[3 blank pages]
RAMBLINGS IN RHYMELAND
AND OTHER VERSE
By EBENEZER BAIN
Copyright, Canada, 1918
MY RELATIVES AND FRIENDS
ALL LOVERS OF TRUTH, NATURE, BEAUTY,
HARMONY AND HUMANITY
I beg to tender my sincere thanks to
such kind friends as the Hon. R. S. Weir,
Messrs. W. D. Lighthall, Harcourt Farmer,
William Drysdale and T. H. Warren, for
their valuable assistance and counsel in the
preparation of these selections for the press.
[illustration: MR. BAIN AT AGE 81]
|To Ebenezer Bain, by R. Stanley Weir||8|
WAR POEMS AND SONGS
|The Calling Voice||14||“Peace Without Victory—Never”||19|
|William the Brute||16||Kruger and the Boer War||21|
|Sir Douglas Haig||17||The March of the Highland Brigade||23|
|Nature||85||Winter in Canada||86|
|There’s Nothing Too Good for the Scotch||89||Domestic Squabbles||96|
|Sandy McCraw||91||Proud Margery||97|
|That’s Montreal, or Lights and Shades of Montreal||92||Care||98|
|Reciprocity||94||Cogitations on Animals (biped andquadruped)||99|
|Mr. E. Bain||Frontispiece||Molly||35|
|Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig||17||Edinburgh||49|
ON LEARNING THAT HE PROPOSED TO PUBLISH HIS POEMS AT THE
AGE OF EIGHTY-ONE
Your torch was lighted at the Golden Flame; Then, turning to the shining hills, you said: “I may not from my fellows win acclaim, And I may be forgotten when I’m dead: But I shall sing that earth tho’ old is fair, For fresh comes every sunset, every dawn; That it is ever good to breathe the air, And good a child or rose to look upon. To age, as youth, the world is ever new, But, of all earthly things, the most divine Is love, that falleth on the heart like dew, And kindness cheering like Falernian wine.” So you have sung, as, with your torch alight, Long years ago you to the uplands turned— A pilgrim singing comfort in the night, While still beyond the stars eternal burned.
R. Stanley Weir. [page 8]
THE author thinks that a long introduction to this small volume of poems would be much out of place; therefore will, with the kind reader’s indulgence, briefly recount in explanation—apology, if you will—the circumstances attending its publication.
That one now over eighty years of age should venture, for the first time, to launch a book, and more especially a book of poems, and the further fact that he had reached the half-century mark before sending his first contribution to the press, seems like flying in the face of the famous dictum of that eminent man Professor Osler.
I must confess that the dominant feeling that suggested offering my poems in book form (a feeling I believed shared by many who, like myself, have devoted much of their time to the Muse) was a reluctance to consign to oblivion what I had come to consider my progeny.
Notwithstanding this feeling, I had abandoned the idea of publishing, and had consigned my manuscripts to my son’s care, with instructions concerning them. And it was only recently, at the request and promptings of several friends, and letters from persons I had never seen, but who had read some of my contributions in the papers and thanked me for the pleasure they had obtained in the perusal of my verses, that I felt impelled to reconsider my original intention. One of these letters will be found on page 81.
These, then, are the motives that have prompted me to issue this little book, in which I am cognizant of many infirmities, and being in my own estimation simply “ramblings” in various by-ways of “rhymeland.”
