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Poems And Songs Of Robert Burns by Robert Burns

Part 3 out of 13

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Upon a simmer Sunday morn
When Nature's face is fair,
I walked forth to view the corn,
An' snuff the caller air.
The rising sun owre Galston muirs
Wi' glorious light was glintin;
The hares were hirplin down the furrs,
The lav'rocks they were chantin
Fu' sweet that day.

As lightsomely I glowr'd abroad,
To see a scene sae gay,
Three hizzies, early at the road,
Cam skelpin up the way.
Twa had manteeles o" dolefu' black,
But ane wi' lyart lining;
The third, that gaed a wee a-back,
Was in the fashion shining
Fu' gay that day.

The twa appear'd like sisters twin,
In feature, form, an' claes;
Their visage wither'd, lang an' thin,
An' sour as only slaes:
The third cam up, hap-stap-an'-lowp,
As light as ony lambie,
An' wi'a curchie low did stoop,
As soon as e'er she saw me,
Fu' kind that day.

Wi' bonnet aff, quoth I, "Sweet lass,
I think ye seem to ken me;
I'm sure I've seen that bonie face
But yet I canna name ye."
Quo' she, an' laughin as she spak,
An' taks me by the han's,
"Ye, for my sake, hae gien the feck
Of a' the ten comman's
A screed some day."

"My name is Fun-your cronie dear,
The nearest friend ye hae;
An' this is Superstitution here,
An' that's Hypocrisy.
I'm gaun to Mauchline Holy Fair,
To spend an hour in daffin:
Gin ye'll go there, yon runkl'd pair,
We will get famous laughin
At them this day."

Quoth I, "Wi' a' my heart, I'll do't;
I'll get my Sunday's sark on,
An' meet you on the holy spot;
Faith, we'se hae fine remarkin!"
Then I gaed hame at crowdie-time,
An' soon I made me ready;
For roads were clad, frae side to side,
Wi' mony a weary body
In droves that day.

Here farmers gash, in ridin graith,
Gaed hoddin by their cotters;
There swankies young, in braw braid-claith,
Are springing owre the gutters.
The lasses, skelpin barefit, thrang,
In silks an' scarlets glitter;
Wi' sweet-milk cheese, in mony a whang,
An' farls, bak'd wi' butter,
Fu' crump that day.

When by the plate we set our nose,
Weel heaped up wi' ha'pence,
A greedy glowr black-bonnet throws,
An' we maun draw our tippence.
Then in we go to see the show:
On ev'ry side they're gath'rin;
Some carrying dails, some chairs an' stools,
An' some are busy bleth'rin
Right loud that day.

Here stands a shed to fend the show'rs,
An' screen our countra gentry;
There Racer Jess,^2 an' twa-three whores,
Are blinkin at the entry.
Here sits a raw o' tittlin jads,
Wi' heaving breast an' bare neck;
An' there a batch o' wabster lads,
Blackguarding frae Kilmarnock,
For fun this day.

Here, some are thinkin on their sins,
An' some upo' their claes;
Ane curses feet that fyl'd his shins,
Anither sighs an' prays:
On this hand sits a chosen swatch,
Wi' screwed-up, grace-proud faces;
On that a set o' chaps, at watch,
Thrang winkin on the lasses
To chairs that day.

O happy is that man, an' blest!
Nae wonder that it pride him!
Whase ain dear lass, that he likes best,
Comes clinkin down beside him!
Wi' arms repos'd on the chair back,
He sweetly does compose him;
Which, by degrees, slips round her neck,
An's loof upon her bosom,
Unkend that day.

Now a' the congregation o'er
Is silent expectation;
For Moodie^3 speels the holy door,
Wi' tidings o' damnation:

[Footnote 2: Racer Jess (d. 1813) was a half-witted daughter of Possie Nansie.
She was a great pedestrian.]

[Footnote 3: Rev. Alexander Moodie of Riccarton.]

Should Hornie, as in ancient days,
'Mang sons o' God present him,
The vera sight o' Moodie's face,
To 's ain het hame had sent him
Wi' fright that day.

Hear how he clears the point o' faith
Wi' rattlin and wi' thumpin!
Now meekly calm, now wild in wrath,
He's stampin, an' he's jumpin!
His lengthen'd chin, his turned-up snout,
His eldritch squeel an' gestures,
O how they fire the heart devout,
Like cantharidian plaisters
On sic a day!

