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Ebenezer Bain
Sentimental Poems


11 Home Longings
12 Canada
13 Patriotism
14 Mount Royal Park
15 The Stormy Tryst
16 Molly
17 The Lovers
18 Bannockburn
19 A Lowland Lassie's Courtship
20 To the Month of May
21 Wild Flower Emblems of Scotland
22 "I'm Growing Old"
23 Annie Laurie
24 Lines to Ebenezer Bain, by T. H. Warren
25 Time is on the Wing, Robbie
26 Burns' Anniversary
27 The Impatient Lover
28 In Memoriam (King Edward VII)
29 Auld Reekie
30 Admonitions
31 Scotland
32 Canada (A Song)
33 A Song of Empire
34 A Highland Beauty
35 Memories Dear
36 My Mither's Sangs
37 The Lass that Danced Wi' Me
38 The Highland Soldier's Farewell
39 Some Philosophy
40 Sympathy
41 Annie
42 Truth
43 Anniversary of Burns' Birthday
44 On Receiving a Bunch o' Heather
45 The Tide will Turn By and By
46 The Egotist
47 Sympathy
48 Hope
49 Nearing the End
50 To a Favorite Canary Bird
51 Religion
52 The Old Songs
53 Sing the "Auld Scots Sangs"
54 Epistle to a Young Poet Friend
55 The Young Friend's Reply … Friendship
56 Additional lines from the Young Friend
57 England
58 Old Friends or Chums
59 English or British which?. . .
60 To My Granddaughter Hilda, in Vancouver


11

HOME LONGINGS

For my dear Scottish hame I'm longing,
But the ocean's wild waves row between;
In fancy, minutely and plainly,
Each familiar loved object is seen.
There father and brithers a-plowing,
And my mither a-milking the cows ;
Wee Kate, and old Rover, the collie,
Busy herding the sheep on the knowes.

And there stands the smith and the smiddy,
While the clear ringing anvil I hear;
The sparks from the white glowing iron
Strike the village school-children with fear.
The old dusty mill and the miller,
And the sound of the big water-wheel,
The loud quacking ducks in the mill-pond ;
Am I dreaming, or can it be real?

The old ivy-mantled kirk steeple,
p- Peeping up by the back of yon hill ;
The quiet churchyard in the valley,
Where it all is so peaceful and still.
But hark to that shout in the distance,
As it breaks on the silence once more!
The merry school-children come rushing,
All are shouting with glee from the door.

With their joy and laughter I waken,
And start up like as one in a spell,
My dreaming and fancies forsaken,
For awhile I must bid you farewell.
Some day, 'tis my heart's cherished notion,
And I steadfastly keep it in view,
I'll pack up and recross the ocean
To the dear ones at home, leal and true.

Till then I will cheerfully labour,
In the hope that success will await ;
He who with Dame Fortune would neighbour,
Must diligently court at her gate.
For though there are lands fair and nearer,
And both warmer and brighter their skies,
To me there are none that are dearer,
And that land is the goal that I prize.


12

CANADA

From broad Atlantic's stormy coast
To far Pacific's shore,
The great highway of Canada,
Four thousand mites and more.

Canadian lakes and rivers,
Like oceans, girt by land ;
And her mighty chains of mountains,
With alpine grandeur stand.

With a wealth of forest timber,
And mines of Klondike gold ;
And minerals rare, beyond compare,
Her great Northwest unfold.

Her boundless prairies of the West,
Where waves the golden grain ;
Enough and more, an ample store,
An empire to sustain.

And see the great St. Lawrence go,
Proud, rolling to the sea;
Bearing upon her bosom wide
The commerce of the free.

What altho' old Father Winter
O'er us his mantle throws ;
We love his bracing breezes, and
We love his frost and snows.

'Tis then the tinkling sleigh-bells all
Send out a merry peal ;
And traffic slides, and smoothly glides,
On shafts of polished steel.

And youths and maids, on pleasure bent,
Some on the snowshoe jogging,
Or clad in blanket, tuque and furs,
To shoot the swift toboggan.

And here strong Caledonian chiels
Uphold their ancient fame;
Wi' foes or frien's, for beef an' greens,
They play the "roarin' game."

Canadians need no armed hosts,
Or warships on the sea ;
Britannia rules the ocean wide,
What need we fearful be?

But yet should danger threaten us,
Or war-hawks screech and cry;
Twice fifty thousand armed Canucks
Would know the reason why.

Then my Lady of the Sunshine,
And "Lady of the Snows,"
You're lady of a great domain,
Whichever way it goes ;

For search on this terrestrial globe,
You will not find a spot
More favoured by kind nature's care,
Than just the land you've got.


13

PATRIOTISM

There is no man that's worth the name
(Most certainly no woman),
Except the hopelessly insane,
Or sordidly inhuman,
Who does not love his native land,
Where'er that land may be,
Whether upon its soil he stand,
Or soil beyond the sea.

The man who feels no patriot's pride,
No thrill of inspiration,
To love more dear than all beside
His country and his nation
Don't have him as a bosom friend,
He's centered all in Self;
He'll prove a false one in the end,
Though rich in this world's pelf.

And he who leaves without regret
His native land and kin,
Will prove a valueless asset
To the land that shelters him;
While he who mourns his cruel fate,
Exiled abroad to roam,
May rise to honours rich and great
In his adopted home.


14

MOUNT ROYAL PARK

Right Royal Mount, with verdure clad,
And crown'd with thousand varied trees,
That stretch their giant branches wide,
Stirr'd by the gentle summer breeze.

Where can be match'd such beauty rare,
As from thy graceful crest is seen?
A picture, so surpassing fair,
Just like a lovely summer dream.

From every point the wind can blow,
The north, the south, the east, or west;
The charm is such, you hardly know
Which pleasing prospect is the best.

The ample space, and varied scene,
Invite and please all sorts of men ;
The poet here may muse and dream,
The lover tell his tale again.

The Sports at golf, or baseball score,
In manly contests day by day;
The youngsters join the merry corps
In endless frolics bright and gay.

In many a sheltered, shady spot,
The family picnic may be seen ;
Their daily round of cares forgot
In present bliss of pastures green.

The people's heritage, Mount Royal,
All round thy base their homes are spread ;
There dwell in peace the sons of toil,
There rest in peace their silent dead.

Mount Royal, if some wise millionaire,
O'erburden'd with his hoards of gold,
Would say to thee, "I well could spare
What would enlarge, improve, uphold."

T' would be a truly grand donation,
Well worthy of a king of men ;
Whose name for many a generation
Would be extolled with loud acclaim.

But fair Mount Royal, I greatly fear,
For millionaires are scarce and shy;
Yet ne'er despair, luck may be near,
And may attend you by-and-bye.


15

THE STORMY TRYST

As gathering clouds presage a storm,
The howling winds are wild and eerie ;
Lightning, in weird fantastic form,
Shoots through the lift in angry fury.

While Mary, in her highland cot,
Dismay'd, beholds the tempest gather;
For trysted to the hour and spot,
With Donald Dhu, her faithful lover.

Of all the joys the heart can feel,
Or bliss supreme beyond expressing,
'Tis when two trysted lovers steal,
In gloaming hour, their love confessing.

Not only in the stately hall,
'Mong ladies and lords of high degree,
Does urchin Cupid's love-darts fall,
For he is a god of fancy free.

You find him in the shepherd's cot,
Among the blooming heath and heather;
Where in contentment with his lot,
Love binds the peasant with his tether.