Ebenezer Bain. [page 9]
WAR POEMS AND SONGS
NOW, O weary world, rejoice! Sing aloud with cheerful voice! This dread tragedy and strife, Hellish sacrifice of life, Dreadful years of doubt and fear, Dark forebodings, sad and drear, Cruel, heartless, fiendish crime, Unknown through the lapse of time,— Seem as if about to close, With disaster to our foes. Oh! ye haughty German race, Crafty, bloody, mean and base;— You are doomed to weep and howl, Gnash your teeth in rage, and growl. Where are now your men of might? What of scientific light? Or anent the mailèd fist That you have so fondly kissed? Know that all your schemes are vain, Though your millions you have slain. Kaiser! list to what I say, For you must—you can’t say nay:— You will pay the cost in full Of your madness and misrule. No more palace now for you,— Darkest dungeon is your due; Or the gallows you may grace, Fitting end for all your race. All true men you name now scorn;— Better had you ne’er been born. Freemen have no need to fear, Or the man with conscience clear; Liberty, and Truth, and Right, Are worth more than mailed might. So let Hohenzollern fall, [page 13] Hindenburg, and Turk, and all,— Bag and baggage, off they go; None will mourn the dastard foe. Democracy!—o’er all the world, Quickly be your flag unfurled! “Now’s the day, and now’s the hour,” Warlords must be swept from a power; Prisoners taste a sweet release,— All the world a lasting peace; Nations banded, hand in hand, Shall unite and firmly stand; Patriots shall win the day,— Rebels will have naught to say, Once more, weary world, rejoice! Victory shout with cheerful voice!
THE CALLING VOICE
(Tune: “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere.”)
HARK to the voice that’s calling, Calling to you and me. Help, for good men are falling, Fighting for liberty.
Send men! Send men! Send them across the sea, Help in the fight ’gainst brutal might,— The Huns of Germany. List to the voice that’s pleading, Pleading with you and me, To help them and comrades bleeding For peace and liberty.
Send men! Send men! and send them speedily; Help us to fight ’gainst Prussian might,— The Huns of Germany. [page 14]
OH, Inhumanity! thou art the cause Of nearly all the ills and woes of man; Vaunting ambition knows no bounds or laws: As history’s pages show since time began. Neros, Macbeths, and Alexanders rise, And act their parts upon the world’s wide stage, As if there were no Power above the skies To intervene in this or any age, Or stay the hand of man’s inhuman rage. The Hohenzollern, in his haughty pride, Burst with his legions on a peaceful world; All o’er the fruitful fields and vineyards wide Of Belgium and fair France his squadrons hurl’d. With hellish haste, their foot and horsemen fly, Like wolves upon a quiet, peaceful fold, And strike like cyclone from a cloudless sky,— A crime so fouls as never yet was told, In modern times or in the days of old. Oh, Mercy! where wert thou, that day the Hun, With all his host of plunderers came down Upon a world at peace, while smiled the sun? Why did not lightnings flash and thunders frown? Ye sages wise, who study hard to scan The mysteries of heaven’s decree: Is’t fate? Or is’t the inhumanity of man ’Gainst which a weary world must fight or wait? For peace must come, altho’ it come so late. ’Twill come by union of the nations free,— Democracy, if wise, will win the day; And manhood’s worth, o’er all the world shall be The lever power to govern, yea or nay. Men yet unborn shall from the womb of time Arise to fire their fellowmen aright, Inspiring men o’er all the world to climb, But not to kill their brother man in fight And search for truth by scientific light. [page 15]
WILLIAM THE BRUTE
DREAD monster! can’st thou still love on, nor see The spectres and the ghosts that stare on thee? Or in thy dreams (if thou can’st sleep at all), Shut out the widow’s wail, or orphan’s call. Does not thy sordid soul (if thou hast one) Recoil in horror at what thou hast done? The blackest records in the book of time, Till now, foul fiend! could not compare to thine, Hell-hound! had’st thou not breathed the breath of life, This world had never seen this awful strife. “The day” was planned full many years ago, With all the craft and cunning Germans know; You sent your sleuth-hound spies to friendly lands, To sneak and spy and lie by your commands. With hell-brewn gas, and submarines, you slay Helpless old age, women, and maidens gay. You are so steeped in villainy and crime, No power could cleanse, or waters of the Rhine. “The day” has come, a foul black day for you, That, while you live, you’ll never cease to rue. Braggart, blasphemer, hypocrite, and fool, You prate of God as partner or as tool. Go! Holy Will, but hear the truth I tell, There’s no place left for you in heaven or hell, Go hang thyself, like Judas, worse than he; Quick! hie thee to the gallows, or the tree. So perish all the Hohenzollern race, That poor humanity may rest in peace. [page 16]
[illustration: FIELD MARSHAL SIR DOUGLAS HAIG
COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF BRITISH EXPEDITIONARY FORCES]
SIR DOUGLAS HAIG
GREAT Britain’s champion, the valiant Haig, Leading her sons through hell to victory; Bravest of Scots, and strong as “Ailsa Craig,” To quell the might and spite of Germany. For four long years, with patient fortitude, An adamantine will, that would not yield; You, and your splendid men, have firmly stood ’Gainst countless hordes on every battlefield. Brave deeds of ancient Greece and Rome are told, But none more brave than yours could ever be,— Fit to be writ on lines of burnished gold, That generations yet unborn may see. Heroic chief, an empire honours you, To rank among her best, the leal and true. [page 17]
(Tune: “The Standard on the Braes o’ Mar.”)
