Sidor som bilder

My senses wad be in a creel Should I but dare a hope to speel Wi' Allan, or wi' Gilbertfield,

The braes o' fame; Or Fergusson, the writer-chiel,

A deathless name.

Or is't the paughty, feudal thane,
Wi' ruffled sark an' glancin' cane,
Wha thinks himsel nae sheep-shank bane,

But lordly stalks,
While caps and bonnets aff are ta’en,

As by he walks ?
« Thou wha gies us each guid gift!
Gie me o' wit an' sense a lift,
Then turn me, if Thou please, adrift,

Through Scotland wide; Wi' cits nor lairds I wadna shift,

In a' their pride !"
Were this the charter of our state,
« On pain o' hell be rich an' great,”
Damnation then would be our fate

Beyond remead;
But, thanks to heaven! that's no the gate

We learn our creed.

(O Fergusson! thy glorious parts Ill suited law's dry, musty arts ! My curse upon your whunstane hearts,

Ye Enbrugh gentry! The tithe o' what ye waste at cartes,

Wad stow'd his pantry!)

For thus the royal mandate ran, When first the human race began, “ The social, friendly, honest man,

Whate'er he be, 'Tis be fulfils great nature's plan,

An' none but he !"
O mandate glorious and divine !
The ragged followers of the nine,
Poor, thoughtless devils ! yet may shine

In glorious light,
While sordid sons of Mammon's line

Are dark as night. Though here they scrape, an' squeeze, an'

growl, Their worthless nievefu' of a soul May in some future carcass howl,

The forest's fright;
Or in some day-detesting owl

May shun the light.
Then may Lapraik and Burns arise,
To reach their native, kindred skies,
And sing their pleasures, hopes, an' joys,

In some mild sphere,
Still closer knit in friendship's tie

Each passing year.

Yet when a tale comes i' my head,
Or lasses gie my heart a screed,
As whyles they're like to be my deed,

(O sad disease !) I kittle up my rustic reed ;

It gies me ease.
Auld Coila now may fidge fu’fain,
She's gotten poets o’ her ain,
Chiels wha their chanters winna hain,

But tune their laye,
Till echoes a' resound again

Her weel-sung praise. Nae poet thought her worth his while, To set her name in measured style; She lay like some unkenn'd-of isle

Beside New Holland, Or whare wild-meeting oceans boil

Besouth Magellan. Ramsay an' famous Fergusson Gied Forth an' Tay a list aboon; Yarrow an' Tweed to monie a tune,

Owre Scotland rings, While Irwin, Lugar, Ayr, an' Doon,

Naebody sings. Th’ Illyssus, Tiber, Thames, an' Seine, Glide sweet in monie a tunefu' line! But, Willie, set your fit to mine,

An' cock your crest, We'll gar our streams and burnies shine

Up wi' the best. We'll sing auld Coila's plains an’ fells, Her moors red-brown with heather bells, Her banks an' braes, her dens and dells,

Where glorious Wallace Aft bure the gree, as story tells,

Frae southron billies.

TO W. S***** N,

May, 1785.
I gat your letter, winsome Willie ;
Wi' gratefu' heart I thank you brawlie ;
Though I maun say't, I wad be silly,

An' unco vain,
Should I believe, my coaxin' billie,

Your flatterin strain.
But I'se believe ye kindly meant it,
I sud be laith to think ye hinted
Ironic satire, sidelin's sklented

On my poor musie; Though in sic phrasin' terms ye’ve penn'd it,

I scarce excuse ye.

At Wallace' name what Scottish blood But boils up in a spring-tide flood ! Oft have our fearless fathers strode

By Wallace' side, Still pressing onward, red-wat-shod,

Or glorious dyed.

0, sweet are Coila’s haughs an' woods, When lintwhites chant amang the buds, And jinkin hares, in amorous whids,

Their loves enjoy, While through the braes the cushat eroods

With wailfu'cry!

