Poems And Songs Of Robert Burns
Part 4 out of 13
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 bower;^1
Then you, ye auld, snick-drawing dog!
Ye cam to Paradise incog,
[Footnote 1: The verse originally ran: "Lang syne, in Eden's happy scene When
strappin Adam's days were green, And Eve was like my bonie Jean, My dearest
part, A dancin, sweet, young handsome quean, O' guileless heart."]
An' play'd on man a cursed brogue,
(Black be your fa'!)
An' gied the infant warld a shog,
'Maist rui'd a'.
D'ye mind that day when in a bizz
Wi' reekit duds, an' reestit 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 and botches did him gall,
Wi' bitter claw;
An' lows'd his ill-tongu'd wicked scaul',
Was warst ava?
But a' your doings to rehearse,
Your wily snares an' fechtin fierce,
Sin' that day Michael^2 did you pierce,
Down to this time,
Wad ding a Lallan tounge, or Erse,
In prose or rhyme.
An' now, auld Cloots, I ken ye're thinkin,
A certain bardie's rantin, drinkin,
Some luckless hour will send him linkin
To your black pit;
But faith! he'll turn a corner jinkin,
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-
Stil hae a stake:
I'm wae to think up' yon den,
Ev'n for your sake!
[Footnote 2: Vide Milton, Book vi.-R. B.]
Gie him strong drink until he wink,
That's sinking in despair;
An' liquor guid to fire his bluid,
That's prest wi' grief and care:
There let him bouse, 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' drucken Bacchus,
An' crabbit 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 drink!
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,
An' aits set up their awnie horn,
An' pease and beans, at e'en 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 tumblin 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 leevin;
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 cheers ahe heart o' drooping Care;
Thou strings the nerves o' Labour sair,
At's weary toil;
Though even 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 weep drap parritch, 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 inspired,
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 reekin 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 bellows breath,
An' ploughmen gather wi' their graith,
O rare! to see thee fizz an freath
I' th' luggit caup!
Then Burnewin comes on like death
At every 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 skirling weanies see the light,
Though maks the gossips clatter bright,
How fumblin' cuiffs their dearies slight;
Wae worth the name!
Nae howdie gets a social night,
Or plack frae them.
When neibors 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 mony daily weet their weason
Wi' liquors nice,
An' hardly, in a winter season,
E'er Spier her price.
Wae worth that brandy, burnin trash!
Fell source o' mony a pain an' brash!
Twins mony a poor, doylt, drucken 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,
What twists his gruntle wi' a glunch
O' sour disdain,
Out owre a glass o' whisky-punch
Wi' honest men!
O Whisky! soul o' plays and pranks!
Accept a bardie's gratfu' thanks!
When wanting thee, what tuneless cranks
Are my poor verses!
Thou comes-they rattle in their ranks,
At ither's a-s!
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' the' Excise,
Wha mak the whisky stells their prize!
Haud up thy han', Deil! ance, twice, thrice!
There, seize the blinkers!
An' bake them up in brunstane pies
For poor damn'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 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 thee, Maggie!
Hae, there's a ripp to thy auld baggie:
Tho' thou's howe-backit 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 ony bird.
It's now some nine-an'-twenty year,
Sin' thou was my guid-father's mear;
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 trotting 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 hobble,
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 dreigh,
How thou wad prance, and snore, an' skreigh
An' tak the road!
Town's-bodies ran, an' stood abeigh,
An' ca't thee mad.
When thou was corn't, an' I was mellow,
We took the road aye like a swallow:
At brooses thou had ne'er a fellow,
For pith an' speed;
But ev'ry tail thou pay't them hollowm
Whare'er thou gaed.
The sma', droop-rumpl't, hunter cattle
Might aiblins waur't thee for a brattle;
But sax Scotch mile, thou try't their mettle,
An' gar't them whaizle:
Nae whip nor spur, but just a wattle
O' saugh or hazel.
Thou was a noble fittie-lan',
As e'er in tug or tow was drawn!
Aft thee an' I, in aught hours' gaun,
In guid March-weather,
Hae turn'd sax rood beside our han',
For days thegither.
Thou never braing't, an' fetch't, an' fliskit;
But thy auld tail thou wad hae whiskit,
An' spread abreed thy weel-fill'd brisket,
Wi' pith an' power;
Till sprittie knowes wad rair't an' riskit
An' slypet owre.
When frosts lay lang, an' snaws were deep,
An' threaten'd labour 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 reestit;
The steyest brae thou wad hae fac't it;
Thou never lap, an' sten't, and breastit,
Then stood to blaw;
But just thy step a wee thing hastit,
Thou snoov't awa.
My pleugh is now thy bairn-time a',
Four gallant brutes as e'er did draw;
Forbye sax mae I've sell't awa,
That thou hast nurst:
They drew me thretteen pund an' twa,
The vera warst.
