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POEMS,

CHIEFLY SCOTTISH.

THE TWA DOGS:

A TALE.

TWAS in that place o' Scotland's isle,
That bears the name o' Auld King Coil,
Upon a bonnie day in June,

When wearing thro' the afternoon,
Twa dogs that were na thrang at hame,
Forgather'd ance upon a time.

The first I'll name they ca'd him Cæsar,
Was keepit for his Honour's pleasure:
His hair, his size, his mouth, his lugs,
Show'd he was nane o' Scotland's dogs;
But whalpit some place far abroad,
Where sailors gang to fish for cod.

His locked, letter'd, braw brass collar Show'd him the gentleman and scholar : But tho' he was o' high degree, The fient a pride na pride had he; But wad hae spent an hour caressin', Ev'n with a tinkler gipsey's messin'. At kirk or market, mill or smiddie, Nae tawted tyke, tho' e'er sae duddie, But he wad stan't, as glad to see him, And stroan't on stanes an' hillocks wi' him.

The tither was a ploughman's collie,
A rhyming, ranting, raving billie,
Wha for his friend an' comrade had him,
And in his freaks had Luath ca'd him,
After some dog in Highland sang,*
Was made lang syne-Lord knows how lang.

He was a gash an' faithfu' tyke,
As ever lap a sheugh or dyke.
His honest, sonsie, baws'nt face,
Aye gat him friends in ilka place.
His breast was white, his towzie back
Weel clad wi' coat o' glossy black;
His gawcie tail, wi' upward curl,
Hung o'er his hurdies wi' a swurl.

• Cuchullin's dog in Ossian's Fingal.

Nae doubt but they were fain o' ither, An' unco pack an' thick thegither; Wi' social nose whyles snuff'd and snowkit; Whyles mice and modieworts they howkit; Whyles scour'd awa in lang excursion, An' worry'd ither in diversion; Until wi' daffin weary grown, Upon a knowe they sat them down, And there began a lang digression, About the lords o' the creation.

CÆSAR.

I've aften wonder'd honest Luath,
What sort o' life poor dogs like you have;
An' when the gentry's life I saw,
What way poor bodies lived ava.

Our Laird gets in his racked rents,
His coals, his kain, and a' his stents:
He rises when he likes himsel';
His flunkies answer at the bell;
He ca's his coach, he ca's his horse;
He draws a bonnie silken purse,

As lang's my tail, whare, thro' the steeks,
The yellow letter'd Geordie keeks.

Frae morn to e'en its nought but toiling, At baking, roasting, frying, boiling; An' tho' the gentry fast are stechin', Yet ev'n the ha' folk fill their pechan Wi' sauce, ragouts, and sic like trashtrie, That's little short o' downright wastrie. Our Whipper-in, wee blastit wonner, Poor worthless elf, it eats a dinner, Better than ony tenant man

His Honour has in a' the lan':

An' what poor cot-folk pit their painch in, I own its past my comprehension.

LUATH.

Trowth, Cæsar, whyles they're fash't eneugh; A cotter howkin in a sheugh, Wi' dirty stanes biggin a dyke, Baring a quarry, and sic like, Himself, a wife, he thus sustains, A smytrie o' wee duddie weans, An' nought but his han' darg, to keep Them right and tight in thack ar' rape.

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POEMS,

CHIEFLY SCOTTISH.

THE TWA DOGS:

A TALE.

TWAS in that place o' Scotland's isle,
That bears the name o' Auld King Coil,
Upon a bonnie day in June,

When wearing thro' the afternoon,
Twa dogs that were na thrang at hame,
Forgather'd ance upon a time.

The first I'll name they ca'd him Cæsar,
Was keepit for his Honour's pleasure:
His hair, his size, his mouth, his lugs,
Show'd he was nane o' Scotland's dogs;
But whalpit some place far abroad,
Where sailors gang to fish for cod.

His locked, letter'd, braw brass collar Show'd him the gentleman and scholar: But tho' he was o' high degree, The fient a pride na pride had he; But wad hae spent an hour caressin', Ev'n with a tinkler gipsey's messin'. At kirk or market, mill or smiddie, Nae tawted tyke, tho' e'er sae duddie, But he wad stan't, as glad to see him, And stroan't on stanes an' hillocks wi' him.

