Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect
Author(s): Burns, Robert
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CHIEFLY IN THE
THE Simple Bard, unbroke by rules of Art,
He pours the wild effuſions of the heart
And if inſpir'd, 'tis Nature's pow'rs inſpire;
Her's all the melting thrill, and her's the kindling fire.
PRINTED BY JOHN WILSON,
Entered in Stationers-hall.
THE following trifles are not the production
of the Poet, who, with all the advantages
of learned art, and perhaps amid the elegancies
and idleneſſes of upper life, looks down for
a rural theme, with an eye to Theocrites or
Virgil. To the Author of this, theſe and other
celebrated names their contrymen are, in their
original languages, 'A fountain ſhut up, and a
book ſealed.' Unacquainted with the neceſſary
requiſites for commencing Poet by rule, he ſings
the ſentiments and manners, he felt and ſaw in himſelf
and his ruſtic compeers around him, in his
and their native language. Though a Rhymer
from his earlieſt years, at leaſt from the earlieſt
impulſes of the ſofter paſſions, it was not till very
lately, that the applauſe, perhaps the partiality,
of Friendſhip, wakened his vanity ſo far as to
make him think any thing of his was worth ſhowing;
and none of the following works were ever
compoſed with a view to the preſs. To amuſe
himſelf with the little creations of his own fancy,
amid the toil and fatigues of a Iaborious life; to
tranſcribe the various feelings, the loves, the griefs,
the hopes, the fears, in his own breaſt; to find ſome
kind of counterpoiſe to the ſtruggles of a world,
always an alien ſcene, a taſk uncouth to the poetical
mind; theſe were his motives for courting the
Muſes, and in theſe he found Poetry to be it's
Now that he appears in the public character of
an Author, he does it with fear and trembling.
So dear is fame to the rhyming tribe, that even
he, an obſcure, nameleſs Bard, ſhrinks aghaſt, at
the thought of being branded as 'An impertinent
blockhead, obtruding his nonſenſe on the
world; and becauſe he can make a ſhift to jingle
a few doggerel, Scotch rhymes together, looks
upon himſelf as a Poet of no ſmall conſequence
It is an obſervation of that celebrated Poet,*
whoſe divine Elegies do honor to our language,
our nation, and our ſpecies, that 'Humility has
depreſſed many a genius to a hermit, but never
raiſed one to fame.' If any Critic catches at the
word genius, the Author tells him, once for all,
that he certainly looks upon himſelf as poſſeſt of
ſome poetic abilities, otherwiſe his publiſhing in
the manner he has done, would be a manœuvre below
the worſt character, which, he hopes, his worſt
enemy will ever give him: but to the genius of a
Ramsay, or the glorious dawnings of the poor,
unfortunate Ferguſon, he, with equal unaffected
fincerity, declares, that, even in his higheſt pulſe
of vanity, he has not the moſt diſtant pretenſions.
Theſe two juſtly admired Scotch Poets he has often
had in his eye in the following pieces; but rather
with a view to kindle at their flame, than
for ſervile imitation.
To his Subſcribers, the Author returns his moſt
ſincere thanks. Not the mercenary bow over a
counter, but the heart-throbbing gratitude of the
Bard, conſcious how much he is indebted to Benevolence
and Friendſhip, for gratifying him, if he
deſerves it, in that deareſt wiſh of every poetic
boſom — to be diſtinguiſhed. He begs his readers,
particularly the Learned and the Polite, who
may honor him with a peruſal, that they will make
every allowance for Education and Circumſtances
of Life: but, if after a fair, candid, and impartial
criticiſm, he ſhall ſtand convicted of Dulneſs and
Nonſenſe, let him be done by, as he would in that
caſe do by others — let him be condemned,
without mercy, to contempt and oblivion.
The Twa Dogs, a Tale, - - page 9
Scotch Drink, - - - 22
The Author's earneſt cry and prayer, to the
right honorable and honorable, the Scotch
repreſentatives in the Houſe of Commons, 29
The Holy Fair, - - - 40
Addreſs to the Deil, - - 55
The death and dying words of Poor Maillie, 62
Poor Maillie's Elegy, - - 66
To J. S****, - - - 69
A Dream, - - - - 79
The Viſion, - - - - 87
Halloween, - - - - 101
The auld Farmer's new-year-morning Salutation
to his auld Mare, Maggy, on giving
her the accuſtomed ripp of Corn to hanſel
in the new year, - - 118
The Cotter's Saturday night, inſcribed to
R. A. Eſq; - - - 124
To a Mouſe, on turning her up in her Neſt,
with the Plough, November, 1785, 138
Epiſtle to Davie, a brother Poet, - 141
The Lament, occaſioned by the unfortunate
iſſue of a friend's amour, - - 150
Deſpondency, an Ode, - - 156
Man was made to mourn, a Dirge, - 160
Winter, a Dirge, - - - 166
A Prayer in the proſpect of Death, - 168
To a Mountain-Daiſy, on turning one down,
with the Plough, in April, 1786, - 170
To Ruin, - - - - 174
Epiſtle to a young Friend, - - 176
On a Scotch Bard gone to the Weſt Indies, 181
A Dedication to G. H. Eſq; - - 185
To a Louſe, on ſeeing one on a Lady's bonnet
at Church, - - - - 192
Epiſtle to J. L*****k, an old Scotch Bard, 195
— to the ſame, - - - 202
— to W. S*****n, Ochiltree, - 208
— to J. R******, encloſing ſome Poems, 218
Song, It was upon a Lammas night, 222
Song, Now weſtlin winds, and ſlaught'ring
guns, - - - - 224
Song, From thee, Eliza, I muſt go, - 227
The Farewell, - - - 228
Epitaphs and Epigrams, - - 230
A Bard's Epitaph. - - -234
'TWAS in that place o' Scotland's iſle,
That bears the name o' auld king
Upon a bonie day in June,
When wearing thro' the afternoon,
Twa Dogs, that were na thrang at hame;
Forgather'd ance upon a time.
The firſt I'll name, they ca'd him Cæſar
Was keepet for His Honor's pleaſure;
His hair, his ſize, his mouth, his lugs,
Shew'd he was nane o' Scotland's dogs,
But whalpet ſome place far abroad,
Where ſailors gang to fiſh for Cod.
His locked, letter'd, braw braſs-collar
Shew'd him the gentleman an' ſcholar;
But tho' he was o' high degree,
The fient a pride na pride had he,
But wad hae ſpent an hour careſſan,
Ev'n wi' a Tinkler-gipſey's meſſan:
At Kirk or Market, Mill or Smiddie,
Nae tawted tyke, tho' e'er fae duddie,
But he wad ſtan't, as glad to ſee him,
An' ſtroan't on ſtanes an' hillocks wi' him.
The tither was a ploughman's collie,
A rhyming, ranting, raving billie,
Wha for his friend an' comrade had him,
And in his freaks had Luath ca'd him,
After ſome dog in * Highland ſang,
Was made lang ſyne, lord knows how lang.
He was a gaſh an' faithfu' tyke,
As ever lap a ſheugh or dyke.
His honeſt, ſonſie, bawſ'nt face,
Ay gat him friends in ilka place;
His breaſt was white, his towzie back,
Weel clad wi' coat o' gloſſy black;
His gawſie tail, wi' upward curl,
Hung owre his hurdies wi' a ſwirl.
Nae doubt but they were fain o' ither,
An' unco pack an' thick thegither;
Wi' ſocial noſe whyles ſnuff'd an' ſnowket;
Whyles mice and modewurks they howket;
Whyles ſcour'd awa in lang excurſion,
An' worry'd ither in diverſion;
Till tir'd at laſt wi' mony a farce,
They ſet them down upon their arſe,
An' there began a lang digreſſion
About the lords o' the creation.
* Cuchullin's dog in Oſſian's Fingal.
I've aften wonder'd, honeſt Luath,
What ſort o' life poor dogs like you have;
An' when the gentry's life I ſaw,
What way poor bodies liv'd ava.
Our Laird gets in his racked rents,
His coals, his kane, an' a' his ſtents:
He riſes when he likes himſel;
His flunkies anſwer at the bell;
He ca's his coach; he ca's his horſe;
He draws a bonie, ſilken purſe
As lang's my tail, whare thro' the ſteeks,
The yellow letter'd Geordie keeks.
Frae morn to een it's nought but toiling,
At baking, roaſting, frying, boiling;
An' tho' the gentry firſt are ſteghan,
Yet ev'n the ha' folk fill their peghan
Wi' ſauce, ragouts, an' ſic like traſhtrie,
That's little ſhort o' downright waſtrie.
Our Whipper-in, wee, blaſtet wonner,
Poor, worthleſs elf, it eats a dinner,
Better than ony Tenant-man
His Honor has in a' the lan':
An' what poor Cot-folk pit their painch in.
I own it's paſt my comprehenſion.
Trowth, Cæſar, whyles their faſh't enough;
A Cotter howkan in a ſheugh,
Wi' dirty ſtanes biggan a dyke,
Bairan a quarry, an' ſic like,
Himſel, a wife, he thus ſuſtains,
A ſmytrie o' wee, duddie weans,
An' nought but his han'-daurk, to keep
Them right an' tight in thack an' raep.
An' when they meet wi' fair diſaſters,
Like loſs o' health or want o' maſters,
Ye maiſt wad think, a wee touch langer,
An' they maun ſtarve o' cauld and hunger
But how it comes, I never kent yet,
They're maiſtly wonderfu' contented;
An' buirdly chiels, and clever hizzies,
Are bred in ſic a way as this is.
But then, to ſee how ye're negleket,
How huff'd, an' cuff'd, an' diſreſpeket!
L—d man, our gentry care as little
For delvers, ditchers, an' ſic cattle;
They gang as ſaucy by poor folk,
As I wad by a ſtinkan brock.
I've notic'd, on our Laird's court-day,
An' mony a time my heart's been wae,
Poor tenant bodies, ſcant o' caſh,
How they maun thole a factor's ſnaſh;
He'll ſtamp an' threaten, curſe an' ſwear,
He'll apprehend them, poind their gear;
While they maun ſtan', wi' aſpect humble,
An' hear it a', an' fear an' tremble!
I ſee how folk live that hae riches;
But ſurely poor-folk maun be wretches!
They're no ſae wretched 's ane wad think;
Tho' conſtantly on poortith's brink,
They're ſae accuſtom'd wi' the fight,
The view o't gies them little fright.
Then chance and fortune are ſae guided,
They're ay in leſs or mair provided;
An' tho' fatigu'd wi' cloſe employment,
A blink o' reſt 's a ſweet enjoyment.
The deareſt comfort o' their lives,
Their gruſhie weans an' faithfu' wives;
The prattling things are juſt their pride,
That ſweetens a' their fire ſide.
An' whyles twalpennie-worth o' nappy
Can mak the bodies unco happy;
They lay aſide their private cares,
To mind the Kirk and State affairs;
They'll talk o' patronage an' prieſts,
Wi' kindling fury i' their breaſts,
Or tell what new taxation's comin,
An' ferlie at the folk in LON'ON.
As bleak-fac'd Hallowmaſs returns,
They get the jovial, rantan Kirns,
When rural life, of ev'ry ſtation,
Unite in common recreation;
Love blinks, Wit ſlaps, an' ſocial Mirth
Forgets there's care upo' the earth.
That merry day the year begins,
They bar the door on froſty win's;
The nappy reeks wi' mantling ream,
An' ſheds a heart-inſpiring ſteam;
The luntan pipe, an' ſneeſhin mill,
Are handed round wi' right guid will;
The cantie, auld folks, crackan crouſe,
The young anes rantan thro' the houſe —
My heart has been fae fain to ſee them,
That I for joy hae barket wi' them.
Still it's owre true that ye hae ſaid,
Sic game is now owre aften play'd;
There's monie a creditable ſtock
O' decent, honeſt, fawſont folk,
Are riven out baith root an' branch,
Some raſcal's pridefu' greed to quench,
Wha thinks to knit himſel the faſter
In favor wi' ſome gentle Maſter,
Wha aiblins thrang a parliamentin,
For Britain's guid his ſaul indentin —
Haith lad ye little ken about it;
For Britain's guid! guid faith! I doubt it
Say rather, gaun as PREMIERS lead him
An' ſaying aye or no's they bid him:
At Operas an' Plays parading,
Mortgaging, gambling, maſquerading:
Or maybe, in a frolic daft,
To HAGUE or CALAIS takes a waft,
To make a tour an' tak a whirl,
To learn bon ton an' ſee the worl'.
There, at VIENNA or VERSAILLES,
He rives his father's auld entails;
Or by MADRID he takes the rout,
To thrum guittars an' fecht wi' nowt;
Or down Italian Viſta ſtartles,
Wh—re-hunting amang groves o' myrtles
Then bowſes drumlie German-water,
To mak himſel look fair and fatter,
An' purge the bitter ga's an' cankers,
O' curſt Venetian b—res an' ch—ncres.
For Britain's guid! for her deſtruction!
Wi' diſſipation, feud an' faction!
Hech man! dear ſirs! is that the gate,
They waſte fae mony a braw eſtate!
Are we ſae foughten and haraſs'd
For gear to gang that gate at laſt!
O would they ſtay aback frae courts,
An' pleaſe themſels wi' countra ſports,
It wad for ev'ry ane be better,
The Laird, the Tenant, an' the Cotter!
For thae frank, rantan, ramblan billies,
Fient haet o' them 's ill hearted fellows;
Except for breakin o' their timmer,
Or ſpeakin lightly o' their Limmer,
Or ſhootin of a hare or moorcock,
The ne'er-a-bit they're ill to poor folk.
But will ye tell me, maſter Cæſar,
Sure great folk's life's a life o' pleaſure?
Nae cauld nor hunger e'er can ſteer them,
The vera thought o't need na fear them.
L—d man, were ye but whyles where I am,
The gentles ye wad neer envy them!
It's true, they need na ſtarve or ſweat,
Thro' Winter's cauld, or Summer's heat;
They've nae ſair-wark to craze their banes,
An' fill auld-age wi' grips an' granes;
But human-bodies are ſic fools,
For a' their colledges an' ſchools,
That when nae real ills perplex them,
They mak enow themſels to vex them
An' ay the leſs they hae to fturt them,
In like proportion, leſs will hurt them:
A country fellow at the pleugh,
His acre's till'd, he's right eneugh;
A country girl at her wheel,
Her dizzen's done, ſhe's unco weel;
But Gentlemen, an' Ladies warſt,
Wi' ev'n down want o' wark are curſt.
They loiter, lounging, lank an' lazy;
Tho' deil-haet ails them, yet uneaſy;
Their days, inſipid, dull an' taſteleſs,
Their nights, unquiet, lang an' reſtleſs.
An' ev'n their ſports, their balls an' races,
Their galloping thro' public places,
There's ſic parade, ſic pomp an' art,
The joy can ſcarcely reach the heart.
The Men caſt out in party-matches,
Then ſowther a' in deep debauches.
Aenight,they're mad wi' drink an' wh—ring,
Nieſt day their life is paſt enduring.
The Ladies arm-in-arm in cluſters,
As great an' gracious a' as ſiſters;
But hear their abſent thoughts o' ither,
They're a run deils an' jads thegither.
Whyles, owre the wee bit cup an' platie,
They ſip the ſcandal-potion pretty;
Or lee-lang nights, wi' crabbet leuks,
Pore owre the devil's pictur'd beuks;
Stake on a chance a farmer's ſtackyard,
An' cheat like ony unhang'd blackguard.
There's ſome exceptions, man an' woman;
But this is Gentry's life in common.
By this, the fun was out o' ſight,
An' darker gloamin brought the night:
The bum-clock humm'd wi' lazy drone,
The kye ſtood rowtan i' the loan;
When up they gat an' ſhook their lugs,
Rejoic'd they were na men but dogs;
An' each took off his ſeveral way,
Reſolv'd to meet ſome ither day.
Gie him ſtrong Drink until he wink,
That's ſinking in deſpair;
An' liquor guid to fire his bluid,
That's preſt wi' grief an' care:
There let him bowſe an' deep carouſe,
Wi' bumpers flowing o'er,
Till he forgets his loves or debts,
An' minds his griefs no more.
SOLOMON'S PROVERBS, XXXI. 6, 7.
LET other Poets raiſe a fracas
'Bout vines, an' wines, an' druken
An' crabbed names an' ſtories wrack us,
An' grate our lug,
I ſing the juice Scotch bear can mak us,
In glaſs or jug,
O thou, my MUSE! guid, auld SCOTCH
Whether thro' wimplin worms thou jink,
Or, richly brown, ream owre the brink,
In glorious faem,
Inſpire me, till I liſp an' wink,
To ſing thy name!
Let huſky Wheat the haughs adorn,
And Aits ſet up their awnie horn,
An' Peaſe an' Beans, at een or morn,
Perfume the plain,
Leeze me on thee John Barleycorn,
Thou king o' grain!
On thee aft Scotland chows her cood,
In ſouple ſcones, the wale o' food!
Or tumbling in the boiling flood
Wi' kail an' beef;
But when thou pours thy ſtrong heart's blood,
There thou ſhines chief.
Food fills the wame, an' keeps us livin;
Tho' life's a gift no worth receivin,
When heavy-dragg'd wi' pine an' grievin;
But oil'd by thee,
The wheels o' life gae down-hill, ſcrievin,
Wi' rattlin glee.
Thou clears the head o' doited Lear;
Thou chears the heart o' drooping Care;
Thou ſtrings the nerves o' Labor-ſair,
At's weary toil;
Thou ev'n brightens dark Deſpair,
Wi' gloomy ſmile.
Aft, clad in maſſy, ſiller weed,
Wi' Gentles thou erects thy head;
Yet humbly kind, in time o' need,
The poor man's wine;
His wee drap pirratch, or his bread,
Thou kitchens fine.
Thou art the life o' public haunts;
But thee, what were our fairs and rants?
Ev'n godly meetings o' the ſaunts,
By thee inſpir'd,
When gaping they beſiege the tents,
Are doubly fir'd.
That merry night we get the corn in,
O ſweetly, then, thou reams the horn in!
Or reekan on a New year-mornin
In cog or bicker,
An' juſt a wee drap ſp'ritual burn in,
An' guſty ſucker!
When Vulcan gies his bellys breath,
An' Ploughmen gather wi' their graith,
O rare! to ſee thee fizz an' freath
I' the lugget caup!
Then Burnewin comes on like Death
At ev'ry chap.
Nae mercy, then, for airn or ſteel;
The brawnie, banie, ploughman-chiel
Brings hard owrehip, wi' ſturdy wheel,
The ſtrong forehammer,
Till block an' ſtuddie ring an' reel
Wi' dinſome clamour.
When ſkirlin weanies ſee the light,
Thou maks the goſſips clatter bright,
How fumbling coofs their dearies ſlight,
Wae worth them for't!
While healths gae round to him wha, tight,
Gies famous ſport.
When neebors anger at a plea,
An' juſt as wud as wud can be,
How eaſy can the barley-brie
Cement the quarrel!
It's aye the cheapeſt Lawyer's fee
To taſte the barrel.
Alake! that e'er my Muſe has reaſon,
To wyte her countrymen wi' treaſon!
But monie daily weet their weaſon
Wi' liquors nice,
An' hardly, in a winter ſeaſon,
E'er ſpier her price.
Wae worth that Brandy, burnan traſh
Fell ſource o' monie a pain an' braſh!
Twins movie a poor, doylt, druken haſh
O' half his days;
An' ſends, beſide, auld Scotland's caſh
To her warſt faes.
Ye Scots wha wiſh auld Scotland well,
Ye chief, to you my tale I tell,
Poor, plackleſs devils like myſel,
It ſets you ill,
Wi' bitter, dearthfu' wines to mell,
Or foreign gill.
May Gravels round his blather wrench,
An' Gouts torment him, inch by inch,
Wha twiſts his gruntle wi' a glunch
O' four diſdain,
Out owre a glaſs o' Whiſky-punch
Wi' honeſt men!
O Whiſky! foul o' plays an' pranks!
Accept a Bardie's gratefu' thanks!
When wanting thee, what tuneleſs cranks
Are my poor Verſes!
Thou comes — they rattle i' their ranks
At ither's arſes!
Thee Ferintoſh! O ſadly loſt!
Scotland lament frae coaſt to coaſt!
Now colic-grips, an' barkin hoaſt,
May kill us a';
For loyal Forbes' Charter'd boaſt
Is ta'en awa!
Thae curſt horſe-leeches o' th' Exciſe,
Wha mak the Whiſky ſtells their prize!
Haud up thy han' Deil! ance, twice, thrice!
There, fieze the blinkers!
An' bake them up in brunſtane pies
For poor d—n'd Drinkers.
