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THE TWA DOGS,

A TALE.

'Twas in that place o' Scotland's isle,
That bears the name o' Auld King coil,
Upon a bonnie day in June,
When wearing through the afternoon,
Twa dogs that were na thrang at hame,
Forgather'd ance upon a time.

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 bonnie silken purse
As lang's my tail, whare, through the steeks,
The yellow letter'd Geordie keeks.

Frae morn to e'en it's naught but toiling,
At baking, roasting, frying, boiling;
An' though the gentry first are stechin,
Yet e’en the ha' folk fill their pechan
Wi’ sauce, ragouts, and sicklike trashtrie,
That's little short o’ downright wastrie.
Our whipper-in, wee blastit 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.

The first I'll name, they ca'd him Cæsar, Was keepit for his honour's pleasure : His hair, his size, his mouth, his lugs, Show'd he was nane o' Scotland's dogs ; But whalpit some place far abroad, Where sailors gang to fish for cod.

LUATH.

His locked, letter'd, braw brass collar, Show'd him the gentleman and scholar ; But though he was o' high degree, The fient a pride, na pride had he; But wad hae spent an hour caressin, E’en wi' a tinkler-gypsey's messin. At kirk or market, mill or smiddie, Nae tawted tyke, though e'er sae duddie, But he wad stawn't, as glad to see him, And stroan't on stanes an' hillocks wi' him.

Trowth, Cæsar, whyles they're fash't eneugh ; A cottar howkin in a sheugh, Wi’ dirty stanes biggin a dyke, Baring a quarry, and sic like, Himself, a wife, he thus sustains, A smytrie o' wee duddie weans, An' naught but his han’darg, to keep Them right and tight in thack an' rape.

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.

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' canld an' hunger; But, how it comes, I never kennd yet, They're maistly wonderfu' contented ; An'buirdly chiels, an' clever hizzies, Are bred in sic a way as this is.

CÆSAR.

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 towzie back Weel clad wi' coat o'glossy black ; His gawcie tail, wi' upward curl, Hung o'er his hurdies wi'a swurl.

But then to see how ye're negleckit, How huff?d, and cuff'd, and disrespeckit! L—d, man, our gentry care as little For delvers, ditchers, ansic cattle ; They gang as saucy by poor fo'k, As I wad by a stinking brock.

Nae doubt but they were fain o'ither, An' unco pack an' thick thegither; Wi' social nose whyles snuff d and snowkit, Whyles mice an'moudieworts they howkit; Whyles scour'd awa' in lang excursion, An' worry'd ither in diversion ; Until wi' daffin weary grown, Upon a knowe they sat them down, And there began a lang digression About the lords o' the creation.

I've noticed 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 staun', 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?

CESAR.

LUATH.

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 liy'd ava.

Our laird gets in his racked rents, His coals, his kain, and a' his stents;

They're nae sae wretched's ane wad think;
Though constantly on poortith's brink :
They're sae accustom'd wi' the sight,
The view o’t gies them little fright.

Then chance an' fortune are sae guided,
They're aye in less or mair provided;
An' though fatigued wi' close employment,
A blink o' rest's a sweet enjoyment.

* Cuchullin's dog in Ossian's Fingal.

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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.

C.ESAR.

That merry day the year begins,
They bar the door on frosty winds ;
The nappy reeks wi' mantling ream,
An' sheds a heart-inspiring steam;
The luntin pipe, an' snceshin mill,
Are handed round wi' richt guid will;
The cantie auld folks crackin crouse,
The young anes rantin through 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 monie a creditable stock,
O’decent, honest, fawsont fo’k,
Are riven out baith root and 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-

C.ESAR.

Haith, lad, ye little ken about it; For Britain's guid! gnid 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 may be, 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 warl'.

L4d, man, were ye but whyles where I am, The gentles ye wad ne'er envy 'em.

