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That auld, capricious carlin, Nature, To mak amends for scrimpit stature, She's turn'd you aff, a human e:eature

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? 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;
For me, an aim I never fash;

I rhyme for fun.
The star that rules my luckless lot,
Has fated me the russet coat,
An' damn'd my fortune to the groat;

But in requit,
Has bless'd me wi' a random shot

O'kintra wit.
This while my notion's ta’en a sklent,
To try my fate in guid black prent;
But still the mair I'm that way bent,

Something cries, “ Hoolie !" I red you, honest man, tak tent!

Ye'll shaw your folly.
“ 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 ?
Just now we're living sound and hale,
Then top and maintop crowd the sail,

Heave care o’er side!
And large, before enjoyment's gale,

Let's tak the tide.
This life, sae far's I understand,
Is a'enchanted, fairy land,
Where pleasure is the magic wand,

That wielded right,
Maks hours, like minutes, hand in hand,

Dance by fu’ light.

The magic-wand then let us wield; For ance that five-an’-forty's speeld, See crazy, weary, joylex eild,

Wi' wrinkled face, Comes hostin, hirplin owre the field,

Wi' crepin pace. When ance life’s day draws near the gloamin, Then fareweel vacant careless roamin; An' fareweel cheerfu' tankards foamin,

An' social noise ;
An' fareweel, dear, deluding woman,

The joy of joys !
O life ! how pleasant in thy morning,
Young fancy's rays the hills adorning!
Cold-pausing caution's lesson scorning,

We frisk away,
Like school-boys, at th' expected warning,

To joy and play.
We wander there, we wander here,
We eye the rose upon the brier,
Unmindful that the thorn is near,

Among the leaves;
And though the puny wound appear,

Short while it grieves
Some, lucky, find a flowery spot,
For which they never toil'd nor swat;
They drink the sweet, and eat the fat,

But care or pain ;
And, haply, eye the barren hut

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’ strainingBut 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.

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.
“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 gie 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,
Is sure an uncouth sight to see,
Amang the birth-day dresses

Sae fine this 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, As lang's the muses dinna fail

To say the grace.”

An anxious e'e I never throws
Behint my lug, or by my nose;
I jouk beneath misfortune's blows

As weel's I may ;
Sworn foe to sorrow, care, and


I rhyme away. O ye douce folk, that live by rule, Grave, tideless-blooded, calm and cool, Compared wi’ you-o fool! fool! fool!

How much unlike ! Your hearts are just a standing pool,

Your lives, a dyke! Hae hair-brain'd, sentimental traces In your unletter'd, nameless faces ! In arioso trills and graces

Ye never stray, But, gravissimo, solemn basses

Ye hum away.

I see ye're complimented thrang,

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.

For me, before a monarch's face,

E’en there I winna flatter ;
For neither pension, post, nor place,

Am I your humble debtor :
So, nae reflection on your grace,

Your kingship to bespatter; There's monie waur been o’ the race, And aiblins ane been better

Than you this day.

IV. 'Tis very true, my sovereign king,

My skill may weel be doubted :
But facts are chiels that winna ding,

An' downa be disputed :
Your royal nest, beneath your wing,

Is e’en right left an' clouted,
And now the third part of the string,
An' less, will gang about it

Than did ae day.

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.

Whilst 1-but I shall haud me there Wi' you I'll scarce gang onywhere Then, Jamie, I shall say nae mair,

But quat my sang, Content wi' you to mak a pair,

Whare'er I gang.

Far be't frae me that I aspire

To blame your legislation,
Or say, ye wisdom want, or fire,

To rule this mighty nation !
But, faith, I muckle doubt, my sire,

Ye've trusted ministration
To chaps wha in a barn or byre
Wad better fill their station

Than courts yon day.

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All in this mottie, misty clime,
I backward mused on wasted time,
How I had spent my youthfu' time,

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 woods,

On to the shore;
And many a lesser torrent scuds,

With seeming roar.
Low, in a sandy valley spread,
An ancient borough rear'd her head;
Still, as in Scottish story read,

She boasts a race,
To every nobler virtue bred,

And polish'd grace.
By stately tower or palace fair,
Or ruins pendent in the air,
Bold stems of heroes, here and there,

I could discern;
Some seem'd to muse, some seem'd to dare,

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'st 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,
Was strongly marked in her face;
A wildly-witty, rustic grace

Shone full upon her ;
Her eye, e'en turn'd on empty space,

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-featurd, undismay'd

They strode along. Through many a wild, romantic grove, 9 Near many a hermit-fancy'd cove, (Fit haunts for friendship or for love,

In musing mood,
An aged judge, I saw him rove,

Dispensing good.
With deep-struck reverential awe**
The learned sire and son I saw,
To Nature's God and Nature's law

They gave their lore, This, all its source and end to draw,

That, to adore.

