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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 21

Orcadian Rhymes; Or, Verses from the Far North

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Orcadian Rhymes.

Dear Jean.

Yestreen i' the gloamin I gaed tae a frien's,
To crack and to pass the hour by;
The house was deserted, not one to be seen,—
Wee Bessie was aff for the kye.

I sat mysel' doun at the side o' the wa',
By a fireside sae neat and sae clean;
I scarcely had sitten a minute or twa,
Till wha should step in but dear Jean!

She cam and sat doun on a chair in the room,
Gude L—d! how my heart loupit then;
I stammer'd some words' bout the crops an' the rain,
What more I said noo I scarce ken.

She Mister'd me too, the sly thing that she did,
And then she would speak unco dry,
And lectured me on the fine life that I led,
And scolded—I canna tell why.

page 8

She wondered how I, wi' sic sense and sic head,
Should listen to naebody's caution;
I tell'd her I cared na what a' body said,
And never went into a passion.

I said there were twa in the toun I should heed,
And respect the advice they might give;
And one I admired, nay adored her indeed,
And should do so as long as I'd live.

"Oh, one o' them weel do I ken wha he is;
It's Johnie that stays by the sea;
But whatna young lassie ye worship like this,
I wonder noo wha it 'ill be?"

I laughed, and I joked, and I teazed her a while,
But what was her name wad I tell;
She guessed a' the lasses within a roun' mile,
But never ance mentioned hersel'!

A Prayer.

With faith unfeigned and meek humility,
Almighty God, I wish to worship Thee;
Not with loud disputes, or vain party strife—
Religion's form without its inner life;
But, with the free-will worship of my heart,
I offer up to Thee the better part.

page 9

Too long my mind has been a lumber-room—
A dark chaotic mass of night and gloom;
But, as at the beginning, by thy might,
Thy word but spake, and straight shone forth the light;
So hast Thou, Lord, even in my darkest hour,
Sent forth Thy mighty Spirit's quickening power,

My guard in infancy, my guide in youth,
The three in one—the Way, the Life, the Truth;
Throughout my future years, O Lord! I pray
That Thou wilt guide me in the narrow way;
Help me to keep Thy truth, from sin abstain,
And so at last eternal life to gain.

Isabel and Mary-Ann.

In our superb Cathedral town,
There does not live, I'm sure, a man,
Whose neighbour-love exceeds my own
For Isabel and Mary-Ann.

A slender form, dark loving eyes,
How deeply tender, few can tell;
A sunny smile hearts to surprise—
Is something like fair Isabel.

page 10

With soft blue eyes, and flaxen hair,
That dropping into ringlets ran;
With gentle unassuming air
Comes lovely blooming Mary-Ann.

The public so egregious wise,
Must laugh and jeer a married man,
For looking with admiring eyes
On Isabel and Mary-Ann.

What ill is done why I am old,
Gone is one half my narrow span;
And then what harm can love untold
Do Isabel or Mary-Ann.

These scorners should their Bibles read,
And reading think how rather than
We ought to love whom God has made—
Not hate a maid or fellow-man.

Why we prefer, would take to tell
A greater and a wiser man:
Why I should admire Isabel,
Or fancy little Mary-Ann.

'Twas good old rule in Israel,
To love our neighbours all we can;
If so we ought, I must and shall
Love Isabel and Mary Ann.

page 11

A Morning Orison.

O Gracious Heavenly Father!
Grant that I still may find,
Thy peace which passeth knowledge,
To keep through Christ my mind.
Though worldly cares encumber,
And daily grieve my heart,
Yet may I still remember,
To choose the better part.

What though the Adversary
Sow tares while men do sleep;
Give, Lord, thy holy angels
Charge o'er my soul to keep.
To guard my every footstep
From falling through the day,
Lest anything should tempt me
To leave the narrow way.

O wondrous loving kindness!
O miracle of grace!
That man should enter boldly,
Where angels veil the face.
They offer no petitions,
But worship and adore;
While man is still receiving,
And ever asking more.

O Father! high and holy,
I bow before thy throne;
page 12 O Saviour! meek and lowly,
I wish to be Thine own;
To feel myself encompassed
By Thy ne'er-ceasing love;
Secure Thou art preparing
My place with Thee above.

A Jewish Band of Hope.

Warm was the weather, and the sun was bright—
The lake lay ruffled by a gentle breeze;
Flowers were a-bloom in valley and on height,
And birds were warbling wild among the trees.

While Jewish mothers stood with anxious looks,
Watching the ranks of a young Naz'rite band:
As through the streets they marched to leafy nooks,
That fringed the bay above its pebbly strand.

Unto the cymbal's clash and timbrel's sound.
Merrily went they from the dusty town,
All through sweet orange groves, and orchards round
To thy my banks where each sat quiet down.

Then dainties rare were passed on every hand,
In painted baskets, lovely to the sight;
page 13 And fruits, the produce fair of many a land,
Were shared to please the youthful Nazarite.

The feasting over, up the merry bands
Arose and rambled round the sunny shore;
Some, mermaid-like, upon the yellow sands, [o'er.
Waded, and splashed, and sprayed each other

Others as gleesome, clomb the mossy rocks,
And, hid in pleasant arbours out of reach,
Were soon discovered by their flowing locks,
And dragged' mid laughter to the shingly beach.

Sated with mirth, with play nigh overdone,
They gather, listening to a leader true;
An ancient Rabbi, head-bare in the sun,
Descants on drinking to the wearied crew:

How Noah fell, and Eli's hopeful race
Belied the promise of their early youth;
How drinking ever leaves its baneful trace,
And lures its victim far from Love and Truth.

