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A daimen icker in a thrave

The flaunting flow'rs our gardens yield, 's a sma request :

High shelt'ring woods and wa's maun shield, I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,

But thou, beneath the random bield,
And never miss't!

O'clod or stane,

Adorns the histie stibble-field,
Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!

Unseen, alane.
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,

There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
O' soggage green!

Thy snawie bosom sun-ward spread,
An' bleak December's win's ensuin,

Thou lifts thy unassuming head
Baith snell and keen!

In humble guise ;

But now the share uptears thy bed,
Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,

And low thou lies!
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,

Such is the fate of artless Maid,
Thou thought to dwell,

Sweet floweret of the rural shade!
Till, crash! the cruel coulter past

By love's simplicity betray'd,
Out through thy cell.

And guileless trust,

Till she, like thee, all soil'd is laid
That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,

Low i' the dust.
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a'thy trouble,

Such is the fate of simple Bard,
But house or hald,

On life's rough ocean luckless starr'd!
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,

Unskilful he to note the card
An'cranreuch cauld!

Of prudent lore,

Till billows rage, and gales blow hard, But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,

And whelm him o'er!
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men

Such fate to suffering worth is giv'n,
Gang aft a-gley,

Who long with wants and woes has striv'n, An' lea'e us nought but grief and pain,

By human pride or cunning driv'n,
For promis'd joy.

To mis’ry's brink,

Till wrench'd of ev'ry stay but Heav'n, Still thou art blest, compard wi' me!

He, rujn'd, siok! The present only toircheth thee:

Ev'n thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate, But, och! I backward cast my e'e

That fate is thine no distant date;
On prospects drear!
An' forward, though I canna see,

Stern Ruin's ploughshare drives elate,

Full on thy bloom,
I guess an' fear.

Till crush'd beneath the furrow's weight,

Shall be thy doom!



APRIL, 1786,


Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow'r,
Thou'st met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure

Thy slender stem;
To spare thee now is past my pow'r,

Thou bonie gem.

Alas! it's no thy neebor sweet, The bonie lark, companion meet! Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet,

Wi' spreckled breast,
When upward-springing, blythe, to greet

The purpling east.
Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Upon thy early, humble birth ;
Yet cheerfully thou glinted fortha

Amid the storm,
Scarce rear'd above the parent-earthi

Thy lender form.

Of Brownyis and of Bogilis full is this Buke,

When chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neebors, neebors meet,
As market-days are wearing late,
An' folk begin to tak the gate;
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
An' getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps, and styles,
That lie between us and our hame;
Whare sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gath’ring her brows like gath'ring storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter,
As he, fra Ayr, ae night did canter,
(Auld Ayr wham ne'er a town surpasses,
For honest' men and bonje tasses.)

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O Tam! hads't thou but been sae wise,

Weel mounted on his grey mare, Meg,
As taen thy ain wife Kate's advice !

A better never lifted leg,
She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum,

Tam skelpit on thro' dub and mire,
A blethring, blustering, drunken blellum ; Despising wind, and rain, and fire ;
That frae November till October,

Whyles holding fast his guid blue bonnet;
Ae market-day thou was na sober;

Whyles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet; That ilka melder, wi’ the miller,

Whyles glow'ring round wi' prudent cares,
Thou sat as long as thou had siller;

Lest bogles catch him unawares ;
That ev'ry naig was ca'd a shoe on,

Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh,
The smith and thee gat roaring fou on;

Whare ghaists and houlets nightly cry.
That at the L-d's house, ev'n on Sunday,

By this time he was cross the ford,
Thou drank wi’ Kirton Jean till Monday.

Whare in the snaw the chapman smoor'd ;
She prophesy'd, that, late or soon,

And past the birks and meikle stane,
Thou would be found deep drown'd in Doon; Whare drunken Charlie brak's neck bane;
Or catch'd wi' warlocks in the mirk,

And through the whins, and by the cairn,
By Alloway's auld haunted kirk.

Whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn;
Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet,

And near the thorn, aboon the well,
To think how monie counsels sweet,

Whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel.
How monie lengthen'd sage advices,

Before him Doon pours all his floods;
The husband frae the wife despises !