But hark! the tent has chang'd its voice,
There's peace an' rest nae langer;
For a' the real judges rise,
They canna sit for anger,
Smith^4 opens out his cauld harangues,
On practice and on morals;
An' aff the godly pour in thrangs,
To gie the jars an' barrels
A lift that day.

What signifies his barren shine,
Of moral powers an' reason?
His English style, an' gesture fine
Are a' clean out o' season.
Like Socrates or Antonine,
Or some auld pagan heathen,
The moral man he does define,
But ne'er a word o' faith in
That's right that day.

In guid time comes an antidote
Against sic poison'd nostrum;
For Peebles,^5 frae the water-fit,
Ascends the holy rostrum:

[Footnote 4: Rev. George Smith of Galston.]

[Footnote 5: Rev. Wm. Peebles of Newton-upon-Ayr.]

See, up he's got, the word o' God,
An' meek an' mim has view'd it,
While Common-sense has taen the road,
An' aff, an' up the Cowgate^6
Fast, fast that day.

Wee Miller^7 neist the guard relieves,
An' Orthodoxy raibles,
Tho' in his heart he weel believes,
An' thinks it auld wives' fables:
But faith! the birkie wants a manse,
So, cannilie he hums them;
Altho' his carnal wit an' sense
Like hafflins-wise o'ercomes him
At times that day.

Now, butt an' ben, the change-house fills,
Wi' yill-caup commentators;
Here 's cryin out for bakes and gills,
An' there the pint-stowp clatters;
While thick an' thrang, an' loud an' lang,
Wi' logic an' wi' scripture,
They raise a din, that in the end
Is like to breed a rupture
O' wrath that day.

Leeze me on drink! it gies us mair
Than either school or college;
It kindles wit, it waukens lear,
It pangs us fou o' knowledge:
Be't whisky-gill or penny wheep,
Or ony stronger potion,
It never fails, or drinkin deep,
To kittle up our notion,
By night or day.

The lads an' lasses, blythely bent
To mind baith saul an' body,
Sit round the table, weel content,
An' steer about the toddy:

[Footnote 6: A street so called which faces the tent in Mauchline.-R. B.]

[Footnote 7: Rev. Alex. Miller, afterward of Kilmaurs.]

On this ane's dress, an' that ane's leuk,
They're makin observations;
While some are cozie i' the neuk,
An' forming assignations
To meet some day.

But now the Lord's ain trumpet touts,
Till a' the hills are rairin,
And echoes back return the shouts;
Black Russell is na sparin:
His piercin words, like Highlan' swords,
Divide the joints an' marrow;
His talk o' Hell, whare devils dwell,
Our vera "sauls does harrow"
Wi' fright that day!

A vast, unbottom'd, boundless pit,
Fill'd fou o' lowin brunstane,
Whase raging flame, an' scorching heat,
Wad melt the hardest whun-stane!
The half-asleep start up wi' fear,
An' think they hear it roarin;
When presently it does appear,
'Twas but some neibor snorin
Asleep that day.

'Twad be owre lang a tale to tell,
How mony stories past;
An' how they crouded to the yill,
When they were a' dismist;
How drink gaed round, in cogs an' caups,
Amang the furms an' benches;
An' cheese an' bread, frae women's laps,
Was dealt about in lunches
An' dawds that day.

In comes a gawsie, gash guidwife,
An' sits down by the fire,
Syne draws her kebbuck an' her knife;
The lasses they are shyer:
The auld guidmen, about the grace
Frae side to side they bother;
Till some ane by his bonnet lays,
An' gies them't like a tether,
Fu' lang that day.

Waesucks! for him that gets nae lass,
Or lasses that hae naething!
Sma' need has he to say a grace,
Or melvie his braw claithing!
O wives, be mindfu' ance yoursel'
How bonie lads ye wanted;
An' dinna for a kebbuck-heel
Let lasses be affronted
On sic a day!

Now Clinkumbell, wi' rattlin tow,
Begins to jow an' croon;
Some swagger hame the best they dow,
Some wait the afternoon.
At slaps the billies halt a blink,
Till lasses strip their shoon:
Wi' faith an' hope, an' love an' drink,
They're a' in famous tune
For crack that day.

How mony hearts this day converts
O' sinners and o' lasses!
Their hearts o' stane, gin night, are gane
As saft as ony flesh is:
There's some are fou o' love divine;
There's some are fou o' brandy;
An' mony jobs that day begin,
May end in houghmagandie
Some ither day.