Mony a sair daurk we twa hae wrought,
An' wi' the weary warl' fought!
An' mony 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 heapit 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 flit thy tether
To some hain'd rig,
Whare ye may nobly rax your leather,
Wi' sma' fatigue.
The Twa Dogs^1
'Twas in that place o' Scotland's isle,
That bears the name o' auld King Coil,
Upon a bonie day in June,
When wearin' 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 Caesar,
Was keepit for His Honor's pleasure:
His hair, his size, his mouth, his lugs,
Shew'd he was nane o' Scotland's dogs;
But whalpit some place far abroad,
Whare sailors gang to fish for cod.
His locked, letter'd, braw brass collar
Shew'd him the gentleman an' scholar;
But though he was o' high degree,
The fient a pride, nae pride had he;
But wad hae spent an hour caressin,
Ev'n wi' al tinkler-gipsy's messin:
At kirk or market, mill or smiddie,
Nae tawted tyke, tho' e'er sae 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 freak had Luath ca'd him,
After some dog in Highland Sang,^2
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
Aye gat him friends in ilka place;
His breast was white, his touzie back
Weel clad wi' coat o' glossy black;
His gawsie tail, wi' upward curl,
Hung owre his hurdie's wi' a swirl.
[Footnote 1: Luath was Burns' own dog.]
[Footnote 2: Luath, Cuchullin's dog in Ossian's "Fingal."-R. B.]
Nae doubt but they were fain o' ither,
And unco pack an' thick thegither;
Wi' social nose whiles snuff'd an' snowkit;
Whiles mice an' moudieworts they howkit;
Whiles scour'd awa' in lang excursion,
An' worry'd ither in diversion;
Until wi' daffin' weary grown
Upon a knowe they set them down.
An' there began a lang digression.
About the "lords o' the creation."
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, where, thro' the steeks,
The yellow letter'd Geordie keeks.
Frae morn to e'en, it's nought but toiling
At baking, roasting, frying, boiling;
An' tho' the gentry first are stechin,
Yet ev'n the ha' folk fill their pechan
Wi' sauce, ragouts, an' sic like trashtrie,
That's little short o' downright wastrie.
Our whipper-in, wee, blasted wonner,
Poor, worthless elf, it eats a dinner,
Better than ony tenant-man
His Honour has in a' the lan':
An' what poor cot-folk pit their painch in,
I own it's past my comprehension.
Trowth, Caesar, whiles they're fash't eneugh:
A cottar howkin in a sheugh,
Wi' dirty stanes biggin a dyke,
Baring 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' rape.
An' when they meet wi' sair disasters,
Like loss o' health or want o' masters,
Ye maist wad think, a wee touch langer,
An' they maun starve o' cauld an' hunger:
But how it comes, I never kent yet,
They're maistly wonderfu' contented;
An' buirdly chiels, an' clever hizzies,
Are bred in sic a way as this is.
But then to see how ye're negleckit,
How huff'd, an' cuff'd, an' disrespeckit!
Lord man, our gentry care as little
For delvers, ditchers, an' sic cattle;
They gang as saucy by poor folk,
As I wad by a stinkin 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 sight,
The view o't gives them little fright.
Then chance and fortune are sae guided,
They're aye in less or mair provided:
An' tho' fatigued 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' whiles 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, rantin 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 luntin pipe, an' sneeshin mill,
Are handed round wi' right guid will;
The cantie auld folks crackin crouse,
The young anes rantin thro' the house-
My heart has been sae fain to see them,
That I for joy hae barkit wi' them.
Still it's owre true that ye hae said,
Sic game is now owre aften play'd;
There's mony 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 favour 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 ay 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 mak 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 guitars an' fecht wi' nowt;
Or down Italian vista startles,
Whore-hunting amang groves o' myrtles:
Then bowses drumlie German-water,
To mak himsel look fair an' fatter,
An' clear the consequential sorrows,
Love-gifts of Carnival signoras.
For Britain's guid! for her destruction!
Wi' dissipation, feud, an' faction.
Hech, man! dear sirs! is that the gate
They waste sae mony a braw estate!
Are we sae foughten an' harass'd
For gear to gang that gate at last?
O would they stay aback frae courts,
An' please themsels wi' country sports,
It wad for ev'ry ane be better,
The laird, the tenant, an' the cotter!
For thae frank, rantin, ramblin billies,
Feint 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 moor-cock,
The ne'er-a-bit they're ill to poor folk,
But will ye tell me, Master Caesar,
Sure great folk's life's a life o' pleasure?
Nae cauld nor hunger e'er can steer them,
The very thought o't need na fear them.
Lord, man, were ye but whiles whare I am,
The gentles, ye wad ne'er envy them!
It's true, they need na starve or sweat,
Thro' winter's cauld, or simmer'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 colleges an' schools,
That when nae real ills perplex them,
They mak enow themsel's to vex them;
An' aye the less they hae to sturt 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 dune, 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 through 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.
