Sidor som bilder

It's no the loss o' warl's gear, That could sae bitter draw the tear Or mak our bardie, dowie, wear

The mourning weed: He's lost a friend and neebor dear,

In Mailie dead.

“ Tell him, if e'er again he keep,
As muckle gear as buy a sheep,
0, bid him never tie 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 o'woo'!

“ Tell him, he was a master kin',
An'aye was guid to me and mine;
An' now my dying charge I gie him,
My helpless lambs I trust them wi' him.

“0, 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 duly, e'en an' morn, Wi' teats o' hay an' rips o' corn.

Through 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 faithful ne'er cam nigh him,

Than Mailie dead.

I wat she was a sheep oʻsense, And could behave hersel wi' mense : I'll say't, she never brak a fence,

Through thievish greed. Our bardie, lanely, keeps the spense

Sin' Mailie's dead.

“ An' may they never learn the gaets Of ither vile wanrestfu' pets! To slink through 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 through the sheers : So wives will gie them bits o' bread, An' bairns greet for them when they're dead.

Or, if he wanders up the howe, Her living image in her yowe, Comes bleating to him, owre the knowe,

For bits o' bread; An' down the briny pearls rowe

For Mailie dead.

She was nae get o' moorland tips,
Wi' tawted ket, an hairy hips;
For her forbears were brought in ships

Frae yont the Tweed; A bonnier fleesh ne'er cross'd the clips

Than Mailie dead.

“ My poor toop-lamb, my son an' heir, 0, 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, what I winna name, 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! 0, may thou ne'er forgather up Wi' only blastit, moorland toop; But ayé keep mind to moop an' mell, Wi' sheep o' credit like thysel !

Wae worth the man wha first did shape That vile, wanchancie thing—a rape! It maks guid fellows girn an' gape,

Wi' chokin dread; An' Robin's bonnet wave wi'crape,

For Mailie dead.

0, a' ye bards on bonnie Doon! An' wha on Ayr your chanters tune! Come, join the melancholious croon

O' Robin's reed! His heart will never get aboon !

His Mailie dead.

“ And now, my bairns, wi' my last breath, I lea'e my blessin wi' you baith : An' when you think upo' your mither, Mind to be kin' to ane anither.

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The magic-wand then let us wield; For ance that five-an’-forty's speeld, See crazy, weary, joyless eild,

Wi' wrinkled face, Comes hostin, hirplın owre the field,

Wi'crepin pace.

That auld, capricious carlin, Nature, To mak amends for scrimpit stature, She's turn'd you aff, a human creature

On her first plan, And in her freaks, on every 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?

When ance life's day draws near the gloamın, Then fareweel vacant careless roamin; An’fareweel cheerfu' tankards foamin,

An' social noise ; An' fareweel, dear, deluding woman,

The joy of joys!

Some rhyme, a neebor's name to lash; Some rhyme (vain thought !) for needfu' cash: Some rhyme to court the kintra 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 bless'd me wi' a random shot

O'kintra wit.

This while my notion's ta’en a sklent,
To try my fate in guid black prent;
But still the mair I'm that way bent,

Something cries, “ Hoolie !" I red you, honest man, tak tent!

Ye'll shaw your folly.

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 though the puny wound appear,

Short while it grieves
Some, lucky, find a flowery 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 every sinew brace ; Through fair, through foul, they urge the race,

And 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’en let her gang! Beneath what light she has remaining,

Let's sing our sang.

* There's ither poets, much your betters, Far seen in Greek, deep men o' letters, Hae thought they had ensured their debtors,

A’ future ages; Now moths deform in shapeless tetters,

Their unknown pages.”

Then fareweel hopes o' 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 lay me with the inglorious dead,

Forgot and gone!

But why o' death begin 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.

My pen I here fling to the door, And kneel, “ Ye Powers !” and warm implore, “ Though I should wander terra o’er,

In all her climes, Grant me but this, I ask no more,

Aye rowth o'rhymes.

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.

“Gie dreeping roasts to kintra lairds, Till icicles hing frae their beards ; Gie fine braw claes to fine life-guards,

And maids of honour And yill an' whisky gic to cairds,

Until they sconner.

“ A title, Dempster merits it; A garter gie to Willie Pitt; Gie wealth to some be-ledger'd cit,

In cent. per cent. But gie me real, sterling wit,

And I'm content.