Third Epistle To J. Lapraik

Guid speed and furder to you, Johnie,
Guid health, hale han's, an' weather bonie;
Now, when ye're nickin down fu' cannie
The staff o' bread,
May ye ne'er want a stoup o' bran'y
To clear your head.

May Boreas never thresh your rigs,
Nor kick your rickles aff their legs,
Sendin the stuff o'er muirs an' haggs
Like drivin wrack;
But may the tapmost grain that wags
Come to the sack.

I'm bizzie, too, an' skelpin at it,
But bitter, daudin showers hae wat it;
Sae my auld stumpie pen I gat it
Wi' muckle wark,
An' took my jocteleg an whatt it,
Like ony clark.

It's now twa month that I'm your debtor,
For your braw, nameless, dateless letter,
Abusin me for harsh ill-nature
On holy men,
While deil a hair yoursel' ye're better,
But mair profane.

But let the kirk-folk ring their bells,
Let's sing about our noble sel's:
We'll cry nae jads frae heathen hills
To help, or roose us;
But browster wives an' whisky stills,
They are the muses.

Your friendship, Sir, I winna quat it,
An' if ye mak' objections at it,
Then hand in neive some day we'll knot it,
An' witness take,
An' when wi' usquabae we've wat it
It winna break.

But if the beast an' branks be spar'd
Till kye be gaun without the herd,
And a' the vittel in the yard,
An' theekit right,
I mean your ingle-side to guard
Ae winter night.

Then muse-inspirin' aqua-vitae
Shall make us baith sae blythe and witty,
Till ye forget ye're auld an' gatty,
An' be as canty
As ye were nine years less than thretty-
Sweet ane an' twenty!

But stooks are cowpit wi' the blast,
And now the sinn keeks in the west,
Then I maun rin amang the rest,
An' quat my chanter;
Sae I subscribe myself' in haste,
Yours, Rab the Ranter.

Sept. 13, 1785.

Epistle To The Rev. John M'math

Inclosing A Copy Of "Holy Willie's Prayer," Which He Had Requested, Sept. 17,

While at the stook the shearers cow'r
To shun the bitter blaudin' show'r,
Or in gulravage rinnin scowr
To pass the time,
To you I dedicate the hour
In idle rhyme.

My musie, tir'd wi' mony a sonnet
On gown, an' ban', an' douse black bonnet,
Is grown right eerie now she's done it,
Lest they should blame her,
An' rouse their holy thunder on it
An anathem her.

I own 'twas rash, an' rather hardy,
That I, a simple, country bardie,
Should meddle wi' a pack sae sturdy,
Wha, if they ken me,
Can easy, wi' a single wordie,
Lowse hell upon me.

But I gae mad at their grimaces,
Their sighin, cantin, grace-proud faces,
Their three-mile prayers, an' half-mile graces,
Their raxin conscience,
Whase greed, revenge, an' pride disgraces
Waur nor their nonsense.

There's Gaw'n, misca'd waur than a beast,
Wha has mair honour in his breast
Than mony scores as guid's the priest
Wha sae abus'd him:
And may a bard no crack his jest
What way they've us'd him?

See him, the poor man's friend in need,
The gentleman in word an' deed-
An' shall his fame an' honour bleed
By worthless, skellums,
An' not a muse erect her head
To cowe the blellums?

O Pope, had I thy satire's darts
To gie the rascals their deserts,
I'd rip their rotten, hollow hearts,
An' tell aloud
Their jugglin hocus-pocus arts
To cheat the crowd.

God knows, I'm no the thing I should be,
Nor am I even the thing I could be,
But twenty times I rather would be
An atheist clean,
Than under gospel colours hid be
Just for a screen.

An honest man may like a glass,
An honest man may like a lass,
But mean revenge, an' malice fause
He'll still disdain,
An' then cry zeal for gospel laws,
Like some we ken.

They take religion in their mouth;
They talk o' mercy, grace, an' truth,
For what?-to gie their malice skouth
On some puir wight,
An' hunt him down, owre right and ruth,
To ruin straight.

All hail, Religion! maid divine!
Pardon a muse sae mean as mine,
Who in her rough imperfect line
Thus daurs to name thee;
To stigmatise false friends of thine
Can ne'er defame thee.

Tho' blotch't and foul wi' mony a stain,
An' far unworthy of thy train,
With trembling voice I tune my strain,
To join with those
Who boldly dare thy cause maintain
In spite of foes:

In spite o' crowds, in spite o' mobs,
In spite o' undermining jobs,
In spite o' dark banditti stabs
At worth an' merit,
By scoundrels, even wi' holy robes,
But hellish spirit.

