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Title: Underwoods
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Underwoods" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Transcribed from the 1989 Chatto & Windus edition by David Price, email


                          ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

                      [Picture: Decorative graphic]

                              NINTH EDITION

                                * * * * *

                             CHATTO & WINDUS

                                * * * * *

   _Of all my verse_, _like not a single line_;
   _But like my title_, _for it is not mine_.
   _That title from a better man I stole_:
   _Ah_, _how much better_, _had I stol’n the whole_!


THERE are men and classes of men that stand above the common herd: the
soldier, the sailor and the shepherd not unfrequently; the artist rarely;
rarely still, the clergyman; the physician almost as a rule.  He is the
flower (such as it is) of our civilisation; and when that stage of man is
done with, and only remembered to be marvelled at in history, he will be
thought to have shared as little as any in the defects of the period, and
most notably exhibited the virtues of the race.  Generosity he has, such
as is possible to those who practise an art, never to those who drive a
trade; discretion, tested by a hundred secrets; tact, tried in a thousand
embarrassments; and what are more important, Heraclean cheerfulness and
courage.  So it is that he brings air and cheer into the sickroom, and
often enough, though not so often as he wishes, brings healing.

Gratitude is but a lame sentiment; thanks, when they are expressed, are
often more embarrassing than welcome; and yet I must set forth mine to a
few out of many doctors who have brought me comfort and help: to Dr.
Willey of San Francisco, whose kindness to a stranger it must be as
grateful to him, as it is touching to me, to remember; to Dr. Karl Ruedi
of Davos, the good genius of the English in his frosty mountains; to Dr.
Herbert of Paris, whom I knew only for a week, and to Dr. Caissot of
Montpellier, whom I knew only for ten days, and who have yet written
their names deeply in my memory; to Dr. Brandt of Royat; to Dr. Wakefield
of Nice; to Dr. Chepmell, whose visits make it a pleasure to be ill; to
Dr. Horace Dobell, so wise in counsel; to Sir Andrew Clark, so unwearied
in kindness and to that wise youth, my uncle, Dr. Balfour.

I forget as many as I remember; and I ask both to pardon me, these for
silence, those for inadequate speech.  But one name I have kept on
purpose to the last, because it is a household word with me, and because
if I had not received favours from so many hands and in so many quarters
of the world, it should have stood upon this page alone: that of my
friend Thomas Bodley Scott of Bournemouth.  Will he accept this, although
shared among so many, for a dedication to himself? and when next my
ill-fortune (which has thus its pleasant side) brings him hurrying to me
when he would fain sit down to meat or lie down to rest, will he care to
remember that he takes this trouble for one who is not fool enough to be

                                                                  R. L. S.



THE human conscience has fled of late the troublesome domain of conduct
for what I should have supposed to be the less congenial field of art:
there she may now be said to rage, and with special severity in all that
touches dialect; so that in every novel the letters of the alphabet are
tortured, and the reader wearied, to commemorate shades of
mis-pronunciation.  Now spelling is an art of great difficulty in my
eyes, and I am inclined to lean upon the printer, even in common
practice, rather than to venture abroad upon new quests.  And the Scots
tongue has an orthography of its own, lacking neither “authority nor
author.”  Yet the temptation is great to lend a little guidance to the
bewildered Englishman.  Some simple phonetic artifice might defend your
verses from barbarous mishandling, and yet not injure any vested
interest.  So it seems at first; but there are rocks ahead.  Thus, if I
wish the diphthong _ou_ to have its proper value, I may write _oor_
instead of _our_; many have done so and lived, and the pillars of the
universe remained unshaken.  But if I did so, and came presently to
_doun_, which is the classical Scots spelling of the English _down_, I
should begin to feel uneasy; and if I went on a little farther, and came
to a classical Scots word, like _stour_ or _dour_ or _clour_, I should
know precisely where I was—that is to say, that I was out of sight of
land on those high seas of spelling reform in which so many strong
swimmers have toiled vainly.  To some the situation is exhilarating; as
for me, I give one bubbling cry and sink.  The compromise at which I have
arrived is indefensible, and I have no thought of trying to defend it.
As I have stuck for the most part to the proper spelling, I append a
table of some common vowel sounds which no one need consult; and just to
prove that I belong to my age and have in me the stuff of a reformer, I
have used modification marks throughout.  Thus I can tell myself, not
without pride, that I have added a fresh stumbling-block for English
readers, and to a page of print in my native tongue, have lent a new
uncouthness.  _Sed non nobis_.

I note again, that among our new dialecticians, the local habitat of
every dialect is given to the square mile.  I could not emulate this
nicety if I desired; for I simply wrote my Scots as well as I was able,
not caring if it hailed from Lauderdale or Angus, from the Mearns or
Galloway; if I had ever heard a good word, I used it without shame; and
when Scots was lacking, or the rhyme jibbed, I was glad (like my betters)
to fall back on English.  For all that, I own to a friendly feeling for
the tongue of Fergusson and of Sir Walter, both Edinburgh men; and I
confess that Burns has always sounded in my ear like something partly
foreign.  And indeed I am from the Lothians myself; it is there I heard
the language spoken about my childhood; and it is in the drawling Lothian
voice that I repeat it to myself.  Let the precisians call my speech that
of the Lothians.  And if it be not pure, alas! what matters it?  The day
draws near when this illustrious and malleable tongue shall be quite
forgotten; and Burn’s Ayrshire, and Dr. Macdonald’s Aberdeen-awa’, and
Scott’s brave, metropolitan utterance will be all equally the ghosts of
speech.  Till then I would love to have my hour as a native Maker, and be
read by my own countryfolk in our own dying language: an ambition surely
rather of the heart than of the head, so restricted as it is in prospect
of endurance, so parochial in bounds of space.


                           BOOK I.—_In English_
           I.  ENVOY—Go, little book                                 1
          II.  A SONG OF THE ROAD—The gauger walked                  2
         III.  THE CANOE SPEAKS—On the great streams                 4
          IV.  It is the season                                      7
           V.  THE HOUSE BEAUTIFUL—A naked house, a naked            9
          VI.  A VISIT FROM THE SEA—Far from the loud sea           12
         VII.  TO A GARDENER—Friend, in my mountain-side            14
        VIII.  TO MINNIE—A picture frame for you to fill            16
          IX.  TO K. DE M.—A lover of the moorland bare             17
           X.  TO N. V. DE G. S.—The unfathomable sea               19
          XI.  TO WILL. H. LOW—Youth now flees                      21
         XII.  TO MRS. WILL. H. LOW—Even in the bluest              24
               noonday of July
        XIII.  TO H. F. BROWN—I sit and wait                        26
         XIV.  TO ANDREW LANG—Dear Andrew                           29
          XV.  ET TU IN ARCADIA VIXISTI—In ancient tales,           31
               O friend
         XVI.  TO W. E. HENLEY—The year runs through her            36
        XVII.  HENRY JAMES—Who comes to-night                       38
       XVIII.  THE MIRROR SPEAKS—Where the bells                    39
         XIX.  KATHARINE—We see you as we see a face                41
          XX.  TO F. J. S.—I read, dear friend                      42
         XXI.  REQUIEM—Under the wide and starry sky                43
        XXII.  THE CELESTIAL SURGEON—If I have faltered             44
       XXIII.  OUR LADY OF THE SNOWS—Out of the sun                 45
        XXIV.  Not yet, my soul                                     50
         XXV.  It is not yours, O mother, to complain               53
        XXVI.  THE SICK CHILD—O mother, lay your hand on            56
               my brow
       XXVII.  IN MEMORIAM F. A. S.—Yet, O stricken heart           58
      XXVIII.  TO MY FATHER—Peace and her huge invasion             60
        XXIX.  IN THE STATES—With half a heart                      62
         XXX.  A PORTRAIT—I am a kind of farthing dip               63
        XXXI.  Sing clearlier, Muse                                 65
       XXXII.  A CAMP—The bed was made                              66
      XXXIII.  THE COUNTRY OF THE CAMISARDS—We travelled            67
               in the print of olden wars
       XXXIV.  SKERRYVORE—For love of lovely words                  68
        XXXV.  SKERRYVORE: THE PARALLEL—Here all is sunny           69
       XXXVI.  My house, I say                                      70
      XXXVII.  My body which my dungeon is                          71
     XXXVIII.  Say not of me that weakly I declined                 73
                         BOOK II.—_In Scots_
           I.  THE MAKER TO POSTERITY—Far ’yont amang the           77
               years to be
          II.  ILLE TERRARUM—Frae nirly, nippin’, Eas’lan’          80
         III.  When aince Aprile has fairly come                    85
          IV.  A MILE AN’ A BITTOCK                                 87
           V.  A LOWDEN SABBATH MORN—The clinkum-clank o’           89
               Sabbath bells
          VI.  THE SPAEWIFE—O, I wad like to ken                    98
         VII.  THE BLAST—1875—It’s rainin’.  Weet’s the            100
               gairden sod
        VIII.  THE COUNTERBLAST—1886—My bonny man, the             103
               warld, it’s true
          IX.  THE COUNTERBLAST IRONICAL—It’s strange that         108
               God should fash to frame
               CLUB—Dear Thamson class, whaure’er I gang
          XI.  EMBRO HIE KIRK—The Lord Himsel’ in former           114
         XII.  THE SCOTSMAN’S RETURN FROM ABROAD—In mony a         118
               foreign pairt I’ve been
        XIII.  Late in the nicht                                   125
         XIV.  MY CONSCIENCE!—Of a’ the ills that flesh            130
               can fear
          XV.  TO DOCTOR JOHN BROWN—By Lyne and Tyne, by           133
               Thames and Tees
         XVI.  It’s an owercome sooth for age an’ youth            138

BOOK I.—_In English_


   GO, little book, and wish to all
   Flowers in the garden, meat in the hall,
   A bin of wine, a spice of wit,
   A house with lawns enclosing it,
   A living river by the door,
   A nightingale in the sycamore!