E’en winter bleak has charms for me, When winds rave through the naked tree; Or frosts on hills of Ochiltree

Are hoary gray ;
Or blinding drifts wild-furious flee,

Darkening the day!
O nature ! a'thy shows an' forms
To feeling, pensive hearts hae charms !
Whether the simmer kindly warms

Wi' life an' light,
Or winter howls, in gusty storms,

The lang, dark night! The muse, nae poet ever fand her, Till by himsel he learn'd to wander, Adown some trotting burn's meander,

An' no think lang;
O sweet! to stray, an' pensive ponder

A heartfelt sang!
The warly race may drudge an' drive,
Hog-shouther, jundie, stretch, an' strive,
Let me fair nature's face descrive,

And I, wi' pleasure,
Shall let the busy, grumbling hive,

Bum owre their treasure. Fareweel,“ my rhyme-composing brither!” We've been owre lang unkenn'd to ither: Now let us lay our heads thegither,

In love fraternal: May envy wallop in a tether,

Black fiend, infernal!
While highlandmen hate tolls and taxes ;
While moorlan' herds like guid fat braxies :
While terra firma, on her axis,

Diurnal turns,
Count on a friend, in faith an' practice,

In Robert Burns.

This past for certain, undisputed;
It ne'er cam i' their heads to doubt it,
Till chiels gat up an’ wad confute it,

An'ca'd it wrang ;
An' muckle din there was about it,

Baith loud and lang. Some herds, weel learn'd upo' the beuk, Wad threap auld folk the thing misteuk ; For 'twas the auld moon turn'd a neuk,

An' out o' sight, An' backlins-comin, to the leuk,

She grew mair bright. This was denied, it was affirm'd; The herds an' hissels were alarm’d: The reverend gray-beards raved an' storm'a,

That beardless laddies Should think they better were informid

Than their auld daddies.

Frae less to mair it gaed to sticks; Frae words an' aiths to clours an' nicks ; An' monie a fallow gat his licks,

Wi' hearty crunt; An' some, to learn them for their tricks,

Were hang'd an' burnt. This game was play'd in monie lands, An'auld-light caddies bure sic hands, That faith the youngsters took the sands

Wi’ nimble shanks, The lairds forbade, by strict commands,

Sic bluidy pranks.

But new-light herds gat sic a cowe, Folk thought them ruin’d stick-an’-stowe, Till now amaist on every knowe,

Ye'll find ane placed; An' some, their new-light fair avow,

Just quite barefaced. Nae doubt the auld-light flocks are bleatin ; Their zealous herds are vex'd an’sweatin; Mysel, I've even seen them greetin

Wi' girnin spite, To hear the moon sae sadly lie'd on

By word an’ write. But shortly they will cowe the louns ! Some auld-light herds in neebor towns Are mind't in things they ca' balloons,

To tak a flight, An’ stay a month amang the moons

An' see them right.

My memory's no worth a preen;
I had amaist forgotten clean,
Ye bade me write you what they mean

By this “new-light, 'Bout which our herds sae aft hae been

Maist like to fight. In days when mankind were but callans At grammar, logic, an' sic talents, They took nae pains their speech to balance,

Or rules to gie, But spak their thoughts in plain, braid lallans,

Like you or me. In thae auld times, they thought the moon, Just like a sark, or pair o'shoon, Wore by degrees, till her last roon,

Gaed past their viewing, An' shortly after she was done,

They gat a new one.

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Guid observation they will gie them ; An' when the auld moon's gaun to leave them, The hindmost shaird, they'll fetch it wi' them,

Just i’ their pouch, An' when the new-light billies see them,

I think they'll crouch!

Sae, ye observe that a' this clatter Is naething but a “ moonshine matter;" But though dull prose-folk Latin splatter

In logic tulzie, I hope, we bardies ken some better,

Than mind sic brulzie.

*“New-light” is a cant phrase in the west of Scotland, for those religious opinions which Dr. Taylor of Norwich has defended so strenuously.

EPISTLE TO J. R******,


O ROUGH, rude, ready-witted R******, The wale o cocks for fun an' drinkin! There's mony godly folks are thinkin,

Your dreams* an' tricks Will send you, Korah-like, a-sinkin,

Straught to auld Nick's.

