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ROBERT BURNS.-A. D. 1759-96.
THE TWA DOGS.
'Twas in that place o' Scotland's isle,
The first I'll name, they ca'd him Cæsar,
His locked, letter'd, braw brass collar,
The tither was a ploughman's collie,
He was a gash an' faithful tyke,
Nae doubt but they were fain o'ither,
Cæsar. I've aften wonder'd, honest Luath, What sort o' life poor dogs like you have; An' when the gentry's life I saw, What way poor bodies liv’d ava.
Our laird gets in his racked rents,
Frae morn to e'en it's nought but toiling,
An' when they meet wi' sair disasters,
Cæsar. But then to see how ye’re negleckit, How huff’d, and cuff'd, and disrespeckit! L-d, man, our gentry care as little For delvers, ditchers, an' sic cattle; They gang as saucy by poor folk, As I wad by a stinking brock.
I've notic'd, on our laird's court-day, An' mony a time my heart's been wae, Poor tenant bodies, scant o'cash, How they maun thole a factor's snash : He'll stamp an' threaten, curse an' swear, He'll apprehend them, poind their gear; While they maun stan', wi' aspect humble; An' hear it a', an' fear an' tremble!
I see how folk live that hae riches;
There, at Vienna or Versailles, But surely poor folk maun be wretches.
He rives his father's auld entails ;
Or by Madrid he takes the rout,
To thrum guitars, and fecht wi' nowt;
Or down Italian vista startles, Though constantly on poortith's brink:
Wh-re-hunting among groves o' myrtles: They're sae accustom'd wi' the sight,
Then bouses drumly German water, The view o't gies them little fright.
To mak himsel look fair and fatter, Then chance an' fortune are sae guided,
An' clear the consequential sorrows, They're ay in less or mair provided;
Love-gifts of carnival signoras. An' though fatigu'd wi' close employment,
For Britain's guid! for her destruction! A blink o' rest's a sweet enjoyment.
Wi' dissipation, feud, an' faction.
Hech man! dear sirs ! is that the gate
They waste sae mony a braw estate! An' whyles twalpennie-worth o' nappie
Are we sae foughten an' harass'd Can make the bodies unco happy;
For gear to gang that gate at last! They lay aside their private cares,
O would they stay aback frae courts, To mind the kirk and state affairs:
An' please themselves wi' countra sports, They'll talk o' patronage and priests,
It wad for ev'ry ane be better, Wi' kindling fury in their breasts,
The laird, the tenant, an' the cotter! Or tell what new taxation's comin,
For thae frank, rantin, ramblin billies, An' ferlie at the folk in Lon'on.
Fient haet o' them's ill-hearted fellows! As bleak-fac'd Hallowmas returns,
Except for breakin o' their timmer, They get the jovial, ranting kirns,
Or speakin lightly o’ their limmer, When rural life, o' every station,
Or shootin o' a hare or moor-cock, Unite in common recreation :
The ne'er a bit they're ill to poor
folk. Love blinks, wit slaps, and social mirth,
But will you tell me, Master Cæsar, Forgets there's care upon the earth.
Sure great folk's life's a life o' pleasure ? That merry day the year begins,
Nae cauld or hunger e'er can steer them, They bar the door on frosty winds;
The vera thought o't need na fear them.
L-d, man, were ye but whyles whare I am, Are handed round wi' right guid will;
The gentles ye wad ne'er envy 'em. The cantie auld folks crackin crouse,
It's true, they need na starve or sweat, The young ones rantin through the house
Through winter's cauld, or simmer's heat; My heart has been sae fain to see them,
They've nae sair wark to craze their banes, That I for joy hae barkit wi' them.
An' fill auld age wi' grips an' granes: Still its owre true that ye hae said,
But human bodies are sic fools, Sic game is now owre aften play'd.
For a' their colleges and schools, There's monie a creditable stock
That when pae real ills perplex them, O decent, honest, fawsont folk,
They make enow themsels to vex them; Are riven out baith root and branch,
An'ay the less they hae to start them, Some rascal's pridefu' greed to quench,
In like proportion less will hurt them. Wha thinks to knit himsel the faster
A country-fellow at the pleugh, In favour wi' some gentle master,
His acres tillid, he's right enough; Wha, aiblins, thrang a-parliamentin,
A country girl at her wheel, For Britain's guid his saul indentin
Her dizzen's done, she's unco weel :
But gentlemen, an' ladies warst,
Wi' ev'ndown want o wark are curst.
They loiter, lounging, lank, an' lazy; For Britain's guid! guid faith: I doubt it.
