THE COVENANTERS’ VOW.
Ho ! Watcher of the silent hill,
What of the night ? What of the night
The winds are hushed—the
earth is still
The voiceless stars are sparkling bright—
From out this heathery moorland glen,
By the shy wild fowl only trod,
We raise our hymn, unheard of men,
To thee, an omnipresent God !
Jehovah! though no sign
Through earth our aimless path to Lead,
We know—we feel
A present help in time of need !
Near—as when pointing out the way,
For ever in thy people’s sight,
A smoke-wreathed column in the day!
A fiery pillar in the night!
Whence came the summons
forth to go ?
From thee came
down the warning sound:
“Out to your tents, oh Israel–Lo !
The heathen’s warfare girds thee round
Sons of the faithful, Up ! Away!
The Lamb must of the wolf beware;
The falcon seeks the dove for prey;
The fowler spreads his cunning snare.”
Then all was seeming
Was seeming peace by field and flood,
We woke—and on our lintels found
The mark of death, the sign of blood;
Lord! in thy cause we mocked at fears ;
We scorned th’ ungodly’s threatening words;
Beat out our pruning hooks to spears ;
And turned the ploughshare into swords.
Degenerate Scotland ! days have been
When freemen o’er
thy pathways trod;
When mountain rude and valley green
Poured forth the loud acclaim to God!
The fire, which Liberty imparts,
Refulgent in each patriot eye,
And graven on a nation’s hearts
which we stand or die.
Unholy change! the
Is now the seat of those who rule ;
Tortures, and bonds, and death, the change
Of all except the tyrant’s tool ;
The faith in which our fathers breathed
And had their life—for which they died—
That priceless boon, which they bequeathed
Their sons—our impious foes deride.
And we have left our homes
And we have girded on the sword,
And we in solemn league have joined,
Yea, covenanted with the Lord
Never to seek these homes again,
Never to give the sword its
Until our rights of Faith remain
Unfettered as the air we breathe!
Oh Thou, who reignest in
Encircled round with heavenly thrones,
Cast down thine all protecting eye
Upon our wives and little ones;
From Hallelujahs surging round,
Oh for a moment turn thine ear,
The widow prostrate on the ground,
The famished orphan’s cries to hear!
And thou wilt hear !—it
That thou wilt list the raven’s brood,
When from the nest they call to thee,
And, in due season, send
It cannot be, that thou wilt weave
The lily such superb array,
And yet unfed, unsheltered leave,
Thy children—as if less than they!
We have no hearth—the ashes lie
In blackness where they brightly shone;
We have no home—the desert sky
Our covering, earth our couch alone
We have no heritage—depriven
Of these, we ask not such on earth;
Our hearts are sealed ; we seek in heaven,
For heritage, and home, and hearth.