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But mark the rustic, haggis-fed,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs, an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Ye powers, wha mak mankind your care,
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
A DEDICATION TO GAVIN HAMILTON, ESQ.
EXPECT na, sir, in this narration,
A fleechin, fleth'rin dedication,
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 why les 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,
It's no through terror of d-mn-tion; It's just a carnal inclination.
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
Wi' weel-spread looves, an' lang wry faces;
O ye wha leave the springs of C-lv-n,
Your pardon, sir, for this digression,
So, sir, ye see 'twas nae daft vapour,
I thought them something like yoursel.
Then patronize them wi' your favour,
For prayin I hae little skill o't;
I'm baith dead-sweer, an' wretched ill o't;
"May ne'er misfortune's gowling bark
To serve their king and country weel,
But whilst your wishes and endeavours
But if (which powers above prevent!)
By sad mistakes, and black mischances,
TO A LOUSE.
ON SEEING ONE ON A LADY'S BONNET AT CHURCH.
HA! whare ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie? Your impudence protects you sairly:
I canna say but ye strunt rarely
Owre gauze and lace;
Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
Swith, in some beggar's haffet squattle; Where ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle Wi' ither kindred, jumpin cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Whare horn or bane ne'er dare unsettle
Now haud ye there, ye're out o' sight,
My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump and gray as onie grozet;
I'd gie you sic a hearty doze o't,
Wad dress your droddum!
Like some bold veteran, gray in arms, And mark'd with many a seamy scar; The ponderous walls and massy bar, Grim rising o'er the rugged rock; Have oft withstood assailing war,
And oft repell'd th' invader's shock.
With awe-struck thought, and pitying tears,
Famed heroes! had their royal home: Alas! how changed the times to come! Their royal name low in the dust! Their hapless race wild-wandering roam! Though rigid law cries out, 'Twas just!
Wild beats my heart to trace your steps, Whose ancestors, in days of yore, Through hostile ranks and ruin'd gaps
Old Scotia's bloody lion bore: E'en I who sing in rustic lore,
Haply my sires have left their shed, And faced grim danger's loudest roar, Bold following where your fathers led! VIII.
Edina! Scotia's darling seat!
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.
EPISTLE TO J. LAPRAIK,
AN OLD SCOTTISH BARD.-APRIL 1st, 1785.
On fasten-een we had a rockin,
There was ae sang, amang the rest,
To some sweet wife:
It thrill'd the heart-strings through the breast, A' to the life.
I've scarce heard aught describes sae weel, What generous, manly bosoms feel; Thought I," Can this be Pope, or Steele, Or Beattie's wark !" They tauld me 'twas an odd kind chiel About Muirkirk.
It pat me fidgin-fain to hear't, And sae about him there I spier't; Then a' that ken't him round declared He had ingine,
That nane excell'd it, few cam near't, It was sae fine.
That set him to a pint of ale,
"Tween Inverness and Tiviotdale,
He had few matches.
Then up I gat, an' swoor an' aith, Though I should pawn my pleugh and graith, Or die a cadger pownie's death,
At some dyke-back,
A pint an' gill I'd gie them baith
To hear your crack.
But, first an' foremost, I should tell,
Though rude an' rough,
Yet crooning to a body's sel,
Does well eneugh.
I am nae poet, in a sense,
Yet, what the matter?
Your critic folk may cock their nose,
What's a' your jargon o' your schools,
What sairs your grammars:
Ye'd better ta'en up spades and shools,
A set o' dull conceited hashes,
An' syne they think to climb Parnassu;
Gie me ae spark o' nature's fire,
That's a' the learning I desire;
Then though I drudge through dub an' mire
At pleugh or cart,
My muse, though hamely in attire,
May touch the heart.
O for a spunk o' Allan's glee,