "Ou ay!" quo' he, "maybe!" "Say, whaur come ye frae? and what dae ye want? Oor bield is but sma', au' oor fare but scant; But for ae day, at least, ye's get yer share, Syne buckle ye on to the road ance mair." "Noo, what wad ye say, guidman," quo' he, "Gin I should tak' up my abode wi' ye- But no' as a lodger, payin' ye rent, Nor yet as a stranger, wi' your consent?" "What wad I say? ye auld scaurabee! I wad jist say this: wha the deevil are ye? To set yersel up as gin ye were laird O' this my bit biggin' an' bonnie kailyard! "There's a leme in yer e'e, an' a lirk i' yer chin, That I dinna weel like-can it be ye are kin Tae me or tae mine, that ye mak' sae free?" "Ou ay!" quo' he, "maybe!" "I'm no' that young, my croose auld cock, But there's a neive, that knock for knock Will niffer wi' you, an arm that'll thraw Yer neck like a hen's; an' that's nae blaw." Fu' lood he leuch, an' syne he leer'd An' mockingly said, "By my auld grey beard, Ye are crawin' fu' croose, but bide a wee, An' wha'll hae the best o't we sall see." Wi' that I play'd glaum at his buttonless sark, Whan up in the air he shot like a lark; Syne doon on my back a' his wecht he fell, An' clung to me close as a limpet shell. I tried, but in vain, to shake him aff, Noo heavy as lead, noo licht as caff; Meanwhile, wi' a nicher an' nudge o' his knee, He roun't in my lug, "Ou ay, maybe!" "Haud still, auld fule, an' quat yer rage, An' noo let me whisper-my name is AGE! Ay, AGE, my frien', an' here I'll stick, An' cling the closer the mair ye kick!" "Auld Age?" quo' I. "Deed ay," quo' he. "Year after year hae I followed thee; An' here at last I hae come to bide, An' share the glow o' yer cosy fireside." "Guid save us!" quo' I, "an' that be sae, It canna be helped, ye maun hae yer way; But I'll cheat ye yet, an' that ye'll see." "Ou ay!" quo' he, "maybe!" "The deil a doot but ye'll haud me fast, Like a creditor keen to the very last; But _then_ nae langer I'll be thy slave, For a' are young ayont the grave." "Ou ay!" quo' he, "maybe!" N'yum! N'yum! N'yum! Some words in oor auld mither tongue =As erst I've said mysel', Hooever easy to pronounce, =Are michty hard to spell; There's "Im-hm," ilka body kens, =In palace-ha' or slum, An' there's that ane the bairns ken weel, =It's n'yum! n'yum! n'yum! Its true it's no sae often used, =Unless when nose or tongue Inhale the gou o' something nice- =D'ye mind when we were young? A jeely piece wad gar us dance, =Or on the table drum; While to ilk ither we wad wink, =An' whisper N'yum! n'yum! An' when we, hungry, left the schule, =Hoo fast we made for hame- For mither aye had something guid =To fill a hungry wame. The savoury kail we scent afar, =As owre the bent we come, The while oor mou's wi' water rin- =Oh, n'yum! n'yum! n'yum! An' when, through mischief, Tam an' me =Spiel'd up upon the roof In fun, to fricht the folks below, =An' crawled upon oor groof! The scent o' glessy on the fire =Cam' stovin' up the lum; We risked oor necks lest we should miss =Oor share o't-n'yum! n'yum! For bairns will still be bairns, ye ken, =An' whiles we broke the laws; Then mither in a rage wad say, ="Jist han' me ower thae tawse!" An' syne we got-by way o' treat- =A richt weel skelpit-hum! It's strange, yet somehow we forgot =To whisper N'yum! n'yum! Raw neeps an' carrots frae the fields =To us were dainties rare; D'ye mind, we used to envy whiles =Auld Crummie o' her fare? Puir beast, sic loads o' milk she gied- =Her udder like a drum; We gat oor share, but, oh! the grace =Was only n'yum! n'yum! An' when, belyve, a blate young man, =I won sweet Mary's smile, An' gaed a-coortin' her at e'en =Fu' mony a weary mile. To steal a kiss, was-oh, what bliss!- =Of course she lookit glum, Yet something in her pawky e'e =Said, N'yum! n'yum! n'yum! Noo that I'm gettin' auld an' frail, =An' fa'in frae my meat, I canna bear the very thocht =O' onything that's sweet. There's no a healthy grinder left =In a' my toothless gum, To mind me o' the happy past- =Oh, n'yum! n'yum! n'yum! Auld Lang Syne; OR, THE DAYS WHEN TATTIES WERE SAXPENCE A PECK. I mind when a wee hochlin' laddie, =Oor hame was a thack-covered biel'! We werena nursed on the tea-caddy, =But parritch, an' tatties as weel. They ne'er disagreed wi' our stamachs, =Unless we took mair nor oor wheck; For a change we had pease-brose or bannocks, =An' tatties at saxpence a peck. The auld peck o' meal was a shillin', =Fresh butter jist aughtpence the pun'; Kintra eggs were a saxpence the dizzen, =When coft frae the cadgers gaun roun'. O' jellies and jams we kent naething, =A treacle-scone whiles for a sneck; But we prided oorsel's upon ae thing- =Guid tatties at saxpence a peck. Sheep-head kail was countit a denty, =Scotch haggis, the king o' a' meats; Flour scones an' laif-breid werena plenty, =An' the cakes had the goo o' the peats. O' comfort oor hames had nae lack o', =Oor doors stood maist aye on the sneck; Five bawbees the unce for tobacco, =When tattiee were saxpence a peck. The wages were then nocht to boast o', =For a rise it was needless to seek; But the rents were as wee, for the cost o' =Ae room was jist twal'pence a week. The wee'er the hoose, 'twas the snugger, =Nae millstane o' debt roun' the neck; But something laid by in a hugger, =When tatties were saxpence a peck. Then workin' folk clubbit thegither =Their tatties to buy on the fiel', To howk them they helpit ilk ither, =An' helpit to hoose them as weel. Aneth the box-bed in the kitchen =They stowed them frae basket and seck; Sic beauties for size! quite bewitchin', =An' _less_ than a saxpence a peck. In dull times fell Want didna fear us, =Though aitmeal was scant in the store; We kent that the wolf couldna steer us =Sae lang's we had tatties galore. Some keepit a grumphie free gratis, =Baith fat an' weel fed, for the feck O' its feedin' was skins o' pitatties, =When they were at saxpence the peck. "Early-whites" an' "rough-reds"-oh, sae mealy!- =Cam' oot o' their jackets sae clean, Weel kitchened wi' "dab-at-the-stool" aye, =Was that no a dish for a queen? The left anes laid by to be roastit- =Disease then nane e'er could detec'- Or rawed on the hob, whaur they toastit, =When tatties were saxpence a peck. We then had nae lucifer matches, =But spunks at a bawbee the bunch, For wee laddies brocht them in batches, =As prood o' their callin' as Punch. Oor licht was a wee kenin' hazy, =Its smell a fine nose micht detec', For it cam' frae train ile in the cruisie, =When tatties were saxpence a peck. Oor fires were o' peats or o' faggots, =An' het the hoose better than coals; Then lassies were happit wi' druggets, =An' nane o' yer sma-waistit dolls. The lads when the lassies a-courtin', =Then paid them far mair o' respec'; To marry was thocht nae misfortune, =Wi' tatties at saxpence a peck. Workin' lassies, noo drest like fine leddies, =Pass by their auld frien's wi' a smirk; When flockin' to warkshop or warehoose =Ye'd think they were bound for the kirk. Wi' ulsters an' patent improvers, =Hat-helmits, aft gotten on spec'; They kent nocht o' siccan manoeuvres =When tatties were saxpence a peck. Maybe, on the hale, though, we're better, =Though dearer baith tatties and meal; Forbye, ilka man's noo a voter, =An' some o' oor women as weel. Schule lear noo we get frae the nation, =A gift that we didna expec'; We had nae sic gran' dispensation =When tatties were saxpence a peck. Jamie and the Whale; OR, "TIT FOR TAT." "Say, were ye e'er at sea, grannie, =When ye were young an' hale? An', grannie, did ye ever see =That monster ca'd a whale?" "I ne'er was on the sea, laddie, =In fishin' boat or yawl, But I hae heard my faither say =He'd often seen a whaul. "For