THE standard’s up, and proudly waves Defiance straight and squarely; The gauntlet’s flung to German knaves, A fight for freedom fairly. Our cause is just, and win we must,— We need not fear or falter; Nor German bluff nor German lust Our purpose firm can alter. The German lords may screech and cry, They’re welcome to it clearly; But by yon flag that’s waving high, They’ll pay the piper dearly. For this our cry, we’ll do or die, We’ll break the bonds of slavery; Their might and boasting we defy, And all their crookèd knavery. Enough, enough of German spies, Of German might and Kultur; And German crime, and German lies, As cruel as the vulture. So now we dare, and now we swear To stand or fall together; Ye German vampires, then beware, For break this vow we’ll never. [page 18]
“PEACE WITHOUT VICTORY—NEVER!”
(Tune: “Where is Now the Merry Party?”)
WHEN this fiendish war is ended, When the Kaiser has been slain; When the war-dogs have expended All their devilish schemes in vain; When the madness and vain-glory Of the bloody men of war Shall be writ in History’s story, To their shame for evermore. But till then, we’ll never, never, Never lay our broadswords down; Till the Prussian power for ever Shall be crushed and overthrown. Till the German lust of Empire Shall no more menace the world,— The ‘All-Highest’, as a vampire, From his lofty throne be hurled. Then let the men of every nation In a bond of peace agree; Band together for salvation, From war ever to be free. “Peace on Earth!”—“God save the People!” And the Brotherhood of Man,— Shout aloud from tower and steeple, Liberty! Lead on the van! [page 19]
(Tune: “Bonnie Dundee.”)
WELL banded together, and clasped hand in han’, Great Britain, America, France and Japan, May that league ne’er be broken, but still stronger grow As pledge, bloody battles and warlords must go.
The flag of the free, Oh! see it unfurl’d, The Standard of hope to a war-weary world; That Kaisers, and junkers, and tyrants may see,— All nations and peoples combine to be free. Too long have the people been treated as slaves By lordlings and emperors, no better than knaves; But the limit has come, and man, like the worm, That’s crushed under foot, on the spoiler will turn.
The flag of the free!—ever be it unfurl’d, The standard of hope to a war-weary world; That Kaisers, and junkers, and tyrants may see,— All nations and peoples combine to be free. Democracy now sure is coming to stay, The flood-tide is turning, and well on its way; Then tremble, ye vultures, the day of your power Is over, and manhood no longer will cower.