   THE gauger walked with willing foot,
   And aye the gauger played the flute;
   And what should Master Gauger play
   But _Over the hills and far away_?

   Whene’er I buckle on my pack
   And foot it gaily in the track,
   O pleasant gauger, long since dead,
   I hear you fluting on ahead.

   You go with me the self-same way—
   The self-same air for me you play;
   For I do think and so do you
   It is the tune to travel to.

   For who would gravely set his face
   To go to this or t’other place?
   There’s nothing under Heav’n so blue
   That’s fairly worth the travelling to.

   On every hand the roads begin,
   And people walk with zeal therein;
   But wheresoe’er the highways tend,
   Be sure there’s nothing at the end.

   Then follow you, wherever hie
   The travelling mountains of the sky.
   Or let the streams in civil mode
   Direct your choice upon a road;

   For one and all, or high or low,
   Will lead you where you wish to go;
   And one and all go night and day
   _Over the hills and far away_!

_Forest of Montargis_, 1878.


   ON the great streams the ships may go
   About men’s business to and fro.
   But I, the egg-shell pinnace, sleep
   On crystal waters ankle-deep:
   I, whose diminutive design,
   Of sweeter cedar, pithier pine,
   Is fashioned on so frail a mould,
   A hand may launch, a hand withhold:
   I, rather, with the leaping trout
   Wind, among lilies, in and out;
   I, the unnamed, inviolate,
   Green, rustic rivers, navigate;
   My dipping paddle scarcely shakes
   The berry in the bramble-brakes;
   Still forth on my green way I wend
   Beside the cottage garden-end;
   And by the nested angler fare,
   And take the lovers unaware.
   By willow wood and water-wheel
   Speedily fleets my touching keel;
   By all retired and shady spots
   Where prosper dim forget-me-nots;
   By meadows where at afternoon
   The growing maidens troop in June
   To loose their girdles on the grass.
   Ah! speedier than before the glass
   The backward toilet goes; and swift
   As swallows quiver, robe and shift
   And the rough country stockings lie
   Around each young divinity.
   When, following the recondite brook,
   Sudden upon this scene I look,
   And light with unfamiliar face
   On chaste Diana’s bathing-place,
   Loud ring the hills about and all
   The shallows are abandoned. . . .


   IT is the season now to go
   About the country high and low,
   Among the lilacs hand in hand,
   And two by two in fairy land.

   The brooding boy, the sighing maid,
   Wholly fain and half afraid,
   Now meet along the hazel’d brook
   To pass and linger, pause and look.

   A year ago, and blithely paired,
   Their rough-and-tumble play they shared;
   They kissed and quarrelled, laughed and cried,
   A year ago at Eastertide.

   With bursting heart, with fiery face,
   She strove against him in the race;
   He unabashed her garter saw,
   That now would touch her skirts with awe.

   Now by the stile ablaze she stops,
   And his demurer eyes he drops;
   Now they exchange averted sighs
   Or stand and marry silent eyes.

   And he to her a hero is
   And sweeter she than primroses;
   Their common silence dearer far
   Than nightingale and mavis are.

   Now when they sever wedded hands,
   Joy trembles in their bosom-strands
   And lovely laughter leaps and falls
   Upon their lips in madrigals.


   _A naked house_, _a naked moor_,
   _A shivering pool before the door_,
   _A garden bare of flowers and fruit_
   _And poplars at the garden foot_:
   _Such is the place that I live in_,
   _Bleak without and bare within_.

   Yet shall your ragged moor receive
   The incomparable pomp of eve,
   And the cold glories of the dawn
   Behind your shivering trees be drawn;
   And when the wind from place to place
   Doth the unmoored cloud-galleons chase,
   Your garden gloom and gleam again,
   With leaping sun, with glancing rain.
   Here shall the wizard moon ascend
   The heavens, in the crimson end
   Of day’s declining splendour; here
   The army of the stars appear.
   The neighbour hollows dry or wet,
   Spring shall with tender flowers beset;
   And oft the morning muser see
   Larks rising from the broomy lea,
   And every fairy wheel and thread
   Of cobweb dew-bediamonded.
   When daisies go, shall winter time
   Silver the simple grass with rime;
   Autumnal frosts enchant the pool
   And make the cart-ruts beautiful;
   And when snow-bright the moor expands,
   How shall your children clap their hands!
   To make this earth our hermitage,
   A cheerful and a changeful page,
   God’s bright and intricate device
   Of days and seasons doth suffice.


   FAR from the loud sea beaches
      Where he goes fishing and crying,
   Here in the inland garden
      Why is the sea-gull flying?

   Here are no fish to dive for;
      Here is the corn and lea;
   Here are the green trees rustling.
      Hie away home to sea!

   Fresh is the river water
      And quiet among the rushes;
   This is no home for the sea-gull
      But for the rooks and thrushes.

   Pity the bird that has wandered!
      Pity the sailor ashore!
   Hurry him home to the ocean,
      Let him come here no more!

   High on the sea-cliff ledges
      The white gulls are trooping and crying,
   Here among the rooks and roses,
      Why is the sea-gull flying?


   FRIEND, in my mountain-side demesne
   My plain-beholding, rosy, green
   And linnet-haunted garden-ground,
   Let still the esculents abound.
   Let first the onion flourish there,
   Rose among roots, the maiden-fair,
   Wine-scented and poetic soul
   Of the capacious salad bowl.
   Let thyme the mountaineer (to dress
   The tinier birds) and wading cress,
   The lover of the shallow brook,
   From all my plots and borders look.

   Nor crisp and ruddy radish, nor
   Pease-cods for the child’s pinafore
   Be lacking; nor of salad clan
   The last and least that ever ran
   About great nature’s garden-beds.
   Nor thence be missed the speary heads
   Of artichoke; nor thence the bean
   That gathered innocent and green
   Outsavours the belauded pea.

   These tend, I prithee; and for me,
   Thy most long-suffering master, bring
   In April, when the linnets sing
   And the days lengthen more and more
   At sundown to the garden door.
   And I, being provided thus.
   Shall, with superb asparagus,
   A book, a taper, and a cup
   Of country wine, divinely sup.

_La Solitude_, _Hyères_.


                           (With a hand-glass)

   A PICTURE-FRAME for you to fill,
      A paltry setting for your face,
   A thing that has no worth until
      You lend it something of your grace

   I send (unhappy I that sing
      Laid by awhile upon the shelf)
   Because I would not send a thing
      Less charming than you are yourself.

   And happier than I, alas!
      (Dumb thing, I envy its delight)
   ’Twill wish you well, the looking-glass,
      And look you in the face to-night.



   A LOVER of the moorland bare
   And honest country winds, you were;
   The silver-skimming rain you took;
   And loved the floodings of the brook,
   Dew, frost and mountains, fire and seas,
   Tumultuary silences,
   Winds that in darkness fifed a tune,
   And the high-riding, virgin moon.

   And as the berry, pale and sharp,
   Springs on some ditch’s counterscarp
   In our ungenial, native north—
   You put your frosted wildings forth,
   And on the heath, afar from man,
   A strong and bitter virgin ran.

   The berry ripened keeps the rude
   And racy flavour of the wood.
   And you that loved the empty plain
   All redolent of wind and rain,
   Around you still the curlew sings—
   The freshness of the weather clings—
   The maiden jewels of the rain
   Sit in your dabbled locks again.

X—TO N. V. DE G. S.

   THE unfathomable sea, and time, and tears,
   The deeds of heroes and the crimes of kings
   Dispart us; and the river of events
   Has, for an age of years, to east and west
   More widely borne our cradles.  Thou to me
   Art foreign, as when seamen at the dawn
   Descry a land far off and know not which.
   So I approach uncertain; so I cruise
   Round thy mysterious islet, and behold
   Surf and great mountains and loud river-bars,
   And from the shore hear inland voices call.

   Strange is the seaman’s heart; he hopes, he fears;
   Draws closer and sweeps wider from that coast;
   Last, his rent sail refits, and to the deep
   His shattered prow uncomforted puts back.
   Yet as he goes he ponders at the helm
   Of that bright island; where he feared to touch,
   His spirit readventures; and for years,
   Where by his wife he slumbers safe at home,
   Thoughts of that land revisit him; he sees
   The eternal mountains beckon, and awakes
   Yearning for that far home that might have been.


   YOUTH now flees on feathered foot
   Faint and fainter sounds the flute,
   Rarer songs of gods; and still
   Somewhere on the sunny hill,
   Or along the winding stream,
   Through the willows, flits a dream;
   Flits but shows a smiling face,
   Flees but with so quaint a grace,
   None can choose to stay at home,
   All must follow, all must roam.

   This is unborn beauty: she
   Now in air floats high and free,
   Takes the sun and breaks the blue;—
   Late with stooping pinion flew
   Raking hedgerow trees, and wet
   Her wing in silver streams, and set
   Shining foot on temple roof:
   Now again she flies aloof,
   Coasting mountain clouds and kiss’t
   By the evening’s amethyst.