faither was a fisherman, =A hardy ane an' strang, An' ance he gaed to fish for whauls =The Norlan' seas amang." "Oh, that I were a man, grannie, =A whalefisher I'd be, Amang the icebergs i' the North, =Far in the Norlan' Sea. "For I've been readin' in a book =What glorious sport they hae, Chasin' the monsters o' the deep, =Frae dawn to close o' day. "An' this is hoo it's dune, grannie- =Say'n we twa were afloat, Amang the towerin' isles o' ice =In a hardy whalin' boat. "An' ye are at the stern, grannie, =To guide the ootgaun tow, An' I wi' shinin', sharp harpoon =Stan' ready at the bow. "An' noo up comes a monster whale- =For instance, Pussy there- Yer darnin' needle rax, grannie, =The biggest ye've to spare. "Yer clue o' worsted next, grannie- =We'll say that is the 'line;' Noo, haud it steve, there in yer lap, =I'm sure we'll fix it fine!" He grips the en' o' grannie's thread, =Slips't through the needle's e'e, An' in a twinklin' ties a knot =As steve as steve can be. "Yo ho! look out there, grannie; =See! there she comes!" - wi' that He slings the darnin' needle =Into grannie's sleepin' cat. Up wi' a yell sprang Pussy- =Her een like can'les bricht, Her tail as grit as ony wrist- =An' vanish'd oot o' sicht. "Hurrah! we've dune the deed, grannie! =My fegs! we've hooked her fine! She's off like stoor, but let her gang- =Grannie! peg oot the line!" When grannie's wits began to clear, =She started frae her chair, Her specks jamp off her nose an' fell =In pieces on the flair. "Ye ill-set imp! hoo daur ye?" =She grips the besom fast, An' gart it spin at Jamie's heid, =But luckily it passed. Jist missed puir Jamie's curly pow, =While to the yaird she ran, Gat haud o' frichted Baudrons, =An' brocht her in-but, than, As soon's the brute saw Jamie, =At him, in wrath, she flew, Sent baith her claws into his neck, =His hair seized in her mou'. "That ser's ye richt!" quo' grannie; ="It's tit for tat, I troo; Ye thocht to hairpin Pussy, but, =My sang! she's hairpin'd you! "Noo, Baudrons, jist let byganes be, =Undo yer claws, my pet! An' neist when he a-whaulin' gangs, =A _whaulin'_ he sall get." Wi ruefu' face an' hingin' lip, =Quo' Jamie, wi' a whine, "Oh! grannie, things wid a' gane richt =Had ye let oot the line!" The Bogie Man. FROM A BAIRNIE'S POINT OF VIEW. Oh sing nae mair o' the Bogie Man, =For I hate his very name! I think gin I were you, mither, =I wad be sair to blame. Ye think 'twill gar me sleep, mither, =Tae let me ken he's near, But hoo can a bairnie sleep, mither, =When its wee heart's fu' o' fear? I see him in my sleep, mither, =An' he cam' tae me yestreen, Wi' his lang sharp nails an' tautit hair, =An' oh! sic awfu' een. Richt glad was I tae wauken, =A' in a sweat wi' fricht, An' I conldna sleep again, mither, =Through a' the lee-lang nicht. Oh! fauld me tae thy breist, mither, =An' rock me on thy knee, But sing nae mair o' Bogie Men, =Tae ane sae weak an' wee. But sing tae me o' the angels, =The angels ever fair, Wi' their glory-lichtit broos, mither, =An' shinin' sunny hair. Or sing o' the blithe wee birds, mither, =That warble on bush an' tree, An' the wee wild flooers, that bloom, mither, =In the woods for you an' me. Whaur the burnie rows an' sings, mither, =Tae itsel' as it sails alang; An' I'll steek my een an' fa' asleep, =Tae the lilt o' thy bonnie sang. At weel I'm a waukrife wean, mither, =But I'll sleep as soond's I can, An' a' the soonder gin ye'll but sing- =But no o' the Bogie Man! Jenny wi' the Lang Poke. ===Jenny wi' the lang poke, ====Haste ye owre the main, ===Lampin' wi' yer lang legs, ====Plashin' through the rain; ===Here's a waukrife laddie ====Winna steek his e'e, ===Pit him in yer lang poke ====An' dook him in the sea. Oh, dear me whan 'ill Jenny come? Wheesht! I think I hear her cryin' doon the lum; Fie, awa', Jenny! we dinna want ye here- A' the bairns are in their beds-a' but Jamie dear. ===Gudesake! noo I hear her! ====There she's on the stair, ===Sapples o' the sea-bree ====Stickin' in her hair, ===Hushions on her bare legs, ====Bauchels on her feet, ===Seekin' waukrife bairnies ====Up an' doun the street! Oh, losh me! There she's at the sneck, Stoitin' owre the stair-heid - may she break her neck! Cuddle doun fu' cosy - that's my ain wee lamb; Dinna spurtle wi' yer feet, or ye'll wauken Tam. ===Jenny's nae awa' yet, ====Sae ye mauna greet; ===There she's on the door-mat ====Scufflin' wi' her feet, ===Wabblin' wi' her lang legs, ====Sneevlin' through her nose, ===Hirslin' wi' her lang poke, ====Aff Jenny goes! Oh, losh me! there she's back again, Listenin' wi' her lang lugs for a greetin' wean; Fie! gae bar the door, Jean, thraw aboot the key; Na, she winna get ye, ye're owre dear to me. ===Whaur's the body gaun noo? ====Up the ither stair, ===At oor neebor's door she's ====Tirlin' I declare! ===Cryin' through the key-hole ====Like a roopit sheep, ==="Hae ye ony weans here ====Winna fa' asleep?" Oh, losh me! hae they let her in? Wha's that sprechin, makin' sic a din? No oor wee Jamie, for he is sleepin' soun, Like a bonnie rosebud in the month o' June. ===Jenny wi' the lang poke, ====Ye may tak' the road, ===A' the bairns are safe noo ====In the lan' o' nod; ===Losh! can that be John's fit ====Comin' up the stair? ===No ae bit o' supper yet ====Ready I declare! Oh, dear me! rest for me there's nane, Pity on the mither that's plagued wi' sic a wean! Yet at him the very cat daurna wink an e'e, For he's the darlin' o' my heart, an' a' the warl' to me. The Whey o' Lang Syne. Oh, the whey! oh, the whey! o' our youth's early day, ='Twas truly the puir man's wine, Sae halesome an' sweet, 'twas mair than a treat, =When fresh frae the curd in the bine. A wee bit herd laddie I mind I was then- =A steerin' wee laddie, I trow; But scantily cled, an' nane owre weel fed, =But the whey was aye plenty an' new. We kentna the goo' o' the wash we drink noo, =That puir, feckless skiddle ca'd tea; Loaf breid frae the toon, when the cadger cam' roon, =We got, but it wasna for me. But the crumpy oatcakes, an' the barley meal scones, =Washed doon wi' a cogfu' o' whey, An' the clotted whey-cream! O' sic dainties I'll dream =While I plod alang life's weary way. An, oh! the whey parritch! meet dish for the gods! =Far less a wee hurchin' like me, For a mess o' sic fare, sae unkent noo an' rare, =I kenna what I wadna gie. Then puir wabster bodies doon by in the toon, =To fen' aye aneuch had to dae; But whey by the gang they could get for a sang =At the auld farm-hoose on the brae. Their rosy wee bairns a' as plump as green peas, =Though stented to twa meals a day; Be't mickle or little, they car'd na a spittle, =Sae lang's they had lashin's o' whey. But the slee farmers trowed what was guid for the weans =Wad be guid for the pigs an' the hens; Sae the puir folk's wine was gien a' to the swine, =A' for greed o' the siller, guid kens. It was meat, it was drink-I had nearly said claes- =Guid physic, nae less in its way; For rich or for puir, there was nae better cure =Than a waucht o' the newly-made whey. Thae Wee Feet. Aboon the bedroom whaur I lie =A.n' rest at e'en my weary banes, There is a bairnies' nursery, =A perfect hive o' steerin' weans. ==Yet, ne'ertheless, to me it's sweet ==To hear the patter o' their feet. Ye'd trow 'twad mar a bodie's sleep, =An' fieg awa' the angel Rest; But, na! to me it rather seems =A sang to soothe the heart opprest. ==While thochts maist like to gar me greet ==Mix wi' the din o' thae wee feet. I fa' into a dreamy doze, =An' see the wee tots at their play, Beneath the lime tree's leafy boughs =That shield them frae the fervid ray, ==The while I tent the deft wee feet ==That thrill me wi' their music