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His plume, his note, his form, could Burns
For whim or pleasure change; He was not one, but all by turns,
With transmigration strange.
The Blackbird, oracle of spring,
When flowed his moral lay ;
The Swallow wheeling on the wing,
Capriciously at play:
The Humming.bird, from bloom to bloom
Inhaling heavenly balın;
The Raven in the tempest's gloom ;
The Halcyon in the calm:
In “auld Kirk Alloway," the Owl,
At witching time of night;
By “bonnie Doon," the earliest Fowl
That carolled to the light.
He was the Wren amidst the grove,
When in his homely vein;
At Bannockburn the Bird of Jove,
With thunder in his train:
The Wood-lark in his mournful hours;
The Goldfinch in his mirth; The Thrush, a spendthrift of his powers,
Enrapturing heaven and earth:
The Swan, in majesty and grace,
Contemplative and still ;
But roused, no Falcon in the chase
Could like his satire kill.
The Linnet in simplicity,
In tenderness the Dove;
But more than all beside was he
The Nightingale in love.
Oh! had he never stooped to shame,
Nor lent a charm to vice,
How had devotion loved to name
That Bird of Paradise !
Peace to the dead !-In Scotia's choir
Of Minstrels great and small,
He sprang from his spontaneous fire,
The Phænix of them all,
WRITTEN IN BEHALF OF A SOCIETY FOR RELIEVING DIS
TRESSED FEMALES IN THE FIRST MONTH OF THEIR
WIDOWHOOD, TO SAVE THEIR LITTLE HOUSEHOLDS FROM
BEING BROKEN UP BEFORE THEY CAN PROVIDE MEANS
FOR THEIR FUTURE MAINTENANCE.
“The short and simple annals of the poor."-GRAY.
Mine is a tale of every day,
Yet turn not thou thine ear away ;
For 't is the bitterest thought of all,
The wormwood added to the gall,
That such a wreck of mortal bliss,
That such a weight of woe as this,
Is no strange thing; but, strange to say,
The tale, the truth, of every day.
At Mary's birth her mother smiled
Upon her first, last, only child;
And, at the sight of that young flower,
Forgot the anguish of her hour;
Her pains returned; she soon forgot
Love, hope, joy, sorrow:-she was not!
Her partner stood, like one berest
Of all :-not all—their babe was left;
By the dead mother's side it slept,
Slept sweetly; when it woke, it wept.
“ Live, Mary, live! and I will be
Father and mother both to thee!”
The mourner cried, and, while he spako
His breaking heart forebore to break:
Faith, courage, patience, from above,
Flew to the help of fainting love.
While o'er his charge that parent yearned,
All woman's tenderness he learned,
All woman's waking, sleeping care,
That sleeps not to her babe ; her prayer,
Of power to bring upon its head
The richest blessings Heaven can shed;
All these he learned, and lived to say,
“My strength was given me as my day."
Mary from childhood rose to youth,
In paths of innocence and truth:
Trained by her parent, from her birth,
To go to heaven by way of earth,
She was to him, through downward life,
Both as a daughter and a wife.
Meekness, simplicity, and grace,
Adorned her speech, her air, her face:
The soul shone through its earthly mould,
Even as the lily's leaves unfold;
While beauty opened on the sight,
Like a star trembling into light.
Love found that maiden: Love will find
Way to the coyest maiden's mind;
Love found and tried her, year by year,
With hope deferred and boding fear :
To the world's end her hero strayed ;
Tempests and calms his bark delayed :
What then could her heart-sickness soothe?
“ The course of true love ne'er ran smooth!"
Her bosom ached with drear suspense,
Till sharper trouble drove it thence:
Affliction smote her father's brain,
And he became a child again ;
Ah! then the prayers, the pangs, the tears,
He breathed, felt, shed, o'er her young years,
That duteous daughter well repaid,
Till in the grave she saw him laid
Beneath her mother's churchyard stone:
There first she felt herself alone;
But while she gazed on that cold heap,
Her parents' bed, and could not weep,
A still, small whisper seemed to say,
Strength shall be given thee as thy day." Then rushed the tears to her relief, A bow was in the cloud of grief.
Her wanderer now, from clime to clime, Returned, unchanged by tide or time, True as the morning to the sun : Mary and William soon were one; And never rang the village bells With sweeter falls or merrier swells Than when the neighbours, young and old, Stood at their thresholds to behold And bless them, till they reached the spot, Where woodbines girdled Mary's cot; And there, no longer forced to roam, William found all the world at home; Yea, more than all the world beside, A warm, kind heart to his allied.
Twelve years of humble life they spent, With food and raiment well content : In flower of youth and flush of health, They envied not voluptuous wealth; The wealth of poverty was theirs, Those riches, without wings or snares, Which honest hands, by daily toil, May dig from every generous soil. A little farm while William tilled, Mary her household cares fulfilled ; And love, joy, peace, with guileless mirth, Sate round their table, warmed their hearth; Whence rose, like incense to the skies, Morning and evening sacrifice, And contrite spirits found in prayer That home was heaven, for God was there.
Meanwhile, the May-flowers on their lands Were yearly plucked by younger hands; New-comers watched the swallows float, And mocked the cuckoo's double note; Till head o'er head, a slanting line, They stood-a family of nine, That might be ten; but ere that day The father's life was snatched away; Faint from the field one night he came; Fever had seized his sinewy frame, And left the strong man, when it passed, Frail as the sere leaf in the blast; A long, long winter's illness bowed His head; spring daisies decked his shroud.
Scarce was he buried out of sight,
Ere his tenth infant sprang to light;
And Mary from her childbed throes
To instant, utter ruin rose.
Harvests had failed, and sickness drained
Her frugal stock-purse, long retained ;
Rents, debts, and taxes, all fell due,
Claimants were loud, resources few,
Small and remote: yet time and care
Her shattered fortunes might repair,
If but a friend, a friend in need--
Such friend would be a friend indeed !
Would, by a mite of succour lent,
Wrongs irretrievable prevent:
She looked around for such a one,
And sighed, but spake not—“Is there none?"
Ah! if he come not ere an hour,
All will elapse beyond her power;
And homeless, helpless, hopeless, lost,
Mary on this cold world be tossed,
With all her babes!
Came such a friend ?--I must not say;
Mine is a tale of every day;
But visit thou, in their distress,
The widow and the fatherless,
And thou shalt know the worst of all,
The wormwood mingled with the gall;
And thou shalt find such woe as this,
Such breaking up of earthly bliss,
Is no strange thing, but, strange to say,
The tale, the truth, of every day.
Go, VISIT THOU, in their distress,
The WIDOW and the FATHERLESS.
(Imitated from the Italian of P. Salandri.) THE more divinely beautiful thou art, Lady! of love's inconstancy beware; Watch o'er thy charms, and with an angel's care, Oh, guard thy maiden purity of heart;