O Ayr! my dear, my native ground,
Within thy presbyterial bound
A candid liberal band is found
Of public teachers,
As men, as Christians too, renown'd,
An' manly preachers.

Sir, in that circle you are nam'd;
Sir, in that circle you are fam'd;
An' some, by whom your doctrine's blam'd
(Which gies you honour)
Even, sir, by them your heart's esteem'd,
An' winning manner.

Pardon this freedom I have ta'en,
An' if impertinent I've been,
Impute it not, good Sir, in ane
Whase heart ne'er wrang'd ye,
But to his utmost would befriend
Ought that belang'd ye.

Second Epistle to Davie

A Brother Poet

Auld Neibour,
I'm three times doubly o'er your debtor,
For your auld-farrant, frien'ly letter;
Tho' I maun say't I doubt ye flatter,
Ye speak sae fair;
For my puir, silly, rhymin clatter
Some less maun sair.

Hale be your heart, hale be your fiddle,
Lang may your elbuck jink diddle,
To cheer you thro' the weary widdle
O' war'ly cares;
Till barins' barins kindly cuddle
Your auld grey hairs.

But Davie, lad, I'm red ye're glaikit;
I'm tauld the muse ye hae negleckit;
An, gif it's sae, ye sud by lickit
Until ye fyke;
Sic haun's as you sud ne'er be faikit,
Be hain't wha like.

For me, I'm on Parnassus' brink,
Rivin the words to gar them clink;
Whiles dazed wi' love, whiles dazed wi' drink,
Wi' jads or masons;
An' whiles, but aye owre late, I think
Braw sober lessons.

Of a' the thoughtless sons o' man,
Commen' to me the bardie clan;
Except it be some idle plan
O' rhymin clink,
The devil haet,-that I sud ban-
They ever think.

Nae thought, nae view, nae scheme o' livin,
Nae cares to gie us joy or grievin,
But just the pouchie put the neive in,
An' while ought's there,
Then, hiltie, skiltie, we gae scrievin',
An' fash nae mair.

Leeze me on rhyme! it's aye a treasure,
My chief, amaist my only pleasure;
At hame, a-fiel', at wark, or leisure,
The Muse, poor hizzie!
Tho' rough an' raploch be her measure,
She's seldom lazy.

Haud to the Muse, my daintie Davie:
The warl' may play you mony a shavie;
But for the Muse, she'll never leave ye,
Tho' e'er sae puir,
Na, even tho' limpin wi' the spavie
Frae door tae door.

Song-Young Peggy Blooms

Tune-"Loch Eroch-side."

Young Peggy blooms our boniest lass,
Her blush is like the morning,
The rosy dawn, the springing grass,
With early gems adorning.
Her eyes outshine the radiant beams
That gild the passing shower,
And glitter o'er the crystal streams,
And cheer each fresh'ning flower.

Her lips, more than the cherries bright,
A richer dye has graced them;
They charm th' admiring gazer's sight,
And sweetly tempt to taste them;
Her smile is as the evening mild,
When feather'd pairs are courting,
And little lambkins wanton wild,
In playful bands disporting.

Were Fortune lovely Peggy's foe,
Such sweetness would relent her;
As blooming spring unbends the brow
Of surly, savage Winter.
Detraction's eye no aim can gain,
Her winning pow'rs to lessen;
And fretful Envy grins in vain
The poison'd tooth to fasten.

Ye Pow'rs of Honour, Love, and Truth,
From ev'ry ill defend her!
Inspire the highly-favour'd youth
The destinies intend her:
Still fan the sweet connubial flame
Responsive in each bosom;
And bless the dear parental name
With many a filial blossom.

Song-Farewell To Ballochmyle

Tune-"Miss Forbe's farewell to Banff."

The Catrine woods were yellow seen,
The flowers decay'd on Catrine lee,
Nae lav'rock sang on hillock green,
But nature sicken'd on the e'e.
Thro' faded groves Maria sang,
Hersel' in beauty's bloom the while;
And aye the wild-wood ehoes rang,
Fareweel the braes o' Ballochmyle!

Low in your wintry beds, ye flowers,
Again ye'll flourish fresh and fair;
Ye birdies dumb, in with'ring bowers,
Again ye'll charm the vocal air.
But here, alas! for me nae mair
Shall birdie charm, or floweret smile;
Fareweel the bonie banks of Ayr,
Fareweel, fareweel! sweet Ballochmyle!

