Immagini della pagina

But not for panegyric I appear,

I come to wish you all a good New Year!
Old Father Time deputes me here before ye,
Not for to preach, but tell his simple story:
The sage, grave Ancient cough'd, and bade me say,
"You're one year older this important day,"
If wiser too-he hinted some suggestion,

But 'twould be rude, you know, to ask the question;
And with a would-be-roguish leer and wink,

Said "Sutherland, in one word, bid them THINK!"

Ye sprightly youths, quite flush with hope and spirit,
Who think to storm the world by dint of merit,
To you the dotard has a deal to say,

In his sly, dry, sententious proverb way!
He bids you mind, amid your thoughtless rattle,
That the first blow is ever half the battle;

That tho' some by the skirt may try to snatch him,
Yet by the forelock is the hold to catch him;
That whether doing, suffering, or forbearing,
You may do miracles by persevering.

Last, tho' not least in love, ye youthful fair,
Angelic forms, high Heaven's peculiar care!
To you old Bald-pate smoothes his wrinkled brow,
And humbly begs you'll mind the important-Now!
To crown your happiness he asks your leave,
And offers, bliss to give and to receive.

For our sincere, tho' haply weak endeavours, With grateful pride we own your many favours; And howsoe'er our tongues may ill reveal it, Believe our glowing bosoms truly feel it.


Sketch-New Year's Day [1790].1

To Mrs Dunlop.

THIS day, Time winds th' exhausted chain; To run the twelvemonth's length again:

I see, the old bald-pated fellow,

With ardent eyes, complexion sallow,
Adjust the unimpair'd machine,
To wheel the equal, dull routine.

The absent lover, minor heir,

In vain assail him with their prayer;
Deaf as my friend, he sees them press,
Nor makes the hour one moment less,
Will you (the Major's with the hounds,
The happy tenants share his rounds;
Coila's fair Rachel's care to-day,

And blooming Keith's engaged with Gray)
From housewife cares a minute borrow,
(That grandchild's cap will do to-morrow,)
And join with me a-moralizing:
This day's propitious to be wise in.

First, what did yesternight deliver?
" Another year has gone for ever."
And what is this day's strong suggestion
"The passing moment's all we rest on!"
Rest on-for what? what do we here?
Or why regard the passing year?
Will Time, amus'd with proverb'd lore,
Add to our date one minute more?
A few days may-a few years must-
Repose us in the silent dust.
Then, is it wise to damp our bliss?
Yes-all such reasonings are amiss!
The voice of Nature loudly cries,

1 The year of composition is uncertain

And many a message from the skies,
That something in us never dies:
That on this frail, uncertain state,
Hang matters of eternal weight:
That future life in worlds unknown
Must take its hue from this alone;
Whether as heavenly glory bright,
Or dark as Misery's woeful night.

Since then, my honour'd first of friends,
On this poor being all depends,

Let us th' important now employ,

And live as those who never die.

Tho' you, with days and honours crown'd,
Witness that filial circle round,
(A sight life's sorrows to repulse,
A sight pale Envy to convulse),
Others now claim your chief regard;
Yourself, you wait your bright reward.

Scots Prologue for Mr Sutherland,

On his Benefit-Night, at the Theatre, Dumfries.1
WHAT needs this din about the town o' Lon❜on,
How this new play an' that new sang is comin ?
Why is outlandish stuff sae meikle courted?
Does nonsense mend, like brandy, when imported?
Is there nae poet, burning keen for fame,
Will try to gie us sangs and plays at hame?
For Comedy abroad he need na toil,

A fool and knave are plants of every soil;

1 "I was much disappointed, my dear Sir, in wanting your most agree. able company yesterday. However, I heartily pray for good weather next Sunday: and whatever aerial Being has the guidance of the elements may take any other half dozen of Sundays

he pleases, and clothe them with 'vapours and clouds and storms, until he terrify himself at the combustion of his own raising'-I shall see you on Wednesday forenoon. In the greatest hurry, &c.-R. B.-Monday Morning."


Nor need he hunt as far as Rome or Greece,
To gather matter for a serious piece;
There's themes enow in Caledonian story,
Would shew the Tragic Muse in a' her glory.—

Is there no daring Bard will rise and tell How glorious Wallace stood, how-hapless fell? Where are the Muses fled that could produce A drama worthy o' the name o' Bruce? How here, even here, he first unsheath'd the sword 'Gainst mighty England and her guilty Lord; And after mony a bloody, deathless doing, Wrench'd his dear country from the jaws of Ruin ! O for a Shakespeare, or an Otway scene, To draw the lovely, hapless Scottish Queen! Vain all th' omnipotence of female charms 'Gainst headlong, ruthless, mad Rebellion's arms: She fell, but fell with spirit truly Roman, To glut that direst foe-a vengeful woman; A woman, (tho' the phrase may seem uncivil,) As able and as wicked as the Devil! One Douglas lives in Home's immortal page, But Douglasses were heroes every age: And tho' your fathers, prodigal of life, A Douglas followed to the martial strife, Perhaps, if bowls row right, and Right succeeds, Ye yet may follow where a Douglas leads!

As ye hae generous done, if a' the land
Would take the Muses' servants by the hand;
Not only hear, but patronize, befriend them,
And where he justly can commend, commend them;
And aiblins when they winna stand the test,

Wink hard, and say "The folks hae done their best!"
Would a' the land do this, then I'll be caition,b
Ye'll soon hae Poets o' the Scottish nation
Will gar Fame blaw until her trumpet crack,
And warsle Time, an' lay him on his back!

[ocr errors]

⚫ perhaps.



• wrestle.

For us and for our Stage, should ony spier,a
"Whase aught thae chielsb maks a' this bustle here?"
My best leg foremost, I'll set up my brow-
We have the honour to belong to you!

We're your ain bairns, e'en guide us as ye like,
But like good mithers shored before ye strike;
And gratefu' still, I trust ye'll ever find us,
For gen'rous patronage, and meikle kindness
We've got frae a' professions, sorts and ranks:
God help us! we're but poor-ye'se get but thanks.

Lines to a Gentleman,

Who had sent the Poet a Newspaper, and offered to continue it free of Expense.1

⚫ ask.

KIND Sir, I've read your paper through,
And faith, to me, 'twas really new!
How guessed ye, Sir, what maist I wanted?
This mony a day I've grain'd and gaunted,e
To ken what French mischief was brewin;
Or what the drumlie Dutch were doin;
That vile doup-skelper, Emperor Joseph,
If Venus yet had got his nose off;
Or how the collieshangie works
Atween the Russians and the Turks,
Or if the Swede, before he halt,
Would play anither Charles the twalth;
If Denmark, any body spak o't;

Or Poland, wha had now the tack' o't:
How cut-throat Prussian blades were hingin;
How libbet Italy was singin;

If Spaniard, Portuguese, or Swiss,
Were sayin or takin aught amiss;
Or how our merry lads at hame,

In Britain's court kept up the game;

groaned and yawned.

[blocks in formation]

1 lease.

[blocks in formation]


1 This is Petor Stuart, editor of The Star.

d threaten.

h twelfth.

« IndietroContinua »