The speaker done, up rose a joyful shout
From many a youthful throat upon the grass;
And many a rock the echo bore about,
And carried far beyond the mountain pass.

Apart, a Boy from Nazareth silent stood,
And seemed to ponder on the glorious scene;
Then slowly, sadly, walking to the wood,
As homeward went the Youth, he passed unseen.

page 14

To find Bethsaida now we vainly strive,
The town's a ruin, all the people gone;
Yet four of her young Naz'rite band survive—
St. Andrew, Peter, James, and loving John.

To A Friend in Edinburgh.

Here's a trifling tribute to thee, dearest May,
Thou tender and true-hearted maiden,
To each childish joy of our life's early day
And memory of hours pleasure-laden.

Though poor be our fortune and hard be our lot,
And this life seems but labour and sorrow;
Let the home of our youth be never forgot,
Till night comes that bringeth no morrow.

New claimants for my heart's love have been given,
And old ones from thine ta'en for ever;
Yet both is the will of a merciful heaven.
And Him who forsaketh us never.

Move cheerily onward and never despair,
Though small be the fruit of thy labour;
Lift up thy heart's voice to the hearer of prayer—
Serve truly thy God and thy neighbour.

page 15

The Father of our Lord.

Come let us now with grateful hearts,
Unite in sweet accord,
To praise, with all our tuneful arts,
The Father of our Lord.

We are His offspring, for we were
In His own image made;
And ever since, His tender care,
Provides our daily bread.

In midst of trouble He is near,
When we are sore dismayed;
He comes our drooping hearts to cheer,
And renders timely aid.

But more than all, O! wondrous Love,
His only Son He gave,
That we might reach the realms above—
Our precious souls should save.

Each blessing upon us bestowed,
His Heavenly stores afford;
For He is our Almighty God,
The Father of our Lord.

page 16

The Channel Fleet at Kirkwall.

The days have fled when Vikings bold
Around our coasts held sway,
And prowled along Orcadia's shores,
Like lions for their prey.
Now peace and plenty crown each home,
And oh, what gladsome news to some—
Old England's wooden walls have come,
And anchored in our Bay.

Men throng the streets from morn to eve,
The gallant and the brave;
How strange and small our town appears
To their homes o'er the wave.
They climb our ruinous old tower;
Stern faces, with the will and power,
When comes our nation's danger hour,
To perish or to save.

From hoar St. Magnus' far-famed bells,
In merry peal bursts forth
Good wishes from a thousand hearts,
And welcome to the North.
While heard around on every hand,
In music from the Hero's band,
"God save the Queen," who rules our land—
All bless the woman's worth.

Among the visitors who pace
The old Cathedral aisle,
page 17 Is one who walks with steady step,
And visage kind and hale.
Yet from the echoing vaults beneath,
Where ages past lie hid with death;
A voice tells of the fleeting breath,
And dirge's solemn wail.

Scarce one short week has swiftly fled,
When sweeps along our street,
The mournful sound of muffled drums,
And the march of martial feet.
With flag around the coffin thrown—
With guns reversed, and bayonets down:
That visitor of our old town,
A corpse came from the fleet.

The white-robed priest, with solemn awe,
Bends o'er the lifeless clay,
And tells of his Great Master's law—
"Be ready, watch, and pray:"
He who amidst temptations rife,
Was ever victor in the strife—
The Resurrection and the Life,
The new and living way.

In that secluded lonely place,
Beneath the willow's shade,
With all the honours of his race,
The mortal part is laid,
With humble faith and loving trust,
Knowing that this frail body must
Lie, earth to earth and dust to dust,
Till trumpets wake the dead.

page 18

Far from his kindred and his friends,
Far from his childhood's home,
Where never loved, or loving ones,
In mournful guise may come,
With slow and lingering steps, to trace
Their pathway to his resting-place,
Where now that once familiar face
Lies in a stranger's tomb.

To a Lady.

Once to your little town I came,
And wandering as my fancy led,
I met in you the fairest dame
That rough Dunbar had ever bred.

You shew me in your father's hall,
Two skilful paintings rare and old—
Our beauteous Queen admired of all,
And Scotia's son, Belhaven bold.

And now whene'er I try to trace
These famous people of the past,
I seem to gaze upon your face,
As in that room I saw you last.

For what are ablest pictures worth—
Though each may be an artist's pride—
page 19 When youth and health in pensive mirth
Stand sweetly blooming at one's side.

You know, dear Lady, that to some,
Even in this later grovelling time,
Whene'er a better thought will come,
It yearns to struggle into rhyme.

Then let us both a lesson take,
From those who lived in times of strife;
And out of each occasion make
Some firm resolve for after life.

I still shall walk, howe'er belied
The path that bold Belhaven trod,
And serve through life, whate'er betide,
My country always next my God.

And you, I'm sure, well warned by one,
That was not half so fair as you,
Will cleave to right, all evil shun,
And evermore be kind and true.

So shall we in that distant spot,
Where neither cares nor sorrows stay.
Enjoy our happy blessed lot,
In endless everlasting day.

page 20


The bright orb of day
Was sinking to rest,
His last rays adorn'd
The glorious West;
And gently were stealing
The shadows of even,
When a soul was passing
From earth to heaven.

Sickness had never,
With withering breath,
To her forshadowed
The approach of death.
The cold slimy rocks
Formed her chilly bed,
When the dark deep waters
Closed over her head.