So Donald, faithful to his tryst,
Just wraps him in his ample plaidie ;
Says, "Blow ye winds, and rain your worst,
I'll dare you for my Highland lassie!"

The doubling storm grows wild apace,
And fearful thunders roar and bellow;
The vivid lightning flashes chase,
And just as quick the darkness swallow.

Macbeth 's three weird and wizened hags,
Or Tarn o'Shanter's witches prancing
Around their cauldron charms in rags,
Or devilish jigs and hornpipes dancing,

Could not, by arts of charm or spell,
More mischief raise on land or ocean;
It must ha' been the de'il himsel
At work that night, I hae a notion.

That witchcraft can control the wind,
The deadly lightning or the thunder,
Our Donald's superstitious mind
Was just a wee inclined to wonder.

But yet his heart was stout and bold,
Far better charms than ale or whisky,
'Gainst ghaist or goblin, young or old,
Warlock or witch, howe'er so frisky.

But every dog must have his day,
The longest lane maun hae a turning;
Donald caught a cheerie ray
Frae a cottage window burning.

Now blessings on that kindly light,
Thanks to thee, my bonnie lassie;
Were I but through this stormy plight,
I'll pledge thee in a silver tassie.

At length he gained the welcome cot,
Safe and unscathed by weather witches;
And then the usual lover's lot
A glad exchange for bogs and ditches.


16



MOLLY

A little lass, of three or four,
Plays with her dolly on the floor,
As happy as can be.
Sweet lullabies and songs she sings,
And moves as if on fairy wings;
And none as gay as she.

She never tires the livelong day,
With her 'tis duty more than play
(Loving little Molly!)
And when the shades of evening close,
She, tired with nursing, seeks repose,
Her arms around her dolly.

And still her duties are not ended,
In sleep they are but half suspended ;
For while she sleeps she dreams.
Her little brain is busy scheming,--
Castles in the air she's dreaming,
For dolly still she schemes.

Ah! you little rosebud mother,
'Tis your destiny, --no other
Is so high or grand.
No sphere so noble, or so true,
As nature has designed for you, --
The noblest in the land.


17

THE LOVERS

Two lovers met upon a day
When Nature's charms were brightest;
Sweet flowers in rich profusion lay,
While lambkins gamboled light and gay,
And summer winds were lightest.

They sat them down, with right good will,
'Mong buttercups and clover,
And breathed in rapture soft and still,
And so of true love drank their fill,
While Cupid hovered over.

I could not hear what loving vows
They made to one another,
For bleating sheep and lowing cows,
Which fed among the verdant knowes,
Did all their whisperings smother.

But sure it was the same old tale
Told by the Ancients hoary,
That never has been known to fail,
But always potent to prevail, --
An ever-welcome story.

There is no bliss on earth so sweet,
No charm that's worth comparing
To this -- when two true lovers meet,
With fond embrace, in still retreat,
Their love eternal swearing.


18

Sept., 1918.

BANNOCKBURN

A Song

Men of Scotland, see advancing
Tyrant Edward's might;
Spearmen, bowmen, horsemen prancing,
Eager for the fight.
Down and ask for heaven's blessing,
Throw all fear away,
Draw your broadswords, onward pressing,
This is Scotland's day.
Shout the war-cry, "Bruce and Wallace!"
On to victory.

Think of wrongs and insults many,
Of your sons in chains ;
Of oppressions, cruel, bloody,
Of your wives and weans.
By the sacred love of freedom,
Strike with might and main ;
Send the tyrants reeling downwards,
Drive them back again.
Shout the war-cry, "Bruce and Wallace!"
Victory proclaim.

Shall our blood-bought rights be wrested
From our grasp like slaves?
Shall our homes and lands be wasted
By those Southern knaves?
By our hope of heaven's salvation,
By St. Andrew, No!
Better death or extirpation
Than the hateful foe.
Shout the war-cry, "Bruce and Wallace!"
Death in every blow.



19

Dec. 20th, 1899.

A LOWLAND LASSIE'S COURTSHIP

A Song

(Tune: "The Pride of Kildare.")

I.
A song to my Jessie, my young lowland lassie,
She's stolen my heart, and she reigns there the queen ;
Sae blythe and sae bonnie, I have not seen ony
Wi' smiles so enchanting, and laughing blue e'en.

Chorus:
Oh ! it's sweet in the gloaming, on moonlight nights roaming,
To tell out our loves, under some spreading tree;
It's the best gift of Heaven to mortals e'er given,
And that's just the feeling of Jessie and me.

II.
I'll love you forever, and never, no never,
Forget you my darling, so young and so fair ;
I will not deceive thee, you'll trust and believe me,
Then won't you for better or worse with me share?

Chorus:
Oh ! it's sweet in the gloaming, on moonlight nights roaming,
To tell out our loves, under some spreading tree;
It's the best gift of Heaven to mortals e'er given,
And that's just the feeling of Jessie and me.


20

July, 1918.

TO THE MONTH OF MAY

After the long, cold winter of 1917-18.

You are not come too soon,
Sweetest of all the year;
Clasping in one hand April's noon,
And in the other, leafy June,
With all their memories dear.

You bring the sparkling dew,
Where fairies love to dance;
And wild flowers, yellow, pink and blue,
And early sweets of Summer, too,
All eager to advance.

Your voice has melody,
To charm the dullest ear;
A subtle power to drive away,
Or, as a soothing lullaby,
To deaden weary care.

Oh ! would you longer stay,
You'd be a welcome guest.
Why so impatient to away?
Can naught entice you to delay
A little space, and rest?


21

WILD FLOWER EMBLEMS OF SCOTLAND

Thistle, Heather, Bluebells, Gowans.

The song of the thistle, with bristles to shield,
And protect its gay colours on mountain or field.
It says, "What we have we will hold" we won't yield;
So just have a care.
For he that attempts to pluck me is a chield
That had better beware.

But oh ! for the heather that covers our hills,
Where the bee gathers honey, and fragrance distills;
'Tis the emblem of health, strength and beauty, and fills
The heart of the Scot
With emotion that's potent to do as it wills,
And won't be forgot.

And what shall we say of the bonnie bluebells,
That so few of the flora of Scotland excels,
Whose haunts are the fountains, the rocks and the dells,
And steep mountain-passes?
They're the emblems of grace and endurance that dwells
In our ain highland lasses.

The wee modest flower, wi' the slender bit stem,
And leaves crimson-tipped the gowan, ye ken,
Sweet flower of our childhood, thou bonnie wee gem,
As pure as the snaw,
Beloved as much now as you used to be then,
A favourite wi' a'.


22

"I'M GROWING OLD"

A Cheerful Lament.

I'm growing old! I've had my day,
As every dog must have, they say;
And now downhill I take my way,
With many a sigh, --
As memory wakes the grave and gay
Of days gone by.

I've had my day, I've seen the play,
Like others who have passed away;
Nor care I to much longer stay
Upon the scene;
For, as the wisest man did say,
'Tis but a dream.

I've had my friends, I've had my foes,
My joys and pleasures, tears and woes,
My ups and downs, life's ebbs and flows,
Like other men;
With here a thorn, and there a rose,
Time and again.

Of work and care I've had my share,
Of cheerful hope, and dark despair,
Of dainty things, and common fare;
The average measure;
And something of life's wear and tear,
Jumbled together.

