Imágenes de páginas

Mansions that would disgrace the building taste O had M‘Lauchlan,* thairm-inspiring sage,
Of any mason, reptile, bird, or beast;

Been there to hear this heavenly band engage, Fit only for a doited monkish race,

When through his dear strathspeys they bore with Or frosty maids forsworn the dear embrace,

highland rage ; Or cuifs of later times, wha held the notion Or when they struck old Scotia's melting airs, That sullen gloom was sterling, true devotion ; The lover's raptured joys or bleeding cares ; Fancies that our guid brugh denies protection, How would his highland lug been nobler fired, And soon may they expire, unblest with resurrec- And e'en his matchless hand with finer touch intion!

spired! AULD BRIG.

No guess could tell what instrument appear'd, Oye, my dear-remember'd, ancient yealings, But all the soul of music's self was heard ; Were ye but here to share my wounded feelings ! Harmonious concert rung in every part, Ye worthy proveses, an'mony a bailie,

While simple melody pour’d moving on the heart. Wha in the paths o’righteousness did toil aye;

The genius of the stream in front appears, Ye dainty deacons, and ye douce conveners,

A venerable chief advanced in years ; To whom our moderns are but causey-cleaners ;

His hoary head with water-lilies crown'd, Ye godly councils wha hae blest this town,

His manly leg with garter tangle bound. Ye godly brethren of the sacred gown,

Next came the loveliest pair in all the ring, Wha meekly gie your hurdies to the smiters ; And (what would now be strange) ye godly writers: Then, crown'd with flowery hay, came rural joy,

Sweet female beauty hand in hand with spring; A' ye douce folk I've borne aboon the broo,

And summer, with his fervid-beaming eye : Were ye but here, what would ye say or do?

All-cheering plenty, with her flowing horn, How would your spirits groan in deep vexation,

Led yellow autumn wreathed with nodding corn ; To see each melancholy alteration ;

Then winter's time-bleach'd locks did hoary show, And, agonizing, curse the time and place

By hospitality with cloudless brow. When ye begat the base, degenerate race!

Next follow'd courage with his martial stride, Nae langer reverend men, their country's glory, In plain braid Scots hold forth a plain braid story; Benevolence, with mild, benignant air,

From where the feal wild-woody coverts hide ; Nae langer thrifty citizens, an' douce,

A female form, came from the towers of Stair : Meet owre a pint, or in the council-house ;

Learning and worth in equal measures trode But staumrel, corky-headed, graceless gentry,

From simple Catrine, their long-loved abode : The herryment and ruin of the country ;

Last, white-robed peace, crownd with a hazel Men, three parts made by tailors and by barbers,

wreath, Wha waste your well-hain'd gear on d-d new

To rustic agriculture did bequeath brigs and harbours !

The broken iron instruments of death,

At sight of whom our sprites forgat their kindling Now haud you there! for faith ye’ve said enough,

And muckle mair than ye can mak to through;
As for your priesthood, I shall say but little,
Corbies and clergy are a shot right kittle :

THE DEATH AND DYING WORDS OF POOR But under favour o' your langer beard,

Abuse o' magistrates might weel be spared :
To liken them unto your auld-warld squad,

I must needs say, comparisons are odd.

In Ayr, wag-wits nae mair can hae a handle
To mouth" a citizen” a term o' scandal:

As Mailie an' her lambs thegither
Nae mair the council waddles down the street,

Were ae day nibbling on the tether, In all the pomp of ignorant conceit;

Upon her cloot she coost a hitch, Men wha grew wise priggin owre hops an' raisins,

An' owre she warsl'd in the ditch. Or gather'd liberal views in bonds and seisins, There, groaning, dying, she did lie, If haply knowledge, on a random tramp,

When Hughoct he cam doytin by. Had shored them with a glimmer of his lamp,

Wi' glowrin een, and lifted hans, Andwould to common sense for once betray'd them,

Poor Hughoc like a statue stans; Plain, dull stupidity stept kindly in to aid them.

