Saturday, 28 May 2022


A Russian rustic clambering up a tree 

Sunk in the treasure of the active bee.           [i. e. He fell in!]

To his diurnal saint he did not fail 

To supplicate to free him from his jail.

But that which most augments his misery

Was that no priest or patriarch was nigh

To write a letter to Saint Nicholas,               [which he thought he needed]

And that without it he to heaven couldn’t pass.

He hopeless was; but overcharged with fears

Within and numerous foes about his ears

This captive stood; the tree he could not rive,        [tear apart]

And loath he was to be embalmed alive.

When lo, a bear came roaming for her prey

Just where the man in’s luscious prison lay.

She smelled the honey, straight she climbs the tree.

When the poor man his double death doth see

Fear caused despair, despair did make him bold;

Upon the bear’s hind legs he then catched hold.

The bear affrighted (who can hold their laughter?)

Got quickly out and pulled the man out after.

Then let none in distress his courage lose

For God can bring redemption by our foes…

For God can turn the sharpest sword or knife,

That means us instant death to give us life.

Then if restrained of liberty you be 

Think how the bear the captive Russ set free.

I think I had this story in one of my school books.

The Union Canal, Edinburgh University and a Sunset

Thursday, 26 May 2022

Made when my Spirits Were Sunk Very Low with Sickness and Sorrow (by Hester Pulter)

Droop not my soul nor hang the wing

For thou shalt shortly hallelujahs sing

To our invisible, eternal King.


Rouse up, my soul, shake off these rags of clay,

And thorough all the suns and worlds make way

To everlasting life and day.


But stay my soul, thou canst not go;

Thy great Creator He says, “No”,

For thou must praise Him longer here below.

Then let me here my few and evil days

Breathe nothing forth but thanks and praise.

Saturday, 21 May 2022

THE RAVEN by Hester Pulter

The dubious raven doth her young forsake;

Whilst callow she no care of them will take

Till she perceives their plumes of sable hue,

They being nourished with celestial dew.

If God the voice of volatiles doth hear,                                (flying creatures)

Why should His children then so faint and fear?

‘Twas He that these hard-hearted birds did make

Of His Elijah constant care to take;

When he involved was in want and sorrow

They brought him bread and flesh both eve and morrow.

This, God’s affections altereth every hour

To show us His infinite love and power.

Then as thy friends and near relations die

To Him alone (to Him) for comfort fly.

For though thy father and thy mother be

In no capacity to comfort thee,

And though successive sorrows and new fears

Make thee His altar cover o’er with tears,            (Malachi 2:13)

May, though thy only love doth thee forsake,

Yet He will then thee to His mercy take.

Despair not then, my soul, but patient be;

For He that hears young ravens will hear thee.

This is Emblem 11; the natural history of the emblems, up to date at the time Pulter wrote, can be a bit dubious!

More from Dalkeith

Thursday, 19 May 2022


To move out of Moab

Into Israel meant

The crossing of Jordan.

In the House of Bread why

Just gleaning? Naomi

Guided her appetite.

A hen gathers her own

Chicks – but grace protected

Ruth as an orphaned chick.

Bethlehem, House of Bread,

Was not enough – she found

The mighty Man of wealth:

A man who had resource

To meet her need – whose love

Would cause him to spend it.

Dalkeith Country Park, Midlothian

Saturday, 14 May 2022

Paraphrase of part of Lamentation 3

The Lord hath pity yet, as well as pow’r,

Had He not Mercy we were now no more.

Who can the wonders of his Truth repeat,

His Mercies still are new, and ever great.

The Lord is good, from him my Hope I’ll take.

For them that seek him he will not forsake.

‘Tis good to hope, and patiently attend,

That Quiet which the Lord at last may send,

‘‘Tis Patience far o’erpaid when God’s thy Friend.

‘Tis good at first to bear th’afflicting Rod,

For Youth, when prosperous, is vain and proud.

And what is best is still ordain’d by God.

Yet dismal Silence doth my Spirits wound,

When neither Peace nor Comfort can be found,

I bow my Humble head e’en to the ground,

To seek for Hope, and am so low become,

That e’en Reproaches are with Patience born,

And to th'insulting Foe I’m made a scorn.

But yet the Lord will not forsake me ever,

And tho’ a while his Mercies he doth sever,

At length he will my weary Soul deliver.

Unwillingly he punisheth, and slow,

But all his Works do his Compassions show,

His unexhausted Mercies ever flow.

All, who Injustice do, his Soul disdains,

Such as add weight to th’weary Captive’s Chains.

Anne Wharton 1659-1685

Arthur's Seat from National Library of Scotland

Thursday, 12 May 2022

My Soul’s Sole Desire, by Hester Pulter

Thou that didst on the 
Illustrious Spirit
 of life and love:
O, pity me,
And on my dark soul 
 to shine;
Sin, Death, and Hell, will all resign
Their place to Thee.
Then shall my soul’s sad shades of night,
Be turned into 
Until my story
Begun below, goes on above
In joy, and life, being crowned by love
With endless glory.
Then those unknown celestial 
Those hallelujahs to Thy praise,
I’ll ever sing;
And Thine immensity implore,
Thy majesty alone adore:
My God and King.

 A few more photos from walks near home:
Dryden Tower at top; and limekiln at Burdiehouse.

Sunday, 8 May 2022


"It is in Isaac that I have decreed

A glorious name unto thy holy seed.

From him the godly nation shall descend,

His sons their eastern conquests shall extend,

And from a race of kings at last shall rise

That glorious Monarch whose great victories

Shall overthrow the powers of Death and Hell

And them from their usurped realm expel.

Then all mankind, whom they did captivate

Shall be his grace attain a blessed state.

Redeemed out of the dark unpleasant grave,

He shall their lives in sacred dwellings save.

But first a long and various tracts of time

Must be expired before thy nephews climb

To these last glories; yet here steadfast rest

Thy faith: the world shall be in Isaac blessed.

Then let not longer thy affections flow

In a divided channel, but bestow

It whole on him who is ordained thine heir,

And trust thy other child unto my care."

Around Lasswade Cemetery, Midlothian
including burial plaque for
William Drummond of Hawthornden

Sunday, 1 May 2022

THE OLIVE PLANT by Lucy Hutchinson

Of all the plants that spring up from the ground,

With more or richer blessings none are crowned

Than is the olive, which still feels that light

That makes the altar and the temple bright,

Gives lustre to the face, poisons expels,

All rankling wounds, all venomous biting heals,

Produceth softness, smoothness, suppless, ease,

Fattening all food, allaying all disease.

Such are the blessed effects the gospel hath

On sinners wounded with the sense of wrath

By fiery serpents stung; it cures their smart,

Rough nature smooths, softens the obdurate heart,

Feeds the internal temple's lamps of grace

And sets sweet lustre on the exterior face.

But where these glorious great effects are wrought

The olive must in the dove's mouth be brought,

For fruitless is the gospel remedy

Except the Spirit do the cure apply.

Order and Disorder Canto 8: 167-184

The Woods near home; 
no olive trees