   In wet wood and miry lane,
   Still we pant and pound in vain;
   Still with leaden foot we chase
   Waning pinion, fainting face;
   Still with gray hair we stumble on,
   Till, behold, the vision gone!

   Where hath fleeting beauty led?
   To the doorway of the dead.
   Life is over, life was gay:
   We have come the primrose way.


   EVEN in the bluest noonday of July,
   There could not run the smallest breath of wind
   But all the quarter sounded like a wood;
   And in the chequered silence and above
   The hum of city cabs that sought the Bois,
   Suburban ashes shivered into song.
   A patter and a chatter and a chirp
   And a long dying hiss—it was as though
   Starched old brocaded dames through all the house
   Had trailed a strident skirt, or the whole sky
   Even in a wink had over-brimmed in rain.

   Hark, in these shady parlours, how it talks
   Of the near Autumn, how the smitten ash
   Trembles and augurs floods!  O not too long
   In these inconstant latitudes delay,
   O not too late from the unbeloved north
   Trim your escape!  For soon shall this low roof
   Resound indeed with rain, soon shall your eyes
   Search the foul garden, search the darkened rooms,
   Nor find one jewel but the blazing log.

12 _Rue Vernier_, _Paris_.


                  (Written during a dangerous sickness.)

   I SIT and wait a pair of oars
   On cis-Elysian river-shores.
   Where the immortal dead have sate,
   ’Tis mine to sit and meditate;
   To re-ascend life’s rivulet,
   Without remorse, without regret;
   And sing my _Alma Genetrix_
   Among the willows of the Styx.

   And lo, as my serener soul
   Did these unhappy shores patrol,
   And wait with an attentive ear
   The coming of the gondolier,
   Your fire-surviving roll I took,
   Your spirited and happy book; {27}
   Whereon, despite my frowning fate,
   It did my soul so recreate
   That all my fancies fled away
   On a Venetian holiday.

   Now, thanks to your triumphant care,
   Your pages clear as April air,
   The sails, the bells, the birds, I know,
   And the far-off Friulan snow;
   The land and sea, the sun and shade,
   And the blue even lamp-inlaid.
   For this, for these, for all, O friend,
   For your whole book from end to end—
   For Paron Piero’s muttonham—
   I your defaulting debtor am.

   Perchance, reviving, yet may I
   To your sea-paven city hie,
   And in a _felze_, some day yet
   Light at your pipe my cigarette.


   DEAR Andrew, with the brindled hair,
   Who glory to have thrown in air,
   High over arm, the trembling reed,
   By Ale and Kail, by Till and Tweed:
   An equal craft of hand you show
   The pen to guide, the fly to throw:
   I count you happy starred; for God,
   When He with inkpot and with rod
   Endowed you, bade your fortune lead
   Forever by the crooks of Tweed,
   Forever by the woods of song
   And lands that to the Muse belong;
   Or if in peopled streets, or in
   The abhorred pedantic sanhedrim,
   It should be yours to wander, still
   Airs of the morn, airs of the hill,
   The plovery Forest and the seas
   That break about the Hebrides,
   Should follow over field and plain
   And find you at the window pane;
   And you again see hill and peel,
   And the bright springs gush at your heel.
   So went the fiat forth, and so
   Garrulous like a brook you go,
   With sound of happy mirth and sheen
   Of daylight—whether by the green
   You fare that moment, or the gray;
   Whether you dwell in March or May;
   Or whether treat of reels and rods
   Or of the old unhappy gods:
   Still like a brook your page has shone,
   And your ink sings of Helicon.


                             (TO R. A. M. S.)

   IN ancient tales, O friend, thy spirit dwelt;
   There, from of old, thy childhood passed; and there
   High expectation, high delights and deeds,
   Thy fluttering heart with hope and terror moved.
   And thou hast heard of yore the Blatant Beast,
   And Roland’s horn, and that war-scattering shout
   Of all-unarmed Achilles, ægis-crowned
   And perilous lands thou sawest, sounding shores
   And seas and forests drear, island and dale
   And mountain dark.  For thou with Tristram rod’st
   Or Bedevere, in farthest Lyonesse.

   Thou hadst a booth in Samarcand, whereat
   Side-looking Magians trafficked; thence, by night,
   An Afreet snatched thee, and with wings upbore
   Beyond the Aral mount; or, hoping gain,
   Thou, with a jar of money, didst embark,
   For Balsorah, by sea.  But chiefly thou
   In that clear air took’st life; in Arcady
   The haunted, land of song; and by the wells
   Where most the gods frequent.  There Chiron old,
   In the Pelethronian antre, taught thee lore:
   The plants, he taught, and by the shining stars
   In forests dim to steer.  There hast thou seen
   Immortal Pan dance secret in a glade,
   And, dancing, roll his eyes; these, where they fell,
   Shed glee, and through the congregated oaks
   A flying horror winged; while all the earth
   To the god’s pregnant footing thrilled within.
   Or whiles, beside the sobbing stream, he breathed,
   In his clutched pipe unformed and wizard strains
   Divine yet brutal; which the forest heard,
   And thou, with awe; and far upon the plain
   The unthinking ploughman started and gave ear.

   Now things there are that, upon him who sees,
   A strong vocation lay; and strains there are
   That whoso hears shall hear for evermore.
   For evermore thou hear’st immortal Pan
   And those melodious godheads, ever young
   And ever quiring, on the mountains old.

   What was this earth, child of the gods, to thee?
   Forth from thy dreamland thou, a dreamer, cam’st
   And in thine ears the olden music rang,
   And in thy mind the doings of the dead,
   And those heroic ages long forgot.
   To a so fallen earth, alas! too late,
   Alas! in evil days, thy steps return,
   To list at noon for nightingales, to grow
   A dweller on the beach till Argo come
   That came long since, a lingerer by the pool
   Where that desirèd angel bathes no more.

   As when the Indian to Dakota comes,
   Or farthest Idaho, and where he dwelt,
   He with his clan, a humming city finds;
   Thereon awhile, amazed, he stares, and then
   To right and leftward, like a questing dog,
   Seeks first the ancestral altars, then the hearth
   Long cold with rains, and where old terror lodged,
   And where the dead.  So thee undying Hope,
   With all her pack, hunts screaming through the years:
   Here, there, thou fleeëst; but nor here nor there
   The pleasant gods abide, the glory dwells.

   That, that was not Apollo, not the god.
   This was not Venus, though she Venus seemed
   A moment.  And though fair yon river move,
   She, all the way, from disenchanted fount
   To seas unhallowed runs; the gods forsook
   Long since her trembling rushes; from her plains
   Disconsolate, long since adventure fled;
   And now although the inviting river flows,
   And every poplared cape, and every bend
   Or willowy islet, win upon thy soul
   And to thy hopeful shallop whisper speed;
   Yet hope not thou at all; hope is no more;
   And O, long since the golden groves are dead
   The faery cities vanished from the land!


   THE year runs through her phases; rain and sun,
   Springtime and summer pass; winter succeeds;
   But one pale season rules the house of death.
   Cold falls the imprisoned daylight; fell disease
   By each lean pallet squats, and pain and sleep
   Toss gaping on the pillows.
               But O thou!
   Uprise and take thy pipe.  Bid music flow,
   Strains by good thoughts attended, like the spring
   The swallows follow over land and sea.
   Pain sleeps at once; at once, with open eyes,
   Dozing despair awakes.  The shepherd sees
   His flock come bleating home; the seaman hears
   Once more the cordage rattle.  Airs of home!
   Youth, love and roses blossom; the gaunt ward
   Dislimns and disappears, and, opening out,
   Shows brooks and forests, and the blue beyond
   Of mountains.
               Small the pipe; but oh! do thou,
   Peak-faced and suffering piper, blow therein
   The dirge of heroes dead; and to these sick,
   These dying, sound the triumph over death.
   Behold! each greatly breathes; each tastes a joy
   Unknown before, in dying; for each knows
   A hero dies with him—though unfulfilled,
   Yet conquering truly—and not dies in vain

   So is pain cheered, death comforted; the house
   Of sorrow smiles to listen.  Once again—
   O thou, Orpheus and Heracles, the bard
   And the deliverer, touch the stops again!


   WHO comes to-night?  We ope the doors in vain.
   Who comes?  My bursting walls, can you contain
   The presences that now together throng
   Your narrow entry, as with flowers and song,
   As with the air of life, the breath of talk?
   Lo, how these fair immaculate women walk
   Behind their jocund maker; and we see
   Slighted _De Mauves_, and that far different she,
   _Gressie_, the trivial sphynx; and to our feast
   _Daisy_ and _Barb_ and _Chancellor_ (she not least!)
   With all their silken, all their airy kin,
   Do like unbidden angels enter in.
   But he, attended by these shining names,
   Comes (best of all) himself—our welcome James.


   WHERE the bells peal far at sea
   Cunning fingers fashioned me.
   There on palace walls I hung
   While that Consuelo sung;
   But I heard, though I listened well,
   Never a note, never a trill,
   Never a beat of the chiming bell.
   There I hung and looked, and there
   In my gray face, faces fair
   Shone from under shining hair.
   Well I saw the poising head,
   But the lips moved and nothing said;
   And when lights were in the hall,
   Silent moved the dancers all.

   So awhile I glowed, and then
   Fell on dusty days and men;
   Long I slumbered packed in straw,
   Long I none but dealers saw;
   Till before my silent eye
   One that sees came passing by.