Ae night they're mad wi' drink an' whoring,
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.
Whiles, owre the wee bit cup an' platie,
They sip the scandal-potion pretty;
Or lee-lang nights, wi' crabbit leuks
Pore owre the devil's pictur'd beuks;
Stake on a chance a farmer's stackyard,
An' cheat like ony unhanged blackguard.
There's some exceptions, man an' woman;
But this is gentry's life in common.
By this, the sun was out of sight,
An' darker gloamin brought the night;
The bum-clock humm'd wi' lazy drone;
The kye stood rowtin i' the loan;
When up they gat an' shook their lugs,
Rejoic'd they werena men but dogs;
An' each took aff his several way,
Resolv'd to meet some ither day.
The Author's Earnest Cry And Prayer
To the Right Honourable and Honourable Scotch Representatives in the
House of Commons.^1
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' doucely manage our affairs
To you a simple poet's pray'rs
Are humbly sent.
Alas! my roupit Muse is hearse!
Your Honours' hearts wi' grief 'twad pierce,
To see her sittin on her arse
Low i' the dust,
And scriechinhout prosaic verse,
An like to brust!
[ Footnote 1": This was written before the Act anent the Scotch distilleries,
of session 1786, for which Scotland and the author return their most grateful
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 an' tell yon Premier youth
The honest, open, naked truth:
Tell him o' mine an' Scotland's drouth,
His servants humble:
The muckle deevil 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 soom
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 greetin owre her thrissle;
Her mutchkin stowp as toom's a whissle;
An' damn'd excisemen in a bussle,
Seizin a stell,
Triumphant crushin't like a mussel,
Or limpet 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,^2
There's some sark-necks I wad draw tight,
An' tie some hose well.
God bless your Honours! 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,^3 a true blue Scot I'se warran';
Thee, aith-detesting, chaste Kilkerran;^4
An' that glib-gabbit Highland baron,
The Laird o' Graham;^5
An' ane, a chap that's damn'd aulfarran',
Dundas his name:^6
Erskine, a spunkie Norland billie;^7
True Campbells, Frederick and Ilay;^8
[Footnote 2: James Boswell of Auchinleck, the biographer of Johnson.]
[Footnote 3: George Dempster of Dunnichen.]
[Footnote 4: Sir Adam Ferguson of Kilkerran, Bart.]
[Footnote 5: The Marquis of Graham, eldest son of the Duke of Montrose.]
[Footnote 6: Right Hon. Henry Dundas, M. P.]
[Footnote 7: Probably Thomas, afterward Lord Erskine.]
[Footnote 8: Lord Frederick Campbell, second brother of the Duke of Argyll,
and Ilay Campbell, Lord Advocate for Scotland, afterward President of the
Court of Session.]
An' Livistone, the bauld Sir Willie;^9
An' mony ithers,
Whom auld Demosthenes or Tully
Might own for brithers.
See sodger Hugh,^10 my watchman stented,
If poets e'er are represented;
I ken if that your sword were wanted,
Ye'd lend a hand;
But when there's ought to say anent it,
Ye're at a stand.
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 reekin 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' Lord! if ance they pit her till't,
Her tartan petticoat she'll kilt,
An'durk an' pistol at her belt,
She'll tak the streets,
An' rin her whittle to the hilt,
I' the first she meets!
For God 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.
[Footnote 9: Sir Wm. Augustus Cunningham, Baronet, of Livingstone.]
[Footnote 10: Col. Hugh Montgomery, afterward Earl of Eglinton.]
Yon ill-tongu'd tinkler, Charlie Fox,
May taunt you wi' his jeers and 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 you guid bluid o' auld Boconnock's, ^11
I'll be his debt twa mashlum bonnocks,
An' drink his health in auld Nance Tinnock's ^12
Nine times a-week,
If he some scheme, like tea an' winnocks,
Was kindly seek.
Could he some commutation broach,
I'll pledge my aith in guid braid Scotch,
He needna fear their foul reproach
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 you mither's heart support ye;
Then, tho'a minister grow dorty,
An' kick your place,
Ye'll snap your gingers, poor an' hearty,
Before his face.
God bless your Honours, a' your days,
Wi' sowps o' kail and brats o' claise,
[Footnote 11: Pitt, whose grandfather was of Boconnock in Cornwall.]
[Footnote 12: A worthy old hostess of the author's in Mauchline, where he
sometimes studies politics over a glass of gude auld Scotch Drink.-R.B.]
In spite o' a' the thievish kaes,
That haunt St. Jamie's!
Your humble poet sings an' prays,
While Rab his name is.
Let half-starv'd slaves in warmer skies
See future wines, rich-clust'ring, rise;
Their lot auld Scotland ne're envies,
But, blythe and frisky,
She eyes her freeborn, martial boys
Tak aff their whisky.