Fortune, if thou'll but gie me ſtill
Hale breeks, a ſcone, an' whiſky gill,
An' rowth o' rhyme to rave at will,
Tak a' the reſt,
An' deal't about as thy blind ſkill
Directs thee beſt,
THE AUTHOR'S EARNEST CRY
AND PRAYER, TO THE RIGHT
HONORABLE AND HONORABLE,
THE SCOTCH REPRESENTATIVES
IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.
Deareſt of Diſtillation! laſt and beſt! —
— How art thou loſt! —
PARODY ON MILTON.
YE Iriſh lords, ye knights an' ſquires,
Wha repreſent our Brughs an' Shires,
An' douſely manage our affairs
To you a ſimple Bardie's pray'rs
Are humbly ſent.
Alas! my roupet Muſe: is haerſe!
Your Honor's hearts wi' grief 'twad pierce
To ſee her ſittan on her arſe
Low i' the duſt,
An' ſcriechan out proſaic verſe,
An' like to bruſt!
Tell them wha hae the chief direction,
Scotland an' me's in great affliction,
E'er ſin' they laid that curſt reſtriction
An' rouſe them up to ſtrong conviction,
An' move their pity.
Stand forth and tell yon PREMIER
The honeſt, open, naked truth:
Tell him o' mine an' Scotland's drouth,
His ſervants humble:
The muckle devil blaw you ſouth,
If ye diſſemble!
Does ony great man glunch an' gloom?
Speak out an never faſh your thumb.
Let poſts an' penſions ſink or ſwoom
'Wi them wha grant them:
If honeſtly they canna come,
Far better want them.
In gath'rin votes you were na ſlack,
Now ſtand as tightly by your tack:
Ne'er claw your lug, an' fidge your back,
An' hum an' haw,
But raiſe your arm, an' tell your crack
Before them a'.
Paint Scotland greetan owre her thriſsle;
Her mutchkin ſtowp as toom's a whiſsle;
An' d—mn'd Exciſe-men in a buſsle,
Seizan a Stell,
Triumphant cruſhan't like a muſcle
Or laimpet ſhell.
Then on the tither hand preſent her,
A blackguard Smuggler, right behint her,
An' cheek-for-chow, a chuffie Vintner,
Picking her pouch as bare as Winter,
Of a' kind coin.
Is there, that bears the name o' SCOT,
But feels his heart's bluid riſing hot,
To ſee his poor, auld Mither's pot,
Thus dung in ſtaves,
An' plunder'd o' her hindmoſt groat,
By gallows knaves?
Alas! I'm but a nameleſs wight,
Trode i' the mire out o' ſight!
But could I like MONTGOMERIES fight,
Or gab like BOSWELL,
There's ſome ſark-necks I wad draw tight,
An' tye ſome hoſe well.
God bleſs your Honors, can ye ſee't,
The kind, auld, cantie Carlin greet,
An' no get warmly to your feet,
An' gar them hear it,
An' tell them, wi' a patriot-heat,
Ye winna bear it?
Some o' you nicely ken the laws,
To round the period an' pauſe,
An' with rhetoric clauſe on clauſe
To mak harangues;
Then echo thro' Saint Stephen's wa's
Auld Scotland's wrangs.
Dempſter, a true-blue Scot I'ſe warran;
Thee, aith-deteſting, chalk Kilkerran;
An' that glib-gabbet Highland Baron,
The Laird o' Graham;
And ane, a chap that's d—mn'd auldfarran,
Dundas his name.
Erſkine, a ſpunkie norland billie;
True Campbells, Frederick an' Ilay;
An' Liviſtone, the bauld Sir Willie;
An' monie ithers,
Whom auld Demoſthenes or Tully
Might own for brithers.
Arouſe my boys! exert your mettle,
To get auld Scotland back her kettle!
Or faith! I'll wad my new pleugh-pettle,
Ye'll ſee't or lang,
She'll teach you, wi' a reekan whittle,
This while ſhe's been in crankous mood,
Her loſt Militia fir'd her bluid;
(Deil na they never mair do guid,
Play'd her that pliſkie!)
An' now ſhe's like to rin red-wud
About her Whiſky.
An' L—d! if ance they pit her till't,
Her tartan petticoat ſhe'Il kilt,
An' durk an' piſtol at her belt,
She'll tak the ſtreets,
An' rin her whittle to the hilt,
I' th' firſt ſhe meets!
For G—d-ſake, Sirs! then ſpeak her fair,
An' ſtraik her cannie wi' the hair,
An' to the muckle houſe repair,
Wi' inſtant ſpeed,
An' ſtrive, wi' a' your Wit an' Lear,
To get remead.
Yon ill-tongu'd tinkler, Charlie Fox,
May taunt you wi' his jeers an' mocks;
But gie him't het, my hearty cocks!
E'en cowe the cadie!
An' ſend him to his dicing box,
An' ſportin lady.
Tell yon guid bluid o' auld Boconnock's,
I'll be his debt twa maſhlum bonnocks,
An' drink his health in auld * Nanſe Tinnoch's.
Nine times a week,
If he ſome ſcheme, like tea an' winnocks,
Wad kindly ſeek.
Could he ſome commutation broach,
I'll pledge my aith in guid braid Scotch,
He need na fear their foul reproach
*A worthy old Hoſteſs of the Author's in Mauchline,
where he ſometimes ſtudies Politics over a glaſs of guid, auld
Yon mixtie-maxtie, queer hotch-potch,
Auld Scotland has a raucle tongue;
She's juſt a devil wi' a rung;
An' if ſhe promiſe auld or young
To tak their part,
Tho' by the neck ſhe ſhould be ſtrung,
She'll no deſert.
And now, ye choſen FIVE AND FORTY,
May ſtill your Mither's heart ſupport ye;
Then, tho' a Miniſter grow dorty,
An' kick your place,
Ye'll ſnap your fingers, poor an' hearty,
Before his face.
God bleſs your Honors, a' your days,
Wi' ſowps o' kail and brats o' claiſe,
In ſpite o' a' the thieviſh kaes
That haunt St. Jamie's!
Your humble Bardie ſings an' prays
While Rab his name is.
Let half-ſtarv'd ſlaves in warmer ſkies,
See future wines, rich-cluft'ring, rife;
Their lot auld Scotland ne'er envies,
But blythe an' friſky,
She eyes her freeborn, martial boys,
Tak aff their Whiſky.
What tho' their Phœbus kinder warms,
While Fragrance blooms an' Beauty charms!
When wretches range, in famiſh'd ſwarms,
The ſcented groves,
Or hounded forth, diſhonor arms
In hungry droves.
Their gun's a burden on their ſhouther;
They downa bide the ſtink o' powther;
Their bauldeſt thought's a hank'ring ſwither,
To ſtan' or rin,
Till ſkelp — a ſhot— they're aff, a' throw'ther,
To fave their ſkin.
But bring a SCOTCHMAN frae his
Clap in his cheek a Highland gill,
Say, ſuch is royal GEORGE'S will,
An' there's the foe,
He has nae thought but how to kill
Twa at a blow.
Nae cauld, faint-hearted doubtings teaſe
Death comes, wi' fearleſs eye he ſees him;
Wi' bluidy han' a welcome gies him;
An' when he fa's,
His lateſt draught o' breathin lea'es him
In faint huzzas.
Sages their ſolemn een may ſteek,
An' raiſe a philoſophic reek,
An' phyſically cauſes ſeek,
In clime an' ſeaſon,
But tell me Whiſky's name in Greek,
I'll tell the reaſon.
SCOTLAND, my auld, reſpected Mither!
Tho' whyles ye moiſtify your leather,
Till whare ye ſit, on craps o' heather,
Ye tine your dam;
FREEDOM and WHISKY gang thegither,
Tak aff your dram!
A robe of ſeeming truth and truſt
Hid crafty obſervation;
And ſecret hung, with poiſon'd cruſt,
The dirk of Defamation:
A maſk that like the gorget ſhow'd,
Dye-varying, on the pigeon;
And for a mantle large and broad,
He wrapt him in Religion.
UPON a ſimmer Sunday morn,
When Nature's face is fair,
I walked forth to view the corn,
An' ſnuff the callor air.
The riſing ſun, our GALSTON Muirs,
Wi' glorious light was glintan;
The hares were hirplan down the furrs,
The lav'rocks they were chantan
Fu' ſweet that day.
As lightſomely I glowr'd abroad,
To ſee a ſcene ſae gay,
Three hizzies, early at the road,
Cam ſkelpan up the way.
Twa had manteeles o' dolefu' black,
But ane wi' lyart lining;
The third, that gaed a wee a-back,
Was in the faſhion ſhining
Fu' gay that day.
The twa appear'd like ſiſters twin,
In feature, form an claes;
Their viſage wither'd, lang an' thin,
An' ſour as ony ſlaes:
The third cam up, hap-ſtep-an'-loup,
As light as ony lambie,
An' wi' a curchie low did ſtoop,
As ſoon as e'er ſhe ſaw me,
Fu' kind that day.
Wi' bonnet aff, quoth I, "Sweet laſs,
"I think ye ſeem to ken me;
"I'm ſure I've ſeen that bonie face,
"But yet I canna name ye."
Quo' ſhe, an' laughan as ſhe ſpak,
An' taks me by the han's,
"Ye, for my ſake, hae gien the feck
"Of a' the ten comman's
A ſcreed ſome day."
"My name is FUN — your cronie dear,
"The neareſt friend ye hae;
"An' this is SUPERSTITION here,
"An' that's HYPOCRISY.
"I'm gaun to ********* holy fair,
"To ſpend an hour in daffin:
"Gin ye'll go there, yon runkl'd pair,
"We will get famous laughin
At them this day."
Quoth I, "With a' my heart, I'll do't;
"I'll get my ſunday's ſark on,
"An' meet you on the holy ſpot;
"Faith, we'ſe hae fine remarkin!"
Then I gaed hame at crowdie-time,
An' ſoon I made me ready;
For roads were clad, frae ſide to ſide,
Wi' monie a wearie body,
In droves that day.
Here, farmers gaſh, in ridin graith,
Gaed hoddan by their cotters;
There, ſwankies young, in braw braid-claith,
Are ſpringan owre the gutters.
The laſſes, ſkelpan barefit, thrang,
In ſilks an' ſcarlets glitter;
Wi' ſweet-milk-cheeſe, in monie a whang,
An farls, bak'd wi' butter,
Fu' crump that day.
When by the plate we ſet our note,
Weel heaped up wi' ha'pence,
A greedy glowr black-bonnet throws,
An' we maun draw our tippence.
Then in we go to ſee the ſhow,
On ev'ry ſide they're gath'ran;
Some carryan dails, ſome chairs an' ſtools,
An' ſome are buſy bleth'ran
Right loud that day,
Here ſtands a ſhed to fend the ſhow'rs,
An' ſcreen our countra Gentry;
There, racer Jeſs, an' twathree wh—res,
Are blinkan at the entry.
Here ſits a raw o' tittlan jads,
Wi' heaving breaſts an' bare neck;
An' there, a batch o' Wabſter lads,
Blackguarding frae K*******ck
For fun this day.
Here, ſome are thinkan on their ſins,
An' ſome upo' their claes;
Ane curſes feet that fyl'd his ſhins,
Anither ſighs an' prays:
On this hand ſits an Elect ſwatch,
Wi' ſcrew'd-up, grace-proud faces;
On that, a ſet o' chaps, at watch,
Thrang winkan on the laſſes
To chairs that days.
O happy is that man, an' bleſt!
Nae wonder that it pride him!
Whaſe ain dear laſs, that he likes beſt,
Comes clinkan down beſide him!
Wi' arm repoſ'd on the chair-back,
He ſweetly does compoſe him;
Which, by degrees, ſlips round her neck,
An's loof upon her boſom
Unkend that day,
Now a' the congregation o'er
Is ſilent expectation;
For ****** ſpeels the holy door,
Wi' tidings o' ſ—lv—t—n.
Should Hornie, as in ancient days,
'Mang ſons o' G— preſent him,
The vera fight o' ******'s face,
To's ain het hame had ſent him
Wi' fright that day.
Hear how he clears the points o' Faith
Wi' rattlin an' thumpin!
Now meekly calm, now wild in wrath,
He's ſtampan, an' he's jumpan!
His lengthen'd chin, his turn'd up ſnout,
His eldritch ſqueel an' geſtures,
O how they fire the heart devout,
Like cantharidian plaiſters
On ſic a day!
But hark! the tent has chang'd it's voice;
There's peace an' reſt nae langer;
For a' the real judges riſe,
They canna ſit for anger.
***** opens out his cauld harangues,
On practice and on morals;
An' aff the godly pour in thrangs,
To gie the jars an' barrels
A lift that day.
What ſignifies his barren ſhine,
Of moral pow'rs an' reaſon?
His Engliſh ſtyle, an' geſture fine,
Are a' clean out o' ſeaſon.
Like SOCRATES or ANTONINE,
Or ſome auld pagan heathen,
The moral man he does define,
But ne'er a word o' faith in
That's right that day.
In guid time comes an antidote
Againſt ſic pooſion'd noſtrum;
For *******, frae the water-fit,
Aſcends the holy roſtrum:
See, up he's got the word o' G—,
An' meek an' mim has view'd it,
While COMMON-SENSE has taen the
An' aff, an' up the Cowgate
Faſt, faſt that day.
Wee ******, nieſt, the Guard relieves
An' Orthodoxy raibles,
Tho' in his heart he weel believes,
An' thinks it auld wives' fables:
But faith! the birkie wants a Manſe,
So, cannilie he hums them;
Altho' his carnal Wit an' Senſe
Like hafflins-wife o'ercomes him
At times that day.
Now, butt an' ben, the Change-houſe fills,
Wi' yill-caup Commentators:
Here's crying out for bakes an' gills,
An' there the pint-ſtowp clatters;
While thick an' thrang, an' loud an' lang,
Wi' Logic, an' wi' Scripture,
They raiſe a din, that, in the end,
Is like to breed a rupture
O' wrath that day.
Leeze me on Drink! it gies us mair
Than either School or Colledge:
It kindles Wit, it waukens Lear,
It pangs us fou o' Knowledge.
Be't whiſky-gill or penny-wheep,
Or ony ſtronger potion,
It never fails, on drinkin deep,
To kittle up our notion,
By night or day.
The lads an' laſſes, blythely bent
To mind baith ſaul an' body,
Sit round the table, weel content,
An' ſteer about the toddy.
On this ane's dreſs, an' that ane's leuk,
They're makin obſervations;
While ſome are cozie i' the neuk,
An' forming aſſignations
To meet ſome day.
But now the L—'s ain trumpet touts,
Till a' the hills are rairan,
An' echos back return the ſhouts;
Black ****** is na ſpairan:
His piercin words, like Highlan ſwords,
Divide the joints an' marrow;
His talk o' H—ll, whare devils dwell,
Our vera * "Sauls does harrow"
Wi' fright that day!
A vaſt, unbottom'd, boundleſs Pit,
Fill'd fou o' lowan brunſtane,
Whaſe raging flame, an' ſcorching heat,
Wad melt the hardeſt whun-ſtane!
The half aſleep ſtart up wi' fear,
An' think they hear it roaran,
When preſently it does appear,
'Twas but ſome neebor ſnoran
Aſleep that day.
'Twad be owre lang a tale to tell,
How monie ſtories paſt,
An' how they crouded to the yill,
When they were a' diſmiſt:
* Shakeſpeare's Hamlet.
How drink gaed round, in cogs an' caups
Amang the furms an' benches;
An' cheeſe an' bread, frae women's laps,
Was dealt about in lunches,
An' dawds that day.
In comes a gawſie, gaſh Guidwife,
An' ſits down by the fire,
Syne draws her kebbuck an' her knife;
The laſſes they are ſhyer.
The auld Guidmen, about the grace,
Frae ſide to ſide they bother,
Till ſome ane by his bonnet lays,
An' gies them't, like a tether,
Fu' lang that day.
Waeſucks! for him that gets nae laſs,
Or laſſes that hae naething!
Sma' need has he to ſay a grace,
Or melvie his braw claithing!
O Wives be mindfu', ance yourſel,
How bonie lads ye wanted,
An' dinna, for a kebbuck-heel,
Let laſſes be affronted
On ſic a day!
Now Clinkumbell, wi' rattlan tow,
Begins to jow an' croon;
Some ſwagger hame, the beſt they dow,
Some wait the afternoon.
At ſlaps the billies halt a blink,
Till laſſes ſtrip their ſhoon:
Wi' faith an' hope, an' love an' drink,
They're a' in famous tune
For crack that day.
How monie hearts this day converts,
O' ſinners and o' Laſſes!
Their hearts o' ſtane, gin night are gane,
As ſaft as ony fleſh is.
There's ſome are fou o' love divine;
There's ſome are fou o' brandy;
An' monie jobs that day begin,
May end in Houghmagandie
Some ither day.
O Prince, O chief of many throned pow'rs,
That led th'embattl'd Seraphim to war —
O Thou, whatever title ſuit thee!
Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie,
Wha in yon cavern grim an' ſootie,
Cloſ'd under hatches,
Spairges about the brunſtane cootie,
To ſcaud poor wretches!
Hear me, auld Hangie, for a wee,
An' let poor, damned bodies bee;
I'm ſure ſma' pleaſure it can gie,
Ev'n to a deil,
To ſkelp an' ſcaud poor dogs like me,
An' hear us ſqueel!
Great is thy pow'r, an' great thy fame;
Far kend an' noted is thy name;
An' tho' yon lowan heugh's thy hame,
Thou travels far;
An' faith! thou's neither lag nor lame,
Nor blate nor ſcaur.
Whyles, ranging like a roaran lion,
For prey, a' holes an' corners tryin;
Whyles, on the ſtrong-wing'd Tempeſt flyin
Tirlan the kirks;
Whyles, in the human boſom pryin,
Unſeen thou lurks.
I've heard my rev'rend Graunie ſay,
In lanely glens ye like to ſtray;
Or where auld, ruin'd caſtles, gray,
Nod to the moon,
Ye fright the nightly wand'rer's way,
Wi' eldritch croon.
When twilight did my Graunie ſummon,
To ſay her pray'rs, douſe, honeſt woman!
Aft 'yont the dyke ſhe's heard you bumman,
Wi' eerie drone;
Or, ruſtling, thro' the boortries coman,
Wi' heavy groan.
Ae dreary, windy, winter night,
The ſtars shot down wi' ſklentan light,
Wi' you, myſel, I gat a fright,
Ayont the lough;
Ye, like a raſh-buſs, ſtood in ſight,
Wi' waving ſugh.
The cudgel in my nieve did ſhake,
Each briſtl'd hair ſtood like a ſtake,
When wi' an eldritch, ſtoor quaick, quaick
Amang the ſprings,
Awa ye ſquatter'd like a drake,
On whiſtling wings,
Let Warlocks grim, an' wither'd Hags,
Tell how wi' you on ragweed nags,
They ſkim the muirs an' dizzy crags,
Wi' wicked ſpeed;
And in kirk-yards renew their leagues,
Owre howcket dead.
Thence, countra wives, wi' toil an' pain,
May plunge an' plunge the kirn in vain;
For Oh! the yellow treaſure's taen.
By witching ſkill;
An' dawtet, twal-pint Hawkie's gane
As yell's the Bill.
Thence, myſtic knots mak great abuſe,
On Young-Guidmen, fond, keen an' crooſe;
When the beſt wark-lume i' the houſe,
By cantraip wit,
Is inſtant made no worth a louſe,
Juſt at the bit.
When thowes diſſolve the ſnawy hoord,
An' float the jinglan icy boord,
Then, Water-kelpies haunt the foord,
By your direction,
An' nighted Trav'llers are allur'd
To their deſtruction.
An' aft your moſs-traverſing Spunkies
Decoy the wight that late an' drunk is:
The bleezan, curſt, miſchievous monkies
Delude his eyes,
Till in ſome miry ſlough he ſunk is,
Ne'er mair to riſe.
When MASONS' myſtic word an' grip,
In ſtorms an' tempeſts raiſe you up,
Some cock or cat, your rage maun ſtop,
Or, ſtrange to tell!
The youngeſt Brother ye wad whip
Aff ſtraught to H—ll.
Lang ſyne in EDEN'S bonie yard,
When youthfu' lovers firſt were pair'd,
An' all the Soul of Love they ſhar'd,
The raptur'd hour,
Sweet on the fragrant, flow'ry ſwaird,
In ſhady bow'r.
Then you, ye auld, ſnick-drawing dog!
Ye cam to Paradiſe incog,
An' play'd on man a curſed brogue,
(Black be your fa'!)
