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Poetical Works of George MacDonald, Vol. 2 by George MacDonald

Part 9 out of 9

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Sin' I saw the man wha's sicht was my sang--
Yer gran'father, that's--an' the sun's last glim
Says aye to me, 'Lass, ye're a mile nearer him!

"For he's hame afore me, an' lang's the road!
He fain at my side wud hae timed his plod,
But, eh, he was sent for, an' hurried awa!
Noo, I'm thinkin he's harkin to hear my fit-fa'."

"But, grannie, yer face is sae lirkit an' thin,
Wi' a doun-luikin nose an' an up-luikin chin,
An' a mou clumpit up oot o' sicht atween,
Like the witherin half o' an auld weary mune!"

"Hoot, laddie, ye needna glower yersel blin'!
The body 'at loos, sees far throu the skin;
An', believe me or no, the hoor's comin amain
Whan ugly auld fowk 'ill be bonny again.

"For there is _ane_--an' it's no my dear man,
Though I loo him as nane but a wife's hert can--
The joy o' beholdin wha's gran' lovely face
Til mak me like him in a' 'at's ca'd grace.

"But what I am like I carena a strae
Sae lang as I'm _his_, an' what _he_ wud hae!
Be ye a guid man, John, an' ae day ye'll ken
What maks granny canty yont four score an' ten."


A lang-backit, spilgie, fuistit auld carl
Gangs a' nicht rakin athort the warl
Wi' a pock on his back, luikin hungry an' lean,
His crook-fingert han' aye followin his e'en:
He gathers up a'thing that canna but fa'--
Intil his bag wi' 't, an' on, an' awa!
Soot an' snaw! soot an' snaw!--
Intil his bag wi' 't, an' on, an' awa!

But whan he comes to the wa' o' the warl,
Spangs up it, like lang-leggit spidder, the carl;
Up gangs his pock wi' him, humpit ahin,
For naething fa's oot 'at ance he pat in;
Syne he warstles doon ootside the flamin wa',
His bag 'maist the deith o' him, pangt like a ba';
Soot an' snaw! soot an' snaw!
His bag 'maist throttlin him, pangt like a ba'!

Doon he draps weary upon a laigh rock,
Flingin aside him his muckle-mou'd pock:
An' there he sits, his heid in his han',
Like a broken-hertit, despairin man;
Him air his pock no bonny, na, na!
Him an' his pock an ugsome twa!
Soot an' snaw! soot an' snaw!
Him an' his pock an ugsome twa!

But sune 's the first ray o' the sunshine bare
Lichts on the carl, what see ye there?
An angel set on eternity's brink,
Wi' e'en to gar the sun himsel blink;
By his side a glintin, glimmerin urn,
Furth frae wha's mou rins a liltin burn:--
Soot an' snaw! soot an' snaw!
The dirt o' the warl rins in glory awa!


The bairns i' their beds, worn oot wi' nae wark,
Are sleepin, nor ever an eelid winkin;
The auld fowk lie still wi' their een starin stark,
An' the mirk pang-fou o' the things they are thinkin.

Whan oot o' ilk corner the bairnies they keek,
Lauchin an' daffin, airms loosin an' linkin,
The auld fowk they watch frae the warm ingle-cheek,
But the bairns little think what the auld fowk are thinkin.

Whan the auld fowk sit quaiet at the reet o' a stook,
I' the sunlicht their washt een blinterin an' blinkin,
Fowk scythin, or bin'in, or shearin wi' heuk
Carena a strae what the auld fowk are thinkin.

At the kirk, whan the minister's dreich an' dry,
His fardens as gien they war gowd guineas chinkin,
An' the young fowk are noddin, or fidgetin sly,
Naebody kens what the auld fowk are thinkin.

Whan the young fowk are greitin aboot the bed
Whaur like water throu san' the auld life is sinkin,
An' some wud say the last word was said,
The auld fowk smile, an' ken what they're thinkin.


Greitna, father, that I'm gauin,
For fu' well ye ken the gaet;
I' the winter, corn ye're sawin,
I' the hairst again ye hae't.

I'm gauin hame to see my mither;
She'll be weel acquant or this!
Sair we'll muse at ane anither
'Tween the auld word an' new kiss!

Love I'm doobtin may be scanty
Roun ye efter I'm awa:
Yon kirkyard has happin plenty
Close aside me, green an' braw!

An' abune there's room for mony;
'Twasna made for ane or twa,
But was aye for a' an' ony
Countin love the best ava.

There nane less ye'll be my father;
Auld names we'll nor tyne nor spare!
A' my sonship I maun gather
For the Son is king up there.

Greitna, father, that I'm gauin,
For ye ken fu' well the gaet!
Here, in winter, cast yer sawin,
There, in hairst, again ye hae't!


What gars ye sing sae, birdie,
As gien ye war lord o' the lift?
On breid ye're an unco sma' lairdie,
But in hicht ye've a kingly gift!

A' ye hae to coont yersel rich in
'S a wee mawn o' glory-motes!
The whilk to the throne ye're aye hitchin
Wi a lang tow o' sapphire notes!

Ay, yer sang's the sang o' an angel
For a sinfu' thrapple no meet,
Like the pipes til a heavenly braingel
Whaur they dance their herts intil their feet!

But though ye canna behaud, birdie,
Ye needna gar a'thing wheesht!
I'm noucht but a hirplin herdie,
But I hae a sang i' my breist!

Len' me yer throat to sing throu,
Len' me yer wings to gang hie,
And I'll sing ye a sang a laverock to cow,
And for bliss to gar him dee!


The stars are steady abune;
I' the water they flichter and flee;
But, steady aye, luikin doon
They ken theirsels i' the sea.

A' licht, and clear, and free,
God, thou shinest abune;
Yet luik, and see thysel in me,
Aye on me luikin doon.

* * * * *

Throu the heather an' how gaed the creepin thing,
But abune was the waff o' an angel's wing.

* * * * *

Hither an' thither, here an' awa,
Into the dub ye maunna fa';
Oot o' the dub wad ye come wi' speed,
Ye maun lift yer han's abune yer heid.

* * * * *

Whaur's nor sun nor mune,
Laigh things come abune.

* * * * *

My thouchts are like worms in a starless gloamin
My hert's like a sponge that's fillit wi' gall;
My soul's like a bodiless ghaist sent a roamin
I' the haar an' the mirk till the trumpet call.

Lord, turn ilk worm til a butterflee,
Wring oot my hert, an' fill 't frae thy ain;
My soul syne in patience its weird will dree,
An' luik for the mornin throu the rain.


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