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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

William Thom 1798–1848

The Mitherless Bairn

WHEN a’ ither bairnies are hush’d to their hame,

By aunty, or cousin, or frecky grand-dame,

Wha stands last an’ lanely, an’ sairly for-fairn?

’T is the puir dowie laddie—the mitherless bairn!

The mitherless bairnie creeps to his lane bed;

Nane covers his cauld back, or haps his bare head;

His wee hackit heelies are hard as the airn,

An’ lithless the lair o’ the mitherless bairn.

Aneath his cauld brow, siccan dreams hover there,

O’ hands that wont kindly to kaim his dark hair!

But mornin’ brings clutches, a’ reckless an’ stern,

That lo’e na the locks o’ the mitherless bairn.

The sister, wha sang o’er his saftly rock’d bed,

Now rests in the mools whare their mammie is laid;

While the father toils sair his wee bannock to earn,

An’ kens na the wrangs o’ his mitherless bairn.

Her spirit that pass’d in yon hour of his birth

Still watches his lone lorn wand’rings on earth,

Recording in heaven the blessings they earn

Wha couthilie deal wi’ the mitherless bairn!

Oh! speak him na harshly—he trembles the while,

He bends to your biddin’, and blesses your smile:

In the dark hour o’ anguish, the heartless shall learn

That God deals the blow for the mitherless bairn!