It's true they need na starve or sweat, Through winter's cauid, or simmer's heat; They've nae sair wark to craze their banes, An' fill auld age wi' gripes and granes : But human bodies are sic fools, For a' their colleges and schools, That when nae real ills perplex them, They make enow themselves 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 acres till’d, he's right eneugh; A kintra lassic at hier wheel, Her dizzens done, she's unco weel: But gentlemen, an' ladies warst, Wi' ev’ndown want o'wark are curst. They loiter, lounging, lank, an' lazy ; Though deil haet ails them, yet uneasy ; Their days, insipid, dull, an' tasteless ; Their nights unquiet, lang, an' restless ; An' e'en 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' wh-ring, Niest day their life is past enduring. The ladies arm-in-arm in clusters, As great and gracious a'as sisters; But hear their absent thoughts o'ither, They're a' run deils an' jads thegither. Whyles o'er the wee bit cup an' platie, They sip the scandal portion pretty ; Or lee-lang nights, wi'crabbit leuks Pore owre the devil's pictured beuks; Stake on a chance a farmer's stackyard, An' cheat like onie unhang'd blackguard.

There's some exception, man an’ woman; But this is gentry's life in common.

There, at Vienna or Versailles He rives his father's auld entails; Or by Madrid he takes the rout, To thrum guitars, and fecht wi' nowt; Or down Italian vista startles, Wh-re-hunting among groves o' myrtles ; Then bouses drumly German water, To mak himsel look fair and fatter, An'clear the consequential sorrows, Love-gifts of carnival signoras. For Britain's guid! for her destruction ! Wi' dissipation, feud, an' faction.

By this, the sun was out o'sight,

It spak right howe,-“ My name is Death, An' darker gloaming brought the night!

But be na fley'd.”—Quoth I, “Guid faith, The bum-clock humm'd wi' lazy drone ;

Ye're may be come to stap my breath ; The kye stood rowtin i' the loan ;

But tent me, billie : When up they gat, and shook their lugs,

I red ye weel, tak care o' skaith, Rejoiced they were na men but dogs ;

See, there's a gully!"
An' each took aff his several way,
Resolved to meet some ither day.

“ Guidman,” quo' he,“ put up your whittle,
I'm no design'd to try its mettle ;
But if I did, I wad be kittle

To be mislear'd,

I wad na mind it, no, that spittle
DEATH AND DR. HORNBOOK.

Out-owre my beard."
A TRUE STORY.

“ Well, weel!” says I,“ a bargain be't; SOME books are lies frae end to end,

Come, gies your hand, an' sae we're greet; And some great lies were never penn's,

We'll ease our shanks; an' tak a seat, E'en ministers, they hae been kenn'd

Come, gies your news; In holy rapture,

This while* ye hae been monie a gate
A rousing whid, at times to vend,

At monie a house.
And nail't wi' Scripture.
But this that I am gaun to tell,

“Ay, ay !” quo' he, an' shook his head, Which lately on a night befell,

“ It's e'en a lang, lang time indeed

Sin' I began to nick the thread, Is just as true's the deil's in h-11

An' choke the breath: Or Dublin city: That e'er he nearer comes oursel

Folk maun do something for their bread,

An' sae maun Death. 'S a muckle pity. The Clachan yill had made me canty,

“ Sax thousand years are near hand fled I was na fou, but just had plenty ;

Sin' I was to the butching bred,
I stacher'd whyles, but yet took tent aye

An' monie a scheme in vain's been laid,
To free the ditches;

To stap or scar me;
An' hillocks, stanes, an' bushes, kenn'd aye Till ane Hornbook'st ta’en up the trade,
Frae ghaists an' witches.

An' faith, he'll waur me. The rising moon began to glow'r

“ Ye ken Jock Hornbook i' the Clachan, The distant Cumnock hills out-owre:

Deil mak his king's-hood in a spleuchan !
To count her horns, wi'a' my power,

He's grown sae well acquaint wi’ Buchant
I set mysel;

An' ither chaps,
But whether she had three or four,

That weans haud out their fingers laughin
I cou'd na tell.

And pouk my hips.
I was come round about the hill,

“ See, here's a sithe, and there's a dart, And toddlin down on Willie's mill,

They hae pierced mony a gallant heart;
Setting my staff wi'a' my skill,

But Doctor Hornbook, wi' his art,
To keep me sicker:

And cursed skill,
Though leeward whyles, against my will,

Has made them baith not worth a f-t,
I took a bicker.

Damn'd haet they'll kill.
I there wi' something did forgather,
That put me in an eerie swither ;

“ 'Twas but yestreen, nae further gaen, An awfu' sithe, out-owre ae showther,

I threw a noble throw at ane;
Clear-dangling, hang; Wi' less, I'm sure, I've hundreds slain;
A three-tae'd leister on the ither

But deil-ma-care,
Lay, large an’ lang.