sweet. An' aye they dance upon the green, =Or romp around the auld lime tree That kindly screens them frae the heat; =While gallop gang the feeties wee, ==For oh, its sweet! - it's wondrous sweet ==To hear the patter o' their feet. An' when to rest they sit them doon =I hear them liltin' in my dream; I listen to the unkent tune, =Till wauken't wi' the morning beam ==Aince mair to hear the music sweet ==That ripples still frae thae wee feet. Youth and Age. AN AULD MAN'S WINTER DITTY. The ice is skinklin' on the dub, =The cranreuch on the tree; But, when at play amang the bairns, =It's simmer aye wi' me. The day is short, the win' blaws snell, =The flow'rets a' are deid; I lang to see them up again =An' hang the dewy heid. Nae birdie lilts its cheery sang, =The wuds are silent a'; But when I hear the bairnies lauch =The silence flees awa'. There's no a daisy on the lea, =The grass has tint its green; Yet there are blue forget-me-nots =In blithe wee bairnies' een. In some I see the violet; =Some mind me o' the dove; An' some are black as winter slaes; =But a' are fu' o' love. Red roses in the month o' June =Adorn the scented briar, But on the barnies' caller cheeks =The rose blooms a' the year. An' oh! it mak's my heart grow licht, =The bluid dance through my veins; Though growin' auld, I'm never cauld =When oot amang the weans. Sae will it be in Heav'n aboon, =Whaur love rules ane an' a'; An' Eden fu' o' sinless souls, =Nor pain, nor pang ava. A Lilt for the Times. I aften muse on mony things I dinna weel see through, Sae mony rich, sae mony puir, though that is naething new; Ae thing, at least, 'boon a' the lave, to me seems unco plain, It's hard for a toom poke to stan' up a' its lane. An' mony ither things as weel I canna un'erstan', Sae mony makin' rousin' pays yet rinnin' to the pawn; Sae mony noo the slaves o' drink, sae few wha can abstain; E'en publicans themsel's confess it's hard to stan' ane's lane. Ye mind when we were bits o' bairns, ere yet we weel could stan', Hoo sure we were to fa' unless oor mither took oor han'; The auld, the young, the middle aged, the wee'st toddlin' wean, Will tell ye that a toom poke can never stan' its lane. We gie advice to them wha err-nae doot that's unco weel- An' tell them, gin they dinna men', they'll gang straucht to the deil; But oh! it's lovin' sympathy alane that can restrain, For it's hard for a toom poke to stan' up a' its lane. Oh, that the rich wad help the puir to owrecome want an' woe, An' no wi' gowd alane, but jist the kindly overflow O' sympathy, warm frae the heart, to soothe the weary pain, For it's hard for a toom poke to stan' up a' its lane. It's deeds, my frien's, nae less than words, that work the magic charm, The bite an' sup to hungry wean; and claes to keep them warm; To mak' an ill-set doug yer frien', jist fling to him a bane, For it's hard for a toom poke to stan' up a' its lane. Then let us rally roun' aboot oor brithers wha hae fa'en, An' let ilk ane haud oot to them a brither's helpin' han', An' oh! let love gang wi' the grip, gin ye wad them sustain, For it's hard to get a toom poke to stan' up a' its lane. An' ne'er forget that Providence, wha tents us nicht an' day, Wha leads us wi' a Faither's han' alang the darkest way; Aye cling to Him wha sen's to a' the sunshine an' the rain, For it's hard for a toom poke to stan' up a' its lane. A Sang about Beauty. ==Perhaps it may turn oot a sang, ==Perhaps turn oot a sermon. - BURNS. It's O to be bonnie an' braw! =It's O to be braw and bonnie! But guidness is better than a', =E'en though ye were fairest o' ony. The lassies a' think they are bonnie, =When youth an' guid health are in tid. Pair things! it ne'er enters their noddles =It's better by far to be guid. First learn to be truthfu' an' honest, =To hate e'en the thocht o' a lee; "Tell the truth, shame the deil," be yer motto; =Stan' till't an' the tempter will flee. Beware! oh, beware! aboon a' things =Self-love, o' puir mortals the bane; There's nocht sae deceivin' an' grievin', =For sic on earth rest there is nane. Wha kens but the angels aboon us- =Aroun' us nae less, though unseen- Are watchin' the battle we're wagin' ='Gainst sin an' its minions unclean. To set up for bein' thocht holy, =Is no jist the thing that I mean; But to live a pure life an' be jolly, =Is what we are here for, I ween. An' then, as to lovin' yer neighbour, =Gin ye hae a saxpence to spare, Ye needna rin aff to the bank wi't =Sae lang as puir bodies are puir. Nae doot there is fash wi' the siller, =Few think they hae mair than they need; It's the want o' the will that's the bother, =For the curse o' oor kintra is greed. An' sae gin ye want to be bonnie, =While youth an' guid health are in tid, Ye'll ne'er want for sweetheart or crony, =Sae lang as ye strive to be guid. What can ye expect frae a Soo but a Grumph! Laird Lowrie, d'ye ken, cam' a courtin' o' me; But 'twasna my love that he socht for his fee; 'Twas the twa-three bit hunners my faither let fa', When he fand that he couldna weel tak' it awa'. My wooer's love tale was on horses an' kye, O' tatties an' turnips, an' pigs in a sty, Till perfectly sick o't, thinks I ye're a sumph; What can ye expect frae a soo but a grumph! Noo, though I'm a lassie o' bloomin' nineteen, For wooers an' wanters I carena a preen; I'm straucht as a rash, an' as plump as a pea, An' no like the queans fed on cookies an' tea. The lads say I'm saucy for ane that's sae young; But it's only for mischief I waggle my tongue, An' when they grow nettled an' set up their humph, It's what can ye get frae a soo but a grumph! Oh! wae on the siller that a'body lo'es, That idol o' idols to whilk the saul boos! A leal, lovin' heart is the treasure I crave, Ye Powers! gie me that, an' a fig for the lave. Sae I'll jist bide my time, for there's ane I lo'e best, He's bonnie and guid, though it maun be confessed His gear's yet to win, an' it's oh, but I'm fain To tell him some day I hae that o' my ain. An' mair than a' that, a true heart that can feel, A saul fu' o' sympathy, lovin' an' leal; A lass that has that wi' the lads should be trumph, But what can ane get frae a soo but a grumph! The Twa Deils. A DIALOGUE. =_Characters_-SMUTTY, a fiend; LEERY, ditto. ==_Scene_-_The Roof of a Fashionable Church in Glasgow_. SMUTTY. "Guid e'en tae ye, frien' Leery! what's the game? When left ye Pandy? hoo are a' at hame? Hoo's Maister Nick, an' a' the riff-raff core? It's weeks noo sin' I left the Stygian shore. Is there still room in Clootie's ebon halls? Or are ye overstocked wi' human sauls? Trade's dull, I fear; I see it in yer face, There's noo sae mony o' the human race Ta'en up the trade o' temptin' folk tae sin- Pair deils like us oor breid can scarcely win. Oor first-class han's maun seek some ither job, Sin' fiends in human shape begin tae nob On us. Vile slaves! it dings me perfect stark To see sic botchers o' oor noble wark. Thae publicans, especially, dae mair To spoil oor trade, an' human souls ensnare Wi' their vile brew, curs'd product o' the still! Than a' the tempters e'er brak' oot o' h--l!" LEERY. "Ye're richt, frien' Smutty; it's a' dickie noo, Doon by ye ne'er heard sic a tullihoo; Nick winna keep, nor can he pay us aff, Nor burn us up like ither human caff. In my ain line I canna get a turn, Auld Cloots himsel' bade me gae hang or burn. An' sae I _dae_, wi' wrath an' indignation, To think I'm sae reduced in rank an' station. There'll be a row doon by, as sure's a gun, 'Twixt men and deils! my fegs, it will be fun. Nae mercy for the nobs, the blackleg crew, Wi' blades o' red hot airn we'll rin them through, Or hurl them frae the mountain-hichts o' sin, Sheer doon into