BETA

A Sunday Pastoral.

Colin.
Good morning, Keatie—Fie, for shame,1
To sleep sae lang ye’re sair to blame :2
Then at your glass to smile an’ smirk,3
An’ be the hindmost at the kirk !4
Kate.
Ay, ’ tis o’er true—O, wae’s my heart !5
An’ to reprove is weel your part ;6
Your neighbours o’ their faults to tell,7
When ye’re sae early there yoursell !8
Colin.
Ah, cunning Kate ! I ken your way,9
An’ darena wrangle w’ ye the day ;10
For ye’re sae tart when ye begin,11
Ye lead ane into words o’ sin.12
An’ now, when we hae met thegither,13
An’ like sae weel to be wi’ ither,14
Let’s chat, without a’ taunts or scorning,15
O’ things befitting Sabbath morning.16
I am o’er late, an’ sair to blame17
But, O, I’ve sic a charge at hame !18
Kate.
Nae doubt, nae doubt ! ’ Tis a’ o’er true,—19
Naebody else has aught to do ;20
Ilk turn to Colin’s hand maun lie,21
The lasses a’ to court forbye !22
Colin.
Now, Kate, I canna stand sic joking,23
There’s nought on earth is sae provoking ;24
When weel ye ken I never parl25
Either to kiss, or court, or quarrel,26
Or sit me down to mince or mell27
Wi’ ony lass except yoursell.28
Kate.
Alas ! poor lad, ye’re sair abused then,29
An’ fausely, wickedly accused then ;30
Sic tales are through the country fleeing ! —31
But then the country’s ill for leeing.32
It wasna true that Meg M‘Gill33
Cam greeting to you on the hill ?34
I heard sic story, an’ the cause o’t.35
It wasna true ; —I’m sure it was not ?36
Colin.
’Tis hard on twall. Good morning, Kate ;37
I hate at preachings to be late ;38
Besides, it’s sinfu’ to get mad 39
At sic a alee wicked jade.40
Kate.
Colin, I’ll gang as fast as you41
On this fine day, and faster too ;42
Besides, I’ll chat of what you will,43
The Bible, or the Papish bill ;44
The statutes of the ancient law,45
Or beauties of Queen Bathsheba.46
Now, tell me, Colin, on your life,47
What think you o’ that winsome wife ?48
Colin.
Kate, ye’re a witch—sae haud your tongue ;49
An elf sae wicked, yet sae young,50
Was never nursed on mother’s knee51
What are Bathsheba’s faults to me ?52
Kate.
O, nought to you ! Wha said they were ?53
I only wanted to prefer54
Some Scripture argument ’ bout sing55
And chanced with woman to begin.56
But, Colin, ’ tis right strange o’ you,57
Yet I hae noted, an’ ’ tis true,58
Whene’er o’ womankind I hint,59
Then up you flee like fire frae flint,—60
Frae whilk it weel might understood be,61
That things are no just as they should be.62
Colin.
Sweet Kate ! wi’ that provokin’ tongue63
My heart wi’ rage is aften wrung,64
But when I turn me round, an’ see65
The wily twinkle o’ your ee,66
The cherry cheek an’ dimpled chin,67
My heart-strings dirl my breast within.68
Kate, I suspect, that, chance what may,69
We’ll hardly reach the kirk the day ;70
We wad be blamed by matrons dour,71
Gaun in at sic a daftlike hour,72
An’ some auld maids I ken beside73
Wad cast us looks we coudna bide.74
Let’s turn, an’ up beneath the heuch75
O’ the wild glen o’ Gilmanscleuch ;76
We’ll spend, in nature’s green alcove,77
The day in pure delights of love ;78
Read on our Bibles, pray bedeen,79
An’ maybe steal a kiss between.80
If there’s a blink o’ heavenly bliss81
On human nature, it is this.82
Kate.
Weel, Colin, I shall not gainsay,83
A wilfu’ man maun hae his way ;84
Since ye propose’t, an’ think nae shame,85
If ’ tis a sin, ye’ll bear the blame.86
But tell me this—though gay an’ braw,87
War ye gaun to the kirk ava ?88
Colin.