What tho' their Phoebus kinder warms,
While fragrance blooms and beauty charms,
When wretches range, in famish'd swarms,
The scented groves;
Or, hounded forth, dishonour 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 save their skin.
But bring a Scotchman frae his hill,
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 him;
Death comes, wi' fearless eye he sees him;
Wi'bluidy hand 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' whiles ye moistify your leather,
Till, whare ye sit on craps o' heather,
Ye tine your dam;
Freedom an' whisky gang thegither!
Take aff your dram!
For sense they little owe to frugal Heav'n-
To please the mob, they hide the little giv'n.
Kilmarnock wabsters, fidge an' claw,
An' pour your creeshie nations;
An' ye wha leather rax an' draw,
Of a' denominations;
Swith to the Ligh Kirk, ane an' a'
An' there tak up your stations;
Then aff to Begbie's in a raw,
An' pour divine libations
For joy this day.
Curst Common-sense, that imp o' hell,
Cam in wi' Maggie Lauder;^1
But Oliphant^2 aft made her yell,
An' Russell^3 sair misca'd her:
This day Mackinlay^4 taks the flail,
An' he's the boy will blaud her!
He'll clap a shangan on her tail,
An' set the bairns to daud her
Wi' dirt this day.
[Footnote 1: Alluding to a scoffing ballad which was made on the admission of
the late reverend and worthy Mr. Lihdsay to the "Laigh Kirk."-R.B.]
[Footnote 2: Rev. James Oliphant, minister of Chapel of Ease, Kilmarnock.]
[Footnote 3: Rev. John Russell of Kilmarnock.]
[Footnote 4: Rev. James Mackinlay.]
Mak haste an' turn King David owre,
And lilt wi' holy clangor;
O' double verse come gie us four,
An' skirl up the Bangor:
This day the kirk kicks up a stoure;
Nae mair the knaves shall wrang her,
For Heresy is in her pow'r,
And gloriously she'll whang her
Wi' pith this day.
Come, let a proper text be read,
An' touch it aff wi' vigour,
How graceless Ham^5 leugh at his dad,
Which made Canaan a nigger;
Or Phineas^6 drove the murdering blade,
Wi' whore-abhorring rigour;
Or Zipporah,^7 the scauldin jad,
Was like a bluidy tiger
I' th' inn that day.
There, try his mettle on the creed,
An' bind him down wi' caution,
That stipend is a carnal weed
He taks by for the fashion;
And gie him o'er the flock, to feed,
And punish each transgression;
Especial, rams that cross the breed,
Gie them sufficient threshin;
Spare them nae day.
Now, auld Kilmarnock, cock thy tail,
An' toss thy horns fu' canty;
Nae mair thou'lt rowt out-owre the dale,
Because thy pasture's scanty;
For lapfu's large o' gospel kail
Shall fill thy crib in plenty,
An' runts o' grace the pick an' wale,
No gi'en by way o' dainty,
But ilka day.
[Footnote 5: Genesis ix. 22.-R. B.]
[Footnote : Numbers xxv. 8.-R. B.]
[Footnote 7: Exodus iv. 52.-R. B]
Nae mair by Babel's streams we'll weep,
To think upon our Zion;
And hing our fiddles up to sleep,
Like baby-clouts a-dryin!
Come, screw the pegs wi' tunefu' cheep,
And o'er the thairms be tryin;
Oh, rare to see our elbucks wheep,
And a' like lamb-tails flyin
Fu' fast this day.
Lang, Patronage, with rod o' airn,
Has shor'd the Kirk's undoin;
As lately Fenwick, sair forfairn,
Has proven to its ruin:^8
Our patron, honest man! Glencairn,
He saw mischief was brewin;
An' like a godly, elect bairn,
He's waled us out a true ane,
And sound, this day.
Now Robertson^9 harangue nae mair,
But steek your gab for ever;
Or try the wicked town of Ayr,
For there they'll think you clever;
Or, nae reflection on your lear,
Ye may commence a shaver;
Or to the Netherton^10 repair,
An' turn a carpet weaver
Aff-hand this day.
Mu'trie^11 and you were just a match,
We never had sic twa drones;
Auld Hornie did the Laigh Kirk watch,
Just like a winkin baudrons,
And aye he catch'd the tither wretch,
To fry them in his caudrons;
But now his Honour maun detach,
Wi' a' his brimstone squadrons,
Fast, fast this day.
[Footnote 8: Rev. Wm. Boyd, pastor of Fenwick.]
[Footnote 9: Rev. John Robertson.]
[Footnote 10: A district of Kilmarnock.]
[Footnote 11: The Rev. John Multrie, a "Moderate," whom Mackinlay succeeded.]
See, see auld Orthodoxy's faes
She's swingein thro' the city!
Hark, how the nine-tail'd cat she plays!