Tho' deil haet ails them, yet uneasy ; Say rather, gaun as premiers lead him,
Their days insipid, dull, an' tasteless; An' saying aye or no's they bid him:
Their nights unquiet, lang, and restless : At operas an' plays parading,
An' e'en their sports, their balls, an' races, Mortgaging, gambling, masquerading;
Their galloping through public places. Or, maybe, in a frolic daft,
There's sic parade, sic pomp, an' art, To Hague or Calais takes a waft,
The joy can scarcely reach the heart. To make a tour, an' tak a whirl,
The men cast out in party matches, To learn bon ton an' see the worl'.
Then sowther a' in deep debauches :
Ae night thy're mad wi' drink an' wh-ring,
The mother, wi' her needle an' her sheers, Niest day their life is past enduring.
Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new; The ladies arm-in-arm in clusters,
The father mixes a' wi' admonition due.
Their master's an' their mistress's command, They're a' run deils an' jades thegither.
The younkers a' are warned to obey; Whyles, o'er the wee bit cup an' platie,
“ An’ mind their labours wi' an eydent hand, They sip the scandel potion pretty;
An' ne'er, though out o' sight, to jauk or play: Or lee-lang nights, wi' crabbit leuks
An'o! be sure to fear the Lord alway! Pore owre the devil's pictur'd beuks;
An' mind your duty, duly, morn an' night! Stake on a chance a farmer's stackyard.
Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray,
Implore his counsel and assisting might:
They never sought in vain, that sought the Lord
But hark! a rap comes gently to the door;
Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the same,
Tells how a neebor lad cam o'er the moor,
To do some errands, and convoy her hame.
The wily mother sees the conscious flame
Sparkle in Jenny's e'e, and Alush her cheek;
With heart-struck anxious care, inquires his name,
While Jenny haffins is afraid to speak;
Wi' kindly welcome Jenny brings him ben;
A strappan youth; he takes the mother's eye;
Blythe Jenny sees the visit's no ill ta’en;
The father craks of horses, pleughs, and kye.
The youngster's artless heart o'erflows wi' joy, The toil-worn cotter frae his labour goes,
But blate and laithfu', scarce can weel behave; This night his weekly moil is at an end,
The mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes, What makes the youth sae bashfa'an' sae grave; Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend,
Weel pleas'd to think her bairn's respected like the And weary, o'er the moor, his course does home
lave. ward bend.
O happy love! where love like this is found! At length his lonely cot appears in view,
O heart-felt raptures! bliss beyond compare ! Beneath the shelter of an aged tree;
I've paced much this weary, mortal round,
And sage experience bids me this declare-
One cordial in this melancholy vale,
'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair,
In others' arms breathe out the tender tale, Does a' his weary carking cares beguile,
Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the ev'nAn' makes him quite forget his labour and his toil.
ing gale.” Belyve the elder bairns come drappin in,
Is there, in human form, that bears a heart-
A wretch ! a villain! lost to love and truth!
Betray sweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth 2
Are honour, virtue, conscience, all exil'd ?
Points to the parents fondling o'er their child?
Then paints the ruin'd maid, and their distraction
wild! Wi' joy unfeign’d brothers and sisters meet,
An' each for other's weelfare kindly spiers; But now the supper crowns their simple board!
Each tells the uncos that he sees or hears; The soupe their only hawkie does afford,
That 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cud:
The dame brings forth in complimental mood,
To grace the lad, her weel-hain’d kebbuck fell, Then homeward all take off their sev'ral way; An' aft he's press'd, an' aft he ca's it good;
The youngling cottagers retire to rest : The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell,
The parent-pair their secret homage pay, How 'twas a towmond auld, sin' lint was i' the bell. And proffer up to Heaven the warm request
That he who stills the raven's clam'rous nest, The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face,
And decks the lily fair in flow'ry pride, They, round the ingle, form a circle wide;
Would in the way his wisdom sees the best, The sire turns o'er, wi' patriarchal grace,
For them and for their little ones provide; The big Ha’-Bible, ance his father's pride:
But chiefly in their hearts with grace divine preside. His bonnet rev’rently is laid aside, His lyart haffets wearin thin an' bare;
From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide,
springs, He wales a portion with judicious care ;
That makes her lov'd at home, rever'd abroad: And "let us worship God!” he says, with solemn air. Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,
“ An honest man's the noblest work of God:" They chant their artless notes in simple guise ;
And certes, in fair virtue's heav'nly road, They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim:
The cottage leaves the palace far behind: Perhaps Dundee's wild warbling measures rise,
What is a lordling's pomp? a cumbrous load, Or plaintive Martyr's, worthy of the name :
Disguising oft the wretch of human-kind,
Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refind!
The tickled ears no heartfelt raptures raise ; For whom my warmest wish to heaven is sent! Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise. Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil, (tent!
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet conThe priest-like father reads the sacred
And, O! may Heaven their simple lives prevent How Abram was the friend of God on high; Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage
From luxury's contagion, weak and vile!
