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BURNS,

THE
COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT.

TO R. A----, ESQ.
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,

Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile,

The short and simple annals of the Poor. Gray, M y lov’d, my honourd, much-respected Friend!

No mercenary Bard his homage pays; With honest pride, I scorn each selbith end,

My dearest meed, a friend's esteem and praise: To you I fing, in siinple Scottish lays,

The lowly train in life's fequefter'd scene, The native feelings strong, the guileless ways,

What A---- in a cottage would have been ; Ah! tho' his worth unknown, far happier there, I xseen! November chilli blaws loud wi' angry fugh ;

The thortning winter-day is near a close; The miry beafts retreating frae lhe pleugh;

The black’ning trains o' craws to their repose: The toil-worn Cotter frae his labor goes,

This night his weekly moil is at an end, Collects his fpades, his mattocks, and his hoes,

Hoping the morn in eafe and rest to spend, [bend, And weary, o'er the moor, bis course does hameward At length his lonely cot appears in view,

Beneath the shelter of a lonely tree;

Th’expectant wee-things, toddlin, stacher through

To meet their Dad, wi’ Aichterip noise and glee, His wee-bit ingle blinkin bonilie,

His clean hearth-fane, his thrifty Wifie's smile, The lisping infânt, prattling on his knee,

Does a' his weary kiaugh and care beguile, And makes him quite forget his labur and his toile Belyve, the elder bairns come drappin in,

At service out amang the farmers roun'; Some ca’ the pleugh, fome herd, some tentie rin

A cannie errand to a neebor town : Their eldeft hope, their Jenny, woman grown, .'

In youthfu' bloom, love fparklin in her e'e, Comes hame, perhaps, to fhew a braw new gown,

Or deposite her fair-won penny-fee,
To help her Parents dear, if they in hardship be.
With joy unfeign'd, brothers and sisters meet,

And each for other's weelfare kindly spiers:
The focial hours swift-wing'd, unnotic'd feet; -

Each tells the uncos that he fees or hears. The Parents, partial, eve their hopeful years;

Anticipation forward points the view ; The Mother, wi' her needle and her theers,

Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new ; The Father mixes a' wi' admonition due... Their Master's and their Miftress's comunand,

The youngkers a’ are warned to obey; And mind their labors wi' an eydent hand,

And ne'er, tho' out o'sglit, to jauk or play ; " And 0, be sure to fear the Lord alway!

" And mind your duty, duely, morn and niglit! “ Left in temptation's path ye gang aftray,

« Implore his counsel and affitting migh : 6They never fought in vain that sought the Lord

“aright.”

But hark! a rap comes gently to the door,

Jenny, wha kens the meaning of the fame, Tells how a ncebor lad came o'er the moor,

To do some errands, and convoy her hame. The wily Mother sees the conscious flame

Sparkle in Jenay's e'e, and futh her check, With heart-fruck, anxious care, enquires his name,

While Jenny baffins is afraid to speak; Weel pleas'd the Mother hears, it's nae wild worthless

rake,

With kindly welcome, Jenny brings him ben ;

A ftrappan youth ; he takes the Mother's eye; Blythe Jenny sees the visits no ill ta'en ;

The Father cracks o’horses, pleughs, and kye. The youngster's artless heart o’erflows wi' joy,

But blate, an' laithfu' scarce can weel behave; The Mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy

What makes the youth sae bashfu’and fae grave; Weel pleas'd to think her bairn's respected like the

lave.

O happy love! where love like this is found !

O heart - felt raptures! bliss beyond compare I've paced much this weary, mortal round,

And sage Experience bids me this declare-“ If Heaven a draught of heavenly pleasure (pare,

“ One cordial in this melancholy vale,

*t 'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair,

" In other's arms, breathe out the tender tale, 5 Beneath the milk-wbite thorn that scents the ev'ning

“gale.” Is there, in huinan form, that bears a heart, .

A wretch! a villain! loft to love and truth! That can, with studied, ny, ensnaring art,

Betray Iweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth? Curse on his perjur'd airts, diffembling simoo:h!

A re honour, virtue, conscience, all exild? Is there no pity, no relenting ruth, !

Points to the parents fondling o'er their child ? : Then paints the ruin'd maid, and their distraction

wild?

But now the supper crowns their simple board,

The healsome porritch, chief of Scotia's food : The soupe their only hawkie does afford,

That 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood : The Dame-brings forth, in complimental inood,

To grace the lad, her weel-hain'd kebbuck, fell, And aft he's prest, and aft he ca's it guid ;

The frugal Wifie, garrulous, will tell, How 'twas a tow mond auld fin' Lint was i' the bell,

The chearfu' fupper done, wi’ serious face,

They, round the ingle, form a circle wide; The Sire turns o'er, with patriarchal grace,

The big ha' Bible, ance his father's pride : His bonnet rev'rently is laid aside,

His lyart haffets wearing thin and bare ; These strains that once did tweet in Zion glide,

He wales a portion with judicious care; " And let us worship God!” he says, with folemn air.

They chaunt their artless notes in fimple guise ;

They tune their hearts, by far the nobleft aim : Perhaps Dundee's wild warbling measures rise,

Or plaintive Martyr's, worthy of the name ; Or noble Elgin beets the heaven-ward flame,

The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays : Compar'd with these, Italian trills are tame;

The tickled ears no heart-felt raptures raise ; Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise.

The priest-like Father reads the facred page,

How Abram was the friend of God on high ; Or, Moses bade eternal warfare wage

With Amalek's ungracious progeny i Or how the royal Bard did groaning lye,

Beneath the stroke of Heaven's avenging ire;
Or Job's pathetic plaint, and wailing cry;

Or rapt Isaiah's wild seraphic fire;
Or other holy Seers that tune the sacred lyre.

Perhaps the Christian Volume is the theme,

How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed ; How Hc, who bore in heaven the second name,

Had not on earth whereon to lay His head : How His first followers and servants (ped ;

The precepts fage they wrote to many a land : How he, who lone in Patmos banished,

Saw in the son a mighty Angel ftand, And heard great Bab'lon's doom pronounc'd by Hea

ven's command,

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