The flag of the free!—thank God, it’s unfurl’d, The standard of hope to a war-weary world; That Kaisers, and junkers, and tyrants may see,— All nations and peoples combine to be free. [page 20]
KRUGER AND THE BOER WAR
PAUL KRUGER, though not just a saint, Yet loves his Bible well; His creed is pure, without taint, He has no thought of Hell; For he can read his title clear To mansions in the skies; So smokes his pipe, and knows no fear, And British power defies. For hath the Lord not mindful been Of Oom Paul Kruger’s race, And given the Afric tribes that teem As their inheritance? So, with the Bible in one hand, And rifle in the other, His faith is muscular and grand, Like Joshua,—a brother. Religious frenzy, it is true, Is but insanity; And Kruger madly threatens to “Stagger Humanity!” Perhaps you may, conceited fool, But if you do, be sure ’Twill be the end of your misrule, And treachery of the Boer. For now the British Lion is roused, And fierce and loud doth roar; And with him, see his sturdy whelps To fight the crafty Boer. They come from far Australian ranch, And from New Zealand strand, From Canada, and India, To lend a helping hand. [page 21] Now woe to thee, thou sullen Boer, And all thy foreign knaves, Whose hate and envy ill endure The power that frees the slaves. Our Union Jack once more unfurl’d— What power can haul it down? While freemen smile o’er all the world, And only tyrants frown. The flag of Queen Victoria (We hail it with three cheers) Shall wave o’er proud Pretoria, In spite of foes or fears; While Kruger, with his men of war And hordes of foreign knaves, Shall bite the dust, and bow before The flag that rules the waves. These verses were written in the early part of the Boer War, 1900. [page 22]
THE MARCH OF THE HIGHLAND BRIGADE
’TIS the march! ’tis the march! of the Highland Brigade, Caledonia’s sons of the kilt and the plaid; Aye foremost in danger, right onward they go, They have but one object, and that is the foe. The pipers are blowing wi’ might an’ wi’ main, The Gordons and Campbells are coming again, The bayonets are fixed, mark the flash of the steel, See! see! how the foeman fall backward and reel.
Then forward the men of the Highland Brigade, Aye ready and willing, and never dismayed;— True sons of McGregor, Argyle and Lochiel, McKenzie, McDonald, McLean and McNeil! Your auld mither Scotia remembers wi’ pride How your prowess and courage oft turned the tide, When the issue was doubtful, and brave men did fear, How the Highland Brigade thundered up wi’ a cheer. Then shoulder to shoulder, brave sons of old Gaul, Be aye true to your colours, whatever befall; As ye march proudly forward, sae gallant an’ true, Auld Scotland expects that your duty you’ll do.
So proudly ye march wi’ your colours before, Emblazoned wi’ actions and battles galore,— Corunna, Quebec and famed Waterloo, In Egypt, the Alma, and India, too; And Afric’s dark warriors (tho’ bravely they fought) Had to yield to the charge of the conquering Scot. Then keep bright your name, lads, and ne’er let it fade, And your country will honour the Highland Brigade.
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, 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. [page 27]
FROM broad Atlantic’s stormy coast, To far Pacific’s shore, The great highway of Canada,— Four thousand miles 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. [page 28] And here Caledonian chiels Uphold their ancient fame; Wi’ foes or frien’s, for beef an’ greens, They play the “roarin’ game.” Canadians need no armèd 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. [page 29]
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. [page 30]
MOUNT ROYAL PARK
RIGHT Royal Mount, with verdue 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’erburnden’d with his hoards of gold, Would say to thee, “I well could spare What would enlarge, improve, uphold.” [page 31] ’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. [page 32]
THE STORMY TRYST
THE 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 Tam o’Shanter’s witches prancing Around their cauldron charms in rags, Or devilish jugs and hornpipes dancing,— [page 33]
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. [page 34]
A LITTLE lass, of three or four, Plays with her dolly on the floor, As happy as can be. Sweet lullibies 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. [page 35]
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 lovers meet, With fond embrace, in still retreat, Their love eternal swearing. Sept., 1918. [page 36]
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 all the 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. Dec. 20th, 1899. [page 37]
A LOWLAND LASSIE’S COURTSHIP
(Tune: “The Pride of Kildare.”)
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.
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 feelings of Jessie and me.
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?
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. July, 1918. [page 38]
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? [page 39]
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-tippèd—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’. [page 40]
“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. [page 41] I fear not death, his kindly arms Will hush and sooth life’s wild alarms; The peaceful grave’s quiet rest hath charms, For all that weary;— These 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.
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 snowdrift, 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.
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 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 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
TIME IS ON THE WING, ROBBIE
(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.