The tither was a ploughman's collie,
A rhyming, ranting, raving billie,
Wha for his friend an' comrade had him,
And in his freaks had Luath ca'd him,
After some dog in Highland sang,*
Was made lang syne-Lord knows how lang.

He was a gash an' faithfu' tyke,
As ever lap a sheugh or dyke.
His honest, sonsie, baws'nt face,
Aye gat him friends in ilka place.
His breast was white, his towzie back
Weel clad wi' coat o' glossy black;
His gawcie tail, wi' upward curl,
Hung o'er his hurdies wi' a swurl.

• Cuchullin's dog in Ossian's Fingal.

Nae doubt but they were fain o' ither, An' unco pack an' thick thegither; Wi' social nose whyles snuff'd and snowkit; Whyles mice and modieworts they howkit; Whyles scour'd awa in lang excursion, An' worry'd ither in diversion; Until wi' daffin weary grown, Upon a knowe they sat them down, And there began a lang digression, About the lords o' the creation.

CÆSAR.

I've aften wonder'd honest Luath, What sort o' life poor dogs like you have; An' when the gentry's life I saw, What way poor bodies lived ava.

Our Laird gets in his racked rents, His coals, his kain, and a' his stents: He rises when he likes himsel'; His flunkies answer at the bell; He ca's his coach, he ca's his horse; He draws a bonnie silken purse, As lang's my tail, whare, thro' the steeks, The yellow letter'd Geordie keeks.

Frae morn to e'en its nought but toiling, At baking, roasting, frying, boiling; An' tho' the gentry fast are stechin', Yet ev'n the ha' folk fill their pechan Wi' sauce, ragouts, and sic like trashtrie, That's little short o' downright wastrie. Our Whipper-in, wee blastit wonner, Poor worthless elf, it eats a dinner, Better than ony tenant man

His Honour has in a' the lan':

An' what poor cot-folk pit their painch in,

I own its past my comprehension.

LUATH.

Trowth, Cæsar, whyles they're fash't enough; A cotter howkin in a sheugh, Wi' dirty stanes biggin a dyke, Baring a quarry, and sic like, Himself, a wife, he thus sustains, A smytrie o' wee duddie weans, An' nought but his han' darg, to keep Them right and tight in thack ar' rape.

An' when they meet wi' sair disasters, Like loss o' heath, or want of masters, Ye maist wad think, a wee touch langer, An' they maun starve o' cauld and hunger; But, how it comes, I never ken'd yet, They're maistly wonderfu' contented; An' buirdly chiels, an clever hizzies, Are bred in sic a way as this is.

CÆSAR.

But then to see how ye're negleckit, How huff'd, and cuff'd, and disrespeckit! L--d, man, our gentry care as little For delvers, ditchers, and sic cattle; They gang as saucy by poor fo'k, As I wad by a stinking brock.

I've notic'd on our Laird's court day An' mony a time my heart's been wae, Poor tenant bodies, scant o' cash, How they maun thole a factor's snash; He'll stamp an' threaten, curse an' swear, He'll apprehend them, poind their gear; While they maun stan', wi' aspect humble, An' hear it a', an' fear an' tremble!

I see how folk live that hae riches; But surely poor folk maun be wretches:

LUATH.

They're nae sae wretched's ane wad think;
Tho' constantly on poortith's brink:
They're sae accustomed wi' the sight,
The view o't gi'es them little fright.

Then chance an' fortune are sae guided,
They're aye in less or mair provided;
An' tho' fatigu'd wi' close employment,
A blink o' rest's a sweet enjoyment.

The dearest comfort o' their lives,
Their grushie weans an' faithfu' wives;
The prattlin things are just their pride
That sweetens a' their fire-side.

An' whyles twalpennie worth o' nappy Can mak the bodies unco happy; They lay aside their private cares, To mind the Kirk and State affairs: They'll talk o' patronage and priests, Wi' kindling fury in their breasts, Or tell what new taxation's comin', And ferlie at the folk in Lon'on.

As bleak-fac'd Hallowmas returns, They get the jovial, rantin' kirns, When rural life, o' every station. Unite in common recreation : Love blinks, Wit slaps, an' social Mirth, Forgets there's Care upo' the earth.

