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'Gat tippence-worth to mend her head,

When it was sair ; “The wife slade cannie to her bed,

‘But ne'er spak mair.

"A countra Laird had ta'en the batts,
Or some curmurring in his guts,
His only son for Hornbook sets,

'An' pays him well. • The lad, for twa guid gimmer pets,

· Was laird himsel.

• A bonie lass, ye kend her name, Some ill-brewn drink had hov'd her wame : "She trusts hersel, to hide the shame,

In Hornbook's care ; Horn sent her aff to her lang hame,

• To hide it there.

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"That's just a swatch o’Hornbook's way ;
. Thus goes he on from day to day,
•Thus does he poison, kill, an’ slay,

An's weel paid for't ; *Yet stops me o'my lawfu' prey,

• Wi' his d-mn'd dirt :

“But hark ! I'll tell you of a plot,
• Tho' dinna ye be speaking o't;
"l'll nail the self-conceited Scot,

"As dead's a herrin: "Niest time we meet, I'll wad a groat,

'He gets his fairin!'

But just as he began to tell,
The auld kirk-hammer strak the bell
Some wee short hour ayont the twal,

Which rais'd us baith :
I took the way that pleas'd mysel,

And sae did Death,

THE BRIGS OF AYR,

A POEM.

Inscribed to J. B*********, Esq. Ayr.

Føe simple Bard, rough at the rustic plough,
Learning his tuneful trade from ev'ry bough;
The chanting linnet, or the mellow thrush, (bush ;
Hailing the setting sun, sweet in the green thorn
The soaring lark, the perching red-breast shrill,
Or deep-ton'd plovers, grey, wild whistling o'er the
Shall he, nurst in the Peasant's lowly shed, [hill;
To hardy independence bravely bred,
By early Poverty to hardship steeld,
And train'd to arms in stern misfortune's field,
Shall he be guilty of their hireling crimes,
The servile mercenary Swiss of rhymes ?
Or labour hard the panegyric close,
With all the venal soul of dedicating Prose ?
No! though his artless strains he rudely sings,
And throws his hand uncouthly o'er the strings,
He glows with all the spirit of the Bard,
Fame, honest fame, his great, his dear reward.
Still if some Patron's gen'rous care he trace,
Skill'd in the secret, to bestow with grace ;

When B********* befriends his humble name,
And hands the rustic stranger up to fame,
With heart-felt throes his grateful bosom swells,
The godlike bliss, to give, alone excels.

'Twas when the stacks get on their winter-hap, And thack and rape secure the toil-worn crap; Potatoe-bings are snugged up fra skaith Of coming Winter's biting, frosty breath ; The bees, rejoicing o'er their summer toils, Unnumber'd buds an’ flow'rs' delicious spoils, Seal'd up with frugal care in massive waxen piles, Are doom'd by man, that tyrant o'er the weak, The death o' devils smoord wi' brimstone reek: The thundering guns are heard on ev'ry side, The wounded coveys, reeling, scatter wide ; The feather'd field-mates, bound by Nature's tie, . Sires, mothers, children, in one carnage lie: (What warm, poetic heart, but inly bleeds, And execrates man's savage, ruthless deeds!) Nae mair the flow'r in field or meadow springs; Nae mair the grove with airy concert rings, Except perhaps the Robin's whistling glee, Proud o' the height o' some bit half-lang tree: The hoary morns precede the sunny days, Mild, calm, serene, wide spreads the noon-tide

blaze, While thick the gossamour waves wanton in the

rays. 'Twas in that season, when a simple bard, Unknown and poor, simplicity's reward, Ae night, within the ancient brugh of Ayr, By whim inspir’d, or haply prest wi' care ;

He left his bed, and took his wayward route,
And down by Simpson's* wheel'd the left about:
(Whether impell’d by all-directing Fate,
To witness what I after shall narrate,
Or whether, rapt in meditation high,
He wander'd out he knew not where nor why :)
The drowsy Dungeon-clockt had number'd two,
And Wallace Tow'rt had sworn the fact was true:
The tide-swoln Firth, with sullen-sounding roar,
Through the still night dash'd hoarse along the

shore :
All else was hush'd as Nature's closed ee;
The silent moon shone high o'er tow'r and tree:
The chilly frost, beneath the silver beam,
Crept, gently crusting, o'er the glittering stream.

When, lo! on either hand the list'ning Bard,
The clanging sugh of whistling winds he heard ;
Two dusky forms dart thro' the midnight air,
Swift as the Gost drives on the wheeling hare ;
Ane on the Auld Brig his airy shape uprears,
The ither flutters o'er the rising piers :
Our warlock Rhymer instantly descry'd .
The Sprites that owre the Brigs of Ayr preside.
(That Bards are second-sighted is nae joke,
And ken the lingo of the sp'ritual fo’k;
Fays, Spunkies, Kelpies, a', they can explain them,
And ev'n the vera deils they brawly ken them.)
Auld Brig appear'd of ancient Pictish race,
The vera wrinkles Gothic in his face :
He seem'd as he wi' Time had warstled lang,
Yet teughly doure, he bade an unco bang.

• A noted tavern at the Auld Brig end.
+ The two steeples.
* The gos-hawk, or falcon.

New Brig was buskit in a braw new coat,
That he, at Lon'on, frae ane Adams, got;
In's hand five taper staves as smooth's a bead,
Wi’virls and whirlygigums at the head.
The Goth was stalking round with anxious search,
Spying the time-worn flaws in ev'ry arch;
It chanc'd his new-come neebor took his e'e,
And e'en a vex'd and angry heart had he!
Wi' thieveless sneer to see his modish mien,
He, down the water, gies him this guideen :-

AULD BRIG.

I doubt na, frien', ye'll think ye’re nae sheep

shank; Ance ye were streekit o'er frae bank to bank! But gin ye be a brig as auld as me, Tho' faith that day, I doubt, ye'll never see; There'll be, if that date come, I'll wad a boddle, Sowe fewer whigmeleeries in your noddle.

NEW BRIG.

Auld Vandal, ye but show your little mense, Just much about it wi' your scanty sense ; Will your poor, narrow foot-path of a street, Where twa wheel-barrows tremble when they meet, Your ruin'd, formless bulk, o'stane an' lime, Compare wi' bonie Brigs o' modern time? There's men o' taste would tak the Ducat-stream, * Tho’ they should cast the very sark and swim, Ere they would grate their feelings wi' the view Of sic an ugly, Gothic bulk as you.

* A noted ford, just above the Auld Brig.

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