Verses on the Melancholy Death

of John White, his Wife, and Four Children,who perished in the Present Snow Storm,

Except one infant, who was found sucking the breast of its Dead Mother, near Pennycuick,on Wednesday morning last.

The fate of this unfortunate family has excited the greatest consternation in the neighbourhood in which it happened. It appears that on the night before they were found, that they were observed on the road going in the direction of Pennycuick in a most deplorable condition, and had applied at several house for relief; in one instance, the man said he was a weaver from Paisley, and had lately been employed in Glasgow. The snow on that night was ten feet deep, and as two gentlemen were out with their dogs on the following morning, they discovered their lifeless bodies, and the youngest child clinging to the breast of its mother. The infant was conveyed to a nurse, and is doing well. The bodies of the sufferers were buried in the Church Yard on Friday. The following are the Verses:-

ALL you who have a heart to feel,
   Your fellow creatures woes,
Attend while I with acheing heart
   A mournful tale disclose.
How six poor wanderers were forced
   Not many nights ago,
To brave the raging of the frost,
   And face the drifting snow.

      Christians shield at your door,
      And do not frown upon the poor.

Thro' Mid-Lothian the wand'rers roam'd
   To beg their daily bread,
And heedless were to seek a home,
   Or lay their weary head;
The night came on, their tatter'd clothed
   But mock'd their shiv'ring frame,
The wind was high, and keenly froze,
   The drifting tempest came.

The fathers heart was full of grief,
	The children loud did wail;
The mother vainly sought relief,
	And sigh'd upon the gale.
Their hearts did fail, with grief & dread,
	To feel the freezing blast,
At length, with joy, a neighbouring shade,
	Appear'd in view at last.

"Here we will rest," the father said,
   "No farther can we go,
"These children flocking at my side,
   "Are almost lost in snow;
"Come to my arms, dear children all,
   "I'll strive to keep you warm;
"And come, dear wife, behind me here,
   "I'll shield you from the storm."

A lovely infant three months old,
   Clung to its mother's side,
And though its little limbs were cold,
   It drew the milky tide.
Hungry and faint they could not rest,
   They rose to heaven a prayer,
That "He who feeds the ravens nest,
   Would ease them of their care.

Again the storm came beating down,
   And chilly was the breeze,
With wet and cold and weary limbs
   The blood began to freeze,
Till death, the poor man's dearest friend
   The kindest and the best,
Stretch'd out his kind and friendly arm
   And clos'd their eyes in rest.

Early on the following day,
   Some sportsmen took the field,
The dogs discovering where they lay,
   The dreadful sight reveal'd.
The youngest had surviv'd the rest,
   Who every effort try'd,
From its dead mother's frozen breast,
   To draw the milky tide.

All you that never felt a woe,
   But what yourselves create,
For once a tender thought bestow
   Upon their wretched fate.
Whose doom'd to suffer pain and grief
   And thro' the world to roam,
Who never knew the dear relief,
   That springs from home, sweet home.

Price One Penny.

Edinburgh: Printed for James Docherty.

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Copyright © 2001, Jack Campin