He saw her days were near-hand ended,

But, waes my heart! he could na mend it!
What farther clishmaclaver might been said, He gaped wide, but naething spak!
What bloody wars, if sprites had blood to shed, At length poor Mailie silence brak.
No man can tell: but, all before their sight,

“ thou, whase lamentable face A fairy train appear'd in order bright:

Appears to mourn my woefu' case! Adown the glittering stream they featly danced,

My dying words attentive hear,
Bright to the moon their various dresses glanced ;

An' bear them to my master dear.
They footed o'er the watery glass so neat,
The infant ice scarce bent beneath their feet :

* A well known performer of Scottish music on the While arts of minstrelsy among them rung,

violin. And soul-ennobling bards heroic ditties sung.

† A ncebor herd-callan.


“ Tell him, if e'er again he keep,
As muckle gear as buy a sheep,
O, bid him never tie them mair
Wi’ wicked strings o’ hemp or hair!
But ca’ them out to park or hill,
An' let them wander at their will;
So may his flock increase, an' grow
To scores o' lambs, an' packs o'woo?!

“ Tell him, he was a master kin',
An'aye was guid to me and mine;
An' now my dying charge I gie him,
My helpless lambs I trust them wi' him.

“O, bid him save their harmless lives Frae dogs, an' tods, an' butchers' knives! But gie them guid cow-milk their fill, Till they be fit to fend themsel: An' tent them duly, e'en an' morn, Wi' teats o' hay an' rips o' corn.

An' may they never learn the gaets Of ither vile wanrestfu' pets! To slink through slaps, an' reave an' steal, At stacks o' pease, or stocks o' kail. So may they, like their great forbears, For monie a year come through the sheers : So wives will gie them bits o' bread, Ano bairns greet for them when they're dead.

“ My poor toop-lamb, my son an' heir, O, bid him breed him up wi’ care! An', if he liye to be a beast, To pit some havins in his breast! An' warn him, what I winna name, To stay content wi' yowes at hame; An' no to rin an' wear his cloots, Like ither menseless, graceless brutes.

“ An, niest my yowie, silly thing, Gude keep thee frae a tether string! 0, may thou ne'er forgather up Wi’ only blastit, moorland toop; But ayé keep mind to moop an’ mell, Wi' sheep o' credit like thysel !

“ And now, my bairns, wi' my last breath, I lea'e my blessin wi' you baith : An' when you think upo' your mither, Mind to be kin' to ane anither.

“Now, honest Hughoc, dinna fail To tell my master a' my tale ; An' bid him burn this cursed tether, An', for thy pains, thou'se get my blather.”

This said, poor Mailie turn'd her head, An' closed her e'en amang the dead.


LAMENT in rhyme, lament in prose, Wi’ saut tears trickling down your nose; Our bardie's fate is at a close,

Past a' remead; The last sad cape-stane of his woes;

Poor Mailie's dead!

It's no the loss o' warl's gear, That could sae bitter draw the tear Or mak our bardie, dowie, wear

The mourning weed: He's lost a friend and neebor dear,

In Mailie dead.

Through a' the town she trotted by him; A lang half-mile she could descry him; Wi' kindly bleat, when she did spy him,

She ran wi' speed : A friend mair faithful ne'er cam nigh him,

Than Mailie dead.

I wat she was a sheep o' sense, And could behave hersel wi' mense : I'll say't, she never brak a fence,

Through thievish greed. Our bardie, lanely, keeps the spense

Sin' Mailie's dead.

Or, if he wanders up the howe,
Her living image in her yowe,
Comes bleating to him, owre the knowe,

For bits o'bread;
An' down the briny pearls rowe

For Mailie dead.

She was nae get o’ moorland tips,
Wi' tawted ket, an hairy hips;
For her forbears were brought in ships

Frae yont the Tweed; A bonnier fleesh ne'er cross'd the clips

Than Mailie dead,

Wae worth the man wha first did shape
That vile, wanchancie thing—a rape!
It maks guid fellows girn an' gape,

Wi' chokin dread;
An' Robin's bonnet wave wi'crape,

For Mailie dead.

