Page images

Some rhyme, a neebor's name to lash;

Some rhyme (vain thought!) for needfu' cash;
Some rhyme to court the countra clash,c
An' raise a din;

For me, an aim I never fash !d

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' countra wit.

This while my notion's taen a sklent,'
To try my fate in guid black prent;

But still the mair I'm that

I red h you,

way bent, Something cries—' Hoolie '8 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 ensur'd 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,

And teach the lanely heights an' howesk
My rustic sang.

I'll wander on wi' tentless' heed
How never-halting moments speed,

Country talk.

Aslant. Take need.

d To care for. e Doomed me to poverty. g Take time and consider. ▲ Counsel. k Hollows, or dales. ¿ Thoughtless,

Till fate shall snap the brittle thread;
Then, all unknown,

I'll lay me with th' inglorious dead,
Forgot and gone!

But why o' death begin a tale?

Just now we're living, sound, and hale,
Then top and main-top crowd the sail,
Heave care owre-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 speel'd,"
See crazy, weary, joyless eild,

Wi' wrinkled face,

Come hostin', hirplin', owre the field,
Wi' creepin' 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.

m Once, Coughing.

To climb.
q Hobbling.

• Old age. Twilight

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

Amang the leaves;

And tho' the puny wound appear,

Short while it grieves.

Some, lucky, find a flow'ry spot,
For which they never toil'd nor swat;
They drink the sweet, and eat the fat,
Butt care or pain;

And, haply, eye the barren hut

With high disdain.

With steady aim some fortune chase;
Keen Hope does every sinew brace;
Thro' fair, thro' foul, they urge the race,
And seize the prey;

Then cannie," in some coziew 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' straining-
But truce with peevish, poor complaining!
Is Fortune's fickle luna waining?

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, 'Tho' I should wander terra o'er,

In all her climes,

[blocks in formation]

u Dexterously.

w Snug

Grant me but this, I ask no more,
Ay rowth o' rhymes.

'Gie dreeping roasts to countra lairds,
Till icicles hang frae their beards;
Gie fine braw claesy to fine life-guards,
And maids of honour:

And yill2 an' whisky gie to cairds,
Until they sconner.b

'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.

'While ye are pleas'd to keep me hale,
I'll sit down o'er my scanty meal,
Be 't water-brosed or muslin-kail,
Wi' cheerfu' 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 prose,
rhyme away.

O ye douces folk that live by rule,
Grave, tideless-blooded, calm and cool,
Compar'd wi' you-O fool! fool! fool!
How much unlike!

Your hearts are just a standing pool,


b Loathe it.

e Broth,

Your lives, a dyke!

y Clothes.

z Ale.

a Tinkers. c George Dempster, Esq. of Dunnichen. d Made of meal and water only. composed of water, shelled barley, and greens. g Wise.

To stoop.

Nae 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.

Ye are sae grave, nae doubt ye 're wise;
Nae ferlyh tho' you do despise

The hairum-scairum, ram-stami boys,
The rattlin' squad:

I see you upward cast your eyes

Ye ken the road.

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

But quit my sang,

Content wi' you to make a pair,

Whare'er I gang.


An old Scottish Bard.

April 1, 1785.

WHILE briars an' woodbines budding green,

An' paitricksk scraichin' loud at e'en,

An' morning pousiel whiddin'm seen,

Inspire my Muse,

This freedom in an unknown frien'
I pray excuse.

On Fasten-e'en" we had a rockin',"

To ca' the crackP and weave the stockin';

: Thoughtless..

h With contempt. k Partridges. A hare. m Running as a hare does. n Fastens-even. • This is a term derived from those primitive times, when the country women employed their leisure hours in spinning on the rock or distaff. This instrument being very portable, was well fitted to accompany its owner to a neighbour's house; hence the phrase of going a rocking, or with the rock. The connexion, however, which the phrase had with the implement was forgotten after the rock gave place to the spinning wheel, and men talked of going a-rocking as well as women. It was at one of these rockings, or social parties, that Mr. Lapraik's song was sung. Burns being informed who was the author, wrote his first epistle to Lapraik; and his second in reply to his answer.

p To call upon some one in the company for a song or a story

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »