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EPITAPH FOR A SHERIFF'S MESSENGER
WRITTEN AND PUBLISHED AT THE PARTICULAR DESIRE
OF THE PERSON FOR WHOM IT IS INTENDED.
ALAS, how empty all our worldly schemes ;
Vain are our wishes, our enjoyment dreams.
A debt to nature one and all must pay,
Nor will the creditor defer her day;
Death comes a messenger, displays the writ,
And to the fatal summons all submit.
An earthly messenger I was of yore,
The scourge of debtors then, but now-no more.
Oft have I stood in all my pomp confess'd,
The blazon beaming dreadful at my breast ;
Oft have I wav'd on high th' attractive rod,
And made the wretch obsequious to my nod.
Pale shivering Poverty, that stalk'd behind,
His greasy rags loose fluttering in the wind,
And Terror, cudgel-arm'd, that strode before,
Still to my deeds unquestion’d witness bore.
Dire execution, as I march’d, was spread;
My threat’ning horn they heard—they heard and
While thus destruction mark'd my headlong
Nor mortals durst oppose my matchless force,
A deadly warrant from the court of heaven
To Death, the sovereign messenger, was given.
Swift as the lightning's instantaneous flame,
Arm’d with his dart, the king of catchpoles came.
My heart, unmov'd before, was seiz'd with fear,
And sunk beneath his all-subduing spear;
To heaven's high bar the spirit wing’d its way,
And left the carcass forfeit to the clay.
Reader! though every ill beset thee round,
With patience bear, nor servilely despond.
Though heaven awhile delay th' impending blow,
Heaven sees the sorrows of the world below,
And sets at last the suffering mourner free
From famine, misery, pestilence, and ME.
June 28th, 1759.
Mont. Abd. Ford
AT LOCHLEE, AUTHOR OF THE FORTUNATE SHEPHERDESS, AND
THE BROAD SCOTCH DIALECT.
( Ross, thou wale of hearty cocks,
Sae crouse and canty with thy jokes,
Thy hamely auldwarld muse provokes
Me for awhile
To ape our guid plain countra’ folks
In verse and stile.
Sure never carle was haff sae gabby
E’re since the winsome days o' Habby:
O mayst thou ne'er gang clung or shabby,
Nor miss thy snaker Or I'll ca’ fortune nasty drabby,
And say-pox take her!
O may the roupe ne'er roust thy weason, May thirst thy thrapple never gizzen! But bottled ale in mony a dizzen,
Aye lade thy gantry, And fouth o'rivres a' in season,
Plenish thy pantry!
Lang may thy stevin fill wi' glee
The glens and mountains of Lochlee,
Which were right gowsty but for thee,
Whase sangs enamour
Ilk lass, and teach wi' melody
The rocks to yamour.
Ye shak your head, but, o' my fegs,
Ye've set old Scota? on her legs;
Lang had she lyen wi' beffs and flegs
Bumbaz'd and dizzie;
Her fiddle wanted strings and pegs,
Waes me! poor
Since Allan's death naebody card
For anes to speer how Scota far'd,
Nor plack nor thristled turner ward
To quench her drouth ; For frae the ottar to the laird
We a' rin South.'
The Southland chiels indeed hae mettle,
And brawly at a sang can ettle,
Yet we right couthily might settle
O' this side Forth:
The devil pay them wi' a pettle
That slight the North.
Our countra leed is far frae barren,
It's even right pithy and aulfarren;
Oursells are neiper-like, I warran,
For sense and smergh ;
In kittle times when faes are yarring,
We're no thought ergh.
O bonny are our greensward hows, Where through the birks the birny rows, And the bee bums, and the ox lows,
And saft winds rusle, And shepherd lads, on sunny knows,
Blaw the blythe fusle.
It's true, we Norlans manna fa'
To eat sae nice or gang sae bra',
As they that come from far awa;
Yet a's our skaith; We've peace (and that's well worth it a"
And meat and claith.
Our fine newfangle sparks, I grant ye,
Gie' poor auld Scotland mony a taunty :
They're grown sae ugertfu' and vaunty,
They guide her like a canker'd aunty
That's deaf and doited.
Sae comes of ignorance I trow;
It's this that crooks their ill fa'r'd mou'
Wi' jokes sae coarse, they gar fouk spue
For downright skonner;
For Scotland wants na sons enew
To do her honour.
I here might gie a skreed o' names,
Dawties of Heliconian dames :
The foremost place Gawin Douglas claims,
That canty priest;
And wha can match the fifth King James
For sang or jest?
1 Author of the Vision. [It was written by Ramsay, ander the name of Scot. A. D.)