Written for the Montreal Witness, June, 1898. [page 44]
January 25th, 1892
Extract from the Montreal Gazette, November 16th, 1901.—Burns’s 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, (’Twould take too long the honor’d muse to tell,— From Ossian, down to Hogg and Motherwell, And still of lesser lights are many more,— ’Twere 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. [page 45] The patriot inspires our admiration, Spontaneous and void of affection. His big, warm heart went out to every race, But at 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 forgetten 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. [page 46]
THE IMPATIENT LOVER
COME, 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. [page 47]
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 mailèd 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. [page 48]
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 rulling 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. [page 49]
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 lake 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 of wealth thy foal, 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 you 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. [page 50] 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. [page 51]
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 you 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. [page 52] 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. May, 1898.
(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. [page 53]
A SONG OF EMPIRE
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. 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:— Hurrah for dear old Ireland! The Emerald fresh and fain; 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:— 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:— March, 1900. [page 54]
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. July, 1898. [page 55]
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.
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. May, 1898. [page 56]
THE LASS THAT DANCED WI’ ME
(Tune: “When the Kye Comes Home.”)
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.
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. 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— The lass that sanced wi’ me— The bonniest lass that e’er I saw— The lass that danced wi’ me. 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.
The lass that danced wi’ me— The lass that danced wi’ me— I’ll ne’er foget the blissful time Wi’ the lass that danced wi’ me. [page 57]
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! For the Montreal Witness, Oct., 1899. [page 58]
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. [page 59]
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. You student in his college class, The steps of Fame has climbed; But what avails, for now, alas! His health is undermined. [page 60] 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. [page 61]
(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. [page 62]
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 propogate 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 would 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. [page 63]
ANNIVERSARY OF BURNS’S 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? [page 64] 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. [page 65]
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. [page 66]
THE TIDE WILL TURN BY AND BY
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 lightenings 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. [page 67]
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 centered 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 a 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. 1898. [page 68]
(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.
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 the 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. [page 69]
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 best, When feeble and old, with thee would we rest. [page 70] 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!”
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, Echoes of the past, so dear. [page 71]
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. [page 72]
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. [page 73]
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 occasions 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).
SING THE “AULD SCOTS SANGS”
A lament on the decadence of 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 teh 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? You 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 though 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. [page 74]
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 Shakespearian 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. Jan., 1914. [page 75]
THE YOUNG FRIEND’S REPLY
(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.
L. Harcourt Farmer
March 20th, 1914. [page 76]
ADDITIONAL LINES FROM THE YOUNG FRIEND
(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.
|Montreal, 1918.||L. Harcourt Farmer.|
ENGLAND! land of fame and glory, Whose flag has waved a thousand years; Thine has been a wondrous story, The land of 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. [page 77]
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 jhearty, 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. [page 78]
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. [page 79]
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! April 12th, 1918. [page 80]
Milwaukee, Wis., April 30th, 1908.
Mr. E. Bain,
Montreal, P. Q.
My Dear Sir,
Inasmuch as Montreal is the place of my birth and childhood, 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
NATURE is King of Kings, and Lord sublime; He only, as immortal, cannot die;-- Holds in his hands the rein of space and time, In him the great first cause of life doth lie. In ways mysterious, his sovereign will He works in air and ocean and on land. Sometimes the whirlwind and the earthquake fill Men’s hearts with dread and fear on every hand. And then, in still small voice, he whispers low, Like winds in summer, breathing soft and sweet; Sends genial showers, that fruits and flowers may grow, And corn, that all may have enough to eat. Nature is King! and we shall sing his praise While we have health and strength and length of days.
AH, me! the crowds with hearts bow’d down in gloom, That grow more gloomy as the years go by; Some young in years, who should be in their bloom, Are prematurely old, and grieve and sigh. And oft the cause has been a wrong impression, A fancied slight, with no intention given;— A thoughtless word, mayhap, was the transgression, Yet, brooded over, it has worked like leaven. She never knew he loved so true and well, He thought her cold of soul and hard of heart; And no kind friend was near, the truth to tell, And so two loving hearts asunder part. Thus trifles, light as air, divide mankind, And leave an empty aching void behind. [page 85]
WINTER IN CANADA
AH, Winter! thou hast come again, I see, I would that thou hads’t tarried yet awhile. Though there is scarce a leaf on any tree, And flowers have fled from meadow, bank and stile, Yet we’re prepared; our bins are filled with coal, And double windows greet thee and thy blasts;— So come, king Winter, thou’rt a merry soul, And we thy slaves of hope, for well we know, Though long thy reign, yet thy days are number’d, And Spring again shall melt thy frost and snow, And wake to life hosts that have but slumber’d. Therefore advance, and we shall try to be Merry as thou, in thy cold companie.
