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Poem by Robert Nicoll

The Ha' Bible

    CHIEF of the household gods
        Which hallow Scotland's lowly cottage-homes!
    While looking on thy signs
        That speak, though dumb, deep thought upon me
    With glad yet solemn dreams my heart is stirr'd,
Like childhood's when it hears the carol of a bird!

    The mountains old and hoar
        The chainless winds, the streams so pure and free,
    The God-enamel'd flowers,
        The waving forest, the eternal sea,
    The eagle floating o'er the mountain's brow,
Are teachers all; but, O! they are not such as thou!

    O! I could worship thee!
        Thou art a gift a God of love might give;
    For love, and hope, and joy,
        In thy Almighty-written pages live;
    The slave who reads shall never crouch again;
For, mind-inspired by thee, he bursts his feeble chain!

    God! unto thee I kneel,
        And thank thee!   Thou unto my native land
    Yea to the outspread earth
        Hast stretch'd in love thy everlasting hand,
    And thou hast given earth, and sea, and air
Yea, all that heart can ask of good, and pure, and fair!

    And, Father, thou hast spread
        Before men's eyes this charter of the free,
    That ALL thy book might read,
        And justice love, and truth and liberty.
    The gift was unto menthe giver God!
Thou slave! it stamps thee mango spurn thy weary load!

    Thou doubly-precious Book!
        Unto thy light what doth not Scotland owe:
    Thou teachest age to die,
        And youth in truth unsullied up to grow!
    In lowly homes a comforter art thou
A sunbeam sent from Godan everlasting bow!

    O'er thy broad, ample page
        How many dim and aged eyes have pored:
    How many hearts o'er thee
        In silence deep and holy have adored:
    How many mothers, by their infants' bed,
Thy holy, blessed, pure, child-loving words have read!

    And o'er thee soft young hands
        Have oft in truthful plighted love been join'd;
    And thou to wedded hearts
        Hast been a bondan altar of the mind!
    Above all kingly power or kingly law
May Scotland reverence ayeTHE BIBLE OF THE HA'!

Robert Nicoll

Robert Nicoll's other poems:
  1. We'll A' Go Pu' the Heather
  2. The Provost
  3. Bonnie Bessie Lee
  4. Fiddler Johnnie
  5. Our Auld Hearthstane

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