Some flowerets hung over
The margin above,
That spoke to her young heart
The first thoughts of love;
And her own sweet image,
So heavenly fair,
Seemed like a bright angel
That beckoned her there.

No eye was near her
To witness her fall,
page 21 Nor a listening ear
Could have heard her call;
And night's sable curtain
Drew closely around,
Concealing each trace
Where she might be found.

But mourners were many—
Even yon blue sky,
With tears did bedim
The fair day's bright eye;
And the soft winds sighed
Her sad fate to tell;
While the loud thunder rung
Her funeral knell.

They searched her o'er hill
And o'er valley lone,
Till the busy world
To their rest had gone.
No words can describe
The poor mother's pain,
As she reads in their looks
That their search was vain.

Though her love was shared
Among more than one,
Her heart was so fond
She could part with none;
And her eyes oft turn
To an empty chair,
When she thinks of one
Who will ne'er sit there.

page 22

On a First Love.

Go leave me, I am tired of chat,
I care not what you say;
I wish to muse the livelong night
On her I met to-day.

Once more I see her on the walk,
So modest looking down—
Of bright surpassing loveliness,
The beauty of the town.

Brown eyes, black hair, and rosy cheeks,
A form of queen-like grace;
With all the charms of womankind
Concentred in her face.

My thoughts flow back to that sweet time
When first she met my view;
A girl at school with winning ways,
That charmed all she knew.

And I a thoughtless wayward youth,
A stranger from afar,
Wishing myself once more at school,
To learn along with her.

To gaze across the schoolroom,
When her eyes were on her books,
And be taught a deeper lesson
From her fair and lovely looks.

page 23

This world is robed in shadow,
We are riddles to each other;
The dearest ties of kindred,
What are they—sister, brother?

Or that dearer tie than all the rest,
That kindles like a flame,
And makes the very heart leap up
At mention of a name.

Those thoughts, desires, and feelings,
That we know by name of Love,
Are surely emanations
From Infinitude above.

But why should I still think of one;
What silliness to fret;
I may find some other maiden,
Who will make me happy yet.

Let them cluster round about her,
Let them share her talk and mirth;
To see her I was happier
Than any king on earth.

But why was I deserted,
When my need was more than ever;
Like a shatter'd bark whose pilot's lost
When sailing down a river.

O! God, those gushing tears are hot,
My brain begins to swim;
page 24 Come, come once more and chase away
This twilight dark and dim,

That gathers o'er my spirit now,
And burdens my sad breast,
And evermore shall till I'm where
The weary are at rest.

Again her fairest form appears,
And fills me with delight.
As in the spring-time of my youth
She rose upon my sight.

And now she'll never more depart,
But still be at my side,
In the sorrow-laden years to come
A comforter and guide.

And ever at the Throne of Grace
She'll pray that I may stand,
With the blessed saints and angels,
In the happy Spirit Land.

In sweet vision I shall see her,
As I draw my latest breath,
And I close my heavy eyelids
In the long last sleep of death.

And when I'm quite forgotten,
In the low and silent grave,
She will sometimes waste a thought on him
She tried so hard to save.

page 25

Lines Written under Pressure of Severe Affliction.

Father of all, to Thee
I lift mine eyes;
I bow to Thy supreme decree,
And counsel wise.
Though dark Thy purpose seems
To my sad soul,
Send Thou Thy light in living streams,
And make me whole.

When trials round me stand
On every side,
Beneath Thine own Almighty hand
Myself I'll hide.
And when temptations dire
My soul affright,
Be Thou still near a wall of fire
To check their might.

When fears perplex my mind,
And doubtings chill,
Again, as to the waves and wind,
Say, "Peace be still."
And be my compass o'er
This life's rough sea,
Pointing towards a heavenly shore,
From sorrow free.

page 26

To A Neighbour, with A Portrait of the Author.

In token of sincere respect,
I send this tribute small;
Grateful if you, without neglect,
Accept the gift at all.

Though here ill tongues can separate
The loving and the good;
In other lands, despite their hate,
I'll yet be understood.

Where ribald jests are not poured forth
To vex a maiden's ear;
Where Virtue feels her boundless worth,
And harbours not a fear.

And when I leave—I shortly may,—
At thought of your fair face,
I'll often wish you too away
From this vile tattling place.

And out of this, if late or soon,
We e'er each other see,
I'll tell you what a precious boon
Your presence was to me.

page 27

Woman's Rights.

Wild the wintry winds were raging,
And the rain fell most severe;
Still the fire kept warm and cosy,
And my babes were playing near.

Slowly crouching by our window,
Passed a thing in woman's form;
Used to life—long degradation,
Trampled like her sister worm.

With her bare feet, worn and weary,
And her garments torn and thin;
While her back was bowed down sorely,
With a load of hawker's tin.

Why in this, the land of freedom,
Boasted free as ocean wave;
Why should woman look on woman,
And behold her born a slave.

It would be a grander mission—
Much more glorious by far,
Than our schemes for burning India,
Or benighted Calabar—

If the charity that searches,
Far for objects ere they come,
Would but strive to clear its own eyes,
By beginning first at home.

page 28

In the hard oft-trodden pathways,
Through life's weary pilgrimage:
We should teach our fellow-traveller,
How to rest at every stage.

Though our heartless priests and Levites,
On the other side pass by;
Let us like Him of Samaria,
Up and help them ere they die.

