Song—fragment—why Tell The Lover
WHY, why tell thy lover
Bliss he never must enjoy"?
Why, why undeceive him,
And give all his hopes the lie?
O why, while fancy, raptur'd slumbers,
"Chloris, Chloris" all the theme,
Why, why would'st thou, cruel—
Wake thy lover from his dream?
On Glenriddell's Fox Breaking His Chain
THOU, Liberty, thou art my theme;
Not such as idle poets dream,
Who trick thee up a heathen goddess
That a fantastic cap and rod has;
Such stale conceits are poor and silly;
I paint thee out, a Highland filly,
A sturdy, stubborn, handsome dapple,
As sleek's a mouse, as round's an apple,
That when thou pleasest canst do wonders;
But when thy luckless rider blunders,
Or if thy fancy should demur there,
Wilt break thy neck ere thou go further.
These things premised, I sing a Fox,
Was caught among his native rocks,
And to a dirty kennel chained,
How he his liberty regained.
Glenriddell! Whig without a stain,
A Whig in principle and grain,
Could'st thou enslave a free-born creature,
A native denizen of Nature?
How could'st thou, with a heart so good,
(A better ne'er was sluiced with blood!)
Nail a poor devil to a tree,
That ne'er did harm to thine or thee?
The staunchest Whig Glenriddell was,
Quite frantic in his country's cause;
And oft was Reynard's prison passing,
And with his brother-Whigs canvassing
The Rights of Men, the Powers of Women,
With all the dignity of Freemen.
Sir Reynard daily heard debates
Of Princes', Kings', and Nations' fates,
With many rueful, bloody stories
Of Tyrants, Jacobites, and Tories:
From liberty how angels fell,
That now are galley-slaves in hell;
How Nimrod first the trade began
Of binding Slavery's chains on Man;
How fell Semiramis—G—d d-mn her!
Did first, with sacrilegious hammer,
(All ills till then were trivial matters)
For Man dethron'd forge hen-peck fetters;
How Xerxes, that abandoned Tory,
Thought cutting throats was reaping glory,
Until the stubborn Whigs of Sparta
Taught him great Nature's Magna Charta;
How mighty Rome her fiat hurl'd
Resistless o'er a bowing world,
And, kinder than they did desire,
Polish'd mankind with sword and fire;
With much, too tedious to relate,
Of ancient and of modern date,
But ending still, how Billy Pitt
(Unlucky boy!) with wicked wit,
Has gagg'd old Britain, drain'd her coffer,
As butchers bind and bleed a heifer,
Thus wily Reynard by degrees,
In kennel listening at his ease,
Suck'd in a mighty stock of knowledge,
As much as some folks at a College;
Knew Britain's rights and constitution,
Her aggrandisement, diminution,
How fortune wrought us good from evil;
Let no man, then, despise the Devil,
As who should say, ‘I never can need him,'
Since we to scoundrels owe our freedom.
O THOU pale orb that silent shines
While care-untroubled mortals sleep!
Thou seest a wretch who inly pines.
And wanders here to wail and weep!
With woe I nightly vigils keep,
Beneath thy wan, unwarming beam;
And mourn, in lamentation deep,
How life and love are all a dream!
I joyless view thy rays adorn
The faintly-marked, distant hill;
I joyless view thy trembling horn,
Reflected in the gurgling rill:
My fondly-fluttering heart, be still!
Thou busy pow'r, remembrance, cease!
Ah! must the agonizing thrill
For ever bar returning peace!
No idly-feign'd, poetic pains,
My sad, love-lorn lamentings claim:
No shepherd's pipe—Arcadian strains;
No fabled tortures, quaint and tame.
The plighted faith, the mutual flame,
The oft-attested pow'rs above,
The promis'd father's tender name;
These were the pledges of my love!
Encircled in her clasping arms,
How have the raptur'd moments flown!
How have I wish'd for fortune's charms,
For her dear sake, and her's alone!
And, must I think it! is she gone,
My secret heart's exulting boast?
And does she heedless hear my groan?
And is she ever, ever lost?
Oh! can she bear so base a heart,
So lost to honour, lost to truth,
As from the fondest lover part,
The plighted husband of her youth?
Alas! life's path may be unsmooth!
Her way may lie thro' rough distress!
Then, who her pangs and pains will soothe
Her sorrows share, and make them less?
Ye wingèd hours that o'er us pass'd,
Enraptur'd more, the more enjoy'd,
Your dear remembrance in my breast
My fondly-treasur'd thoughts employ'd:
That breast, how dreary now, and void,
For her too scanty once of room!
Ev'n ev'ry ray of hope destroy'd,
And not a wish to gild the gloom!
The morn, that warns th' approaching day,
Awakes me up to toil and woe;
I see the hours in long array,
That I must suffer, lingering, slow:
Full many a pang, and many a throe,
Keen recollection's direful train,
Must wring my soul, were Phoebus, low,
Shall kiss the distant western main.
And when my nightly couch I try,
Sore harass'd out with care and grief,
My toil-beat nerves, and tear-worn eye,
Keep watchings with the nightly thief:
Or if I slumber, fancy, chief,
Reigns, haggard-wild, in sore affright:
Ev'n day, all-bitter, brings relief
From such a horror-breathing night.