the boilin' brimstane linn, Expose them to eternal winter's drizzle, Syne haud them on the brander till they frizzle." SMUTTY. "Hae patience, Leery, ye jist bide a wee, The day will coaie, an' that ye'll leeve to see, When publicans an' priests will get their fairin' For their vile deeds, sae ruthless and unsparin', To their puir victims. Leery, dae ye ken, I canna understan' hoo workin' men Week after week consent to slave an' moil Drones to uphaud, wha neither sweat nor toil. See them, puir soulless slaves, at fortnicht's en' Hie to the publican's unwholesome den, Ne'er thinkin' o' the hearts they rend at hame. Black be their fa', an' blacker be their shame! An' blacker still the man o' stoup or stell, Wha tak's nae thocht sae lang's his liquors sell; Crouchin' like bloated spider in his net, Eyein' wi' scornfu' glance the drouthy set O' bletherin' blockheads roun' his counter met. An' what cares he for greetin' wives an' weans, Sae lang's their troubles help to swell his gains! Man, Leery, though I'm but a puir lost deil, The tear o' pity aft adoon will steal, For the puir wives an' weans o' workin' men. Guid help them! how they bear't I dinna ken." LEERY. "O' oor ain daein's, Smut, we winna blaw; As for the publican, he dings us a' For rank hypocrisy, nae less than greed; Stoop o' the kirk! a precious stoop indeed. Here, in this holy fane on which we rest, On sacramental Sabbaths, grandly dressed, Comes Boniface wi' saintly look an' grave, An' smilin', tak's his seat amang the lave; Or aiblins 'mang the elders tak's the lead In han'in' roon' the blessed wine an' breid, While no ane there in estimation stan's Mair high wi' him wha wears the cloak an' ban's. But hear hoo on the week-day he can sweer, Crack jokes aboot the ministers, an' jeer At a' things guid. I've heard them say mysel' 'Twas a blawfum aboot the place ca'd hell." SMUTTY. "Gaun to the kirk's the fashion wi' the few; Preachin's a trade; the pulpit and the pew Are han' an' glove - the tane maun preach to please, The tither think it best to tak' their ease. 'Only believe,' its far the easiest way To get to heaven, whatever else ye dae. I'm sick o't, Leery, sick o' a' sic' ways; Are there nae honest men? nane worthy nooadays? A' alike selfish; e'en the chief we serve Grudges the thanks that we sae weel deserve. The fact stan's clear, we've tint oor occupation, Nor can we raise the plea o' COMPENSATION. An' since oor plea for wark has been denied, To spite Auld Nick we'se try the ither side, Join heart an' han' wi' honest General Booth, An' tell mankin' the plain, the evendoon truth; Help him to rake oot o' the loathsome slums Puir human waifs, though no wi' fifes an' drums, But wi' that sympathy that e'en a deil, Ootcast frae heaven, stilt in his heart can feel; Nor be't our aim to win high Heaven's regard, Eneuch that what we dae be oor reward." The Weathercock at Merryflats. The weathercock at Merryflats, =A staunch auld bird is he, As steady's a brick, though he disna stick =At tellin' a thumpin' lee. When the win's frae the east he points to the west, =An' when frae the kindly south Comes sunny shower to lay the stour, =Ye wad think he wad tell the truth. An' gin frae the surly north it blaw =Like to ding the steeple doon, He never lets on, yet aye and anon, =Still points to the west, the loon! For deil cares he for win' or weet, =Oor storm upon lan' or sea, The steeple may rock or fa' doon on the flock, =Yet his heid he wadna gee. For "O a' the airts the win' can blaw," =An' for him there's only the yin- The west, aye the west, is the ane he lo'es best, =An' he sticks to it through thick an' thin. When bitter an' cauld the east win' blaws =Oor fingers an' taes to freeze, He tries to deceive an' mak' us believe =That the snaw-flakes are butterflees. Sae that e'en the puir craws are fain to begin =To mate an' their nests repair, Ere yet a green bud is seen in the wud, =Or sun ray to gladden the air. Ere the wee lambs play on the gowany brae, =The snawdrap to bend her pale head, The daffodil wink, or the burnie to jink =Roun' the stanes in its gravelly bed. Though "changeable as a weathercock," =The auld sayin' used to be, He says it's a' fudge, since he like a judge =For steadiness bears the gree. It canna be said that oor bird's no brave, =Though in tellin' the truth he fail, For to friend or foe, above or below, =He never was kent to _turn tail_. It's no the men's faut that placed him there, =But jist that the thing's sae dour; While the clock itsel', I am sorry to tell, =Forgets whiles to chap the hour. But some ane is whisperin' noo in my lug, ="Man, Jamie, yer surely mista'en, For yer weathercock is never a cock, =But only a weather vane." BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. By ROBERT FORD. No humorous Scottish song that has been written since Robert Burns laid down his pen in 1796 is perhaps better known, and more deservedly popular, than "Im-hm," for which, as every reader of this periodical miscellany knows, the world is indebted to James Nicholson, of Govan, one of the oldest and most esteemed contributors to these pages. Burns himself never wrote a song more pawkily humorous-Burns, nor any one else-and it will survive as long as "Tullochgorum," "Duncan Gray," and "The Laird o' Cockpen," and songs of similar quality and humour, continue to be sung and afford delight at the firesides of Bonnie Scotland. Not long ago I found myself in a social gathering in Glasgow, where "Im-hm" was sung by a worthy clergyman of the Church of Scotland. The verses were delivered with such admirable abandon, and afforded the meeting such supreme delight, that I subsequently complimented the singer on his excellent rendition of them. "Do you know the author?" he asked. "Very well, indeed," I replied, "and an estimable and very wonderful old man he is." "_Is?_" reiterated my clerical friend. "You mean that he is still living? - and I have sung that song since I was a boy, more than thirty years ago." I assured him that such was the case. I told him the author's name, gave him a rough and ready outline of his wonderful career, told him of his mean and hard upbringing, of his achievements as both a lyric and descriptive poet, of his valuable contributions to botanical research, of his widely-esteemed treatise on astronomy. Told him, besides, that though now the years of his life exceeded the "allotted span" as defined by the Psalmist, he was still working for his daily bread as foreman tailor in Merryflats Poorhouse, Govan, and that he was still writing and still singing as melodiously as ever he did. And now it has occurred to me that that outline, with details filled in here and there, might be read with interest, and also with profit and delight, by the readers of the _Friend_. Our Editor is of the same opinion-hence this paper, which is written at his request. Our good friend, Mr. Anton, I have thought, might long ago have included James Nicholson in his galaxy of men and women of credit and renown who have "Risen from the Ranks." And I have no doubt he has his name jotted somewhere on his interminable list. Yea, as our good Editor suggested at a literary banquet in Edinburgh, not long since, at which I had the honour to be present, as a sheer example of self-help, if for no better reason, Mr. Nicholson's career might very reasonably ere now have engaged the pen of the celebrated Dr. Samuel Smiles; and certainly the result would have been a biography not less captivating, and a record of self-help not less wonderful and instructive, than is revealed in the veteran biographer's written lives of Thomas Edwards, of Banff, and Robert Dick, of Thurso. Let us see. Born