Then, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent, With Amalek's ungracious progeny;
A virtuous populace may rise the while, Or, how the royal bard did groaning lie
And stand a wall of fire around their much-lov'disle. Beneath the stroke of heaven's avenging ire; Or, Job's pathetic plaint, and wailing cry;
O thou! who pour’d the patriotic tide Or, rapt Isaiah's wild seraphic fire;
That stream'd thro' Wallace's undaunted heart; Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre.
Who dar'd to, nobly, stem tyrannic pride, Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme,
Or nobly die, the second glorious part, How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed;
(The patriot's God, peculiarly thou art, How he, who bore in heav'n the second name,
His friend, inspirer, guardian, and reward!) Had not on earth whereon to lay his head:
O never, never, Scotia's realm desert: How his first followers and servants sped;
But still the patriot and the patriot bard,
In bright succession raise, her ornament and guard! The precepts sage they wrote to many a land: How he, who lone in Patmos banished, Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand;
LAMENT FOR JAMES, EARL OF And heard great Bab'lon's doom pronoun’d by Hea
GLENCAIRN. ven's command.
The wind blew hollow frae the hills,
The saint, the father, and the husband prays: Look'd on the fading yellow woods
That thus they all shall meet in future days: Beneath a craigy steep, a bard,
Laden with years and meikle pain, No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear,
In loud lament bewail'd his lord,
Whom death had all untimely ta'en.
He lean'd him to an ancient aik,
Whose trunk was mould'ring down with years;
His hoary cheek was wet wi' tears!
And as he tun'd his doleful sang, The Pow'r, incens'd, the pageant will desert,
The winds, lamenting thro' their caves, The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole;
To echo bore the notes alang. But haply, in some cottage far apart,
May hear, well pleas'd, the language of the soul; “ Ye scatter'd birds that faintly sing, And in his book of life the inmates poor enrol. The reliques of the vernal quire!
Ye woods that shed on a' the winds
The mother may forget the child The honours of the aged year!
That smiles sae sweetly on her knee; A few short months, and glad and gay,
But I'll remember thee, Glencairn,
And a' that thou hast done for me!"
HIGHLAND MARY. ** I am a bending aged tree,
Tung_" Katherine Ogie." - That long has stood the wind and rain;
Ye banks, and braes, and streams around But now has come a cruel blast,
The castle o' Montgomery, And my last hald of earth is gane:
Green be your woods, and fair your flowers, Nae leaf o' mine shall greet the spring,
Your waters never drumlie! Nae summer sun exalt my bloom;
There simmer first unfald her robes, But I maun lie before the storm,
And there the langest tarry ; And ithers plant them in my room.
For there I took the last fareweel • I've seen sae monie changefu' years,
O' my sweet Highland Mary. On earth I am a stranger grown;
How sweetly bloom'd the gay green birk, I wander in the ways of men,
How rich the hawthorn's blossom ; Alike unknowing and unknown:
As underneath their fragrant shade Unheard, unpitied, unreliev'd,
I clasp'd her to my bosom! I bear alane my lade o' care,
The golden hours on angel wings For silent, low, on beds of dust,
Flew o'er me and my dearie; Lie a' that would my sorrows share.
For dear to me, as light and life, ** And last (the sum of a' my griefs !)
Was my sweet Highland Mary. My noble master lies in clay;
Wi'mony a vow, and lock'd embrace, The flow'r amang our barons bold,
Our parting was su' tender; His country's pride, his country's stay:
And, pledging aft to meet again, In weary being now I pine,
We tore oursels asunder; For a' the life of life is dead,
But oh! fell death's untimely frost, And hope has left my aged ken,
That nipt my flower sae early ! On forward wing for ever fled.
Now green's the sod, and cauld's the clay, “ Awake thy last sad voice, my harp!
wraps my Highland Mary! The voice of woe and wild despair!
O pale, pale now,
those rosy lips, Awake, resound thy latest lay,
I aft hae kiss'd sae fondly! Then sleep in silence evermair!
And clos’d, for ay, the sparkling glance, And thou, my last, best, only friend,
That dwelt on me sae kindly! That fillest an untimely tomb,
And mouldering now in silent dust, Accept this tribute from the bard
That heart that lo'ed me dearly!
Shall live my Highland Mary.
TO A MOUSE,
PLOUGA, NOVEMBER, 1785.
Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie, Became alike thy fostering care.
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty, “O! why has worth so short a date,
Wi' bickerin brattle! While villains ripen grey with time!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee, Must thou, the noble, gen'rous, great,
Wi” murdoring pattle! Fall in bold inanhood's hardy prime! Why did I live to see that day?
I'm truly sorry man's dominion A day to me so full of woe!
Has broken nature's social union, O! had I met the mortal shaft
An' justifies that ill opinion, Which laid my benefactor low!
Which maks thee startle “ The bridegroom may forget the bride
At me, thy poor earth-born companion,
I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve; That on his head an hour has been;
What then ? poor beastie, thou mann live!
ON TURNING HER UP IN HER NEST WITH THE