The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 8
Words O' Cheer.*
Lo! Calvin, Knox and Luther cry,
"I have the truth,"—"and I,"—"and I,"—
"Puir sinners! if ye gang agley,
The deil will hae ye,
And then the Lord will stand abeigh,
And will na save ye."
But, hoolie! hoolie! Na sae fast;
When Gabriel shall blaw his blast,
And Heaven and Earth awa' have pass'd,
These lang syne saints
Shall find both deil and hell at last,
Mere pious feints.
The upright, honest-hearted man,
Wha strives to do the best he can,
Need never fear the Church's ban,
Or hell's damnation;
For God will need nae special plan
For his salvation.
The One wha feels our deepest needs,
Recks little how man counts his beads,
For righteousness is not in creeds,
Or solemn faces;
But rather lies in kindly deeds
And Christian graces.
Then never fear; wi' purpose leal,
A head to think, a heart to feel
For human woe and human weal,
Nae preachin' loun
Your sacred birthright e'er can steal
To Heaven aboon.
Tak tent o' truth, and heed this well:
The man wha sins maks his ain hell;
There's nae waur deil than himsel;
But God is strongest:
And when puir human hearts rebel,
He hauds out longest.
As when in boyhood's crude, ambitious days,
I sought to realise the wondrous charms
Of manhood's physical and mental strength;
So now, these in fruition, do I see
Still higher manhoods yet to be attained,
And long to make their glories all my own.
That which appeared my being's object sole,
The consummation of my grandest hopes,
I now regard but as a tottering step,
The weak, first stage of my eternal life:
For as a traveller, nearing mountain heights,
Sees slope on slope and cone on cone uprise,
Until the topmost brow, his wished-for goal,
Is veiled in fleecy mist, and lost to view;
So, from the stand-point of my manhood's prime,
Do I behold in spirit, sphere on sphere,
And field on field for man's development
Rise ever through the ages yet unborn,
Until his brilliant course is lost to sight,
Hid from my finite mind in God's infinity.
This life of impotence—this motley whirl
Of wasted energy and blighted hope,
Of joy ephemeral and love contemned;
And all the poor materials that make up
Our hollow consequence—is nothing worth,
Save as the embryo of a higher state.
Fain would I live that I may leave behind
No duty unperformed, nor aught neglect
Of preparation for my upward flight;
But these accomplished—all my schooling done—
No longer would I stay: for I would spurn
Earth's pettinesses; I would begone,
And, bravely struggling thro' the mists of death,
Emerge in light; though dazzled, unappalled;
All-fearless in a mighty confidence—
In faithful trust in Him who gave me life,
And intuitions true to guide me home.
That I can thus aspire is proof to me
That I shall die to live.
* These verses are from a work entitled Poems from the Inner Life, and are the production, as is alleged, of a Spirit-medium, while under the influence of Robert Burns. We wait much "more light" before accepting this view of their origin, but gladly reprint a poem as suited to our pages as it is excellent and Burns-like.—Ed. A. F. R. P.