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SENT TO SIR JOHN WHITEFOORD, OF WHITEFOORD,
BART. WITH THE FOREGOING POEM.
Thou, who thy bonour as thy God rever'st,
TAM O SHANTER,
of Brownyis and of Bogilis full is this Buke.
When chapman billies leave the street,
That lie between us and our hame,
This truth found honest Tam o' Shanter,
O Tam! hadst thou but been sae wise, As ta'en thy ain wife Kate's advice! She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum, A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum ; That frae November till October, Ae market-day thou was nae sober, That ilka melder, wi' the miller, Thou sat as long as thou had siller : That ev'ry naig was caʼd a shoe on, The smith and thee gat roaring fou on, That at the L-d's house, ev'n on Sunday, Thou drank wi' Kirton Jean till Monday. She prophesy'd, that late or soon, Thou would be found deep drown'd in Doon ; Or catch'd wi' warlocks in the mirk, By Alloway's auld haunted kirk.
Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet, To think how many counsels sweet, How many lengthen'd sage advices, The husband frae the wife despises !
But to our tale : Ae market night, Tam had got planted unco right;
Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely,
Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
But pleasures are like poppies spread, You seize the flow'r, its bloom is shed; Or like the snow-falls in the river, A moment white, then melts for ever ; Or like the borealis race, That fit ere you can point their place; Or like the rainbow's lovely form Evanishing amid the storm.Nae man can tether time or tide ; The hour approaches Tam maun ride; That hour, o' night's black arch the key-stane, That dreary hour he mounts his beast in;
And sic a night he taks the road in,
The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last; The rattling show'rs rose on the blast ; The speedy gleams the darkness swallow'd; Loud, deep, and lang, the thunder bellow'd: That night, a child might understand, The deil bad business on his hand.
Weel mounted on his grey mare Meg, A better never lifted leg, Tam skelpit on thro' dub and mire, Despising wind, and rain, and fire; Whiles holding fast his guid blue bonnet; Whiles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet; Whiles glow'ring round wi' prudent cares, Lest bogles catch him unawares ; Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh, Whare ghaists and houlets nightly cry.
By this time he was cross the ford, Whare in the snaw the chapman smoord; And past the birks and meikle stane, Whare drunken Charlie brack 's neck-bane; And thro' the whins, and by the cairn, Whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn; And near the thorn, aboon the well, Whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel.Before him Doon pours all his floods; The doubling storm roars thro' the woods ; The lightnings flash from pole to pole ; Near and more near the thunders roll;
When, glimmering thro' the groaning trees,
Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!