Ye hae sae monie cracks an' cants, And in your wicked druncken rants, Ye mak a devil o' the saunts,

An' fill them fou ; And then their failings, flaws, an' wants,

Are a' seen through.

But, by my gun, o' guns the wale,
An' by my pouther an' my hail,
An' by my hen, an' by her tail,

I vow an' swear!
The game shall pay o'er moor an' dale,

For this, niest year.
As soon's the clockin-time is by,
An' the wee pouts begun to cry,
-d, I'se hae sportin by an' by,

For my gowd guinea :
Though I should herd the buckskin kye

For’t in Virginia.
Trowth, they had muckle for to blame !
'Twas neither broken wing nor limb,
But twa-three draps about the wame

Scarce through the feathers; An' baith a yellow George to claim,

An' thole their blethers!
It pits me aye as mad's a hare;
So I can rhyme nor write nae mair;
But pennyworth's again is fair,

When time's expedient:
Meanwhile I am, respected sir,

Your most obedient.


Hypocrisy, in mercy spare it!
That holy robe, 0 dinna tear it!
Spare 't for their sakes wha aften wear it,

The lads in black !
But your curst wit, when it comes near it,

Rives 't aff their back. Think, wicked sinner, wha ye’re skaithing, Its just the blue-gown badge an’claithing O’ saunts; tak that, ye lea'e them naething

To ken them by,
Frae ony unregenerate heathen

Like you or I.
I've sent you home some rhyming ware,
A' that I bargain'd for, an' mair ;
Sae, when ye hae an hour to spare,

I will expect
Yon sang,t ye'll sen't wi' cannie care,

And no neglect.
Though faith, sma' heart hae I to sing !
My muse dow scarcely spread her wing!
I've play'd mysel a bonnie spring,

An' danced my fill ! I'd better gane an' sair't the king,

At Bunker's Hill.


Of brownyis and of bogilis full is this buke.


'Twas ae night lately in my fun, I gaed a roving wi' the gun, An' brought a paitrick to the grun,

A bonnie hen, And, as the twilight was begun,

Thought nane wad ken. The poor wee thing was little hurt; I straikit it a wee for sport, Ne'er thinkin they wad fash me fort;

But, deil-ma-care! Somebody tells the poacher-court

The hale affair.

WHEN chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neebors neebors meet,
As market-days are wearing late,
An' folk begin to tak the gate;
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
An' gettin fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps, and stiles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Whare sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

This truth fand honest Tam O'Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter,
(Auld Ayr, whom ne'er a town surpasses,
For honest men and bonny lasses.)

O Tam! hadst thou but been sae wise,
As ta’en thy ain wife Kate's advice!
She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum,
A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum;
That frae November till October,
Ae market-day thou was nae sober;
That ilka melder, wi’ the miller,
Thou sat as lang as thou had siller;
That every naig was ca'd a shoe on,
The smith and thee gat roaring fou on;
That at the L-d's house, e'en on Sunday,
Thou drank wi’ Kirton Jean till Monday.
She prophesied, that late or soon,
Thou would be found deep drown'd in Doon;
Or catch'd wi' warlocks in the mirk,
By Alloway's auld haunted kirk.

Some auld used hands had ta’en a note, That sic a hen had got a shot; I was suspected for the plot;

I scorn'd to lie; So gat the whizzle o' my groat,

An' pay't the fee.

* A certain humorous dream of his was then making a noise in the country side.

A song he had promised the author.

Ah, gentle dames ! it gars me greet,

And near the thorn, aboon the well, To think how mony counsels sweet,

Whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel.How mony lengthen'd, sage advices,

Before him Doon pours all his floods ; The husband frae the wife despises !

The doubling storm roars through the woods :

The lightnings flash from pole to pole ; But to our tale: Ae market night,

Near and more near the thunders roll; Tam had got planted unco right;

When, glimmering through the groaning trees, Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely,

Kirk-Alloway seem'd in a bleeze ; Wi' reaming swats, that drank divinely;

Through ilka bore the beams were glancing ; And at his elbow souter Johnny,

And loud resounded mirth and dancing.His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony; Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither ;

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
They had been fou for weeks thegither.