Fragment-Her Flowing Locks

Her flowing locks, the raven's wing,
Adown her neck and bosom hing;
How sweet unto that breast to cling,
And round that neck entwine her!

Her lips are roses wat wi' dew,
O' what a feast her bonie mou'!
Her cheeks a mair celestial hue,
A crimson still diviner!


[Footnote 1: Is thought to be a night when witches, devils, and other
mischief-making beings are abroad on their baneful midnight errands;
particularly those aerial people, the fairies, are said on that night to hold
a grand anniversary,.-R.B.]

The following poem will, by many readers, be well enough understood; but
for the sake of those who are unacquainted with the manners and traditions of
the country where the scene is cast, notes are added to give some account of
the principal charms and spells of that night, so big with prophecy to the
peasantry in the west of Scotland. The passion of prying into futurity makes
a striking part of the history of human nature in its rude state, in all
ages and nations; and it may be some entertainment to a philosophic mind, if
any such honour the author with a perusal, to see the remains of it among the
more unenlightened in our own.-R.B.

Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,
The simple pleasure of the lowly train;
To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
One native charm, than all the gloss of art.-Goldsmith.

Upon that night, when fairies light
On Cassilis Downans^2 dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the rout is ta'en,
Beneath the moon's pale beams;
There, up the Cove,^3 to stray an' rove,
Amang the rocks and streams
To sport that night;

[Footnote 2: Certain little, romantic, rocky, green hills, in the
neighbourhood of the ancient seat of the Earls of Cassilis.-R.B.]

[Footnote 3: A noted cavern near Colean house, called the Cove of Colean;
which, as well as Cassilis Downans, is famed, in country story, for being a
favorite haunt of fairies.-R.B.]

Amang the bonie winding banks,
Where Doon rins, wimplin, clear;
Where Bruce^4 ance rul'd the martial ranks,
An' shook his Carrick spear;
Some merry, friendly, countra-folks
Together did convene,
To burn their nits, an' pou their stocks,
An' haud their Halloween
Fu' blythe that night.

[Footnote 4: The famous family of that name, the ancestors of Robert, the
great deliverer of his country, were Earls of Carrick.-R.B.]

The lasses feat, an' cleanly neat,
Mair braw than when they're fine;
Their faces blythe, fu' sweetly kythe,
Hearts leal, an' warm, an' kin':
The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs
Weel-knotted on their garten;
Some unco blate, an' some wi' gabs
Gar lasses' hearts gang startin
Whiles fast at night.

Then, first an' foremost, thro' the kail,
Their stocks^5 maun a' be sought ance;

[Footnote 5: The first ceremony of Halloween is pulling each a "stock," or
plant of kail. They must go out, hand in hand, with eyes shut, and pull the
first they meet with: its being big or little, straight or crooked, is
prophetic of the size and shape of the grand object of all their spells-the
husband or wife. If any "yird," or earth, stick to the root, that is "tocher,"
or fortune; and the taste of the "custock," that is, the heart of the stem, is
indicative of the natural temper and disposition. Lastly, the stems, or, to
give them their ordinary appellation, the "runts," are placed somewhere above
the head of the door; and the Christian names of the people whom chance brings
into the house are, according to the priority of placing the "runts," the
names in question.-R. B.]

They steek their een, and grape an' wale
For muckle anes, an' straught anes.
Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the drift,
An' wandered thro' the bow-kail,
An' pou't for want o' better shift
A runt was like a sow-tail
Sae bow't that night.

Then, straught or crooked, yird or nane,
They roar an' cry a' throu'ther;
The vera wee-things, toddlin, rin,
Wi' stocks out owre their shouther:
An' gif the custock's sweet or sour,
Wi' joctelegs they taste them;
Syne coziely, aboon the door,
Wi' cannie care, they've plac'd them
To lie that night.

The lassies staw frae 'mang them a',
To pou their stalks o' corn;^6
But Rab slips out, an' jinks about,
Behint the muckle thorn:
He grippit Nelly hard and fast:
Loud skirl'd a' the lasses;
But her tap-pickle maist was lost,
Whan kiutlin in the fause-house^7
Wi' him that night.

[Footnote 6: They go to the barnyard, and pull each, at three different times,
a stalk of oats. If the third stalk wants the "top-pickle," that is, the grain
at the top of the stalk, the party in question will come to the marriage-bed
anything but a maid.-R.B.]

