Nor, the dangerous whispers hung,

Come round me, virgins. Am I then betrayed? Like honey, roofing o'er his tongue.

O fraudful king! But think of all thy mother's glory

Pluto. No, by this kiss, and this: Of her love-of every story

I am your own, my love, and you are mine
Of the cruel Pluto told,

For ever and for ever.-Weep Cyane.
And which grey Tradition old,
With all its weight of grief and crime,
Hath plucked from out the grave of time.

They are gone,

afar-afar: Once again I bid thee flee,

Like the shooting of a star, Daughter of great Cybele.

See,-their chariot fades away.

Farewell, lost Proserpina.
Proser. You are too harsh, Cyane.
Pluto. Oh! my love,

(Cyane is gradually transformed.) Fairer than the white Naiad-fairer far

But, ah! what frightful change is here: Than aught on earth, and fair as aught in heaven:

Cyane, raise your eyes, and hear! Hear me, Proserpina !

We call thee,-vainly; on the ground Proser. Away, away.

She sinks, without a single sound, I'll not believe you. What a cunning tongue

And all her garments float around. He has, Cyane; has he not ?-Away.

Again, again, she rises,-light; Can the gods flatter?

Her head is like a fountain bright, Pluto. By my burning throne !

And her glossy ringlets fall, I love you, sweetest: I will make you queen

With a murmur musical, Of my great kingdom. One third of the world

O'er her shoulders, like a river Shall you reign over, my Proserpina ;

That rushes and escapes for ever. you shall rank as high as any she,

-Is the fair Cyane gone? Save one, within the starry court of Jove,

And is this fountain left alone Proser. Will you be true ?

For a sad remembrance, where Pluto. I swear it. By myself!

We may in after times repair, Come then, my bride.

With heavy heart, and weeping eye, Proser. Speak thou again, my friend.

To sing songs to her memory? Speak, harsh Cyane, in a harsher voice, And bid me not believe him. Ah! you droop Oh ! then farewell: and now with hearts that mourn Your head in silence.

Deeply, to Dian's temple will we go: Pluto. Come, my brightest queen!

But ever on this day we will return, Come, beautiful Proserpina, and see

Constant, to mark Cyane's fountain flow: The regions over which your husband reigns; And haply,-for among us who can know His palaces, and radiant treasures, which

The secrets written on the scrolls of fate, Mock and outstrip all fable; his great power,

A day may come, when we may cease our woe; Which the living own, and wandering ghosts obey, And she, redeemed at last from Pluto's hate, And all the elements.—Oh! you shall sit

Rise in her beauty old, pure, and regenerate.
On my illuminated throne, and be
A queen indeed; and round your forehead shall run
Circlets of gems, as bright as those which bind

The brows of Juno on heav'n's festal nights,
When all the gods assemble, and bend down

Must it be ?-then farewell,
In homage before Jove.

Thou whom my woman's heart cherished so long: Proser. Speak out, Cyane !

Farewell, and be this song Pluto. But, above all, in my heart shall you reign The last, wherein I say " I loved thee well." Supreme, a goddess and a queen indeed, Without a rival. Oh! and you shall share

Many a weary strain My subterranean power, and sport upon

(Never yet heard by thee) bath this poor breath

Uttered, of love and death,
The fields Elysian, where, 'midst softest sounds,
And odours springing from immortal flowers,

And maiden grief, hidden and chid in vain. And mazy rivers, and eternal groves

Oh! if in after years Of bloom and beauty, the good spirits walk:

The tale that I am dead shall touch thy heart, shall take your station in the skies

Bid not the pain depart;
Nearest the queen of heaven, and with her hold

But shed, over my grave, a few sad tears.
Celestial talk, and meet Jove's tender smile,
So beautiful

Think of me-still so young,
Proser. Away, away, away.

Silent, tho' fond, who cast my


away, Nothing but force shall ever-Ah! away

Daring to disobey I'll not believe-fool that I am to smile.

The passionate spirit that around me clung.

And you

Farewell again; and yet,

Was never fashioned in a summer dream, Must it indeed be so—and on this shore

Where Nymph or Naiad from the hot sunbean Shall you and I no more

Might hide, or in the waters cool her feet. Together see the sun of the summer set ?

-A lovelier rivulet was never seen

Wandering amidst Italian meadows, where For me, my days are gone :

Clitumnus lapses from his fountain fair; No more shall I, in vintage times, prepare

Nor in that land where gods, 'tis said, have bees; Chaplets to bind my hair,

Yet there Cephisus ran thro' olives green, As I was wont: oh 'twas for you alone.