The doubling storm roars through the woods ;
But to our tale: Ae market night,

The lightnings flash from pole to pole;
Tam had got planted unco right;

Near and more near the thunders roll;
Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely,

When, glimmering through the groaning trees,
Wi' reaming swats, that drank divinely;

Kirk-Alloway seem'd in a bleeze ;
And at his elbow, souter Johnny,

Through ilka bore the beams were glancing :
His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony.

And loud resounded mirth and dancing.
'Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither;

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
They had been fou for weeks thegither.

What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
The night drave on wi' sangs and clatter;

Wi' tippenny, we fear nae evil;
And aye the ale was growing better:

Wi' usquabae, we'll face the Devil !
The landlady and Tam grew gracious,

The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's noddle,
Wi' favours secret, sweet, and precious :

Fair play, he car'd na Deil's a boddle.
The souter tauld his queerest stories ;

But Maggie stood right sair astonish’d,
The landlord's laugh was ready chorus:

Till, by the heel and hand admonish'd,
The storm without might rair and rustle,

She ventur'd forward on the light;
Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.

And, vow! Tam saw an unco sight!
Care, mad to see a man sae happy,

Warlocks and witches in a dance;
E'en drown'd himself amang the nappy;

Nae cotillion brent new frae France,
As bees flee hame wi' lades of treasure,

But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys and reels,
The minutes wing'd their way wi' pleasure :

Put life and mettle in their heels.
Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,

A winnock-bunker in the east,
O'er a' the i!ls o' life victorious.

There sat auld Nick, in shape o' beast;
But pleasures are like poppies spread,

A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large,
You seize the flow'r, its bloom is shed ;

To gie them music was his charge:
Or, like the snow falls in the river,

He screwed the pipes and gart them skirl,
A moment white-then melts for ever:

Till roof an' rafters a' did dirl.
Or, like the borealis race,

Coffins stood round like open presses,
That flit ere you can point their place;

That shaw'd the dead in their last dresses;
Or, like the rainbow's lovely form,

And by some devilish cantrip slight,
Evanishing amid the storm.-

Each in its cauld hand held a light,-
Nae man can tether time or tide;

By which heroic Tam was able
The hour approaches Tam maun ride;

To note upon the baly table,
That hour, o' night's black arch the key-stane, A murderer's banes in gibbet airns;
That dreary hour he mounts his beast in;

Twa span lang, wee, unchristen'd bairns;
And sic a night he taks the road in,

A thief, new cutted frae a rape,
As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.

Wi' his last gasp his gab did gape;
The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last;

Five tomabawks, wi' bluid red-rusted;
The rattling show'rs rose on the blast;

Five scymitars, wi' murder crusted ;
The speedy gleams the darkness swallow'd; A garter, which a babe had strangled ;
Loud, deep, and lang, the thunder bellow'd: A knife, a father's throat had mangled,
That night, a child might understand,

Whom his ain son o' life bereft,
The Deil had business on his hand.

The grey hairs yet stack to the hef: ;



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Three lawyers' tongues turn'd inside out,

So Maggie runs, the witches follow, Wi' lies seam'd like a beggar's clout,

Wi' monie an eldritch skreech and hollow, And priests' hearts, rotten, black as muck,

Ah, Tam! ah, Tam! thou'll get thy fairin! Lay, stinking, vile, in every neuk.

In hell they'll roast thee like a herrin! Wi' mair o' horrible and awfu',

In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin! Which ev'n to name wad be unlawfu'.

Kate soon will be a woefu' woman! As Tammie glowr'd, amaz'd, and curious, Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg, The mirth and fun grew fast and furious :

And win the key-stane of the brig; The piper loud and louder blew ;

There at them thou thy tail may toss, The dancers quick and quicker flew;

A running stream they dare na cross. They reelid, they set, they cross'd, they cleckit, But ere the key-stane she could make, Till ilka carlin swat and reekit,

The fient a tail she had to shake! And coost her duddies to the wark,

For Nannie, far before the rest, And linket at it in her sark!

