Janet Hamilton

1795-1873 / Scotland

Cousin Bell: An Incident In Real Life

A dark fir-wud hings ower the burn,
That wannerin' jinks roun' monny a turn,
Far doon oot through the lanely dell,
By whilk ance leev't my Cousin Bell.
A strappin', gracefu', blithesome queen,
Wi' coal-black hair an' glancin' een;
Nae muirlan' lass mair trig an' snell-
An' jist nineteen was Cousin Bell.
Her faither rentit a bit mailin',
It wadna pay-his health was failin';
He had nae dochter but hersel',
But brithers seven had Cousin Bell.
'Callants,' quo' he, 'nae mair we'll toil
For nocht; we'll seek anither soil;
Yon joiner lad, ye've a' heard tell,
Will wed an' keep at hame oor Bell.'
For Canada they made them boune-
A house was ta'en in the neist toon,
Whar wi' her young guidman to dwell,
Weel ettle't she-oor Cousin Bell.
Ae Sabbath sittin in the kirk,
Her heart grew caul', her een grew mirk;
Ye couldna guess what there befell
Tae blast the luve, the life o' Bell.
Purpose o' marriage was proclaimed
'Tween her betroth'd an' ane they named-
Intae her faither's arms she fell,
'Oh, tak' me wi' ye!' murmur'd Bell.
On board they laid her in her berth,
For she was dune wi' a' on yirth;
They thocht the waves wad ring her knell,
An' hide the pale, sweet face o' Bell.
Her weary head she seldom shiftit;
Her mournfu' een she seldom liftit-
Oh! wae betide the traitor fell
That brak the heart o' Cousin Bell.
She kiss't them a'-her mither's cheek
She langest presst-but didna speak;
But time an' change can ne'er expel
Their love an' grief for Sister Bell.
She leev't tae see the promist lan'-
The icy waves that lash the stran'
Of great St Lawrence rung her knell-
Rest, rest in peace, dear Cousin Bell.
On far Iowa's prairie lan',
Four yet survive o' that fair ban';
An' aften mournfu' memories swell
The brithers' hearts for Sister Bell!
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