at Edinburgh, on the 21st of October, 1822, James Nicholson's upbringing was of the very sternest kind. His parents beionged to the humblest order of the working class-those who know in painful earnest what stinted meals, the factor's snash, and the winter's weary dribble really mean. Before he was in his seventh year the family removed to Paisley, where, even at that early age, and when he had only been three weeks at school, he was sent to work as a "tobacco-snipe," so that he might add one welcome shilling a week to the depressed family exchequer. The boys here, he has told us, were of the lowest class, ignorant and profane, yet very acute in wickedness; and they were poorly clad, so that in winter those of them who had bonnets wore them as much on their feet as on their heads. There were six men in the work, and about twenty boys, with whom the former amused themselves by setting them up in pairs to fight, the rest forming around Lhem what was termed a "London ring." The victor was generally lauded for his pluck, whilst the vanquished hero had to retire with a bleeding nose or mouth, amid the jeers of his companions. And yet it was in the midst of this that the boy Nicholson applied himself to learn the art of reading - signboards and handbills being his chief lesson books. "These," he says, "by the help of bigger boys, I soon mastered, my tutors being no ways backward in correcting me when they found me in error. Booksellers' windows had specially strong attractions for me, particularly those which were well decorated with story books and pictures; and the intellectual treats these afforded detained me so long that I had to run home and swallow my meals-no difficult task-with all my might, in order to get to my work before the expiration of the hour, and thus escape the customary flagellation." Removing in course of time to the village of Strathaven, young Nicholson became a herd boy to a neighbouring farmer. In this employment he found more leisure for reading; and falling in with an old School Collection, containing the choicest extracts from the masters of English literature, and adding that to the only two books he could then call his own - the "Robin Hood Ballads" and Bunyan's "Visions of Heaven and Hell" - he revelled for a time, and became a tolerably good reader. These works were followed, or sandwiched, by Boston's "Fourfold State," and Wilson's "Tales of the Borders," etc. But agricultural life, never having any charm for the lad, soon became positively distasteful to him; and "alone in the stilly night," when the farmer and his wife, who had not been unkind to him at all, were locked in the downy arms of Morpheus, he bundled up his clothes and made a "moonlight flitting," the first and last in his life. From here he pursued his way towards Edinburgh, where for a time he found a home in the house of his grandfather, who took him to learn the tailoring business in the work along with himself. At the request of his father, however, he soon returned home and commenced to work with a firm, for which he (the father) acted as foreman. Now he began to lisp in numbers. But as up to this time he could not sign his own name, a mighty gulf lay between him and successful authorship. To bridge over this became his immediate ambition. So, getting a relative to set him a copy of the written letters of the alphabet, he practised with persevering industry in his spare hours, until, by and by, he was able to register his thoughts in a rude form on paper. One of his earlier productions, which chanced to be of a religious nature, so pleased him that he sent it to a magazine called _The Christian Journal_, of which the Rev. Mr. Beckett was then editor. These did not appear, but once more the young author tried his fortune in the same quarter, and with more success than he anticipated, for the next number contained not only his verses, but the following notice on the cover from the pen of the editor :- "Our first poetical contribution for this month merits a note of introduction. After reading verses containing so much true poetical fancy, the reader will be surprised to learn that the author is so far deficient in literary attainments that scarcely a line of his MS. but required some orthographical correction. We say this to J. N.'s credit, and for the encouragement of others." Then a working-man author was a greater rarity in the country than now, and we are not surprised to learn that the poet's first appearance in print brought him considerable local fame. But the success of the poem itself, more than the complimentary talk caused by its publication, gave a stimulus to his muse and a set purpose to his life, which was the weightier benefit. Connected, too, as he was at this time, with the West U.P. Church in Strathaven, he found in the Rev. Alexander M'Leod, the minister (late of Birkenhead), a very good friend, who, being a literary man himself, took quite a fatherly interest in the young poet, and gave him much valuable advice as to the conduct of his work. Poem followed poem with rapid frequency, and the result was the publication of a collection of his pieces under the homely title of "Weeds and Wildflowers," which, by the by, made no particular stir in the literary world. When 1843 came, and James had reached his majority, he got married, and also set up in business on his own account. The sun of success did not shine benignly on his business career any more than on the issue of his first volume. To compensate for his sorrow in this direction, however, a new world opened itself to his mind. He began to study botany. "I began," he says, "with a Family Herbal, containing coloured plates of the most of our native wild plants, which enabled me, without much difficulty, to find out the originals. The pleasure I derived, and still continue to enjoy, in the prosecution of this subject, it would not be easy to describe. A friend of mine, who is also an enthusiastic naturalist, accompanied me in my field excursions, which added not a little to my progress. In a short time we had mastered all tbe plants in the neighbourhood within a circuit of eight miles, a distance which we thought nothing of travelling in order to procure a new specimen. I remember going alone nearly twice that distance to see the scarlet pimpernel, the favourite flower of Ebenezer Elliot, the Corn Law Rhymer." It was first the love of wild flowers - the key to success in all things - that induced Mr. Nicholson to the study of them, which study culminated latterly, as every admirer knows, in the writing of "Father Fernie, the Botanist" - a life's work in itself, being perhaps the most popularly written work on elementary botany that has ever been published. In the year '49 _The Working Man's Friend_ was started by Mr. Cassell, of London, and Mr. Nicholson became a contributor to its pages, receiving his reward in prizes of books, with which he stocked the shelves of his little library, and regaled his literary tastes as leisure afforded the opportunity. Nothing particular occurred in his history, however, until 1853, when, hearing by chance that a foreman tailor was wanted for Govan Poorhouse, then located in the Old Horse Barracks, in Eglinton Street, Glasgow, he applied, and, through the hearty and diligent recommendation of one of the Directors, Mr. William Crawford, he secured the situation, the exacting offices of which he still continues to discharge with credit to himself and satisfaction to the management. Mr. Crawford, above-named, was a tailor in Glasgow, and the father of the late James Paul Crawford, the author of "The Drunkard's Raggit Wean," a song that has enjoyed