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Mansions that would disgrace the building taste O had M‘Lauchlan,* thairm-inspiring sage,
Been there to hear this heavenly band engage, Fit only for a doited monkish race,
When through his dear strathspeys they bore with Or frosty maids forsworn the dear embrace,
highland rage ; Or cuifs of later times, wha held the notion Or when they struck old Scotia's melting airs, That sullen gloom was sterling, true devotion ; The lover's raptured joys or bleeding cares ; Fancies that our guid brugh denies protection, How would his highland lug been nobler fired, And soon may they expire, unblest with resurrec- And e'en his matchless hand with finer touch intion!
spired! AULD BRIG.
No guess could tell what instrument appear'd, Oye, my dear-remember'd, ancient yealings, But all the soul of music's self was heard ; Were ye but here to share my wounded feelings ! Harmonious concert rung in every part, Ye worthy proveses, an'mony a bailie,
While simple melody pour’d moving on the heart. Wha in the paths o’righteousness did toil aye;
The genius of the stream in front appears, Ye dainty deacons, and ye douce conveners,
A venerable chief advanced in years ; To whom our moderns are but causey-cleaners ;
His hoary head with water-lilies crown'd, Ye godly councils wha hae blest this town,
His manly leg with garter tangle bound. Ye godly brethren of the sacred gown,
Next came the loveliest pair in all the ring, Wha meekly gie your hurdies to the smiters ; And (what would now be strange) ye godly writers: Then, crown'd with flowery hay, came rural joy,
Sweet female beauty hand in hand with spring; A' ye douce folk I've borne aboon the broo,
And summer, with his fervid-beaming eye : Were ye but here, what would ye say or do?
All-cheering plenty, with her flowing horn, How would your spirits groan in deep vexation,
Led yellow autumn wreathed with nodding corn ; To see each melancholy alteration ;
Then winter's time-bleach'd locks did hoary show, And, agonizing, curse the time and place
By hospitality with cloudless brow. When ye begat the base, degenerate race!
Next follow'd courage with his martial stride, Nae langer reverend men, their country's glory, In plain braid Scots hold forth a plain braid story; Benevolence, with mild, benignant air,
From where the feal wild-woody coverts hide ; Nae langer thrifty citizens, an' douce,
A female form, came from the towers of Stair : Meet owre a pint, or in the council-house ;
Learning and worth in equal measures trode But staumrel, corky-headed, graceless gentry,
From simple Catrine, their long-loved abode : The herryment and ruin of the country ;
Last, white-robed peace, crownd with a hazel Men, three parts made by tailors and by barbers,
wreath, Wha waste your well-hain'd gear on d-d new
To rustic agriculture did bequeath brigs and harbours !
The broken iron instruments of death,
At sight of whom our sprites forgat their kindling Now haud you there! for faith ye’ve said enough,
THE DEATH AND DYING WORDS OF POOR But under favour o' your langer beard,
THE AUTHOR'S ONLY PET YOWE.
AN UNCO MOURNFU' TALE,
As Mailie an' her lambs thegither
Were ae day nibbling on the tether, In all the pomp of ignorant conceit;
Upon her cloot she coost a hitch, Men wha grew wise priggin owre hops an' raisins,
An' owre she warsl'd in the ditch. Or gather'd liberal views in bonds and seisins, There, groaning, dying, she did lie, If haply knowledge, on a random tramp,
When Hughoct he cam doytin by. Had shored them with a glimmer of his lamp,
Wi' glowrin een, and lifted hans, Andwould to common sense for once betray'd them,
Poor Hughoc like a statue stans; Plain, dull stupidity stept kindly in to aid them.
He saw her days were near-hand ended,
But, waes my heart! he could na mend it!
“ thou, whase lamentable face A fairy train appear'd in order bright:
Appears to mourn my woefu' case! Adown the glittering stream they featly danced,
My dying words attentive hear,
An' bear them to my master dear.
* A well known performer of Scottish music on the While arts of minstrelsy among them rung,
violin. And soul-ennobling bards heroic ditties sung.
† A ncebor herd-callan.
“ Tell him, if e'er again he keep,
“ Tell him, he was a master kin',
“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 duly, e'en an' morn, Wi' teats o' hay an' rips o' corn.
“ 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, Ano 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 liye 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 !
“ 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.
“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' closed her e'en 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 mak our bardie, dowie, wear
The mourning weed: He's lost a friend and neebor dear,
In Mailie dead.
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 o' sense, 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.
Or, if he wanders up the howe,
For bits o'bread;
For Mailie dead.
She was nae get o’ moorland tips,
Frae yont the Tweed; A bonnier fleesh ne'er cross'd the clips
Than Mailie dead,
Wae worth the man wha first did shape
Wi' chokin dread;
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.
TO J. S****.
Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul!
DEAR S****, the sleest, paukie thief,
Owre human hearts;
Against your arts. For me, I swear by sun an’ moon, And every star that blinks aboon, Ye've cost me twenty pair o' shoon
Just gaun to see you ; And every ither pair that's done
Mair ta'en I'm wi' you.
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,
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;
I rhyme for fun.
But in requit,
This while my notion's ta’en a sklent,
Something cries, “ Hoolie !" I red you, honest man, tak tent!
Ye'll shaw your folly.
O life! how pleasant in thy morning,
We frisk away,
To joy and play.
Among the leaves;
Short while it grieves
But care or pain;
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 ?
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,
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.
My bardship here, at your levee,
On sic a day as this is,
Sae fine this day.
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.
E'en there I winna flatter;
Am I your humble debtor :
Your kingship to bespatter ;
Than you this day.
IV. 'Tis very true, my sovereign king,
My skill may weel be doubted :
An' downa be disputed :
Is e’en right left an' clouted,
Than did ae day.
To blame your legislation,
To rule this mighty nation !
Ye've trusted ministration
Than courts yon day.
And now ye’ve gien auld Britain peace,
Her broken shins to plaster,
Till she has scarce a tester;
Nae bargain wearing faster,
I’ the craft some day.
“ A title, Dempster merits it;
In cent. per cent.
And I'm content.
“ While ye are pleased to keep me hale
Wi' cheerful face,
To say the grace.”
As weel's I may ;
I rhyme away.
How much unlike!
Your lives, a dyke!
Ye never stray,
Ye hum away.
The rattlin squad:
-Ye ken the road.
Whilst I—but I shall haud me thereWi' you I'll scarce gang onywhereThen, 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.
[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 birthday levee; and in his dreaming fancy made the following address.]
May heaven augment your blisses,
An humble poet wishes !
When taxes he enlarges, (An' Will's a true guid fallow's get,
A name not envy spairges,)