Robert Burns |
MY lov’d, my honour’d, much respected friend!
No mercenary bard his homage pays;
With honest pride, I scorn each selfish end,
My dearest meed, a friend’s esteem and praise:
To you I sing, in simple Scottish lays,
The lowly train in life’s sequester’d scene,
The native feelings strong, the guileless ways,
What Aiken in a cottage would have been;
Ah! tho’ his worth unknown, far happier there I ween!
November chill blaws loud wi’ angry sugh;
The short’ning winter-day is near a close;
The miry beasts retreating frae the pleugh;
The black’ning trains o’ craws to their repose:
The toil-worn Cotter frae his labour goes,—
This night his weekly moil is at an end,
Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes,
Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend,
And weary, o’er the moor, his course does hameward bend.
At length his lonely cot appears in view,
Beneath the shelter of an aged tree;
Th’ expectant wee-things, toddlin, stacher through
To meet their dead, wi’ flichterin noise and glee.
His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonilie,
His clean hearth-stane, his thrifty wifie’s smile,
The lisping infant, prattling on his knee,
Does a’ his weary kiaugh and care beguile,
And makes him quite forget his labour and his toil.
Belyve, the elder bairns come drapping in,
At service out, amang the farmers roun’;
Some ca’ the pleugh, some herd, some tentie rin
A cannie errand to a neibor town:
Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman-grown,
In youthfu’ bloom-love sparkling in her e’e—
Comes hame, perhaps to shew a braw new gown,
Or deposite her sair-won penny-fee,
To help her parents dear, if they in hardship be.
With joy unfeign’d, brothers and sisters meet,
And each for other’s weelfare kindly speirs:
The social hours, swift-wing’d, unnotic’d fleet:
Each tells the uncos that he sees or hears.
The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years;
Anticipation forward points the view;
The mother, wi’ her needle and her shears,
Gars auld claes look amaist as weel’s the new;
The father mixes a’ wi’ admonition due.
Their master’s and their mistress’ command,
The younkers a’ are warned to obey;
And mind their labours wi’ an eydent hand,
And ne’er, tho’ out o’ sight, to jauk or play;
“And O! be sure to fear the Lord alway,
And mind your duty, duly, morn and night;
Lest in temptation’s path ye gang astray,
Implore His counsel and assisting might:
They never sought in vain that sought the Lord aright.
But hark! a rap comes gently to the door;
Jenny, wha kens the meaning o’ the same,
Tells how a neibor lad came o’er the moor,
To do some errands, and convoy her hame.
The wily mother sees the conscious flame
Sparkle in Jenny’s e’e, and flush her cheek;
With heart-struck anxious care, enquires his name,
While Jenny hafflins is afraid to speak;
Weel-pleased the mother hears, it’s nae wild, worthless rake.
Wi’ kindly welcome, Jenny brings him ben;
A strappin youth, he takes the mother’s eye;
Blythe Jenny sees the visit’s no ill ta’en;
The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye.
The youngster’s artless heart o’erflows wi’ joy,
But blate an’ laithfu’, scarce can weel behave;
The mother, wi’ a woman’s wiles, can spy
What makes the youth sae bashfu’ and sae grave,
Weel-pleas’d to think her bairn’s respected like the lave.
O happy love! where love like this is found:
O heart-felt raptures! bliss beyond compare!
I’ve paced much this weary, mortal round,
And sage experience bids me this declare,—
“If Heaven a draught of heavenly pleasure spare—
One cordial in this melancholy vale,
’Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair
In other’sarms, breathe out the tender tale,
Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the evening gale.
Is there, in human form, that bears a heart,
A wretch! a villain! lost to love and truth!
That can, with studied, sly, ensnaring art,
Betray sweet Jenny’s unsuspecting youth?
Curse on his perjur’d arts! dissembling smooth!
Are honour, virtue, conscience, all exil’d?
Is there no pity, no relenting ruth,
Points to the parents fondling o’er their child?
Then paints the ruin’d maid, and their distraction wild?
But now the supper crowns their simple board,
The halesome parritch, chief of Scotia’s food;
The sowp their only hawkie does afford,
That, ’yont the hallan snugly chows her cood:
The dame brings forth, in complimental mood,
To grace the lad, her weel-hain’d kebbuck, fell;
And aft he’s prest, and aft he ca’s it guid:
The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell
How t’was a towmond auld, sin’ lint was i’ the bell.
The cheerfu’ supper done, wi’ serious face,
They, round the ingle, form a circle wide;
The sire turns o’er, with patriarchal grace,
The big ha’bible, ance his father’s pride:
His bonnet rev’rently is laid aside,
His lyart haffets wearing thin and bare;
Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide,
He wales a portion with judicious care;
And “Let us worship God!” he says with solemn air.