After a long, dreary winter.
PRIMROSE and crocus are bursting their tomb, Wee birds are merry, as merry can be; Winter has gone, with his cold chilly gloom, Nature rejoices with both them and me. Welcome! right welcome! my gentle spring maiden, Coming the herald of hope and good cheer; Coming with dew and with bright sunshine laden, Telling us summer and songbirds are near. Softly your footsteps fall over the mountains, Cheerful your voice in the valleys below; Precious your showers, like pearls from the fountains, Blessings distilling wherever you go. Angel of mercy and handmaid of love, Surely you’ve come from the bright realms above. April 7, 1918. [page 86]
THERE’S NOTHING TOO GOOD FOR THE SCOTCH!
YOU may say what you will, but it’s true, I declare, There is nothing too good for the Scotch; You may travel abroad, but tell me where You can find finer men, or women more fair, With a record in history fit to compare, Approaching to that of the Scotch? There are many good things that Scotsmen can claim, They claim nearly all, so the Scotch; There is no use denying the facts, all the same, Her illustrious sons have gained glory and fame, For they’ve both got the muscle and also the brain; That much can be said for the Scotch. Some say that Scot is ambitious and vain, But, there’s nothing too good for the Scotch; That naught will prevent him his purpose to gain, And that all opposition he meets with disdain; Though vanquished to-day, he will bob up again, Perhaps, may be true of the Scotch. They know a good thing when they see it, I’m told,— Well, there is nothing too good for the Scotch; And once they have got it, they keep a good hold, For you’ve all heard the chestnut, that’s now rather old,— About keeping the Sabbath, as well as their gold. A long-headed race are the Scotch. Nearly every position of trust, or of skill, Is monopolized now by the Scotch; Not in England alone, but go where you will, A Macdonald or Gladstone, or some other Bill, Will be found the high-places of honour to fill. My conscience! it’s grand to be Scotch. [page 89] It’s not the land only, but also the sea, That’s controlled by the terrible Scotch; The chief engineer, or skipper will be In command of the vessel that’s carrying thee;— From ubiquitous Sandy you’ll never be free; So you’d better make friends with the Scotch. To leave earthly things, and talk about heaven, Even heaven’s not too good for the Scotch. They’re the salt of the earth, and also the leaven, And freely their time and their means have they given, For its bliss and its glory have valiantly striven,— They want all, that’s good, do the Scotch. [page 90]
(Tune: “Tam Glen”)
I’LL tell ye a funny wee story, O’ a Scotsman ca’ed Sandy McCraw; And a thrifty, pawky Scotch leddy, Wi’ a braw house, an’ siller, an’ a’. The grass on her lawn needed mawin, So the leddy on Sandy did ca’; She kent he was handy and trusty, And his charges were modestly sma’. “Noo, Sandy, you’ll mak’ a good job o’t,— Very short, neat, an’ trim in the crop; For remember, an inch down below, It is worth more than twa at the top.” “A’ right, Mem,” says Sandy, “I promise,— Faith I’ll please ye the best that I can; And then ye’ll allow in addition, That it’s weel worth a guid Highland dram.” “A’ weel,” quo’ the leddy, “we’ll see til’t, Tho’ I’ll no promise that jist the noo; But aiblins I may, if I’m pleased wi’t, I will tell ye for sure when you’re through.” The mawin at length it was finished, And the leddy was pleased wi’ McCraw: She smilingly got out the bottle, And right deftly the cork she did draw. Then carefully poured out the whiskey, But so niggardly, stingy and slow;— “To the top, Mem!” cries Sandy,—“remember, That one inch there’s worth twa down below!” [page 91]
LIGHTS AND SHADES OF MONTREAL.