I vow it's unco pretty:
There, Learning, with his Greekish face,
Grunts out some Latin ditty;
And Common-sense is gaun, she says,
To mak to Jamie Beattie
Her plaint this day.
But there's Morality himsel',
Embracing all opinions;
Hear, how he gies the tither yell,
Between his twa companions!
See, how she peels the skin an' fell,
As ane were peelin onions!
Now there, they're packed aff to hell,
An' banish'd our dominions,
Henceforth this day.
O happy day! rejoice, rejoice!
Come bouse about the porter!
Morality's demure decoys
Shall here nae mair find quarter:
Mackinlay, Russell, are the boys
That heresy can torture;
They'll gie her on a rape a hoyse,
And cowe her measure shorter
By th' head some day.
Come, bring the tither mutchkin in,
And here's-for a conclusion-
To ev'ry New Light^12 mother's son,
From this time forth, Confusion!
If mair they deave us wi' their din,
Or Patronage intrusion,
We'll light a spunk, and ev'ry skin,
We'll rin them aff in fusion
Like oil, some day.
[Footnote 12: "New Light" is a cant phrase in the west of Scotland for those
religious opinions which Dr. Taylor of Norwich has so strenuously defended.-
Epistle To James Smith
Friendship, mysterious cement of the soul!
Sweet'ner of Life, and solder of Society!
I owe thee much-Blair.
Dear Smith, the slee'st, pawkie thief,
That e'er attempted stealth or rief!
Ye surely hae some warlock-brief
Owre human hearts;
For ne'er a bosom yet was prief
Against your arts.
For me, I swear by sun an' moon,
An' ev'ry star that blinks aboon,
Ye've cost me twenty pair o' shoon,
Just gaun to see you;
An' ev'ry ither pair that's done,
Mair taen I'm wi' you.
That auld, capricious carlin, Nature,
To mak amends for scrimpit 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 ta'en the fit o' rhyme,
My barmie noddle's working prime.
My fancy yerkit up sublime,
Wi' hasty summon;
Hae ye a leisure-moment's time
To hear what's comin?
Some rhyme a neibor's name to lash;
Some rhyme (vain thought!) for needfu' cash;
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
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,
Something cries "Hooklie!"
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 farewell hopes of laurel-boughs,
To garland my poetic brows!
Henceforth I'll rove where busy ploughs
Are whistlin' thrang,
An' teach the lanely heights an' howes
My rustic sang.
I'll wander on, wi' tentless heed
How never-halting moments speed,
Till fate shall snap the brittle thread;
Then, all unknown,
I'll lay me with th' inglorious dead
Forgot and gone!
But why o' death being a tale?
Just now we're living sound and hale;
Then top and maintop crowd 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 hostin, hirplin owre the field,
We' creepin pace.
When ance life's day draws near the gloamin,
Then fareweel vacant, careless roamin;
An' fareweel cheerfu' 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 an' 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,
An' seize the prey:
Then cannie, 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 aften groan.
Alas! what bitter toil an' straining-
But truce with peevish, poor complaining!
Is fortune's fickle Luna waning?
E'n 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,
Aye rowth o' rhymes.
"Gie dreepin roasts to countra lairds,
Till icicles hing frae their beards;
Gie fine braw claes to fine life-guards,
And maids of honour;
An' yill an' whisky gie to cairds,
Until they sconner.
"A title, Dempster^1 merits it;
A garter gie to Willie Pitt;
Gie wealth to some be-ledger'd cit,
In cent. per cent.;
But give me real, sterling wit,
And I'm content.
[Footnote 1: George Dempster of Dunnichen, M.P.]
"While ye are pleas'd to keep me hale,
I'll sit down o'er my scanty meal,
Be't water-brose or muslin-kail,
Wi' cheerfu' 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 douce folk that live by rule,
Grave, tideless-blooded, calm an'cool,
Compar'd wi' you-O fool! fool! fool!
How much unlike!
Your hearts are just a standing pool,
Your lives, a dyke!
Nae hair-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 rattling 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 wi' you to mak a pair.
Whare'er I gang.
The sun had clos'd the winter day,
The curless quat their roarin 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 tired me;
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;
An' 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 harkit,
I might, by this, hae led a market,
Or strutted in a bank and clarkit
While here, half-mad, half-fed, half-sarkit.
Is a' th' amount.
[Footnote 1: Duan, a term of Ossian's for the different divisions of a
digressive poem. See his Cath-Loda, vol. 2 of M'Pherson's translation.-R.
I started, mutt'ring, "blockhead! coof!"
And heav'd on high my waukit loof,
To swear by a' yon starry roof,
Or some rash aith,
That I henceforth wad be rhyme-proof
Till my last breath-
When click! the string the snick did draw;
An' jee! the door gaed to the wa';
An' by my ingle-lowe I saw,
Now bleezin bright,
A tight, outlandish hizzie, braw,
Come full in sight.