It just play'd dirl on the bane,

But did nae mair.
Its stature seem'd lang Scotch ells twa,
The queerest shape that e'er I saw,

“ Hornbook was by, wi' ready art, For fient a wame it had ava!

And had sae fortified the part,
And then, its shanks, That when I looked to my dart,
They were as thin, as sharp an’sma?

It was sae blunt,
As cheeks o' branks.

Fient haet o't wad hae pierced the heart

Of a kail-runt.
« Guid-e'en," quo’I;“ Friend ! hae ye been mawin,
When ither folk are busy sawin ?"**
It seem'd to mak a kind o stan',

* An epidemical fever was then raging in that country. But naething spak;

+ This gentleman, Dr. Hornbook, is professionally, a At length, says I,“ Friend, whare ye gaun, brother of the sovereign order of the serula; but, by Will ye go back?

intuition and inspiration, is at once an apothecary, sur.

geon, and physician. * This rencounter happened in seed-time, 1785. Buchan's Domestic Medicine.

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bush ;

“ Waes me for Johnny Ged's Hole* now,”
Quo' I, “ if that the news be true !
His braw calf-ward whare gowans grew,

Sae white and bonnie,
Nae doubt they'll rive it wi' the plew;

They'll ruin Johnie !"
The creature grain'd an eldrich laugh,
And says, “ Ye need na yoke the pleugh,
Kirkyards will soon be till’d eneugh,

Tak ye nae fear:
They'll a' be trench'd wi’ monie a sheugh

In twa-three year.
“ Whare I killed ane a fair strae-death,
By loss o' blood or want o' breath,
This night I'm free to tak my aith,

That Hornbook's skill
Has clad a score i’ their last claith,

By drap an' pill. « An honest wabster to his trade, Whase wife's twa nieves were scarce wee bred, Gat tippence-worth to mend her head

When it was sair ;
The wife slade cannie to her bed,

But ne'er spak mair.
“ A kintra laird had ta'en the batts,
Or some curmurring in his guts,
His only son for Hornbook sets,

An' pays him well.
The lad, for twa guid gimmer pets,

Was laird himsel.

The soaring lark, the perching red-breast shrill,
Or deep-toned plovers gray, wild-whistling o'er

the hill;
Shall he, nurst in the peasant's lowly shed,
To hardy independence bravely bred,
By early poverty to hardship steeld,
And train’d to arms in stern misfortune's field,
Shall he be guilty of their hireling crimes,
The servile, mercenary Swiss of rhymes ?
Or labour hard the panegyric close,
With all the venal soul of dedicating prose?
No! though his artless strains he rudely sings,
And throws his hand uncouthly o'er the strings,
He glows with all the spirit of the bard,
Fame, honest fame, his great, his dear reward.
Still, if some patron's generous care he trace,
Skill'd in the secret, to bestow with grace ;
When B********* befriends his humble name,
And hands the rustic stranger up to fame,
With heartfelt throes his grateful bosom swells,
The godlike bliss, to give, alone excels.

'Twas when the stacks get on their winter-hap, And thack and rape secure the toil-won crap; Potato-bings are snugged up frae skaith Of coming winter's biting, frosty breath ;

* The grave-digger.

AULD BRIG.

AULD BRIG.

The bees, rejoicing o'er their summer toils,
Unnumber'd buds' an' flowers' delicious spoils,
Seal'd up with frugal care in massive waxen piles, I doubt na, frien', ye'll think ye’re nae sheep shank,
Are doom'd by man, that tyrant o'er the weak,

Ance ye were streekit o'er frae bank to bank; The death o' devils smoor'd wi' brimstone reek:

But gin ye be a brig as auld as me, The thundering guns are heard on every side,

Though faith that day, I doubt, ye'll never see, The wounded coveys, reeling, scatter wide ;

There'll be, if that date come, I'll wad a boddle, The feather'd field-mates, bound by nature's tie,

Some fewer whigmeleeries in your noddle. Sires, mothers, children, in one carnage lie:

NEW BRIG. (What warm, poetic heart, but inly bleeds, And execrates man's savage, ruthless deeds !)

