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Title: A Lowden Sabbath Morn
Author: Stevenson, Robert Louis, 1850-1894
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  A LOWDEN SABBATH MORN

  BY

  ROBERT
  LOUIS
  STEVENSON

  ILLUSTRATED

  BY

  A. S. BOYD

[Illustration]



  A LOWDEN SABBATH MORN

[Illustration: THE PRAYER        p. 16]



  A LOWDEN
  SABBATH MORN

  BY ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

  ILLUSTRATED BY A. S. BOYD

  & PUBLISHED AT LONDON BY
  CHATTO & WINDUS MCMIX



  First Illustrated Edition published 1898, and a Second Impression in
  the same year.

  New Edition in 1907; and with Coloured Frontispiece in 1909.


  Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co.
  At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh



  TO

  THE MEMORY OF

  ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

  THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED

  BY

  THE ILLUSTRATOR



  A Lowden Sabbath Morn


    I

  The clinkum-clank o' Sabbath bells
  Noo to the hoastin' rookery swells,
  Noo faintin' laigh in shady dells,
          Sounds far an' near,
  An' through the simmer kintry tells
          Its tale o' cheer.


    II

  An' noo, to that melodious play,
  A' deidly awn the quiet sway--
  A' ken their solemn holiday,
          Bestial an' human,
  The singin' lintie on the brae,
          The restin' plou'man.


    III

  He, mair than a' the lave o' men,
  His week completit joys to ken;
  Half-dressed, he daunders out an' in,
          Perplext wi' leisure;
  An' his raxt limbs he'll rax again
          Wi' painfü' pleesure.


      IV

  The steerin' mither strang afit
  Noo shoos the bairnies but a bit;
  Noo cries them ben, their Sinday shüit
          To scart upon them,
  Or sweeties in their pouch to pit,
          Wi' blessin's on them.


    V

  The lasses, clean frae tap to taes,
  Are busked in crunklin' underclaes;
  The gartened hose, the weel-filled stays,
          The nakit shift,
  A' bleached on bonny greens for days
          An' white's the drift.


    VI

  An' noo to face the kirkward mile:
  The guidman's hat o' dacent style,
  The blackit shoon, we noo maun fyle
          As white's the miller:
  A waefü' peety tae, to spile
          The warth o' siller.


    VII

  Our Marg'et, aye sae keen to crack,
  Douce-stappin' in the stoury track,
  Her emeralt goun a' kiltit back
          Frae snawy coats,
  White-ankled, leads the kirkward pack
          Wi' Dauvit Groats.


    VIII

  A thocht ahint, in runkled breeks,
  A' spiled wi' lyin' by for weeks,
  The guidman follows closs, an' cleiks
          The sonsie missis;
  His sarious face at aince bespeaks
          The day that this is.


    IX

  And aye an' while we nearer draw
  To whaur the kirkton lies alaw,
  Mair neebours, comin' saft an' slaw
          Frae here an' there,
  The thicker thrang the gate, an' caw
          The stour in air.


    X

  But hark! the bells frae nearer clang;
  To rowst the slaw, their sides they bang;
  An' see! black coats a'ready thrang
          The green kirkyaird;
  And at the yett, the chestnuts spang
          That brocht the laird.


    XI

  The solemn elders at the plate
  Stand drinkin' deep the pride o' state:
  The practised hands as gash an' great
          As Lords o' Session;
  The later named, a wee thing blate
          In their expression.


    XII

  The prentit stanes that mark the deid,
  Wi' lengthened lip, the sarious read;
  Syne wag a moraleesin' heid,
          An' then an' there
  Their hirplin' practice an' their creed
          Try hard to square.


    XIII

  It's here our Merren lang has lain,
  A wee bewast the table-stane;
  An' yon's the grave o' Sandy Blane;
          An' further ower,
  The mither's brithers, dacent men!
          Lie a' the fower.


    XIV

  Here the guidman sall bide awee
  To dwall amang the deid; to see
  Auld faces clear in fancy's e'e;
          Belike to hear
  Auld voices fa'in saft an' slee
          On fancy's ear.


    XV

  Thus, on the day o' solemn things,
  The bell that in the steeple swings
  To fauld a scaittered faim'ly rings
          Its walcome screed;
  An' just a wee thing nearer brings
          The quick an' deid.


    XVI

  But noo the bell is ringin' in;
  To tak their places, folk begin;
  The minister himsel' will shüne
          Be up the gate,
  Filled fu' wi' clavers about sin
          An' man's estate.


    XVII

  The tünes are up--_French_, to be shüre,
  The faithfü' _French_, an' twa-three mair;
  The auld prezentor, hoastin' sair,
          Wales out the portions,
  An' yirks the tüne into the air
          Wi' queer contortions.