An' gied the infant warld a ſhog,
'Maiſt ruin'd a'.
D'ye mind that day, when in a bizz,
Wi' reeket duds, an' reeſtet gizz,
Ye did preſent your ſmoutie phiz,
'Mang better folk,
An' ſklented on the man of Uzz,
Your ſpitefu' joke?
An how ye gat him i' your thrall,
An' brak him out o' houſe an' hal',
While ſcabs an' botches did him gall,
Wi' bitter claw,
An' lowſ'd his ill-tongu'd, wicked Scawl
Was warſt ava?
But a' your doings to rehearſe,
Your wily ſnares an' fechtin fierce,
Sin' that day * MICHAEL did you pierce,
Down to this time,
Wad ding a' Lallan tongue, or Erſe,
In Proſe or Rhyme.
An' now, auld Cloots, I ken ye're thinkan,
A certain Bardie's rantin, drinkin,
Some luckleſs hour will ſend him linkan,
To your black pit;
But faith! he'll turn a corner jinkan,
An' cheat you yet.
But fare-you-weel, auld Nickie-ben!
O wad ye tak a thought an' men'!
Ye aiblins might — I dinna ken —
Still hae a ſtake —
I'm wae to think upo' yon den,
Ev'n for your ſake!
* Vide Milton, Book 6th,
THE DEATH AND DYING WORDS
THE AUTHOR'S ONLY PET YOWE,
AN UNCO MOURNFU' TALE.
AS MAILIE, an' her lambs thegither,
Was ae day nibbling on the tether,
Upon her cloot ſhe cooſt a hitch,
An' owre ſhe warſl'd in the ditch:
There, groaning, dying, ſhe did ly,
When * Hughoc he cam doytan by,
*A neibor herd-callan.
Wi' glowrin een, an' lifted han's,
Poor Hughoc like a ſtatue ſtan's;
He ſaw her days were near hand ended,
But, waes my heart! he could na mend it
He gaped wide, but naething ſpak,
At length poor Mailie ſilence brak.
"O thou, whaſe lamentable face
Appears to mourn my woefu' caſe!
My dying words attentive hear,
An' bear them to my Maſter dear.
Tell him, if e'er again he keep
As muckle gear as buy a ſheep,
O, bid him never tye them mair,
Wi' wicked ſtrings o' hemp or hair!
But ca them out to park or hill,
An' let them wander at their will:
So, may his flock increaſe an' grow
To ſcores o' lambs, an' packs of woo'!
Tell him, he was a Maſter kin',
An' ay was guid to me an' mine;
An' now my dying charge I gie him
My helpleſs lambs, I truſt them wi' him.
O, bid him ſave their harmleſs lives,
Frae dogs an' tods, an' butchers' knives!
But gie them guid cow-milk their fill,
Till they be fit to fend themſel;
An' tent them duely, e'en an' morn,
Wi' taets o' hay an' ripps o' corn.
An' may they never learn the gaets,
Of ither vile, wanreſtfu' Pets!
To flink thro' ſlaps, an' reave an' ſteal,
At ſtacks o' peaſe, or ſtocks o' kail.
So may they, like their great forbears,
For monie a year come thro' the ſheers:
So wives will gie them bits o' bread,
An' bairns greet for them when they're dead.
My poor toop-lamb, my ſon an' heir,
O, bid him breed him up wi' care!
An' if he live to be a beaſt,
To pit ſome havins in his breaſt!
An' warn him ay at ridin time,
To ſtay content wi' yowes at hame;
An' no to rin an' wear his cloots,
Like ither menſeleſs, graceleſs brutes.
An' nieſt my yowie, ſilly thing,
Gude keep thee frae a tether ſtring!
O, may thou ne'er forgather up,
Wi' onie blaſtet, moorlan toop;
But ay keep mind to moop an' mell,
Wi' ſheep o' credit like thyſel!
And now, my bairns, wi' my laſt breath,
I lea'e my bleſſin wi' you baith:
An' when ye think upo' your Mither,
Mind to be kind to ane anither.
Now, honeſt Hughoc, dinna fail,
To tell my Maſter a' my tale;
An' bid him burn this curſed tether,
An' for thy pains thou'ſe get my blather.
This ſaid, poor Mailie turn'd her head
An' cloſ'd her een amang the dead!
POOR MAILIE'S ELEGY.
LAMENT in rhyme, lament in proſe,
Wi' ſaut tears trickling down your noſe;
Our Bardie's fate is at a cloſe,
Paſt a' remead!
The laſt, ſad cape-ſtane of his woes;
Poor Mailie's dead!
It's no the loſs o' warl's gear,
That could ſae bitter draw the tear,
Or make our Bardie, dowie, wear
The mourning weed
He's loſt a friend and neebor dear,
In Mailie dead.
Thro' a' the town ſhe trotted by him;
A lang half-mile ſhe could deſcry him;
Wi' kindly bleat, when ſhe did ſpy him,
She ran wi' ſpeed:
A friend mair faithfu' ne'er came nigh him,
Than Mailie dead.
I wat ſhe was a ſheep o' ſenſe,
An' could behave herſel wi' menſe:
I'll ſay't, ſhe never brak a fence,
Thro' thieviſh greed.
Our Bardie, lanely, keeps the ſpence
Sin' Mailie's dead.
Or, if he wanders up the howe,
Her living image in her yowe,
Comes bleating till him, owre the knowe,
For bits o' bread;
An' down the briny pearls rowe
For Mailie dead.
She was nae get o' moorlan tips,
Wi' tauted ket, an' hairy hips;
For her forbears were brought in ſhips,
Frae 'yont the TWEED
A bonier fleeſh ne'er croſs'd the clips
Than Mailie's dead.
Wae worth that man wha firſt did ſhape,
That vile, wanchancie thing — a raep!
It maks guid fellows girn an' gape,
Wi' chokin dread;
An' Robin's bonnet wave wi' crape
For Mailie dead.
O, a' ye Bards on bonie DOON!
An' wha on AIRE your chanters tune!
Come, join the melancholious croon
O' Robin's reed!
His heart will never get aboon!
His Mailie's dead!
TO J. S****.
Friendſhip, myſterious cement of the ſoul!
Sweet'ner of Life, and ſolder of Society!
I owe thee much —
DEAR S****, the ſleeſt, pawkie thief,
That e'er attempted ſtealth or rief,
Ye ſurely hae ſome warlock-breef
Owre human hearts;
For ne'er a boſom yet was prief
Againſt your arts.
For me, I ſwear by ſun an' moon,
And ev'ry ſtar that blinks aboon,
Ye've coſt me twenty pair o' ſhoon
Juſt gaun to ſee you;
And ev'ry ither pair that's done,
Mair taen I'm wi' you.
That auld, capricious carlin, Nature,
To mak amends for ſcrimpet ſtature,
She's turn'd you off, a human-creature
On her firſt plan,
And in her freaks, on ev'ry feature,
She s wrote, the Man.
Juſt now I've taen the fit o' rhyme,
My barmie noddle's working prime,
My fancy yerket up ſublime
Wi' haſty ſummon:
Hae ye a leiſure-moment's time
To hear what's comin?
Some rhyme a neebor's name to laſh;
Some rhyme, (vain thought!) for needfu'
Some rhyme to court the countra claſh,
An' raiſe a din;
For me, an aim I never faſh;
I rhyme for fun.
The ſtar that rules my luckleſs lot,
Has fated me the ruſſet coat,
An' damn'd my fortune to the groat;
But, in requit,
Has bleſt me with a random-ſhot
O' countra wit.
This while my notion's taen a ſklent,
To try my fate in guid, black prent;
But ſtill the mair I'm that way bent,
"I red you, honeſt man, tak tent!
Ye'll ſhaw your folly.
"There's ither Poets, much your betters,
"Far ſeen in Greek, deep men o' letters,
"Hae thought they had enſur'd their debtors,
"A' future ages;
"Now moths deform in ſhapeleſs tatters,
"Their unknown pages."
Then farewel hopes of Laurel-boughs,
To garland my poetic brows!
Henceforth, I'll rove where buſy ploughs
Are whiſtling thrang,
An' teach the lanely heights an' howes
My ruſtic ſang.
I'll wander on with tentleſs heed,
How never-halting moments ſpeed,
Till fate ſhall ſnap the brittle thread;
Then, all unknown,
I'll Iay me with th' inglorious dead,
Forgot and gone!
But why, o' Death, begin a tale?
Juſt now we're living ſound an' hale;
Then top and maintop croud the ſail,
Heave Care o'er-ſide!
And large, before Enjoyment's gale,
Let's tak the tide.
This life, ſae far's I underſtand,
Is a' enchanted fairy-land,
Where Pleaſure is the Magic-wand,
That, wielded right,
Maks Hours like Minutes, hand in hand,
Dance by fu' light.
The magic-wand then let us wield;
For, ance that five an' forty's ſpeel'd,
See, crazy, weary, joyleſs Eild,
Wi' wrinkl'd face,
Comes hoſtan, hirplan owre the field,
Wi' creeping pace.
When ance life's day draws near the
Then fareweel vacant, careleſs roamin;
An' fareweel chearfu' tankards foamin,
An' ſocial noiſe;
An' fareweel dear, deluding woman,
The joy of joys!
O Life! how pleaſant in thy morning,
Young Fancy's rays the hills adorning!
Cold-pauſing Caution's leſſon ſcorning,
We friſk away,
Like ſchool-boys, at th' expected warning,
To joy and play.
We wander there, we wander here,
We eye the roſe upon the brier,
Unmindful that the thorn is near,
Among the leaves;
And tho' the puny wound appear,
Short while it grieves.
Some, lucky, find a flow'ry ſpot,
For which they never toil'd nor ſwat;
They drink the ſweet and eat the fat,
But care or pain;
And haply, eye the barren hut,
With high diſdain.
With ſteady aim, Some Fortune chaſe;
Keen hope does ev'ry ſinew brace;
Thro' fair, thro' foul, they urge the race,
And ſieze the prey
Then canie, in ſome cozie place,
They cloſe the day.
And others, like your humble ſervan',
Poor wights! nae rules nor roads obſervin;
To right or left, eternal ſwervin,
They zig-zag on;
Till curſt with Age, obſcure an' ſtarvin,
They after groan.
Alas! what bitter toil an' ſtraining —
But truce with peeviſh, poor complaining!
Is Fortune's fickle Luna waning?
E'en let her gang!
Beneath what light ſhe has remaining,
Let's ſing our Sang.
My pen I here fling to the door,
And kneel, 'Ye Pow'rs, and warm implore,
'Tho' I ſhould wander Terra o'er,
'In all her climes,
'Grant me but this, I aſk no more,
'Ay rowth o' rhymes.
'Gie dreeping roaſts to countra Lairds,
'Till icicles hing frae their beards;
'Gie fine braw claes to fine Life-guards,
'And Maids of Honor;
'And yill an' whiſky gie to Cairds,
'Until they ſconner,
'A Title, DEMPSTER merits it;
'A Garter gie to WILLIE PIT;
'Gie Wealth to ſome be-ledger'd Cit,
'In cent per cent;
'But give me real, ſterling Wit,
'And I'm content.
'While ye are pleaſ'd to keep me hale,
'I'll fit down o'er my ſcanty meal,
'Be't water-broſe, or muſlin-kail,
'Wi' chearfu' face,
'As lang's the Muſes dinna fail
'To ſay the grace.
An anxious e'e I never throws
Behint my lug, or by my noſe;
I jouk beneath Misfortune's blows
As weel's I may;
Sworn foe to ſorrow, care, and proſe,
I rhyme away.
O ye, douſe folk, that live by rule,
Grave, tideleſs-blooded, calm and cool,
Compar'd wi' you — O fool! fool! fool!
How much unlike!
Your hearts are juſt a ſtanding pool,
Your lives, a dyke!
Nae hare-brain'd, ſentimental traces,
In your unletter'd, nameleſs faces!
In arioſo trills and graces
Ye never ſtray,
But graviſſimo, ſolemn baſſes
Ye hum away.
Ye are ſae grave, nae doubt ye're wiſe;
Nae ferly tho' ye do deſpiſe
The hairum-ſcairum, ram-ſtam boys,
The rambling ſquad:
I ſee ye upward caſt your eyes —
— Ye ken the road —
Whilſt I — but I ſhall haud me there —
Wi' you I'll ſcarce gang ony where —
Then Jamie, I ſhall ſay nae mair,
But quat my ſang,
Content with YOU to mak a pair,
Whare'er I gang.
Thoughts, words and deeds, the Statute blames
But ſurely Dreams were ne'er indicted Treaſon.
ON READING, IN THE PUBLIC PAPERS, THE
LAUREATE'S ODE, WITH THE OTHER PARADE
OF JUNE 4th, 1786, THE AUTHOR WAS NO SOONER
DROPT ASLEEP, THAN HE IMAGINED HIMSELF
TRANSPORTED TO THE BIRTHDAY LEVEE;
AND, IN HIS DREAMING FANCY, MADE
THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS.
GUID-MORNIN to your MAJESTY!
May heaven augment your bliſſes,
On ev'ry new Birth-day ye ſee,
A humble Bardie wiſhes!
My Bardſhip here, at your Levee,
On ſic a day as this is,
Is ſure an uncouth ſight to ſee,
Amang thae Birth-day dreſſes
Sae fine this day.
I ſee ye're complimented thrang,
By many a lord an' lady;
"God ſave the King"'s a cukoo ſang
That's unco eaſy ſaid ay:
The Poets too, a venal gang,
Wi' rhymes weel-turn'd an' ready,
Wad gar you trow ye ne'er do wrang,
But ay unerring ſteady,
On ſic a day.
For me! before a Monarch's face,
Ev'n there I winna flatter;
For neither Penſion, Poſt, nor Place,
Am I your humble debtor:
So, nae reflection on YOUR GRACE,
Your Kingſhip to beſpatter;
There's monie waur been o' the Race,
And aiblins ane been better
Than You this day.
'Tis very true, my ſovereign King,
My ſkill may weel be doubted;
But Facts are cheels that winna ding,
An' downa be diſputed:
Your royal neſt, beneath Your wing,
Is e'en right reft an' clouted,
And now the third part o' the ſtring,
An' leſs, will gang about it
Than did ae day.
Far be't frae me that I aſpire
To blame your Legiſlation,
Or ſay, ye wiſdom want, or fire,
To rule this mighty nation;
But faith! I muckle doubt, my SIRE,
Ye've truſted 'Miniſtration,
To chaps, wha, in a barn or byre,
Wad better fill'd their ſtation
Than courts yon day.
And now Ye've gien auld Britain peace,
Her broken ſhins to plaiſter;
Your fair taxation does her fleece,
Till ſhe has ſcarce a teſter:
For me, thank God, my life's a leaſe,
Nae bargain wearing faſter,
Or faith! I fear, that, wi' the geeſe,
I ſhortly booſt to paſture
I' the craft ſome day.
I'm no miſtruſting Willie Pit,
When taxes he enlarges,
(An' Will's a true guid fallow's get,
A Name not Envy ſpairges)
That he intends to pay your debt,
An' leſſen a' your charges;
But, G—d-ſake! let nae ſaving-fit
Abridge your bonie Barges
An' Boats this day.
Adieu, my LIEGE! may Freedom geck
Beneath your high protection;
An' may Ye rax Corruption's neck,
And gie her for diſſection!
But ſince I'm here, I'll no neglect,
In loyal, true affection,
To pay your QUEEN, with due reſpect,
My fealty an' fubjection
This great Birth-day.
Hail, Majeſty moſt Excellent!
While Nobles ſtrive to pleaſe Ye,
Will Ye accept a Compliment,
A ſimple Bardie gies Ye?
Thae bonie Bairntime, Heav'n has lent,
Still higher may they heeze Ye
In bliſs, till Fate ſome day is ſent,
For ever to releaſe Ye
Frae Care that day.
For you, young Potentate o' W—,
I tell your Highneſs fairly,
Down Pleaſure's ſtream, wi' ſwelling ſails,
I'm tauld ye're driving rarely;
But ſome day ye may gnaw your nails,
An' curſe your folly ſairly,
That e'er ye brak Diana's pales,
Or rattl'd dice wi' Charlie
By night or day.
Yet aft a ragged Cowte's been known,
To mak a noble Aiver;
So, ye may douſely fill a Throne,
For a' their cliſh-ma-claver:
There, Him at Agincourt wha ſhone,
Few better were or braver;
And yet, wi' funny, queer Sir * John,
He was an unco ſhaver
For monie a day.
For you, right rev'rend O——,
Nane ſets the lawn-ſleeve ſweeter,
Altho' a ribban at your lug
Wad been a dreſs compleater:
As ye diſown yon paughty dog,
That bears the Keys of Peter,
Then ſwith! an' get a wife to hug,
Or trouth! ye'll ſtain the Mitre
Some luckleſs day,
Young, royal TARRY-BREEKS, I learn,
Ye've lately come athwart her;
A glorious † Galley, ſtem and ſtern,
Weel rigg'd for Venus barter;
But firſt hang out that ſhe'll diſcern
Your hymeneal Charter,
* Sir John Falſtaff, Vide Shakeſpeare.
† Alluding to the Newſpaper account of a certain royal
Then heave aboard your grapple airn,
An', large upon her quarter,
Come full that day.
Ye laſtly, bonie bloſſoms a',
Ye royal Laſſes dainty,
Heav'n mak you guid as weel as braw,
An' gie you lads a plenty:
But ſneer na Britiſh-boys awa;
For King's are unco ſcant ay,
An' German-Gentles are but ſma',
They're better juſt than want ay
On onie day.
God bleſs you a'! conſider now,
Ye're unco muckle dautet;
But ere the courſe o' life be through,
It may be bitter ſautet:
An' I hae ſeen their coggie fou,
That yet hae tarrow't at it,
But or the day was done, I trow,
The laggen they hae clautet
Fu' clean that day.
THE ſun had cloſ'd the winter-day,
The Curlers quat their roaring play,
And hunger'd Maukin taen her way
To kail-yards green,
While faithleſs ſnaws ilk ſtep betray
Whare ſhe has been.
The Threſher's weary flingin-tree,
The lee-lang day had tir'd me;
* Duan, a term of Oſſian's for the different diviſions of a
digreſſive Poem. See his Cath-Loda, Vol, 2. of M'Pherſon's
And when the Day had cloſ'd his e'e,
Far i' the Weſt,
Ben i' the Spence, right penſivelie,
I gaed to reſt.
There, lanely, by the ingle-cheek,
I ſat and ey'd the ſpewing reek,
That fill'd, wi' hoaſt-provoking ſmeek,
The auld, clay biggin;
And heard the reſtleſs rattons ſqueak
About the riggin.
All in this mottie, miſty clime,
I backward muſ'd on waſted time,
How I had ſpent my youthfu' prime,
An' done nae-thing,
But ſtringing blethers up in rhyme
For fools to ſing.
Had I to guid advice but harket,
I might, by this, hae led a market,
Or ſtrutted in a Bank and clarket
While here, half-mad, half-fed, half-ſarket,
Is a' th' amount.
I ſtarted, mutt'ring blockhead! coof!
And heav'd on high my wauket loof,
To ſwear by a' yon ſtarry roof,
Or ſome raſh aith,
That I, henceforth, would be rhyme-proof
Till my laſt breath —
When click! the ſtring the ſnick did draw;
And jee! the door gaed to the wa';
And by my ingle-lowe I ſaw,
Now bleezan bright,
A tight, outlandiſh Hizzie, braw,
Come full in fight.
Ye need na doubt, I held my whiſht;
The infant aith, half-form'd, was cruſht;
I glowr'd as eerie's I'd been duſht,
In ſome wild glen;
When ſweet, like modeſt Worth, ſhe bluſht,
And ſtepped ben.
Green, ſlender, leaf-clad Holly-boughs
Were twiſted, gracefu', round her brows,
I took her for ſome SCOTTISH MUSE,
By that ſame token;
And come to ſtop thoſe reckleſs vows,
Would ſoon been broken.
A "hare-brain'd, ſentimental trace"
Was ſtrongly marked in her face;
A wildly-witty, ruſtic grace
Shone full upon her;
Her eye, ev'n turn'd on empty ſpace,
Beam'd keen with Honor.
Down flow'd her robe, a tartan ſheen,
Till half a leg was ſcrimply ſeen;
And ſuch a leg! my BESS, I ween,
Could only peer it;
Sae ſtraught, ſae taper, tight and clean,
Nane elſe came near it.
Her Mantle large, of greeniſh hue,
My gazing wonder chiefly drew;
Deep lights and ſhades, bold-mingling, threw
A luſtre grand;
And ſeem'd, to my aſtoniſh'd view,
A well-known Land.