[Footnote 7: When the corn is in a doubtful state, by being too green or wet,
the stack-builder, by means of old timber, etc., makes a large apartment in
his stack, with an opening in the side which is fairest exposed to the wind:
this he calls a "fause-house."-R.B.]

The auld guid-wife's weel-hoordit nits^8
Are round an' round dividend,
An' mony lads an' lasses' fates
Are there that night decided:
Some kindle couthie side by side,
And burn thegither trimly;
Some start awa wi' saucy pride,
An' jump out owre the chimlie
Fu' high that night.

[Footnote 8: Burning the nuts is a favorite charm. They name the lad and lass
to each particular nut, as they lay them in the fire; and according as they
burn quietly together, or start from beside one another, the course and issue
of the courtship will be.-R.B.]

Jean slips in twa, wi' tentie e'e;
Wha 'twas, she wadna tell;
But this is Jock, an' this is me,
She says in to hersel':
He bleez'd owre her, an' she owre him,
As they wad never mair part:
Till fuff! he started up the lum,
An' Jean had e'en a sair heart
To see't that night.

Poor Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt,
Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie;
An' Mary, nae doubt, took the drunt,
To be compar'd to Willie:
Mall's nit lap out, wi' pridefu' fling,
An' her ain fit, it brunt it;
While Willie lap, and swore by jing,
'Twas just the way he wanted
To be that night.

Nell had the fause-house in her min',
She pits hersel an' Rob in;
In loving bleeze they sweetly join,
Till white in ase they're sobbin:
Nell's heart was dancin at the view;
She whisper'd Rob to leuk for't:
Rob, stownlins, prie'd her bonie mou',
Fu' cozie in the neuk for't,
Unseen that night.

But Merran sat behint their backs,
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell:
She lea'es them gashin at their cracks,
An' slips out-by hersel';
She thro' the yard the nearest taks,
An' for the kiln she goes then,
An' darklins grapit for the bauks,
And in the blue-clue^9 throws then,
Right fear't that night.

[Footnote 9: Whoever would, with success, try this spell, must strictly
observe these directions: Steal out, all alone, to the kiln, and darkling,
throw into the "pot" a clue of blue yarn; wind it in a new clue off the old
one; and, toward the latter end, something will hold the thread: demand, "Wha
hauds?" i.e., who holds? and answer will be returned from the kiln-pot, by
naming the Christian and surname of your future spouse.-R.B.]

An' ay she win't, an' ay she swat-
I wat she made nae jaukin;
Till something held within the pat,
Good Lord! but she was quaukin!
But whether 'twas the deil himsel,
Or whether 'twas a bauk-en',
Or whether it was Andrew Bell,
She did na wait on talkin
To spier that night.

Wee Jenny to her graunie says,
"Will ye go wi' me, graunie?
I'll eat the apple at the glass,^10
I gat frae uncle Johnie:"
She fuff't her pipe wi' sic a lunt,
In wrath she was sae vap'rin,
She notic't na an aizle brunt
Her braw, new, worset apron
Out thro' that night.

[Footnote 10: Take a candle and go alone to a looking-glass; eat an apple
before it, and some traditions say you should comb your hair all the time; the
face of your conjungal companion, to be, will be seen in the glass, as if
peeping over your shoulder.-R.B.]

"Ye little skelpie-limmer's face!
I daur you try sic sportin,
As seek the foul thief ony place,
For him to spae your fortune:
Nae doubt but ye may get a sight!
Great cause ye hae to fear it;
For mony a ane has gotten a fright,
An' liv'd an' died deleerit,
On sic a night.

"Ae hairst afore the Sherra-moor,
I mind't as weel's yestreen-
I was a gilpey then, I'm sure
I was na past fyfteen:
The simmer had been cauld an' wat,
An' stuff was unco green;
An' eye a rantin kirn we gat,
An' just on Halloween
It fell that night.

"Our stibble-rig was Rab M'Graen,
A clever, sturdy fallow;
His sin gat Eppie Sim wi' wean,
That lived in Achmacalla:
He gat hemp-seed,^11 I mind it weel,
An'he made unco light o't;
But mony a day was by himsel',
He was sae sairly frighted
That vera night."

[Footnote 11: Steal out, unperceived, and sow a handful of hemp-seed,
harrowing it with anything you can conveniently draw after you. Repeat now and
then: "Hemp-seed, I saw thee, hemp-seed, I saw thee; and him (or her) that is
to be my true love, come after me and pou thee." Look over your left shoulder,
and you will see the appearance of the person invoked, in the attitude of
pulling hemp. Some traditions say, "Come after me and shaw thee," that is,
show thyself; in which case, it simply appears. Others omit the harrowing, and
say: "Come after me and harrow thee."-R.B.]