When our blessed Master wandered
Through this sinful earth below,
Came—forced by vile foes before him,
Marked by deepest guilt and woe—

A poor woman, weak, and heart-sore,
Charged with crimes of darkest die;
While the clamorous crowd like madmen,
Rav'd with voices loud and high.

And their cry was, stone her, stone her—
Stone the shameless and accurst;
But the Just One answered gently,
Let the sinless throw the first.

With His judgments, mercy ever
Goes united hand in hand;
Let us then with firm endeavour,
Seek the lost ones of our land.

While with open arms the Shepherd
Still is waiting to receive;
page 29 Mong'st the highways and the hedges,
Let our cry be, "Turn and live."

Yet within our little city,
Some there are whose frowning brow,
Wears the self-approving saying,—
"I am holier than thou."

Midst the glorified in Heaven,
Will the saintly bosom shrink,
When its white robes come in contact
With the rescued from Hell's brink?

No; each selfish angry passion,
Caused by sin and death shall cease;
Nought can enter that defileth,
There is still eternal peace.

With the good land still before us,
Ere we reach the river's brink;
Brethren, heirs of life immortal,
Sisters, let us pause and think.

Let us lead our suffering sisters,
In the pleasant pathways too;
Though possessing but one talent,
Women, let us up and do.

Let us on their hearts' deep bruises,
Pour in gently oil and wine;
What but God's grace makes the difference,
'Twixt their lot and yours and mine.

page 30

The Human Bird of Passage.

Onward, onward be thy flight,
Upward soar, nor once alight;
Bird of earth, to thee is given,
Strength to reach the highest heaven.

Forward, forward, swift as wind,
Spare no time to look behind;
Dreary regions thou hast past,
And thou can'st not fly too fast.

Life's dark winter soon comes on,
Faded flowers and verdure gone;
Ere its snows thy brow come o'er,
Migrate to a better shore.

Summer waits thee in that clime,
Blasted ne'er by ruthless Time;
Floods of light unmixed with gloom,
Flowers of everlasting bloom.

With a Valentine Having a Lyre and the Flower Heart's Ease.

This mimic token that I send,
Will shadow forth some mightier lyre,
That love when kindled by thy charms,
Shall strike with all a poet's fire.

page 31

And by the flower is faintly shown—
That when your lover's ill to please,
Or like some others jealous grown,
'Tis best to set his heart at ease.


Around the window-lattice hung
The naked leafless trees;
And howling through the branches came
The chill November breeze.

And thick and fast the shadows flew,
Like ghosts about the room,
As if no happy thought should break
The wintry twilight's gloom.

Beside a cheerful glowing hearth,
A woman sat and smiled;
While bright before her vision rose
What was to be her child.

And still she thought of what its lot,
Or course in life might be,
Long, long before its infant smile,
Had lighted up her knee.

She thought of joys and gladnesses
Connected with its life;
page 32 And then of sin and suffering,
Of peril, pain, and strife.

The pleasures of its infancy,
The cares of riper years,
And all the host of human ills
That throng this vale of tears.

How graciously our Saviour once,
Assumed a form of clay,
And lived a life of suffering here,
'Midst creatures of a day.

And died a shameful death, that when
Our last day here was come,
We, formed in God's own image, may
Share in that purchased home.

Thus far and wide her thoughts did roam,
Through realms of empty space;
But still her mind's eye seemed to rest
On one sweet childish face.

And 'midst those spirits bright that wait
Their summons from the throne,
One still seemed fairer than the rest,
Her own expected one.

At midnight, mingled sounds were heard
Of weeping and of mirth;
One more was added to the list
Of mortals here on earth.

page 33

Already she begins to feel
A mother's anxious care;
And for her first-born offers up
Her inmost soul in prayer.

The Rulers of the Land.

I'm very sorry for the rich; would ne'er with envy look
Upon their lot, nor rail at them with loud prolonged rebuke;
Yet for us both, I should not say 'twas either good or kind,
To let them always govern us as if we had no mind;
For uncles, cousins, nephews, have office on demand,
Whene'er the brainless rich become the rulers of the land.

I venerate a good rich man—a gift as sent from heaven—
Dispensing without stint the wealth that Providence has given;
But alas! the good and rich are few, the bad and rich increase,
Who drive the poor to other lands to end their days in peace.
page 34 Where men were bred, now sheep are fed and roam on every hand,
To please our great aristocrats—the rulers of the and.

To hunt the fox and hare all day may meliorate the heart,
Yet the Gospel, one would think, might tend to teach a better art;
To spend the riches God them gave—to use the tongue and pen
In labours for the public good, with love for fellow-men.
The blessing of the poor and weak they always may command,
When the purse-proud rich are changed, and walk as Christians in the land!

With generals in their dotage, and captains proud of blood,
They think to meet America, and sweep the angry flood:
Vain hope! brave British men must be by braver generals led,
To fight and conquer, or to sink into their gory bed.
The greatest empire in this world much longer cannot stand,
If thoughtless men of rank remain the rulers of the land.

page 35

On My Daughter's First Birth-Day.

Little can I give my loved one,
Small attention can I pay;
Though in spirit always willing,
Flesh doth fail me every day.

Yet as time so swiftly passing,
Brings again thy natal morn,
I would pay this simple tribute
To my only, my first-born.

May His arms who once enfolded
Little children when on earth,
Be thy guardian and preserver,
As He has been since thy birth.

Ere thy soul by sin is hardened,
Ere thine eyes with tears grow dim,
Set thy mind on things abiding,
And devote thyself to Him.