What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
The night drave on wi' sangs an' clatter; Wi’ tippenny we fear nae evil;
And aye the ale was growing better ;

Wi’ usquabae we'll face the devil!
The landlady and Tam grew gracious,

The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's noddle, Wi' favours secret, sweet, and precious :

Fair play, he cared na deils a boddle. The souter tauld his queerest stories ;

But Maggie stood right sair astonish'd, The landlord's laugh was ready chorus:

Till, by the heel and hand admonish'a, The storm without might rair and rustle,

She ventured forward on the light; Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.

And, vow! Tam saw an unco sight!

Warlocks and witches in a dance; Care, mad to see a man sae happy,

Nae cotillon brent new frae France, E’en drown'd himself amang the nappy ;

But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels, As bees flee hame wi' lades o' treasure,

Put life and mettle in their heels. The minutes wing'd their way wi' pleasure;

A winnock-bunker in the east, Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,

There sat auld Nick, in shape o' beast; O'er a' the ills o life victorious.

A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large, But pleasures are like poppies spread,

To gie them music was his charge : You seize the flower, its bloom is shed;

He screw'd the pipes, and gart them skirl,

Till roof and rafters a' did dirl. -
Or like the snow-falls in the river,
A moment white—then melts for ever ;

Coffins stood round like open presses,
Or like the borealis race,

That shaw'd the dead in their last dresses ; That fit ere you can point their place ;

And by some devilish cantraip slight, Or like the rainbow's lovely form

Each in its cauld hand held a light,Evanishing amid the storm.

By which heroic Tam was able Nae man can tether time or tide ;

To note upon the haly table, The hour approaches Tam maun ride;

A murderer's banes in gibbet airns ; That hour, o' night's black arch the key-stane,

Twa span lang, wee, unchristen'd bairns ; That dreary hour he mounts his beast in;

A thief new cutted frae a rape, And sic a night he taks the road in,

Wi' his last gasp his gab did gape ; As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.

Five tomahawks, wi' bluid red rusted ;

Five cimiters, wi' murder crusted ;
The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last; A garter, which a babe had strangled;
The rattling showers rose on the blast;

A knife, a father's throat had mangled,
The speedy gleams the darkness swallow'd; Whom his ain son o' life bereft,
Loud, deep, and lang the thunder bellow'd : The gray hairs yet stack to the heft;
That night, a child might understand,

Wi' mair o' horrible and awfu',
The deil had business on his hand.

Which e'en to name wad be unlawfu'. Weel mounted on his gray mare Meg,

As Tammie glowr'd, amazed and curious, A better never lifted leg,

The mirth and fun grew fast and furious : Tam skelpit on through dub and mire,

The piper loud and louder blew; Despising wind, and rain, and fire;

The dancers quick and quicker flew;
Whiles holding fast his guid blue bonnet: They reel'd, they set, they cross'd, they cleekit,
Whiles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet; Till ilka carlin swat and reekit,
Whiles glowering round wi' prudent cares, And coost her duddies to the wark,
Lest bogles catch him unawares ;

And linket at it in her sark!
Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh,
Whare ghaists and how lets nightly cry.-

Now Tam, 0 Tam! had they been queans,

A' plump and strapping, in their teens ; By this time he was cross the ford,

Their sarks, instead o’creeshie flannen, Whare in the snaw the chapman smoord; Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linen! And past the birks an’ meikle stane,

Thir breeks o’mine, my only pair, Whare drunken Charlie brak's neck bane; That ance were plush, o'guid blue hair, And through the whins, and by the cairn, I wad hae gien them aff my hurdies Whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn;

For ae blink o' the bonnie burdies.


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But wither'd beldams, auld and droll,

Ae spring brought off her master hale, Rigwoodie hags wad spean a foal,

But left behind her ain gray tail: Lowping an' flinging on a crummock,

The carlin claught her by the rump, I wonder didna turn thy stomach.