Whisht, Kate ! an’ speer nae that again,—89
There’s maybe mae to blame than ane ;90
There are some things ’ tween man and maid91
Mair natural to be thought than said ;92
But now, our resting-place is here,93
Come to my side, my comely dear,94
Close to my side, nor ance avert95
The vision dearest to my heart.96
Look round you, Kate ; the scene you see97
Is wild as mountain scene can be ;98
Here sit we in a hollow swarth,99
Scoop’d from the bosom o’ the earth ;100
Our palace-wall the shaggy fell ;101
Our couch of state the heather-bell ;102
The sounding rivulet, combined103
With music of the mountain wind,104
The only anthem which we list ;105
Our canopy the yielding mist ;106
Yet here, within our desert den,107
Far frae the walks and eyes of men,108
Think o’ our heavenly Maker’s kindness,109
For a’ our sins an’ mortal blindness.110
Beyond the bliss o’ kingly bowers111
An earthly happiness is ours.112
O, Keatie, when this scene I spy,113
Imbedded in thy deep blue eye114
Like a wee vision o’ the mind,115
A dream of heaven an’ earth combined,116
My ardent soul is all on flame117
With a delight that wants a name118
A flame so holy an’ divine,119
An angel’s heart might envy mine.120
My own rapt image, too, I see,121
As if I stood ’ twixt heaven and: thee122
Forbid it, a’ ye powers above !123
An’ O, forgie this tear o’ love ;124
For ne’er was vision so complete125
In window of a soul so sweet.126
Kate.
Colin, I like nae sic pathetics ;127
When chaps get into their poetics,128
They rave on like the winter winds,129
An’ mischief whiles comes in their minds :130
Sae, that I still may haud you dear,131
Aw’ keep you sober and sincere,132
Kneel down upon that purple lea,133
An’ pray to God for you an’ me134
The path o’ grace has a beginning,135
An’ praying winna gang wi’ sinning ;136
’Tis sweet an’ comely to express137
Our homage in the wilderness,138
An’ train our youthfu’ minds away139
Frae courting on the Sabbath day.140
Colin, without another word,141
Kneel’d down upon the lonely sward,142
His comely face turn’d to the sky,143
With ardour in his dark blue eye;144
And thus unto his God he pray’d,145
As near as’t can in rhyme be said :146
Colin.
O thou, who dwell’st beyond yon sun !147
Where the sinful soul can never won ;148
Thou God of all beings on earth that dwell,149
The angels of heaven, an’ spirits of hell150
O ! wilt thou deign, in thy love divine,151
To list to such a prayer as mine ?152
Not for myself do I crave thine ear,153
But for one beside, than life more dear ;154
And for her sake I heard shall be,155
For a virgin’s soul is dear to thee.156
Then thou, who reared’st yon ample sky,157
And planted the Paradise on high,158
When the morning stars together sung,159
And its arch with hymns of angels rung ;160
Who placed the sun on his golden throne,161
His God’s vicegerent, and His alone ;162
Who clothed the moon in her silver veil,163
And the litile stars in their diamond mail ;164
Who wall’d the ocean’s mighty wave,165
O’er coral beds to roll and rave ;166
And form’d these mountains, great and small,167
And the soul of man, the last of all168
O, hear in heaven, most graciously,169
For we had our lives and souls from thee !170
O thou, who laid’st thine infant head171
In a manger for thy cradle bed,172
When the spirits of guilt were moved with awe,173
And the angels marvell’d at what they saw174
The babe of heaven hush’d to his rest175
Upon an earthly virgin’s breast,176
Then yield his life. upon the tree,177
And lie in the grave for such as me178
O hear us in heaven, thou holy one !179
For in thy merits we trust alone ! 180
Thou spirit of grace, adored, believed,181
Great messenger all unconceived ;182
Thou three in one, and one in three, 183
Potent, supreme Divinity,184
As one great God we worship thee !185
Then hear our prayers whilst here we live,186
And when thou hearest, Lord forgive !187
We have no earthly thing to crave ;188
We are more than happy with what we have : —189
We have youth and health, and love beside,190
And thee for our father and our guide ;191
Thy own blue heavens smiling o’er us ;192
Religion, hope, and the world before us ;193
And all we can do, is to express194
Our gratitude and our thankfulness,195
One blessing would earthly hope fulfil,196
If ’ tis accordant with thy will : —197
May we two, kneeling thee before,198
Be join’d as one for evermore !199
And that a prospect may remain200
Of acting earthly scenes again,201
May she be as a fruitful vine——202
Kate.
