“Immunis aram si tetigit manus.” – CAR. III., 23.
MY gude auld Elspet, in your wee cot house,
Cheerfu’ i’ mornin’, an’ at e’enin’ douce
(For wark is cheery when a body’s fain;
But aye wi’ gloamin’ mem’ry comes again
To mend the broken circle roond the ingle,
Lang silent voices wi’ the winds to mingle,
To wauken passion in the patient hert
That canna, winna wi’ thae visions pairt –
Till the fire gies a blink, an’ a’ are gane,
An’ ye are left to sit your liefu’ lane)
O lang an’ weary is the widow’s seat,
Scatter’d the bairns that play’d aboot her feet!
Wark is her comfort, busy she is blest;
But hoo, withoot her lov’d anes, can she rest?
But if an honour’d length o’ usefu’ days,
A kindly kintraside’s respect an’ praise,
A family worthy o’ your ain gude name
Be ony solace – then, my gude auld dame,
That memory’s yours; an’ hopefully ye may
Look forrat to a fast-approachin’ day.
What tho’ nae kirk has biggit been by you,
Nor mission foondit for the black Hindoo?
Sterv’d beast or body did ye e’er forget?
Gaed ever beggar hungry fra your yett?
What clash was e’er repeatit by your tongue,
That kent but kindly coonsel for the young?
Wha has been ill here that ye haena mendit?
Wha has been seeck here that ye haena tendit?
This fashious toun lifts up its voice to bless ye,
An’, when ye’re ta’en awa, sair, sair ‘ill miss ye!
Repine na, Elspet, that fell povertee
Hauds ye fra daein’ a the gude ye see;
Your sair-spared weekly bawbee in the plate
Is mair than thoosands fra the rich an’ great.
Some think what gude wi’ gowd they could hae wrocht,
But, sirs, they ne’er get farrer than the thocht.
There’s wark for a’, ready to ilka han’,
An’ Elspet aye, for ane, does what she can.