THERE is in Montreal, ’tis true, A band of men who dare and do; The real Mackay, and the true blue,— That’s Montreal. But only they are hard to find, Among a crowd so much inclined To pilfer, cheat, oppress and grind,— In Montreal. For situation, grand and fine, For scenery, almost sublime, For ladies, lovely and divine,— That’s Montreal. City of churches, priests and nuns, City of palaces, and slums, City of gentlefolks, and bums,— That’s Montreal. For Colleges and Courts of Law, Whose fame ambitious students draw, And the expert, William McCaw,* See Montreal. There is a handsome Board of Trade, There is a fighting Fire Brigade, Police, good mostly for parade,— That’s Montreal. The City Fathers, nearly all, Controllers, Council, big and small, For incompetence and gall,— That’s Montreal. [page 92] We’ve many merchants, men of wealth, Doctors and lawyers, men of stealth, Something misnamed a “Board of Health,”— In Montreal. Our Street Railway have got the knack Of bungling things along the track; See thousands hanging by the strap,— That’s Montreal. For filthy lanes and dirty streets, For Church processions and gay fêtes, For pious fakirs and dead-beats,— That’s Montreal. In population, not a few, Of every nation, every hue, Chinese and German, Dutch and Jew,— That’s Montreal.
(Tune: “The Laird o’Cockpen.”)
SIR WILFRID, the laird, is clever and great, His mind is ta’en up with affairs o’ the state; But he made a mistake, an’ that he’ll soon see, In mounting his mare, Re-ci-pro-ci-tee. One morning he mounted, and off he did ride, And his henceman, Sir Fielding, he rode by his side; They are bound for the border, as bold as can be, For they know well the yanks want Re-ci-pro-ci-tee. When Wilfrid and Fielding to Washington came, They were welcomed by Taft, for he well knew their game; They were feasted and toasted, with mirth an’ wi’ glee, So pleased were they all with Re-ci-pro-ci-tee. The President smiled so benignly an’ sweet, The senators all Sir wilfrid did greet; They all were so happy, so jolly and free, And the cause of it all was Re-ci-pro-ci-tee. Taft said “he looked forward to happier days,” The Dominion was now at “the parting of ways”: And a senator cried, “Without trouble or fee, Annexation will follow Re-ci-pro-ci-tee.” Now, when Wilfrid and Fielding their exit had made, The Yanks they reflected on what had been said; Some winked and some laugh’d, but all did agree— ’Twas a cute bit of buisness, Re-ci-pro-ci-tee. As our heroes rode him, ’twas easy to tell, They were pleased with themselves and mission as well; They said Borden might whistle or else he may flee, But we’ll carry the votes with Re-ci-pro-ci-tee. [page 94] The question at length to the country was given, For weeks both the Grits nad the Cons they had striven; The result was, the votes, like the waves of the sea, Swept out both the Grits and Re-ci-pro-ci-tee. The next time that Fielding and Wilfrid were seen, They were weeping and wailing and wiping their e’en; Says Sir Wilfrid to Fielding, “ We’re all up a tree, It was madness to think on Re-ci-pro-ci-tee.”