And on its banks Aglaia bound her hair.
But on my bier I'll lay
Me down in frozen beauty, pale and wan,

Perhaps the lady of my love is now
Martyr of love to man,

Looking upon the skies. A single star
And, like a broken flower, gently decay.

Is rising in the east, and from afar
Sheds a most tremulous lustre: silent night

Doth wear it like a jewel on her brow:

But see, it motions, with its lovely light,
Onwards and onwards thro' those depths of blue,

To its appointed course stedfast and true.

So, dearest, would I fain be unto thee,
There is no river in the world more sweet, Stedfast for ever,-like yon planet fair;
Or fitter for a sylvan poet's dream,

And yet more like art thou a jewel rare. Than this romantic solitary stream,

Oh! brighter than the brightest star, to me, Over whose banks so many branches meet, Come hither, my young love; and I will wear Entangling:-a more shady bower or neat Thy beauty on my breast delightedly.

[ocr errors]

ROBERT BURNS.-A. D. 1759-96.



'Twas in that place o' Scotland's isle,
That bears the name o' Auld King Coil,
Upon a bonie day in June,
When wearing through the afternoon,
Twa dogs that were na thrang at hame,
Forgather'd ance upon a time.

The first I'll name, they ca'd him Cæsar,
Was keepit for his honour's pleasure:
His hair, his size, his mouth, his lugs,
Show'd he was nane o' Scotland's dogs;
But whalpit some place far abroad,
Where sailors gang to fish for cod.

His locked, letter'd, braw brass collar, Show'd him the gentleman and scholar; But though he was o' high degree, The fient a pride nae pride had he; But wad hae spent an hour caressin, Ev'n wi' a tinkler-gypsey's messin : At kirk or market, mill or smiddie, Nae tawted tyke, though e'er sae duddie, But he wad stan't, as glad to see him, And stroan't on stanes an' hillocks wi' him.

The tither was a ploughman's collie,
A rhyming, ranting, raving billie,
Wha for his friend an' comrade had him,
And in his freaks had Luath ca'd him,
After some dog in Highland sang,
Was made lang syne-lord kuows how lang.

He was a gash an' faithful tyke,
As ever lap a sheugh or dyke.
His honest, sonsie, baws'nt face,
Ay gat him friends in ilka place.
His breast was white, his touzie back
Weel clad wi' coat o'glossy black;
His gawcie tail, wi' upward curl,
Hung o'er his hurdies wi' a swirl.

Nae doubt but they were fain o'ither,
An'unco pack an' thick thegither;
Wi' social nose whyles snuff’d and snowkit,
Whyles mice and moudieworts they howkit;
Whyles scour'd awa in lang excursion,
An' worry'd ither in diversion;
Until wi' daffin weary grown,
Upon a knowe they sat them down,
And there began a lang digression
About the Lords o' the Creation.

Cæsar. I've aften wonder'd, honest Luath, What sort o' life poor dogs like you have ; An' when the gentry's life I saw, What way poor bodies liv’d ava.

Our laird gets in his racked rents,
His coals, bis kain, and a' his stents:
He rises when he likes himsel;
His flunkies answer at the bell:
He ca's his coach, he ca's his horse ;
He draws a bonie silken purse
As lang's my tail, where, through the steeks,
The yellow letter'd Geordie keeks.

Frae morn to e’en it's nought but toiling,
At baking, roasting, frying, boiling;
An' though the gentry first are stechin,
Yet ev'n the ha' folk fill their pechan
Wi' sauce, ragouts, and sic like trashtrie,
That's little short o' downright wastrie.
Our whipper-in, wee blastit wonner,
Poor worthless elf, it eats a dinner,
Better than ony tenant man
His honour has in a' the lan':
An' what poor cot-folk pit their painch in,
I own it's past my comprehension.

Trowth, Cæsar, whyles thy're fasht enough;
A cotter howkin in a sheugh,
Wi' dirty stanes biggin a dyke,
Baring a quarry, and sic like,
Himself, a wife, he thus sustains,
A smytrie o' wee duddie weans,
An' nought but his han' darg, to keep
Them right and tight in thack an' rape.

An' when they meet wi' sair disasters,
Like loss o' health, or want o' masters,
Ye maist wad think, a wee touch langer,
An' they maun starve o' cauld and hunger:
But, how it comes, I never kenn'd yet,
They're maistly wonderfu' contented;
An' buirdly chiels, and clever hizzies,
Are bred in sic a way as this is.

But then to see how ye're negleckit,
How huff'd, and cuff'd, and disrespeckit!
L-d, man, our gentry care as little
For delvers, ditchers, an' sic cattle;
They gang as saucy by poor folk,
As I wad by a stinking brock.