   Now with an outlandish grace,
   To the sparkling fire I face
   In the blue room at Skerryvore;
   Where I wait until the door
   Open, and the Prince of Men,
   Henry James, shall come again.


   WE see you as we see a face
   That trembles in a forest place
   Upon the mirror of a pool
   Forever quiet, clear and cool;
   And in the wayward glass, appears
   To hover between smiles and tears,
   Elfin and human, airy and true,
   And backed by the reflected blue.

XX—TO F. J. S.

   I READ, dear friend, in your dear face
   Your life’s tale told with perfect grace;
   The river of your life, I trace
   Up the sun-chequered, devious bed
   To the far-distant fountain-head.

   Not one quick beat of your warm heart,
   Nor thought that came to you apart,
   Pleasure nor pity, love nor pain
   Nor sorrow, has gone by in vain;

   But as some lone, wood-wandering child
   Brings home with him at evening mild
   The thorns and flowers of all the wild,
   From your whole life, O fair and true
   Your flowers and thorns you bring with you!


   UNDER the wide and starry sky,
   Dig the grave and let me lie.
   Glad did I live and gladly die,
      And I laid me down with a will.

   This be the verse you grave for me:
   _Here he lies where he longed to be_;
   _Home is the sailor_, _home from sea_,
      _And the hunter home from the hill_.


   IF I have faltered more or less
   In my great task of happiness;
   If I have moved among my race
   And shown no glorious morning face;
   If beams from happy human eyes
   Have moved me not; if morning skies,
   Books, and my food, and summer rain
   Knocked on my sullen heart in vain:—
   Lord, thy most pointed pleasure take
   And stab my spirit broad awake;
   Or, Lord, if too obdurate I,
   Choose thou, before that spirit die,
   A piercing pain, a killing sin,
   And to my dead heart run them in!


   OUT of the sun, out of the blast,
   Out of the world, alone I passed
   Across the moor and through the wood
   To where the monastery stood.
   There neither lute nor breathing fife,
   Nor rumour of the world of life,
   Nor confidences low and dear,
   Shall strike the meditative ear.
   Aloof, unhelpful, and unkind,
   The prisoners of the iron mind,
   Where nothing speaks except the hell
   The unfraternal brothers dwell.

   Poor passionate men, still clothed afresh
   With agonising folds of flesh;
   Whom the clear eyes solicit still
   To some bold output of the will,
   While fairy Fancy far before
   And musing Memory-Hold-the-door
   Now to heroic death invite
   And now uncurtain fresh delight:
   O, little boots it thus to dwell
   On the remote unneighboured hill!

   O to be up and doing, O
   Unfearing and unshamed to go
   In all the uproar and the press
   About my human business!
   My undissuaded heart I hear
   Whisper courage in my ear.
   With voiceless calls, the ancient earth
   Summons me to a daily birth.

   Thou, O my love, ye, O my friends—
   The gist of life, the end of ends—
   To laugh, to love, to live, to die,
   Ye call me by the ear and eye!

   Forth from the casemate, on the plain
   Where honour has the world to gain,
   Pour forth and bravely do your part,
   O knights of the unshielded heart!
   Forth and forever forward!—out
   From prudent turret and redoubt,
   And in the mellay charge amain,
   To fall but yet to rise again!
   Captive? ah, still, to honour bright,
   A captive soldier of the right!
   Or free and fighting, good with ill?
   Unconquering but unconquered still!

   And ye, O brethren, what if God,
   When from Heav’n’s top he spies abroad,
   And sees on this tormented stage
   The noble war of mankind rage:
   What if his vivifying eye,
   O monks, should pass your corner by?
   For still the Lord is Lord of might;
   In deeds, in deeds, he takes delight;
   The plough, the spear, the laden barks,
   The field, the founded city, marks;
   He marks the smiler of the streets,
   The singer upon garden seats;
   He sees the climber in the rocks:
   To him, the shepherd folds his flocks.
   For those he loves that underprop
   With daily virtues Heaven’s top,
   And bear the falling sky with ease,
   Unfrowning caryatides.
   Those he approves that ply the trade,
   That rock the child, that wed the maid,
   That with weak virtues, weaker hands,
   Sow gladness on the peopled lands,
   And still with laughter, song and shout,
   Spin the great wheel of earth about.

   But ye?—O ye who linger still
   Here in your fortress on the hill,
   With placid face, with tranquil breath,
   The unsought volunteers of death,
   Our cheerful General on high
   With careless looks may pass you by.


   NOT yet, my soul, these friendly fields desert,
   Where thou with grass, and rivers, and the breeze,
   And the bright face of day, thy dalliance hadst;
   Where to thine ear first sang the enraptured birds;
   Where love and thou that lasting bargain made.
   The ship rides trimmed, and from the eternal shore
   Thou hearest airy voices; but not yet
   Depart, my soul, not yet awhile depart.

   Freedom is far, rest far.  Thou art with life
   Too closely woven, nerve with nerve intwined;
   Service still craving service, love for love,
   Love for dear love, still suppliant with tears.
   Alas, not yet thy human task is done!
   A bond at birth is forged; a debt doth lie
   Immortal on mortality.  It grows—
   By vast rebound it grows, unceasing growth;
   Gift upon gift, alms upon alms, upreared,
   From man, from God, from nature, till the soul
   At that so huge indulgence stands amazed.

   Leave not, my soul, the unfoughten field, nor leave
   Thy debts dishonoured, nor thy place desert
   Without due service rendered.  For thy life,
   Up, spirit, and defend that fort of clay,
   Thy body, now beleaguered; whether soon
   Or late she fall; whether to-day thy friends
   Bewail thee dead, or, after years, a man
   Grown old in honour and the friend of peace.
   Contend, my soul, for moments and for hours;
   Each is with service pregnant; each reclaimed
   Is as a kingdom conquered, where to reign.

   As when a captain rallies to the fight
   His scattered legions, and beats ruin back,
   He, on the field, encamps, well pleased in mind.
   Yet surely him shall fortune overtake,
   Him smite in turn, headlong his ensigns drive;
   And that dear land, now safe, to-morrow fall.
   But he, unthinking, in the present good
   Solely delights, and all the camps rejoice.


   IT is not yours, O mother, to complain,
   Not, mother, yours to weep,
   Though nevermore your son again
   Shall to your bosom creep,
   Though nevermore again you watch your baby sleep.

   Though in the greener paths of earth,
   Mother and child, no more
   We wander; and no more the birth
   Of me whom once you bore,
   Seems still the brave reward that once it seemed of yore;

   Though as all passes, day and night,
   The seasons and the years,
   From you, O mother, this delight,
   This also disappears—
   Some profit yet survives of all your pangs and tears.

   The child, the seed, the grain of corn,
   The acorn on the hill,
   Each for some separate end is born
   In season fit, and still
   Each must in strength arise to work the almighty will.

   So from the hearth the children flee,
   By that almighty hand
   Austerely led; so one by sea
   Goes forth, and one by land;
   Nor aught of all man’s sons escapes from that command

   So from the sally each obeys
   The unseen almighty nod;
   So till the ending all their ways
   Blindfolded loth have trod:
   Nor knew their task at all, but were the tools of God.

   And as the fervent smith of yore
   Beat out the glowing blade,
   Nor wielded in the front of war
   The weapons that he made,
   But in the tower at home still plied his ringing trade;

   So like a sword the son shall roam
   On nobler missions sent;
   And as the smith remained at home
   In peaceful turret pent,
   So sits the while at home the mother well content.


   _Child_.  O MOTHER, lay your hand on my brow!
   O mother, mother, where am I now?
   Why is the room so gaunt and great?
   Why am I lying awake so late?

   _Mother_.  Fear not at all: the night is still.
   Nothing is here that means you ill—
   Nothing but lamps the whole town through,
   And never a child awake but you.

   _Child_.  Mother, mother, speak low in my ear,
   Some of the things are so great and near,
   Some are so small and far away,
   I have a fear that I cannot say,
   What have I done, and what do I fear,
   And why are you crying, mother dear?

   _Mother_.  Out in the city, sounds begin
   Thank the kind God, the carts come in!
   An hour or two more, and God is so kind,
   The day shall be blue in the window-blind,
   Then shall my child go sweetly asleep,
   And dream of the birds and the hills of sheep.


   YET, O stricken heart, remember, O remember
      How of human days he lived the better part.
   April came to bloom and never dim December
      Breathed its killing chills upon the head or heart.

   Doomed to know not Winter, only Spring, a being
      Trod the flowery April blithely for a while,
   Took his fill of music, joy of thought and seeing,
      Came and stayed and went, nor ever ceased to smile.

   Came and stayed and went, and now when all is finished,
      You alone have crossed the melancholy stream,
   Yours the pang, but his, O his, the undiminished
      Undecaying gladness, undeparted dream.

   All that life contains of torture, toil, and treason,
      Shame, dishonour, death, to him were but a name.
   Here, a boy, he dwelt through all the singing season
      And ere the day of sorrow departed as he came.

_Davos_, 1881.


   PEACE and her huge invasion to these shores
   Puts daily home; innumerable sails
   Dawn on the far horizon and draw near;
   Innumerable loves, uncounted hopes
   To our wild coasts, not darkling now, approach:
   Not now obscure, since thou and thine are there,
   And bright on the lone isle, the foundered reef,
   The long, resounding foreland, Pharos stands.