I've had my three-score years and ten,
The allotted span to mortal men;
Nor would I, if I could again,
The past live o'er;--
The hustling strife, the grief and pain,
I want no more.

I fear not death, his kindly arms
Will hush and soothe life's wild alarms;
The peaceful grave's quiet rest hath charms,
For all that weary;--
There troubles cease, and naught that harms
Can e'er come near thee.

Mourn not the dead ! lament for those
Who struggle hard 'gainst want and woes
That cruel inhuman men impose
On one another.
The dead in silent sweet repose,
Sleep on forever.


23

ANNIE LAURIE

New Version.*
*Note. This grand old song has often been objected to on account of the
second stanza: "Her neck is like the swan"; hence the suggested altera-
tion, made in all modesty, by E. B.

Maxwelton braes are bonnie, where early fa's the dew,
An' it's there that Annie Laurie gae'd me the promise true,-
Gae'd me the promise true, which ne'er forgot shall be,
An* for bonnie Annie Laurie I'd lay me down an' dee.

Her brow is like the snawdrift, sae pure, an' spotless white,
Her cheeks are blooming roses, that charm you with delight,
That charm you with delight, sae lovely 'tis to see,
That for bonnie Annie Laurie I'd lay me down an' dee.

Like dew on gowan lying, is the fa' o' her fairy feet,
And like summer breezes sighing, her voice is low an' sweet,
Her voice is low an' sweet, an' she's a' the world to me,
An' for bonnie Annie Laurie I'd lay me down an' dee.


24

LINES TO EBENEZER BAIN

Dear Friend, the Muse you happily have wooed,
In verse heroic, and in milder mood;
A tuneful lyre you touch in all your lays,
And music sweet, with tenderness, you raise.

I ween you find in poesy "the joy
Of working," and your talents thus employ
To beautify your own and kindred lives,
With all that means, in Life's activities.

There steals through many songs a subtle chord
Auld Scotia's highlands, glens and braes afford ;
While recollections of your childhood's lot,
In wistful whisperings, proclaim you Scot.

You do not emulate Anacreon,
In flow'ry epigrams of vinous tone:
Your sweetest lyrics are of simpler song,
And to this last your "Molly" doth belong.

The Songs of War, and warlike deeds, you give,
Are like the thunderbolts of Jove, and live
In all their majesty of fervid fire,
To urge the patriot, and brave deeds inspire.

Methinks perhaps I should apologize
For e'en attempting my poor eulogies
On what your fecund, florid art hath wrought,
But having supped, I must express my thought.

T. H. Warren
Sept. 19th, 1918.



25

TIME IS ON THE WING, ROBBIE - A DUET

Written for the Montreal Witness, June, 1898.

(Tune: "Annie's Tryst.'')

JEANIE :
Our time is on the wing, Robbie,
We're growing grey an' auld;
Our spring and summer's gane, laddie,
'Twill soon be winter cauld.

ROBBIE :
But winter has its charms, Jeanie,
As well as frost and snaw ;
And Christmas charms us a', lassie,
Though surly blasts may blaw.

JEANIE :
There's nae abiding here, Robbie,
We canna stem the tide ;
Sae we maun journey on, laddie,
Aye couthie, side by side.

ROBBIE:
Yes, we hae journeyed lang Jeanie,
And happy, side by side ;
Through ups an' downs an' a', lassie,
Did Providence provide.

JEANIE :
When wearied out at last, Robbie,
Our joys and sorrows end;
And native mother earth, laddie,
Her kindly arms extend,

ROBBIE :
We'll cheerfully resign, Jeanie,
To her our every care,
In hope to live again, lassie,
An' ne'er be parted mair.


26

BURNS' ANNIVERSARY

January 25th, 1892

Extract from the Montreal Gazette, November 16th, 1901....

"Burns' cottage at Ayrshire, and the adjoining monument
on the banks of the Doon, in Scotland, attract annually a
larger number of visitors than does any other literary shrine
in the United Kingdom. Last week, 45,100 tickets of admission
were sold, and the Ayr Town Council resolved to construct an
electric train service from the "auld toon" to the famous cottage,
a distance of two miles."

Beloved bard, we hail thy rising fame,
And bring another tribute to thy name.
As each successive natal day returns,
It adds new lustre to the name of Burns.
What is that subtle something, charm or spell,
(Ye philosophic sages, can ye tell?)
That binds a lowly peasant bard so strong,
In bands of love, to human hearts, with song?

While other poets, greater far than he,
In other lands and islands of the sea,
In days gone by, and e'en in modern days,
Have sung in higher flights and finer lays;
And many other honor 'd names appear
In Scottish scrolls of fame, to memory dear,
(T'would take too long the honor'd muse to tell,
From Ossian, down to Hogg and Motherwell,
And still of lesser lights are many more,
T'were easy task, indeed, to name a score,)
And yet, some virtue's lacking 'mong the lot,
And just that secret something Burns has got.

His scathing, strong protests, time and again,
Taught the labouring masses they were men ;
That poverty and toil, though hard to face,
Had still their recompense and no disgrace.
And when the tyrant came across his path,
He rose in all his grandeur, and his wrath.
With indignation flashing from his eye,
He'd ask the tyrant, just the reason why:
If nature destined man to be a slave,
Why then the love of independence give?
Not nature's law, but man's inhuman will,
Curses his fellow-man with many an ill.
The patriot inspires our admiration,
Spontaneous and void of affectation.
His big, warm heart went out to every race,
But in its centre, Scotland held its place.
Twas thus when he the cotter's life portrayed ;
With reverent mien, and fervently, he prayed
That Heaven would still dear Scotia's realm defend
From luxury's contagion, to the end.

It has been oft the source of disputation
'Mong some learn 'd folks of every age and station,
The power of Burns, in what it most consisted ;
And, truth to tell, we think they've mostly missed it.
'Twas not alone his patriotic fire,
His songs, his wondrous tales, or deep satire;
Nor kindly heart to note with watchful care
The "wee field-mouse," or helpless wounded hare,
But just (to give a simple estimation)
Of all those gifts, a wondrous combination.

There's one great end our hero's life effected,
Although the bard himself did ne'er suspect it;
And strange, that from a life of shade and storm,
Should come about the Scottish Kirk's reform.
'Tis strange, but true, and history proves it right,
Which shows the poet in another light:
He found the kirk and clergy of his day
Corrupt with cant and vile hypocrisy.
And straight, without conferring, pours his ire,
With indignation strong, and deep satire;
First from his bow he shot his "Holy Fair,"
Which sent the clergy fairly in despair;
"The Kirk's Alarm," "The Calf," and "Holy Willie,"
Just capped the climax quite, and knocked them silly.
Till sobered up from shame, and wild disorder,
They set themselves to put their house in order.

Someone has said (though I've forgotten who
That matters not, if what he said be true) :
"I care not who a country's laws indite,
If I her ballads and her songs may write."
The man was wise, and knew the power of song
To guide a people either right or wrong.
That nation's blest, indeed, whose songs inspire
To virtuous life, and patriotic fire.
Then as each wintry natal day returns,
With grateful hearts, will we remember Burns.


27

THE IMPATIENT LOVER

Please name the day, my fairest,
That I shall call thee mine;
And I with love sincerest,
My heart and soul resign.
I'm weary, weary waiting,
And wherefore this probating?
It's time that we were mating,
When two true hearts incline.