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 honest Worth, she blusht,
An' 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 "hair-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 honour.
Down flow'd her robe, a tartan sheen,
Till half a leg was scrimply seen;
An' such a leg! my bonie Jean
Could only peer it;
Sae straught, sae taper, tight an' 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 toss't:
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 floods;
There, well-fed Irwine stately thuds:
Auld hermit Ayr 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.^2
By stately tow'r, or palace fair,
Or ruins pendent in the air,
Bold stems of heroes, here and there,
I could discern;
Some seem'd to muse, some seem'd to dare,
With feature stern.
My heart did glowing transport feel,
To see a race heroic^3 wheel,
[Footnote 2: The seven stanzas following this were first printed in the
Edinburgh edition, 1787. Other stanzas, never published by Burns himself, are
given on p. 180.]
[Footnote 3: The Wallaces.-R. B.]
And brandish round the deep-dyed steel,
In sturdy blows;
While, back-recoiling, seem'd to reel
Their Suthron foes.
His Country's Saviour,^4 mark him well!
Bold Richardton's heroic swell,;^5
The chief, on Sark who glorious fell,^6
In high command;
And he whom ruthless fates expel
His native land.
There, where a sceptr'd Pictish shade
Stalk'd round his ashes lowly laid,^7
I mark'd a martial race, pourtray'd
In colours strong:
Bold, soldier-featur'd, undismay'd,
They strode along.
Thro' many a wild, romantic grove,^8
Near many a hermit-fancied cove
(Fit haunts for friendship or for love,
In musing mood),
An aged Judge, I saw him rove,
With deep-struck, reverential awe,
The learned Sire and Son I saw:^9
To Nature's God, and Nature's law,
They gave their lore;
This, all its source and end to draw,
That, to adore.
[Footnote 4: William Wallace.-R.B.]
[Footnote 5: Adam Wallace of Richardton, cousin to the immortal preserver of
[Footnote 6: Wallace, laird of Craigie, who was second in command under
Douglas, Earl of Ormond, at the famous battle on the banks of Sark, fought
anno 1448. That glorious victory was principally owing to the judicious
conduct and intrepid valour of the gallant laird of Craigie, who died of his
wounds after the action.-R.B.]
[Footnote 7: Coilus, King of the Picts, from whom the district of Kyle is said
to take its name, lies buried, as tradition says, near the family seat of the
Montgomeries of Coilsfield, where his burial-place is still shown.-R.B.]
[Footnote 8: Barskimming, the seat of the Lord Justice-Clerk.-R.B.]
[Footnote 9: Catrine, the seat of the late Doctor and present Professor
Brydon's brave ward^10 I well could spy,
Beneath old Scotia's smiling eye:
Who call'd on Fame, low standing by,
To hand him on,
Where many a patriot-name on high,
And hero shone.
With musing-deep, astonish'd stare,
I view'd the heavenly-seeming Fair;
A whispering 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 labours ply.
"They Scotia's race among them share:
Some fire the soldier 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;
[Footnote 10: Colonel Fullarton.-R.B. This gentleman had travelled under the
care of Patrick Brydone, author of a well-known "Tour Through Sicily and
Or, 'mid the venal senate's roar,
They, sightless, stand,
To mend the honest patriot-lore,
And grace the hand.
"And when the bard, or hoary sage,
Charm or instruct the future age,
They bind the wild poetric rage
Or point the inconclusive page
Full on the eye.
"Hence, Fullarton, the brave and young;
Hence, Dempster's zeal-inspired tongue;
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 choose, 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 opening grace,
A guide and guard.
"Of these am I-Coila my name:
And this district as mine I claim,
Where once the Campbells, chiefs of fame,
Held ruling power:
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-mantled earth
Warm cherish'd ev'ry floweret's birth,
And joy and music pouring forth
In ev'ry grove;
I saw thee eye the general mirth
With boundless love.
"When ripen'd fields and azure skies
Call'd forth the reapers' 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, strong,
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,
T e 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 king's 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.
[To Mrs. Stewart of Stair, Burns presented a manuscript copy of the
Vision. That copy embraces about twenty stanzas at the end of Duan First,
which he cancelled when he came to print the price in his Kilmarnock volume.
Seven of these he restored in printing his second edition, as noted on p.
174. The following are the verses which he left unpublished.]
Suppressed Stanza's Of "The Vision"
After 18th stanza of the text (at "His native land"):-
With secret throes I marked that earth,
That cottage, witness of my birth;
And near I saw, bold issuing forth
In youthful pride,
A Lindsay race of noble worth,
Famed far and wide.
Where, hid behind a spreading wood,
An ancient Pict-built mansion stood,
I spied, among an angel brood,
A female pair;
Sweet shone their high maternal blood,
And father's air.^1
An ancient tower^2 to memory brought
How Dettingen's bold hero fought;
Still, far from sinking into nought,
It owns a lord
Who far in western climates fought,
With trusty sword.