0, a' ye bards on bonnie Doon! An' wha on Ayr your chanters tune! Come, join the melancholious croon

O' Robin's reed! His heart will never get aboon !

His Mailie dead.

TO J. S****.

Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul!
Sweetener of life, and solder of society!
I owe thee much.


DEAR S****, the sleest, paukie thief,
That e'er attempted stealth or rief,
Ye surely hae some warlock-breef

Owre human hearts;
For ne'er a bosom yet was prief

Against your arts. For me, I swear by sun an’ moon, And every star that blinks aboon, Ye've cost me twenty pair o' shoon

Just gaun to see you ; And every ither pair that's done

Mair ta'en I'm wi' you.

The magic-wand then let us wield; For ance that five-an’-forty's speeld, See crazy, weary, joyless eild,

Wi' wrinkled face, Comes hostin, hirplın owre the field,

Wi'crepin pace.

That auld, capricious carlin, Nature, To mak amends for scrimpit stature, She's turn'd you aff, a human creature

On her first plan, And in her freaks, on every feature,

She's wrote, the Man. Just now I've ta’en the fit o'rhyme, My barmie noddle's working prime, My fancy yerkit up sublime

Wi' hasty summon: Hae ye a leisure-moment's time

To hear what's comin?

When ance life's day draws near the gloamın, Then fareweel vacant careless roamin; An’fareweel cheerfu' tankards foamin,

An' social noise ; An' fareweel, dear, deluding woman,

The joy of joys!

Some rhyme, a neebor's name to lash; Some rhyme (vain thought !) for needfu' cash: Some rhyme to court the kintra clash,

An’ raise a din;
For me, an aim I never fash;

I rhyme for fun.
The star that rules my luckless lot,
Has fated me the russet coat,
An' damn'd my fortune to the groat;

But in requit,
Has bless'd me wi' a random shot

O'kintra wit.

This while my notion's ta’en a sklent,
To try my fate in guid black prent;
But still the mair I'm that way bent,

Something cries, “ Hoolie !" I red you, honest man, tak tent!

Ye'll shaw your folly.

O life! how pleasant in thy morning,
Young fancy's rays the hills adorning!
Cold-pausing caution's lesson scorning,

We frisk away,
Like school-boys, at th' expected warning,

To joy and play.
We wander there, we wander here,
We eye the rose upon the brier,
Unmindful that the thorn is near,

Among the leaves;
And though the puny wound appear,

Short while it grieves
Some, lucky, find a flowery spot,
For which they never toil'd nor swat;
They drink the sweet, and eat the fat,

But care or pain;
And, haply, eye the barren hut

With high disdain. With steady aim, some fortune chase; Keen hope does every sinew brace ; Through fair, through foul, they urge the race,

And seize the prey: Then cannie, in some cozie place,

They close the day. And others, like your humble servan', Poor wights! nae rules nor roads observin; To right or left, eternal swervin,

They zig-zag on; Till curst with age, obscure an' starvin,

They aften groan. Alas! what bitter toil an’straining But truce with peevish, poor complaining ! Is fortune's fickle Luna waning?

E’en let her gang! Beneath what light she has remaining,

Let's sing our sang.

* There's ither poets, much your betters, Far seen in Greek, deep men o' letters, Hae thought they had ensured their debtors,

A’ future ages; Now moths deform in shapeless tetters,

Their unknown pages.”

Then fareweel hopes o' laurel-boughs, To garland my poetic brows! Henceforth I'll rove where busy ploughs

Are whistling thrang, An' teach the lanely heights an' howes

My rustic sang. I'll wander on, with tentless heed How never-halting moments speed, Till fate shall snap the brittle thread,

Then, all unknown, I'll lay me with the inglorious dead,

Forgot and gone!

But why o' death begin a tale ?
Just now we're living sound and hale,
Then top and maintop crowd the sail,

Heave care o'er side! And large, before enjoyment's gale,

Let's tak the tide.

My pen I here fling to the door, And kneel, “ Ye Powers !” and warm implore, “ Though I should wander terra o’er,

In all her climes, Grant me but this, I ask no more,

Aye rowth o'rhymes.

