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EPISTLE TO J. R******,


O ROUGH, rude, ready-witted R******,
The wale o cocks for fun and drinkin!
There's mony godly folks are thinkin,

Your dreams* an' tricks Will send you, Korah-like, a-sinkin,

Straught to auld Nick's.

Ye hae sae monie cracks an' cants, And in your wicked, drucken rants, Ye mak a devil o' the saunts,

An' fill them fou; And then their failings, flaws, an’ wants,

Are a' seen thro'.

Hypocrisy, in mercy spare it!
That holy robe, o dinna tear it!
Spare 't for their sakes wha aften wear it,

The lads in black !
But your curst wit, when it comes near it,

Rives 't aff their back.

Think, wicked sinner, wha ye're skaithing, Its just the blue-gown badge an' claithing O’ saunts; tak that, ye lea'e them naething

To ken them by, Frae ony unregenerate heathen

Like you or I.

* A certain humorous dream of his was then making a noise in the country-side.

I've sent you here some rhyming ware,
A' that I bargain'd for an' mair;
Sae, when ye hae an hour to spare,

I will expect
Yon sang,* ye'll sen't wi' cannie care,

And no neglect.

Tho’ faith, sma' heart hae I to sing! My muse dow scarcely spread her wing ! I've play'd mysel a bonnie spring,

An' danc'd my fill ! I'd better gaen an' sair'd the king,

At Bunker's Hil.

'Twas ae night lately in my fun, I gaed a roving wi' the gun, An' brought a paitrick to the grun,

A bonnie hen, And, as the twilight was begun,

Thought nane wad ken. The poor wee thing was little burt; I straikit it a wee for sport, Ne'er thinkin they wad fash me for't ;

But, deil-ma-care ! Somebody tells the poacher-court

The hale affair.

Some auld us'd hands had ta'en a note,
That sic a hen had got a shot;
I was suspected for the plot ;

I scorn'd to lie;
So gat the whissle o' my groat,

An' pay't the fee. A song he bad promised the Author.

But, by my gun, o' guns the wale,
An' by my pouther an' my hail,
An' by my hen, an' by her tail,

I vow an' swear!
The game shall pay o'er moor an' dale,

For this, niest year.

As soon's the clockin-time is by,
An' the wee pouts begun to cry,
L-d, l'se hae sportin by an' by,

For my gowd guinea :
Tho' I should herd the buckskin kye

For 't, in Virginia.

Trowth, they had muckle for to blame ! 'Twas neither broken wing nor limb, But twa-three draps about the wame

Scarce thro' the feathers ; An' baith, a yellow George to claim,

An' thole their blethers!

It pits me ay as mad's a hare ;
So I can rhyme nor write nae mair ;
But pennyworths again is fair,

When time's expedient : Meanwhile I am, respected Sir,

Your most obedient.




THERE was three kings into the east,

Three kings both great and high,
An' they ha' sworn a solemn oath

John Barleycorn should die.

They took a plough, and plough'd him down,

Put clods upon his head,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath

John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerful spring came kindly OD,

And show'rs began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again,
And sore surpris'd them all.

The sultry suns of summer came,

And he grew thick and strong,
His head weel arm'd wi' pointed spear,

That no one should him wrong.

The sober autumn enter'd mild,

When he grew wan and pale ;

This is partly composed on the plan of an old song known by the same names

His bending joints and drooping head

Show'd he began to fail.

His colour sicken'd more and more,

He faded into age;
And then his enemies began

To shew their deadly rage.

VII. They've taen a weapon, long and sharp,

And cut him by the knee; Then ty'd him fast upon a cart,

Like a rogue for forgerie,

They laid him down upon his back,

And cudgell'd him full sore ;
They hung him up before the storm,

And turn'd him o'er and o'er.

They filled up a darksome pit

With water to the brim,
They heaved in John Barleycorn,

There let him sink or swim.

They laid him out upon the floor,

To work him further woe,
And still, as signs of life appear'd,

They toss'd him to and fro.

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