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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,
She's wrote, the Man.
Wi' hasty summon:
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;
I rhyme for fun.
But in requit,
Something cries, “ Hoolie !" I red you, honest man, tak tent!
Ye'll shaw your folly.
A’ future ages;
Their unknown pages."
Are whistling thrang,
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,
Forgot and gone !
Heave care o’er side!
Let's tak the tide.
That wielded right,
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 ;
The joy of joys !
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’ 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,
Aye rowth o'rhymes.
And maids of honour,
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.
“ 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
As weel's I may ;
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.
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; 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 :
An' downa be disputed :
Is e’en right left an' clouted,
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.
To blame your legislation,
To rule this mighty nation !
Ye've trusted ministration
Than courts yon day.
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 woods,
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'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,”
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-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,
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.
* 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,
Of kindred sweet,
She did me greet.
Thus poorly low!
As we bestow.
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.
Full on the eye. “ Hence Fullarton, the brave and young; Hence Dempster's zeal-inspired tongue ; Hence sweet harmonious Beattie sung
His • Minstrel lays;'
The skeptic's bays.
The various man.
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.