V - A LOWDEN SABBATH MORN
The clinkum-clank o' Sabbath bells Noo to the hoastin' rookery swells, Noo faintin' laigh in shady dells, Sounds far an' near, An' through the simmer kintry tells Its tale o' cheer.
An' noo, to that melodious play, A' deidly awn the quiet sway - A' ken their solemn holiday, Bestial an' human, The singin' lintie on the brae, The restin' plou'man,
He, mair than a' the lave o' men, His week completit joys to ken; Half-dressed, he daunders out an' in, Perplext wi' leisure; An' his raxt limbs he'll rax again Wi' painfu' pleesure.
The steerin' mither strang afit Noo shoos the bairnies but a bit; Noo cries them ben, their Sinday shuit To scart upon them, Or sweeties in their pouch to pit, Wi' blessin's on them.
The lasses, clean frae tap to taes, Are busked in crunklin' underclaes; The gartened hose, the weel-filled stays, The nakit shift, A' bleached on bonny greens for days, An' white's the drift.
An' noo to face the kirkward mile: The guidman's hat o' dacent style, The blackit shoon, we noo maun fyle As white's the miller: A waefu' peety tae, to spile The warth o' siller.
Our Marg'et, aye sae keen to crack, Douce-stappin' in the stoury track, Her emeralt goun a' kiltit back Frae snawy coats, White-ankled, leads the kirkward pack Wi' Dauvit Groats.
A thocht ahint, in runkled breeks, A' spiled wi' lyin' by for weeks, The guidman follows closs, an' cleiks The sonsie missis; His sarious face at aince bespeaks The day that this is.
And aye an' while we nearer draw To whaur the kirkton lies alaw, Mair neebours, comin' saft an' slaw Frae here an' there, The thicker thrang the gate an' caw The stour in air.
But hark! the bells frae nearer clang; To rowst the slaw, their sides they bang; An' see! black coats a'ready thrang The green kirkyaird; And at the yett, the chestnuts spang That brocht the laird.
The solemn elders at the plate Stand drinkin' deep the pride o' state: The practised hands as gash an' great As Lords o' Session; The later named, a wee thing blate In their expression.
The prentit stanes that mark the deid, Wi' lengthened lip, the sarious read; Syne wag a moraleesin' heid, An' then an' there Their hirplin' practice an' their creed Try hard to square.
It's here our Merren lang has lain, A wee bewast the table-stane; An' yon's the grave o' Sandy Blane; An' further ower, The mither's brithers, dacent men! Lie a' the fower.
Here the guidman sall bide awee To dwall amang the deid; to see Auld faces clear in fancy's e'e; Belike to hear Auld voices fa'in saft an' slee On fancy's ear.
Thus, on the day o' solemn things, The bell that in the steeple swings To fauld a scaittered faim'ly rings Its walcome screed; An' just a wee thing nearer brings The quick an' deid.
But noo the bell is ringin' in; To tak their places, folk begin; The minister himsel' will shune Be up the gate, Filled fu' wi' clavers about sin An' man's estate.
The tunes are up - FRENCH, to be shure, The faithfu' FRENCH, an' twa-three mair; The auld prezentor, hoastin' sair, Wales out the portions, An' yirks the tune into the air Wi' queer contortions.
Follows the prayer, the readin' next, An' than the fisslin' for the text - The twa-three last to find it, vext But kind o' proud; An' than the peppermints are raxed, An' southernwood.
For noo's the time whan pews are seen Nid-noddin' like a mandareen; When tenty mithers stap a preen In sleepin' weans; An' nearly half the parochine Forget their pains.
There's just a waukrif' twa or three: Thrawn commentautors sweer to 'gree, Weans glowrin' at the bumlin' bee On windie-glasses, Or lads that tak a keek a-glee At sonsie lasses.
Himsel', meanwhile, frae whaur he cocks An' bobs belaw the soundin'-box, The treesures of his words unlocks Wi' prodigality, An' deals some unco dingin' knocks To infidality.
Wi' sappy unction, hoo he burkes The hopes o' men that trust in works, Expounds the fau'ts o' ither kirks, An' shaws the best o' them No muckle better than mere Turks, When a's confessed o' them.