Note.—The above verses were published in the Montreal Gazette in August, 1911, a few weeks before the Canadian elections, when the question of reciprocity between the United States and Canada was exciting the people of both countries. They proved eminently prophetic, as Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Liberals were badly defeated. [page 95]
SAYS Tam to Meg, “My lass, I see, The bed’s ower sma’ for you an’ me, Sae frae this nicht, until I dee, Te’s hae it a’. ’Tis better, since we canna gree, I gang awa. But mind, my lass, ye’re getting auld, An’ faith ye’ll find it unca cauld, Nae kindly arms will now unfauld, An’ keep ye cosy, As mine hae, gin the truth be tauld, My rosy-posy. For me, I winna tell a lee, I own my faults an’ failings free. There’s nane can tell as weel as me, How much I grieve. Still, when things seem to gang agley, It’s best to leave. Sae fare ye weel, my bonnie doo, Sound asleep and pleasant dreams to you, But should your loneliness you rue, Just let me ken, I ablins may, if weel ye sue, Ance mair come ben.” [page 96]
OH! Margery, you need not try Your silly airs as you pass by; You mind me of a butterfly, All on a Summer morning. You think because you’ve got some cash, In feathers fine to make a dash; My pretty lass, you need not fash, I give you timely warning. An honest man of worth and heart, You pass him by as he were dirt, And with some empty coxcomb flirt, All kindly counsel scorning. All men of sense at you will smile, Your antics they will not beguile, Though some may fool you on awhile, Then leave you sadly mourning. So, Margery, take my advice, Don’t ape to be so wondrous nice, For I will never pay the price Of such a costly darling. I’d rather have some maiden fair, With loving heart to do and dare; Though scant of cash, willing to share, With me life’s smiles and storming. I’d judge myself as wondrous wise, In finding such a costly prize; Worth more than rubies in my eyes, With all their bright adorning. [page 97]
OLD Daddy Care, I pray forbear, And let poor bodies be; Gae kame your wig, or dance a jog, Or go to France, for me. When you are by, I groan and sigh, Life’s nae worth much to me; Your weary load my footsteps goad, I’d almost like to dee. When you are gone I’m free to sing Or laugh, or hae a crack, But when your gruesome face appears, Oh! then I’m on the rack. When gay and happy hearts rejoice, How can you e’er propose To thwart Dame Nature’s honest work By poking in your nose? You’ve got yon miser in your grip, Poor de’il, I’m wae to see; But health and ease of mind is mair Than money bags to me. So Father Care, it’s true, I swear, I’ll no more partner be; Go pack your traps and funeral wraps, And fly away frae me! [page 98]
COGITATIONS ON ANIMALS
Biped and Quadruped.
THE pig’s contented in his sty, And so might you, and so might I Be pleased with simple cot and fare, Happy as princes anywhere; But circumstances alter cases, Like climates, atmospheres and places. For instance: some, as I’ve heard tell, Would be contented e’en in Hell. Some more dainty in their livin’, Would not be content in Heaven. Some live to grunt, and groan, and pray; Some laugh and sing the livelong day. Some at times are very jolly, Sometimes they are melancholy. Some live only to make money; Clowns earn bread by being funny; While some there are who live to eat, And some would eat, but can’t get meat. And some do naught but watch and wait, Micawber-like, on luck or fate; Pay off their debts with I O U’s, Then smile away their fits of blues. There’s none so dull as to dispute How much some men are like the brute,— In South Isles, a cannibal, And elsewhere mostly animal. There are men stupid as the ox, There are men cunning as the fox, Many thousands like the monkey, Just as many like the donkey. There are some faithful as the dog, And some as filthy as the hog; While some,—you’ll find them everywhere,— As rough and grisly as the bear. [page 99] I think ’twas Solomon who said:— “Man’s but a beast when he is dead.... That man has no preëminence.” And Sol. was wise, and Sol. had sense. So, pause and think, and then you’ll see In how much man and beast agree. With natures and instincts the same, Man only in degree can claim A higher grade, or clearer brain. Some men will kick, with both their feet, Against the needful summer heat; And then as vigorously scold Against the bracing winter cold. Around his humble cottage fire, The peasant has his heart’s desire; While some, or more pretentious birth, Would grumble if they had the earth. There was an old man and his ass, A sample of a numerous class,— So slow to learn, do what you can, You’ll never please the average man. I’ve often thought, how can it be, This great divergence that we see, In form and colour, size and face, In what we call the human race? Have we all come from one common pair— Adam the first, and Eve the fair? Descended or ascended, say? Philosophers, come tell us, pray! Some men are short, and some are tall, And some are fat, and some are small; While some are black, and some are white, And some are doomed to endless night; Some born with brains, and some without,— The weak and feeble, strong and stout. [page 100] Confess I must, ’tis hard to see How sovereign grace and this agree. Heredity, I think,would show, Environment explain also, How all this wide divergence reigns Supreme o’er earth’s divergent plains. But when I’m told, in solemn tone, God made men so, and God alone, I know and feel there’s something wrong;— Go think it o’er, and jog along. [page 101]
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