Auld Vandal, ye but show your little mense, Nae mair the flower in field or meadow springs ;

Just much about it wi' your scanty sense ; Nae mair the grove with airy concert rings,

Will your poor, narrow footpath of a street,

Where twa wheelbarrows tremble when they meet, Except, perhaps, the robin's whistling glee, Proud o' the height o’some bit half-lang tree :

Your ruin'd, formless bulk o'stane an’lime, The boary morns precede the sunny days,

Compare wi' bonnie brigs o' modern time? Mild, calm, serene, wide spreads the noontide

There's men o'taste would tak the Ducat-stream," blaze,

Though they should cast the very sark an' swim, While thick the gossamer waves wanton in the rays. Of sic an ugly Gothic hulk as you.

Ere they would grate their feelings wi' the view 'Twas in that season, when a simple bard, Unknown and poor, simplicity's reward : Ae night, within the ancient brugh of Ayr, By whim inspired, or haply prest wi' care ;

Conceited gowk! puffd up wi' windy pride! He left his bed, and took his wayward route,

This monie a year I've stood the flood an' tide ; And down by Simpson's* wheel'd the left about :

And though wi'crazy eild I'm sair forfairn, (Whether impell’d by all-directing fate,

I'll be a brig when ye're a shapeless cairn ! To witness what I after shall narrate;

As yet ye little ken about the matter, Or whether, rapt in meditation high,

But twa-three winters will inform you better, He wander'd out, he knew not where nor why ;)

When heavy, dark, continued, a'-day rains, The drowsy dungeon-clockt had number'd two,

Wi' deepening deluges o’erflow the plains; And Wallace towert had sworn the fact was true:

When from the hills where springs the brawling Coil, The tide-swoln Firth with sullen sounding roar,

Or stately Lugar's mossy fountains boil,

Or where the Greenock winds his moorland course, Through the still night dash'd hoarse along the shore: All else was hush'd as nature's closed e'e ;

Or haunted Garpalt draws his feeble source, The silent moon shone high o'er tower and tree :

Aroused by blustering winds an' spotting thowes, The chilly frost, beneath the silver beam,

In mony a torrent down his sna-broo rowes ; Crept, gently crusting, o'er the glittering stream. While crashing ice, borne on the roaring speat, When, lo! on either hand the listening bard,

Sweeps dams, an' mills, an' brigs, a' to the gate ; The clanging sugh of whistling wings is heard ;

And from Glenbuck, down to the Rotton-key, Two dusky forms dart through the midnight air,

Auld Ayr is just one lengthen'd, tumbling sea ; Swift as the gost drives on the wheeling hare;

Then down ye hurl, deil nor ye never rise ! Ane on th' auld brig his airy shape uprears,

And dash the gumlie jaups up to the pouring skies: The ither flutters o'er the rising piers :

A lesson sadly teaching, to your cost,
Our warlock rhymer instantly descried

That architecture's noble art is lost !
The sprites that owre the brigs of Ayr preside.
(That bards are second-sighted is nae joke,
And ken the lingo of the spiritual fo’k;

Fine architecture ! trowth, I needs must say't o't,
Fays, spunkies, kelpies, a', they can explain them, The L-d be thankit that we've tint the gate o't!
And e'en the very deils they brawly ken them.) Gaunt, ghastly, ghaist-alluring edifices,
Auld Brig appeard of ancient Pictish race,

Hanging with threatening jut, like precipices, The vera wrinkles Gothic in his face :

O’er arching, mouldy, gloom-inspiring coves, He seem'd as he wi' time had warstled lang,

Supporting roofs fantastic, stony groves : Yet teughly doure, he bade an unco bang.

Windows and doors, in nameless sculpture drest, New Brig was buskit in a braw new coat,

With order, symmetry, or taste unblest; That he, at Lon'on, frae ane Adams got :

Forms like some bedlam statuary's dream, In's hand five taper staves as smooth's a bead,

The crazed creations of misguided whim; Wi' virls and whirlygigums at the head.

Forms might be worshipp'd on the bended knee, The Goth was stalking round with anxious search,

And still the second dread command be free; Spying the time-worn flaws in every arch;

Their likeness is not found on earth, in air, or sea. It chanced his new-come neebor took his e'e, And e'en a vex'd and angry heart had he!

* A noted ford, just above the auld brig. Wi' thieveless sneer to see his modish mien,

+ The banks of Garpal Water is one of the few places He, down the water, gies him this guideen:

in the west of Scotland, where those fancy-scaring beings, known by the name of ghaists, still continue pertina.

ciously to inhabit. • A noted lavern at the auld brig end.

The source of the river Ayr. + The two steeples. # The gos-hawk, or falcon. SA small landing place above the large kev.

NEW BRIG.

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