Should life's path be long and dreary,
Rough and thorny on each side,
Lean on Him who through the desert
Safely doth His chosen guide.

Or should milk and honey pastures
Ever be thy favoured lot
May His hand who gives the manna,
Never be by thee forgot.

page 36

Should it be our Father's pleasure,
Health to give and length of days,
Be thy life-time spent in working
For His glory and His praise.

And if in His all-wise goodness,
He should call thee early home,
Help me, Lord, with meek submission,
Still to say, "Thy will be done."

Though my fondest heart's affections
With thy being are entwined:
That thou art but lent, not given,
May I ever bear in mind.

Earthly moths and rust do ever
Spoil our treasures laid up here;
Death's fell hand is sparing never,
Stealing all we hold most dear.

On the Death of A Friend.

When the bustling throng on the streets did cease,
And silence reigned o'er night,
Then her weary soul found a glad release,
And on the inward sight
Came a parting ray of heavenly peace,
To gild the spirit's flight.

page 37

How cheering to every Christian's eye,
Though all around seem dark,
Is the beacon that shines from yonder sky,
A never failing mark,
That tells of the shore we will soon be nigh,
Where safe we moor our bark.

Long, long the heaving bosom struggled sore,
To hold the parting breath,
Which quicker came, and fled when all was o'er
Life yielded unto death:
And the frail house of clay shall clog no more
The better part beneath.

When the nearest, dearest of earthly bands
Are bursting round the heart;
When each grasp of the tender trembling hands
Tells that we soon must part,
The spirit wings its way to other lands,
Beyond affliction's smart.

Another friend has passed away from earth,
'Mid Autumn's fading bloom;
And a shade has fallen on our household hearth,
Darker than midnight gloom;
But she's welcomed above with holy mirth,
Triumphant o'er the tomb.

She whom we always loved so well to meet,
And fondly thought our own,
Worships with joy around the mercy seat,
In strains of sweeter tone;
page 38 And casts her crown down at the Saviour's feet,
Before the Great White Throne.

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

O! Thou who bendest 'neath temptation's load,
Yet faintest not, to thee is freely given
The Tree of Life—the choicest fruit of heaven,
The centre of the paradise of God.

Though storms and tempests round thy sky may lower,
Yet be thou ever faithful unto death;
Hear what the whisperings of the Spirit saith—
On thee the second death shall have no power.

Behold life's wilderness how thickly strewn
With hidden manna, angel's food for thee;
And with thine eyes of faith look up and see
Thy new name written on the large white stone.

To him that overcometh shall be given
Power over nations, ruling like a king,
Breaking to pieces every earthly thing;
And his shall be the morning star of heaven.

page 39

Robed in pure white, behold thy humble name,
Writ in the Book of Life before thy God;
And He who shed for thee His precious blood,
Before His Father will confess the same.

A pillar in God's temple thou art now;
Hold that thou hast; let no one take thy crown;
Heed not the world's vain smile, nor fear its frown,
For God has set His seal upon thy brow.

Throughout life's journey if thou dare to own
Thyself Christ's follower, then despise the shame;
Endure the cross with those who bear His name,
And He will share with thee His blood-bought throne.

Jamie and Annie.

The cauld winds were blawin', the white hail was fa'in',
The trees by the river were leafless and bare,
When Annie went over to look for her lover,
Her heart overflowing wi' sorrow and care.

She gaed up the hill, and there she stood still,
And gazed while the tears nearly covered her e'en;
The waves in commotion rose wild o'er the ocean,
But on a' the wide waters no ship could be seen.

page 40

Hame, hame she came slowly, her head drooping lowly,
Like a lilly in summer when a shower's newly faun;
O hope maist bereaved! fu' sairly she grieved,
And she wist when she slept she might ne'er see the dawn.

The neighbours were laffin, and said in their daffin,
There goes the puir broken-hearted wee bairn;
She couldna weel cry, but she gaed a bit sigh,
For she thought, O, their hearts must be cauld as the aim.

She loosened her stays and took off her claes,
Sadly, O! sadly she went to her bed;
Her mither descried her and crept in aside her,
And laid her saft arm 'neath her lassie's sair head.

"Lass, why lie ye cryin', and sabbin', and sighin,"
And wasting yersel' for a wild reckless boy;
Noo end a' this strife, be some cannie man's wife,
And gi'e yere auld mither joost ae blink o' joy.

There's many a lad that gaes far better clad,
And shaws a guid purse when he tooms out his cash;
But Jamie has naething scarce mair than his claithing,
So an' I was you, yon lad I'd never more fash."

"Tho' lads I hae plenty, I'm sure more than twenty,
He lo'es me far better than ane o' them a';
O! speak nae mair, mither, I care no a feather,
If I canna get Jamie I'll ha'e nane ava.

page 41

There's Maggie he vext, Bonnie Jean was the next,
He telt them lie lo'ed them, but that was a whim;
When he had so many and left a' for Annie,
O, what can I do but just leave a' for him.

In Mary-Ann's praise maistlins naething he says—
'Wi' dear little Annie she canna compare;
I've sailed the world over, from Boston to Dover,
But never hae met wi' a beauty so rare.'

And Jessie o' Deeside that goes aye sae gaucie,
Fu' glad wad she be tae hae Jamie again;
But he ca'ed me his 'bonnie wee kind-hearted lassie,'
And vowed that when spring came he'd make me his ain.

A' night in her nest the lintie 'll no rest,
But wishes for morning her young birds to see;
And I maun be weary and canna be cheery,
Till the lad that I loe comes to gladden my e'e."