I've notic'd, on our laird's court-day,
An' mony a time my heart's been wae,
Poor tenant bodies, scant o'cash,
How they maun thole a factor's snash:
He'll stamp an' threaten, curse an' swear,
He'll apprehend them, poind their gear;
While they maun stan', wi' aspect humble;
An' hear it a', an' fear an' tremble!

I see how folk live that hae riches;

There, at Vienna or Versailles, But surely poor folk maun be wretches.

He rives his father's auld entails;

Or by Madrid he takes the rout,

To thrum guitars, and fecht wi' nowt;
They're nae sae wretched's ane wad think;

Or down Italian vista startles, Though constantly on poortith's brink:

Wh-re-hunting among groves o' myrtles: They're sae accustom'd wi' the sight,

Then bouses drumly German water, The view o't gies them little fright.

To mak himsel look fair and fatter, Then chance an' fortune are sae guided,

An' clear the consequential sorrows, They're ay in less or mair provided;

Love-gifts of carnival signoras. An' though fatigu'd wi' close employment,

For Britain's guid! for her destruction! A blink o' rest's a sweet enjoyment.

Wi' dissipation, feud, an' faction,
The dearest comfort o' their lives;
Their grushie weans an' faithfu' wives;

The prattling things are just their pride,

Hech man! dear sirs! is that the gate That sweetens a' their fire-side.

They waste sae mony a braw estate! An' whyles twalpennie-worth o' nappie

Are we sae foughten an' harass'd Can make the bodies unco happy;

For gear to gang that gate at last! They lay aside their private cares,

O would they stay aback frae courts, To mind the kirk and state affairs:

An' please themselves wi' countra sports

, They'll talk o' patronage and priests,

It wad for ev'ry ane be better, Wi' kindling fury in their breasts,

The laird, the tenant, an' the cotter! Or tell what new taxation's comin,

For thae frank, rantin, ramblia billies, An' ferlie at the folk in Lon'on.

Fient haet o' them's ill-hearted fellows! As bleak-fac'd Hallowmas returns,

Except for breakin o'their timmer, They get the jovial, ranting kirns,

Or speakin lightly o' their limmer, When rural life, o' every station,

Or shootin o' a hare or moor-cock, Unite in common recreation :

The ne'er a bit they're ill to poor

folk Love blinks, wit slaps, and social mirth,

But will you tell me, Master Cesar, Forgets there's care upon the earth.

Sure great folk's life's a life o' pleasure ? That merry day the year begins,

Nae cauld or hunger e'er can steer then, They bar the door on frosty winds;

The vera thought o't need na fear then. The nappy reeks wi' mantling ream, An' sheds a heart-inspiring steam;

Cæsar. The luntin pipe, an' sneeshin mill,

L-d, man, were ye but whyles whare len, Are handed round wi' right guid will;

The gentles ye wad ne'er envy 'em. The cantie auld folks crackin crouse,

It's true, they need na starve or sweat, The young ones rantin through the house

Through winter's cauld, or simmer's heat; My heart has been sae fain to see them,

They've nae sair wark to craze their bassi, That I for joy hae barkit wi' them.

An' fill auld age wi' grips an' grades: Still its owre true that ye hae said,

But human bodies are sic fools, Sic game is now owre aften play'd.

For a' their colleges and schools, There's monie a creditable stock

That when nae real ills perplex them, O'decent, honest, fawsont folk,

They make enow themsels to rex them; Are riven out baith root and branch,

An'ay the less they hae to start them, Some rascal's pridefu' greed to quench,

In like proportion less will hurt them. Wha thinks to knit himsel the faster

A country-fellow at the pleugh, In favour wi' some gentle master,

His acres tillid, he's right enough; Wha, aiblins, thrang a-parliamentin,

A country girl at her wheel, For Britain's guid his saul indentin

Her dizzen's done, she's unco weel:

But gentlemen, an' ladies warst,

Wi' ev’ndown want o' wark are cursi.
Haith, lad, ye little ken about it;

They loiter, lounging, lank, an' lazy; For Britain's guid! guid faith : I doubt it.

Tho' deil haet ails them, yet uneasy; Say rather, gaun as premiers lead him,

Their days insipid, dull, an' tasteless; An' saying aye or no's they bid him:

Their nights unquiet, lang, and restless: At operas an' plays parading,

An' e'en their sports, their balls, an' races, Mortgaging, gambling, masquerading;

Their galloping through public places, Or, maybe, in a frolic daft,

There's sic parade, sic pomp, an' art, To Hague or Calais takes a waft,

The joy can scarcely reach the heart To make a tour, an' tak a whirl,

The men cast out in party matches

, To learn bon ton an' see the worl'.

