Rough Scan


(MARCH, 1789).

DAUGHTER of chaos' doting years,
Nurse of ten thousand hopes and fears,
Whether thy airy insubstantial shade
(The rites of sepulture now duly paid)
Spread abroad its hideous form
On the roaring civil storm,
Deafening din and warring rage
Factions wild with factions wage;
=Or underground
=Deep-sunk profound
Among the demons of the earth,
=With groans that make
=The mountains shake,
Thou mourn thy ill-starr'd blighted birth;
Or in the uncreated void
=Where seeds of future being fight,
With lessened step thou wander wide
=To greet thy mother, Ancient Night,
And, as each jarring monster-mass is past,
Fond recollect, what once thou wast:
In manner due, beneath this sacred oak,
Hear, spirit, hear! thy presence I invoke!
=By a Monarch's heaven-struck fate,
=By a disunited State,
=By a generous Prince's wrongs,
=By a Senate's strife of tongues,
=By a Premier's sullen pride,
=Louring on the changing tide;
=By dread Thurlow's powers to awe-
=Rhetoric, blasphemy and law;
=By the turbulent ocean-
=A Nation's commotion,
=By the harlot-caresses
=Of borough addresses,
=By days few and evil.
=(Thy portion, poor devil!)
=By Power, Wealth and Show,
==(The gods by men adored,)
=By nameless Poverty,
==(Their hell abhorred,)
=By all they hope, by all they fear,
=Hear! and appear!

Stare not on me, thou ghastly Power!
Nor grim with chained defiance lour;
No Babel-structure would _I_ build
=Where, order exiled from his native sway,
Confusion may the Regent-sceptre wield,
=While all would rule and none obey:

Go, to the world of Man relate
The story of thy sad eventful fate;
And call presumptuous Hope to hear,
And bid him check his blind career;
And=tell the sore-preet sons of Care,
=Never, never to despair!

Paint Charles's speed on wings of fire,
The object of his fond desire,
Beyond his boldest hopes, at hand:
Paint all the triumph of the Portland Band;
Hark how they lift the joy-elated voice!
And who are these that equally rejoice?
Jews, Gentiles, what a motley crew!
The iron tears their flinty cheeks bedew;
See how unfurled the parchment ensigns fly,
And Principal and Interest all the cry!
But just as hopes to warm enjoyment rise,
Cry Convalescence! and the vision flies.

Then next pourtray a dark'ning twilight gloom,
=Eclipsing sad a gay, rejoicing morn,
While proud Ambition to th' untimely tomb
=By gnashing, grim, despairing fiends is borne:
Paint ruin, in the shape of high D(undas)
=Gaping with giddy terror o'er the brow;
In vain he struggles, the fates behind him press,
=And clam'rous hell yawns for her prey below:
How fallen _That_, whose pride late scaled the skies!
And _This_, like Lucifer, no more to rise!
=Again pronounce the powerful word;
See Day, triumphant from the night, restored.

Then know this truth, ye Sons of Men!
=(Thus ends thy moral tale,)
Your darkest terrors may be vain,
=Your brightest hopes may fail.



O SING a new Song to the Lord;
=Make, all and every one,
A joyful noise, even for the King
=His restoration.

The sons of Belial in the land
=Did set their heads together;
Come, let us sweep them off, said they,
=Like an o'erflowing river.

They set their heads together, I say,
=They set their heads together;
On right, on left, and every hand,
=We saw none to deliver.

Thou madest strong two chosen ones,
=To quell the wicked's pride:
That young man, great in Issachar,
=The burden-bearing tribe;

And him, among the princes chief
=In our Jerusalem,
The Judge that's mighty in thy law,
=The man that fears thy name.

Yet they, even they, with all their strength
=Began to faint and fail,
Even as two howling ravenous wolves
=To dogs do turn their tail.

The ungodly o'er the just prevailed,
=For so thou hadst appointed,
That thou might'st greater glory give
=Unto thine own anointed.

And now thou hast restored our State,
=Pity our Kirk also;
For she by tribulations
=Is now brought very low.

Consume that high place Patronage
=From off thy holy hill,
And in thy fury burn the book
=Even of the man M'Gill.

Now hear our prayer, accept our song,
=And fight thy chosen's battle:
We seek but little, Lord, from thee-
=Thou kens we get as little!



I'M now arrived, thanks to the gods!
=Thro' pathways rough and muddy,-
A certain sign that making roads
=Is not this people's study.
And tho' I'm not with scripture crammed,
=I'm sure the bible says
That heedless sinners shall be damned
=Unless they mend their ways.



_On Burns saying he 'had nothing else to do.'_

WHEN dear Clarinda, matchless fair,
=First struck Sylvander's raptured view-,
He gazed, he listened to despair-
=Alas! 'twas all he dared to do.