Here, rivers in the ſea were loſt;
There, mountains to the ſkies were toſt:
Here, tumbling billows mark'd the coaſt,
With ſurging foam;
There, diſtant ſhone, Art's lofty boaſt,
The lordly dome.
Here, DOON pour'd down his far-fetch'd
There, well-fed IRWINE ſtately thuds:
Auld, hermit AIRE ſtaw thro' his woods,
On to the ſhore;
And many a leſſer torrent ſcuds,
With ſeeming roar.
Low, in a ſandy valley ſpread,
An ancient BOROUGH rear'd her head;
Still, as in Scottiſh Story read,
She boaſts a Race,
To ev'ry nobler virtue bred,
And poliſh'd grace.
With muſing-deep, aſtoniſh'd ſtare,
I view'd the heavenly-ſeeming Fair;
A whiſp'ring throb did witneſs bear
Of kindred ſweet,
When with an elder Siſter's air
She did me greet.
'All hail! my own inſpired Bard!
'In me thy native Muſe regard!
'Nor longer mourn thy fate is hard,
'Thus poorly low!
'I come to give thee ſuch reward,
'As we beſtow.
'Know, the great Genius of this Land,
'Has many a light, aerial band,
'Who, all beneath his high command,
'As Arts or Arms they underſtand,
'Their labors ply.
'They SCOTIA'S Race among them
'Some fire the Sodger on to dare;
'Some rouſe the Patriot up to bare
'Some teach the Bard, a darling care,
'The tuneful Art.
''Mong ſwelling floods of reeking gore,
'They ardent, kindling ſpirits pour;
'Or, mid the venal Senate's roar,
'They, ſightleſs, ſtand,
'To mend the honeſt Patriot-lore,
'And grace the hand.
'Hence, FULLARTON, the brave and
'Hence, DEMPSTER'S truth-prevailing
'Hence, ſweet harmonious BEATTIE ſung
'His "Minſtrel lays;"
'Or tore, with noble ardour ſtung,
'The Sceptic's bays.
'To lower Orders are aſſign'd,
'The humbler ranks of Human-kind,
'The ruſtic Bard, the lab'ring Hind,
'All chuſe, as, various they're inclin'd,
'The various man.
'When yellow waves the heavy grain,
'The threat'ning Storm, ſome, ſtrongly, rein;
'Some teach to meliorate the plain,
'And ſome inſtruct the Shepherd-train,
'Blythe o'er the hill.
'Some hint the Lover's harmleſs wile;
'Some grace the Maiden's artleſs ſmile;
'Some ſoothe the Lab'rer's weary toil,
'For humble gains,
'And make his cottage-ſcenes beguile
'His cares and pains.
'Some, bounded to a diſtrict-ſpace,
'Explore at large Man's infant race,
'To mark the embryotic trace,
'Of ruſtic Bard;
'And careful note each op'ning grace,
'A guide and guard.
'Of theſe am I — COILA my name;
'And this diſtrict as mine I claim,
'Where once the Campbell's, chiefs of fame,
'Held ruling pow'r:
'I mark'd thy embryo-tuneful flame,
'Thy natal hour.
'With future hope, I oft would gaze,
'Fond, on thy little, early ways,
'Thy rudely-caroll'd, chiming phraſe,
'In uncouth rhymes,
'Fir'd at the ſimple, artleſs lays
'Of other times.
'I ſaw thee ſeek the ſounding ſhore,
'Delighted with the daſhing roar;
'Or when the North his fleecy ſtore
'Drove thro' the ſky,
'I ſaw grim Nature's viſage hoar,
'Struck thy young eye.
'Or when the deep-green-mantl'd Earth,
'Warm-cheriſh'd ev'ry floweret's birth,
'And joy and muſic pouring forth,
'In ev'ry grove,
'I ſaw thee eye the gen'ral mirth
'With boundleſs love.
'When ripen'd fields, and azure ſkies,
'Call'd forth the Reaper's ruſtling noiſe,
'I ſaw thee leave their ev'ning joys,
'And lonely ſtalk,
'To vent thy boſom's ſwelling riſe,
'In penſive walk.
'When youthful Love, warm-bluſhing,
'Keen-ſhivering ſhot thy nerves along,
'Thoſe accents, grateful to thy tongue,
'Th' adored Name,
'I taught thee how to pour in ſong,
'To ſoothe thy flame.
'I ſaw thy pulſe's maddening play,
'Wild-ſend thee Pleaſure's devious way,
'Miſled by Fancy's meteor-ray,
'By Paſſion driven;
'But yet the light that led aſtray,
'Was light from Heaven.
'I taught thy manners-painting ſtrains,
'The loves, the ways of ſimple ſwains,
'Till now, o'er all my wide domains,
'Thy fame extends;
'And ſome, the pride of Coila's plains,
'Become thy friends.
'Thou canſt not learn, nor I can ſhow,
'To paint with Thomſon's landſcape-glow;
'Or wake the boſom-melting throe,
'With Shenſtone's art;
'Or pour, with Gray, the moving flow,
'Warm on the heart.
'Yet all beneath th'unrivall'd Roſe,
'The lowly Daiſy ſweetly blows;
'Tho' large the foreſt's Monarch throws
'His army ſhade,
'Yet green the juicy Hawthorn grows,
'Adown the glade.
'Then never murmur nor repine
'Strive in thy humble ſphere to ſhine ;
'And truſt me, not Potoſi's mine,
'Nor Kings regard,
'Can give a bliſs o'ermatching thine,
'A ruſtic Bard
'To give my counſels all in one,
'Thy tuneful flame ſtill careful fan ;
'Preſerve the dignity of Man,
'With Soul erect;
'And truſt, the UNIVERSAL PLAN
'Will all protect.
'And wear thou this' — She ſolemn ſaid,
And bound the Holly round my head:
The poliſh'd leaves, and berries red,
Did ruſtling play;
And, like a paſſing thought, ſhe fled,
In light away.
THE following POEM will, by many Readers,
be well enough underſtood; but, for the ſake
of thoſe who are unacquainted with the manners
and traditions of the country where the ſcene is
caſt, Notes are added, to give ſome account of
the principal Charms and Spells of that Night,
ſo big with Prophecy to the Peaſantry in the
Weſt of Scotland. The paſſion of prying into
Futurity makes a ſtriking part of the hiſtory of
Human-nature, in it's rude ſtate, in all ages and
nations; and it may be ſome entertainment to a
philoſophic mind, if any ſuch ſhould honor the
Author with a peruſal, to ſee the remains of it,
among the more unenlightened in our own.
Yes! let the Rich deride, the Proud diſdain,
The ſimple pleaſures of the lowly train;
To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
One native charm, than all the gloſs of art.
UPON that night, when Fairies light,
On Caſſilis Downans † dance,
Or owre the lays, in ſplendid blaze,
On ſprightly courſers prance;
* Is thought to be a night when Witches, Devils, and other
miſchief-making beings, are all abroad on their baneful,
midnight errands: particularly, thoſe aerial people, the Fairies,
are ſaid, on that night, to hold a grand Anniverſary.
† Certain little, romantic, rocky, green hills, in the neighbourhood
of the ancient ſeat of the Earls of Caſſilis.
Or for Colean, the rout is taen,
Beneath the moon's pale beams;
There, up the Cove,* to ſtray an' rove,
Amang the rocks an' ſtreams
To ſport that night
Amang the bonie, winding banks,
Where Doon rins, wimplin, clear,
Where BRUCE † ance rul'd the martial
An' ſhook his Carrick ſpear,
Some merry, friendly, countra folks,
Together did convene,
To burn their nits, an' pou their ſtocks,
Au' haud their Halloween
Fu' blythe that night.
* A noted cavern near Colean-houſe, called the Cove of
Colean; which, as well as Caſſilis Downans, is famed, in country
ſtory, for being a favourite haunt of Fairies.
† The famous family of that name, the anceſtors of ROBERT
the great Deliverer of his country, were Earls of
The laſſies feat, an' cleanly neat,
Mair braw than when they're fine;
Their faces blythe, fu' ſweetly kythe,
Hearts leal, an' warm, an' kin':
The lads fae trig, wi wooer-babs,
Weel knotted on their garten,
Some unco blate, an' ſome wi' gabs,
Gar laſſes hearts gang ſtartin
Whyles faſt at night.
Then, firſt an' foremoſt thro' the kail,
Their ftocks* maun a' be ſought ance;
*The firſt ceremony of Halloween, is, pulling each a Stock,
or plant of kail. They muſt go out, hand in hand, with eyes
ſhut, and pull the firſt they meet with: its being big or little,
ſtraight or crooked, is prophetic of the ſize and ſhape of the
grand object of all their Spells — the huſband or wife. If any
yird, or earth, ſtick to the root, that is tocher, or fortune; and
the taſte of the cuſtoc, that is, the heart of the ſtem, is indicative
of the natural temper and diſpoſition. Laſtly, the ſtems, or
to give them their ordinary appellation, the runts, are placed
ſomewhere above the head of the door; and the chriſtian
names of the people whom chance brings into the houſe, are,
according to the priority of placing the runts, the names in
They ſteek their een, an' grape an' wale,
For muckle anes, an' ſtraught anes.
Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the drift,
An' wander'd thro' the Bow-kail,
An' pow't, for want o' better ſhift,
A runt was like a ſow-tail
Sae bow't that night.
'Then, ſtraught or crooked, yird or nane,
They roar an' cry a' throw'ther;
The vera wee-things, toddlan, rin,
Wi' ſtocks out owre their ſhouther:
An' gif the cuſtock's ſweet or ſour,
Wi' joctelegs they taſte them;
Syne coziely, aboon the door,
Wi' cannie care, they've plac'd them
To lye that night.
The laſſes ſtaw frae 'mang them a',
To pou their ſtalks o' corn; *
*They go to the barn-yard, and pull each, at three ſeveral
But Rab ſlips out, an' jinks about,
Behint the muckle thorn:
He grippet Nelly hard an' faſt;
Loud ſkirl'd a' the laſſes;
But her tap-pickle maiſt was loſt,
When kiutlan in the Fauſe-houſe *
Wi' him that night.
The auld Guidwife's weel-hoordet nits †
Are round an' round divided,
An' monie lads an' laſſes fates
Are there that night decided:
times, a ſtalk of Oats. If the third ſtalk wants the top-pickle,
that is, the grain at the top of the ſtalk, the party in queſtion
will want the Maidenhead.
* When the corn is in a doubtful ſtate, by being too green,
or wet, the Stack-builder, by means of old timber, &c. makes
a large apartment in his ſtack, with an opening in the ſide
which is faireſt expoſed to the wind: this he calls a Faufe-houſe.
† Burning the nuts is a favourite charm. They name the
lad and laſs to each particular nut, as they lay them in the fire;
and according; as they burn quietly together, or ſtart from beſide
one another, the courſe and iſſue of the Courtſhip will be.
Some kindle, couthie, ſide by ſide,
An' burn thegither trimly;
Some ſtart awa, wi' ſaucy pride,
An' jump out owre the chimlie
Fu' high that night.
Jean ſlips in twa, wi' tentie e'e;
Wha 'twas, ſhe wadna tell;
But this is Jock, an' this is me,
She ſays in to herſel:
He bleez'd owre her, an' ſhe owre him,
As they wad never mair part,
Till fuff! he ſtarted up the lum,
An' Jean had e'en a fair heart
To ſee't that night.
Poor Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt,
Was brunt wi' primſie Mallie;
An' Mary, nae doubt, took the drunt,
To be compar'd to Willie:
Mall's nit lap out, wi' pridefu' fling,
An' her ain fit, it brunt it;
While Willie lap, an' ſwoor by jing,
'Twas juſt the way he wanted
To be that night.
Nell had the Fauſe-houſe in her min',
She pits herſel an' Rob in;
In loving bleeze they ſweetly join,
Till white in aſe they're ſobbin:
Nell's heart was dancin at the view;
She whiſper'd Rob to leuk for't:
Rob, ſtownlins, prie'd her bonie mou,
Fu' cozie in the neuk for't,
Unſeen that night.
But Merran ſat behint their backs,
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell;
She lea'es them gaſhan at their cracks,
An' ſlips out by herfel:
She thro' the yard the neareſt taks,
An' for the kiln ſhe goes then,
An' darklins grapet for the bauks,
And in the blue-clue * throws then,
Right fear't that night.
An' ay the win't, an' ay the ſwat,
I wat ſhe made nae jaukin;
Till ſomething held within the pat,
Guid L—d! but ſhe was quaukin!
But whether 'twas the Deil himſel,
Or whether 'twas a bauk-en',
Or whether it was Andrew Bell,
She did na wait on talkin
To ſpier that night.
Wee Jenny to her Graunie ſays,
'Will ye go wi' me Graunie?
* Whoever would, with ſucceſs, try this ſpell, muſt ſtrictly
obſerve theſe directions. Steal out, all alone, to the kiln, and,
darkling, throw into the pot, a clew of blue yarn: wind it in
a new clew off the old one; and towards the latter end, ſome'I'll
eat the apple * at the glaſs,
'I gat frae uncle Johnie:'
She fuff't her pipe wi' ſic a lunt,
In wrath ſhe was ſae vap'rin,
She notic't na, an aizle brunt
Her braw, new, worſet apron
Out thro' that night
'Ye little Skelpie-limmer's-face!
'I daur you try ſic ſportin,
'As ſeek the foul Thief onie place,
'For him to ſpae your fortune:
'Nae doubt but ye may get a fight!
'Great cauſe ye hae to fear it;
'For monie a ane has gotten a fright,
'An' liv'd an' di'd deleeret,
'On ſic a night.
thing will hold the thread: demand, wha hauds? i.e. who
holds? and anſwer will be returned from the kiln-pot, by naming
the chriſtian and ſirname of your future Spouſe.
* Take a candle, and go, alone, to a looking glaſs: eat an
apple before it, and ſome traditions ſay you ſhould comb your
hair all the time: the face of your conjugal companion, to be,
will be ſeen in the glafs, as if peeping over your ſhoulder.
'Ae Hairſt afore the Sherra-moor,
'I mind't as weel's yeſtreen,
'I was a gilpey then, I'm ſure,
'I was na paſt fyfteen:
'The Simmer had been cauld an' wat,
'An' Stuff was unco green;
'An' ay a rantan Kirn we gat,
'An' juſt on Halloween
'It fell that night.
'Our Stibble-rig was Rab M'Graen,
'A clever, ſturdy fallow;
'His Sin gat Eppie Sim wi' wean,
That liv'd in Achmacalla:
'He gat hemp ſeed,* I mind it weel,
'An' he made unco light o't;
* Steal out, unperceived, and ſow a handful of hemp ſeed;
harrowing it with any thing you can conveniently draw after
you. Repeat, now and then, 'Hemp ſeed I ſaw thee, Hemp
ſeed I ſaw thee; and him (or her) that is to be my true-love,
come after me and pou thee.' Look over your left ſhoulder,
and you will ſee the appearance of the perſon invoked, in the
'But monie a day was by himſel,
'He was ſae ſairly frighted
'That vera night.'
Then up gat fechtan Jamie Fleck,
An' he ſwoor by his conſcience,
That he could ſaw hemp-ſeed a peck;
For it was a' but nonſenſe:
The auld guidman raught down the pock,
An' out a handfu' gied him;
Syne bad him ſlip frae 'mang the folk,
Sometime when nae ane ſee'd him,
An' try't that night.
He marches thro' amang the ſtacks,
Tho' he was ſomething ſturtan;
The graip he for a harrow taks,
An' haurls at his curpan:
attitude of pulling hemp. Some traditions ſay, 'come after
'me and ſhaw thee,' that is, ſhow thyſelf; in which caſe it
ſimply appears. Others omit the harrowing, and ſay, 'come
after me and harrow thee.'
And ev'ry now an' then, he ſays,
'Hemp-ſeed I ſaw thee,
'An' her that is to be my laſs,
'Come after me an' draw thee
'As faſt this night.'
He whiſtl'd up lord Lenox' march,
To keep his courage cheary;
Altho' his hair began to arch,
He was ſae fley'd an' eerie:
Till preſently he hears a ſqueak,
An' then a grane an' gruntle;
He by his ſhowther gae a keek,
An' tumbl'd wi' a wintle
Out owre that night.
He roar'd a horrid murder-ſhout,
In dreadfu' deſperation!
An' young an' auld come rinnan out,
An' hear the ſad narration:
He ſwoor 'twas hilchan Jean M'Craw,
Or crouchie Merran Humphie,
Till ſtop! ſhe trotted thro' them a';
An' wha was it but Grumphie
Aſteer that night?
Meg fain wad to the Barn gaen,
To winn three wechts o' naething;*
But for to meet the Deil her lane,
She pat but little faith in:
She gies the Herd a pickle nits,
An' twa red cheeket apples,
To watch, while for the Barn ſhe ſets,
In hopes to ſee Tam Kipples
That vera night.
* This charm muſt Iikewiſe be performed, unperceived and
alone. You to the barn, and open both doors; taking
them off the hinges, if poſſible; for there is danger, that the Being,
about to appear, may ſhut the doors, and do you ſome miſchief.
Then take that inſtrument uſed in winnowing the corn,
which, in our country-dialect, we call a wecht; and go thro'
all the attitudes of letting down corn againſt the wind. Repeat
it three times: and the third time, an apparition will paſs
thro' the barn, in at the windy door, and out at the other,
having both the figure in queſtion, and the appearance or retinue,
marking the employment or ſtation in life.
She turns the key, wi' cannie thraw,
An' owre the threſhold ventures;
But firſt on Sawnie gies a ca',
Syne bauldly in ſhe enters:
A ratton rattl'd up the wa',
An' ſhe cry'd, L—d preferve her!
An' ran thro' midden-hole an' a',
An' pray'd wi' zeal and fervour,
Fu' faſt that night.
They hoy't out Will, wi' ſair advice;
They hecht him ſome fine braw ane;
It chanc'd the Stack he faddom't thrice, *
Was timmer-propt for thrawin:
He taks a ſwirlie, auld moſs-oak,
For ſome black, grouſome Carlin;
* Take an opportunity of going, unnoticed, to a Bear-ſtack,
and fathom it three times round. The laſt fathom of the laſt
time, you will catch in your arms, the appearance of your future
An' loot a winze, an' drew a ſtroke,
Till ſkin in blypes cam haurlin
Aff's nieves that night.
A wanton widow Leezie was,
As cantie as a kittlen;
But Och! that night, amang the ſhaws,
She gat a fearfu' fettlin!
She thro' the whins, an' by the cairn,
An' owre the hill gaed ſcrievin,
Whare three Lairds' Ian's met at a burn, *
To dip her left ſark-ſleeve in,
Was bent that night.
Whyles owre a linn the burnie plays,
As thro' the glen it wimpl't;
* You go out, one or more, for this is a ſocial ſpell, to a
ſouth-running ſpring or rivulet, where 'three Lairds' lands
'meet,' and dip your left ſhirt-ſleeve. Go to bed in ſight of
a fire, and hang your wet ſleeve before it to dry. Ly awake;
and ſometime near midnight, an apparition, having the exact
figure of the grand object in queſtion, will come and turn the
ſleeve, as if to dry the other ſide of it.
Whyles round a rocky ſcar it ſtrays;
Whyles in a wiel it dimpl't;
Whyles glitter'd to the nightly rays,
Wi' bickerin, dancin dazzle;
Whyles cooket underneath the braes,
Below the ſpreading hazle
Unſeen that night.
Amang the brachens, on the brae,
Between her an' the moon,
The Deil, or elſe an outler Quey,
Gat up an' gae a croon:
Poor Leezie's heart maiſt lap the hool;
Near lav'rock-height ſhe jumpet,
But miſt a fit, an' in the pool,
Out owre the lugs ſhe plumpet,
Wi' a plunge that night.
In order, on the clean hearth-ſtane,
The Luggies * three are ranged;
*Take three diſhes; put clean water in one, foul water in
And ev'ry time great care is taen,
To ſee them duely changed:
Auld, uncle John, wha wedlock's joys,
Sin' Mar's-year did deſire,
Becauſe he gat the toom diſh thrice,
He heav'd them on the fire,
In wrath that night.
Wi' merry ſangs, an' friendly cracks,
I wat they did na weary;
And unco tales, an' funnie jokes,
Their ſports were cheap an' cheary:
Till butter'd So'ns, * wi' fragrant lunt,
Set a' their gabs a ſteerin;
Syne, wi' a ſocial glaſs o' ſtrunt,
They parted aff careerin
Fu' blythe that night.
another, and leave the third empty: blindfold a perſon, and
lead him to the hearth where the diſhes are ranged; he (or ſhe)
dips the left hand: if by chance in the clean water, the future
huſband or wife will come to the bar of Matrimony, a Maid;
if in the foul, a widow; if in the empty diſh, it foretells, with
equal certainty, no marriage at all. It is repeated three
times; and every time the arrangement of the diſhes is altered.
