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DEATH AND DOCTOR HORN- I red ye weel, tak care o' skaith,
See there's a guly!'
'Guidman,' quo' he, 'put up your whittle, I'm no design'd to try its mettle; But if I did, I wad be kittle
To be mislear'd,
I wad na mind it, no, that spittle
Weel, weel!' says I, a bargain be't;
Come gie's your news;
This while ye hae been mony a gate,
Ay, ay!' quo' he, an' shook his head,
An' choke the breath: Folk maun do something for their bread, An' sae maun Death.
'Sax thousand years are near hand fled
'Ye ken Jock Hornbook, i' the Clachan,
See, here's a scythe, and there's a dart,
"'Twas but yestreen, nae farther gaen,
It just play'd dirl on the bane,
But did nae mair.
'Hornbook was by, wi' ready art,
'I drew my scythe in sic a fury,
*An epidemical fever was then raging in that country, + This gentleman, Dr Hornbook, is, professionally. a brother of the Sovereign Order of the Ferula ; but by intuition and inspiration, is at once an Apothecary, Surgeon, and Physician.
Buchan's Domestic Medicine,
Forbye some new, uncommon weapons,
Sal-alkali o' Midge-tail clippins,
Waes me for Johnny Ged's Hole ✶ now ;'
The creature grain'd an eldritch laugh, An' says, Ye need na yoke the pleugh, Kirk-yards will soon be till'd eneugh,
Tak ye nae fear; They'll a' be trench'd wi' mony a sheugh In twa-three year.
Whare I kill'd ane a fair strae death, By loss o' blood or want o' breath, This night I'm free to tak my aith,
That Hornbook's skill Has clad a score i' their last claith, By drap an' pill.
'An honest Wabster to his trade,
Shall he be guilty of their hireling crimes, The servile, mercenary Swiss of rhymes?
Whase wife's twa nieves were scarce weel bred, Or labour hard the panegyric close, Gat tippence-worth to mend her head,
When it was sair;
The wife slade cannie to her bed,
But ne'er spak mair.
With all the venal soul of dedicating Prose? No! though his artless strains he rudely sings, And throws his hand uncouthly o'er the strings, He glows with all the spirit of the Bard, Fame, honest fame, his great, his dear reward. Still if some Patron's generous care he trace, Skilled in the secret, to bestow with grace; When B befriends his humble name, And hands the rustic stranger up to fame,
'Twas when the stacks get on their winter hap,
And thack and rape secure the toil-won crap:
Are doom'd by man, that tyrant o'er the weak, The death o' devils, smoor'd wi' brimstone reek:
The thundering guns are heard on ev'ry side,
Sires, mothers, children, in one carnage lie :
While thick the gossamour waves wanton in
'Twas in that season, when a simple bard,
(Whether impell'd by all-directing Fate
The tide-swoln Firth, with sullen-sounding roar,
Thro' the still night dash'd hoarse along the shore :
All else was hush'd in Nature's closed e'e; The silent moon shone high o'er tow'r and tree: The chilly frost, beneath the silver beam, Crept, gently-crusting, o'er the glittering stream.
When, lo! on either hand the list'ning bard, The clanging sough of whistling wings he heard;
Two dusky forms dart thro' the midnight air, Swift as the Gost drives on the wheeling hare;
| Ane on th Auld Brig his airy shape uprears,
And ev'n the vera deils they brawly ken them.
Spying the time-worn flaws in every arch;
I doubt na', frien', ye'll think ye're nae sheepshank,
Ance ye were streekit o'er frae bank to bank
Auld Vandal, ye but show your little mense, Just much about it wi' your scanty sense; Will your poor narrow foot-path of a street, Where twa wheel-barrows tremble when they meet,
Your ruin'd formless bulk, o' stane an' lime, Compare wi' bonnie Brigs o' modern time? There's men o' taste would tak' the Ducat
Tho' they should cast the very sark and swim, Ere they would grate their feelings wi' the view Of sic an ugly Gothic hulk as you.
Conceited gowk! puff'd up wi' windy pride!
Or stately Lugar's mossy fountains boil,
A noted ford, just above the Auld Brig. †The banks of Garpal Water is one of the few places
Arous'd by blust'ring winds and spotted thowes, In mony a torrent down his sna-broo rowes; While crashing ice, borne on the roaring speat, Sweeps dams, an' mills, an' brigs, a' to the gate;
And from Glenbuck* down to the Ratton key,†
A lesson sadly teacning, to your cost,
And agonizing, curse the time and place
In plain braid Scots hold forth a plain braid story!
Nae langer thrifty Citizens, an' douce,
Wha waste your well-hain'd gear on d- -d new Brigs and Harbours!
Now haud you there! for faith ye've said enough,
And muckle mair than ye can mak to through,
As for your Priesthood, I shall say but little.
In all the pomp of ignorant conceit;
Men wha grew wise priggin' owre hops an' raisins,
Or gather'd lib'ral views in Bonds and Seisins.
No guess could tell what instrument appear'd,
The Genius of the stream in front appears,
corn; [show, Then Winter's time-bleached locks did hoary By Hospitality with cloudless brow; Next follow'd Courage with his martial stride, From where the Feal wild-woody coverts hide;
Benevolence, with mild benignant air,
A female form, came from the tow'rs of Stair: Learning and Worth in equal measures trode From simple Catrine, their long-lov'd abode : Last, white-rob'd Peace, crown'd with a hazel wreath,
To rustic Agriculture did bequeath
The broken iron instruments of death: At sight of whom our Sprites forgat their kindling wrath.