Love from Clarinda's heavenly eyes
=Transfixed his bosom thro' and thro',
But still in Friendship's guarded guise-
=For more the demon feared to do.

That heart, already more than lost,
=The imp beleaguered all perdu,
For frowning Honour kept his post:
=To meet that frown, he shrunk to do.

His pangs the bard refused to own,
=Tho' half he wished Clarinda knew;
But anguish wrung the unweeting groan-
=_Who_ blames what frantic pain must do?

That heart, where motley follies blend,
=Was sternly still to honour true;
To prove Clarinda's fondest friend
=Was what a lover sure might do.

The muse his ready quill employed,
=No nearer bliss he could pursue;
That bliss Clarinda cold denied-
='Send word by Charles how you do.'

The chill behest disarmed his muse,
=Till passion all impatient grew:
He wrote, and hinted for excuse
='Twas 'cause _he'd nothing else to do._

But by those hopes I have above,
=And by those faults I dearly rue,
The deed-the boldest mark of love-
=For thee that deed I dare to do!

O could the fates but name the price
=Would bless me with your charms and you!
With frantic joy I'd pay it thrice,
=If human art and power could do.

Then take, Clarinda! friendship's hand
=(Friendship at least I may avow);
And lay no more your chill command,-
=I'll write whatever I've to do!




Your friendship much can make me blest;
=O why that bliss destroy?
Why urge the only one request
=You know I must deny?
Your thought-if love must harbour there,
=Conceal it in that thought;
Nor cause me from my bosom tear
=The very friend I sought.



_Go on, Sweet Bird._

FOR thee is laughing nature gay,
For thee she pours the vernal day;
For _me_ in vain is nature drest
While joy's a stranger to my breast.


HUMID seal of soft affections,
=Tenderest pledge of future bliss,
Dearest tie of young connections,
=Love's first snowdrop, virgin kiss!
Speaking silence, dumb confession,
=Passion's birth, and infants' play,
Dove-like fondness, chaste concession,
=Glowing dawn of future day!
Sorrowing joy, adieu's last action,
=(Lingering lips must now disjoin);
What words can ever speak affection
=So thrilling and sincere as thine?


THOU, Liberty, thou art my theme;
Not such as idle poets dream,
Who trick thee up a heathen goddess
That a fantastic cap and rod has:
Such stale conceits are poor and silly:
I paint thee out a highland filly,
A sturdy, stubborn, handsome dapple,
As sleek's a mouse, as round's an apple;
Who when thou pleasest can do wonders;
But, when thy luckless rider blunders,
Or if thy fancy should demur there,
Wilt break thy neck ere thou go further.

These things premised, I sing a Fox,
Was caught among his native rocks,
And to a dirty kennel chained,-
How he his liberty regained.

Olenriddell, whig without a stain,
A whig in principle and grain,
Couldst thou enslave a free-born creature,
A native denizen of Nature?
How couldst thou with a heart so good
(A better ne'er was sluiced with blood!)
Nail a poor devil to a tree
That ne'er did harm to thine or thee?

The staunchest whig, Glenriddell was
Quite frantic in his country's cause;
And oft was Reynard's prison passing,
And with his brother-whigs canvassing
The rights of men, the powers of women,
With all the dignity of freemen.

Sir Reynard daily heard debates
Of princes', kings', and Nations' fates,
With many rueful bloody stories
Of tyrants, Jacobites, and tories:
From liberty how angels fell,
And now are galley-slaves in hell;
How Nimrod first the trade began
Of binding slavery's chain on man;
How fell Semiramis (God damn her!)
Did first with sacrilegious hammer
(All ills till then were trivial matters)
For man dethroned forge 'hen-peck' fetters;
How Xerxes, that abandoned tory,
Thought cutting throats was reaping glory,
Until the stubborn whigs of Sparta
Taught him great Nature's _Magna Charta_;
How mighty Rome her fiat hurled
Resistless o'er a bowing world,
And, kinder than they did desire,
Polished mankind with sword and fire;
With much, too tedious to relate,
Of ancient and of modern date,
But ending still how Billy Pitt,
Unlucky boy! with wicked wit,
Has gagged old Britain, drained her coffer,
As butchers bind and bleed a heifer.

Thus wily Reynard by degrees,
In kennel listening at his ease,
Sucked in a mighty stock of knowledge,
As much as some folk at a College;
Knew Britain's rights and constitution,
Her aggrandisement, diminution;
How fortune wrought us good from evil:
Let no man then despise the Devil,
As who should say 'I ne'er can need him,'-
Since we to scoundrels owe our freedom.





STRAIT is the spot and green the sod,
=From whence my sorrows flow;
And soundly sleeps the ever dear
=Inhabitant below.