   These are thy works, O father, these thy crown;
   Whether on high the air be pure, they shine
   Along the yellowing sunset, and all night
   Among the unnumbered stars of God they shine;
   Or whether fogs arise and far and wide
   The low sea-level drown—each finds a tongue
   And all night long the tolling bell resounds:
   So shine, so toll, till night be overpast,
   Till the stars vanish, till the sun return,
   And in the haven rides the fleet secure.

   In the first hour, the seaman in his skiff
   Moves through the unmoving bay, to where the town
   Its earliest smoke into the air upbreathes
   And the rough hazels climb along the beach.
   To the tugg’d oar the distant echo speaks.
   The ship lies resting, where by reef and roost
   Thou and thy lights have led her like a child.

   This hast thou done, and I—can I be base?
   I must arise, O father, and to port
   Some lost, complaining seaman pilot home.


   WITH half a heart I wander here
      As from an age gone by
   A brother—yet though young in years.
      An elder brother, I.

   You speak another tongue than mine,
      Though both were English born.
   I towards the night of time decline,
      You mount into the morn.

   Youth shall grow great and strong and free,
      But age must still decay:
   To-morrow for the States—for me,
      England and Yesterday.

_San Francisco_.


   I AM a kind of farthing dip,
      Unfriendly to the nose and eyes;
   A blue-behinded ape, I skip
      Upon the trees of Paradise.

   At mankind’s feast, I take my place
      In solemn, sanctimonious state,
   And have the air of saying grace
      While I defile the dinner plate.

   I am “the smiler with the knife,”
      The battener upon garbage, I—
   Dear Heaven, with such a rancid life,
      Were it not better far to die?

   Yet still, about the human pale,
      I love to scamper, love to race,
   To swing by my irreverent tail
      All over the most holy place;

   And when at length, some golden day,
      The unfailing sportsman, aiming at,
   Shall bag, me—all the world shall say:
      _Thank God_, _and there’s an end of that_!


   SING clearlier, Muse, or evermore be still,
   Sing truer or no longer sing!
   No more the voice of melancholy Jacques
   To wake a weeping echo in the hill;
   But as the boy, the pirate of the spring,
   From the green elm a living linnet takes,
   One natural verse recapture—then be still.


   THE bed was made, the room was fit,
   By punctual eve the stars were lit;
   The air was still, the water ran,
   No need was there for maid or man,
   When we put up, my ass and I,
   At God’s green caravanserai.


   WE travelled in the print of olden wars,
      Yet all the land was green,
      And love we found, and peace,
      Where fire and war had been.

   They pass and smile, the children of the sword—
      No more the sword they wield;
      And O, how deep the corn
      Along the battlefield!


   FOR love of lovely words, and for the sake
   Of those, my kinsmen and my countrymen,
   Who early and late in the windy ocean toiled
   To plant a star for seamen, where was then
   The surfy haunt of seals and cormorants:
   I, on the lintel of this cot, inscribe
   The name of a strong tower.


   HERE all is sunny, and when the truant gull
   Skims the green level of the lawn, his wing
   Dispetals roses; here the house is framed
   Of kneaded brick and the plumed mountain pine,
   Such clay as artists fashion and such wood
   As the tree-climbing urchin breaks.  But there
   Eternal granite hewn from the living isle
   And dowelled with brute iron, rears a tower
   That from its wet foundation to its crown
   Of glittering glass, stands, in the sweep of winds,
   Immovable, immortal, eminent.


   _My house_, I say.  But hark to the sunny doves
   That make my roof the arena of their loves,
   That gyre about the gable all day long
   And fill the chimneys with their murmurous song:
   _Our house_, they say; and _mine_, the cat declares
   And spreads his golden fleece upon the chairs;
   And _mine_ the dog, and rises stiff with wrath
   If any alien foot profane the path.
   So too the buck that trimmed my terraces,
   Our whilome gardener, called the garden his;
   Who now, deposed, surveys my plain abode
   And his late kingdom, only from the road.


   MY body which my dungeon is,
   And yet my parks and palaces:—
      Which is so great that there I go
   All the day long to and fro,
   And when the night begins to fall
   Throw down my bed and sleep, while all
   The building hums with wakefulness—
   Even as a child of savages
   When evening takes her on her way,
   (She having roamed a summer’s day
   Along the mountain-sides and scalp)
   Sleeps in an antre of that alp:—
      Which is so broad and high that there,
   As in the topless fields of air,
   My fancy soars like to a kite
   And faints in the blue infinite:—
      Which is so strong, my strongest throes
   And the rough world’s besieging blows
   Not break it, and so weak withal,
   Death ebbs and flows in its loose wall
   As the green sea in fishers’ nets,
   And tops its topmost parapets:—
      Which is so wholly mine that I
   Can wield its whole artillery,
   And mine so little, that my soul
   Dwells in perpetual control,
   And I but think and speak and do
   As my dead fathers move me to:—
      If this born body of my bones
   The beggared soul so barely owns,
   What money passed from hand to hand,
   What creeping custom of the land,
   What deed of author or assign,
   Can make a house a thing of mine?


   SAY not of me that weakly I declined
   The labours of my sires, and fled the sea,
   The towers we founded and the lamps we lit,
   To play at home with paper like a child.
   But rather say: _In the afternoon of time_
   _A strenuous family dusted from its hands_
   _The sand of granite_, _and beholding far_
   _Along the sounding coast its pyramids_
   _And tall memorials catch the dying sun_,
   _Smiled well content_, _and to this childish task_
   _Around the fire addressed its evening hours_.

BOOK II.—_In Scots_


ae, ai                              open A as in rare.
a’, au, aw                          AW as in law.
ea                                  open E as in mere, but this with
                                    exceptions, as heather = heather,
                                    wean = wain, lear = lair.
ee, ei, ie                          open E as in mere.
oa                                  open O as in more.
ou                                  doubled O as in poor.
ow                                  OW as in bower.
u                                   doubled O as in poor.
ui or ü before R                    (say roughly) open A as in rare.
ui or ü before any other            (say roughly) close I as in grin.
y                                   open I as in kite.
i                                   pretty nearly what you please,
                                    much as in English, Heaven guide
                                    the reader through that
                                    labyrinth!  But in Scots it
                                    dodges usually from the short I,
                                    as in grin, to the open E, as in
                                    mere.  Find the blind, I may
                                    remark, are pronounced to rhyme
                                    with the preterite of grin.


   FAR ’yont amang the years to be
   When a’ we think, an’ a’ we see,
   An’ a’ we luve, ’s been dung ajee
         By time’s rouch shouther,
   An’ what was richt and wrang for me
         Lies mangled throu’ther,

   It’s possible—it’s hardly mair—
   That some ane, ripin’ after lear—
   Some auld professor or young heir,
         If still there’s either—
   May find an’ read me, an’ be sair
         Perplexed, puir brither!

   “_What tongue does your auld bookie speak_?”
   He’ll spier; an’ I, his mou to steik:
   “_No bein’ fit to write in Greek_,
         _I write in Lallan_,
   _Dear to my heart as the peat reek_,
         _Auld as Tantallon_.

   “_Few spak it then_, _an’ noo there’s nane_.
   _My puir auld sangs lie a’ their lane_,
   _Their sense_, _that aince was braw an’ plain_,
         _Tint a’thegether_,
   _Like runes upon a standin’ stane_
         _Amang the heather_.

   “_But think not you the brae to speel_;
   _You_, _tae_, _maun chow the bitter peel_;
   _For a’ your lear_, _for a’ your skeel_,
         _Ye’re nane sae lucky_;
   _An’ things are mebbe waur than weel_
         _For you_, _my buckie_.

   “_The hale concern_ (_baith hens an’ eggs_,
   _Baith books an’ writers_, _stars an’ clegs_)
   _Noo stachers upon lowsent legs_
         _An’ wears awa’_;
   _The tack o’ mankind_, _near the dregs_,
         _Rins unco law_.

   “_Your book_, _that in some braw new tongue_,
   _Ye wrote or prentit_, _preached or sung_,
   _Will still be just a bairn_, _an’ young_
         _In fame an’ years_,
   _Whan the hale planet’s guts are dung_
         _About your ears_;

   “_An’ you_, _sair gruppin’ to a spar_
   _Or whammled wi’ some bleezin’ star_,
   _Cryin’ to ken whaur deil ye are_,
         _Hame_, _France_, _or Flanders_—
   _Whang sindry like a railway car_
         _An’ flie in danders_.”


   FRAE nirly, nippin’, Eas’lan’ breeze,
   Frae Norlan’ snaw, an’ haar o’ seas,
   Weel happit in your gairden trees,
         A bonny bit,
   Atween the muckle Pentland’s knees,
         Secure ye sit.

   Beeches an’ aiks entwine their theek,
   An’ firs, a stench, auld-farrant clique.
   A’ simmer day, your chimleys reek,
         Couthy and bien;
   An’ here an’ there your windies keek
         Amang the green.

   A pickle plats an’ paths an’ posies,
   A wheen auld gillyflowers an’ roses:
   A ring o’ wa’s the hale encloses
         Frae sheep or men;
   An’ there the auld housie beeks an’ dozes,
         A’ by her lane.

   The gairdner crooks his weary back
   A’ day in the pitaty-track,
   Or mebbe stops awhile to crack
         Wi’ Jane the cook,
   Or at some buss, worm-eaten-black,
         To gie a look.