*Sowens, with butter inſtead of milk to them, is always the
THE AULD FARMER'S NEW-YEAR-MORNING
SALUTATION TO HIS
AULD MARE, MAGGIE, ON GIVING
HER THE ACCUSTOMED RIPP
OF CORN TO HANSEL IN THE NEW-YEAR.
A Guid New-year I wiſh you Maggie!
Hae, there's a ripp to thy auld baggie
Tho' thou's howe-backet, now, an' knaggie,
I've ſeen the day,
Thou could hae gaen like ony ſtaggie
Out owre the lay.
Tho' now thou's dowie, ſtiff an' crazy,
An' thy auld hide as white's a daiſie,
I've ſeen thee dappl't, ſleek an' glaizie,
A bonie gray:
He ſhould been tight that daur't to raize thee,
Ance in a day.
Thou ance was i' the foremoſt rank,
A filly buirdly, ſteeve an' ſwank,
An' ſet weel down a ſhapely ſhank,
As e'er tread yird;
An' could hae flown out owre a ſtank,
Like onie bird.
It's now ſome nine-an'-twenty-year,
Sin' thou was my Guidfather's Meere;
He gied me thee, o' tocher clear,
An' fifty mark;
Tho' it was ſma', 'twas weel-won gear,
An' thou was ſtark.
When firſt I gaed to woo my Jenny,
Ye then was trottan wi' your Minnie:
Tho' ye was trickie, ſlee an' funnie,
Ye ne'er was donſie;
But hamely, tawie, quiet an' cannie,
An' unco ſonſie.
That day, ye pranc'd wi' muckle pride,
When ye bure hame my bonie Bride:
An' ſweet an' gracefu' ſhe did ride
Wi' maiden air!
KYLE-STEWART I could bragged wide,
For ſic a pair.
Tho' now ye dow but hoyte and hoble,
An' wintle like a ſaumont-coble,
That day, ye was a jinker noble,
For heels an' win'!
An' ran them till they a' did wauble,
Far, far behin'!
When thou an' I were young an' ſkeigh,
An' Stable-meals at Fairs were driegh,
How thou wad prance, an' ſnore, an' ſcriegh,
An' tak the road!
Towns-bodies ran, an' ſtood abiegh,
An' ca't thee mad,
When thou was corn't, an' I was mellow,
We took the road ay like a Swallow:
At Brooſes thou had ne'er a fellow,
For pith an' ſpeed;
But ev'ry tail thou pay't them hollow,
Whare'er thou gaed.
The ſma', droot-rumpl't, hunter cattle,
Might aiblins waur't thee for a brattle;
But ſax Scotch mile, thou try't their mettle,
An' gart them whaizle:
Nae whip nor ſpur, but juſt a wattle
O' ſaugh or hazle.
Thou was a noble Fittie-lan',
As e'er in tug or tow was drawn!
Aft thee an' I, in aught hours gaun,
On guid March-weather,
Hae turn'd ſax rood beſide our han',
For days thegither.
Thou never braing't, an' fetch't, an' fliſket,
But thy auld tail thou wad hae whiſket,
An' ſpread abreed thy weel-fill'd briſket,
Wi' pith an pow'r,
Till ſprittie knowes wad rair't an' riſket,
An ſlypet owre.
When froſts lay ling, an' ſnaws were deep,
An' threaten'd labor back to keep,
I gied thy cog a wee-bit heap
Aboon the timmer;
I ken'd my Maggie wad na ſleep
For that, or Simmer.
In cart or car thou never reeſtet;
The ſteyeſt brae thou wad hae fac't it;
Thou never lap, an' ſten't, an' breaſtet,
Then ſtood to blaw;
But juſt thy ſtep a wee thing haſtet,
Thou ſnoov't awa.
My Pleugh is now thy bairn-time a';
Four gallant brutes, as e'er did draw;
Forby ſax mae, I've ſell't awa,
That thou haſt nurſt:
They drew me thretteen pund an' twa,
The vera warſt.
Monie a fair daurk we twa hae wrought,
An' wi' the weary warl' fought!
An' monie an' anxious day, I thought
We wad be beat!
Yet here to crazy Age we're brought,
Wi' ſomething yet.
An' think na, my auld, truſty Servan',
That now perhaps thou's leſs deſervin,
An' thy auld days may end in ſtarvin',
For my laſt fow,
A heapet Stimpart, I'll reſerve ane
Laid by for you.
We've worn to crazy years thegither;
We'll toyte about wi' ane anither;
Wi' tentie care I'll ſlit thy tether,
To ſome hain'd rig,
Whare ye may nobly rax your leather,
Wi' ſma' fatigue.
COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT.
INSCRIBED TO R. A****, Eſq;
Let not Ambition mock their uſeful toil,
Their homely joys, and deſtiny obſcure;
Nor Grandeur hear, with a diſdainful ſmile,
The ſhort and ſimple annals of the Poor.
MY lov'd, my honor'd, much reſpected
No mercenary Bard his homage pays;
With honeſt pride, I ſcorn each ſelfiſh end,
My deareſt meed, a friend's eſteem and
To you I ſing, in ſimple Scottiſh lays,
The lowly train in life's ſequeſter'd ſcene;
The native feelings ſtrong, the guileleſs ways,
What A**** in a Cottage would have been;
Ah! tho' his worth unknown, far happier
there I ween!
November chill blaws loud wi' angry ſugh;
The ſhort'ning winter-day is near a cloſe;
The miry beaſts retreating frae the pleugh;
The black'ning trains o' craws to their
The toil-worn COTTER frae his labor goes,
This night his weekly moil is at an end,
Collects his ſpades, his mattocks and his hoes,
Hoping the morn in eaſe and reſt to ſpend,
And weary, o'er the moor, his courſe does
At length his lonely Cot appears in view,
Beneath the ſhelter of an aged tree;
The expectant wee-things, toddlan, ſtacher
To meet their Dad, wi' flichterin noiſe
His wee-bit ingle, blinkan bonilie,
His clean hearth-ſtane, his thrifty Wifie's
The liſping infant, prattling on his knee,
Does a' his weary kiaugh and care beguile,
And makes him quite forget his labor and
Belyve, the elder bairns come drapping in,
At Service out, amang the Farmers roun';
Some ca' the pleugh, ſome herd, ſome tentie
A cannie errand to a neebor town:
Their eldeſt hope, their Jenny, worman-grown,
In youthfu' bloom, Love ſparkling in her
Comes hame, perhaps, to ſhew a braw new
Or depoſite her ſair-won penny-fee,
To help her Parents dear, if they in hardſhip
With joy unfeign'd, brothers and ſiſters meet,
And each for other's weelfare kindly ſpiers:
The ſocial hours, ſwift-wing'd, unnotic'd
Each tells the uncos that he ſees or hears.
The Parents partial eye their hopeful years;
Anticipation forward points the view;
The Mother, wi' her needle and her ſheers,
Gars auld claes look amaiſt as weel's the
The Father mixes a' wi' admonition due.
Their Maſter's and their Miſtreſs's command,
The youngkers a' are warned to obey;
And mind their labors wi' an eydent hand,
And ne'er, tho' out o' ſight, to jauk or play:
'And O! be ſure to fear the LORD alway!
'And mind your duty, duely, morn and
Leſt in temptation's path ye gang aſtray,
'Implore his counſel and aſſiſting might:
'They never ſought in vain that ſought the
But hark! a rap comes gently to the door;
Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the ſame,
Tells how a neebor lad came o'er the moor,
To do ſome errands, and convoy her hame.
The wily Mother ſees the conſcious flame
Sparkle in Jenny's e'e, and fluſh her cheek,
With heart-ſtruck, anxious care enquires
While Jenny hafflins is afraid to ſpeak;
Weel-pleaſ'd the Mother hears, it's nae wild,
With kindly welcome, Jenny brings him ben;
A ſtrappan youth; he takes the Mother's eye;
Blythe Jenny ſees the viſit's no ill taen;
The Father cracks of horſes, pleughs
The Youngſter's artleſs heart o'erflows wi' joy,
But blate and laithfu', ſcarce can weel
The Mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can ſpy
What makes the youth ſae baſhfu' and
Weel-pleaſ'd to think her bairn's reſpected
like the lave.
O happy love! where love like this is found!
O heart-felt raptures! bliſs beyond compare!
I've paced much this weary, mortal round,
And ſage EXPERIENCE bids me this
'If Heaven a draught of heavenly pleaſure
'One cordial in this melancholy Vale,
''Tis when a youthful, loving, modeſt Pair,
'In other's arms, breathe out the tender
'Beneath the milk-white thorn that ſcents
the ev'ning gale.'
Is there, in human form, that bears a heart —
A Wretch! a Villain! loſt to love and truth!
That can, with ſtudied, ſly, enſnaring art,
Betray ſweet Jenny's unſuſpecting youth?
Curſe on his perjur'd arts! diſſembling
Are Honer, Virtue, Conſcience, all exil' d?
Is there no Pity, no relenting Ruth,
Points to the Parents fondling o'er their
Then paints the ruin 'd Maid, and their diſtraction
But now the Supper crowns their ſimple
The healſome Porritch, chief of SCOTIA'S
The ſoupe their only Hawkie does afford,
That 'yont the hallan ſnugly chows her
The Dame brings forth, in complimental
To grace the lad, her weel-hain'd kebbuck,
And aft he's preſt, and aft he ca's it guid;
The frugal Wifie, garrulous, will tell,
How 'twas a towmond auld, ſin' Lint was
i' the bell.
The chearfu' Supper done, wi' ſerious face,
They, round the ingle, form a circle wide;
The Sire turns o'er, with patriarchal grace,
The big ha'-Bible, ance his Father's pride:
His bonnet rev'rentlv is laid aſide,
His lyart haffets wearing thin and bare;
Thoſe ſtrains that once did ſweet in ZION
He wales a portion with judicious care;
'And let us worſhip GOD!' he ſays with
They chant their artleſs notes in ſimple guiſe;
They tune their hearts, by far the nobleſt
Perhaps Dundee's wild warbling meaſures riſe,
Or plaintive Martyrs, worthy of the name;
Or noble Elgin beets the heaven-ward flame,
The ſweeteſt far of SCOTIA'S holy lays:
Compar'd with theſe, Italian trills are tame;
The tickl'd ears no heart-felt raptures raiſe;
Nae uniſon hae they, with our CREATOR'S
The prieſt-like Father reads the ſacred page,
How Abram was the Friend of GOD
Or, Moſes bade eternal warfare wage,
With. Amalek's ungracious progeny;
Or how the royal Bard did groaning lye,
Beneath the ſtroke of Heaven's avenging
Or Job's pathetic plaint, and wailing cry;
Or rapt Iſaiah's wild, ſeraphic fire;
Or other Holy Seers that tune the ſacred lyre.
Perhaps the Chriſtian Volume is the theme,
How guiltleſs blood for guilty man was ſhed;
How HE, who bore in heaven the ſecond
Had not on Earth whereon to lay His head:
How His firſt followers and ſervants ſped;
The Precepts ſage they wrote to many a
How he, who lone in Patmos baniſhed,
Saw in the ſun a mighty angel ſtand;
And heard great Bab'lon's doom pronounc'd
by Heaven's command.
Then kneeling down to HEAVEN'S ETERNAL
The Saint, the Father, and the Huſband
Hope 'ſprings exulting on triumphant
That thus they all ſhall meet in future days:
There, ever baſk in uncreated rays,
No more to ſigh, or ſhed the bitter tear,
Together hymning their CREATOR'S praiſe,
In ſuch ſociety, yet ſtill more dear;
While circling Time moves round in an eternal
Compar'd with this, how poor Religion's pride,
In all the pomp of method, and of art,
*Pope's Windſor Foreſt.
When men diſplay to congregations wide,
Devotion's ev'ry grace, except the heart!
The POWER, incenſ'd, the Pageant will
The pompous ſtrain, the ſacredotal ſtole;
But haply, in ſome Cottage far apart,
May hear, well pleaſ'd, the language of
And in His Book of Life the Inmates poor
Then homeward all take off their ſev'ral
The youngling Cottagers retire to reſt:
The Parent-pair their ſecret homage pay,
And proffer up to Heaven the warm requeſt,
That HE who ſtiIls the raven's clam'rous
And decks the lily fair in flow'ry pride,
Would, in the way His Wiſdom ſees the beſt,
For them and for their little ones provide;
But chiefly, in their hearts with Grace divine
From ſcenes like theſe, old SCOTIA'S
That makes her lov'd at home, rever'd abroad:
Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,
'An honeſt man's the noble work of GOD;'
And certes, in fair Virtue's heavenly road,
The Cottage leaves the Palace far behind:
What is a lordling's pomp? a cumbrous load,
Diſguiſing oft the wretch of human kind,
Studied in arts of Hell, in wickedneſs refin'd!
O SCOTIA! my dear, my native ſoil!
For whom my warmeſt wiſh to heaven
Long may thy hardy ſons of ruſtic toil,
Be bleſt with health, and peace, and ſweet
And O may Heaven their ſimple lives prevent
From Luxury's contagion, weak and vile!
Then howe'er crowns and coronets be rent,
A virtuous Populace may riſe the while,
And ſtand a wall of fire around their much-lov'd
O THOU! who pour'd the patriotic tide,
That ſtream'd thro' great, unhappy WALLACE'
Who dar'd to, nobly, ſtem tyrannic pride,
Or nobly die, the ſecond glorious part:
(The Patriot's GOD, peculiarly thou art,
His friend, inſpirer, guardian and reward!)
O never, never SCOTIA'S realm deſert,
But ſtill the Patriot, and the Patriot-Bard,
In bright ſucceſſion raiſe, her Ornament and
On turning her up in her Neſt with the Plough,
WEE, ſleeket, cowran, tim'rous beaſtie,
O, what a panic's in thy breaſtie!
Thou need na ſtart awa ſae haſty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chaſe thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!
I'm truly ſorry Man's dominion
Has broken Nature's ſocial union,
An' juſtifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee ſtartle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beaſtie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave
'S a ſma' requeſt:
I'll get a bleſſin wi' the lave,
An' never miſs't!
Thy wee-bit houſie, too, in ruin!
It's ſilly wa's the win's are ſtrewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds enſuin,
Baith ſnell an' keen!
Thou ſaw the fields laid bare an' waſt,
An' weary Winter comin faſt,
An' cozie here, beneath the blaſt,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till craſh! the cruel coulter paſt
Out thro' thy cell.
That wee-bit heap o' leaves an' ſtibble,
Has coſt thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But houſe or hald,
To thole the Winter's ſleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!
But Mouſie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foreſight may be vain:
The beſt laid ſchemes o' Mice an' Men,
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promiſ'd joy!
Still, thou art bleſt, compar'd wi' me!
The preſent only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward caſt my e'e,
On proſpects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna ſee,
I gueſs an' fear!
EPISTLE TO DAVIE.
WHILE winds frae off BEN-LOMOND
And bar the doors wi' driving ſnaw,
And hing us owre the ingle,
I ſet me down, to paſs the time,
And ſpin a verſe or twa o' rhyme,
In hamely, weſtlin jingle.
While froſty winds blaw in the drift,
Ben to the chimla lug,
I grudge a wee the Great-folk's gift,
That live fae bien an' ſnug:
I tent leſs, and want leſs
Their roomy fire-ſide;
But hanker, and canker,
To ſee their curſed pride.
It's hardly in a body's pow'r,
To keep, at times, frae being ſour,
To ſee how things are ſhar'd;
How beſt o' chiels are whyles in want,
While Cooſs on countleſs thouſands rant,
And ken na how to wair't:
But DAVIE lad, ne'er faſh your head,
Tho' we hae little gear,
We're fit to win our daily bread,
As lang's we're hale and fier:
'Mair ſpier na, nor fear na,' *
Auld age ne'er mind a feg;
The laſt o't, the warſt o't,
Is only but to beg.
To lye in kilns and barns at e'en,
When banes are craz'd, and bluid is thin,
Is, doubtleſs, great diſtreſs!
Yet then content could make us bleſt;
Ev'n then, ſometimes we'd ſnatch a taſte
Of trueſt happineſs.
The honeſt heart that's free frae a'
Intended fraud or guile,
However Fortune kick the ba',
Has ay ſome cauſe to ſmile:
And mind ſtill, you'll find ſtill,
A comfort this nae ſma';
Nae mair then, we'll care then,
Nae farther we can fa'.
What tho', like Commoners of air,
We wander out, we know not where,
But either houſe or hal'?
Yet Nature's charms, the hills and woods,
The ſweeping vales, and foaming floods,
Are free alike to all.
In days when Daiſies deck the ground,
And Blackbirds whiſtle clear,
With honeſt joy, our hearts will bound,
To ſee the coming year:
On braes when we pleaſe then,
We'll ſit and ſowth a tune;
Syne rhyme till't, well time till't,
And ſing't when we hae done.
It's no in titles nor in rank;
It's no in wealth like Lon'on Bank,
To purchaſe peace and reſt;
It's no in makin muckle, mair:
It's no in books; it's no in Lear,
To make us truly bleſt:
If Happineſs hae not her ſeat
And center in the breaſt,
We may be wiſe, or rich, or great,
But never can be bleſt:
Nae treaſures, nor pleaſures
Could make us happy lang;
The heart ay's the part ay,
That makes us right or wrang.
Think ye, that ſic as you and I,
Wha drudge and drive thro' wet and dry
Wi' never-ceaſing toil;
Think ye, are we leſs bleſt than they,
Wha ſcarcely tent us in their way,
As hardly worth their while?
Alas! how aft, in haughty mood,
GOD'S creatures they oppreſs!
Or elſe, neglecting a' that's guid,
They riot in exceſs!
Baith careleſs, and fearleſs,
Of either Heaven or Hell;
Eſteeming, and deeming,
It a' an idle tale!
Then let us chearfu' acquieſce;
Nor make our ſcanty Pleaſures leſs,
By pining at our ſtate:
And, ev'n ſhould Misſortunes come,
I, here wha ſit, hae met wi' ſome,
An's thankfu' for them yet.
They gie the wit of Age to Youth;
They let us ken ourſel;
They make us ſee the naked truth,
The real guid and ill.
Tho' loſſes, and croſſes,
Be leſſons right ſevere,
There's wit there, ye'll get there,
Ye'll find nae other where.
But tent me, DAVIE, Ace o' Hearts!
(To ſay aught leſs wad wrang the cartes,
And flatt'ry I deteſt)
This Iife has joys for you and I;
And joys that riches ne'er could buy;
And joys the very beſt.
There's a' the Pleaſures o' the Heart,
The Lover and the Frien';
Ye hae your MEG, your deareſt part,
And I my darling JEAN!
It warms me, it charms me,
To mention but her name:
It heats me, it beets me,
And ſets me a' on flame!
O, all ye Pow'rs who rule above!
O THOU, whoſe very ſelf art love!
THOU know'ſt my words ſincere!
The life blood ſtreaming thro' my heart,
Or my more dear Immortal part,
Is not more fondly dear!
When heart-corroding care and grief
Deprive my ſoul of reſt,
Her dear idea brings relief,
And ſolace to my breaſt.
Thou BEING, Allſeeing,
O hear my fervent pray'r!
Still take her, and make her,
THY moſt peculiar care!
All hail! ye tender feelings dear!
The ſmile of love, the friendly tear,
The ſympathetic glow!
Long ſince, this world's thorny ways
Had number'd out my weary days,
Had it not been for you!
Fate ſtill has bleſt me with a friend,
In ev'ry care and ill;
And oft a more endearing band,
A tye more tender ſtill.
It lightens, it brightens,
The tenebriſic ſcene,
To meet with, and greet with,
My DAVIE or my JEAN!
O, how that name inſpires my ſtyle!
The words come ſkelpan, rank and file,
Amaiſt before I ken!
The ready meaſure rins as fine,
As Phœbus and the famous Nine
Were glowran owre my pen.
My ſpavet Pegaſus will limp,
Till ance he's fairly het;
And then he'll hilch, and ſtilt, and jimp,
And rin an unco fit:
But leaſt then, the beaſt then,
Should rue this haſty ride,
I'll light now, and dight now,
His ſweaty, wizen'd hide.
OCCASIONED BY THE UNFORTUNATE ISSUE
A FRIEND'S AMOUR.
Alas! how oft does goodneſs wound itſelf!
And ſweet Affection prove the ſpring of Woe!