[Footnote 1: Sundrum.-R.B.]
[Footnote 2: Stair.-R.B.]
Among the rest I well could spy
One gallant, graceful, martial boy,
The soldier sparkled in his eye,
A diamond water.
I blest that noble badge with joy,
That owned me frater.^3
After 20th stanza of the text (at "Dispensing good"):-
Near by arose a mansion fine^4
The seat of many a muse divine;
Not rustic muses such as mine,
With holly crown'd,
But th' ancient, tuneful, laurell'd Nine,
From classic ground.
I mourn'd the card that Fortune dealt,
To see where bonie Whitefoords dwelt;^5
But other prospects made me melt,
That village near;^6
There Nature, Friendship, Love, I felt,
Hail! Nature's pang, more strong than death!
Warm Friendship's glow, like kindling wrath!
Love, dearer than the parting breath
Of dying friend!
Not ev'n with life's wild devious path,
Your force shall end!
The Power that gave the soft alarms
In blooming Whitefoord's rosy charms,
Still threats the tiny, feather'd arms,
The barbed dart,
While lovely Wilhelmina warms
The coldest heart.^7
After 21st stanza of the text (at "That, to adore"):-
Where Lugar leaves his moorland plaid,^8
Where lately Want was idly laid,
[Footnote 3: Captain James Montgomerie, Master of St. James' Lodge, Tarbolton,
to which the author has the honour to belong., -R.B.]
[Footnote 4: Auchinleck.-R.B.]
[Footnote 5: Ballochmyle.]
[Footnote 6: Mauchline.]
[Footnote 7: Miss Wilhelmina Alexander.]
[Footnote 8: Cumnock.-R.B.]
I marked busy, bustling Trade,
In fervid flame,
Beneath a Patroness' aid,
of noble name.
Wild, countless hills I could survey,
And countless flocks as wild as they;
But other scenes did charms display,
That better please,
Where polish'd manners dwell with Gray,
In rural ease.^9
Where Cessnock pours with gurgling sound;^10
And Irwine, marking out the bound,
Enamour'd of the scenes around,
Slow runs his race,
A name I doubly honour'd found,^11
With knightly grace.
Brydon's brave ward,^12 I saw him stand,
Fame humbly offering her hand,
And near, his kinsman's rustic band,^13
With one accord,
Lamenting their late blessed land
Must change its lord.
The owner of a pleasant spot,
Near and sandy wilds, I last did note;^14
A heart too warm, a pulse too hot
At times, o'erran:
But large in ev'ry feature wrote,
Appear'd the Man.
The Rantin' Dog, The Daddie O't
tune-"Whare'll our guidman lie."
O wha my babie-clouts will buy?
O wha will tent me when I cry?
Wha will kiss me where I lie?
The rantin' dog, the daddie o't.
[Footnote 9: Mr. Farquhar Gray.-R.B.]
[Footnote 10: Auchinskieth.-R.B.]
[Footnote 11: Caprington.-R.B.]
[Footnote 12: Colonel Fullerton.-R.B.]
[Footnote 13: Dr. Fullerton.-R.B.]
[Footnote 14: Orangefield.-R.B.]
O wha will own he did the faut?
O wha will buy the groanin maut?
O wha will tell me how to ca't?
The rantin' dog, the daddie o't.
When I mount the creepie-chair,
Wha will sit beside me there?
Gie me Rob, I'll seek nae mair,
The rantin' dog, the daddie o't.
Wha will crack to me my lane?
Wha will mak me fidgin' fain?
Wha will kiss me o'er again?
The rantin' dog, the daddie o't.
Here's His Health In Water
tune-"The Job of Journey-work."
Altho' my back be at the wa',
And tho' he be the fautor;
Altho' my back be at the wa',
Yet, here's his health in water.
O wae gae by his wanton sides,
Sae brawlie's he could flatter;
Till for his sake I'm slighted sair,
And dree the kintra clatter:
But tho' my back be at the wa',
And tho' he be the fautor;
But tho' my back be at the wa',
Yet here's his health in water!
Address To The Unco Guid, Or The Rigidly Righteous
My Son, these maxims make a rule,
An' lump them aye thegither;
The Rigid Righteous is a fool,
The Rigid Wise anither:
The cleanest corn that ere was dight
May hae some pyles o' caff in;
So ne'er a fellow-creature slight
For random fits o' daffin.
Solomon.-Eccles. ch. vii. verse 16.
O ye wha are sae guid yoursel',
Sae pious and sae holy,
Ye've nought to do but mark and tell
Your neibours' fauts and folly!
Whase life is like a weel-gaun mill,
Supplied wi' store o' water;
The heaped happer's ebbing still,
An' still the clap plays clatter.