   Frae the high hills the curlew ca’s;
   The sheep gang baaing by the wa’s;
   Or whiles a clan o’ roosty craws
         Cangle thegether;
   The wild bees seek the gairden raws,
         Weariet wi’ heather.

   Or in the gloamin’ douce an’ gray
   The sweet-throat mavis tunes her lay;
   The herd comes linkin’ doun the brae;
         An’ by degrees
   The muckle siller müne maks way
         Amang the trees.

   Here aft hae I, wi’ sober heart,
   For meditation sat apairt,
   When orra loves or kittle art
         Perplexed my mind;
   Here socht a balm for ilka smart
         O’ humankind.

   Here aft, weel neukit by my lane,
   Wi’ Horace, or perhaps Montaigne,
   The mornin’ hours hae come an’ gane
         Abüne my heid—
   I wadnae gi’en a chucky-stane
         For a’ I’d read.

   But noo the auld city, street by street,
   An’ winter fu’ o’ snaw an’ sleet,
   Awhile shut in my gangrel feet
         An’ goavin’ mettle;
   Noo is the soopit ingle sweet,
         An’ liltin’ kettle.

   An’ noo the winter winds complain;
   Cauld lies the glaur in ilka lane;
   On draigled hizzie, tautit wean
         An’ drucken lads,
   In the mirk nicht, the winter rain
         Dribbles an’ blads.

   Whan bugles frae the Castle rock,
   An’ beaten drums wi’ dowie shock,
   Wauken, at cauld-rife sax o’clock,
         My chitterin’ frame,
   I mind me on the kintry cock,
         The kintry hame.

   I mind me on yon bonny bield;
   An’ Fancy traivels far afield
   To gaither a’ that gairdens yield
         O’ sun an’ Simmer:
   To hearten up a dowie chield,
         Fancy’s the limmer!


   WHEN aince Aprile has fairly come,
   An’ birds may bigg in winter’s lum,
   An’ pleisure’s spreid for a’ and some
         O’ whatna state,
   Love, wi’ her auld recruitin’ drum,
         Than taks the gate.

   The heart plays dunt wi’ main an’ micht;
   The lasses’ een are a’ sae bricht,
   Their dresses are sae braw an’ ticht,
         The bonny birdies!—
   Puir winter virtue at the sicht
         Gangs heels ower hurdies.

   An’ aye as love frae land to land
   Tirls the drum wi’ eident hand,
   A’ men collect at her command,
         Toun-bred or land’art,
   An’ follow in a denty band
         Her gaucy standart.

   An’ I, wha sang o’ rain an’ snaw,
   An’ weary winter weel awa’,
   Noo busk me in a jacket braw,
         An’ tak my place
   I’ the ram-stam, harum-scarum raw,
         Wi’ smilin’ face.


   A MILE an’ a bittock, a mile or twa,
   Abüthe burn, ayont the law,
   Davie an’ Donal’ an’ Cherlie an’ a’,
      An’ the müne was shinin’ clearly!

   Ane went hame wi’ the ither, an’ then
   The ither went hame wi’ the ither twa men,
   An’ baith wad return him the service again,
      An’ the müne was shinin’ clearly!

   The clocks were chappin’ in house an’ ha’,
   Eleeven, twal an’ ane an’ twa;
   An’ the guidman’s face was turnt to the wa’,
      An’ the müne was shinin’ clearly!

   A wind got up frae affa the sea,
   It blew the stars as clear’s could be,
   It blew in the een of a’ o’ the three,
      An’ the müne was shinin’ clearly!

   Noo, Davie was first to get sleep in his head,
   “The best o’ frien’s maun twine,” he said;
   “I’m weariet, an’ here I’m awa’ to my bed.”
      An’ the müne was shinin’ clearly!

   Twa o’ them walkin’ an’ crackin’ their lane,
   The mornin’ licht cam gray an’ plain,
   An’ the birds they yammert on stick an’ stane,
      An’ the müne was shinin’ clearly!

   O years ayont, O years awa’,
   My lads, ye’ll mind whate’er befa’—
   My lads, ye’ll mind on the bield o’ the law,
      When the müne was shinin’ clearly.


   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.

   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,

   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.

   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.

   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.

   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.

   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.

   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.

   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.

   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.

   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.

   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.

   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.

   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.

   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.

   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.

   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.

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

   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.

   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.

   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?—
   The braw words rumm’le ower his heid,
         Nor steer the sleeper;
   And in their restin’ graves, the deid
         Sleep aye the deeper.

_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.


   O, I wad like to ken—to the beggar-wife says I—
   Why chops are guid to brander and nane sae guid to fry.
   An’ siller, that’s sae braw to keep, is brawer still to gi’e.
   —_It’s gey an’ easy spierin’_, says the beggar-wife to me.

   O, I wad like to ken—to the beggar-wife says I—
   Hoo a’ things come to be whaur we find them when we try,
   The lasses in their claes an’ the fishes in the sea.
   —_It’s gey an’ easy spierin’_, says the beggar-wife to me.

   O, I wad like to ken—to the beggar-wife says I—
   Why lads are a’ to sell an’ lasses a’ to buy;
   An’ naebody for dacency but barely twa or three
   —_It’s gey an’ easy spierin’_, says the beggar-wife to me.

   O, I wad like to ken—to the beggar-wife says I—
   Gin death’s as shüre to men as killin’ is to kye,
   Why God has filled the yearth sae fu’ o’ tasty things to pree.
   —_It’s gey an’ easy spierin’_, says the beggar-wife to me.

   O, I wad like to ken—to the beggar wife says I—
   The reason o’ the cause an’ the wherefore o’ the why,
   Wi’ mony anither riddle brings the tear into my e’e.
   —_It’s gey an’ easy spierin’_, says the beggar-wife to me.


   IT’S rainin’.  Weet’s the gairden sod,
   Weet the lang roads whaur gangrels plod—
   A maist unceevil thing o’ God
         In mid July—
   If ye’ll just curse the sneckdraw, dod!
         An’ sae wull I!

   He’s a braw place in Heev’n, ye ken,
   An’ lea’s us puir, forjaskit men
   Clamjamfried in the but and ben
         He ca’s the earth—
   A wee bit inconvenient den
         No muckle worth;

   An’ whiles, at orra times, keeks out,
   Sees what puir mankind are about;
   An’ if He can, I’ve little doubt,
         Upsets their plans;
   He hates a’ mankind, brainch and root,
         An’ a’ that’s man’s.

   An’ whiles, whan they tak heart again,
   An’ life i’ the sun looks braw an’ plain,
   Doun comes a jaw o’ droukin’ rain
         Upon their honours—
   God sends a spate outower the plain,
         Or mebbe thun’ers.

   Lord safe us, life’s an unco thing!
   Simmer an’ Winter, Yule an’ Spring,
   The damned, dour-heartit seasons bring
         A feck o’ trouble.
   I wadnae try’t to be a king—
         No, nor for double.

   But since we’re in it, willy-nilly,
   We maun be watchfü’, wise an’ skilly,
   An’ no mind ony ither billy,
         Lassie nor God.
   But drink—that’s my best counsel till ’e:
         Sae tak the nod.


   MY bonny man, the warld, it’s true,
   Was made for neither me nor you;
   It’s just a place to warstle through,
         As job confessed o’t;
   And aye the best that we’ll can do
         Is mak the best o’t.

   There’s rowth o’ wrang, I’m free to say:
   The simmer brunt, the winter blae,
   The face of earth a’ fyled wi’ clay
         An’ dour wi’ chuckies,
   An’ life a rough an’ land’art play
         For country buckies.

   An’ food’s anither name for clart;
   An’ beasts an’ brambles bite an’ scart;
   An’ what would WE be like, my heart!
         If bared o’ claethin’?
   —Aweel, I cannae mend your cart:
         It’s that or naethin’.

   A feck o’ folk frae first to last
   Have through this queer experience passed;
   Twa-three, I ken, just damn an’ blast
         The hale transaction;
   But twa-three ithers, east an’ wast,
         Fand satisfaction,

   Whaur braid the briery muirs expand,
   A waefü’ an’ a weary land,
   The bumblebees, a gowden band,
         Are blithely hingin’;
   An’ there the canty wanderer fand
         The laverock singin’.

   Trout in the burn grow great as herr’n,
   The simple sheep can find their fair’n’;
   The wind blaws clean about the cairn
         Wi’ caller air;
   The muircock an’ the barefit bairn
         Are happy there.

   Sic-like the howes o’ life to some:
   Green loans whaur they ne’er fash their thumb.
   But mark the muckle winds that come
         Soopin’ an’ cool,
   Or hear the powrin’ burnie drum
         In the shilfa’s pool.

   The evil wi’ the guid they tak;
   They ca’ a gray thing gray, no black;
   To a steigh brae, a stubborn back
         Addressin’ daily;
   An’ up the rude, unbieldy track
         O’ life, gang gaily.

   What you would like’s a palace ha’,
   Or Sinday parlour dink an’ braw
   Wi’ a’ things ordered in a raw
         By denty leddies.
   Weel, than, ye cannae hae’t: that’s a’
         That to be said is.

   An’ since at life ye’ve taen the grue,
   An’ winnae blithely hirsle through,
   Ye’ve fund the very thing to do—
         That’s to drink speerit;
   An’ shüne we’ll hear the last o’ you—
         An’ blithe to hear it!

   The shoon ye coft, the life ye lead,
   Ithers will heir when aince ye’re deid;
   They’ll heir your tasteless bite o’ breid,
         An’ find it sappy;
   They’ll to your dulefü’ house succeed,
         An’ there be happy.