Then sowther a' in deep debauches;


[ocr errors]

Ae night thy're mad wi' drink an' wh-ring,

The mother, wi' her needle an' her sheers, Niest day their life is past enduring.

Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new;
The ladies arm-in-arm in clusters,

The father mixes a' wi' admonition due,
As great and gracious a' as sisters;

Their master's an' their mistress's command,
But hear their absent thoughts o'ither,

The younkers a' are warned to obey;
They're a' run dejls an' jades thegither.

“ An’ mind their labours wi' an eydent hand, Whyles, o'er the wee bit cup an' platie,

An' ne'er, though out o' sight, to jauk or play:
They sip the scandel potion pretty;

An'o! be sure to fear the Lord alway!
Or lee-lang nights, wi' crabbit leuks

An’mind your duty, duly, morn an' night!
Pore owre the devil's pictur'd beuks ;

Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray,
Stake on a chance a farmer's stackyard.

Implore his counsel and assisting might:
An' cheat like ony unhang'd blackguard.

They never sought in vain, that sought the Lord
There's some exception, man an' woman;

But this is gentry's life in common.
By this, the sun was out o’sight,

But hark! a rap comes gently to the door ;
An' darker gloaming brought the night;

Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the same, The bum-clock humm’d wi' lazy drone;

Tells how a neebor lad cam o'er the moor, The kye stood rowtin i' the loan:

To do some errands, and convoy her hame.
When up they gat, and shook their lugs,

The wily mother sees the conscious flame
Rejoic'd they were na men but dogs;

Sparkle in, Jenny's e'e, and Aush her cheek;
An' each took aff his several way,

With heart-struck anxious care, inquires his name,
Resolv'd to meet some ither day.

While Jenny haflins is afraid to speak;
Weel pleas'd the mother hears, it's nae wild worth-

less sake.

Wi' kindly welcome Jenny brings him ben; November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh;

A strappan youth; he takes the mother's eye;
The short'ning winter-day is near a close ;

Blythe Jenny sees the visit's no ill ta’en;
The miry beats retreating frae the pleugh;

The father craks of horses, pleughs, and kye.
The black’ning trains o' craws to their repose;

The youngster's artless heart o'erflows wi’joy, The toil-worn cotter frae his labour goes,

But blate and laithfu', scarce can weel behave;
This night his weekly moil is at an end,

The mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy
Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes,

What makes the youth sae bashfa'an’ sae grave;
Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend,

Weel pleas'd to think her bairn's respected like the And weary, o'er the moor, his course does home

lave. ward bend.

O happy love! where love like this is found! At length his lonely cot appears in view,

O heart-felt raptures! bliss beyond compare !
Beneath the shelter of an aged tree;

I've paced much this weary, mortal round,
Th' expectant wee-things, todlin, stacher through

And sage experience bids me this declare-
To meet their dad, wi' Aichterin noise an' glee. “ If heaven a draught of heav'nly pleasure spare,
His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonily,

One cordial in this melancholy vale,
His clean hearth-stane, his thriftie wifie's smile,

'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair,
The lisping infant pratiling on his knee,

In others' arms breathe out the tender tale, Does a' his weary carking cares beguile, Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the ev'nAn' makes him quite forget his labour and his toil.

ing gale." Belyve the elder bairns come drappin in,

Is there, in human form, that bears a heart-
At service out, amang the farmers roun';

A wretch ! a villain! lost to love and truth!
Some ca’ the pleugh, some herd, some lentie rin That can, with studied, sly, ensnaring art,
A cannie errand to a neebor town:

Betray sweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth?
Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman grown, Curse on his perjur'd arts! dissembling smooth!

In youthfu' bloom, love sparkling in her e'e, Are honour, virtue, conscience, all exil'd ?
Comes hame, perhaps, to shew a braw new gown, Is there no pity, no relenting ruth,
Or deposite her sair-won penny-fee,

Points to the parents fondling o'er their child? To help her parents dear, if they in hardship be. Then paints the ruin'd maid, and their distraction

wild! Wi' joy unfeign'd brothers and sisters meet,

An' each for other's weelfare kindly spiers; But now the supper crowns their simple board!
The social hours, swift-wing'd, unnotic'd fleet; The halesome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food:
Each tells the uncos that he sees or hears;

The soupe their only hawkie does afford,
The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years;

That 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cud:
Anticipation forward points the view.

The dame brings forth in complimental mood,

« ElőzőTovább »