Glenriddel Hermitage, June 28th, 1788.
Thou whom chance may hither lead,
Be thou clad in russet weed,
Be thou deckt in silken stole,
Grave these maxims on thy soul.
Life is but a day at most,
Sprung from night, in darkness lost:
Hope not sunshine every hour,
Fear not clouds will always lour.
Happiness is but a name,
Make content and ease thy aim,
Ambition is a meteor-gleam;
Fame, an idle restless dream;
Peace, the tend’rest flow’r of spring;
Pleasures, insects on the wing;
Those that sip the dew alone–
Make the butterflies thy own;
Those that would the bloom devour–
Crush the locusts, save the flower.
For the future be prepar’d,
Guard wherever thou can’st guard;
But thy utmost duly done,
Welcome what thou can’st not shun.
Follies past, give thou to air,
Make their consequence thy care:
Keep the name of Man in mind,
And dishonour not thy kind.
Reverence with lowly heart
Him, whose wondrous work thou art;
Keep His Goodness still in view,
Thy trust, and thy example, too.
Stranger, go! Heaven be thy guide!
Quod the Beadsman of Nidside.