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I stacher'd whyles, but yet took tent ay
To free the ditches; An' hillocks, stanes, an' bushes kenn'd ay
Frae ghaists an' witches.
The rising moon began to glow'r
I set mysel;
I cou'd na tell.
I was come round about the hill,
To keep me sicker;
I took a bicker.
I there wi' Something did forgather,
Clear-dangling, hang; A three-tae'd leister on the ither
Lay, large an’ lang.
Its stature seem'd lang Scotch ells twa,
And then, its shanks,
As cheeks o' branks, VOL, XXXVIII. G
Guid-een,' quo' I;'Friend ! hae ye been mawin, • When ither folk are busy sawin ?"* It seem'd to mak a kind o stan',
But naething spak; At length, says I,' Friend, whare ye gaun,
Will ye go back?'
It spak right howe,-- My name is Death, * But be na fley’d.'-Quoth I, “Guid faith, *Ye’re may be come to stap my breath ;
‘But tent me billie : ye weel, tak care o skaith.
•See, there's a gully!
"Gudeman,' quo' he, 'put up your whittle,
“To be mislear'd, "I wad na mind it, no, that spittle
Out-owre my beard.
• Weel, weel!' says I, ' a bargain be't;
Come, gies your hand, an’ sae we're gree't ; "We'll ease our shanks an' tak a seat,
Come, gies your news; This whilet ye hae been mony a gate
*At mony a house.'
• Ay, ay!' quo' he, an' shook his head, 'It's e’en a lang, lang time indeed
• This rencounter happened in seed-time, 1785.
<Sin'i began to nick the thread,
An' choke the breath : *Folk maun do something for their bread,
. An' sae maun Death.
Sax thousand years are near hand fled Sin' I was to the butching bred, • An' mony a scheme in vain's been laid,
• To stap or scar me ; 'Till ane Horuibook 's* ta'en up the trade,
* An' faith, he'll waur me.
“Ye ken Jock Hornbook i' the Clachan,
An' ither chaps, *The weans baud out their fingers laughin
• And pouk my hips.
"See, here's a scythe, and there's a dart,
"And cursed skill, ‘Has made them baith no worth a f-t,
“Damn'd haet they'll kill.
''Twas yestreen, nae farther gaen, •I threw a noble throw at ane ;
* This gentleman, Dr. Hornbook, is, professionally, a brother of the Sovereign Order of the Ferula; but, by intuition and inspi. ration, is at once an Apothecary, Surgeon, and Physician.
of Buchan's Domestic Medicine.
Wi' less, I'm sure, I've hundreds slain;
• But deil-ma-care, 'It just play'd dirl on the bane,
But did nae mair.
• Hornbook was by, wi' ready art,
It was sae blunt,
Of a kail-runt.
*I drew my scythe in sic a fury,
“Withstood the shock; I might as weel have try'd a quarry
«O' hard whin rock.
* Ev’n them he canna get attended,
As soon he smells't, ‘Baith their disease, and what will mend it
"At once he tells't.
“And then a' doctor's saws and whittles,
"He's sure to hae; • Their Latin names as fast he rattles
"As A B C.
• Calces o' fossils, earth, and trees; * True Sal-marinum o' the seas;
The Farina of beans and pease,
• He has't in plenty: * Aqua-fontin, what you please,
• He can content ye. * Forbye some new, uncommon weapons, • Urinus Spiritus of capons ; • Or Mite-horn shavings, filings, scrapings,
• Distillid per se; * Sal-alkali o' Midge-tail-clippings,
• And mony mae.'
*Waes me for Johnny Ged's Hole* now,'
* Sae white and bonie, Nae doubt they'll rive it wi' the plew ;
• They'll ruin Johnie !" The creature grain’d an eldritch laugh, And says, “Yo need na yoke the pleugh, * Kirkyards 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 of breath, * This night I'm free to take my aith,
"Tthat Hornbook's skill * Has clad a score i' their last claith,
By drap an' pill. • An honest Wabster to his trade, * Whase wife's twa nieves were scarce weel bred,
• The grave digger.