Why should we linger longer,
And waste our youthful prime?
Our love can ne'er be stronger
Than at the present time.
Why wait till we are older?
Our love may then be colder;
Impatience makes me bolder,
For true love is divine.

Youth is the time to marry,
All Nature doth agree;
Then, wherefore should we tarry?
Come, love, and wed with me.
We may be scant of treasure,
But, like a flowing river,
Our happiness will ever
Be boundless as the sea.

Come, leave the noisy city,
And to the woods away,
Where Nature smiles, so pretty,
And flowers are fresh and gay.
We'll cull bouquets and posies,
Forget-me-nots and roses,
Until the daylight closes
A loving holiday.

Good folks may think this folly,
Turn up their eyes and sigh, --
In righteous melancholy,
In holy terror fly.
Who never felt the flashes
From eyes of bonnie lasses,
Are naught but senseless asses,
And should lie down and die.


28

IN MEMORIAM
King Edward VII.

"All is over, but I've done my duty,"
Were the last words our great King Edward said;
More noble words of truth and beauty
Could not be told, of living man, or dead.

Not long thy reign, but noble, wise and good, --
Thy motto, "Peace on earth, good-will to man":
Thou wert a prince of peace, who understood,
And practised skillfully the heavenly plan.

Thou wert a king of kings, beloved by all,
Who ne'er forgot the dignity of man ;
But lived and moved to serve both great and small,
With tact and grace, e'er since thy reign began.

When war-clouds threatened, or when war-lords frown'd,
Or mailed fists were raised on high ;
Then, all alert, to face the danger, found
Our Edward to the rescue quickly fly.

Thy people's sports and pastimes found in thee
A champion supporter and a friend ;
At race-course, on the lawn, or on the sea,
With keen enjoyment, watching to the end.

A patron of the fine arts and the stage,
He ever aimed to elevate or mend it;
No readier hand to help, in any age,
Was to the struggling student e'er extended.

Great Windsor, now thy gates wide open fling
To shelter him as thy most honour'd guest;
With mournful, bleeding hearts, our King we bring,
And lay him gently down to sleep and rest.


29



EDINBURGH
or, "Auld Reekie."

Auld Reekie, Caledonia's pride,
So dignified you stand ;
With ancient Athens oft compared,
Sae classic, and sae grand.
Your grim old giant castle rock,
Your palaces and towers;
The scenes of knightly chivalry,
Among your ruling powers.

Your Calton Hill, and Holyrood,
Wi' Arthur's Seat sae fine;
Your courts of law, and halls of art,
Wi' famous annals shine.
For everything the heart can crave,
Auld Reekie can supply;
E'en from the cradle to the grave, --
That, no one can deny.

For jolly, hearty, honest folks,
For school and college classes;
For sturdy, manly-hearted men,
As well as bonnie lasses ;
Auld Reekie, Caledonia's pride,
Wi' ancient honours crown'd; --
Wealth, learning, culture, side by side,
And hand-in-hand are found.

Edina, dear! my childhood's home,
Romantic, beautiful,
Accept from me, since forced to roam,
My homage dutiful.

Long may your city fathers guard,
With zealous, watchful care,
Her name and fame, and, as reward,
Her children's blessing share.

Now, for my closing verse, a toast,
And it shall be "Auld Reekie!"
With heart and voice, but not with boast,
Old Edinburgh City.


30

ADMONITIONS

Mortals! list Ye to wisdom's voice,
And let her counsels be your choice;
Experience only teaches fools,
Harsh, stern, and bitter are her rules.
Your life is like an April day,
Sunshine and cloud, and then away.
Let youth delight in pleasures gay;
For nature's law asserts its sway.
Yet, moderate with prudent care,
If still continued joys you'd share.
Live well today, not yours tomorrow,
Its cares can only bring you sorrow.
Look not for pleasures every hour;
Vexatious clouds will surely lower.

When ruthless Time, which knows no wait,
Brings youth to the meridian state,
If then ambition fire thy soul,
And to have power or wealth thy goal,
Or, if to carve thyself a name,
Upon the envied scroll of fame;
Then pause and think, how dire the fate
Of crowds who would be rich and great;
Yet let not cowardly fear control
The generous impulse of thy soul ;
For 'tis legitimate and right,
Your aims be high your hopes be bright.
Then should success at last attend,
And fickle fortune prove a friend;
Still, curb with cautious manly care,
And rest contented with your share.

And as old age creeps on apace,
With furrowed lines upon thy face,
Then hie thee to thine easy chair,
And for declining years prepare.
Be yours the pleasant task to raise
The youthful mind in manly ways ;
Say, "Be not prodigal of time,
But prize, Oh ! prize your early prime,
More precious far thy youthful hours
Than gold, or pearls, or summer showers,
Be honest worth your chief regard ;
And virtue brings its own reward."
That noble men and women true,
The humblest walks of life pursue.
That 'tis not, are you rich or poor?
But, have you courage to endure?
It is not... "Well, I mean to try,"
But purpose stern to do or die;
Not, are you weak or are you strong?
But have you grit to hold along ?
When with these precepts full in view,
Then you may every foe subdue.


31

May, 1898.

SCOTLAND

My native land, it is of thee
I'm ga'en tae sing.
I couldna' hae a better theme,
Sae I'll begin.

Ye do-na' cover muckle space,
But then, O my!
You've got a famous history ---
None can deny.

I've heard it said, but I'm no sure
If that be sae,
That Gaelic was the language spoke
In Adam's day.

But whether that be so or no,
I ken fu' weel
It would hae suited him as weel's
Another chiel.

When first the Romans faced your sons,
Long while ago !
They found that they had met at last
A worthy foe.

From then till now, in many a fray,
Hae ye been seen;
Both civil wars, an' foreign wars,
Enough, I ween.

Your English friends across the Tweed
Ken now fu' weel
In you they've got a friend, indeed,
As true as steel.

But long and fierce the conflict waged,
'Tween them and you,
Till common sense convinced you both
It would not do.

And now, for several hundred years,
John Bull and Sandy
Hae been as pat as Pat can be,
An' sweet as candy.

Your sons have ever foremost been
In every cause
That tends to bless the human race,
And make good laws.

Then here's to dear auld Scotland, boys,
Her hills an' heather!
Three cheers, with Highland honours, give --
And all together.


32

CANADA

(A Song)

(Tune: "Slave Chase.")

A Song for Canada, my lads, come sing with hearty glee,
Haunt of the busy beaver and home of the maple tree.
Of mighty lakes and mountains, and of forests vast and grand,
And boundless fertile prairies, and richest min'ral land.

Here dwell in peace and harmony a vigorous, hardy lot, --
"Baptiste," John Bull and Irish Pat, the Welshman and the Scot.
Tho' crowds from other nations are just pouring in galore,
Yet there is room in Canada for many millions more.

Those sturdy men from other lands, all aiming to excel,
In friendly rivalry join hands, and seem to like it well.
The British Constitution, the Union Jack unfurled,
Are loved and venerated as the best in all the world.

Where Jack's as good's his master, if he fears not honest toil,
As laborer, mechanic, or as tiller of the soil.
Where "a man's a man for a' that," is true in Canadee,
The land of peace and plenty, and the gloriously free.


33

March, 1900.

A SONG OF EMPIRE

I
Three cheers for Merry England!
Whose emblem is the rose,
The ruler of the ocean,
As all the wide world knows;
The terror of the tyrant,
The champion of the free,
And mother of great nations
Across the mighty sea.

