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Sickly crept on, and with complainings rude,
On nature seem'd to call, and bleat for food.
Jock. Sith to this cave, by tempest, we're confin'd,
And within ken our flocks, under the wind,
Safe from the pelting of this perilous storm,
Are laid emong yon thistles, dry and warm,
What, Sawney, if by shepherd's art we try
To mock the rigour of this cruel sky?
What if we tune some merry roundelay?
Well dost thou sing, nor ill doth Jockey play.
Saw. Ah, Jockey, ill advisest thou, I wis,
To think of songs at such a time as this.
Sooner shall herbage crown these barren rocks,
Sooner shall fleeces clothe these ragged flocks,
Sooner shall want seize shepherds of the south,
And we forget to live from hand to mouth,
Than Sawney, out of season, shall impart
The songs of gladness with an aching heart.
Jock. Still have I known thee for a silly swain :
Of things past help, what boots it to complain ?
Nothing but mirth can conquer fortune's spite;
No sky is heavy, if the heart be light:
Patience is sorrow's salve; what can't be cur'd,
So Donald right areeds, must be endur'd.
Saw. Full silly swain, I wot, is Jockey now; How didst thou bear thy Maggy's falsehood? how, When with a foreign loon she stole away, Didst thou forswear thy pipe and shepherd's lay? Where was thy boasted wisdom then, when I Applied those proverbs, which you now apply
Jock. O she was bonny! All the Highlands round Was there a rival to my Maggy found? More precious (though that precious is to all) Than the rare med'cine which we brimstone call, Or that choice plant, so grateful to the nose, Which in I know not what far country grows, Was Maggy unto me; dear do I rue, A lass so fair should ever prove untrue,
Saw. Whether with pipe or song to charm the ear, Through all the land did Jamie find a peer? Curs'd be that year by ev'ry honest Scot, And in the shepherd's calendar forgot, That fatal year, when Jamie, hapless swain, In evil hour forsook the peaceful plain. Jamie, when our young laird discreetly fled, Was seiz'd, and hang'd till he was dead, dead, dead.
Jock. Full sorely may we all lament that day; For all were losers in the deadly fray. Five brothers had ļ on the Scottish plains, Well dost thou know were none more hopeful swains; Five brothers there I lost, in manhood's pride, Two in the field, and three on gibbets died: Ah! silly swains, to follow war's alarms! Ah! what hath shepherds' life to do with arms!
Saw. Mention it not-There saw I strangers clad In all the honours of our ravish'd plaid, Saw the ferrara too, our nation's pride, Unwilling grace the awkward victor's side. There fell our choicest youth, and from that day Mote never Sawney tune the merry lay;
Bless'd those which fell! curs'd those which still
survive, To mourn fifteen renew'd in forty-five.
Thus plain’d the boys, when from her throne of turf,
With boils emboss'd, and overgrown with scurf,
Vile humours, which, in life's corrupted well,
Mix'd at the birth, not abstinence could quell,
Pale Famine rear'd the head: her eager eyes,
Where hunger ev'n to madness seem'd to rise,
Speaking aloud her throes and pangs of heart,
Strain’d to get loose, and from their orbs to start;
Her hollow cheeks were each a deep-sunk cell,
Where wretchedness and horror lov'd to dwell;
With double rows of useless teeth supplied
Her mouth, from ear to ear, extended wide,
Which, when for want of food her entrails pin'd,
She op'd, and, cursing, swallow'd nought but wind;
All shrivellid was her skin, and here and there
Making their way by force, her bones lay bares
Such filthy sight to hide from human view,
O'er her foul limbs a tatter'd plaid she threw.
Cease, cried the goddess, cease, despairing swains, And from a parent hear what Jove ordains !
Pent in this barren corner of the isle,
Where partial fortune never deign'd to smile;
Like nature's bastards, reaping for our share
What was rejected by the lawful heir;
Unknown amongst the nations of the earth,
Or only known to raise contempt and mirth;
Long free, because the race of Roman braves
Thought it not worth their while to make us slaves ;
Then into bondage by that nation brought,
Whose ruin we for ages vainly sought;
Whom still with unslack'd hate we view, and still,
The pow'r of mischief lost, retain the will;
Consider'd as the refuse of mankind,
A mass till the last moment left behind,
Which frugal nature doubted, as it lay,
Whether to stamp with life, or throw away;
Which, form'd in haste, was planted in this nook,
But never enter'd in creation's book;
Branded as traitors, who for love of gold
Would sell their God, as once their king they sold;
Long have we borne this mighty weight of ill,
These vile injurious taunts, and bear them still.
But times of happier note are now at hand,
And the full promise of a better land:
There, like the sons of Israel, having trod,
For the fix'd term of years ordain’d by God,
A barren desert, we shall seize rich plains,
Where milk with honey flows, and plenty reigns.
With some few natives join'd, some pliant few,
Who worship intrest, and our track pursue,
There shall we, though the wretched people grieve,
Ravage at large, nor ask the owner's leave.
For us, the earth shall bring forth her increase;
For us, the flocks shall wear a golden fleece;
Fat beeves shall yield us dainties not our own,
And the grape bleed a nectar yet unknown;
For our advantage shall their harvests grow,
And Scotsmen reap what they disdain’d to sow ;
For us, the sun shall climb the eastern hill;
For us, the rain shall fall, the dew distil ;
When to our wishes nature cannot rise,
Art shall be task'd to grant us fresh supplies.
His brawny arm shall drudging labour strain,
And for our pleasure suffer daily pain;
Trade shall for us exert her utmost pow'rs,
Hers all the toil, and all the profit ours;
For us, the oak shall from his native steep
Descend, and fearless travel through the deep;
The sail of commerce for our use unfurl'd,
Shall waft the treasures of each distant world;
For us, sublimer heights shall science reach,
For us, their statesmen plot, their churchmen preach;
Their noblest limbs of counsel we'll disjoint,
And, mocking, new ones of our own appoint;
Devouring War, imprison'd in the north,
Shall, at our call, in horrid pomp break forth,
And when, his chariot wheels with thunder hung,
Fell Discord braying with her brazen tongue,
Death in the van, with Anger, Hate, and Fear,
And Desolation stalking in the rear,
Revenge, by Justice guided, in his train,
He drives impetuous o'er the trembling plain,
Shall, at our bidding, quit his lawful prey,
And to meek, gentle, gen'rous Peace give way.