Lang, lang she had mourned when Jamie returned,
How happy' was Annie when he came ashore;
Her puir heart was beating, in his arms she ran greetin',
When he ca'ed her his bonnie wee lassie ance more.

page 42

Song of the Farmer's Wife.

We've braved awhile the gale of life,
And struggled on together;
And still we hope the storm may calm,
And end in fairer weather.

What though our foreheads are bedewed
With sweat of honest labour;
Our choicest maxim e'er has been—
"To love our God and neigbour."

Like leaves around each other twined,
With heart and hand united,
The promise of our younger years
Shall surely not be blighted.

Now in the noontide of our day,
With budding flowers beside us,
Let us be lovely in our lives,
That death may not divide us.

And as our setting sun wears low,
Life's Autumn drawing nearer,
Like ripening grain with age bent down,
Our value will be dearer.

Death, the great Reaper, will not spare—
Spares neither youth nor beauty;
But yet he fails to wound their hearts,
Who live for love and duty.

page 43

Epistle to Davie.

O Shade of Burns! whose songs endear
Thy name to every Scottish ear,
Wer't thou on earth in this sad age,
Thy heart would glow with bitter rage,
To see thy heaven-inspired vocation
Enduring such base profanation.
In this far North each prosing sinner
Sits down to rhyme as to a dinner;
Cuts up and mangles English metre,
Thinking than his none can be sweeter;
Avoids the vowels, choosing words
With consonants as stiff as swords;
Goes three months to the parish school,
Completes his training for a fool;
Then settles down to mending watches,
While wild-goose dreams he fondly hatches;
Tries to improve the Kirkwall time,
By making clocks to strike to rhyme;
Finds motes into his neighbour's een,
Thinks beams in his will ne'er be seen;
Has aye twa irons i' the fire,
And makes himself a fool and liar.
Puppies like him are always yelping,
And needing whiles a friendly skelping;
Think Orkney fame is but a bone
Thrown out to every scribbling drone.
Brought up on 'tatoes and sau't herring,
Looks like ane never had his sairing:
page 44 He talks of mutton too, alas!
Such braying only marks the ass;
His barren brains have long been lost,
And now he finds it to his cost.
'Tis vain to seek poetic zeal
In what at first was meant for veal;
But beastly natures love to bite,
So doggrel Davie rhymes for spite.
I would advise him to tak tent—
Else when ower late he may repent—
Gae hame and sip his herring broo,
And steek henceforth his bletherin' moo;
For though he whine and even bark,
Sic dogs as he leave nae tooth-mark.
His native isle, 'tis said, has plenty
Of those whose wits are rather scanty.
Let him wha's stor'd in auld Scotch saws,
Keep his ain guts to his ain maws;
Spend ither three months at the school,
And play nae mair the rhyming fool.

Thoughts on Seeing A Vain Girl Gaudily Drest.

The rose hath faded from thy cheek,
Though one blooms in thy hair;
And costly gems thy bosom deck,
While thorns are stinging there.

page 45

O! what has bought these worthless toys,
Or what exchange been given;
Thy peace of mind, thy honour lost,
And blessed hope of heaven.

Now thou may'st sit and wring thy hands,
And curse thy natal day,
For straying from the narrow path
Into the smooth broad way.

Thy breast may boast the diamond's blaze—
The price of shame and sin;
But will it quiet the still voice,
Or worm that gnaws within.

And smiles may play upon thy face,
And mirth dance in thine eyes;
Yet hollow laughter bears the trace
Of many secret sighs.

And when thy weary day is done,
And fitful sleep succeeds,
Thou dar'st not with such sin-stained lips
Ask what thy spirit needs.

Yet Pity's arms are open still,
Still open Mercy's door;
The same kind Saviour bids thee "Go
In peace, and sin no more."

page 46

The Juvenile Sceptic.

"Mamma, dear, what induced papa
To shut his shop to-day,
And go away to church to hear
The parson preach and pray?"

"Hush! dear, it all was done because
John Knox, that holy man,
Three hundred years ago, was bent
To rule on Calvin's plan."

"Calvin, the cruel wretch that burnt,
With piles of willow-wood,
A man who did not think with him!
Call Calvin great and good?"

"Yes, dear, we must—at least we're told
He had enough to do,
To keep the Catholics down, and bring
The Reformation through."

"But, dear mamma, just now suppose,
When Johnny there gets wild,
You take and fling him in the grate—
Your darling little child!

What would papa and parson say,
What stories would go round;
page 47 The policemen that walk about
Would beat you, I'll be bound."

"Emanuel, you naughty boy,
Why speak such things as these;
The Minister says Calvin's right,
And Him we've got to please."

The minister tells lies, mamma;
He's told me o'er and o'er,
That I'd have run up Calvary,
And cried like those of yore:

And that I would have striven too
To kill the blessed Lord!
A man to teach such lies as these.
And call them Holy Word!"

"When you grow up, you'll understand
What minister has said;—
But now take Johnny in your hand,
And off you go to bed."