They chant their artless notes in simple guise,
They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim;
Perhaps Dundee’s wild-warbling measures rise;
Or plaintive Martyrs, worthy of the name;
Or noble Elgin beets the heaven-ward flame;
The sweetest far of Scotia’s holy lays:
Compar’d with these, Italian trills are tame;
The tickl’d ears no heart-felt raptures raise;
Nae unison hae they with our Creator’s praise.
The priest-like father reads the sacred page,
How Abram was the friend of God on high;
Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage
With Amalek’s ungracious progeny;
Or how the royal bard did groaning lie
Beneath the stroke of Heaven’s avenging ire;
Or Job’s pathetic plaint, and wailing cry;
Or rapt Isaiah’s wild, seraphic fire;
Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre.
Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme,
How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed;
How He, who bore in Heaven the second name,
Had not on earth whereon to lay His head:
How His first followers and servants sped;
The precepts sage they wrote to many a land:
How he, who lone in Patmos banished,
Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand,
And heard great Bab’lon’s doom pronounc’d by Heaven’s command.
Then, kneeling down to Heaven’s Eternal King,
The saint, the father, and the husband prays:
Hope “springs exulting on triumphant wing,” 1
That thus they all shall meet in future days,
There, ever bask in uncreated rays,
No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear,
Together hymning their Creator’s praise,
In such society, yet still more dear;
While circling Time moves round in an eternal sphere
Compar’d with this, how poor Religion’s pride,
In all the pomp of method, and of art;
When men display to congregations wide
Devotion’s ev’ry grace, except the heart!
The Power, incens’d, the pageant will desert,
The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole;
But haply, in some cottage far apart,
May hear, well-pleas’d, the language of the soul;
And in His Book of Life the inmates poor enroll.
Then homeward all take off their sev’ral way;
The youngling cottagers retire to rest:
The parent-pair their secret homage pay,
And proffer up to Heaven the warm request,
That he who stills the raven’s clam’rous nest,
And decks the lily fair in flow’ry pride,
Would, in the way His wisdom sees the best,
For them and for their little ones provide;
But chiefly, in their hearts with grace divine preside.
From scenes like these, old Scotia’s grandeur springs,
That makes her lov’d at home, rever’d abroad:
Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,
“An honest man’s the noblest work of God;”
And certes, in fair virtue’s heavenly road,
The cottage leaves the palace far behind;
What is a lordling’s pomp? a cumbrous load,
Disguising oft the wretch of human kind,
Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refin’d!
O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent,
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content!
And O! may Heaven their simple lives prevent
From luxury’s contagion, weak and vile!
Then howe’er crowns and coronets be rent,
A virtuous populace may rise the while,
And stand a wall of fire around their much-lov’d isle.
O Thou! who pour’d the patriotic tide,
That stream’d thro’ Wallace’s undaunted heart,
Who dar’d to nobly stem tyrannic pride,
Or nobly die, the second glorious part:
(The patriot’s God peculiarly thou art,
His friend, inspirer, guardian, and reward!)
O never, never Scotia’s realm desert;
But still the patriot, and the patriot-bard
In bright succession raise, her ornament and guard!
Pope’s “Windsor Forest.
William Allingham |
Little Cowboy, what have you heard,
Up on the lonely rath's green mound?
Only the plaintive yellow bird
Sighing in sultry fields around,
Chary, chary, chary, chee-ee! -
Only the grasshopper and the bee? -
Scarlet leather, sewn together,
This will make a shoe.
Left, right, pull it tight;
Summer days are warm;
Underground in winter,
Laughing at the storm!"
Lay your ear close to the hill.
Do you not catch th etiny clamour,
Busy click of an elfin hammer.
Voice of the Lepracaun singing shrill
As he merrily plies his trade?
He's a span
And a quarter in height,
Get him in sight, hold him tight,
And you're a made
You watch your cattle the summerday,
Sup on potatoes, sleep in the hay;
how would you like to roll in your carriage,
Look for a duchess's daughter in marriage?
Seize the shoemaker - then you may!
"Big boots a -hunting,
Sandals in the hall,
White for a wedding feast,
Pink for a ball.
This way, that way,
So we makea shoe;
Getting rich every stitch,
Nine and ninety treasure crocks
This keen miser fairy hath,
Hid in the mountains, woods and rocks,
Ruin and round-tow'r, cave and rath,
And where cormorants build;
From times of old
Guarded by him;
Each of them fill'd
Full to the brim
I caught him at work one day, myself,
In the castle ditch where fox-glove grows, -
A wrinkled, wizen'd and bearded Elf,
Spectacles stuck on his pointed nose,
Silver buckles to his hose,
Leather apron - shoe in his lap -
(A grasshopper on my cap!
Away the moth flew!)
Buskins for a fairy prince,
Brogues for his son -
Pay me well, pay me well,
When the job is done!"