    XVIII

  Follows the prayer, the readin' next,
  An' than the fisslin' for the text--
  The twa-three last to find it, vext
          But kind o' proud;
  An' than the peppermints are raxed,
          An' southernwood.


    XIX

  For noo's the time whan pows are seen
  Nid-noddin' like a mandareen;
  When tenty mithers stap a preen
          In sleepin' weans;
  An' nearly half the parochine
          Forget their pains.


    XX

  There's just a waukrif' twa or three:
  Thrawn commentautors sweer to 'gree,
  Weans glowrin' at the bumlin' bee
          On windie-glasses,
  Or lads that tak a keek a-glee
          At sonsie lasses.


    XXI

  Himsel', meanwhile, frae whaur he cocks
  An' bobs belaw the soundin'-box,
  The treesures of his words unlocks
          Wi' prodigality,
  An' deals some unco dingin' knocks
          To infidality.


    XXII

  Wi' sappy unction, hoo he burkes
  The hopes o' men that trust in works,
  Expounds the fau'ts o' ither kirks,
          An' shaws the best o' them
  No muckle better than mere Turks,
          When a's confessed o' them.


    XXIII

  Bethankit! what a bonny creed!
  What mair would ony Christian need?--
  The braw words rumm'le ower his heid,
          Nor steer the sleeper;
  And in their restin' graves, the deid
          Sleep aye the deeper.



  AUTHOR'S NOTE


It may be guessed by some that I had a certain parish in my eye, and
this makes it proper I should add a word of disclamation. In my time
there have been two ministers in that parish. Of the first I have a
special reason to speak well, even had there been any to think ill. The
second I have often met in private and long (in the due phrase) "sat
under" in his church, and neither here nor there have I heard an unkind
or ugly word upon his lips. The preacher of the text had thus no
original in that particular parish; but when I was a boy he might have
been observed in many others; he was then (like the schoolmaster)
abroad; and by recent advices, it would seem he has not yet entirely
disappeared.



  ILLUSTRATOR'S NOTE


I am not certain of the particular parish Stevenson had in his mind when
he wrote this poem, but I am certain that the description is typical of
almost any Scottish rural parish, Lowden (that is, _Lothian_) or other.
In illustrating the verses it has seemed to me, therefore, unnecessary
to make portraits from any one locality. I fancy the writer looked back
to the period of his boyhood and to the people he knew in more than one
part of his native country, so I have tried to depict that period and
that class of people as I remember them in various counties of his land
and mine.

  A. S. B.

[Illustration]

  _The clinkum-clank o' Sabbath bells
  Noo to the hoastin' rookery swells,
  Noo faintin' laigh in shady dells,
          Sounds far an' near,
  An' through the simmer kintry tells
          Its tale o' cheer._

[Illustration]

  _An' noo, to that melodious play,
  A' deidly awn the quiet sway--
  A' ken their solemn holiday,
          Bestial an' human,
  The singin' lintie on the brae,
          The restin' plou'man._

[Illustration]

  _He, mair than a' the lave o' men,
  His week completit joys to ken;
  Half-dressed, he daunders out an' in,
          Perplext wi' leisure;
  An' his raxt limbs he'll rax again
          Wi' painfü' pleesure._

[Illustration]

  _The steerin' mither strang afit
  Noo shoos the bairnies but a bit;
  Noo cries them ben, their Sinday shüit
          To scart upon them,
  Or sweeties in their pouch to pit,
          Wi' blessin's on them._

[Illustration]

  _The lasses, clean frae tap to taes,
  Are busked in crunklin' underclaes;
  The gartened hose, the weel-filled stays,
          The nakit shift,
  A' bleached on bonny greens for days,
          An' white's the drift._

[Illustration]

  _An' noo to face the kirkward mile:
  The guidman's hat o' dacent style,
  The blackit shoon, we noo maun fyle
          As white's the miller:
  A waefü' peety tae, to spile
          The warth o' siller._

[Illustration]

  _Our Marg'et, aye sae keen to crack,
  Douce-stappin' in the stoury track,
  Her emeralt goun a' kiltit back
          Frae snawy coats,
  White-ankled, leads the kirkward pack
          Wi' Dauvit Groats._

  _A thocht ahint, in runkled breeks,
  A' spiled wi' lyin' by for weeks,
  The guidman follows closs, an' cleiks
          The sonsie missis;
  His sarious face at aince bespeaks
          The day that this is._

[Illustration]

  _And aye an' while we nearer draw
  To whaur the kirkton lies alaw,
  Mair neebours, comin saft an' slaw
          Frae here an' there,
  The thicker thrang the gate, an' caw
          The stour in air._

[Illustration]

  _But hark! the bells frae nearer clang;
  To rowst the slaw, their sides they bang;
  An' see! black coats a'ready thrang
          The green kirkyaird;
  And at the yett, the chestnuts spang
          That brocht the laird._