An author, whose illustrious name
Ranks highly on the lists of fame.
Who claims Orcadian descent,
Though born and bred, his life-time spent
page 48 In that fair country far away,
Yclept by us America.
The names of two great Jewish kings,
Who ruled a while the tide of things;
And both were raised from lowly stations,
To sway the sceptre over nations;
But in the first ill passions raged,
As heaven and earth had warfare waged;
The second gently moved along,
Breathing his soul in sacred song:
Striving to quench that hellish fire,
Would strike anew his deep-toned lyre:
And his sweet songs were of such merit,
As charmed away the evil spirit.
The name of all those isles in one,
Where first our young life was begun—
Small speck upon the northern sea,
May heaven bless and prosper thee!—
Thy storm-wrapt hills and valleys lone
Were for a time the humble home
Of him, thy darling soldier-poet;
Whose name, if you can clearly show it,
Compared with those above will shew
What it concerns you to know;
As something prized by him of old
Above long life or mines of gold:
From these initials you may guess
What all require, but few possess.

page 49

"When First I Went Courting."

When first I went courting to bonnie Bell Towers,
She used me, I think, most unkindly;
Yet over my heart she still held the sole power,
For I fear I lo'ed her most blindly.

She told me right off that her heart and her hand
Were plighted to somebody ither;
Then she bade me good night, and put-to the door,
And left me alane wi' her mither.

Says minnie—"A spruce-looking chap like yersel'
Might get twenty wives for the speering;
And never ye mind yon daft lassie Bell—
Ye're naething the waur o' her jeering.

She's only just noo in the end o' her teens;
But ance on the wrang side o' twenty,
Her luck will be then but a'e chance to ten,
And her lovers will no be so plenty.

She has five strapping sisters as gude as hersel',
Smart hizzies as e'er had a mither;
And my counsel is, gin ye canna get ane,
Just gang ye and try at anither."

"'Deed, minnie, I think I'll just tak your advice,
And screw up my courage for trial;
Should anither be first I shall soon ken the worst—
It will be but anither denial!"

page 50

The New Year

Hurrah! hurrah! for the good New Year,
And happy may it be!
And far away with the old year's care,
And grief it brought to me.

My heart doth bound at the joyful sound
Of merry Christmas bell!
While tears do flow—alas! why so?
To hear the old year's knell.

Do not men mourn when a friend is torn
By death's rude hand away?
Then here's a tear for the good old year,
Whose death takes place to-day.

For the blessings lent and time misspent,
And talents mis-improved,
It is not right that this very night
All thought should be removed.

Ought we to be gay on such a day?
Let graver thoughts find room;
For our new-found friend before his end,
May see us in our tomb.

page 51

The Flower O' the Shore.

O! Down the last night, at the pier a short race,
And coming up street I saw Annie's sweet face;
A'e kind look she gae made my heart beat so sore,
For bonnie wee Annie, the Flower o' the Shore.

The lads were admiring her sweet winning ways,
The winds 'bout the corners were sighing her praise;
There was something I said, and I thocht something more,
O' bonnie wee Annie, the Flower o' the Shore.

O had ye but seen her twa pawky een!
As brown as a berry and glancing sae keen;
With these she steals hearts—sure, she's gotten a score,
Has bonnie wee Annie, the Flower o' the Shore.

The honey frae flowers the bee sometimes sips,
Is nought to the honey on Annie's sweet lips;
I ance stole a kiss, but I'll never steal more
Frae bonnie wee Annie, the Flower o' the Shore.

That a'e sweet sweet kiss gie'd my heart sic a stoun",
I didna get better till years had gane roun';
I cou'dna been worse had I stolen a score,
Frae bonnie wee Annie, the Flower o' the Shore.

There's Maggie goes neatly, and Mary goes braw,
But put on their best there is ane beats them a';
page 52 There is ane beats them a', and she'll beat many more,
Will bonnie wee Annie, the Flower o' the Shore.

O ance I lo'ed Annie, and lo'ed her sae weel,
The thocht o' auld days aften gars my heart feel;
Folk may say what they like, but I still shall adore
My bonnie wee Annie, the Flower o' the Shore.

Reply to A Wish.

Your wish was cordially expressed,
And gratefully received—
That pitying Goodness yet might grant
The health for which I grieved.

Alas! it now has been withdrawn
These two long years and more;
Yet what His justice first denied,
His love can still restore.

Whate'er His wisdom judges best,
O may I ne'er repine;
Lord, teach my soul on Thee to rest,
And make Thy pleasure mine.

page 53

The Forsaken.

Does he in my heart still find a place,
And his once loved form my mem'ry trace,
When all is vanished of pure and fair,
That my foolish fond heart cherished there?

Does my bosom swell, my pale cheek flame,
If I do but hear them speak his name;
When he thus betrayed my loving trust,
And has crashed my bright hopes all to dust?

Her form is lovelier far than mine,
And paid his vows at a grander shrine;
His hand he gives to a richer dame,
But his heart's first love is still the same.

Why gain a heart if that heart you break—
Why plight your troth if you must forsake;
I poor and despised, my love must be
Sacrificed to her pride and to thee.

Like wandering bee man has the power
To suck the sweets from each blooming flower
And if he seem but with one to rest,
'Tis only to sting that faithful breast.

When the wintry wind howls loud and drear,
Round my lonely grave in the twilight clear,
You will laugh and sing—a happy pair—
While your slighted one sleeps soundly there.

page 54

To A Child.

Yes, little child, 'twas one like thee,
Meet emblem of humility!
That Jesus in the midst did place,
To shew how sweet is childish grace:
Whose bright eyes speak a soul within,

Yet undefiled by actual sin;
Whose little bosom, pure and fair,
Ne'er harboured evil passion there.

Be Israel's Shepherd still thy guide,
And shadow of His wings thee hide
From every blast of cankering care,
That human life is doomed to share.

When all earth's joys have changed to gloom,
And life's bright sun sinks in the tomb,
Dear Jesus! grant that she may hold
A place among thy heavenly fold.