O Thou pale Orb, that ſilent ſhines,
While care-untroubled mortals ſleep!
Thou ſeeſt a wretch, who inly pines,
And wanders here to wail and weep!
With Woe I nightly vigils keep,
Beneath thy wan, unwarming beam;
And mourn, in lamentation deep,
How life and love are all a dream!
I joyleſs view thy rays adorn,
The faintly-marked, diſtant hill:
I joyleſs view thy trembling horn,
Reflected in the gurgling rill.
My fondly-fluttering heart, be ſtill!
Thou buſy pow'r, Remembrance, ceaſe!
Ah! muſt the agonizing thrill,
For ever bar returning Peace!
No idly-feign'd, poetic pains,
My ſad, lovelorn lamentings claim:
No ſhepherd's pipe — Arcadian ſtrains;
No fabled tortures, quaint and tame.
The plighted faith; the mutual flame;
The oft-atteſted Powers above;
The promiſ'd Father's tender name;
Theſe were the pledges of my love!
Encircled in her claſping arms,
How have the raptur'd moments flown!
How have I wiſh'd for Fortune's charms,
For her dear ſake, and her's alone!
And, muſt I think it! is ſhe gone,
My ſecret-heart's exulting boaſt?
And does ſhe heedleſs hear my groan?
And is ſhe ever, ever loſt?
Oh! can ſhe bear ſo baſe a heart,
So loſt to Honor, loſt to Truth,
As from the fondeſt lover part,
The plighted huſband of her youth?
Alas! Life's path may be unſmooth!
Her way may lie thro' rough diſtreſs!
Then, who her pangs and pains will ſoothe,
Her ſurrows ſhare and make them leſs?
Ye winged Hours that o'er us paſt,
Enraptur'd more, the more enjoy'd,
Your dear remembrance in my breaſt,
My fondly-treaſur'd thoughts employ'd.
That breaſt, how dreary now, and void,
For her too ſcanty once of room!
Ev'n ev'ry ray of Hope deſtroy'd,
And not a Wiſh to gild the gloom!
The morn that warns th'approaching day,
Awakes me up to toil and woe:
I ſee the hours, in long array,
That I muſt ſuffer, lingering, ſlow.
Full many a pang, and many a throe,
Keen Recollection's direful train,
Muſt wring my ſoul, ere Phœbus, low,
Shall kiſs the diſtant, weſtern main.
And when my nightly couch I try,
Sore-haraſs'd out, with care and grief,
My toil-beat nerves, and tear-worn eye,
Keep watchings with the nightly thief:
Or if I ſlumber, Fancy, chief,
Reigns, hagard-wild, in ſore afright:
Ev'n day, all-bitter, brings relief,
From ſuch a horror-breathing night.
O! thou bright Queen, who, o'er th'expanſe,
Now higheſt reign'ſt, with boundleſs
Oft has thy ſilent-marking glance
Obſerv'd us, fondly-wand'ring, ſtray!
The time, unheeded, ſped away,
While Love's luxurious pulſe beat high,
Beneath thy ſilver-gleaming ray,
To mark the mutual-kindling eye.
Oh! ſcenes in ſtrong remembrance ſet!
Scenes, never, never to return!
Scenes, if in ſtupor I forget,
Again I feel, again I burn!
From ev'ry joy and pleaſure torn,
Life's weary vale I'll wander thro';
And hopeleſs, comfortleſs, I'll mourn
A faithleſs woman's broken vow.
OPPRESS'D with grief, oppreſs'd with
A burden more than I can bear,
I ſet me down and ſigh:
O Life! Thou art a galling load,
Along a rough, a weary road,
To wretches ſuch as I!
Dim-backward as I caſt my view,
What ſick'ning Scenes appear!
What Sorrows yet may pierce me thro',
Too juſtly I may fear!
Still caring, deſpairing,
Muſt be my bitter doom;
My woes here, ſhall cloſe ne'er,
But with the cloſing tomb!
Happy! ye ſons of Buſy-life,
Who, equal to the buſtling ſtrife,
No other view regard!
Ev'n when the wiſhed end's deny'd,
Yet while the buſy means are ply'd,
They bring their own reward:
Whilſt I, a hope-abandon'd wight,
Unfitted with an aim,
Meet ev'ry ſad-returning night,
And joyleſs morn the ſame.
You, buſtling and juſtling,
Forget each grief and pain;
I, liſtleſs, yet reſtleſs,
Find ev'ry proſpect vain.
How bleſt the Solitary's lot,
Who, all-forgetting, all-forgot,
Within his humble cell,
The cavern wild with tangling roots,
Sits o'er his newly-gather'd fruits,
Beſide his cryſtal well!
Or haply, to his ev'ning thought,
By unfrequented ſtream,
The ways of men are diſtant brought,
A faint-collected dream:
While praiſing, and raiſing
His thoughts to Heaven on high,
As wand'ring, meand'ring,
He views the ſolemn ſky,
Than I, no lonely Hermit plac'd
Where never human footſtep trac'd,
Leſs fit to play the part,
The lucky moment to improve,
And juſt to ſtop, and juſt to move,
With ſelf-reſpecting art:
But ah! thoſe pleaſures, Loves and Joys,
Which I too keenly taſte,
The Solitary can deſpiſe,
Can want, and yet be bleſt!
He needs not, he heeds not,
Or human love or hate;
Whilſt I here, muſt cry here,
At perfidy ingrate!
Oh, enviable, early days,
When dancing thoughtleſs Pleaſure's maze,
To Care, to Guilt unknown!
How ill exchang'd for riper times,
To feel the follies, or the crimes,
Of others, or my own!
Ye tiny elves that guiltleſs ſport,
Like linnets in the buſh,
Ye little know the ills ye court,
'When Manhood is your wiſh!
The loſſes, the croſſes,
That active man engage;
The fears all, the tears all,
Of dim declining Age!
MAN WAS MADE TO MOURN,
WHEN chill November's ſurly blaſt
Made fields and foreſts bare,
One ev'ning, as I wand'red forth,
Along the banks of AIRE,
I ſpy'd a man, whoſe aged ſtep
Seem'd weary, worn with care;
His face was furrow'd o'er with years,
And hoary was his hair.
Young ſtranger, whither wand'reſt thou?
Began the rev'rend Sage;
Does thirſt of wealth thy ſtep conſtrain,
Or youthful Pleaſure's rage?
Or haply, preſt with cares and woes,
Too ſoon thou haſt began,
To wander forth, with me, to mourn
The miſeries of Man.
The Sun that overhangs yon moors,
Out-ſpreading far and wide,
Where hundreds labour to ſupport
A haughty lordling's pride;
I've ſeen yon weary winter-ſun
Twice forty times return;
And ev'ry time has added proofs,
That Man was made to mourn.
O Man! while in thy early years,
How prodigal of time!
Miſpending all thy precious hours,
Thy glorious, youthful prime!
Alternate Follies take the ſway;
Licentious Paſſions burn;
Which tenfold force gives Nature's law,
That Man was made to mourn.
Look not alone on youthful Prime,
Or Manhood's active might;
Man then is uſeful to his kind,
Supported is his right:
But ſee him on the edge of life,
With Cares and Sorrows worn,
Then Age and Want, Oh! ill-match'd pair!
Show Man was made to mourn.
A few ſeem favourites of Fate,
In Pleaſure's lap careſt;
Yet, think not all the Rich and Great,
Are likewiſe truly bleſt.
But Oh! what crouds in ev'ry land,
All wretched and forlorn,
Thro' weary life this leſſon learn,
That Man was made to mourn!
Many and ſharp the num'rous Ills
Inwoven with our frame!
More pointed ſtill we make ourſelves,
Regret, Remorſe and Shame!
And Man, whoſe heav'n-erected face,
The ſmiles of love adorn,
Man's inhumanity to Man
Makes countleſs thouſands mourn!
See, yonder poor, o'erlabour'd wight,
So abject, mean and vile,
Who begs a brother of the earth
To give him leave to toil;
And ſee his lordly fellow-worm,
The poor petition ſpurn,
Unmindful, tho' a weeping wife,
And helpleſs offspring mourn.
If I'm deſign'd yon lordling's ſlave,
By Nature's law deſign'd,
Why was an independent wiſh
E'er planted in my mind?
If not, why am I ſubject to
His cruelty, or ſcorn?
Or why has Man the will and pow'r
To make his fellow mourn?
Yet, Iet not this too much, my Son,
Diſturb thy youthful breaſt:
This partial view of human-kind
Is ſurely not the laſt!
The poor, oppreſſed, honeſt man
Had never, ſure, been born,
Had there not been ſome recompence
To comfort thoſe that mourn!
O Death! the poor man's deareſt friend,
The kindeſt and the beſt!
Welcome the hour, my aged limbs
Are laid with thee at reſt!
The Great, the Wealthy fear thy blow,
From pomp and pleaſure torn;
But Oh! a bleſt relief for thoſe
That weary-laden mourn!
THE Wintry Weſt extends his blaſt,
And hail and rain does blaw;
Or, the ſtormy North ſends driving forth,
The blinding ſleet and ſnaw:
While, tumbling brown, the Burn comes
And roars frae bank to brae;
And bird and beaſt, in covert, reſt,
And paſs the heartleſs day.
'The ſweeping blaſt, the ſky o'ercaſt, *
The joyleſs winter-day,
Let others fear, to me more dear,
Than all the pride of May:
The Tempeſt's howl, it ſoothes my ſoul,
My griefs it ſeems to join;
The leafleſs trees my fancy pleaſe,
Their fate reſembles mine!
Thou POW'R SUPREME, whoſe mighty
Theſe woes of mine fulfil;
Here, firm, I reſt, they muſt be beſt,
Becauſe they are Thy Will!
Then all I want (Oh, do thou grant
This one requeſt of mine!)
Since to enjoy Thou doſt deny,
Aſſiſt me to reſign!
* Dr. Young.
IN THE PROSPECT OF DEATH.
O THOU unknown, Almighty Cauſe
Of all my hope and fear!
In whoſe dread Preſence, ere an hour,
Perhaps I muſt appear!
If I have wander'd in thoſe paths
Of life I ought to ſhun;
As Something, loudly, in my breaſt,
Remonſtrates I have done;
Thou know'ſt that Thou haſt formed me,
With Paſſions wild and ſtrong;
And:liſt'ning, to their witching voice
Has often led me wrong.
Where human weakneſs has come ſhort,
Or frailty ſtept aſide,
Do Thou, ALL-GOOD, for ſuch Thou art,
In ſhades of darkneſs hide.
Where with intention I have err'd,
No other plea I have,
But, Thou art good; and Goodneſs ſtill
Delighteth to forgive.
On turning one down, with the Plough, in April
WEE, modeſt, crimſon-tipped flow'r,
Thou's met me in an evil hour;
For I maun cruſh amang the ſtoure
Thy ſlender ſtem:
To ſpare thee now is paſt my pow'r,
Thou bonie gem.
Alas! it's no thy neebor ſweet,
The bonie Lark, companion meet!
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet!
Wi's ſpreckl'd breaſt,
When upward-ſpringing, blythe, to greet
The purpling Eaſt.
Cauld blew the bitter-biting North
Upon thy early, humble birth;
Yet chearfully thou glinted forth
Amid the ſtorm,
Scarce rear'd above the Parent-earth
Thy tender form.
The flaunting flow'rs our Gardens yield,
High-ſhelt'ring woods and wa's maun ſhield,
But thou, beneath the random bield
O' clod or ſtane,
Adorns the hiſtie ſtibble-field,
There, in thy ſcanty mantle clad,
Thy ſnawie boſom ſun-ward ſpread,
Thou lifts thy unaſſuming head
In humble guiſe;
But now the ſhare uptears thy bed,
And low thou lies!
Such is the fate of artleſs Maid,
Sweet flow'ret of the rural ſhade!
By Love's ſimplicity betray'd,
And guileleſs truſt,
Till ſhe, like thee, all ſoil'd, is laid
Low i' the duſt.
Such is the fate of ſimple Bard,
On Life's rough ocean luckleſs ſtarr'd!
Unſkilful he to note the card
Of prudent Lore,
Till billows rage, and gales blow hard,
And whelm him o'er!
Such fate to ſuffering worth is giv'n,
Who long with wants and woes has ſtriv'n,
By human pride or cunning driv'n
To Miſ'ry's brink,
Till wrench'd of ev'ry ſtay but HEAV'N,
He, ruin'd, ſink!
Ev'n thou who mourn'ſt the Daiſy's fate,
That fate is thine — no diſtant date;
Stern Ruin's plough-ſhare drives, elate,
Full on thy bloom,
Till cruſh'd beneath the furrows weight,
Shall be thy doom!
ALL hail! inexorable lord!
At whoſe deſtruction-breathing word,
The mightieſt empires fall!
Thy cruel, woe-delighted train,
The miniſters of Grief and Pain,
A ſullen welcome, all!
With ſtern-reſolv'd, deſpairing eye,
I ſee each aimed dart;
For one has cut my deareſt tye,
And quivers in my heart.
Then low'ring, and pouring,
The Storm no more I dread;
Tho' thick'ning, and black'ning,
Round my devoted head.
And thou grim Pow'r, by Life abhorr'd,
While Life a pleaſure can afford,
Oh! hear a wretch's pray'r!
No more I ſhrink appall'd, afraid;
I court, I beg thy friendly aid,
To cloſe this ſcene of care!
When ſhall my ſoul, in ſilent peace,
Reſign Life's joyleſs day?
My weary heart it's throbbings ceaſe,
Cold-mould'ring in the clay?
No fear more, no tear more,
To ſtain my lifeleſs face,
Enclaſped, and graſped,
Within thy cold embrace!
May — 1786
I Lang hae thought, my youthfu' friend,
A Something to have ſent you,
Tho' it ſhould ſerve nae other end
Than juſt a kind memento;
But how the ſubject theme may gang,
Let time and chance determine;
Perhaps it may turn out a Sang;
Perhaps, turn out a Sermon.
Ye'll try the world ſoon my lad,
And ANDREW dear believe me,
Ye'll find mankind an unco ſquad,
And muckle they may grieve ye:
For care and trouble ſet your thought,
Ev'n when your end's attained;
And a' your views may come to nought:
Where ev'ry nerve is ſtrained.
I'll no ſay, men are villains a';
The real, harden'd wicked,
Wha hae nae check but human law,
Are to a few reſtricked:
But Och, mankind are unco weak,
An' little to be truſted;
If Self the wavering balance ſhake,
It's rarely right adjuſted!
Yet they wha fa' in Fortune's ſtrife,
Their fate we ſhould na cenſure,
For ſtill th' important end of life,
They equally may anſwer:
A man may hae an honeſt heart,
Tho' Poortith hourly ſtare him;
A man may tak a neebor's part,
Yet hae nae caſh to ſpare him.
Ay free, aff han', your ſtory tell,
When wi' a boſom crony;
But ſtill keep ſomething to yourſel
Ye ſcarcely tell to ony.
Conceal yourſel as weel's ye can
Frae critical diſſection;
But keek thro' ev'ry other man,
Wi' ſharpen'd, ſly inſpection.
The ſacred lowe o' weel plac'd love,
Luxuriantly indulge it;
But never tempt th'illicit rove,
Tho' naething ſhould divulge it:
I wave the quantum o' the ſin;
The hazard of concealing;
But Och! it hardens a' within,
And petrifies the feeling!
To catch Dame Fortune's golden ſmile,
Aſſiduous wait upon her;
And gather gear by ev'ry wile,
That's juſtify'd by Honor:
Not for to hide it in a hedge,
Nor for a train-attendant;
But for the glorious priviledge
Of being independant.
The fear o' Hell's a hangman's whip,
To haud the wretch in order;
But where ye feel your Honor grip,
Let that ay be your border:
It's ſlighteſt touches, inſtant pauſe —
Debar a' ſide-pretences;
And reſolutely keep it's laws,
The great CREATOR to revere,
Muſt ſure become the Creature;
But ſtill the preaching cant forbear,
And ev'n the rigid feature:
Yet ne'er with Wits prophane to range,
Be complaiſance extended;
An athieſt-laugh's a poor exchange
For Deity offended!
When ranting round in Pleaſure's ring,
Religion may be blinded;
Or if ſhe gie a random-ſting,
It may be little minded;
But when on Life we're tempeſt-driven,
A Conſcience but a canker —
A correſpondence fix'd wi' Heav'n,
Is ſure a noble anchor!
Adieu, dear, amiable Youth!
Your heart can ne'er be wanting!
May Prudence, Fortitude and Truth
Erect your brow undaunting!
In ploughman phraſe 'GOD ſend you ſpeed,'
Still daily to grow wiſer;
And may ye better reck the rede,
Than ever did th' Adviſer!
GONE TO THE WEST INDIES.
A' Ye wha live by ſowps o' drink,
A' ye wha live by crambo-clink,
A' ye wha live and never think,
Come, mourn wi' me!
Our billie's gien us a' a jink,
An' owre the Sea.
Lament him a' ye rantan core,
Wha dearly like a random-ſplore;
Nae mair he'll join the merry roar,
In ſocial key;
For now he's taen anither ſnore,
An' owre the Sea!
The bonie laſſes weel may wiſs him,
And in their dear petitions place him:
The widows, wives, an' a' may bleſs him,
Wi' tearfu' e'e;
For weel I wat they'll ſairly miſs him
That's owre the Sea!
O Fortune, they hae room to grumble!
Hadſt thou taen aff ſome drowſy bummle,
Wha can do nought but fyke an' fumble,
'Twad been nae plea;
But he was gleg as onie wumble,
That's owre the Sea!
Auld, cantie KYLE may weepers wear,
An' ſtain them wi' the ſaut, ſaut tear:
'Twill mak her poor, auld heart, I fear,
In flinders flee:
He was her Laureat monie a year,
That's owre the Sea!
He ſaw Misfortune's cauld Nor-weſt
Lang-muſtering up a bitter blaſt;
A Jillet brak his heart at laſt,
Ill may ſhe be!
So, took a birth afore the maſt,
An' owre the Sea.
To tremble under Fortune's cummock,
On ſcarce a bellyfu' o' drummock,
Wi' his proud, independant ſtomach,
Could ill agree;
So, row't his hurdies in a hammock,
An' owre the Sea.
He ne'er was gien to great miſguidin,
Yet coin his pouches wad na bide in;
Wi' him' it ne'er was under hidin;
He dealt it free:
The Muſe was a' that he took pride in,
That's owre the Sea.
Jamaica bodies, uſe him weel,
An' hap him in a cozie biel:
Ye'll find him ay a dainty chiel,
An' fou o' glee:
He wad na wrang'd the vera Diel,
That's owre the Sea.
Fareweel, my rhyme-compoſing billie!
Your native ſoil was right ill-willie;
But may ye flouriſh like a lily,
I'll toaſt you in my hindmoſt gillie,
Tho' owre the Sea!
G**** H******* Eſq;
EXPECT na, Sir, in this narration,
A fleechan, fleth'ran Dedication,
To rooſe you up, an' ca' you guid,
An' ſprung o' great an' noble bluid;
Becauſe ye're ſirnam'd like His Grace,
Perhaps related to the race:
Then when I'm tir'd — and ſae are ye,
Wi' monie a fulſome, ſinfu' lie,
Set up a face, how I ſtop ſhort,
For fear your modeſty be hurt.
This may do — maun do, Sir, wi' them wha
Maun pleaſe the Great-folk for a wamefou;
For me! ſae Iaigh I need na bow,
For, LORD be thanket, I can plough;
And when I downa yoke a naig,
Then, LORD be thanket, I can beg;
Sae I ſhall ſay, an' that's nae flatt'rin,
It's juſt ſic Poet an' ſic Patron.
The Poet, ſome guid Angel help him,
Or elſe, I fear, ſome ill ane ſkelp him!
He may do weel for a' he's done yet,
But only — he's no juſt begun yet.
The Patron, (Sir, ye maun forgie me,
I winna lie, come what will o' me)
On ev'ry hand it will allow'd be,
He's juſt — nae better than he ſhould be.
I readily and freely grant,
He downa ſee a poor man want;
What's no his ain, he winna tak it;
What ance he ſays, he winna break it;
Ought he can lend he'll no refuſ't,
Till aft his guidneſs is abuſ'd;
And raſcals whyles that do him wrang,
Ev'n that, he does na mind it lang:
As Maſter, Landlord, Huſband, Father,
He does na fail his part in either.
But then, nae thanks to him for a' that;
Nae godly ſymptom ye can ca' that;
It's naething but a milder feature,
Of our poor, ſinfu', corrupt Nature:
Ye'll get the beſt o' moral works,
'Mang black Gentoos, and Pagan Turks,
Or Hunters wild on Ponotaxi,
Wha never heard of Orth-d-xy.