Hear me, ye venerable core,
As counsel for poor mortals
That frequent pass douce Wisdom's door
For glaikit Folly's portals:
I, for their thoughtless, careless sakes,
Would here propone defences-
Their donsie tricks, their black mistakes,
Their failings and mischances.
Ye see your state wi' theirs compared,
And shudder at the niffer;
But cast a moment's fair regard,
What maks the mighty differ;
Discount what scant occasion gave,
That purity ye pride in;
And (what's aft mair than a' the lave),
Your better art o' hidin.
Think, when your castigated pulse
Gies now and then a wallop!
What ragings must his veins convulse,
That still eternal gallop!
Wi' wind and tide fair i' your tail,
Right on ye scud your sea-way;
But in the teeth o' baith to sail,
It maks a unco lee-way.
See Social Life and Glee sit down,
All joyous and unthinking,
Till, quite transmugrified, they're grown
Debauchery and Drinking:
O would they stay to calculate
Th' eternal consequences;
Or your more dreaded hell to state,
Damnation of expenses!
Ye high, exalted, virtuous dames,
Tied up in godly laces,
Before ye gie poor Frailty names,
Suppose a change o' cases;
A dear-lov'd lad, convenience snug,
A treach'rous inclination-
But let me whisper i' your lug,
Ye're aiblins nae temptation.
Then gently scan your brother man,
Still gentler sister woman;
Tho' they may gang a kennin wrang,
To step aside is human:
One point must still be greatly dark, -
The moving Why they do it;
And just as lamely can ye mark,
How far perhaps they rue it.
Who made the heart, 'tis He alone
Decidedly can try us;
He knows each chord, its various tone,
Each spring, its various bias:
Then at the balance let's be mute,
We never can adjust it;
What's done we partly may compute,
But know not what's resisted.
In answer to a mandate by the Surveyor of the Taxes
Sir, as your mandate did request,
I send you here a faithfu' list,
O' gudes an' gear, an' a' my graith,
To which I'm clear to gi'e my aith.
Imprimis, then, for carriage cattle,
I hae four brutes o' gallant mettle,
As ever drew afore a pettle.
My hand-afore 's a guid auld has-been,
An' wight an' wilfu' a' his days been:
My hand-ahin 's a weel gaun fillie,
That aft has borne me hame frae Killie.^2
An' your auld borough mony a time
In days when riding was nae crime.
But ance, when in my wooing pride
I, like a blockhead, boost to ride,
The wilfu' creature sae I pat to,
(Lord pardon a' my sins, an' that too!)
I play'd my fillie sic a shavie,
She's a' bedevil'd wi' the spavie.
My furr-ahin 's a wordy beast,
As e'er in tug or tow was traced.
The fourth's a Highland Donald hastle,
A damn'd red-wud Kilburnie blastie!
Foreby a cowt, o' cowts the wale,
As ever ran afore a tail:
Gin he be spar'd to be a beast,
He'll draw me fifteen pund at least.
Wheel-carriages I ha'e but few,
Three carts, an' twa are feckly new;
An auld wheelbarrow, mair for token,
Ae leg an' baith the trams are broken;
I made a poker o' the spin'le,
An' my auld mither brunt the trin'le.
[Footnote 1: The "Inventory" was addressed to Mr. Aitken of Ayr, surveyor of
taxes for the district.]
[Footnote 2: Kilmarnock.-R. B.]
For men, I've three mischievous boys,
Run-deils for ranting an' for noise;
A gaudsman ane, a thrasher t' other:
Wee Davock hauds the nowt in fother.
I rule them as I ought, discreetly,
An' aften labour them completely;
An' aye on Sundays duly, nightly,
I on the Questions targe them tightly;
Till, faith! wee Davock's grown sae gleg,
Tho' scarcely langer than your leg,
He'll screed you aff Effectual Calling,
As fast as ony in the dwalling.
I've nane in female servant station,
(Lord keep me aye frae a' temptation!)
I hae nae wife-and thay my bliss is,
An' ye have laid nae tax on misses;
An' then, if kirk folks dinna clutch me,
I ken the deevils darena touch me.
Wi' weans I'm mair than weel contented,
Heav'n sent me ane mae than I wanted!
My sonsie, smirking, dear-bought Bess,
She stares the daddy in her face,
Enough of ought ye like but grace;
But her, my bonie, sweet wee lady,
I've paid enough for her already;
An' gin ye tax her or her mither,
By the Lord, ye'se get them a' thegither!
And now, remember, Mr. Aiken,
Nae kind of licence out I'm takin:
Frae this time forth, I do declare
I'se ne'er ride horse nor hizzie mair;
Thro' dirt and dub for life I'll paidle,
Ere I sae dear pay for a saddle;
My travel a' on foot I'll shank it,
I've sturdy bearers, Gude the thankit!
The kirk and you may tak you that,
It puts but little in your pat;
Sae dinna put me in your beuk,
Nor for my ten white shillings leuk.
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