   As whan a glum an’ fractious wean
   Has sat an’ sullened by his lane
   Till, wi’ a rowstin’ skelp, he’s taen
         An’ shoo’d to bed—
   The ither bairns a’ fa’ to play’n’,
         As gleg’s a gled.


   IT’S strange that God should fash to frame
      The yearth and lift sae hie,
   An’ clean forget to explain the same
      To a gentleman like me.

   They gutsy, donnered ither folk,
      Their weird they weel may dree;
   But why present a pig in a poke
      To a gentleman like me?

   They ither folk their parritch eat
      An’ sup their sugared tea;
   But the mind is no to be wyled wi’ meat
      Wi’ a gentleman like me.

   They ither folk, they court their joes
      At gloamin’ on the lea;
   But they’re made of a commoner clay, I suppose,
      Than a gentleman like me.

   They ither folk, for richt or wrang,
      They suffer, bleed, or dee;
   But a’ thir things are an emp’y sang
      To a gentleman like me.

   It’s a different thing that I demand,
      Tho’ humble as can be—
   A statement fair in my Maker’s hand
      To a gentleman like me:

   A clear account writ fair an’ broad,
      An’ a plain apologie;
   Or the deevil a ceevil word to God
      From a gentleman like me.


   DEAR Thamson class, whaure’er I gang
   It aye comes ower me wi’ a spang:
   “_Lordsake_! _they Thamson lads_—(_deil hang_
         _Or else Lord mend them_!)—
   _An’ that wanchancy annual sang_
         _I ne’er can send them_!”

   Straucht, at the name, a trusty tyke,
   My conscience girrs ahint the dyke;
   Straucht on my hinderlands I fyke
         To find a rhyme t’ ye;
   Pleased—although mebbe no pleased-like—
         To gie my time t’ye.

   “_Weel_,” an’ says you, wi’ heavin’ breist,
   “_Sae far_, _sae guid_, _but what’s the neist_?
   _Yearly we gaither to the feast_,
         _A’ hopefü’ men_—
   _Yearly we skelloch_ ‘_Hang the beast_—
         _Nae sang again_!’”

   My lads, an’ what am I to say?
   Ye shürely ken the Muse’s way:
   Yestreen, as gleg’s a tyke—the day,
         Thrawn like a cuddy:
   Her conduc’, that to her’s a play,
         Deith to a body.

   Aft whan I sat an’ made my mane,
   Aft whan I laboured burd-alane
   Fishin’ for rhymes an’ findin’ nane,
         Or nane were fit for ye—
   Ye judged me cauld’s a chucky stane—
         No car’n’ a bit for ye!

   But saw ye ne’er some pingein’ bairn
   As weak as a pitaty-par’n’—
   Less üsed wi’ guidin’ horse-shoe airn
         Than steerin’ crowdie—
   Packed aff his lane, by moss an’ cairn,
         To ca’ the howdie.

   Wae’s me, for the puir callant than!
   He wambles like a poke o’ bran,
   An’ the lowse rein, as hard’s he can,
         Pu’s, trem’lin’ handit;
   Till, blaff! upon his hinderlan’
         Behauld him landit.

   Sic-like—I awn the weary fac’—
   Whan on my muse the gate I tak,
   An’ see her gleed e’e raxin’ back
         To keek ahint her;—
   To me, the brig o’ Heev’n gangs black
         As blackest winter.

   “_Lordsake_! _we’re aff_,” thinks I, “_but whaur_?
   _On what abhorred an’ whinny scaur_,
   _Or whammled in what sea o’ glaur_,
         _Will she desert me_?
   _An’ will she just disgrace_? _or waur_—
         _Will she no hurt me_?”

   Kittle the quaere!  But at least
   The day I’ve backed the fashious beast,
   While she, wi’ mony a spang an’ reist,
         Flang heels ower bonnet;
   An’ a’ triumphant—for your feast,
         Hae! there’s your sonnet!


   THE Lord Himsel’ in former days
   Waled out the proper tünes for praise
   An’ named the proper kind o’ claes
         For folk to preach in:
   Preceese and in the chief o’ ways
         Important teachin’.

   He ordered a’ things late and air’;
   He ordered folk to stand at prayer,
   (Although I cannae just mind where
         He gave the warnin’,)
   An’ pit pomatum on their hair
         On Sabbath mornin’.

   The hale o’ life by His commands
   Was ordered to a body’s hands;
   But see! this _corpus juris_ stands
         By a’ forgotten;
   An’ God’s religion in a’ lands
         Is deid an’ rotten.

   While thus the lave o’ mankind’s lost,
   O’ Scotland still God maks His boast—
   Puir Scotland, on whase barren coast
         A score or twa
   Auld wives wi’ mutches an’ a hoast
         Still keep His law.

   In Scotland, a wheen canty, plain,
   Douce, kintry-leevin’ folk retain
   The Truth—or did so aince—alane
         Of a’ men leevin’;
   An’ noo just twa o’ them remain—
         Just Begg an’ Niven.

   For noo, unfaithfü’, to the Lord
   Auld Scotland joins the rebel horde;
   Her human hymn-books on the board
         She noo displays:
   An’ Embro Hie Kirk’s been restored
         In popish ways.

   O _punctum temporis_ for action
   To a’ o’ the reformin’ faction,
   If yet, by ony act or paction,
         Thocht, word, or sermon,
   This dark an’ damnable transaction
         Micht yet determine!

   For see—as Doctor Begg explains—
   Hoo easy ’t’s düne! a pickle weans,
   Wha in the Hie Street gaither stanes
         By his instruction,
   The uncovenantit, pentit panes
         Ding to destruction.

   Up, Niven, or ower late—an’ dash
   Laigh in the glaur that carnal hash;
   Let spires and pews wi’ gran’ stramash
         Thegether fa’;
   The rumlin’ kist o’ whustles smash
         In pieces sma’.

   Noo choose ye out a walie hammer;
   About the knottit buttress clam’er;
   Alang the steep roof stoyt an’ stammer,
         A gate mis-chancy;
   On the aul’ spire, the bells’ hie cha’mer,
         Dance your bit dancie.

   Ding, devel, dunt, destroy, an’ ruin,
   Wi’ carnal stanes the square bestrewin’,
   Till your loud chaps frae Kyle to Fruin,
         Frae Hell to Heeven,
   Tell the guid wark that baith are doin’—
         Baith Begg an’ Niven.


In a letter from Mr. Thomson to Mr. Johnstone.

   IN mony a foreign pairt I’ve been,
   An’ mony an unco ferlie seen,
   Since, Mr. Johnstone, you and I
   Last walkit upon Cocklerye.
   Wi’ gleg, observant een, I pass’t
   By sea an’ land, through East an’ Wast,
   And still in ilka age an’ station
   Saw naething but abomination.
   In thir uncovenantit lands
   The gangrel Scot uplifts his hands

   At lack of a’ sectarian füsh’n,
   An’ cauld religious destitütion.
   He rins, puir man, frae place to place,
   Tries a’ their graceless means o’ grace,
   Preacher on preacher, kirk on kirk—
   This yin a stot an’ thon a stirk—
   A bletherin’ clan, no warth a preen,
   As bad as Smith of Aiberdeen!

   At last, across the weary faem,
   Frae far, outlandish pairts I came.
   On ilka side o’ me I fand
   Fresh tokens o’ my native land.
   Wi’ whatna joy I hailed them a’—
   The hilltaps standin’ raw by raw,
   The public house, the Hielan’ birks,
   And a’ the bonny U.P. kirks!
   But maistly thee, the bluid o’ Scots,
   Frae Maidenkirk to John o’ Grots,
   The king o’ drinks, as I conceive it,
   Talisker, Isla, or Glenlivet!

   For after years wi’ a pockmantie
   Frae Zanzibar to Alicante,
   In mony a fash and sair affliction
   I gie’t as my sincere conviction—
   Of a’ their foreign tricks an’ pliskies,
   I maist abominate their whiskies.
   Nae doot, themsel’s, they ken it weel,
   An’ wi’ a hash o’ leemon peel,
   And ice an’ siccan filth, they ettle
   The stawsome kind o’ goo to settle;
   Sic wersh apothecary’s broos wi’
   As Scotsmen scorn to fyle their moo’s wi’.

   An’, man, I was a blithe hame-comer
   Whan first I syndit out my rummer.
   Ye should hae seen me then, wi’ care
   The less important pairts prepare;
   Syne, weel contentit wi’ it a’,
   Pour in the sperrits wi’ a jaw!
   I didnae drink, I didnae speak,—
   I only snowkit up the reek.
   I was sae pleased therein to paidle,
   I sat an’ plowtered wi’ my ladle.

   An’ blithe was I, the morrow’s morn,
   To daunder through the stookit corn,
   And after a’ my strange mishanters,
   Sit doun amang my ain dissenters.
   An’, man, it was a joy to me
   The pu’pit an’ the pews to see,
   The pennies dirlin’ in the plate,
   The elders lookin’ on in state;
   An’ ’mang the first, as it befell,
   Wha should I see, sir, but yoursel’

   I was, and I will no deny it,
   At the first gliff a hantle tryit
   To see yoursel’ in sic a station—
   It seemed a doubtfü’ dispensation.
   The feelin’ was a mere digression;
   For shüne I understood the session,
   An’ mindin’ Aiken an’ M‘Neil,
   I wondered they had düne sae weel.
   I saw I had mysel’ to blame;
   For had I but remained at hame,
   Aiblins—though no ava’ deservin’ ’t—
   They micht hae named your humble servant.

