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Then lowering, and pouring,
The storm no more I dread; Though thickening and blackening Round my devoted head.
II. And, thou grim power, by life abhorr'd, While life a pleasure can afford,
0! hear a wretch's prayer !
To close this scene of care !
Resign life's joyless day;
To stain my lifeless face;
Within thy cold embrace !
TO MISS L-,
JANUARY 1, 1787.
Their annual round have driven,
Are so much nearer heaven.
The infant year to hail ;
In Edwin's simple tale.
Is charged, perhaps, too true;
An Edwin still to you !
The real, harden'd wicked,
Are to a few restricked :
An' little to be trusted ;
Their fate we should nae censure, For still th' important end of life
They equally may answer ;
Though poortith hourly stare him ;
When wi' a bosom crony ;
Ye scarcely tell to ony.
Frae critical dissection ;
Luxuriantly indulge it;
Though naething should divulge it! I wave the quantum o' the sin,
The hazard of concealing; But och! it hardens a' within, And petrifies the feeling!
VII. To catch dame Fortune's golden smile,
Assiduous wait upon her ; And gather gear by every wile
That's justified by honour; Not for to hide it in a hedge,
Not for a train-attendant; But for the glorious privilege Of being independent.
To haud the wretch in order;
Let that aye be your border;
Debar a' side pretences ;
Must sure become the creature;
And e'en the rigid feature;
Be complaisance extended;
For Deity offended!
EPISTLE TO A YOUNG FRIEND.
I. I LANG hae thought, my youthfu' friend,
A something to have sent you,
Than just a kind memento;
Let time and chance determine;
And, Andrew dear, believe me,
And muckle they may grieve ye. For care and trouble set your thought,
E’en when your end's attained ; And a' your views may come to naught,
Where every nerve is strained.
X. When ranting round in pleasure's ring,
Religion may be blinded; Or if she gie a random sting,
It may be little minded;
A conscience but a canker
Is sure a noble anchor!
Your heart can ne'er be wanting:
Erect your brow undaunting!
Still daily to grow wiser:
Than ever did th' adviser.
Wi' his proud, independent stomach
Could ill agree ; So row't his hurdies in a hammock,
An'owre the sea.
He dealt it free:
That's owre the sea.
And fu' o' glee;
That's owre the sea. Fareweel, my rhyme-composing billie! Your native soil was right ill-willie; But may ye flourish like a lily,
Now bonnilie! I'll toast ye in my hindmost gillie,
Though owre the sea.
ON A SCOTCH BARD GONE TO THE WEST
TO A HAGGIS.
A' YE wha live by soups o' drink,
Come mourn wi' me ! Our billie's gien us a'a jink,
An' owre the sea. Lament him, a' ye rantin core, Wha dearly like a random-splore, Nae mair he'll join the merry-roar,
In social key; For now he's ta'en anither shore,
An' owre the sea.
The bonnie lasses weel may wiss him, And in their dear petitions place him; The widows, wives, an'a' may bless him,
Wi' tearfu' e'e ;
That's owre the sea.
'Twad been nae plea ; But he was gleg as ony wumble,
That's owre the sea.
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, Great chieftain o' the puddin race ! Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm: Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang's my arm.
In time o' need,
Like amber bead. His knife see rustic labour dight, An'cut you up with ready slight, Trenching your gushing entrails bright
Like onie ditch; And then, 0 what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich! Then horn for horn they stretch an'strive, Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive, Till a'their weel-swalld kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Wi' perfect sconner,
On sic a dinner?
His nieve a nit;
O how unfit!
Auld, cantie Kyle may weepers wear, An' stain them wi' the saut, saut tear; 'Twill mak her poor auld heart, I fear,
In flinders flee; lle was her laureate monie a year,
That's owre the sea.
He saw misfortune's cauld nor-west Lang mustering up a bitter blast; A jillet brak his heart at last,
Ill may she be! So took a birth afore the mast,
An' owre the sea. To tremble under fortune's cummock, On scarce a bellyfu'o' drummock,
It's no through terror of d-mn-tion; It's just a carnal inclination.
But mark the rustic, haggis-fed,
He'll mak it whissle ;
Like taps o' thrissle. Ye powers, wha mak mankind your care, And dish them out their bill o' fare, Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies ; But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a haggis !
Morality, thou deadly bane, Thy tens o' thousands thou hast slain ! Vain is his hope, whose stay and trust is In moral mercy, truth, and justice!
No-stretch a point to catch a plack; Abuse a brother to his back; Steal through a winnock frae a wh-re, But point the rake that taks the door: Be to the poor like onie whunstane, And haud their noses to the grunstane, Ply every art o' legal thieving; No matter, stick to sound believing.
Learn three-mile prayers, and half-mile
graces, Wi' weel-spread looves, an' lang wry faces; Grunt up a solemn, lengthen'd groan, And damn a' parties but your own ; I'll warrant then, ye’re nae deceiver, A steady, sturdy, staunch believer.
A DEDICATION TO GAVIN HAMILTON, ESQ.
EXPECT na, sir, in this narration,
This may do-maun do, sir, wi' them wha
The poet, some guid angel help him,
The patron, (sir, ye maun forgie me, I winna lie, come what will o' me,) On every hand it will allow'd be, He's just-nae better than he should be.
I readily and freely grant, He downa see a poor man want; What's no his ain he winna tak it, What ance he says, he winna break it; Aught he can lend he'll no refuse't, Till aft his guidness is abused : And rascals whyles that do him wrang, E'en that, he does na mind it lang: As master, landlord, husband, father, He does na fail his part in either.