Stop, Colin, stop ! I canna join !203
Ye may pray for marriage gin ye will,204
To think of that can do nae ill ;205
Its sinless joys our God will grant them206
We’ll pray for bairnies when we want them.207
Ye cou’dna ask for aught that’s worse,208
Than the heaviest portion o’ woman’s curse.209
Colin.
Ah, my dear Kate ! gin ye be spared,210
You’ll change your chime on that award.211
If pure affection’s from above,212
If “ love is heaven, and heaven is love,”213
If loveliness conceived may be,214
Can ye a sight so lovely see,215
As a young comely mother’s rest,216
With sweet babe to her bosom press’d ;217
Its round and chubby cheek laid low,218
Misshapen on her breast of snow ?219
Ah, Kate ! if pure, unmingled bliss220
Be found in life’s imperfectness,221
All love, all fondness is outdone222
By mother’s o’er her first-born son :223
That glow is bright, its workings kind,224
Calm, chasten’d, ardent, yet refined,225
I think—O ! may I be forgiven226
That nought can lovelier be in heaven,227
Far less by es the earth below ;228
Methinks I see the visions now——229
What, Keatie, do ye rue our meeting ?230
I think ye’re fuffing now, an’ greeting ?231
Kate.
Tuts ! what for will ye speak sae queer,232
Of things unmeet for maiden’s ear ?233
I canna bide that stuff sae sensuous,234
It sounds like something that’s licentious :235
Yet these are truths the heart that strike——236
Ye may pray for babies gin ye like,237
Colin.
Ha, Keatie! truth will aye bear sway,238
An’ nature work in her ain way,239
For ye are nature’s child complete,240
A mountain rose unsoil’d an’ sweet,241
A i the desert that perfumes,242
A flower that hardly kens it blooms.243
When we grow auld, an’ bow’d wi’ age,244
We’ll make an yearly pilgrimage245
Unto this wild an’ lonely scene,246
An’ greet o’er days lang past an’ gane,247
’Twill mind me of thy guileless heart,248
Of what remains and what thou wert,—249
And I’ll think of a day of bliss,250
And maiden made to love an’ kiss,251
Wha aince gart me the preaching miss :252
An’ waur than that; when her behest253
A solemn task had on me press’d,254
She flew up wi’ a wicked screed,255
An’ pat a’ praying frae my head.256
Kate.
Here, with the tear drap in my ee,257
Colin, I beg you’ll pardon me.258
I did amiss, ’ mang passions rife,259
But could not help it for my life.260
In my reproof, though scarce ye’ll trow,261
I was at least sincere as you.262
And now I beg of me you’ll take263
This book, an’ keep it for my sake ;264
It was my honour’d father’s gift265
That day when I our cottage left,266
With bitter grief, and youthfu’ dread,267
In the wide world to earn my bread.268
My bairn,” quo’ he, “ ye’re gaun to leave me;269
I hope through life you’ll never grieve me,270
If ever sin your fancy brook,271
Think on the Author of this book272
Think how he reads the heart within,273
And grieves if you should yield to sin.274
An’ think o’ your old father too,275
And how his soul yearns over you.276
An’ O, my bairn, when I am dead,277
Cling to this blessed book, an’ read278
Its holy precepts when you may,279
An’ God will give you grace to pray,280
To pray in purity of heart.281
Farewell, my bairn, since we maun part ! ”282
Now, Colin, as my sole director,283
My trusted, generous protector,284
Here do I render up to thee285
The charge of baith my book an’ me,286
And ne’er again, by it I swear,287
’Twixt you and heaven to interfere.288
Accept, dear Colin, the propine,289
An’ O forgie the heart that’s thine !290
He took the book, an’ first he kiss’d291
The donor, then the volume bless’d,292
An’ hid it in his bosom true,293
While on his eyelids stood the dew ;294
Then hand in hand they trode the brae295
That looks o’er Ettrick’s wilder’d way,296
An’ parted on the mountain green,297
Far happier than a king an’ queen.298