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Poem by Tobias George Smollett


The Tears of Scotland. Written in the Year 1746


Mourn, hapless Caledonia! mourn
Thy banishd peace, thy laurels torn!
Thy sons, for valour long renownd,
Lie slaughterd on their native ground;
Thy hospitable roofs no more
Invite the stranger to the door;
In smoky ruins sunk they lie,
The monuments of cruelty.

The wretched owner sees afar
His all become the prey of war;
Bethinks him of his babes and wife,
Then smites his breast, and curses life.
Thy swains are famishd on the rocks,
Where once they fed their wanton flocks:
Thy ravishd virgins shriek in vain;
Thy infants perish on the plain.

What boots it, then, in every clime,
Through the wide-spreading waste of Time,
Thy martial glory, crownd with praise,
Still shone with undiminishd blaze?
Thy towering spirit now is broke,
Thy neck is bended to the yoke.
What foreign arms could never quell,
By civil rage and rancour fell.

The rural pipe and merry lay
No more shall cheer the happy day:
No social scenes of gay delight
Beguile the dreary winter night.
No strains but those of sorrow flow,
And nought be heard but sounds of woe,
While the pale phantoms of the slain
Glide nightly oer the silent plain.

Oh! baneful cause, oh! fatal morn,
Accursed to ages yet unborn!
The sons against their father stood,
The parent shed his childrens blood.
Yet, when the rage of battle ceased,
The victors soul was not appeased:
The naked and forlorn must feel
Devouring flames, and murdering steel!

The pious mother, doomd to death,
Forsaken wanders oer the heath,
The bleak wind whistles round her head,
Her helpless orphans cry for bread;
Bereft of shelter, food, and friend,
She views the shades of night descend,
And, stretchd beneath the inclement skies,
Weeps oer her tender babes, and dies.

While the warm blood bedews my veins,
And unimpaird remembrance reigns,
Resentment of my countrys fate,
Within my filial breast shall beat;
And, spite of her insulting foe,
My sympathising verse shall flow:
Mourn, hapless Caledonia! mourn
Thy banishd peace, thy laurels torn!

The Thrush, 1749; The Union, 1753

Tobias George Smollett


Tobias George Smollett's other poems:
  1. Ode to Leven-Water
  2. Ode to Independence


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