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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,
“ 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.
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.
“ 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.
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,
Frae yont the Tweed; A bonnier fleesh ne'er cross'd the clips
Than Mailie 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 !
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.
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.
“ 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,
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.
“ 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,
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
[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,)
All in this mottie, misty clime,
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 floods; There, well-fed Irwine stately thuds : Auld hermit Ayr staw through his wouds,
On to the shore ;
With seeming roar.
She boasts a race,
And polish'd grace.
I could discern;
With feature stern.
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.
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.
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.
His country's saviour,t mark him well! Bold Richardton'sť heroic swell; The chief on Sarkę who glorious fell,
In high command; And he whom ruthless fates expel
His native land.
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.
A “hair-brain'd, sentimental trace,"
Shone full upon her ;
Beam'd keen with honour.
There, where a sceptred Pictish shade, Stalk'd round his ashes lowly laid, I mark'd a martial race, portray'd
In colours strong; Bold, soldier-featur'd, undismay'd
They strode along. Through many a wild, romantic grove, Near many a hermit-fancy'd cove, (Fit haunts for friendship or for love,
In musing mood,
They gave their lore, This, all its source and end to draw,
That, to adore.
Down flow'd her robe, a tartan sheen;
Could only peer it;
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.
† William Wallace. I Adam Wallace, of Richardton, cousin to the immortal preserver or 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.
T 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.