Then up gat fechtin Jamie Fleck,
An' he swoor by his conscience,
That he could saw hemp-seed a peck;
For it was a' but nonsense:
The auld guidman raught down the pock,
An' out a handfu' gied him;
Syne bad him slip frae' mang the folk,
Sometime when nae ane see'd him,
An' try't that night.

He marches thro' amang the stacks,
Tho' he was something sturtin;
The graip he for a harrow taks,
An' haurls at his curpin:
And ev'ry now an' then, he says,
"Hemp-seed I saw thee,
An' her that is to be my lass
Come after me, an' draw thee
As fast this night."

He wistl'd up Lord Lennox' March
To keep his courage cherry;
Altho' his hair began to arch,
He was sae fley'd an' eerie:
Till presently he hears a squeak,
An' then a grane an' gruntle;
He by his shouther gae a keek,
An' tumbled wi' a wintle
Out-owre that night.

He roar'd a horrid murder-shout,
In dreadfu' desperation!
An' young an' auld come rinnin out,
An' hear the sad narration:
He swoor 'twas hilchin Jean M'Craw,
Or crouchie Merran Humphie-
Till stop! she trotted thro' them a';
And wha was it but grumphie
Asteer that night!

Meg fain wad to the barn gaen,
To winn three wechts o' naething;^12
But for to meet the deil her lane,
She pat but little faith in:

[Footnote 12: This charm must likewise be performed unperceived and alone. You
go to the barn, and open both doors, taking them off the hinges, if possible;
for there is danger that the being about to appear may shut the doors, and do
you some mischief. Then take that instrument used in winnowing the corn, which
in our country dialect we call a "wecht," and go through all the attitudes of
letting down corn against the wind. Repeat it three times, and the third time
an apparition will pass through the barn, in at the windy door and out at the
other, having both the figure in question, and the appearance or retinue,
marking the employment or station in life.-R.B.]

She gies the herd a pickle nits,
An' twa red cheekit apples,
To watch, while for the barn she sets,
In hopes to see Tam Kipples
That vera night.

She turns the key wi' cannie thraw,
An'owre the threshold ventures;
But first on Sawnie gies a ca',
Syne baudly in she enters:
A ratton rattl'd up the wa',
An' she cry'd Lord preserve her!
An' ran thro' midden-hole an' a',
An' pray'd wi' zeal and fervour,
Fu' fast that night.

They hoy't out Will, wi' sair advice;
They hecht him some fine braw ane;
It chanc'd the stack he faddom't thrice^13
Was timmer-propt for thrawin:
He taks a swirlie auld moss-oak
For some black, grousome carlin;
An' loot a winze, an' drew a stroke,
Till skin in blypes cam haurlin
Aff's nieves that night.

[Footnote 13: Take an opportunity of going unnoticed to a "bear-stack," and
fathom it three times round. The last fathom of the last time you will catch
in your arms the appearance of your future conjugal yoke-fellow.-R.B.]

A wanton widow Leezie was,
As cantie as a kittlen;
But och! that night, amang the shaws,
She gat a fearfu' settlin!
She thro' the whins, an' by the cairn,
An' owre the hill gaed scrievin;
Whare three lairds' lan's met at a burn,^14
To dip her left sark-sleeve in,
Was bent that night.

[Footnote 14: You go out, one or more (for this is a social spell), to a south
running spring, or rivulet, where "three lairds' lands meet," and dip your
left shirt sleeve. Go to bed in sight of a fire, and hang your wet sleeve
before it to dry. Lie awake, and, some time near midnight, an apparition,
having the exact figure of the grand object in question, will come and turn
the sleeve, as if to dry the other side of it.-R.B.]

Whiles owre a linn the burnie plays,
As thro' the glen it wimpl't;
Whiles round a rocky scar it strays,
Whiles in a wiel it dimpl't;
Whiles glitter'd to the nightly rays,
Wi' bickerin', dancin' dazzle;
Whiles cookit undeneath the braes,
Below the spreading hazel
Unseen that night.

Amang the brachens, on the brae,
Between her an' the moon,
The deil, or else an outler quey,
Gat up an' ga'e a croon:
Poor Leezie's heart maist lap the hool;
Near lav'rock-height she jumpit,
But mist a fit, an' in the pool
Out-owre the lugs she plumpit,
Wi' a plunge that night.