Down flow'd her robe, a tartan sheen ;
Till half a leg was scrimply seen ;
And such a leg! my bonnie Jean

Could only peer it;
Sae straught, sae taper, tight, and clean,

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.

* The Wallaces.

+ William Wallace. | Adam Wallace, of Richardton, cousin to the immortal preserver of 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's. field, where his burial-place is still shown.

| 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.

Brydone's brave ward* I well could spy, Beneath old Scotia's smiling eye; Who call'd on fame, low standing by,

To hand him on, Where many a patriot name on high,

And hero shone.

“Some hint the lover's harmless wile; Some grace the maiden's artless smile; Some soothe the labourer's weary toil,

For humble gains, And make his cottage scenes beguile

His cares and pains.


“Some, bounded to a district space, Explore at large man's infant race, To mark the embryotic trace

Of rustic bard; And careful note each opening grace,

A guide and guard.

« Of these am I-Coila my name; And this district as mine I claim, Where once the Campbells, chiefs of fame,

Held ruling power: I mark'd thy embryo tuneful flame,

Thy natal hour.

“ With future hope, I oft would gaze Fond, on thy little early ways, Thy rudely caroli'd chiming phrase,

In uncouth rhymes, Fired at the simple, artless lays

Of other times.

“ I saw thee seek the sounding shore, Delighted with the dashing roar ; Or when the north his fleecy store

Drove through the sky, I saw grim nature's visage hoar

Struck thy young eye.

With musing-deep, astonish'd stare,
I view'd the heavenly-seeming fair ;
A whispering throb did witness bear,

Of kindred sweet,
When with an elder sister's air

She did me greet.
" All hail! my own inspired bard!
In me thy native muse regard !
Nor longer mourn thy fate is hard,

Thus poorly low!
I come to give thee such reward

As we bestow.
“ Know the great genius of this land
Has many a light aërial band,
Who, all beneath his high command,

As arts or arms they understand,

Their labours ply. “ They Scotia's race among them share ; Some fire the soldier on to dare; Some rouse the patriot up to bare

Corruption's heart; Some teach the bard, a darling care,

The tuneful art. “ 'Mong swelling floods of recking gore, They, ardent, kindling spirits pour ; Or, mid the venal senate's roar,

They, sightless, stand, To mend the honest patriot lore,

And grace the hand.
“ And when the bard, or hoary sage,
Charm or instruct the future age,
They bind the wild poetic rage

In energy,
Or point the inconclusive page

Full on the eye. “ Hence Fullarton, the brave and young; Hence Dempster's zeal-inspired tongue ; Hence sweet harmonious Beattie sung

His • Minstrel lays;'
Or tore, with noble ardour stung,

The skeptic's bays.
“ To lower orders are assign'd
The humbler ranks of human-kind,
The rustic bard, the labouring hind,

The artisan;
All choose, as various they're inclined,

The various man.
“ When yellow waves the heavy grain,
The threatening storm some strongly rein,
Some teach to meliorate the plain

With tillage-skill ; And some instruct the shepherd train,

Blythe o'er the hill.

“ Or, when the deep green-mantled earth Warm cherish'd every floweret's birth, And joy and music pouring forth

In every grove, I saw thee eye the general mirth

With boundless love.

“ When ripend fields, and azure skies, Callid forth the reapers’ rustling noise, I saw thee leave their evening joys,

And lonely stalk, To vent thy bosom's swelling rise

In pensive walk. “When youthful love, warm-blushing, strong, Keen-shivering shot thy nerves along, Those accents, grateful to thy tongue,

Th’ adored name, I taught thee how to pour in song,

To soothe thy flame.

“I saw thy pulse's maddening play, Wild send thee pleasure's devious way, Misled by fancy's meteor ray,

By passion driven; But yet the light that led astray

Was light from heaven,

“I taught thy manners-painting strains, The loves, the ways of simple swains, Till now, o'er all my wide domains

Thy fame extends : And some, the pride of Coila's plains,

Become my friends.

* Colonel Fullarton.

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