And left poor Maggie scarce a stump. But Tam kennd what was what fu' brawlie,

Now, wha this tale o' truth shall read, There was ae winsome wench and walie,

Ilk man and mother's son, tak heed : That night enlisted in the core,

Whene'er to drink you are inclined, (Lang after kennd on Carrick shore !

Or cutty-sarks run in your mind, For mony a beast to dead she shot,

Think, ye may buy the joys o'er dear, And perish'd mony a bonnie boat,

Remember Tam O'Shanter's mare.
And shook baith meikle corn and bear,
And kept the country side in fear.)
Her cuttie sark, o' Paisley harn,
That while a lassie she had worn,

In longitude though sorely scanty,
It was her best, and she was vauntie.-
Ah! little kenn'd thy reverend grannie,

That sark she coft for her wee Nannie,
Wi' twa pund Scots, ('twas a' her riches,)

WHEN o'er the hill the eastern star,
Wad ever graced a dance of witches !

Tells bughtin-time is near, my jo ; But here my muse her wing maun cour;

And owsen frae the furrow'd field, Sic flights are far beyond her power ;

Return sae dowf and weary, 0; To sing how Nannie lap and flang,

Down by the burn, where scented birks, (A souple jade she was and strang,)

Wi’ dew are hanging clear, my jo, And how Tam stood like ane bewitch'd,

I'll meet thee on the lea-rig, And thought his very e’en enrich'd ;

My ain kind dearie, 0. E'en Satan glowr'd, and fidged fu' fain,

In mirkest glen, at midnight hour, And hotch'd and blew wi' might and main :

I'd rove and ne'er be eerie, 0, Till first ae caper, syne anither,

If through that glen, I gaed to thee, Tam tint his reason a'thegither,

My ain kind dearie, 0. And roars out,“ Weel done, cutty-sark !"

Although the night were ne'er sae wild, And in an instant all was dark:

And I were ne'er sae wearie, 0, And scarcely had he Maggie rallied,

I'd meet thee on the lea-rig, When out the hellish legion sallied.

My ain kind dearie, 0. As bees bizz out wi' angry fyke,

The hunter lo’es the morning sun, When plundering herds assail their byke ;

To rouse the mountain deer, my jo, As open pussie's mortal foes,

At noon the fisher seeks the glen, When, pop! she starts before their nose;

Along the burn to steer, my jo ; As eager runs the market-crowd,

Gie me the hour o'gloamin gray, When “ Catch the thief !” resounds aloud ;

It maks my heart sae cheery, 0, So Maggie runs, the witches follow,

To meet thee on the lea-rig,
Wi'mony an eldritch skreech and hollow.

My ain kind dearie, 0.
Ah, Tam! ah, Tam! thou'll get thy fairin!
In hell they'll roast thee like a herrin!

In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin!
Kate soon will be a wofu’ woman!

TUNE_" Ewe-bughts, Marion."
Now do thy speedy utmost, Meg,
And win the key-stane* of the brig;

Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary, There at them thou thy tail may toss,

And leave auld Scotia's shore ? A running stream they dare na cross.

Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary, But ere the key-stane she could make,

Across th’ Atlantic's roar? The fient a tail she had to shake!

O sweet grows the lime and the orange, For Nannie, far before the rest,

And the apple on the pine ; Hard upon noble Maggie prest,

But a' the charms o' the Indies, And flew at Tam wi' furious ettle ;

Can never equal thine. But little wist she Maggie's mettle

I hae sworn by the heavens to my Mary,

I hae sworn by the heavens to be true; *It is a well known fact that witches, or any evil spirits,

And sae may the heavens forget me, have no power to follow a poor wight any farther than When I forget my vow ! the middle of the next running stream. - It may be proper likewise to mention to the benighted traveller, that when

O plight me your faith, my Mary, he falls in with bogles, whatever danger may be in his

And plight me your lily-white hand; going forward, there is much more hazard in turning

O plight me your faith, my Mary, back

Before I leave Scotia's strand.

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