That he's the poor man's friend in need,
The GENTLEMAN in word and deed,
It's no through terror of D-mn-t-n;
It's juſt a carnal inclination,
And Och! that's nae r-g-n-r-t-n!
Morality, thou deadly bane,
Thy tens o' thouſands thou haſt ſlain!
Vain is his hope, whaſe ſlay an' truſt is,
In moral Mercy, Truth and Juſtice!
No — ſtretch a point to catch a plack;
Abuſe a Brother to his back;
Steal thro' the winnock frae a wh-re,
But point the Rake that taks the door;
Be to the Poor like onie whunſtane,
And haud their noſes to the grunſtane;
Ply ev'ry art o' legal thieving;
No matter —- ſtick to ſound believing.
Learn three-mile pray'rs, an' half-mile graces,
Wi' weel ſpread looves, an' lang, wry faces;
Grunt up a ſolemn, lengthen'd groan,
And damn a' Parties but your own;
I'll warrant then, ye're nae Deceiver,
A ſteady, ſturdy, ſtaunch Believer.
O ye wha leave the ſprings o' C-lv-n,
For gumlie dubs of your ain delvin!
Ye ſons of Hereſy and Error,
Ye'll ſome day ſqueel in quaking terror!
When Vengeance draws the ſword in wrath,
And in the fire throws the ſheath;
When Ruin, with his ſweeping beſom,
Juſt frets till Heav'n commiſſion gies him;
While o'er the Harp pale Miſery moans,
And ſtrikes the ever-deep'ning tones,
Still louder ſhrieks, and heavier groans!
Your pardon, Sir, for this digreſſion,
I maiſt forgat my Dedication;
But when Divinity comes croſs me,
My readers then are ſure to loſe me.
So Sir, you ſee 'twas nae daft vapour,
But I maturely thought it proper,
When a' my works I did review,
To dedicate them, Sir, to YOU:
Becauſe (ye need na tak it ill)
I thought them ſomething like yourſel.
Then patronize them wvi' your favor,
And your Petitioner ſhall ever —
I had amaiſt ſaid, ever pray,
But that's a word I need na ſay:
For prayin I hae little ſkill o't;
I'm baith dead-ſweer, an' wretched ill o't;
But I'ſe repeat each poor man's pray'r,
That kens or hears about you, Sir —
'May ne'er Misſortune's gowling bark,
'Howl thro' the dwelling o' the CLERK!
'May ne'er his gen'rous, honeſt heart,
'For that ſame gen'rous ſpirit ſmart!
'May K******'s far-honor'd name
'Lang beet his hymeneal flame,
'Till H*******'s, at leaſt a diz'n,
'Are frae their nuptial labors riſen:
'Five bonie Laſſes round their table,
'And ſev'n brave fellows, ſtout an' able,
'To ſerve their King an' Country weel,
'By word, or pen, or pointed ſteel!
'May Health and Peace, with mutual rays,
'Shine on the ev'ning o' his days;
'Till his wee, curlie John's ier-oe,
'When ebbing life nae mair ſhall flow,
'The laſt, ſad, mournful rites beſtow!'
I will not wind a lang concluſion,
With complimentary effuſion:
But whilſt your wiſhes and endeavours,
Are bleſt with Fortune's ſmiles and favours,
I am, Dear Sir, with zeal moſt fervent,
Your much indebted, humble ſervant.
But if, which Pow'rs above prevent,
That iron-hearted Carl, Want,
Attended, in his grim advances,
By ſad miſtakes, and black miſchances,
While hopes, and joys, and pleaſures fly him;
Make you as poor a dog as I am,
Your humble ſervant then no more;
For who would humbly ſerve the Poor?
But by a poor man's hopes in Heav'n!
While recollection's pow'r is giv'n,
If, in the vale of humble life,
The victim ſad of Fortune's ſtrife,
I, through the tender-guſhing tear,
Should recogniſe my Maſter dear,
If friendleſs, low, we meet together,
Then, Sir, your hand — my FRIEND and
On Seeing one on a Lady's Bonnet at Church.
HA! whare ye gaun, ye crowlan ferlie!
Your impudence protects you ſairly:
I canna ſay but ye ſtrunt rarely,
Owre gawze and lace;
Tho' faith, I fear ye dine but ſparely,
On ſic a place.
Ye ugly, creepan, blaſtet wonner,
Deteſted, ſhunn'd, by ſaunt an' ſinner,
How daur ye ſet your fit upon her,
Sae fine a Lady!
Gae ſomewhere elſe and ſeek your dinner,
On ſome poor body.
Swith, in ſome beggar's haffet ſquattle;
There ye may creep, and ſprawl, and ſprattle,
Wi' ither kindred, jumping cattle,
In ſhoals and nations;
Whare horn nor bane ne'er daur unſettle,
Your thick plantations.
Now haud you there, ye're out o' ſight,
Below the fatt'rels, ſnug and tight,
Na faith ye yet! ye'll no be right,
Till ye've got on it,
The vera tapmoſt, towrin height
O' Miſs's bonnet.
My ſooth! right bauld ye ſet your noſe out,
As plump an' gray as onie grozet:
O fer ſome rank, mercurial rozet,
Or fell, red ſmeddum,
I'd gie you ſic a hearty doſe o't,
Wad dreſs your droddum!
I wad na been ſurpriz'd to ſpy
You on an auld wife's flainen toy;
Or aiblins ſome bit duddie boy,
But Miſs's fine Lunardi, fye!
How daur ye do't?
O Jenny dinna toſs your head,
An' ſet your beauties a' abread!
Ye little ken what curſed ſpeed
The blaſtie's makin!
Thae winks and finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin!
O wad ſome Pow'r the giftie gie us
To ſee ourſels as others ſee us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An' fooliſh notion:
What airs in dreſs an' gait wad lea'e us,
And ev'n Devotion!
AN OLD SCOTCH BARD.
April 1ſt, 1785.
WHILE briers an' woodbines budding
An' Paitricks ſcraichan loud at e'en,
And morning Pooſſie whiddan ſeen,
Inſpire my Muſe,
This freedom, in an unknown frien',
I pray excuſe.
On Faſteneen we had a rockin,
To ca' the crack and weave our ſtockin;
And there was muckle fun and jokin,
Ye need na doubt;
At length we had a hearty yokin,
At ſang about.
There was ae ſang, amang the reſt,
Aboon them a' it pleaſ'd me beſt,
That ſome kind huſband had addreſt,
To ſome ſweet wife:
It thirl'd the heart-ſtrings thro' the breaſt,
A' to the life.
I've ſcarce heard ought deſcrib'd ſae weel,
What gen'rous, manly boſoms feel;
Thought I, 'Can this be Pope, or Steele,
Or Beattie's wark;'
They tald me 'twas an odd kind chiel
It pat me fidgean-fain to hear't,
An' ſae about him there I ſpier't;
Then a' that kent him round declar'd,
He had ingine,
That nane excell'd it, few cam near't,
It was ſae fine.
That ſet him to a pint of ale,
An' either douſe or merry tale,
Or rhymes an' ſangs he'd made himſel,
Or witty catches,
'Tween Inverneſs and Tiviotdale,
He had few matches.
Then up I gat, an ſwoor an aith,
Tho' I ſhould pawn my pleugh an' graith,
Or die a cadger pownie's death,
At ſome dyke-back,
A pint an' gill I'd gie them baith,
To hear your crack.
But firſt an' foremoſt, I ſhould tell,
Amaiſt as ſoon as I could ſpell,
I to the crambo-jingle fell,
Tho' rude an' rough,
Yet crooning to a body's ſel,
Does weel eneugh.
I am nae Poet, in a ſenſe,
But juſt a Rhymer like by chance,
An' hae to Learning nae pretence,
Yet, what the matter?
Whene'er my Muſe does on me glance,
I jingle at her.
Your Critic-folk may cock their noſe,
And ſay, 'How can you e'er propoſe,
'You wha ken hardly verſe frae proſe,
'To mak a ſang?'
But by your leaves, my learned foes,
Ye're maybe wrang.
What's a' your jargon o' your Schools,
Your Latin names for horns an' ſtools;
If honeſt Nature made you fools,
What ſairs your Grammars?
Ye'd better taen up ſpades and ſhools,
A ſet o' dull, conceited Haſhes,
Confuſe their brains in Colledge-claſſes!
They gang in Stirks, and come out Aſſes,
Plain truth to ſpeak;
An' ſyne they think to climb Parnaſſus
By dint o' Greek!
Gie me ae ſpark o' Nature's fire,
That's a' the learning I deſire;
Then tho' I drudge thro' dub an' mire
At pleugh or cart,
My Muſe, tho' hamely in attire,
May touch the heart.
O for a ſpunk o' ALLAN'S glee,
Or FERGUSON'S, the bauld an' ſlee,
Or bright L*****K'S, my friend to be,
If I can hit it!
That would be lear eneugh for me,
If I could get it.
Now, Sir, if ye hae friends enow,
Tho' real friends I b'lieve are few,
Yet, if your catalogue be fow,
I'ſe no inſiſt;
But gif ye want ae friend that's true,
I'm on your liſt,
I winna blaw about myſel,
As ill I like my fauts to tell;
But friends an' folk that wiſh me well,
They ſometimes rooſe me;
Tho' I maun own, as monie ſtill,
As far abuſe me.
There's ae wee faut they whiles lay to me;
I like the laſſes — Gude forgie me!
For monie a Plack they wheedle frae me,
At dance or fair:
Maybe ſome ither thing they gie me
They weel can ſpare.
But MAUCHLINE Race or MAUCHLINE
I ſhould be proud to meet you there;
We'ſe gie ae night's diſcharge to care,
If we forgather,
An' hae a ſwap o' rhymin-ware,
Wi' ane anither
The four-gill chap, we'ſe gar him clatter,
An kirſ'n him wi' reekin water;
Syne we'll ſit down an' tak our whitter,
To chear our heart;
An' faith, we'ſe be acquainted better
Before we part.
Awa ye ſelfiſh, warly race,
Wha think that havins, ſenſe an' grace,
Ev'n love an' friendſhip ſhould give place
I dinna like to ſee your face,
Nor hear your crack.
But ye whom ſocial pleaſure charms,
Whoſe hearts the tide of kindneſs warms,
Who hold your being on the terms,
'Each aid the others,'
Come to my bowl, come to my arms,
My friends, my brothers!
But to conclude my lang epiſtle,
As my auld pen's worn to the griſsle;
Twa lines frae you wad gar me ſiſsle,
Who am, moſt fervent,
While I can either ſing, or whiſsle,
Your friend and ſervent.
TO THE SAME.
April 21ſt, 1785.
WHILE new-ca'd kye rowte at the
An' pownies reek in pleugh or braik,
This hour on e'enin's edge I take,
To own I'm debtor,
To honeſt-hearted, auld L*****K,
For his kind letter.
Forjeſket ſair, with weary legs,
Rattlin the corn out-owre the rigs,
Or dealing thro' amang the naigs
Their ten-hours bite,
My awkart Muſe ſair pleads and begs,
I would na write.
The tapetleſs, ramfeezl'd hizzie,
She's ſaft at beſt an' ſomething lazy,
Quo' ſhe, 'Ye ken we've been ſae buſy
'This month an' mair,
'That trouth, my head is grown right dizzie,
'An' ſomething fair.'
Her dowf excuſes pat me mad;
'Conſcience,' ſays I, 'ye thowleſs jad!
'I'll write, an' that a hearty blaud,
'This vera night;
'So dinna ye affront your trade,
'But rhyme it right.
'Shall bauld L*****K, the king o' hearts,
'Tho' mankind were a pack o' cartes,
'Rooſe you ſae weel for your deſerts,
'In terms ſae friendly,
'Yet ye'll neglect to ſhaw your parts
'An' thank him kindly?'
Sae I gat paper in a blink,
An, down gaed ſtumpie in the ink:
Quoth I, 'Before I ſleep a wink,
'I vow I'll cloſe it;
'An' if ye winna mak it clink,
'By Jove I'll proſe it!'
Sae I've begun to ſcrawl, but whether
In rhyme, or proſe, or baith thegither,
Or ſome hotch-potch that's rightly neither,
Let time mak proof;
But I ſhall ſcribble down ſome blether
Juſt clean aff-loof.
My worthy friend, ne'er grudge an' carp,
Tho' Fortune uſe you hard an' ſharp;
Come, kittle up your moorlan harp
Wi' gleeſome touch!
Ne'er mind how Fortune waft an' warp;
She's but a b-tch.
She's gien me monie a jirt an' fleg,
Sin I could ſtriddle owre a rig;
But by the L—d, tho' I ſhould beg
Wi' lyart pow,
I'll laugh, an' ſing, an' ſhake my leg,
As lang's I dow!
Now comes the ſax an' twentieth ſimmer,
I've ſeen the bud upo' the timmer,
Still perſecuted by the limmer
Frae year to year;
But yet, deſpite the kittle kimmer,
I, Rob, am here,
Do ye envy the city-gent,
Behint a kiſt to lie an' ſklent,
Or purſe-proud, big wi' cent per cent,
An' muckle wame,
In ſome bit Brugh to repreſent
A Baillie's name?
Or is't the paughty, feudal Thane,
Wi' ruffl'd ſark an' glancin cane,
Wha thinks himſel nae ſheep-ſhank bane,
But lordly ſtalks,
While caps an' bonnets aff are taen,
As by he walks?
'O Thou wha gies us each guid gift!
'Gie me o' wit an' ſenſe a lift,
'Then turn me, if Thou pleaſe, adrift,
'Thro' Scotland wide;
'Wi' cits nor lairds I wadna ſhift,
'In a' their pride!'
Were this the charter of our ſtate,
'On pain o' hell be rich an' great,'
Damnation then would be our fate,
But, thanks to Heav'n, that's no the gate
We learn our creed.
For thus the royal Mandate ran,
When firſt the human race began,
'The ſocial, friendly, honeſt man,
'Whate'er he be,
''Tis he fulfils great Nature's plan,
'And none but he.'
O Mandate, glorious and divine!
The followers o' the ragged Nine,
Poor, thoughtleſs devils! yet may ſhine
In glorious light,
While ſordid ſons o' Mammon's line
Are dark as night!
Tho' here they ſcrape, an' ſqueeze, an'
Their worthleſs nievefu' of a ſoul,
May in ſome future carcaſe howl,
The foreſt's fright;
Or in ſome day-deteſting owl
May ſhun the light.
Then may L*****K and B**** ariſe,
To reach their native, kindred ſkies,
And ſing their pleaſures, hopes an' joys,
In ſome mild ſphere,
Still cloſer knit in friendſhip's ties
Each paſſing year!
W. S*****N, OCHILTREE.
May — 1785.
I Gat your letter, winſome Willie;
Wi' gratefu' heart I thank you brawlie;
Tho' I maun ſay't, I wad be ſilly,
An' unco vain,
Should I believe, my coaxin billie,
Your flatterin ſtrain.
But I'ſe believe ye kindly meant it,
I ſud be laith to think ye hinted
Ironic ſatire, ſidelins ſklented,
On my poor Muſie;
Tho' in ſic phraiſin terms ye've penn'd it,
I ſcarce excuſe ye.
My ſenſes wad be in a creel,
should I but dare a hope to ſpeel,
Wi' Allan, or wi' Gilbertfield,
The braes o' fame;
Or Ferguſon, the writer-chiel,
A deathleſs name.
(O Ferguſon! thy glorious parts,
Ill-ſuited law's dry, muſty arts!
My curſe upon your whunſtane hearts,
Ye Enbrugh Gentry!
The tythe o' what ye waſte at cartes
Wad ſtow'd his pantry!)
Yet when a tale comes i' my head,
Or laſſes gie my heart a ſcreed,
As whiles they're like to be my dead,
(O ſad diſeaſe!)
I kittle up my ruſtic reed;
It gies me eaſe.
Auld COILA, now, may fidge fu' fain,
She's gotten Bardies o' her ain,
Chiels wha their chanters winna hain,
But tune their lays,
Till echoes a' reſound again
Her weel-ſung praiſe.
Nae Poet thought her worth his while,
To ſet her name in meaſur'd ſtyle;
She lay like ſome unkend-of iſle
Beſide New Holland,
Or whare wild-meeting oceans boil
Ramſay an' famous Ferguſon
Gied Forth an' Tay a lift aboon;
Yarrow an' Tweed, to monie a tune,
Owre Scotland rings,
While Irwin, Lugar, Aire an' Doon,
Th' Illiſſus, Tiber, Thames an' Seine,
Glide ſweet in monie a tunefu' line;
But Willie ſet your fit to mine,
An' cock your creſt,
We'll gar our ſtreams an' burnies ſhine
Up wi' the beſt.
We'll ſing auld COILA'S plains an' fells,
Her moors red-brown wi' heather bells,
Her banks an' braes, her dens an' dells,
Where glorious WALLACE
Aft bure the gree, as ſtory tells,
Frae Suthron billies.
At WALLACE' name, what Scottiſh blood,
But boils up in a ſpring-tide flood!
Oft have our fearleſs fathers ſtrode
By WALLACE' ſide,
Still preſſing onward, red-wat-ſhod,
Or glorious dy'd!
O ſweet are COILA'S haughs an' woods,
When lintwhites chant amang the buds,
And jinkin hares, in amorous whids,
Their loves enjoy,
While thro' the braes the cuſhat croods
With wailfu' cry!
Ev'n winter bleak has charms to me,
When winds rave thro' the naked tree;
Or froſts on hills of Ochiltree
Are hoary gray;
Or blinding drifts wild-furious flee,
Dark'ning the day!
O NATURE! a' thy ſhews an' forms
To feeling, penſive hearts hae charms!
Whether the Summer kindly warms,
Wi' life an' light,
Or Winter howls, in guſty ſtorms,
The lang, dark night!
The Muſe, nae Poet ever fand her,
Till by himſel he learn'd to wander,
Adown ſome trottin burn's meander,
An' no think lang;
O ſweet, to ſtray an' penſive ponder
A heart-felt ſang!
The warly race may drudge an' drive,
Hog-ſhouther, jundie, ſtretch an' ſtrive,
Let me fair NATURE'S face deſcrive,
And I, wi' pleaſure,
Shall let the buſy, grumbling hive
Bum owre their treaſure.
Fareweel, 'my rhyme-compoſing' brither!
We've been owre lang unkenn'd to ither:
Now let us lay our heads thegither,
In love fraternal:
May Envy wallop in a tether,
Black fiend, infernal!
While Highlandmen hate tolls an' taxes;
While moorlan herds like guid, fat braxies;
While Terra firma, on her axis,
Count on a friend, in faith an' practice,
In ROBERT BURNS.
My memory's no worth a preen;
I had amaiſt forgotten clean,
Ye bad me write you what they mean
By this new-light,*
'Bout which our herds ſae aft hae been
Maiſt like to fight.
In days when mankind were but callans,
At Grammar, Logic, an' ſic talents,
They took nae pains their ſpeech to balance,
Or rules to gie,
But ſpak their thoughts in plain, braid lallans,
Like you or me.
In thae auld times, they thought the Moon,
Juſt like a ſark, or pair o' ſhoon,
Woor by degrees, till her laſt roon
Gaed paſt their viewin,
An' ſhortly after ſhe was done
They gat a new ane.
* A cant-term for thoſe religious opinions, which Dr
TAYLOR of Norwich has defended ſo ſtrenuouſly.
This paſt for certain, undiſputed;
It ne'er cam i' their heads to doubt it,
Till chiels gat up an' wad confute it,
An' ca'd it wrang;
An' muckle din there was about it,
Baith loud an' lang.
Some herds, weel learn'd upo' the beuk,
Wad threap auld folk the thing miſteuk;
For 'twas the auld moon turn'd a newk
An' out o' ſight,
An' backlins-comin, to the leuk,
She grew mair bright.
This was deny'd, it was affirm'd;
The herds an' hiſſels were alarm'd;
The rev'rend gray-beards rav'd an' ſtorm'd,
That beardleſs laddies
Should think they better were inform'd,
Than their auld dadies.
Frae leſs to mair it gaed to ſticks;
Frae words an' aiths to clours an' nicks;
An' monie a fallow gat his licks,
Wi' hearty crunt;
An' ſome, to learn them for their tricks,
Were hang'd an' brunt,
This game was play'd in monie lands,
An' auld-light caddies bure ſic hands,
That faith, the youngſters took the ſands
Wi' nimble ſhanks,
Till Lairds forbad, by ſtrict commands,
Sic bluidy pranks.
But new-light herds gat ſic a cowe,
Folk thought them ruin'd ſtick-an-ſtowe,
Till now amaiſt on ev'ry knowe
Ye'll find ane plac'd;
An' ſome, their New-light fair avow,
Juſt quite barefac'd.