Chorus:
The British Union Jack, boys:
Long may the old flag wave,
The pride of every freeman,
The hope of every slave.

II
The stalwart men of Scotland,
With sinews like the oak,
Who never yet were conquer 'd,
Or bowed to foreign yoke.
Her sons lead on in every land,
To civilize and cheer;
In science or mechanics, aye,
A sturdy pioneer.

Chorus:

III
Hurrah for dear old Ireland!
The Emerald fresh and fair;
Of poets, soldiers, orators,
She boasts a goodly share.
Her boys are men of muscle,
As well as mother wit;
They're just the lads to hustle,
And sure they'll never quit.

Chorus:

IV
And here's our loyal Colonies,
All o'er the wide, wide world;
Whose glory is the Empire
And Union Jack unfurl'd.
Let envious nations threaten, --
E'en let them rage and cry;
The British Lion and his Whelps
Can all their craft defy.

Chorus:


34

July, 1898.

A HIGHLAND BEAUTY

(Tune: "Afton Water.")

Oh! blithe is the blink o' your bonnie blue e'e,
Sweet maid o' the Highlands, sae joyous an' free;
While nature's own charms, combined with your own,
Are more lovely, by far, than they could be alone.

The notes of the lark, as she springs frae the corn,
Or the bullfinch and thrush, in the sweet early morn;
Tho' they charm and delight, yet they cannot compare
With thy songs, Highland lassie! sae sweet an' sae fair.

The wild flowers, the bluebells, and heather adorn
The hills and the glens where this lassie was born ;
But nae flower o' the forest, or mountain, or stream,
Can e'er hope to vie with my sweet Highland queen.

Sae stately her step, yet so modest her mien,
You'd have to search far e'er her match could be seen;
While her bright golden locks, floating free in the air,
Crown a form of perfection and beauty so rare.

And yet, tho' the charms of this sweet Highland lass
You'd find hard to equal, much less to surpass, --
She has one beauty more, a kind womanly heart,
Free from envy or intrigue, and flattery's art.

He will fortunate be who wins you for his bride,
You will grace and adorn where'er you preside;
If sincerity's wish can e'er bring it to pass,
Then may good luck attend you, my sweet Highland lass.


35

MEMORIES DEAR

(Tune: "Monmouth")
Man's life but a day---morn, noon, night.

The shades of night are falling fast,
And life's short term will soon be past;
For all things change and pass away,
Such is the portion here of Man --
A checker 'd, changeful, short-lived span,
We strut like actors in a play.

Sweet memories dear, of long ago,
Oh, can I e'er forget you? No!
While life, and thought, and being last,
These visions dear of "Auld lang syne"
Around my very heart entwine,
And I would love and hold them fast.


36

May, 1898.

MY MITHER'S SANGS

My mither's sangs, my mither's sangs, I think I hear them still;
Sweet memories o' my childhood ! my very soul they thrill ;
They bring me back my youthfu' days, and make me young once more,
As I lilt the auld Scotch sangs again, my mither sang before;
As I lilt the auld Scotch sangs again, my mither sang before.

She sang "The Bonnie Brier Bush," and "Scotland's Hills For Me,"
"For Bonnie Annie Laurie, I'd lay me doon an' dee";
"Auld Robin Grey" and "Bonnie Doon," and "Jock o'Hazeldean,"
And mony other Scottish gems, she sang fu' sweet, I ween;
And mony other Scottish gems, she sang fu' sweet, I ween.

"The Auld House" and "The Rowan Tree," and "Mary o' Argyle,"
Wi "Scots Wa Hae," and "Duncan Gray," that ilka heart beguile;
They mak the gloomy day grow bricht, and cheer the weary hour;
Oh! sing once more the auld Scotch sangs, my mither sang of yore;
Oh ! sing once more the auld Scotch sangs, my mither sang of yore.


37

THE LASS THAT DANCED WI' ME

(Tune: "When the Kye Comes Hame")

I
I'm thinking o' the bonnie lass
That danced yestre'en wi me;
Her beauty did all else surpass,
In that gay companie.
And though her kin are gentlefolks,
Nae saucy pride has she,
But laughed sae bright and cracked her jokes --
The lass that danced wi' me.

Chorus:
The lass that danced wi' me --
The lass that danced wi' me --
But laughed sae bright and cracked her jokes --
The lass that danced wi' me.

II
She glides like ony fairy queen,
Sae light her footsteps fa' ;
Her equal I hae never seen,
She fairly dings them a'.
My heart's she's surely stown awa --
For her I'd live or dee,
The bonniest lass that e'er I saw --
The lass that danced wi' me.

Chorus:

III
I hae seen mony a lovely maid,
And mony a comely face,
But all are fairly in the shade,
Compared wi' her for grace.
Altho' I ne'er can call her mine,
For that can never be,
I'll ne'er forget the blissful time
Wi' the lass that danced wi' me.

Chorus:


38

For the Montreal Witness, Oct., 1899.

SONG THE HIGHLAND SOLDIER'S FAREWELL

(Tune: "Robin Adair")

Farewell, my highland hame,
A long farewell ;
May I return again,
Ah! who can tell!

Oh ! but my heart is wae ;
Good-bye is hard to say,
But time brooks no delay,
Farewell, farewell!

Hark! 'tis the bugle's trill,
Loudly and clear,
And the wild war-pipes' shrill
Falls on my ear;

On Afric's distant shore,
'Mid war's wild din and roar,
Dear land, I'll love thee more,
Farewell, farewell!

But if kind fortune wills,
I shall return
To my loved heather hills,
No more to mourn.

When war's wild blasts blow by,
No more the heaving sigh,
Or the sad parting cry,
Farewell, farewell!


39

SOME PHILOSOPHY

WHAT folly 'tis to groan and sigh ; --
Sing while you may, death may be nigh.
Life at its best is but a span ; --
Eat, drink, be merry, if you can.
You may have three-score years and ten;
But ne'er will pass this way again.
What signifies the life of man,
If spent in humdrum joyless plan?
Catch Pleasure's smiles before she passes,
With merry mates and winsome lasses,
At festive board or merry dance,
Before the "evil days" advance.
But shun all gloomy, priestly fools,
With all their churchly craft and tools.
We crave no Heaven, we fear no Hell;
We scorn their ban, by book or bell.
We fear no vengeful, angry God,
Who loves to smite with chastening rod.
This world of ours is passing fair, --
Is there a better anywhere?
A Paradise restored again
'Twould be, had we but nobler men.
Till then, with laugh and song, go try
To make it better by-and-bye.


40

SYMPATHY

FOR those that strive, and do not win,
And those for friendship pining;
For all exiled from home and kin,
To dark despair resigning.

For those whose love, sincere and pure,
Has been but ill-requited :
Now sadly mourn the day and hour
Their marriage vows were plighted.

For all who strive for truth and right,
No matter where they lead ;
And valiantly maintain the fight,
In spite of priest or creed.

For those who labour, and who wait
On mortals in distress,
And deem it not a cruel fate
Their sufferings to redress.

For the hearts that break in sorrow,
With ne'er a friend to care;
Hopeless that a bright to-morrow
Can e'er be theirs to share.

Great expectations, lost and gone;
Hopes shattered in a day ;
And well-laid schemes that have gone wrong,
All swept like chaff away.

For all brave men and women who,
Striving with eager soul,
And with the envied prize in view,
Fall, almost at the goal.

