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The bitter blast that round me blaws
Unheeded howls, unheeded fa's;
The cauldness o' thy heart's the cause

Of a' my grief and pain, jo.


O tell na me o' wind and rain,
Upbraid na me wi' cauld disdain ;
Gae back the gait ye cam again-

I winna let ye in, jo!


I tell you now this ae night,

This ae, ae, ae night;
And ance for a’ this ae night,

I winna let you in, jo!

The snellest blast, at mirkest hours,
That round the pathless wanderer pours,
Is nocht to what poor she endures,

That's trusted faithless man, jo.

The sweetest flower that decked the mead,
Now trodden like the vilest weed;
Let simple maid the lesson read,

The weird may be her ain, jo.

The bird that charmed his summer-day,
Is now the cruel fowler's prey;
Let witless, trusting woman say

How aft her fate's the same, jo!

I do not know whether it will do.


25th February 1795. I have to thank you, my dear sir, for two epistles—one containing Let me in this ae Night; and the other from Ecclefechan, proving that, drunk or sober, your mind is never muddy. You have displayed great address in the above song. Her answer is excellent, and at the same time takes away the indelicacy that otherwise would have attached to his entreaties. I like the song, as it now stands, very much.


141 I had hopes you would be arrested some days at Ecclefeohan, and be obliged to beguile the tedious forenoons by song-making. It will give me pleasure to receive the verses you intend for wat ye wha's in yon Town?

Amongst other things snowed up by the storm of February '95, was a Scotch county election. The death of General Stewart in January had created a vacancy in the representation of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright -- a district so closely adjoining to Dumfries, that all its concerns are there deeply felt. A writ had been issued and intrusted to Lord Garlies, M.P., son of the Earl of Galloway; but his lordship kept it back for several weeks, for the ostensible reason, that it was impossible for the electors at such a season to meet for the recording of their votes. Meanwhile, public feeling was strongly excited, the vacant seat being contested between a Tory, under the Galloway influence, and an independent country gentleman of Whig politics. The latter was the same Mr Heron of Kerroughtree whom Burns had visited in June of the past year, soon after his melancholy rencontre with David M'Culloch. He was a benevolent and most respectable man. The candidate in the Tory interest was Mr Gordon of Balmaghie, himself a man of moderate property and influence, but greatly fortified by the favour of his uncle, Mr Murray of Broughton, one of the wealthiest proprietors in the south of Scotland, as well as by the interest of the Earl of Galloway.

It was certainly most unsuitable for Burns to take any part in this conflict, as, while no public duty was neglected by his silence, his partisanship was ten times more likely to do him harm than good. He saw, however, some of his favourite aversions, such as the Earl of Galloway and John Bushby of Tinwald Downs, on the one side, while on the other stood a really worthy man, who had shewn him some kindness, and whose political prepossessions accorded with his own. With his characteristic recklessness, he threw off several ballads, and even caused them to be circulated in print; effusions which must now be deemed of secondary importance in the roll of his works, but which yet are well worthy of preservation for the traits of a keen satiric spirit which mingle with their local and scarcely intelligible allusions :



Whom will you send to London town,

To Parliament and a' that?
Or wha in a' the country round

The best deserves to fa' that?

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1 The vituperation in this stanza refers, not to the Selkirk family, for which Burns had a respect, as shewn in the preceding verse, but to the Earl of Galloway.



For a' that, and a' that,
Here's Heron yet for a' that!
A House of Commons such as he,
They would be blest that saw that.


Fy, let us a' to Kirkcudbright,

For there will be bickering there; For Murray's light horse are to muster,

And oh, how the heroes will swear !1
First, there will be trusty Kerroughtree,2

Whase honour was ever his law;
If the virtues were packed in a parcel,

His worth might be sample for a'.
And strong ard respectfu’s his backing,

The maist o' the lairds wi' him stand; Nae gipsy-like nominal barons,

Whase property's paper, but lands.3
For there frae the Niddisdale borders,

The Maxwells will gather in droves,
Teugh Jockie,4 stanch Geordie,5 and Wellwood,

That griens for the fishes and loaves.
And there will be Heron the Major,7

Wha'll ne'er be forgot in the Greys;
Our flattery we'll keep for some other,

Him only 'tis justice to praise.
And there will be Maiden Kilkerran,

And also Barskimming's gude knight;9
And there will be roaring Birtwhistle, 10

Wha luckily roars i' the right.


1 This ballad is composed in imitation of a rough but most amusing specimen of the old ballad literature of Scotland, descriptive of the company attending a country wedding

Fy, let us a' to the wedding,

For there'll be lilting there,' &c. 2 Mr Heron of Kerroughtree, the Whig candidate.

3 Many of the county electors were, previous to the Reform Act of 1832, possessors of fictitious votes only-often called paper voters.

4 Mr Maxwell of Terraughty, the venerable gentleman on whose birthday Burns wrote some verses. See vol. iii., p. 204.

5 George Maxwell of Carruchan. 6 Mr Wellwood Maxwell. 7 Major Heron, brother of the Whig candidate. 8 Sir Adam Ferguson of Kilkerran. 9 Sir William Miller of Barskimming; afterwards a judge under the designation of Lord Glenlee.

10 Mr Birtwhistle of Kirkcudbright.

Next there will be wealthy young,

Dame Fortune should hing by the neck
For prodigal thriftless bestowing-

His merit had won him respect.

And there will be rich brother nabobs,

Though nabobs, yet men of the first ;2
And there will be Collieston's whiskers,3

And Quintin, o'lads not the warst.4

And there will be Stamp-office Johnnie 5_

Take care how ye purchase a dram;
And there will be gay Cassencarrie,

And there will be gleg Colonel Tam.?
And there will be folk frae St Mary's,

A house of great merit and note;8
The deil ane but honours them highly,

The deil's few will gie them a vote.

And there'll be Murray commander,9

And Gordon the battle to win; 10
Like brothers they'll stand by each other,

Sae knit in alliance and sin.

And there will be black-lippit Johnnie,

The tongue o' the trump to them a';
An he gets na hell for his haddin,

The deil gets nae justice ava.
And there'll be Kempleton's birkie, 12

A chiel no sae black at the bane;
For as for his fine nabob fortune,

We'll e'en let that subject alane.13

1 Richard Oswald of Auchincruive.
2 Messrs Hannay.
3 Mr Copland of Collieston.
4 Quintin M'Adam of Craigengillan.
5 Mr John Syme, distributer of stamps, Dumfries.

of Cassencarrie.
7 Colonel Goldie of Goldielea.
8 The family of the Earl of Selkirk.

9 Mr Murray of Broughton. This gentleman had left his wife, and eloped with a lady of rank. Large fortune had allowed him to do this with comparative impunity, and even without forfeiting the alliance of his wife's relations, one of whom he was supporting in this election.

10 Mr Gordon of Balmaghie, the government candidate. 11 Mr John Bushby.

12 William Bushby of Kempleton, brother of John. He had been involved in the ruinous affair of Douglas, Heron, & Co.'s Bank, and had subsequently gone to India, where he realised a fortune. 13 Var.-For now what he wan in the Indies,

Kes scoured up the laddie fu' clean.

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