On the Marquis of Bredalbane.

He drove the children of the soil abroad,
Who lov'd their country and their country's God;
page 55 Then childless died, and left his wealth and grounds
To fatten lawyers and some English hounds
Who seeks a moral, let him gen'rous live,
And to the poor and needy freely give.

A Bachelor's Soliloquy.

Pity a poor old bachelor,
Who nightly sits alone,
Without a wife and two-three weans,
To cheer his lonely home.

His hands are round his auld snuff-box,
His fingers hold the pen;
But what is passing through his mind—
Noo wad ye like to ken?

"I'm weary o' this joyless room,
And o' this cheerless hearth;
It is not meet that man should be
Alone on this wide earth.

"I might hae been a great-grandsire,
My boys around my knee,
Instead o' living three-score years,
Just like the cursed fig tree.

page 56

"Alas! I'm auld and near aff-gaun,
An' canna hope to win
The young heart o' some sweet bit lass,
Whose life's yet to begin.

"I'll e'en gae try some rich widow,
Whose love is well nigh spent;
And pity for my lonesome lot,
May cause her to relent.

"She'll say her firm resolve has been
On no account to wed;
An' oh! how can she e'er forget
The mem'ry of the dead?

"But still I'll persevere with her,
Though first she seem unkind,
For I've something in my kist-neuk
May make her change her mind.

"It is not youth, nor beauty's charms,
Nor fortune I require;
Nor handsome shape, nor loving eyes,
That speak the heart's desire:

"'Tis a sociable companion,
For life's remaining years;
One single human being, who
Could share my hopes and fears."

page 57


We seek through numerous byways
Our Father's house to find,
Each thinking that his brother,
Is far, far left behind;
Not knowing that himself is poor,
And miserable and blind.

One man is of Apollos,
Another is of Paul,
Another is of Cephas—
When Christ should be his all.
Each cares not how his neighbour fare,
Whether he rise ox fall.


And now they have parted to meet no more,
And you need not ask if their hearts were sore;
Their past life had been that of summer flowers,
Whose growth has been nourished by tender showers.

His father lived in a stately manor,
Her's had nothing to boast of but honour;
So parents' commands must needs be obeyed,
And the squire's son leave the poor village-maid.

page 58

When the gloaming gray stole over the west,
And the toil-worn peasant came home to rest,
They met in the vale 'neath the hawthorn shade,
To cancel the vows which once they had made.

They had met in the bloom of early youth,
And pledged to each other their faith and truth;
Yet better to sever the soul and mind,
Than sunder hearts the Creator hath joined.


Cursed of God and of all good men,
Thy splendid temple shall one day fall;
Thy lofty towers shall tumble again,
Down to the dust like a broken wall.

For 'gainst thee the word of God's gone forth,
And his angels on errands have sped;
Soon vengeance will come from south and north,
That will fill all thy people with dread.

"This haughty city is drunk with the tears
Of weeping saints," saith the Lord Most High;
"Crush her to earth, nor regard her fears
That would heed not a Christian's sigh.

"My sons she abused, drove from her gates,
And my daughters with babes at the breast
page 59 Were forced to go with their sorrowing mates
In search of bread and somewhere to rest.

"Let fire from Heaven consume the place,
All the unrighteous utterly slay;
They've forsaken me, and turned their face
To their priests and rulers, day by day."

If shapeless ruins now mark the land,
Where the foolish bigots once did reign,
And found the height of His heavy hand,
Who destroyed the cities of the plain—

We should watch and pray, for night or day
The Judge of all to this world may come;
And to some shall say "Depart away,
Ye shall not enter my blessed home."

But others He'll set on heavenly thrones,
Where sorrow comes not, tears cannot dim;
For these who gave to His little ones,
A cup of cold water gave to Him.

A Fragment.

These butterflies roam through our garden fair,
And oh! but their colours are bright;
And they gem the wastes of the trackless air,
With their robes of the rainbow light.

page 60

How quickly they skip o'er the daisied grass,
And fly o'er the blossoming brae,
As if there were not a happier class,
Or creatures so pretty and gay!

They have slept through the cold dull wintry days,
And the chill of spring's sleety showers;
But now they'll bask in the sun's cheering rays,
For summer has come with her flowers.


Victoria! fit theme for loftiest lyre—
Let mighty poets say "what's in a name;"
We know that thine is in itself empire,
A vict'ry gained, kindling the filial flame
In many a heart for her who fills the throne
Of that fair sea-girt isle we fondly call our own.

Even in thy cradle, Peace, the meek-eyed dove,
Bound thy fair forehead with an olive wreath;
In blissful token of that peace and love,
We feel around us in the air we breathe,
Freedom of person, thought, and deed, and word,
Beneath the gentle rule of one who fears the Lord.

Around thy knees thy youthful children gather,
The ripening manhood of our future king;
page 61 Fair hopeful son of an illustrious father,
Albert the Good, whom poets yet shall sing;
While nations at our loyalty repine,
And witness our affection still for thee and thine.

We know thee as a princess, wife, and mother,
Now as a widow, but in duty still;
The same unchanged—"the dearer than a brother,"
With joy unspeakable thy soul doth fill;
For whoso's faithful even unto death,
Shall have a crown of life as the reward of living faith.

Round Britain's shores whene'er a household hearth
Sends up the prayer, "Give us our daily bread,"
And all oppressed people on this earth
Bless her who long has been our nation's head—
Defend her armies, grant her all success,
And with eternal life at last her bless.