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THOU whom chance may hither lead,
Be thou clad in russet weed,
Be thou deck'd in silken stole,
Grave these counsels on thy soul.
Life is but a day at most,
Sprung from night, in darkness lost;
Hope not sunshine ev'ry hour,
Fear not clouds will always lour.
As youth and love with sprightly dance
Beneath thy morning star advance,
Pleasure with her syren air
May delude the thoughtless pair ;
Let prudence bless enjoynient's cup,
Then raptur'd sip, and sip it up.
As thy day grows warm and high,
Life's meridian faming nigh,
Dost thou spurn the humble vale ?
Life's proud summits. wouldst thou scale ?
Check thy climbing step, elate ;
Evil's lurk in felon wait :
Dangers, eagle pinion'd, bold,
Soar around each cliffy hold,
While cheerful peace with linnet song,
Chants the lowly delis among.
As the shades of evening close,
Beck’ping thee to long repose ;
As life itself becomes disease,
Seek the chimney-nook of ease.
There ruminate with sober thought,
On all thou'st seen, and heard, and wrought ;
Aod teach the sportive youngers round,
Saws of experience, sage and sound.
Say, man's true genuine estimate,
The grand criterion of his fate,
Is not, art thou high or low?
Did thy fortune ebb or tow?
Did many talents gild thy span ?
Or frugal nature grudge thee one ?
Tell them, and press it on thy mind,
As thou thyself must shortly find,
The smile or frown of awful Heay'n,
To virtue or to vice is giv'n.
Say, to be just, and kind, and wise,
There solid self-enjoyment lies :
That foolish, selfish, faithless ways
Lead to the wretched, vile, and base.
Thus resign'd and quiet, creep
To the bed of lasting sleep :
Sleep, whence thou shalt ne'er awake,
Night, where dawn shall never break,
Till future life, future no more,
To light and joy the good restore,
To light and joy unknown before.
Stranger, go! Heav'n be thy guide!
Quod the beadsman of Nith-side.
SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF MRS.
DWELLER in yon dungeon dark,
Hangman of creation, mark !
Who in widow weeds appears,
Laden with unhonour'd years,
Noosing with care a bursting purse,
Baited with many a deadly curse ?
View the wither'd beldam's face
Can thy keen inspection trace
Aught of humanity's sweet melting grace
Note that eye, 'tis rheum o'erflows,
Pity's flood there never rose.
See those hands ne'er stretch'd to save,
Hands that took-but never gave.
Keeper of Mammon's iron chest,
Lo, there she goes, uppitied and unblest;
She goes, but not to realms of everlasting
Plund'rer of armies, lift thine eyes,
(Awhile forbear, ye torturing fiends,)
Seest thou whose step, unwilling, hither bends ?
No fallen angel, burl'd from apper skies ;
'Tis thy trusty quondam mate,
Doom'd to share thy fiery fate,
Sbe, tardy, bell-ward plies.
And are they of no more avail,
Ten thousand glittring pounds a-year ?
In other words, can Mammon fail,
Omnipotent as he is here?
O bitter mock’ry of the pompous bier,
While down the wretched vital part is driv'n!
The cave-lodg'd beggar, with a conscience
Expires in rags, unknown, and goes to Heav'n.
LATE crippled of an arm, and now a leg,
About to beg a pass for leave to beg;
Dull, listless, teas'd, dejected, and deprest,
(Nature is adverse to a cripple's rest ;)
Will gen'rous Graham listen to his poet's wail ?
(It soothes poor misery, heark’ning to her tale,)
And hear him curse the light he first survey'd,
And doubly curse the luckless rhyming trade.
Thou, Nature, partial Nature, I arraigo !
Of thy caprice maternal I complain.
The lion and the bull thy care have found,
Que shakes the forests, and one spurns the ground:
Thou giv'st the ass his hide, the snail bis shell,
Th' envenom’d wasp victorious guards his cell.---
Thy minions kings defend, controul, devour,
In all th' omnipotence of rule and pow'r.-
Foxes and statesmen subtile wiles ensure :
The cit and polecat stink, and are secure.
Toads with their poison, doctors with their drug,
The priest and hedgehog, in their robes, are soug,
Ev'n silly woman has her warlike arts,
Her tongue and eyes, her dreaded spear and darts.
But oh! thou bitter step-mother and hard,
To thy poor, fenceless, naked child-the Bard !
A thing unteachable in this world's skill,
And half an idiot too, more helpless still.
No heels to bear bim from the opening dun;
No claws to dig, his hated sight to sbun;
No horns but those by luckless Hymen worn,
And those, alas! not Amalthea's horn:
No nerves olfact'ry, Mammon's trusty cur,
Clad in rich dulness' comfortable fur.
In naked feeling, and in aching pride,
He bears th' unbroken blast from ev'ry side :-
Vampyre booksellers drain him to the heart,
And scorpion critics cureless venom dart.
Critics-appall’d, I ventare on the name,
Those cut-throat bandits in the paths of fame :
Bloody dissectors, worse than ten Monros;
He hacks to teach, they mangle to expose.
Ilis heart by causeless wanton malice wrung,
By blockhead's daring, into madness stung;
His well-worn bays, than life itself more dear,
By miscreants torn, who ne'er one sprig must wear;
Foil'd, bleeding, tortur'd in th' unequal strife,
The hapless poet flounders on through life.
Till fled each hope that once his bosom fir'd,
And Aed each muse that glorious once inspir'd,
Low sunk in squalid unprotected age,
Dead, even resentment, for his injur'd page,
He heeds or feels no more the ruthless critic's rage
So, hy some hedge, the gen'rous steed deceas'd,
For half-starv'd snarling curs a dainty feast;
By toil and famine worn to skin and bone,
Lies senseless of each tugging bitch's son.
O Dulness ! portion of the truly blest ! Calm shelter'd haven of eternal rest! Thy sons ne'er madden in the fierce extremes Of fortune's polar frost or torrid beams. If mantling high she fills the golden cup, With sober selfish ease they sip it up: Conscious the bounteous meed they well deserve, 'T'hey only wonder some folks do not starve.' The grave sage hern thus easy picks his frog, And thinks the mallard a sad worthless dog. When disappointment snaps the clue of hope, And through disastrous night they darkling grope, With deaf endurance sluggishly they bear, And just conclude, that fools are fortune's care.' So heavy passive to the tempest's shocks, Strong on the sign-post stands the stupid ox.
Not so the idle muses' mad.cap train, Not such the workings of their noon-struck brain ; Inequanimity they never dwell, By turns in soaring heav'n or vaunted hell.
I dread thee, Fate, relentless and severe, With all a poet's, husband's, father's, fear! Already one strong hold of hope is lost, Glencairn, the truly noble, lies in dust; (Fled, like the sun eclips'd as noon appears, And left us darkling in a world of tears :) O! hear my ardent, grateful, selfish pray'r! Fintra, my other stay, long bless and spare! Through a long life his hopes and wishes crown; And bright in cloudless skies his son go down ! May bliss domestic smooth his private path; Give energy to life ; and soothe bis latest breath, Circling with many a filial tear the bed of death!