My bardship here, at your levee,

On sic a day as this is,
Is sure an uncouth sight to see,
Amang the birth-day dresses

Sae fine this day.

I see ye're complimented thrang,

By monie a lord and lady ; “ God save the king !” 's a cuckoo sang

That's unco easy said aye ; The poets, too, a venal gang,

Wi' rhymes weel turn'd and ready, Wad gar you trow ye ne'er do wrang, But aye unerring steady,

On sic a day.

“ While ye are pleased to keep me hale I'll sit down o'er my scanty meal, Be't water-brose, or muslin-kail,

Wi' cheerful 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 and cool,
Compared wi' you- fool! fool! fool!

How much unlike!
Your hearts are just a standing pool,

Your lives, a dyke!
Hae 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 though ye do despise The hairum-scarum, ram-stam boys,

The rattlin squad: I see you upward cast your eyes

--Ye ken the road.

For me, before a monarch's face,

E'en 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.

IV. 'Tis very true, my sovereign king,

My skill may weel be doubted :
But facts are chiels that winna ding,

An' downa be disputed :
Your royal nest, beneath your wing,

Is e'en right left an' clouted,
And now the third part of 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 their station

Than courts yon day.

Whilst I-but I shall haud me thereWi' you I'll scarce gang onywhere Then, Jamie, I shall say nae mair,

But quat my sang, Content wi' you to mak a pair,

Whare'er I gang.


Thoughts, words, and deeds, the statute blames with

reason; But surely dreams were ne'er indicted treason.

VI. And now ye've gien auld Britain peace,

Her broken shins to plaster,
Your sair 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.

[On reading, in the public papers, the Laureat's Ode, with

the other parade of June 4, 1786, the author was no sooner dropped asleep, than he imagined himself to the birth. day levee; and in his dreaming fancy made the following address.]

GUID-MORNING to your majesty!

May heaven augment your blisses,
On every new birth-day ye see,

An humble poet wishes !

I'm no mistrusting Willie Pitt,

When taxes he enlarges, (An' Will's a true guid fallow's get,

A name not envy spairges,)

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All in this mottie, misty clime,
I backward mused on wasted time,
How I had spent my youthfu' time,

And done naething, But stringin 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 an' clarkit

My cash account: While here, half mad, half fed, half sarkit,

Is a' th' amount.

Here, Doon pour'd down his far-fetch'd foods; There, well-fed Irwine stately thods : Auld hermit Ayr staw through his words,

On to the shore ;
And many a lesser torrent scuds,

With seeming roar.
Low, in a sandy valley spread,
An ancient borough reard her head;
Still, as in Scottish story read,

She boasts a race,
To every nobler virtue bred,

And polish'd grace.
By stately tower 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 wheel,
And brandish round the deep-dyed steel

In sturdy blows;
While back-recoiling seem'd to reel

Their stubborn foes.

I started, muttering, blockhead! coof! And heaved on high my waukit 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 strink the snick did draw; And 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 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; An' come to stop those reckless vows,

Wou'd soon been broken.

His country's saviour,t mark him well! Bold Richardton'st heroic swell; The chief on Sarkę who glorious fell,

In high command; And he whom ruthless fates expel

His native land. There, where a sceptred Pictish shade, l Stalk'd round his ashes lowly laid, I mark'd a martial race, portray'd

In colours strong; Bold, soldier-featurd, undismay'd

They strode along. Through many a wild, romantic grove, 1 Near many a hermit-fancy'd cove, (Fit haunts for friendship or for love,

In musing mood,
An aged judge, I saw him rove,

Dispensing good.
With deep-struck reverential awe**
The learned sire and son I saw,
To Nature's God and Nature's law

They gave their lore, This, all its source and end to draw,

That, to adore.

A “hair-brain'd, sentimental trace,"
Was strongly marked in her face;
A wildly-witty, rustic grace

Shone full upon her ;
Her eye, e'en 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 ;
And such a leg! my bonnie Jean

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.

* The Wallaces.

+ William Wallace. I Adam Wallace, of Richardton, cousin

to the immortal preserver of Scottish independence.

$ 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.

|| 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 Coil'sfield, where his burial-place is still shown.

| Barskimming the seat of the Lord Justice Clerk.

** Catrine, the seat of the late Doctor and present Professor Stewart.

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.

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