This life, sae far's I understand,
Is a' enchanted, fairy land,
Where pleasure is the magic wand,

That wielded right, Maks hours, like minutes, hand in hand,

Dance by fu’ light.

“Gie dreeping roasts to kintra lairds, Till icicles hing frae their beards ; Gie fine braw claes to fine life-guards,

And maids of honour And yill an' whisky gic to cairds,

Until they sconner.

My bardship here, at your levee,

On sic a day as this is,
Is sure an uncouth sight to see,
Amang the birth-day dresses

Sae fine this day.

I see ye're complimented thrang,

By monie a lord and lady ; “ God save the king !” 's a cuckoo sang

That's unco easy said aye ; The poets, too, a venal gang,

Wi' rhymes weel turn'd and ready, Wad gar you trow ye ne'er do wrang, But aye unerring steady,

On sic a day.

For me, before a monarch's face,

E'en there I winna flatter;
For neither pension, post, nor place,

Am I your humble debtor :
So, nae reflection on your grace,

Your kingship to bespatter ;
There's monie waur been o' the race,
And aiblins ane been better

Than you this day.

IV. 'Tis very true, my sovereign king,

My skill may weel be doubted :
But facts are chiels that winna ding,

An' downa be disputed :
Your royal nest, beneath your wing,

Is e’en right left an' clouted,
And now the third part of the string,
An' less, will gang about it

Than did ae day.

Far be't frae me that I aspire

To blame your legislation,
Or say, ye wisdom want, or fire,

To rule this mighty nation !
But, faith, I muckle doubt, my sire,

Ye've trusted ministration
To chaps wha in a barn or byre
Wad better fill their station

Than courts yon day.


And now ye’ve gien auld Britain peace,

Her broken shins to plaster,
Your sair taxation does her fleece,

Till she has scarce a tester;
For me, thank God, my life's a lease,

Nae bargain wearing faster,
Or, faith! I fear, that wi' the geese,
I shortly boost to pasture

I’ the craft some day.

“ A title, Dempster merits it;
A garter gie to Willie Pitt;
Gie wealth to some be-ledger'd cit,

In cent. per cent.
But gie me real, sterling wit,

And I'm content.

“ While ye are pleased to keep me hale
I'll sit down o'er my scanty meal,
Be't water-brose, or muslin-kail,

Wi' cheerful face,
As lang's the muses dinna fail

To say the grace.”
An anxious e'e I never throws
Behint my lug, or by my nose ;
I jouk beneath misfortune's blows

As weel's I may ;
Sworn foe to sorrow, care, and prose,

I rhyme away.
O ye douce folk, that live by rule,
Grave, tideless-blooded, calm and cool,
Compared wi' you- fool! fool! fool!

How much unlike!
Your hearts are just a standing pool,

Your lives, a dyke!
Hae hair-brain'd, sentimental traces
In your unletter'd, nameless faces !
In arioso trills and graces

Ye never stray,
But, gravissimo, solemn basses

Ye hum away.
Ye are sae grave, nae doubt ye're wise ;
Nae ferly though ye do despise
The hairum-scarum, ram-stam boys,

The rattlin squad:
I see you upward cast your eyes

-Ye ken the road.

Whilst I—but I shall haud me thereWi' you I'll scarce gang onywhereThen, Jamie, I shall say nae mair,

But quat my sang, Content wi' you to mak a pair,

Whare'er I gang.


Thoughts, words, and deeds, the statute blames with

reason; But surely dreams were ne'er indicted treason.

[On reading, in the public papers, the Laureat's Ode, with

the other parade of June 4, 1786, the author was no sooner dropped asleep, than he imagined himself to the birthday levee; and in his dreaming fancy made the following address.]

GUID-MORNING to your majesty!

May heaven augment your blisses,
On every new birth-day ye see,

An humble poet wishes !

I'm no mistrusting Willie Pitt,

When taxes he enlarges, (An' Will's a true guid fallow's get,

A name not envy spairges,)

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