That merry day the year begins, They bar the door on frosty winds; The nappy reeks wi' mantling ream An' sheds a heart-inspiring steam;

The luntin' pipe, and sneeshin' mill,
Are handed round wi' right guid will:
The cantie auld folks crackin' crouse,
The young anes rantin' thro' the house,-
My heart has been sae fain to see them,
That I for joy hae barkit wi' them.

Still it's owre true that ye hae said,
Sic game is now owre aften play'd.
There's monie a creditable stock
O' decent, honest, fawsont fo'k,
Are riven out baith root and branch,
Some rascal's pridefu' greed to quench,
Wha thinks to knit himself the faster
In favours wi' some gentle master,
Wha aiblins thrang a parliamentin',
For Britain's guid his saul indentin'-

CÆSAR.

Haith, lad, ye little ken about it: For Britain's guid!-guid faith, I doubt it! Say, rather, gaun as Premiers lead him, An' saying aye or no's they bid him : At operas an' plays parading, Mortgaging, gambling, masquerading; Or may be, in a frolic daft, To Hague or Calais takes a waft, To mak a tour, and tak a whirl, To learn bon ton and see the worl'.

There, at Vienna, or Versailles, He rives his father's auld entails! Or by Madrid he takes the rout, To thrum guitars and fecht wi' nowt; Or down Italian vista startles, Wh--re-hunting among groves o' myrtles: Then bouses drumly German water, To mak himsel' look fair and fatter, An' clear the consequential sorrows, Love gifts of Carnival signoras. For Britain's guid!-for her destruction! Wi' dissipation, feud, an' faction.

LUATH.

Hech man! dear sirs! is that the gate They waste sae mony a braw estate! Are we sae foughten an' harass'd For gear to gang that gate at last!

O would they stay aback frae courts, An' please themselves wi' countra sports, It wad for every ane be better,

The Laird, the Tenant, an' the Cotter !
For thae frank, rantin', ramblin' billies,
Fient haet o' them's ill-hearted fellows;
Except for breakin' o' their timmer,
Or speakin' lightly o' their limmer,
Or shootin' o' a hare or moor-cock,
The ne'er a bit they're ill to poor folk.

But will ye tell me, Master Casar, Sure great folk's life's a life o' pleasure! Nae cauld or hunger e'er can steer them, The very thought o't need na fear them.

CÆSAR.

L-d, man, were ye but whyles where I am, The gentles ye wad ne'er envy 'em.

It's true, they need na starve or sweat,
Thro' winter's cauld or simmer's heat;
They've nae sair wark to craze their banes,
An' fill auld age wi gripes an' granes :
But human bodies are sic fools,
For a' their colleges an' schools,
That when nae real ills perplex them,
They mak enow themselves to vex them.
An' aye the less they hae to sturt them,
In like proportion less will hurt them;
A country fellow at the pleugh,
His acres till'd, he's right eneugh;
A country girl at her wheel,
Her dizzens done, she's unco weel;
But Gentlemen, an' Ladies warst,
Wi' ev'ndown want o' wark are curst.
They loiter, lounging, lank, an' lazy;
Tho' deil haet ails them, yet uneasy;
Their days insipid, dull, an' tasteless;
Their nights unquiet, lang, an' restless;
An' ev'n their sports, their balls, an' races,
Their gallopin' through public places.
There's sic parade, sic pomp, an' art,
The joy can scarcely reach the heart.
The men cast out in party matches,
Then sowther a' in deep debauches:

Ae night they're mad wi' drink an' wh-ring,
Neist day their life is past enduring.
The ladies arm-in-arm in clusters,
As great and gracious a' as sisters;
But hear their absent thoughts o' ither,
They're a' run deils an' jads thegither.
Whyles o'er the wee bit cup and platie,
They sip the scandal potion pretty;
Or lee lang nights, wi' crabbit leuks
Pore owre the devil's pictur'd beuks;
Stake on a chance a farmer's stackyard,
An' cheat like ony unhang'd blackguard.

There's some exception, man an' woman;
But this is Gentry's life in common.

By this the sun was out o' sight:
An' darker gloaming brought the night:
The bum-clock humm'd wi' lazy drone;
The kye stood rowtin' i' the loan:
When up they gat an shook their lugs,
Rejoic'd they were na men but dogs;
And each took aff his several way,
Resolv'd to meet some ither day.

SCOTCH DRINK.

Gie him strong drink, until he wink,
That's sinking in despair;
An' liquor guid to fire his bluid,
That's prest wi' grief an' care;

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