Hard upon noble Maggie prest, Now Tam, O Tam! had they been queans,

And flew at Tam wi' furious ettle; A'plump and strapping in their teens ;

But little wist she Maggie's mettleTheir sarks, instead o' creeshie flannen,

Ae spring brought aff her master hale, Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linen!

But left behind her ain grey tail: Thir breeks o' mine, my only pair,

The carlin claught her by the rump, That ance were plush, o'guid blue hair,

And left poor Maggie scarce a stump. I wad hae gi'en them aff my hurdies,

Now, wha this tale o' truth shall read, For ae blink o' the bonie burdies !

Ilk man and mother's son take heed: But wither'd beldams, auld and droll,

Whene'er to drink you are inclind,
Rigwoodie hags wad spean a foal,

Or Cutty-sarks run in your mind,
Lowping an' finging on a crummock,
I wonder didna turn thy stomach.

Think, ye may buy the joys o'er dear,

Remember Tam o' Shanter's mare.
But Tam kenn'd what was what fu’ brawlie,
There was ae winsome wench and walie,
That night inlisted in the core

(Lang after kenn'd on Carrick shore !
For monie a beast to dead she shot,

As I stood by yon roofless tower, And perish'd monie a bonie boat,

Where the wa'-flower scents the dewy air, And shook baith meikle corn and beer,

Where the howlet mouros in her ivy bower, And kept the country-side in fear),

And tells the midnight moon her care: Her cutty-sark o' Paisley harn, That while a lassie she had worn,

The winds were laid, the air was still, In longitude tho' sorely scanty,

The stars they shot alang the sky; It was her best, and she was vauntie.

The fox was howling on the hill, Ah ! little kenn'd thy reverend grannie,

And the distant-echoing glens reply. That sark she coft for her wee Nannie,

The stream, adown its hazelly path, Wi' twa pund Scots ('twas a' her riches),

Was rushing by the ruin'd wa's, Wad ever grac'd a dance o' witches!

Hasting to join the sweeping Nith, But here my Muse her wing maun cow'r;

Whase distant roaring swells and fa's. Sic fights are far beyond her pow'r! To sing how Nannie lap and fang,

The cauld blue north was streaming forth (A souple jad she was and strang)

Her lights, wi' hissing eerie din ; And how Tam stood, like ane bewitch'd,

Athort the lift they start and shift,
And thought his very een enrich'd:

Like fortune's favours tint as win.
Even Satan glowr'd, and fidg'd fu' fain,
And hotch'd and blew wi' might and main :

By heedless chance I turn'd my eyes,
Till first ae caper, syne anither,

And, by the moonbeam, shook, to see Tam tint his reason a' thegither,

A stern and stalwart ghaist arise, And roars out,“ Weel done, Cutty-sark!"

Attir'd as minstrels wont to be. And in an instant a' was dark:

Had I a statue been o'stane, And scarcely had he Maggie rallied,

His darin look had daunted me; When out the hellish legion sallied,

And on his bonnet gravid was plain,
As bees bizz out wi' angry fyke,

The sacred posy-LIBERTIE!
When plundering herds assail their byke;
As open pussie's mortal foes,

And frae his harp sic strains did flow,
When, pop! she starts before their nose;

Might rous'd the slumbering dead to hear; As eager runs the market-crowd,

But oh it was a tale of woe, When, “ Catch the thief!" resounds aloud;

As ever inet a Briton's ear!


wi' joy his former day,

If love for love thou wilt na gie,
He, weeping, wail'd his latter times;

At least be pity to me shown! But what he said it was nae play,

A thought ungentle canna be I winna ventur't in my rhymes.

The thought o' Mary Morison.

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TUNE_" Bide ye yet." O Mary, at thy window be,

It is the wish'd, the trysted hour! Those smiles and glances let me see,

That make the miser's treasure poor: How blithely wad I bide the stoure,

A weary slave frae sun to sun;
Could I the rich reward secure,

The lovely Mary Morison.
Yestreen when to the trembling string,

The dance gaed through the lighted ha', To thee my fancy took its wing,

I sat, but neither heard nor saw : Though this was fair, and that was braw,

And yon the toast of a' the town, I sigh’d, and said amang them a',

“ Ye are na Mary Morison." O Mary, canst thou wreck his peace,

Wha for thy sake wad gladly die? Or çanst thou break that heart of his,

Whase only faut is loving thee?