But then, na thanks to him for a' that; Nae godly symptom ye can ca' that; It's naething but a milder feature Of our poor, sinfu', corrupt nature ! Ye'll get the best o' moral works 'Mang black Gentoos and pagan Turks. Or hunters wild on Ponotaxi, Wha never heard of orthodoxy. That he's the poor man's friend in need, The gentleman in word and deed,
O ye wha leave the springs of C-lv-n,
Your pardon, sir, for this digression,
So, sir, ye see 'twas nae daft vapour,
Then patronize them wi' your favour,
“May ne'er misfortune's gowling bark
I wad na been surprised to spy You on an auld wife's flainen toy ; Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,
On's wylie coat; But miss's fine Lunardi! fie,
How dare ye do't?
O Jenny, dinna toss your head, An' set your beauties a’abread! Ye little ken what cursed speed
The blastie's makin ! Thae winks and finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin!
To serve their king and country weel,
I will not wind a lang conclusion,
But if (which powers above prevent!) That iron-hearted carl, want, Attended in his grim advances By sad mistakes, and black mischances, While hopes, and joys, and pleasures fly him, Make you as poor a dog as I am, Your humble servant then no more ; For who would humbly serve the poor? But by a poor man's hopes in heaven! While recollection's power is given, If, in the vale of humble life, The victim sad of fortune's strife, I, through the tender gushing tear, Should recognise my master dear, If friendless, low, we meet together, Then, sir, your hand-my friend and brother !
O wad some power the giftie gie us,
And foolish notion ; What airs in dress and gait wad lea'e us,
And e'en devotion!
ADDRESS TO EDINBURGH.
All hail thy palaces and towers, Where once beneath a monarch's feet
Sat legislation's sovereign powers ! From marking wildly-scatter'd flowers,
As on the banks of Ayr I stray'd, And singing, lone, the lingering hours,
I shelter in thy honour'd shade.
Here wealth still swells the golden tide,
As busy trade his labours plies; There architecture's noble pride
Bids elegance and splendour rise ; Here justice, from her native skies,
High wields her balance and her rod; There learning, with his eagle eyes,
Seeks science in her coy abode.
TO A LOUSE.
HA! whare ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie?
Owre gauze and lace ;
On sic a place.
Sae fine a lady?
On some poor body.
In shoals and nations ;
Your thick plantations.
Till ye've got on it,
O'miss's bonnet. My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out, As plump and gray as onie grozet; O for some rank, mercurial rozet,
Or fell, red smeddum, I'd gie you sic a hearty doze o't,
Wad dress your droddum!
With open arms the stranger hail; Their views enlarged, their liberal mind,
Above the narrow, rural vale; Attentive still to sorrow's wail,
Or modest merit's silent claim; And never may. their sources fail!
And never envy blot their name!
IV. Thy daughters bright thy walks adorn!
Gay as the gilded summer sky, Sweet as the dewy milk-white thorn,
Dear as the raptured thrill of joy! Fair B-strikes th' adoring eye,
Heaven's beauties on my fancy shine ; I see the sire of love on high,
And own his work indeed divine !
There, watching high the least alarms,
Thy rough, rude fortress gleams afar;
Like some bold veteran, gray in arms,
It pat me fidgin-fain to heart, And mark'd with many a seamy scar ;
And sae about him there I spier't ; The ponderous walls and massy bar,
Then a' that ken’t him round declared Grim rising o'er the rugged rock;
He had ingine, Have oft withstood assailing war,
That nane excell'd it, few cam near't,
It was sae fine.
That set him a pint of ale,
Or rhymes an' sangs he'd made himsel, Where Scotia's kings of other years,
Or witty catches,
He had few matches.
Then up I gat, an' swoor an' aith,
Or die a cadger pownie's death,
At some dyke-back,
To hear your crack.
But, first an' foremost, I should tell,
Amaist as soon as I could spell, Haply my sires have left their shed,
I to the crambo-jingle fell, And faced grim danger's loudest roar,
Though rude an' rough, Bold following where your fathers led ! Yet crooning to a body's sel,
Does well eneugh.
I am nae poet, in a sense,
But just a rhymer, like, by chance, Where once beneath a monarch's feet
An' hae to learning nae pretence, Sat legislation's sovereign powers !
Yet, what the matter? From marking wildly-scatter'd flowers,
Whene'er my muse does on me glance, As on the banks of Ayr I stray'd,
I jingle at her. And singing, lone, the lingering hours,
Your critic folk may cock their nose,
And say, “How can you e'er propose,
To mak a sang ?”
But, by your leaves, my learned foes,
Ye're may be wrang.
What's a' your jargon o’your schools,
Your Latin names for horns an' stools; An' paitricks scraichin loud at e’en,
If honest nature made you fools, An' morning poussie whiddin seen,
What sairs your grammars : Inspire my muse,
Ye'd better ta'en up spades and shools,
Or knappin hammers.
A set o’ dull conceited hashes,
Confuse their brains in college classes !
They gang in stirks, and come out asses,
Plain truth to speak ;
An'syne they think to climb Parnassu;
By dint o' Greek!
Gie me ae spark o' nature's fire,
That's a' the learning I desire ; That some kind husband had addrest
Then though I drudge through dub an' mire To some sweet wife:
At pleugh or cart,
My muse, though hamely in attire,
May touch the heart.
Or Fergusson's, the bauld and slee,
If I can hit it!
That would be lear eneugh for me,
If I could get it.