The rogue was mine, beyond a doubt.
I stared at him, he stared at me;
"Servant Sir!" "Humph" says he,
And pull'd a snuff-box out.
He took a long pinch, look'd better pleased,
The ***** little Lepracaun;
Offer'd the box with a whimsical grace, -
Pouf! He flung the dust in my face,
And while I sneezed,
Lewis Carroll |
As one who strives a hill to climb,
Who never climbed before:
Who finds it, in a little time,
Grow every moment less sublime,
And votes the thing a bore:
Yet, having once begun to try,
Dares not desert his quest,
But, climbing, ever keeps his eye
On one small hut against the sky
Wherein he hopes to rest:
Who climbs till nerve and force are spent,
With many a puff and pant:
Who still, as rises the ascent,
In language grows more violent,
Although in breath more scant:
Who, climbing, gains at length the place
That crowns the upward track.
And, entering with unsteady pace,
Receives a buffet in the face
That lands him on his back:
And feels himself, like one in sleep,
Glide swiftly down again,
A helpless weight, from steep to steep,
Till, with a headlong giddy sweep,
He drops upon the plain -
So I, that had resolved to bring
Conviction to a ghost,
And found it quite a different thing
From any human arguing,
Yet dared not quit my post
But, keeping still the end in view
To which I hoped to come,
I strove to prove the matter true
By putting everything I knew
Into an axiom:
Commencing every single phrase
With 'therefore' or 'because,'
I blindly reeled, a hundred ways,
About the syllogistic maze,
Unconscious where I was.
Quoth he "That's regular clap-trap:
Don't bluster any more.
Now DO be cool and take a nap!
Such a ridiculous old chap
Was never seen before!
"You're like a man I used to meet,
Who got one day so furious
In arguing, the simple heat
Scorched both his slippers off his feet!"
I said "THAT'S VERY CURIOUS!"
"Well, it IS curious, I agree,
And sounds perhaps like fibs:
But still it's true as true can be -
As sure as your name's Tibbs," said he.
I said "My name's NOT Tibbs.
"NOT Tibbs!" he cried - his tone became
A shade or two less hearty -
"Why, no," said I.
"My proper name
Is Tibbets - " "Tibbets?" "Aye, the same.
"Why, then YOU'RE NOT THE PARTY!"
With that he struck the board a blow
That shivered half the glasses.
"Why couldn't you have told me so
Three quarters of an hour ago,
You prince of all the asses?
"To walk four miles through mud and rain,
To spend the night in smoking,
And then to find that it's in vain -
And I've to do it all again -
It's really TOO provoking!
"Don't talk!" he cried, as I began
To mutter some excuse.
"Who can have patience with a man
That's got no more discretion than
An idiotic goose?
"To keep me waiting here, instead
Of telling me at once
That this was not the house!" he said.
"There, that'll do - be off to bed!
Don't gape like that, you dunce!"
"It's very fine to throw the blame
On ME in such a fashion!
Why didn't you enquire my name
The very minute that you came?"
I answered in a passion.
"Of course it worries you a bit
To come so far on foot -
But how was I to blame for it?"
"Well, well!" said he.
"I must admit
That isn't badly put.
"And certainly you've given me
The best of wine and victual -
Excuse my violence," said he,
"But accidents like this, you see,
They put one out a little.
"'Twas MY fault after all, I find -
Shake hands, old Turnip-top!"
The name was hardly to my mind,
But, as no doubt he meant it kind,
I let the matter drop.
"Good-night, old Turnip-top, good-night!
When I am gone, perhaps
They'll send you some inferior Sprite,
Who'll keep you in a constant fright
And spoil your soundest naps.
"Tell him you'll stand no sort of trick;
Then, if he leers and chuckles,
You just be handy with a stick
(Mind that it's pretty hard and thick)
And rap him on the knuckles!
"Then carelessly remark 'Old coon!
Perhaps you're not aware
That, if you don't behave, you'll soon
Be chuckling to another tune -
And so you'd best take care!'
"That's the right way to cure a Sprite
Of such like goings-on -
But gracious me! It's getting light!
Good-night, old Turnip-top, good-night!"
A nod, and he was gone.
Andrew Barton Paterson |
This was the way of it, don't you know --
Ryan was "wanted" for stealing sheep,
And never a trooper, high or low,
Could find him -- catch a weasel asleep!
Till Trooper Scott, from the Stockman's Ford --
A bushman, too, as I've heard them tell --
Chanced to find him drunk as a lord
Round at the Shadow of Death Hotel.
D'you know the place? It's a wayside inn,
A low grog-shanty -- a bushman trap,
Hiding away in its shame and sin
Under the shelter of Conroy's Gap --
Under the shade of that frowning range
The roughest crowd that ever drew breath --
Thieves and rowdies, uncouth and strange,
Were mustered round at the "Shadow of Death".