[Illustration]

  _The solemn elders at the plate
  Stand drinkin' deep the pride o' state:
  The practised hands as gash an' great
          As Lords o' Session;
  The later named, a wee thing blate
          In their expression._

[Illustration]

  _The prentit stanes that mark the deid,
  Wi' lengthened lip, the sarious read;
  Syne wag a moraleesin' heid,
          An' then an' there
  Their hirplin' practice an' their creed
        Try hard to square._

[Illustration]

  _It's here our Merren lang has lain,
  A wee bewast the table-stane;
  An' yon's the grave o' Sandy Blane;
          An' further ower,
  The mither's brithers, dacent men!
          Lie a' the fower._

[Illustration]

  _Here the guidman sall bide awee
  To dwall amang the deid; to see
  Auld faces clear in fancy's e'e;
          Belike to hear
  Auld voices fa'in saft an' slee
          On fancy's ear._

[Illustration]

  _Thus, on the day o' solemn things,
  The bell that in the steeple swings
  To fauld a scaittered faim'ly rings
          Its walcome screed;
  An' just a wee thing nearer brings
          The quick an' deid._

[Illustration]

  _But noo the bell is ringin' in;
  To tak their places, folk begin;_

[Illustration]

  _The minister himsel' will shüne
          Be up the gate,
  Filled fu' wi' clavers about sin
          An' man's estate._

[Illustration]

  _The tünes are up_--French, _to be shüre,
  The faithfü'_ French, _an' twa-three mair;
  The auld prezentor, hoastin' sair,
          Wales out the portions,
  An' yirks the tüne into the air
          Wi' queer contortions._

[Illustration]

  _Follows the prayer, the readin' next,
  An' than the fisslin' for the text--
  The twa-three last to find it, vext
          But kind o' proud;_

[Illustration]

  _An' than the peppermints are raxed,
          An' southernwood._

[Illustration]

  _For noo's the time whan pows are seen
  Nid-noddin' like a mandareen;
  When tenty mithers stap a preen
          In sleepin' weans;
  An' nearly half the parochine
          Forget their pains._

[Illustration]

  _There's just a waukrif' twa or three:
  Thrawn commentautors sweer to 'gree,_

[Illustration]

  _Weans glowrin' at the bumlin' bee
          On windie-glasses,
  Or lads that tak a keek a-glee
          At sonsie lasses._

[Illustration]

  _Himsel', meanwhile, frae whaur he cocks
  An' bobs belaw the soundin'-box,
  The treesures of his words unlocks
          Wi' prodigality,
  An' deals some unco dingin' knocks
          To infidality._

[Illustration]

  _Wi' sappy unction, hoo he burkes
  The hopes o' men that trust in works,
  Expounds the fau'ts o' ither kirks,
          An' shaws the best o' them
  No muckle better than mere Turks,
          When a's confessed o' them._

  _Bethankit! what a bonny creed!
  What mair would ony Christian need?_--

[Illustration]

  _The braw words rumm'le ower his heid,
          Nor steer the sleeper;_

[Illustration]

  _And in their restin' graves, the deid
          Sleep aye the deeper._

[Illustration]



    Works by Robert Louis Stevenson

  AN INLAND VOYAGE.
  EDINBURGH: PICTURESQUE NOTES.
  TRAVELS WITH A DONKEY.
  VIRGINIBUS PUERISQUE.
  FAMILIAR STUDIES OF MEN AND BOOKS.
  NEW ARABIAN NIGHTS.
  TREASURE ISLAND.
  THE SILVERADO SQUATTERS.
  A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES.
  PRINCE OTTO.
  THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE.
  KIDNAPPED.
  THE MERRY MEN.
  UNDERWOODS.
  MEMORIES AND PORTRAITS.
  THE BLACK ARROW.
  THE MASTER OF BALLANTRAE.
  FATHER DAMIEN: AN OPEN LETTER.
  BALLADS.
  ACROSS THE PLAINS.
  ISLAND NIGHTS ENTERTAINMENTS.
  A FOOTNOTE TO HISTORY.
  CATRIONA.
  WEIR OF HERMISTON.
  VAILIMA LETTERS.
  FABLES.
  SONGS OF TRAVEL.
  ST. IVES.
  IN THE SOUTH SEAS.
  ESSAYS OF TRAVEL.
  TALES AND FANTASIES.
  THE ART OF WRITING.
  PRAYERS WRITTEN AT VAILIMA.
  A CHRISTMAS SERMON.


    with Mrs. Stevenson

  THE DYNAMITER.


    with Lloyd Osbourne

  THE WRONG BOX.      THE WRECKER.      THE EBB-TIDE.





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