Yon young athlete, so strong and proud,
Has vanquished every foe;
But now his crowning trial comes, --
He's vanquished and laid low.

Yon student in his college class,
The steps of Fame has climbed ;
But what avails, for now, alas!
His health is undermined.

For gentle, artless, trustful maid,
Pure as new fallen snow;
By heartless villainy betrayed,
A bruis'd flower bending low.

For old age stooping with a weight
Of struggle and of tears;
And naught in sight to compensate,
In their declining years.

For those whose lives, once a sweet song,
But now a mournful lay;
Once leaders in the merry throng,
Now, none so dull as they.

For all who strive and do not win,
A wreath of high renown ;
A song of sympathy we sing,
Though but a poet's crown.

Ah, me! the crowds that wildly fight
For baubles light as air;
That flash like wildfire in the night,
Then leave their dupes to stare.

For broken hearts, that all unknown,
O'er disappointments fret,
And bravely struggle all alone,
Their sufferings to forget.

The victor's and the hero's fame
Are sung both far and near ;
But fallen heroes only claim
The tribute of a tear.

For all in danger on the sea,
For all in cruel war;
For man or beast, where'er they be,
Whate'er their sufferings are.

I'd drop, e'en for Old Nick below,
A sympathizing tear;
For he has never had a show
To state his case, I fear.


41

ANNIE

(Scots Song).
(Tune: "Will ye no come back again?")

Annie, wi' the dark blue e'e,
Charming, lovely Annie,
I would live or die for thee,
Blythesome, winsome Annie.
Her gowden locks in ringlets fa'
O'er neck as white 's the driven snaw,
An' light an' saft her footsteps a',
A fairy tread has Annie.

With stately bearing, firm and free,
Bonnie, handsome Annie ;
Yet modest as a lass could be
Is this matchless Annie.
And O, her voice is sweet to hear;
Its cadence in the morning air,
Just like the mavis, rich and clear,
Enchants and charms me, Annie!

Annie has a kindly heart,
Gentle, loving Annie;
Free from vanity and art
Or caprice is Annie.
Though I can never call thee mine
For that were bliss almost divine;
May heaven's best blessings on you shine,
I wish sincerely, Annie.


42

TRUTH

Oh ! sacred Truth, when shall thy triumph be,
O'er falsehood, fraud and vile hypocrisy?
Thine is the power, and Thine alone, to free
The nations, long bound down in slavery.
Priest-craft and king-craft ever have combined
To hide Thee, and enslave the human mind.
Too well do history's dark pages tell
How this fair world has long been made a hell.
Churches and creeds have conjured false alarms,
And kept the world in conflict and in arms;
Millions of men have bled upon the field,
Some hateful lie to propagate or shield ;
As in the famed crusades, Christian and Turk,
The Cross and Crescent, in their bloody work.
And all for nothing, but a fake or myth
Designed by cunning craft to conjure with.

All Truth that science ever has revealed,
The Church has fought it, or would keep concealed,
But, time that changes everything we see,
(Yet cannot change such principles as Thee)
Is changing faith, by facts beyond a doubt
Which scientific research has found out;
And gladly do we hail thy rising light,
Chasing away the darkness of the night.
Not Very long ago, the Church could tell
You all you wanted about Heaven or Hell,
And other things as hard to understand,
With high authority, and Heaven's command ;
But now she acts as if she were in doubt,
Or like a person who has been found out.

Then on! great Truth, o'er every land and sea,
Till every nation knows, and honours Thee.
Only the freeman, whom the Truth makes free,
Can know the blessings of true liberty.


43

ANNIVERSARY OF BURNS' BIRTHDAY

Not with the breath of summer flowers,
Or gentle spring, returns
The advent of the natal day
Of honest Robbie Burns.

But aye the cauld and dreary sough,
Wi' blast o' snaw or rain,
Reminds each loving heart of him
We ne'er shall see again.

The auld clay biggin's feeble frame,
Preserved wi' zealous care,
Though all unconscious, tells the tale
Of him it cradled there.

A "but an' ben," mean roofed wi' straw,
And rudely floored wi' stone; --
The cattle on the neighbouring farms,
Can boast as good a home.

And yet within this modest house,
Amid a howling storm,
Nature's own bard, and Scotland's pride,
The people's friend, was born.

"Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon,"
That Robbie loved so well,
And you, ye silent songsters all,
Late singing in yon dell.

"How can ye bloom sae fresh an' fair,"
And sing so light and gay,
When he, who all your charms extolled,
Is silent, and away?

But still he lives, a vital power,
In Scotland's heart to-day;
His satires, songs and matchless tales,
Can never know decay.

The kirk's alarms, "The Unco Guid,"
(Oh! spare them, Rob, you ranter,)
Jock Hornbook's skill, "The Holy Fair,"
"The Deil," and "Tam o'Shanter."

And Holy Willie's rigmarole,
And prayer o' pious chaff;
And e'en the reverend gentleman
That preached about "The Calf."

His sturdy blows at cant and lies,
And organised oppression,
Have burst the slavish bonds of knaves,
And taught the rogues a lesson.

Then though the unco guid may sneer,
True manly men will mourn,
And credit Burns, as well as Knox,
E'en wi' the kirk's reform.


44

ON RECEIVING A BUNCH O' HEATHER

Another bonnie bunch o' heather!
Oh ! if I could but cut my tether
And hie me o'er the Atlantic sea,
Where ye were cut and sent to me.
Perhaps frae banks o' bonnie Tweed,
Where drowsy sheep and cattle feed,
And wily anglers deftly try,
Wi' rod and reel and crafty fly,
To hook the bonnie salmon trout,
And land the beauties safely out;

Or, maybe frae the Braes o' Mar,
Whar Charlie and his men o' war
Unfurled the standard to the breeze,
And solemn swore on bended knees
To bring King Jimmie back frae France,
And mak' the Hanoverians dance;
Or, mayhap 'twas frae Habbie's Howe,
Whar a' the sweets o' summer growe,
And bonnie lasses bleach their claes
By broomy knowes and verdant braes.

Or frae the bonnie banks o' Doon,
Where rose and woodbine sweetly bloom;
Where Scotland's sweetest bard was born,
Amidst a howling winter's storm.

But then, what's a' this silly clatter?
I'm sure it doesna muckle matter;
I needna fash a pinch o' snuff
Ye cam frae Scotland, that's enough.


45

THE TIDE WILL TURN BY AND BY

A Song.

Does life's road seem dark and drear?
Do you falter, faint and fear?
Take heart again, if you will try,
The tide will turn by and by.

Have your schemes gone all aglee,
Your fondest hopes eluded thee?
'Twill do no good to gloom and cry,
The tide will turn by and by.

Does fickle fortune on you frown,
Turns all your plans and prospects down, --
Seems bent to cross you and defy?
The tide will turn by and by.

Are you dowie, dull and sad,
In the blues and nearly mad?
Have your friends proved false or sly?
The tide will turn by and by.

Has love's labour all been lost?
Have your faithful vows been crossed?
Don't, like a fool, lament and sigh,
The tide will turn by and by.

As thunderstorms in angry roar,
Whose lightnings flash and waters pour,
Are follow'd by a cloudless sky,
So the tide will turn by and by.

With patient fortitude hold on,
And fickle fortune's smile ere long
Will glad your heart and testify,
The tide will turn by and by.


46

1898.

THE EGOTIST

He claims to be "a self-made man,"
An' wi' a pompous air,
Tells o' his wonderful success
In gathering in the gear.