Pardon my transport, gentle shade,
=While o'er the turf I bow!
Thy earthly house is circumscrib'd,
=And solitary now.

Not one poor stone to tell thy name,
=Or make thy virtues known:
But what avails to me, to thee,
=The sculpture of a stone?

I'll sit me down upon this turf,
=And wipe away this tear:
The chill blast passes swiftly by,
=And flits around thy bier.

Dark is the dwelling of the Dead,
=And sad their house of rest:
Low lies the head by Death's cold arm
=In awful fold embrac'd.

I saw the grim Avenger stand
=Incessant by thy side;
Unseen by thee, his deadly breath
=Thy lingering frame destroy'd.

Pale grew the roses on thy cheek,
=And wither'd was thy bloom,
Till the slow poison brought thy youth
=Untimely to the tomb.

Thus wasted are the ranks of men,
=Youth, Health, and Beauty fall:
The ruthless ruin spreads around,
=And overwhelms us all.

Behold where round thy narrow house
=The graves unnumber'd lie!
The multitudes that sleep below
=Existed but to die.

Some, with the tottering steps of Age,
=Trod down the darksome way:
And some, in youth's lamented prime,
=Like thee, were torn away.

Yet these, however hard their fate,
=Their native earth receives:
Amid their weeping friends they died,
=And fill their fathers' graves.

From thy lov'd friends when first thy heart
=Was taught by Heaven to flow,
Far, far remov'd, the ruthless stroke
=Surpris'd and laid thee low.

At the last limits of our isle,
=Wash'd by the western wave,
Touch'd by thy fate, a thoughtful bard
=Sits lonely on thy grave.

Pensive he eyes before him spread
=The deep, outstretch'd and vast;
His mourning notes are borne away
=Along the rapid blast.

And while, amid the silent Dead
=Thy hapless fate he mourns,
His own long sorrows freshly bleed,
=And all his grief returns.

Like thee, cut off in early youth
=And flower of beauty's pride,
His friend, his first and only joy,
=His much loved Stella, died.

Him, too, the stern impulse of Fate
=Resistless bears along;
And the same rapid tide shall whelm
=The Poet and the Song.

The tear of pity which he shed,
=He asks not to receive;
Let but his poor remains be laid
=Obscurely in the grays.

His grief-worn heart, with truest joy,
=Shall meet the welcome shock;
His airy harp shall lie unstrung
=And silent on the rock.

O, my dear maid, my Stella, when
=Shall this sick period close,
And leave the solitary bard
=To his beloved repose?



To you, Sir, this summons I've sent,
=Pray whip till the pownie is fraething,
But if you demand what I want,
=I honestly answer you-naething.

Ne'er scorn a poor Poet like me,
=For idly just living and breathing,
While people of every degree
=Are busy employed about-naething.

Poor Centum-per-centum may fast,
=And grumble his hurdies their claithing;
He'll find, when the balance is cast,
=He's gane to the devil for-naething.

The courtier cringes and bows,
=Ambition has likewise its plaything;
A coronet beams on his brows;
=And what is a coronet?-naething.

Some quarrel the Presbyter gown,
=Some quarrel Episcopal graithing,
But every good fellow will own
=Their quarrel is all about-naething.

The lover may sparkle and glow,
=Approaching his bonnie bit gay thing:
But marriage will soon let him know
=He's gotten a buskit up naething.

The Poet may jingle and rhyme
=In hopes of a laureate wreathing,
And when he has wasted his time
=He's kindly rewarded with naething.

The thundering bully may rage,
=And swagger and swear like a heathen;
But collar him fast, I'll engage,
=You'll find that his courage is naething.

Last night with a feminine whig,
=A Poet she couldna put faith in,
But soon we grew lovingly big,
=I taught her her terrors were naething.

Her whigship was wonderful pleased,
=But charmingly tickled with ae thing;
Her fingers I lovingly squeezed,
=And kissed her and promised her-naething.

The priest anathemas may threat,-
=Predicament, Sir, that we're baith in;
But when honour's reveille is beat,
=The holy artillery's naething.

And now, I must mount on the wave,
=My voyage perhaps there is death in:
But what of a watery grave?
=The drowning a Poet is naething.

And now, as grim death's in my thought,
=To you, Sir, I make this bequeathing:
My service as long as ye've aught,
=And my friendship, by God! when ye've naething.


His face with smile eternal drest-
Just like the Landlord's to his Guest,
High where they hang, with creaking din,
To index out a country inn.

A head pure, sinless quite, of brain or soul:
The very image of a barber's poll-
It shows a human face, and wears a wig,
And looks, when well preserved, amazing big.

He looks as sign-board Lions do,
As fierce, and just as harmless too.