much deserved popularity in Scotland. Between the latter and our subject there now sprung up a warm friendship, which was only terminated by the intervention of death a few years ago. Mr. Crawford the younger, a tailor also, was engaged in temperance work in Glasgow, and induced his new and esteemed friend to join the Gorbals Total Abstinence Society, in which for years previously he had himself been a prominent member. In this cause, which hitherto had had his sympathy, Mr. Nicholson discovered a distinct and noble mission for the exercise of his lyrical muse, and he immediately threw his whole heart and soul into the work of temperance song-writing. Among the first of these, he tells us, was "My Bonnie Wee Wifie and I," which immediately became a popular item in programmes of temperance concerts all over Scotland. Then followed "The Wee Doug's Appeal to his Drucken Maister," "The Frichtit Wean," "Who are the Heroes?" and other well-known pieces, which were immediately succeeded by "The Curse o' Kilwuddie," a poem in fourteen cantos, in the measure and manner of Hector Macneill's "Will and Jean," to which renowned poem, by the by, for spirit and power and graphic delineation of character, both humorous and pathetic, it is scarcely inferior. Like its worthy prototype, "Will and Jean," "The Curse o' Kilwuddie" first appeared as a _brochure_ in paper covers, in which form it had a rapid and extensive circulation. Latterly, with other poems tagged on, it reappeared in a volume of one hundred and fifty pages, in which more substantial housing it is now most frequently seen. Then came "Idylls o' Hame," perhaps the most thoroughly representative of all Mr. Nicholson's volumes-the work containing nearly all the more felicitous and enduring songs from his pen - "Im-hm," "Oor Wee Kate," "Jeanie's Secret; or Whaur the Weans Come Frae," "Sugary Tam," and others. At the mention of "Oor Wee Kate;' one of the very happiest songs of child life that has ever been written, I am reminded that the subject of it was the poet's own daughter, Mrs. Snell, who is now female teacher in Merryflats, and with whom Mr. Nicholson resides. Mrs. Snell, as many are aware, has cut her wisdom tooth since the song was written, being a lady of culture and pronounced literary tastes. She collaborated with her father in the production of "Willie Waugh, and other Poems," and is the co-author of "Poems and Songs, by James and Ellen Corbett Nicholson." Her name, indeed, has appeared frequently in the columns of the _Friend_, and readers who love the "crambo-clink" - and mostly all do-will not have forgotten her songs of "The Ae Wee Room," "Grannie's Kailyard," and "Lang, Lang Syne." But to return, ere "Willie Waugh" saw the light, we had "Wee Tibbie's Garland" in a set of temperance dialogues, a little volume that has done wonders for the cause of teetotalism in Scotland, and "Nightly Wanderings in the Gardens of the Sky," an astronomical treatise, giving popular lessons on the more familiar star groups and planets, which appeared originally in a series of articles in the _Friend_, and was written for the purpose of inducing young men of the working class to enter upon this marvellous and captivating field of study. I am not sure that I have named James Nicholson's volumes in the order in which they came from the press. I am not sure even whether I have named all he has written and published, but I know that I have indicated the representative work of his life, and in rude outline have sketched a career marvellous even in an age of marvels. Beginning, as we have seen, with almost no education at all, and environed in early life by circumstances of privation and squalor from which few would have emerged; despite, indeed, obstacles named and unnamed, by his own sturdy, manly perseverance, and the faculty of self-help alone, he has surmounted the hill Difficulty, and reached a height of mental culture that is rarely attained by any of the highest order of the working class. James Hogg, stripping his coat on the hillside at the age of twenty-four, to learn to write, was not a more picturesque example of persevering character than is revealed at various points in the career of James Nicholson, who, in the intervals of toil often poorly remunerated, has acquired by dint of sheer determination not only the rudiments of an ordinary education, but has studied, as we have seen, botany and astronomy, and written extensively and well on both subjects, and has composed and published more volumes of engaging lyrical verse than almost any other living Scottish poet. In the view of some hard men of the world James Nicholson's life, of course, has been no success at all. It has been wasted energy, because, with all his labour, with all the ingenuity of his mind, he has not filled his coffers with golden guineas. Guineas are good, and much fine gold is very desirable, but there are greater aims and grander objects in the world than the mere making of money, and in the sight of God and the angels, I doubt not the author of "Kilwuddie" and "Father Fernie," and other works so well calculated to elevate and improve the race, is a nobler man than hundreds whom the world calls noble, and delights to honour. Money enough to provide the common necessaries of life, and keep the wolf from the door, is all that a man of the simple tastes and refined spirit of the sturdy hero before us will ever desire. James Nicholson's earnest cry and prayer is, I believe, that the work of his hand shall bring in the hin'most bite he shall require in this world. But if the Royal Literary Bounty Fund were applied to those for whom it was originally intended; if its annuities of fifty and a hundred pounds, instead of being wasted on men whose yearly cigar bill will more than cover the sum, were allotted to struggling and deserving authors-men to whom a hundred pounds a year would mean a comfortable income - James Nicholson should share of it, and no man ever shared more worthily. I first met James Nicholson soon after I came to reside in the West of Scotland, now twenty years ago, in company one night with Alexander G. Murdoch, James Paul Crawford, William Cameron (author of "Morag's Fairy Glen "), Robert Tennant (the postman poet), James Norval, and James M. Neilson, all since, alas! gone to the songless land. And though we have met seldom since, I, who have esteemed his work from the beginning, have been keenly alive to all his doings in the interval. In that period many of the happiest effusions of his muse have appeared in these columns, including "Jenny wi' the Lang Poke," "A Kiss frae a Bairnie's Mou'," and recently, "N'yum, N'yum, N'yum," which, ere long, I reckon, will prove a formidable rival in popularity to the irrepressible and irresistible "Im-hm" itself. I should have liked, did space permit here, to direct the reader by minute reference to some of the individual poems and songs that have issued from Mr. Nicholson's pen. I should have dilated at length on the moral lessons of some of his more ambitious productions; have told how "Im-hm" suggested itself to his mind one Sabbath morning as he lay awake in bed; and have described in detail his impressions of Janet Hamilton, the poetess, whom, together with John Young, the blind poet of the Glasgow Poorhouse, he visited in her own house at Langloan, where a day was spent that will be dear to him while his memory lasts. All this I should have told, and much more. But this sketch at best can still be no more than a rude outline, indicating the scope and interest of the fuller biography that has yet to be written, and will one day see the light. I cannot, however, part