He does 'na fash his thoom a bit,
An* gives nae thought ava
To bygone days and former scenes,
Or auld freens, far awa.

His soul (if he has gotten ane)
Is centred a' in self,
And how the siller may be got,
An' a' such other pelf.

The blue bells by the burnie side,
The heather on the hill,
The brier an' the sweet jasmine,
Their fragrance may distill;

The bonnie flowers may bud and bloom,
Their scent may fill the air;
But a' their sweets he views unmoved,
Or wi' a vacant stare.

There's something wrang wi' such a man,
It's pity mair than blame
Such cussed selfishness deserves;
Tho it's ugly a' the same.

From a' such narrow, heartless souls,
Good Lord deliverance gi'e;
And fra' such sordid, selfish ways,
May we be aye kept free.


47

SYMPATHY

A Song

(Tune: "Drink to me only with thine eyes.")

For all who strive and do not win
A wreath of high renown,
A song of sympathy we sing,
Though but a poet's crown.
The victor's and the hero's fame
Are sung both far and near;
But fallen heroes only claim
The tribute of a tear.

Great expectations, lost and gone,
Hopes shattered in a day;
And well-laid schemes, that have gone wrong,
All swept like chaff away.
Ah, me! the crowds that wildly fight
For baubles, light as air,
That flash like wildfire in the night,
And leave their dupes to stare.


48

HOPE

Oh, Hope! strong anchor of the human race,
That holds securely all humanity.
No hope -- 'twould be kin to insanity,
And life an aimless ignis fatuus chase.

Hope, like the morning star, shines ever bright,
Though often hid by clouds that intervene;
Through fits of dark despair, that come unseen,
Hope, like the morning star, shines ever bright.

Without thee, Hope, our lives were dark indeed,
This world would be a veritable hell ;
'T would be no place for loving hearts to dwell ; --
Without thee, Hope, our lives were dark indeed.

Hope, gentle Hope, shine on with cheerful gleam,
Queen o'er your sisters, Faith and Charity;
Thou gem of purest ray and rarity,
Hope, gentle Hope, shine on with cheerful gleam.


49

NEARING THE END

Slowly, but surely, and with steady trend,
We're slipping along to our journey's end,
We've passed by the milestone three-score and ten, --
Span of the pilgrimage given to men.
Less ready to talk, more willing to hear,
Enjoying a laugh, as well as good cheer.
Shunning the noise, and the hustle of life,
Discords of creeds, and political strife;
Not so determined to have our own way,
Willing to list to what other folks say.
No inclination to travel or roam,
Prizing more highly the comforts of home.
Thinking a lot of some things that are old,
Discounting some, as not being pure gold ;
Not taking kindly to everything new,
Yet willing to credit where credit is due.
Guard, not to assert, unless we are sure,
And what we don't like we try to endure.
Present time only is all that is mine,
Dear fellow mortal, 'tis all that is thine;
Prize it more highly, 'twill soon slip away,
Remember this: "Every dog has his day!"
Though checkered our lives, as most lives have been,
Not many run like a sweet summer dream.
Some sweets, some bitters, some ups and some downs;
Some joys, some sorrows, some smiles, and some frowns;
Some sunshine and shade, some laughter and gloom ; --
So will it be till we rest in the tomb.
Why so foolish as trouble to borrow?
Ours but to-day, 'tis future to-morrow.
Who would, if he could, want longer to stay,
When the friends he loves have all passed away ?
Rather, kind Nature, thy way is the best,
When feeble and old, with thee would we rest.
Kind Death will, in spite of all false alarms,
Soothe us to sleep in his kind loving arms.
There conflicts shall cease, and trouble be o'er,
Man's inhumanity harm us no more.
Now we have finished, and bid you adieu,
If aught we have said has helped or pleased you,
Be kind to the old folks passing away :--
Do not forget, "Every dog has his day!"


50

TO A FAVOURITE CANARY BIRD

Pretty golden feather'd darling,
Blithely singing all day long;
Sweet as any lark or starling,
Float your dulcet notes along.

You know neither care nor sorrow,
Though a prisoner in a cage;
What care you about to-morrow?
That does not your thoughts engage.

Ah! happy bird, would mortals learn,
"Now is the accepted time";
The present should our thoughts concern,
To-morrow is not yours nor mine.

In happy moments I have sung,
My whole heart with pleasure filled ;
But gloomy thoughts unbidden come,
Then my happiness is chilled.

Sing on, my little beauty, sing!
You are welcome, never fear;
For your sweet songs emotions bring,
Ehoes of the past, so dear.


51

RELIGION

Religion is grand, I admit,
When it is correctly defined;
It is not, I humbly submit,
Made plain to the average mind.

It does not mean bishops or priests,
Or reverends of any degree;
It does not mean fastings or feasts,
It should not cost money or fee.

No traffic for silver or gold,
Adorning of music or art;
'Tis not to be bartered or sold,

A thing of the head, and the heart.

It is not,-- "Do you believe this?"
It is not, -- "Do you believe that?"
Inquisitive questions dismiss,
As nothing but clerical chat.

Religion is truth, love, beauty
A trinity, nobly combined;
Bound by that little word duty :
A better you hardly can find.

'Tis,--"Do to others as ye would
That others should do unto you"; --
A rule that is golden and good,
And sound to the core, through and through.

Oh ! hasten the day, Father Time,
When this golden rule shall extend
Into every nation and clime, --
A brotherhood, never to end.

Then will creation cease groaning,
Then will there be peace upon earth ;
With songs of joy for the moaning,
And sadness dissolved into mirth.


52

THE OLD SONGS

The good old songs and melodies
Of sixty years ago,
They're out of fashion nowadays, --
They're voted tame and slow.
But oh ! ho ! ho ! they little know,
Who prate of modern lays,
That jargon rag-time--let it go,
A wild degenerate craze.

Bring back the good old English songs,
And Irish music rare,
The auld Scotch sangs, and lyric gems,
What can with them compare?
The German or Italian trill
May please the tickl'd ear;
The people's songs responsive thrill
Their hearts with memories dear.

Then let us sing the good old songs,
And what is best of new;
But cut the senseless silly trash,
For what is good and true.
The patriot or the lovers' lays,
The humours, grave or gay;
If they reflect dame nature's ways,
They'll live for many a day.

"To Keep Alive Our Scottish Songs. In these degenerate days we do not hear
either in the home circle or on the concert platform, except on very rare occa-
sions indeed, any of our familiar Scottish songs. This is very much to be
regretted, and unless public attention is drawn to the matter, we run the risk
of losing one of our choicest gifts." (Edinburgh Scotsman).


53

SING THE "AULD SCOTS SANGS"
A lament on the decadence of the old Scots songs, June 6th, 1904.

Hear, brither Scots across the sea,
Frae silvery Tweed to Stornoway,
A friendly voice frae Canada,
Anent the Doric, --
The braid Scotch tongue sae dear to me,
Auld an' historic.

I'm tauld that now ye seldom hear
The auld Scotch sangs. If sae, I fear
We'll sune hae cause to shed the tear
For Scottish folly,
And gae in mourning dull an' drear,
An' melancholy.

What senseless pride an' vain conceit
Has puffed ye up, clean aff yer feet?
Your foes may laugh, an' friends may greet,
For very shame.
For sic declension, sad, effete,
Ye're sair to blame.