Nae doubt the auld-light flocks are bleatan;
Their zealous herds are vex'd an' ſweatan;
Myſel, I've ev'n ſeen them greetan
Wi' girnan ſpite,
To hear the Moon ſae ſadly lie'd on
By word an' write.
But ſhortly they will cowe the louns!
Some auld-light herds in neebor towns
Are mind't, in things they ca' balloons,
To tak a flight,
An' ſtay ae month amang the Moons
An' ſee them right.
Guid obſervation they will gie them;
An' when the auld Moon's gaun to le'ae them,
The hindmoſt ſhaird, they'll fetch it wi' them,
Juſt i' their pouch,
An' when the new-light billies ſee them,
I think they'll crouch!
Sae, ye obſerve that a' this clatter
Is naething but a 'moonſhine matter;'
But tho' dull proſe-folk latin ſplatter
In logic tulzie,
I hope we, Bardies, ken ſome better
Than mind ſic brulzie.
EPISTLE TO J. R******,
ENCLOSING SOME POEMS.
O Rough, rude, ready-witted R******,
The wale o' cocks for fun an' drinkin!
There's monie godly folks are thinkin,
Your dreams* an' tricks
Will ſend you, Korah-like, a ſinkin,
Straught to auld Nick's.
Ye hae ſae monie cracks an' cants,
And in your wicked, druken rants,
Ye mak a devil o' the Saunts,
An' fill them fou;
And then their failings, flaws an' wants,
Are a' ſeen thro'.
* A certain humorous dream of his was then making a
noiſe in the world.
Hypocriſy, in mercy ſpare it!
That holy robe, O dinna tear it!
Spare't for their ſakes wha aften wear it,
The lads in black;
But your curſt wit, when it comes near it,
Rives't aff their back.
Think, wicked Sinner, wha ye're ſkaithing:
It's juſt the Blue-gown badge an' claithing,
O' Saunts; tak that, ye lea'e them naething,
To ken them by,
Frae ony unregenerate Heathen,
Like you or I.
I've ſent you here, ſome rhymin ware,
A' that I bargain'd for, an' mair;
Sae when ye hae an hour to ſpare,
I will expect,
Yon Sang * ye'll ſen't, wi' cannie care,
And no neglect.
Tho' faith, ſma' heart hae I to ſing!
My Muſe dow ſcarcely ſpread her wing:
* A Song he had promiſed the Author.
I've play'd myſel a bonie ſpring,
An danc'd my fill!
I'd better gaen an' ſair't the king,
At Bunker's hill.
'Twas ae night lately, in my fun,
I gaed a rovin wi' the gun,
An' brought a Paitrick to the grun',
A bonie hen,
And, as the twilight was begun,
Thought nane wad ken.
The poor, wee thing was little hurt;
I ſtraiket it a wee for ſport,
Ne'er thinkan they wad faſh me for't;
Somebody tells the Poacher-Court,
The hale affair.
Some auld, uſ'd hands had taen a note,
That ſic a hen had got a ſhot;
I was ſuſpected for the plot;
I ſcorn'd to lie;
So gat the whiſsle o' my groat,
An' pay't the fee,
But by my gun, o' guns the wale,
An' by my pouther an' my hail,
An' by my hen, an' by her tail,
I vow an' ſwear!
The Game ſhall Pay, owre moor an' dail,
For this, nieſt year.
As ſoon's the clockin-time is by,
An' the wee powts begun to cry,
L—d, I'ſe hae ſportin by an' by,
For my gowd guinea;
Tho' I ſhould herd the buckſkin kye
For't, in Virginia!
Trowth, they had muckle for to blame!
'Twas neither broken wing nor limb,
But twa-three draps about the wame
Scarce thro' the feathers
An' baith a yellow George to claim,
An' thole their blethers!
It pits me ay as mad's a hare;
So I can rhyme nor write nae mair;
But pennyworths again is fair,
When time's expedient:
Meanwhile I am, reſpected Sir,
Your moſt obedient.
Tune, Corn rigs are bonie.
It was upon a Lammas night,
When corn rigs are bonie,
Beneath the moon's unclouded light,
I held awa to Annie:
The time flew by, wi' tentleſs head,
'Till 'tween the late and early;
Wi' ſma perſuaſion ſhe agreed,
To ſee me thro' the barley.
The ſky was blue, the wind was ſtill,
The moon was ſhining clearly;
I ſet her down, wi' right good will,
Amang the rigs o' barley:
I ken't her heart was a' my ain;
I lov'd her moſt ſincerely;
I kiſs'd her owre and owre again,
Amang the rigs o' barley.
I lock'd her in my fond embrace;
Her heart was beating rarely:
My bleſſings on that happy place,
Amang the rigs o' barley!
But by the moon and ſtars ſo bright,
That ſhone that night ſo clearly!
She ay ſhall bleſs that happy night,
Amang the rigs o' barley.
I hae been blythe wi' Comrades dear;
I hae been merry drinking;
I hae been joyfu' gath'rin gear;
I hae been happy thinking:
But a' the pleaſures e'er I ſaw,
Tho' three times doubl'd fairly,
That happy night was worth them a',
Amang the rigs o' barley.
Corn rigs, an' barley rigs,
An' corn rigs are bonie:
I'll ne'er forget that happy night,
Amang the rigs wi' Annie.
COMPOSED IN AUGUST.
Tune, I had a horſe, I had nae mair.
Now weſtlin winds, and ſlaught'ring
Bring Autumn's pleaſant weather;
And the moorcock ſprings, on whirring wings,
Amang the blooming heather:
Now waving grain, wide o'er the plain,
Delights the weary Farmer;
And the moon ſhines bright, when I rove at
To muſe upon my Charmer.
The Partridge loves the fruitful fells;
The Plover loves the mountains;
The Woodcock haunts the lonely dells;
The ſoaring Hern the fountains:
Thro' lofty groves, the Cuſhat roves,
The path of man to ſhun it;
The hazel buſh o'erhangs the Thruſh,
The ſpreading thorn the Linnet.
Thus ev'ry kind their pleaſure find,
The ſavage and the tender;
Some ſocial join, and leagues combine;
Some ſolitary wander:
Avaunt, away! the cruel ſway,
Tyrannic man's dominion;
The Sportſman's joy, the murd'ring cry,
The flutt'ring, gory pinion!
But PEGGY dear, the ev'ning's clear,
Thick flies the ſkimming Swallow;
The ſky is blue, the fields in view,
All fading-green and yellow:
Come let us ſtray our gladſome way,
And view the charms of Nature;
The ruſtling corn, the fruited thorn,
And ev'ry happy creature.
We'll gently walk, and ſweetly talk,
Till the ſilent moon ſhine clearly;
I'll graſp thy waiſt, and fondly preſt,
Swear how I love thee dearly:
Not vernal ſhow'rs to budding flow'rs,
Not Autumn to the Farmer,
So dear can be, as thou to me,
My fair, my lovely Charmer!
FROM thee, ELIZA, I muſt go,
And from my native ſhore:
The cruel fates between us throw
A boundleſs ocean's roar;
But boundleſs oceans, roaring wide,
Between my Love and me,
They never, never can divide
My heart and ſoul from thee.
Farewell, farewell, ELIZA dear,
The maid that I adore!
A boding voice is in mine ear,
We part to meet no more!
But the lateſt throb that leaves my heart,
While Death ſtands victor by,
That throb, ELIZA, is thy part,
And thine that lateſt ſigh!
TO THE BRETHREN OF St. JAMES'S LODGE, TARBOLTON.
Tune, Goodnight and joy be wi' you a'
ADIEU! a heart-warm, fond adieu!
Dear brothers of the myſtic tye!
Ye favored, enlighten'd Few,
Companions of my ſocial joy!
Tho' I to foreign lands muſt hie,
Purſuing Fortune's ſlidd'ry ba',
With melting heart, and brimful eye,
I'll mind you ſtill, tho' far awa.
Oft have I met your ſocial Band,
And ſpent the chearful, feſtive night;
Oft, honor'd with ſupreme command,
Preſided o'er the Sons of light:
And by that Hieroglyphic bright,
Which none but Craftſmen ever ſaw!
Strong Mem'ry on my heart ſhall write
Thoſe happy ſcenes when far awa!
May Freedom, Harmony and Love
Unite you in the grand Deſign,
Beneath th' Omniſcient Eye above,
The glorious ARCHITECT Divine!
That you may keep th' unerring line,
Still riſing by the plummet's law,
Till Order bright, completely ſhine,
Shall be my Pray'r when far awa,
And YOU, farewell! whoſe merits claim,
Juſtly that higheſt badge to wear!
Heav'n bleſs your honor'd, noble Name,
To MASONRY and SCOTIA dear!
A laſt requeſt, permit me here,
When yearly ye aſſemble a',
One round, I aſk it with a tear,
To him, the Bard, that's far awa.
EPITAPH ON A HENPECKED COUNTRY SQUIRE.
As father Adam firſt was fool'd,
A caſe that's ſtill too common,
Here lyes a man a woman rul'd,
The devil rul'd the woman.
EPIGRAM ON SAID OCCASION,
O Death, hadſt thou but ſpar'd his life,
Whom we, this day, lament!
We freely wad exchang'd the wife,
An' a' been weel content.
Ev'n as he is, cauld in his graff,
The ſwap we yet will do't;
Tak thou the Carlin's carcaſe aff,
Thou'ſe get the ſaul o' boot.
One Queen Artemiſa, as old ſtories tell,
When depriv'd of her huſband ſhe loved ſo
In reſpect for the love and affection he'd
She reduc'd him to duſt, and ſhe drank up
But Queen N**********, of a diff'rent
When call'd on to order the fun'ral direction,
Would have eat her dead lord, on a ſlender
Not to ſhow her reſpect, but — -to ſave the expence.
ON A CELEBRATED RULING ELDER.
Here Sowter **** in Death does ſleep;
To H—-ll, if he's gane thither,
Satan, gie him thy gear to keep,
He'll haud it weel thegither.
ON A NOISY POLEMIC.
Below thir ſtanes lie Jamie's banes;
O Death, it's my opinion,
Thou ne'er took ſuch a bleth'ran b—tch,
Into thy dark dominion!
ON WEE JOHNIE.
Hic jacet wee Johnie.
Whoe'er thou art, O reader, know,
That Death has murder'd Johnie;
An' here his body lies fu' low —
For ſaul he ne'er had ony.
FOR THE AUTHOR'S FATHER.
O ye whoſe cheek the tear of pity ſtains,
Draw near with pious rev'rence and attend!
Here lie the loving Huſband's dear remains,
The tender Father, and the gen'rous Friend.
The pitying Heart that felt for human Woe;
The dauntleſs heart that fear'd no human
The Friend of Man, to vice alone a foe;
'For ev'n his failings lean'd to Virtue's
FOR R. A. Eſq;
Know thou, O ſtranger to the fame
Of this much lov'd, much honor'd name!
(For none that knew him need be told)
A warmer heart Death ne'er made cold.
FOR G. H. Eſq;
The poor man weeps — here G—-N ſleeps,
Whom canting wretches blam'd:
But with ſuch as he, where'er he be,
May I be ſav'd or d—-'d!
A BARD'S EPITAPH.
IS there a whim-inſpir'd fool,
Owre faſt for thought, owre hot for rule,
Owre blate to ſeek, owre proud to ſnool,
Let him draw near;
And o'er this graſſy heap ſing dool,
And drap a tear.
Is there a Bard of ruſtic ſong,
Who, noteleſs, ſteals the crouds among,
That weekly this area throng,
O, paſs not by!
But with a frater-feeling ſtrong,
Here, heave a ſigh.
Is there a man whoſe judgment clear,
Can others teach the courſe to ſteer,
Yet runs, himſelf, life's mad career,
Wild as the wave,
Here pauſe — and thro' the ſtarting tear,
Survey this grave.
The poor Inhabitant below
Was quick to learn and wiſe to know,
And keenly felt the friendly glow,
And ſofter flame;
But thoughtleſs follies laid him low,
And ſtain'd his name!
Reader attend — whether thy ſoul
Soars fancy's flights beyond the pole,
Or darkling grubs this earthly hole,
In low purſuit,
Know, prudent, cautious, ſelf-controul
Is Wiſdom's root.
Words that are univerſally known, and thoſe
that differ from the Engliſh only by the eliſion
of letters by apoſtrophes, or by varying the termination
of the verb, are not inſerted. The
terminations may be thus known; the participle
preſent, inſtead of ing, ends, in the Scotch
Dialect, in or an or in ; in an, particularly, when
the verb is compoſed of the participle preſent,
and any of the tenſes of the auxiliary, to be. The
paſt time and participle paſt are uſually made
by shortening the ed into 't.
ABACK, behind, away
Abiegh, at a diſtance
Agley, wide of the aim
Aiver, an old horſe
Aizle, a red ember
Ane, one, an
Ava, at all, of all
Awn, the beard of oats, &c.
Bawſ'nt, having a white ſtripe
down the face
Ben, but and ben, the country
kitchen and parlour
Bee, to let bee, to leave in quiet
Biggin, a building
Blather, the bladder
Blink, a glance, an amorous
leer, a ſhort ſpace of time
Blype, a ſhred of cloth, &c.
Braſh, a ſudden iIlneſs
Brat, a worn ſhred of Cloth
Brainge, to draw unſteadily
Braxie, a morkin ſheep
Brogue, an affront
Breef, an invulnerable charm
Breaſtet, ſprung forward
Burnewin, q. d. burn the wind,
CA', to call, to drive
Caup, a ſmall, wooden
diſh with two lugs, or handles
Cape ſtane, cope ſtone
Cairn, a looſe heap of ſtones
Collie, a general and ſometimes
a particular name for
Cog, or coggie, a ſmall wooden
diſh without handles
Cootie, a pretty large wooden
Crack, converſation, to converſe
Crank, a harſh, grating ſound
Crankous, fretting, peeviſh
Croon, a hollow, continued
Crowl, to creep
Cranreuch, the hoar froſt
Curpan, the crupper
Cummock, a ſhort ſtaff
DAUD, the noiſe of one
falling flat, a large piece
of bread, &c.
Daut, to careſs, to fondle
Daimen, now and then, ſeldom
Daurk, a day's labour
Dead-ſweer,very loath, averſe
Dowie, crazy and dull
Donſie, unlucky, dangerous
Doylte, ſtupified, hebetated
Dow, am able
Dought, was able
Doyte, to go drunkenly or ſtupidly
Drummock, meal and water
Drunt, pet, pettiſh humor
Duſh, to puſh as a bull, ram, &c.
Duds, rags of clothes
EERIE, frighted; particularly
the dread of ſpirits
Eldritch, fearful, horrid,
Eild, old age
Eydent, conſtant, buſy
FA', fall, lot
Fawſont, decent, orderly
Fatt'rels, ribband ends, &c.
Ferlie, a wonder, to wonder;
alſo a term of contempt
Fecht, to fight
Fetch, to ſtop ſuddenly in the
draught, and then come on
Fier, ſound, healthy
Fittie lan', the near horſe of
the hindmoſt pair in the
Flunkies, livery ſervants
Fley, to frighten
Fliſk, to fret at the yoke
Flichter, to flutter
Fow, full, drunk; a buſhel, &c.
Fuff, to blow intermittedly
Fyle, to dirty, to ſoil
GASH, wiſe, ſagacious,
talkative; to converſe
Gate, or gaet, way, manner,
Gab, the month; to ſpeak boldly
Gawfie, jolly, large
Geck, to toſs the head in pride
Gizz, a wig
Gilpey, a young girl
Glaizie, ſmooth, glittering
Glunch, a frown; to frown
Glint, to peep
Gruſhie, of thick, ſtout growth
Gruntle, the viſage; a grunting
Grouſome, loathſomely grim
HAL, or hald, hold, biding
Haſh, a term of contempt
Haverel, a quarter-wit
Haurl, to drag, to peel
Hain, to ſave, to ſpare
Heugh, a crag, a coal-pit
Hecht, to forebode
Hiſtie, dry, chapt, barren
Hoſte or Hoaſt, to cough
Howk, to dig
Hoddan, the motion of a ſage
country farmer on an old
Houghmagandie, a ſpecies of
gender compoſed of the
maſculine and feminine united
Hoy, to urge inceſſantly
Hoyte, a motion between a
trot and a gallop
Hogſhouther, to juſtle with
ICKER, an ear of corn
Ier-oe, a great grand child
Ill-willie, malicious, unkind
JAUK, to dally at work
Jouk, to ſtoop
Jocteleg, a kind of knife
Jundie, to juſtle
KAE, a daw
Ket, a hairy, ragged
fleece of wool
Kiutle, to cuddle, to careſs, to
Kiaugh, carking anxiety
Kirſen, to chriſten
LAGGEN, the angle at
the bottom of a wooden
Leeze me, a term of congratulatory
Leal, loyal, true
Loot, did let
Lowe, flame; to flame
Lunt, ſmoke; to ſmoke
Limmer, a woman of eaſy
Link, to trip along
Luggie, a ſmall, wooden diſh
with one handle
MANTEELE, a mantle
Melvie, to ſoil with
Menſe, good breeding
Mell, to meddle with
Modewurk, a mole
Moop, to nibble as a ſheep
Muſlin kail, broth made up
ſimply of water, barley and
NOWTE, black cattle
Nieve, the fiſt
Outler, lying in the
fields, not houſed at night
PACK, intimate, familiar
Pang, to cram
Painch, the paunch
Paughty, proud, fancy
Pattle or pettle, the ploughſtaff
Peghan, the crop of fowls, the
Penny-wheep, ſmall beer
Pine, pain, care
Pirratch, or porritch, pottage
Primſie, affectedly nice
QUAT, quit, did quit
Raep or rape, a rope
Raucle, ſtout, clever
Raible, to repeat by rote
Raught, did reach
Reeſt, to be reſtive
Reck, to take heed
Rede, counſel, to counſel
Ripp, a handful of unthreſhed
Riſk, to make a noiſe like the
breaking of ſmall roots with
Rowt, to bellow
Runkle, a wrinkle
Rockin, a meeting on a winter
Saunt, a ſaint
Scrimp, ſcant; to ſtint
Scriegh, to cry ſhrilly
Scrieve, to run ſmoothly and
Screed, to tear
Scawl, a Scold
Sconner, to loath
Shaw, a little wood; to ſhow
Shaver, a humorous miſchievous
Skirl, a ſhrill cry
Sklent, to ſlant, to fib
Skiegh, mettleſome, fiery,
Slype, to fall over like a wet
Smeddum, powder of any kind
Smytrie, a numerous collection
of ſmall individuals
Snaſh, abuſive language
Sowther, to cement, to folder
Splore, a ramble
Spunkie, fiery; will o' wiſp
Spairge, to ſpurt about like water
or mire, to ſoil
Squatter, to flutter in water
Staggie, diminutive of Stag
Stank, a pool of ſtanding water
Stroan, to pour out like a ſpout
Stegh, to cram the belly
Stibble-rig, the reaper who
takes the lead
Sten, to rear as a horſe
Swith, get away
Syne, ſince, ago, then
Tawie, that handles quietly
Tawted, or tawtet, matted together
Taet, a ſmall quantity
Tarrow, to murmur at one's
Thowleſs, ſlack, pithleſs
Thack an' raep, all kinds of
Tirl, to knock gently, to uncover
Toyte, to walk like old age
as fullers do cloth
Water-kelpies, a ſort of miſchievous
ſpirits that are ſaid
to haunt fords, &c.
Water-broſe, broſe made ſimply
of meal and water
Wauble, to ſwing
Wair, to lay out, to ſpend
Whaizle, to wheez
Whiſk, to ſweep
Wintle, a wavering, ſwinging
Wiel, a ſmall whirlpool
Winze, an oath
Wonner, wonder, a term of
Wooer-bab, the garter knotted
below the knee with a couple
of loops and ends
Wrack, to vex, to trouble
YELL, dry, ſpoken of a cow
Ye, is frequently uſed for the
Young-guidman, a new married
Cite this Document
Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect. 2021. In The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved December 2021, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=108.
"Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect." The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2021. Web. December 2021. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=108.
The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing, s.v., "Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect," accessed December 2021, http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/document/?documentid=108.
If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:
The Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing. 2021. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/cmsw/.
Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect
|Title||Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect|
|Year of publication||1786|
Author information: Burns, Robert
|Year of birth||1759|
|Place of birth||Alloway, Ayrshire, Scotland|
|Occupation||Farmer, author, exciseman|
|Education||Little formal schooling|
|Locations where resident||Alloway, Scotland|