with my subject without referring to one of his most characteristic poems, which first appeared about three years ago in the pages of the _Friend_, and a poem which impresses me as being one of the very best he ever wrote. It is called "The Unwelcome Guest." THE LAUREATE OF TEMPERANCE : JAMES NICHOLSON. A _FRIENDLY_ GATHERING IN GLASGOW. By "JUDITH KINGSLEY." "WHO are the Heroes?" asks James Nicholson, in his poem, where the note of independence is as strong and as proud as Burns's own. He answers himself in stirring words - "The men who labour;" but no answer could be as complete as his own career which is as striking an instance of the victory of genius over circumstances as was ever chronicled. Burns was a ploughman before he was a gauger; Robert Nicoll, a herd laddie and a weaver before he became a newspaper editor; the Bethunes worked as hedgers and ditchers when they were not toiling between what Gilfillan called "the four stoups of misery;" "Surfaceman" worked with pick and mattock on the iron way; and James Nicholson is foreman tailor in a poorhouse. But genius is justified of her children; and it doesn't matter if they be peasants or professors if they have the "stalk of earle hemp" as welt. James Nicholson is a worthy member of that band of bards of lowly birth which is the peculiar glory of Scotland. He has many claims to distinction. His songs have been household words for well-nigh half a century. He is a link with the past, for Carlyle read his poems and praised their pathos, and he was the friend of Janet Hamilton. He has worthily won the title of the Laureate of Temperance, for he celebrated the charms of "the crystal fount" when teetotaller was a term of opprobrium. He is "Father Fernie," the botanist, too, and the gardener of the constellations in the midnight garden of the sky. And he is, too, pre-eminently the poet of the hearth, celebrating the joys of childhood, of the affections, of home, in strains full of true feeling, and no less touched with true humour. It was a happy thought, therefore, to honour the veteran singer and the _doyen_ of _Friend_ poets at a complimentary banquet-a happy thought, due in the first place to Mr. Robert Ford's admirable biographical paper which appeared in these pages about two months age, which was first voiced by Mr. J. K. Cross, of Newmains, taken up enthusiastically by the editor, and heartily endorsed by the proprietors of the miscellany. The function duly came off in the Cockburn Hotel, Glasgow, on the 12th inst., and was from beginning to end a cheery and enjoyable affair. I only wish that I could give a photographic group of the crowd of notables which assembled in the drawing-room prior to the feast. How pleased every reader would have been to see the writers so well known to them in their proper persons! True, there might have been some disillusioning going, as one of the speakers humorously hinted later. Picturesque names might have turned into prosaic realities; poets are not always sylphlike, nor are novelists invariably picturesque. But still the process of finding out who is who is always fascinating. There was the editor, his genial face radiating good humour as he welcomed the guests, supported by Mr. William C. Leng, representing the proprietors, whose welcome was no less cordial, while Mr. A. W. Peters flitted about unobtrusively busy in pairing-off people, or seeing to the signing of the address. And there, the centre of a group of friendly faces, was the guest of the evening, looking, as somebody said, "like a refined copy of Father Christmas," with his long, silvery locks, his deep, dark eye gleaming strangely out of a pallid face. Then there was the "Vicar of Deepdale," most cultured of _Friend_ essayists, and the Rev. Peter Anton, keeper of the gates of fame, and the Rev. H. Mackenzie Campbell - a genial trio; and "Surfaceman," with his melancholy, poet face lit up by glorious black eyes; and Robert Bird, Quaker, lawyer, and poet, who enjoys the unique distinction of having written one of the most popular childrens books of the generation, in "Jesus, the Carpenter of Nazareth;" and buirdly Robert Ford, high priest of humour; and Alex. Brown, and J. E. Watt, and Laurence J. Nicolson, singers sweet and true, come from far and near to do honour to a brother bard; and Alexander Small, Walter Wingate, and John Taylor, and Dugald M'Fadyen, and William Boyle, and J. K. Christie, and many others. It is a muster of the learned professions - ministers and dominies and lawyers being well represented. And the ladies lent their gracious presence, too - Mary Cross, poetess and novelist, with notable, intense eyes, and Isabella F. Darling, pale and _spirituelle_, her face fined by suffering, and "Carrol King," most dashing of military romancers and sweetest of elderly ladies, and "Marion," with grave, sensible face, and Elsie Walter, and Jeanie T. Ord, good story-tellers both in the best sense of the word, and Miss Falconer, who combines women's Liberalism with literature, and who is not unknown and unwelcome on political platforms on the Borders - these were there, and many another equally proud of the company and the occasion. The Editor had many apologies to intimate from contributors we would gladly have looked upon-from Annie Swan and Adeline Sergeant, Professor Blackie and "Fergus Mackenzie," "Nisbet Noble," "Kaleidoscope," "Walter Howden," J. C. Hadden, Alex. Matheson, M. Park Gill, and W. Stewart Thomson-some detained by illness, like the octogenarian Professor, others by distance or stress of weather. I would like to quote a bit from Annie Swan's letter, as it voices what, I am sure, every contributor must feel as to the way in which the _Friend_ is conducted - "I am really very sorry," she says, "that, Glasgow being so very far away, in this wintry weather, I cannot avail myself of the kind invitation to the dinner to Mr. James Nicholson, whose name has long been familiar to me as a brother contributor to the _Friend_. I would wish here to express my appreciation of the courtesy and kindness extended to me invariably during all the years I have eontributed to the _Friend_ - an appreciation which I am sure is shared by all who may take part in the interesting oocasion which I must miss. I really do feel that but for the _People's Friend_ I should have had a very hard struggle to obtain a hearing. With this long oration, which, however, is spontaneous and sincere, I beg to wish you all a very happy evening, and I hope you will present my compliments and regrets to your guest. - Yours very truly, ==="A BURNETT SMITH." The speech which followed was alike worthy of the Editor and of the occasion. It was warm with generous feeling, abundantly informed, and infused with a fine sense of hero-worship. I would like to have given it _verbatim_, but Mr. Sbewart sternly forbids me in the name of space, and so I must content myself with snippings. The Editor gave the first place in the triple wreath which he twined for James Nicholson, as poet, botanist, and astronomer, to his connection with the temperance cause, concerning which his reminiscences went back quite forty years, when he, a boy of twelve, at a juvenile temperance meeting, held in Murdoch's School, Blackfriars Street, Glasgow, first became acquainted with the "Crystal Fount," a collection of pieces by the poet and other temperance writers, which contained "The Teetotal Mill," "O Temperance is a Noble Plan," "My Bonnie Wee Wifie and I," "Who are the Heroes?" and other poems, which quickly became household lays. Then he turned to his acquirements as a botanist in the "Father Fernie" papers, which appeared about thirty-five years ago in the _Scottish Temperance League Journal_. "These papers," declared the Editor of the _Friend_, "did for botany what has never been done before, and what has never been done so well since, though they have been imitated repeatedly - they placed the elements of the science - in the system which was then common, that is the Linnaean system - in such a simple, lucid, and interesting manner as to make what is perhaps one of the dryest of the sciences, so far as its nomenclature is concerned, really attractive. The flora of Clydesdale was laid open to the study of working men in a progressive series of lessons in the form of dialogues, with the thread of a story running through all. 