Have I been sleeping, in a trance, or dead?
Sure now I live, and rear my antient head;
Then tell me, Calton-hill and Arthur’s seat,
Why I’m reviv’d and wakened of late,
What is the cause? oh! tell, you buildings rare,
No king frequents the royal house of pray’r.
Why have I silent been these hundred years?
My altar quite forsook: no pray’rs, no tears,
T’implore heavn’s mercy on a sinful land,
And deprecate God’s wrath when nigh at hand?
None of the royal race sure here remain,
Or, if they do, apostatiz’d they reign,
Neglecting heav’n, and ev’ry other thing,
That peace and honour to their subjects bring.
A STUART was king when I fell fast asleep,
Then bishops here did fervent worship keep:
Their successors, I fear, quite void of grace,
Have ceas’d to worship in this holy place.
Are pious churchmen from this kingdom gone?
Have Scottish kings now abdicate their throne?
Are kings and rev’rend bishops in exile?
And hath religion fled fair Scotia’s isle?
Yet, if they’re banish’d, sure they’ll fast come home,
Else, why do masons now repair my dome?
Tell me, if Presbyt’ry, that upstart new,
Has come in place of the Catholics true?
Perhaps they proudly aim at nothing less
Than my devoted walls now to possess.
How strange the changes churches undergo!
Catholics me possess’d not long ago,
With pious hearts they worship’d God with tears,
Tho’ they have been suppress’d these many years.
Long have I slept, and wish’d to have slept on,
Till rouz’d by Catholic devotion.
Heretics much I hate, not orthodox,
Fomenting dire discord, like old John Knox;
Who rend the church for their own private views,
More hurt they do than unbelieving Jews.
Where is the Abbey Porch, the city Cross?
To know this place, I’m greatly at a loss.
Such changes much my aged sight confound;
Except these hills, all things are chang’d around.
The river keeps its course upon the north,
I think they call it still the Frith of Forth;
But all things else wear quite a diff’rent face,
The Scots united seem to Saxon race.
Where is your king and Scottish parliament?
Why was I wak’d to see this dire event?
Where are your nobles now? they seem but few,
And what remain seem careless of you too.
Where are your pow’rful chiefs of ev’ry clan,
Whose native valour always led the van
Of conqu’ring armies, whose resistless might
Great vict’ries won, defending Scotland’s right?
Are they exil’d, or do they now bear arms,
To shield themselves from foreign foes alarms?
Your sons impress’d, and forc’d to foreign fields,
To draw their swords, and to oppose their shields:
Such changes for the worse add to my grief,
Where strays the hero wishes you relief?
It cruel was to set within my view
Impending ills that hang o’er Scotland now;
Happier, had I been still allowed to ly
Dormant, or dead, to all eternity.
(James Wilson Claudero)
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