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[255] he thus describes the consternation produced in the meeting-house at sermon time by a dog, who, in search of his mistress, rattled and scraped at the ‘west porch door:’—
The vera priest was scared himsela,
     His sermon he could hardly spell;
Auld carlins fancied they could smell
     The brimstone matches;
They thought he was some imp oa hell,
     In quest oa wretches.

He lived to a good old age, a home-loving, unpretending farmer, cultivating his acres with his own horny hands, and cheering the long rainy days and winter evenings with homely rhyme. Most of his pieces were written in the dialect of his ancestors, which was well understood by his neighbors and friends, the only audience upon which he could venture to calculate. He loved all old things, old language, old customs, old theology. In a rhyming letter to his cousin Silas, he says:—

Though Death our ancestors has cleekit,
     Ana under clods them closely steekit,
We'll mark the place their chimneys reekit,
     Their native tongue we yet wad speak it,
Wia accent glib.

He wrote sometimes to amuse his neighbors, often to soothe their sorrow under domestic calamity, or to give expression to his own. With little of that delicacy of taste which results from the attrition of fastidious and refined society, and altogether too truthful and matter-of-fact to call in the aid of imagination, he describes in the simplest and most direct terms the circumstances in which he found himself, and the impressions which these

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