Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

A Real Incident Of The Persecuting Times In Scotland

The Scene-A Lonely Low Thatched Cottage Near Airdrie Burn, New Monkland
She lay within that lonely cot,
And seemed by all, save God, forgot,
And one who, when the shadows fell,
With stealthy step came up the dell
To minister, to soothe, and tend
Her dying hours. She was the friend-
Still dearest, nearest to her side-
As child, as maid, as blooming bride.
Their matron cares they shared together,
Together sat upon the heather,
To hear the words of truth and life,
Each a beloved and loving wife.
When Scotland's Covenanted men,
On moor, and hill, in cave, and glen,
For Christ and conscience stood to arms;
When mansions, cottages, and farms
Were scenes of terror, spoil, and wrong,
And not a dog dared move his tongue,
She entered, saw through gathering tears
The fast fulfilling of her fears;
The cold, grey shadow on her face
That could not quench the light of grace.
'Welcome,' she said, with failing breath,
'My friend in life, my friend in death.
My hands are chill, my eyes are dim,
Take thou my last farewell to him
Who now has long in hiding been,
And dares not near his home be seen.
Tell him on earth we never more
Shall meet; yet he to Canaan's shore,
To which I haste, shall shortly come
And dwell with me in 'heaven our home.'
Say that I pray with parting breath
That he be faithful to the death,
When God to him a crown of life
Will give: so prays his dying wife.
And now, though all of earth recedes
From mind and eye, to help the needs
Of him I leave in want behind,
Say that beneath the hearth he'll find
A treasure small when he shall come
By stealth to his deserted home.'
She ceased. Her friend stooped o'er the bed,
Her lips were cold, her spirit fled.
She sought no help, she made no moan,
She laid her out, and watched alone
Till daybreak, then she closed the door
And sped her o'er the lonely moor
To where, in shelter of the wood,
His hiding-place, the husband stood.
She told his loss. He bowed his head,
'The will of God be done,' he said.
'His mercy called my dear one home
To shelter her from woes to come.'
She told him he must not come near
To 'tend the funeral-there was fear;
For spies were placed, and watch was set,
Assured the rebel they would get.
'Beside the bier, if God me spare,'
He solemn said, 'I will be there.
Yes; I will see my dearest, best,
Laid in the sheltering grave to rest.
Be calm, my friend, fear not the foe,
My presence there they shall not know.'
By night he watchfully approached
The churchyard path, and lowly crouched
Behind the hedge amongst the heather,
Saw friends and foes pass on together
Beside the bier. The burial rite
Was o'er, he watched the live-long night
Beside the grave-ere break of day
He rose, and Scotland left for aye.
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