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BONIE LESLEY. O saw ye bonie Lesley

As she gaed o'er the border: She's gane, like Alexander,

To spread her conquests farther. To see her is to love her,

And love but her for ever; For nature made her what she is,

And never made anither! Thou art a queen, fair Lesley,

Thy subjects we, before thee:



Thou art divine, fair Lesley,

GREEN GROW THE RASHES. The hearts o' men adore thee. The Deil he could na scaith thee, Or aught that wad belang thee;

Green grow the rashes, O!
He'd look into thy bonie face,

Green grow the rashes, O!
say, “I canna wrang thee."

The sweetest hours that e'er I spent,
The Powers aboon will tent thee;

Are spent amang the lasses, O!
Misfortune sha'na steer thee;
Thou'rt like themselves sae lovely,

There's nought but care on ev'ry han'
That ill they'll ne'er let near thee.

In ev'ry hour that passes, 0;

What signifies the life o' man
Return again, fair Lesley,

An 'twere na for the lasses, 0?
Return to Caledonie!

Green grow, &c,
That we may brag, we hae a lass
There's nane agane sae bonie.

The warly race may riches chace,

An' riches still may fly them, O;

An' tho' at last they catch them fast,

Their hearts can ne'er enjoy them, O!
TUNE"Here's a health to them that's awa, hiney,"

Green grow, &c.

But gie me a cannie hour at e'en,
Here's a health to ane I lo'e dear,

My arms about my dearie, 0;
Here's a health to ane I lo'e dear;

An' warly cars, an' warly men,
Thou art sweet as the smile when fond lovers meet, May a' gae tapsalteerie, O!
And soft as their parting tear-Jessy !

Green grow, &c.
Although thou maun never be mine,

For you sae douse, ye sneer at this, Although even hope is denied;

Ye're nought but senseless asses, 0; 'Tis sweeter for thee despairing,

The wisest man the warl e'er saw,
Than aught in the world beside Jessy!

He dearly lov'd the lasses, 0.
Here's, &c.

Green grow, &c.
I mourn through the gay, gaudy day,

Auld Nature swears, the lovely dears As hopeless I muse on thy charms;

Her noblest work she classes, O: But welcome the dream o'sweet slumber,

Her 'prentice han’ she tried on man,
For then I am lockt in thy arms—Jessy!

An' then she made the lasses, O.
Here's, &c.

Green grow, &c.
I guess by the dear angel smile,

guess by the love-rolling e'e; But why urge the tender confession

CALEDONIA. 'Gainst Fortune's fell cruel decree-Jessy!

TUNE_"Humours of Glen."
Here's, &c.

Their groves of sweet myrtle let foreign lands reckon,

Where bright-beaming summers exalt the perLOVELY JEAN.

fume, TUNE_" Miss Admiral Gordon's Strathspey." Far dearer to me yon lone glen o'green breckan, Of a' the arts the wind can blaw,

Wi’the burn stealing under the lang yellow broom. I dearly like the west, For there the bonie lassie lives,

Far dearer to me are yon humble broom bowers,

Where the blue-bell and gowan lurk lowly unseen: The lassie I lo'e best : There wild woods grow, and rivers row,

For there lightly tripping amang the wild flowers, And monie a hill between ;

A-listening the linnet aft wanders my Jean. But day and night my fancy's flight

Tho' rich is the breeze in their gay sunny valleys, Is ever wi' my Jean.

And cauld Caledonia's blast on the wave: I sce her in the dewy flowers,

Their sweet-scented woodlands that skirt the proud I see her sweet and fair:

palace, I hear her in the tunefu' birds,

What are they? The hauntof the tyrant and slave. I hear her charm the air:

The slave's spicy forests, and gold-bubbling foun There's not a bonie flower that springs

tains, By fountain, shaw, or green ;

The brave Caledonian views with disdain ; There's not a bonie bird that sings,

He wanders as free as the winds of his mountains, But ininds me o' my Jean.

Save love's willing fetters, the chains o' his Jean.

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