   The kirk was filled, the door was steeked;
   Up to the pu’pit ance I keeked;
   I was mair pleased than I can tell—
   It was the minister himsel’!
   Proud, proud was I to see his face,
   After sae lang awa’ frae grace.
   Pleased as I was, I’m no denyin’
   Some maitters were not edifyin’;
   For first I fand—an’ here was news!—
   Mere hymn-books cockin’ in the pews—
   A humanised abomination,
   Unfit for ony congregation.
   Syne, while I still was on the tenter,
   I scunnered at the new prezentor;
   I thocht him gesterin’ an’ cauld—
   A sair declension frae the auld.
   Syne, as though a’ the faith was wreckit,
   The prayer was not what I’d exspeckit.
   Himsel’, as it appeared to me,
   Was no the man he üsed to be.
   But just as I was growin’ vext
   He waled a maist judeecious text,
   An’, launchin’ into his prelections,
   Swoopt, wi’ a skirl, on a’ defections.

   O what a gale was on my speerit
   To hear the p’ints o’ doctrine clearit,
   And a’ the horrors o’ damnation
   Set furth wi’ faithfü’ ministration!
   Nae shauchlin’ testimony here—
   We were a’ damned, an’ that was clear,
   I owned, wi’ gratitude an’ wonder,
   He was a pleisure to sit under.


   LATE in the nicht in bed I lay,
   The winds were at their weary play,
   An’ tirlin’ wa’s an’ skirlin’ wae
         Through Heev’n they battered;—
   On-ding o’ hail, on-blaff o’ spray,
         The tempest blattered.

   The masoned house it dinled through;
   It dung the ship, it cowped the coo’.
   The rankit aiks it overthrew,
         Had braved a’ weathers;
   The strang sea-gleds it took an’ blew
         Awa’ like feathers.

   The thrawes o’ fear on a’ were shed,
   An’ the hair rose, an’ slumber fled,
   An’ lichts were lit an’ prayers were said
         Through a’ the kintry;
   An’ the cauld terror clum in bed
         Wi’ a’ an’ sindry.

   To hear in the pit-mirk on hie
   The brangled collieshangie flie,
   The warl’, they thocht, wi’ land an’ sea,
         Itsel’ wad cowpit;
   An’ for auld airn, the smashed debris
         By God be rowpit.

   Meanwhile frae far Aldeboran,
   To folks wi’ talescopes in han’,
   O’ ships that cowpit, winds that ran,
         Nae sign was seen,
   But the wee warl’ in sunshine span
         As bricht’s a preen.

   I, tae, by God’s especial grace,
   Dwall denty in a bieldy place,
   Wi’ hosened feet, wi’ shaven face,
         Wi’ dacent mainners:
   A grand example to the race
         O’ tautit sinners!

   The wind may blaw, the heathen rage,
   The deil may start on the rampage;—
   The sick in bed, the thief in cage—
         What’s a’ to me?
   Cosh in my house, a sober sage,
         I sit an’ see.

   An’ whiles the bluid spangs to my bree,
   To lie sae saft, to live sae free,
   While better men maun do an’ die
         In unco places.
   “_Whaur’s God_?” I cry, an’ “_Whae is me_
         _To hae sic graces_?”

   I mind the fecht the sailors keep,
   But fire or can’le, rest or sleep,
   In darkness an’ the muckle deep;
         An’ mind beside
   The herd that on the hills o’ sheep
         Has wandered wide.

   I mind me on the hoastin’ weans—
   The penny joes on causey stanes—
   The auld folk wi’ the crazy banes,
         Baith auld an’ puir,
   That aye maun thole the winds an’ rains
         An’ labour sair.

   An’ whiles I’m kind o’ pleased a blink,
   An’ kind o’ fleyed forby, to think,
   For a’ my rowth o’ meat an’ drink
         An’ waste o’ crumb,
   I’ll mebbe have to thole wi’ skink
         In Kingdom Come.

   For God whan jowes the Judgment bell,
   Wi’ His ain Hand, His Leevin’ Sel’,
   Sall ryve the guid (as Prophets tell)
         Frae them that had it;
   And in the reamin’ pat o’ Hell,
         The rich be scaddit.

   O Lord, if this indeed be sae,
   Let daw that sair an’ happy day!
   Again’ the warl’, grawn auld an’ gray,
         Up wi’ your aixe!
   An’ let the puir enjoy their play—
         I’ll thole my paiks.


   OF a’ the ills that flesh can fear,
   The loss o’ frien’s, the lack o’ gear,
   A yowlin’ tyke, a glandered mear,
         A lassie’s nonsense—
   There’s just ae thing I cannae bear,
         An’ that’s my conscience.

   Whan day (an’ a’ excüse) has gane,
   An’ wark is düne, and duty’s plain,
   An’ to my chalmer a’ my lane
         I creep apairt,
   My conscience! hoo the yammerin’ pain
         Stends to my heart!

   A’ day wi’ various ends in view
   The hairsts o’ time I had to pu’,
   An’ made a hash wad staw a soo,
         Let be a man!—
   My conscience! whan my han’s were fu’,
         Whaur were ye than?

   An’ there were a’ the lures o’ life,
   There pleesure skirlin’ on the fife,
   There anger, wi’ the hotchin’ knife
         Ground shairp in Hell—
   My conscience!—you that’s like a wife!—
         Whaur was yoursel’?

   I ken it fine: just waitin’ here,
   To gar the evil waur appear,
   To clart the guid, confüse the clear,
         Mis-ca’ the great,
   My conscience! an’ to raise a steer
         Whan a’s ower late.

   Sic-like, some tyke grawn auld and blind,
   Whan thieves brok’ through the gear to p’ind,
   Has lain his dozened length an’ grinned
         At the disaster;
   An’ the morn’s mornin’, wud’s the wind,
         Yokes on his master.


   (_Whan the dear doctor_, _dear to a’_,
   _Was still amang us here belaw_,
   _I set my pipes his praise to blaw_
         _Wi’ a’ my speerit_;
   _But noo_, _Dear Doctor_! _he’s awa’_,
         _An’ ne’er can hear it_.)

   BY Lyne and Tyne, by Thames and Tees,
   By a’ the various river-Dee’s,
   In Mars and Manors ’yont the seas
         Or here at hame,
   Whaure’er there’s kindly folk to please,
         They ken your name.

   They ken your name, they ken your tyke,
   They ken the honey from your byke;
   But mebbe after a’ your fyke,
         (The trüth to tell)
   It’s just your honest Rab they like,
         An’ no yoursel’.

   As at the gowff, some canny play’r
   Should tee a common ba’ wi’ care—
   Should flourish and deleever fair
         His souple shintie—
   An’ the ba’ rise into the air,
         A leevin’ lintie:

   Sae in the game we writers play,
   There comes to some a bonny day,
   When a dear ferlie shall repay
         Their years o’ strife,
   An’ like your Rab, their things o’ clay,
         Spreid wings o’ life.

   Ye scarce deserved it, I’m afraid—
   You that had never learned the trade,
   But just some idle mornin’ strayed
         Into the schüle,
   An’ picked the fiddle up an’ played
         Like Neil himsel’.

   Your e’e was gleg, your fingers dink;
   Ye didnae fash yoursel’ to think,
   But wove, as fast as puss can link,
         Your denty wab:—
   Ye stapped your pen into the ink,
         An’ there was Rab!

   Sinsyne, whaure’er your fortune lay
   By dowie den, by canty brae,
   Simmer an’ winter, nicht an’ day,
         Rab was aye wi’ ye;
   An’ a’ the folk on a’ the way
         Were blithe to see ye.

   O sir, the gods are kind indeed,
   An’ hauld ye for an honoured heid,
   That for a wee bit clarkit screed
         Sae weel reward ye,
   An’ lend—puir Rabbie bein’ deid—
         His ghaist to guard ye.

   For though, whaure’er yoursel’ may be,
   We’ve just to turn an’ glisk a wee,
   An’ Rab at heel we’re shüre to see
         Wi’ gladsome caper:—
   The bogle of a bogle, he—
         A ghaist o’ paper!

   And as the auld-farrand hero sees
   In Hell a bogle Hercules,
   Pit there the lesser deid to please,
         While he himsel’
   Dwalls wi’ the muckle gods at ease
         Far raised frae hell:

   Sae the true Rabbie far has gane
   On kindlier business o’ his ain
   Wi’ aulder frien’s; an’ his breist-bane
         An’ stumpie tailie,
   He birstles at a new hearth stane
         By James and Ailie.


   IT’S an owercome sooth for age an’ youth
      And it brooks wi’ nae denial,
   That the dearest friends are the auldest friends
      And the young are just on trial.

   There’s a rival bauld wi’ young an’ auld
      And it’s him that has bereft me;
   For the sürest friends are the auldest friends
      And the maist o’ mines hae left me.

   There are kind hearts still, for friends to fill
      And fools to take and break them;
   But the nearest friends are the auldest friends
      And the grave’s the place to seek them.

                                * * * * *

            _Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, LIMITED, _Edinburgh_.


{27}  _Life on the Lagoons_, by H. F. Brown, originally burned in the
fire at Messrs. Kegan Paul, Trench. and Co.’s.

{66}  From _Travels with a Donkey_.

{67}  From _Travels with a Donkey_.

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