'Father Fernie' made the dry bones of elementary botany a living thing. He made botany for the first time romantic, and many to whom the science must have been a closed book were led by these papers to its profitable study, where a world of delight awaits all who cross the formidable barriers of its elementary portals." The poet's connection with the _Friend_ was then passed in review. This began in the year 1876, when he contributed to its pages a series of papers on "The Wildflowers of the Year." In the next two years he wrote for it a series of astronomical papers dealing with the star clusters known as the constellations, papers afterwards repringted under the title of "Midnight Wanderings in the Garden of the Sky." Coming then more particularly to his work as a poet, Mr. Stewart made reference to his connection with teetotal principles - "He is the laureate of the temperance cause, having freely given of the best poetic gifts he possessed for the furtherance and advocacy of that cause. His 'Curse of Kilwuddie' is a terrible poetic picture in narrative form of the insidious evils of drink in a village depicted as a 'Sweet Auburn,' before the demon found an entrance to it. 'Willie Waugh; or, an Angel o' Hame,' is another sustained poetic flight of great beauty and interest, in which the same cause is advocated. Then comes his 'Tibbie's Garland,' which is largely composed of temperance dialogues and poems; while in his 'Idulls o' hame' and 'Poems' the same poetic bent is seen. Thomas Carlyle read 'Tibbie's Garland,' and expressed through his niece, Miss Aitken, the great pleasure it had given him, and the respect he felt for its tenderness and pathos; whilst the _Scotsman_ said of its author - 'Int he lowliness of his birth, in the struggles and disadvantages of his youth, in the persevering and independent spirit with which he overcame all adverse circumstances, and in the excellent use he made of his opportunities and talents, james Nicholson is entitled to be henceforth honourably named with the Nicolls and the Bethunes and other humble sons of genius of whom Scotland has just reason to be proud. As a comparison is here made,' added the editor, 'I would venture to say that just as Ebenezer Elliot is remembered as the great Corn Law Rhymer, so James Nicholson is entitled to regard as the Bard of Home and Temperance. Both poets have voiced the cry of the working man in memorable verse - the one in his "God Save the People," and the other in his "Who are the Heroes?"' "But time fails me to enter, as I could wish, into the various claims our guest has upon our admiration and regard. It will be a long time before Scotland forgets the author of 'Oor Wee Kate,' 'Jeanie's Secret,' 'Jenny wi' the Lang Poke,' 'The Unwelcome Guest,' 'The Hameless Laddie,' 'The Auld Hearthstane,' 'The Wee Doug's Appeal to his Drucken Maister,' 'My Bonnie Wee Wifie and I,' 'The Wee Laddie's First Soiree,' 'Im-hm,' and 'N'yum, N'yum.' The versatility of his muse is wonderful; and the high merit of his verses, the delicious natural humour, the unaffected, heart-searching pathos, the manly, inspiring independence, all give them a character that fully accounts for their wide and long-continued popularity." Mr. Stewart concluded with a peroration couched in cordial terms, and then recited, with pawky humour, "Jeanie's Secret." The address, which bore the signatures of all present, was then handed over, a beautffully-executed piece of work from the lithographic department of Messrs. John Leng and Co., in which the starry heavens and the telescope, as well as the botanist's apparatus - vasculum, spaddock, and pocket lens - recalled the versatility of the poet. Its terms ran as follows :- To JAMES NICHOLSON, POET, BOTANIST, AND ASTRONOMER. We, a Company of Contributors assembled at a complimentary dinner given in your honour by the Proprietors of the _People's Friend_, tender this Address as a token of our esteem for you as a man, and our admiration for you as a poet. Unaided by birth or fortune, you have won distinction in many directions. Your advocacy of Temperance in song and verse has made you the Laureate of the movement; your writings on Botany and Astronomy have been popular and stimulating; while your songs and poems have touched a chord in the heart of the Scottish people, the echo of which will not quickly die. We congratulate you on your attainments, and earnestly trust that you may long be spared to add still further to the laurels you have so fairly won and nobly worn. Tt is only tantamount to saying that Mr. Nicholson is modest as well as gifted, when I say that he struggled to find adequate erpression for his feelings, and that his words in acknowledgment were few and heartfelt. He managed to introduce a beautiful poetic touch, however, in the colloquy between himself and "The Unwelcome Guest" (a recent poem of his, in which old age is introduced under that figure), in which he played the candid friend to himself with humorous insight. So cleverly was it done, too, that the Editor's interjected query only served to emphasise its naturalness. The veteran contributed an anecdote to the hilarity of the evening, which is so delightfully Scotch in its humour, that it must not be omitted. An old farmer sitting by the fire was feeling over one of his fingers in a gingerly sort of way. Says the guidwife, "What's the maitter wi' yer finger, guidman?" "I think I hae gotten a skelf (_Anglice_-splinter) intill't," was the reply. "I doot ye've been scartin' yer pow," was the merciless rejoinder - one of the species of candid compliments which it is the privilege of wives to pay. Ere sitting down, Mr. Nicholson recited one of his own poems, "The Auld Hearthstane," in deep, heartfelt tones, an idyll of home fit to be placed side by side with "The Cottar's Saturday Night" and Nicoll's "Cosh Hearthstane." - _From the "People's Journal."_ THE SINGER. (JAMES NICHOLSON.) He did not seek the solitude =Of hill, and wood, and gien, Nor did he chant in accents rude =His message unto men. Where yon dark river ebbs and flows, =And toilers work and throng Around a thousand wheels-arose =The magic of his song. The glory of the midnight sky, =The breath of noonday flowers, The winds that through the woodland sigh, =Each gave his soul new powers. He sang of heaven, he sang of earth, =How right redeems the wrong, How evil unto good gives birth, =How sorrow can make strong. He sang the songs of infancy, =The cheering songs of age, And wild, sweet songs of liberty =The bird sings in its cage. And "living pictures" - from the past =So sad, so true-sang he, He sang of love that's made to last, =Through doubt and poverty. And still from out the crowd of masts, =And noise of groaning wheels, And shadows of the engine blasts, =And strife of flying reels, There cometh forth that singer's song, =A song that's old and new, And best in all that makes it strong, =And strong because it's true. ==AGNES MARCHBANK.