O thou bright queen, who o'er th' expanse
Now highest reign'st, with boundless sway
Oft has thy silent-marking glance
Observ'd us, fondly-wand'ring, stray!
The time, unheeded, sped away,
While love's luxurious pulse beat high,
Beneath thy silver-gleaming ray,
To mark the mutual-kindling eye.
Oh! scenes in strong remembrance set!
Scenes, never, never to return!
Scenes, if in stupor I forget,
Again I feel, again I burn!
From ev'ry joy and pleasure torn,
Life's weary vale I'll wander thro';
And hopeless, comfortless, I'll mourn
A faithless woman's broken vow!
Guid-Mornin' to our Majesty!
May Heaven augment your blisses
On ev'ry new birth-day ye see,
A humble poet wishes.
My bardship here, at your Levee
On sic a day as this is,
Is sure an uncouth sight to see,
Amang thae birth-day dresses
Sae fine this day.
I see ye're complimented thrang,
By mony a lord an' lady;
"God save the King" 's a cuckoo sang
That's unco easy said aye:
The poets, too, a venal gang,
Wi' rhymes weel-turn'd an' ready,
Wad gar you trow ye ne'er do wrang,
But aye unerring steady,
On sic a day.
For me! before a monarch's face
Ev'n there I winna flatter;
For neither pension, post, nor place,
Am I your humble debtor:
So, nae reflection on your Grace,
Your Kingship to bespatter;
There's mony waur been o' the race,
And aiblins ane been better
Than you this day.
'Tis very true, my sovereign King,
My skill may weel be doubted;
But facts are chiels that winna ding,
An' downa be disputed:
Your royal nest, beneath your wing,
Is e'en right reft and clouted,
And now the third part o' the string,
An' less, will gang aboot it
Than did ae day.^1
Far be't frae me that I aspire
To blame your legislation,
Or say, ye wisdom want, or fire,
To rule this mighty nation:
But faith! I muckle doubt, my sire,
Ye've trusted ministration
To chaps wha in barn or byre
Wad better fill'd their station
Than courts yon day.
And now ye've gien auld Britain peace,
Her broken shins to plaister,
Your sair taxation does her fleece,
Till she has scarce a tester:
For me, thank God, my life's a lease,
Nae bargain wearin' faster,
Or, faith! I fear, that, wi' the geese,
I shortly boost to pasture
I' the craft some day.
I'm no mistrusting Willie Pitt,
When taxes he enlarges,
(An' Will's a true guid fallow's get,
A name not envy spairges),
That he intends to pay your debt,
An' lessen a' your charges;
But, God-sake! let nae saving fit
Abridge your bonie barges
An'boats this day.
Adieu, my Liege; may freedom geck
Beneath your high protection;
An' may ye rax Corruption's neck,
And gie her for dissection!
But since I'm here, I'll no neglect,
In loyal, true affection,
To pay your Queen, wi' due respect,
May fealty an' subjection
This great birth-day.
Hail, Majesty most Excellent!
While nobles strive to please ye,
Will ye accept a compliment,
A simple poet gies ye?
Thae bonie bairntime, Heav'n has lent,
Still higher may they heeze ye
In bliss, till fate some day is sent
For ever to release ye
Frae care that day.
For you, young Potentate o'Wales,
I tell your highness fairly,
Down Pleasure's stream, wi' swelling sails,
I'm tauld ye're driving rarely;
But some day ye may gnaw your nails,
An' curse your folly sairly,
That e'er ye brak Diana's pales,
Or rattl'd dice wi' Charlie
By night or day.
Yet aft a ragged cowt's been known,
To mak a noble aiver;
So, ye may doucely fill the throne,
For a'their clish-ma-claver:
There, him^2 at Agincourt wha shone,
Few better were or braver:
And yet, wi' funny, queer Sir John,^3
He was an unco shaver
For mony a day.
For you, right rev'rend Osnaburg,
Nane sets the lawn-sleeve sweeter,
Altho' a ribbon at your lug
Wad been a dress completer:
As ye disown yon paughty dog,
That bears the keys of Peter,
Then swith! an' get a wife to hug,
Or trowth, ye'll stain the mitre
Some luckless day!
Young, royal Tarry-breeks, I learn,
Ye've lately come athwart her-
A glorious galley,^4 stem and stern,
Weel rigg'd for Venus' barter;
But first hang out, that she'll discern,
Your hymeneal charter;
Then heave aboard your grapple airn,
An' large upon her quarter,
Come full that day.
Ye, lastly, bonie blossoms a',
Ye royal lasses dainty,
Heav'n mak you guid as well as braw,
An' gie you lads a-plenty!
But sneer na British boys awa!
For kings are unco scant aye,
An' German gentles are but sma',
They're better just than want aye
On ony day.
Gad bless you a'! consider now,
Ye're unco muckle dautit;
But ere the course o' life be through,
It may be bitter sautit:
An' I hae seen their coggie fou,
That yet hae tarrow't at it.
But or the day was done, I trow,
The laggen they hae clautit
Fu' clean that day.