The trooper knew that his man would slide
Like a dingo pup, if he saw the chance;
And with half a start on the mountain side
Ryan would lead him a merry dance.
Drunk as he was when the trooper came,
to him that did not matter a rap --
Drunk or sober, he was the same,
The boldest rider in Conroy's Gap.
"I want you, Ryan," the trooper said,
"And listen to me, if you dare resist,
So help me heaven, I'll shoot you dead!"
He snapped the steel on his prisoner's wrist,
And Ryan, hearing the handcuffs click,
Recovered his wits as they turned to go,
For fright will sober a man as quick
As all the drugs that the doctors know.
There was a girl in that shanty bar
Went by the name of Kate Carew,
Quiet and shy as the bush girls are,
But ready-witted and plucky, too.
She loved this Ryan, or so they say,
And passing by, while her eyes were dim
With tears, she said in a careless way,
"The Swagman's round in the stable, Jim.
Spoken too low for the trooper's ear,
Why should she care if he heard or not?
Plenty of swagmen far and near --
And yet to Ryan it meant a lot.
That was the name of the grandest horse
In all the district from east to west;
In every show ring, on every course,
They always counted The Swagman best.
He was a wonder, a raking bay --
One of the grand old Snowdon strain --
One of the sort that could race and stay
With his mighty limbs and his length of rein.
Born and bred on the mountain side,
He could race through scrub like a kangaroo;
The girl herself on his back might ride,
And The Swagman would carry her safely through.
He would travel gaily from daylight's flush
Till after the stars hung out their lamps;
There was never his like in the open bush,
And never his match on the cattle-camps.
For faster horses might well be found
On racing tracks, or a plain's extent,
But few, if any, on broken ground
Could see the way that The Swagman went.
When this girl's father, old Jim Carew,
Was droving out on the Castlereagh
With Conroy's cattle, a wire came through
To say that his wife couldn't live the day.
And he was a hundred miles from home,
As flies the crow, with never a track
Through plains as pathless as ocean's foam;
He mounted straight on The Swagman's back.
He left the camp by the sundown light,
And the settlers out on the Marthaguy
Awoke and heard, in the dead of night,
A single horseman hurrying by.
He crossed the Bogan at Dandaloo,
And many a mile of the silent plain
That lonely rider behind him threw
Before they settled to sleep again.
He rode all noght, and he steered his course
By the shining stars with a bushman's skill,
And every time that he pressed his horse
The Swagman answered him gamely still.
He neared his home as the east was bright.
The doctor met him outside the town
"Carew! How far did you come last night?"
"A hundred miles since the sun went down.
And his wife got round, and an oath he passed,
So long as he or one of his breed
Could raise a coin, though it took their last,
The Swagman never should want a feed.
And Kate Carew, when her father died,
She kept the horse and she kept him well;
The pride of the district far and wide,
He lived in style at the bush hotel.
Such wasThe Swagman; and Ryan knew
Nothing about could pace the crack;
Little he'd care for the man in blue
If once he got on The Swagman's back.
But how to do it? A word let fall
Gave him the hint as the girl passed by;
Nothing but "Swagman -- stable wall;
Go to the stable and mind your eye.
He caught her meaning, and quickly turned
To the trooper: "Reckon you'll gain a stripe
By arresting me, and it's easily earned;
Let's go to the stable and get my pipe,
The Swagman has it.
" So off they went,
And as soon as ever they turned their backs
The girl slipped down, on some errand bent
Behind the stable and seized an axe.
The trooper stood at the stable door
While Ryan went in quite cool and slow,
And then (the trick had been played before)
The girl outside gave the wall a blow.
Three slabs fell out of the stable wall --
'Twas done 'fore ever the trooper knew --
And Ryan, as soon as he saw them fall,
Mounted The Swagman and rushed him through.
The trooper heard the hoof-beats ring
In the stable yard, and he jammed the gate,
But The Swagman rose with a mighty spring
At the fence, and the trooper fired too late
As they raced away, and his shots flew wide,
And Ryan no longer need care a rap,
For never a horse that was lapped in hide
Could catch The Swagman in Conroy's Gap.
And that's the story.
You want to know
If Ryan came back to his Kate Carew;
Of course he should have, as stories go,
But the worst of it is this story's true:
And in real life it's a certain rule,
Whatever poets and authors say
Of high-toned robbers and all their school,
These horsethief fellows aren't built that way.
Come back! Don't hope it -- the slinking hound,
He sloped across to the Queensland side,
And sold The Swagman for fifty pound,
And stole the money, and more beside.
And took to drink, and by some good chance
Was killed -- thrown out of a stolen trap.
And that was the end of this small romance,
The end of the story of Conroy's Gap.