Ye shades of Scott and Robert Burns,
To you our thought in fancy turns.
Pity your poor degenerate bairns,
Gane aff the track,
An' woo wi' poet's subtle charms
The callants back.

Let Scotland guard wi' jealous care
The auld landmarks, an' aye beware
O' wealth's contagion, subtle snare!
An' empty pride,
An' then ye needna fear compare
Wi' aught beside.


54

Jan., 1914.

EPISTLE TO A YOUNG POET FRIEND

A New Year's Greeting, January 1st, 1914.

A Good New Year, my youthful friend, to you,
With many years of happiness and bliss,
And steadfast friends, aye trusty, staunch and true.

But lad, be not too prodigal of time,
Too soon your precious hours will pass away;
Prize highly NOW---your glorious youthful prime.

The Muse has thrown her mantle o'er your head,
Assiduous court her every call and whim ;
You cannot by a safer guide be led.

And sing thou on, though meagre be thy praise,
Your tide will by-and-bye quite surely turn ;
Sweet and harmonious are your simple lays.

And on the stage (if I'm a judge) you'll shine,
If you with grit and purpose firm hold on:
You show Shakesperian art in every line.

You sing of Love, in rapture wild and free, --
'Tis well! 'tis well! for youth's the time to love;
But there are other themes, I counsel thee.

Let love of country, of thy fellow-man,
Tingle thy veins, inspire thy minstrelsy; --
That is the noblest theme, and Heaven's own plan.

Once more, my lad : A Good New Year to you ;
Resolve you'll climb Parnassus' Mount or die:
Thus prove yourself a hero, leal and true.


55

THE YOUNG FRIEND'S REPLY
by
L. Harcourt Farmer
March 20th, 1914.

FRIENDSHIP

(To E. B.)

''Twas your kind heart that wrote these words of praise,
And on my wand'rings thro' the dusty earth,
They'll come to me, recalling happy days.

'Tis true I've acted many roles of late;
You sat with patience thro' despair or mirth.
I wonder what is held in store by Fate?

You spake kind things about my work and art;
I only hope I live to this deserve,
And teach mankind the artist has a heart.

You, too, have given sympathy, and sweet
Glad things, which I in faith preserve,
Until, like Brutus and his Cassius, we meet.

Perhaps we ne'er will meet or speak again,
For Time is passing,---never stands an hour; --
Yet dear is Friendship, with its joy and pain;

Ay, with its roses,---commonplace or rare, --
Its mingled sunshine with depressing show'r,
Its days of darkness and its moonlight fair.

For Friendship hath a charm of hidden grace,
And weaves a chain of memory round the years,
That we may not forget some passing face.

And so I thank you for your tribute-piece,
Which I shall place among my valued treasures, --
Things of grey sadness or brilliantic pleasures, --
Written in gloomy time, or to bright measures;
For Life is the kaleidoscope of Fate.


56

ADDITIONAL LINES FROM THE YOUNG FRIEND
by
L. Harcourt Farmer, Montreal, 1918.
----------------------------------------------------
THE POET
(To E. B.)

With pulsing word and moulded phrase,
The poet fashions life and love;
He chronicles each passing face,
He sees the suns of passion move
Like gaudy snakes across the sky,
And tells their strange sad history.

With sword and flame and madrigal,
He builds himself a -fair retreat;
And to the elfin linnet's call,
Or the dull tramp of iron feet,
He carves his sonnet, weaves his rhyme,
And writes the burning tale of Time.



57

ENGLAND

England! land of fame and glory,
Whose flag has waved a thousand years;
Thine has been a wondrous story,
The land the tyrant hates and fears.

Land of civilized refinement,
The land of poetry and song;
Land of Shakespeare, Pope and Shelley,
The land of Cromwell, stern and strong.

Land of stately homes and hamlets,
And each man's castle, guarded well,
With a patriot's devotion
No other land can e'er excel.

Land whose honour'd dead lie sleeping
Within Westminster's hallow'd walls;
Statesmen, warriors, kings and poets,
At rest until the last trump calls.


58

OLD FRIENDS OR CHUMS

John Brown, old man, it seems to me,
You think you're still a youth,
Though you are nearly seventy-three, --
Don't frown, now!---that's the truth.

But what of that, John Brown, my Jo,
You're hearty, so am I ;
Though I am seventy-five, you know;
'Tis no use to deny.

But right you are, John Brown, my friend,--
Quite right you are, say I ;
Keep young and strong right to the end,
And then!---why then we die.

But we won't think of death, John Brown,
But of the present time,
And happy days, so quickly flown,
The days o' auld lang syne.

We've wander'd far, John Brown, my lad,
Since we were chums together;
We've oft been gay, and ofttimes sad,
Like fickle April weather.

But take things all in all, old lad,
Life's been a pleasant dream ;
And things are really not so bad
As what they sometimes seem.

So, here's to you, my trusty frien' !
As down the hill we go,
And sleep together 'neath the green
And daisy turf below.


59

LINES ADDRESSED TO THE EDITOR OF "THE CASKET"

ENGLISH OR BRITISH WHICH?

Say, which?--English or British Empire, pray
Kind Sir, just tell us, for we are in doubt;
We thought that we were British, but we may
Be very much mistaken, and all out.

To read the English papers, I declare,
They claim the Scotch and Irish heroes all ;
My faith! 'tis more than Celtic blood can bear;
Oh, Moses! does not this partake of gall?

They claim for England, and the English, all
That's good and great in Pat or Mac; also
They never use the British term at all,
But always:---"It is English, don't you know!"

That England has a host of mighty men,
There's none will ever question or deny.
We give her credit for them all; but, then,
To steal her neighbours' heroes is to lie.

Our mighty Empire is a union grand;
No part of it must every change the name.
United in that British name we stand;
British we are, and British we remain.


60

April 12th, 1918

TO MY GRANDDAUGHTER HILDA, IN VANCOUVER

My dear granddaughter, Hilda Bain,
I think I see you once again,
Or is my vision false or vain --
An April joke?
An ignis fatuus in the brain
Of an old bloke?

As a wee lass, I mind you well ;
But now you're grown, I cannot tell
Whether a rose or heather bell
Is most like you ;
But I can picture to mysel'
A charming view.

I've seen no picture (that you know)
Of you this thirteen years or so,
And that is quite a while ago, --
A good long spell,
In which a pretty maid could grow
To blooming belle.

If I may judge by what you write,
Or if I'm blest with second-sight,
You'll soon be able to indite
A noble letter;
Or climb Parnassus' rocky height, --
Something much better.

And now, dear Hilda, with a sigh,
I have to say once more, Good-bye!
But answer soon, and I'll reply,
In honour bright.
This small request you'll not deny,
And now, Good-night!


*******************************************

Milwaukee, Wis., April 30th, 1908.

Mr. E. Bain,
Montreal, P.Q.

My Dear Sir,

Inasmuch as Montreal is the place of my birth and child-
hood, I am naturally attracted towards anything that
originates within the, almost sacred, precincts of that city.
I have been a constant reader of the Scottish American for a
number of years, and desire to say that I have obtained
many happy moments in the perusal of some of your literary
efforts that have been published therein.

"Despondency; or, Old Age," is more than good, and I
want to thank you for the pleasure I have had from it, as well
as others. May I indulge in a wish that you may long be
spared to contribute such articles to the edification and
betterment of your fellow-man.

Yours very truly,

R. P. FAIRBAIRN.

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