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XXIX. THE MITHERLESS BAIRN.

Bairnie-diminutive of bairn, a | Airn-iron.

child.

Sairly forfairn-sorely distressed,

Frecky eager, ready.

Dowie-worn out with grief.

destitute.

Haps-wraps, covers up.

Lithless comfortless.
Siccan-such.

Clutches-i.e. pulls at his hair.
Lo'e-love.
Mools-earth.
Bannock-barley-cake.

Hackit heelies-heels chapped with Couthilie-kindly.

the cold.

WHEN a' ither bairnies are hushed to their hame
By aunty, or cousin, or frecky grand-dame,
Wha stands last an' lanely, an' sairly forfairn?
'Tis the puir dowie laddie—the mitherless bairn!
The mitherless bairnie creeps to his lane bed,
Nane covers his cauld back, or haps his bare head;
His wee hackit heelies are hard as the airn,
An' lithless the lair o' the mitherless bairn!

Aneath his cauld brow, siccan dreams hover there,
O' hands that wont kindly to kaim his dark hair!
But morning brings clutches a' reckless an' stern,
That lo'e na the locks o' the mitherless bairn!

The sister who sang o'er his saftly rocked bed,
Now rests in the mools where their mammie is laid;
While the faither toils sair his wee bannock to earn,
An' kens na the wrangs o' his mitherless bairn!

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Her spirit that passed in yon hour of his birth
Still watches his lone lorn wanderings on earth,
Recording in heaven the blessings they earn,
Wha couthilie deal with the mitherless bairn!

Oh! speak him na harshly-he trembles the while,
He bends to your bidding, and blesses your smile:
In their dark hour o' anguish the heartless shall learn,
That God deals the blow for the mitherless bairn!

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XXX.-THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT.

ROBERT BURNS was born January 25th 1759, in a clay-built cottage, raised by his father's own hands, on the banks of the Doon, in the district of Kyle, Ayrshire. At the age of six he was sent to school, and appears to have been a diligent little student. At an early age he assisted his father in his farming business, continuing his education at intervals. When about twenty, he composed several of the poems which afterwards distinguished his name. After various domestic trials, when on the point of leaving England for Jamaica, where he had got a situation, the publication of his poems awakened so much interest in their author, that he abandoned his purpose, and after an unsuccessful experiment in farming, obtained an appointment in the excise. He died at Dumfries, in the year 1796, at the early age of 37 years.

The following remarks are by Dr. Currie, the early biographer of Burns. "The Cotter's Saturday Night is tender and moral, solemn and devotional, and rises at length into a strain of grandeur and sublimity which modern poetry has not surpassed. The noble sentiments of patriotism, with which it concludes, correspond with the rest of the poem. In no age or country have the pastoral muses breathed such elevated accents, if the Messiah of Pope be excepted, which is indeed a pastora! in form only."

Sugh, means, the continued rush-
ing noise of wind or water.
Stacher-stagger.

Flichtering fluttering.
Ingle-fire.

Belyve-by and by.

Tentie-heedful, cautious.

Braw-fine, handsome.

Sair-sadly, sorely.

Spiers-inquires.

Uncos-news.

Gars-makes.

Claes-clothes.

Eydent-diligent.
Jauk-trifle.

Halesome-healthful, wholesome,
Hawkie-cow,

Hallan-a particular partition wall
in a cottage.
Cood-cud.

Weel-hain'd-well-spared.
Kebbuck-cheese.

Towmond-twelvemonth

Sin' lint was i' the bell-since the flax was in flower.

Big ha' Bible-the great Bible that
lies in the hall.

Lyart haffets-gray temples.
Wales-chooses.

Beets-adds fuel to fire.

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 Dad, wi' flichtering noise an' glee.

His wee bit ingle, blinkin' bonnily,

His clean hearth-stane, his thriftie wifie's smile,

The lisping infant prattling on his knee,

Does a' his weary carking cares beguile,
An' makes him quite forget his labour an' 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 neebor town:

Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman grown,
In youthfu' bloom, love sparkling in her e'e,
Comes hame, perhaps, to show a braw new gown,
Or deposit her sair-won penny-fee,

To help her parents dear, if they in hardship be.
Wi' joy unfeign'd brothers and sisters meet,
An' each for other's welfare kindly spiers:
The social hours, swift-winged, unnoticed 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 an' her shears,

Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new ;
The father mixes a' wi' admonition due.

Their maister's an' their mistress's command,
The younkers a' are warned to obey;
An' mind their labours wi' an eydent hand,
An' ne'er tho' out o' sight, to jauk or play :
"An' oh! be sure to fear the Lord alway,

An' mind your duty, duly, morn an' 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 now the supper crowns their simple board,
The halesome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food:

The soupe 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,
An' aft he's prest, an' aft he ca's it guid

The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell,

;

How 'twas 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, wi' patriarchal grace:

The big ha' Bible, ance his father's pride:
His bonnet rey'rently is laid aside,

His lyart haffets, wearing thin an' 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 chaunt 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 heav'nward flame,
The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays :
Compared with these, Italian trills are tame:

The tickled ears no heartfelt 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 Heav'n 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 Babylon's doom pronounc'd by Heav'n's command.

Then kneeling down to Heaven's Eternal King,

The saint, the father, and the husband prays:

X

Hope springs exulting on triumphant wing,
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.

Compared 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 Pow'r, incensed, the pageant will desert,
The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole ;
But haply, in some cottage far apart,

May hear, well pleased, the language of the soul; And in his book of life the inmates poor enrol.

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 Heav'n 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.

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, oh, may Heav'n 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-loved Isle.

O Thou! who pour'd the patriotic tide

That stream'd through Wallace's undaunted heart; Who dared to nobly stem tyrannic pride, Or nobly die, the second glorious part; (The patriot's God, peculiarly thou art,

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