In order, on the clean hearth-stane,
The luggies^15 three are ranged;
An' ev'ry time great care is ta'en
To see them duly changed:
Auld uncle John, wha wedlock's joys
Sin' Mar's-year did desire,
Because he gat the toom dish thrice,
He heav'd them on the fire
In wrath that night.

[Footnote 15: Take three dishes, put clean water in one, foul water in
another, and leave the third empty; blindfold a person and lead him to the
hearth where the dishes are ranged; he (or she) dips the left hand; if by
chance in the clean water, the future (husband or) wife will come to the bar
of matrimony a maid; if in the foul, a widow; if in the empty dish, it
foretells, with equal certainty, no marriage at all. It is repeated three
times, and every time the arrangement of the dishes is altered.-R.B.]

Wi' merry sangs, an' friendly cracks,
I wat they did na weary;
And unco tales, an' funnie jokes-
Their sports were cheap an' cheery:
Till butter'd sowens,^16 wi' fragrant lunt,

[Footnote 16: Sowens, with butter instead of milk to them, is always the
Halloween Supper.-R.B.]

Set a' their gabs a-steerin;
Syne, wi' a social glass o' strunt,
They parted aff careerin
Fu' blythe that night.

To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough, November, 1785

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion,
Has broken nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell-
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men
Gang aft agley,
An'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me
The present only toucheth thee:
But, Och! I backward cast my e'e.
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

Epitaph On John Dove, Innkeeper

Here lies Johnie Pigeon;
What was his religion?
Whae'er desires to ken,
To some other warl'
Maun follow the carl,
For here Johnie Pigeon had nane!

Strong ale was ablution,
Small beer persecution,
A dram was memento mori;
But a full-flowing bowl
Was the saving his soul,
And port was celestial glory.

Epitaph For James Smith

Lament him, Mauchline husbands a',
He aften did assist ye;
For had ye staid hale weeks awa,
Your wives they ne'er had miss'd ye.

Ye Mauchline bairns, as on ye press
To school in bands thegither,
O tread ye lightly on his grass, -
Perhaps he was your father!

Adam Armour's Prayer

Gude pity me, because I'm little!
For though I am an elf o' mettle,
An' can, like ony wabster's shuttle,
Jink there or here,
Yet, scarce as lang's a gude kail-whittle,
I'm unco queer.

An' now Thou kens our waefu' case;
For Geordie's jurr we're in disgrace,
Because we stang'd her through the place,
An' hurt her spleuchan;
For whilk we daurna show our face
Within the clachan.

An' now we're dern'd in dens and hollows,
And hunted, as was William Wallace,
Wi' constables-thae blackguard fallows,
An' sodgers baith;
But Gude preserve us frae the gallows,
That shamefu' death!

Auld grim black-bearded Geordie's sel'-
O shake him owre the mouth o' hell!
There let him hing, an' roar, an' yell
Wi' hideous din,
And if he offers to rebel,
Then heave him in.

When Death comes in wi' glimmerin blink,
An' tips auld drucken Nanse the wink,
May Sautan gie her doup a clink
Within his yett,
An' fill her up wi' brimstone drink,
Red-reekin het.

Though Jock an' hav'rel Jean are merry-
Some devil seize them in a hurry,
An' waft them in th' infernal wherry
Straught through the lake,
An' gie their hides a noble curry
Wi' oil of aik!

As for the jurr-puir worthless body!
She's got mischief enough already;
Wi' stanged hips, and buttocks bluidy
She's suffer'd sair;
But, may she wintle in a woody,
If she wh-e mair!

The Jolly Beggars: A Cantata^1

[Footnote 1: Not published by Burns.]


When lyart leaves bestrow the yird,
Or wavering like the bauckie-bird,
Bedim cauld Boreas' blast;
When hailstanes drive wi' bitter skyte,
And infant frosts begin to bite,
In hoary cranreuch drest;
Ae night at e'en a merry core
O' randie, gangrel bodies,
In Poosie-Nansie's held the splore,
To drink their orra duddies;
Wi' quaffing an' laughing,
They ranted an' they sang,
Wi' jumping an' thumping,
The vera girdle rang,

First, neist the fire, in auld red rags,
Ane sat, weel brac'd wi' mealy bags,

And knapsack a' in order;
His doxy lay within his arm;
Wi' usquebae an' blankets warm
She blinkit on her sodger;
An' aye he gies the tozie drab
The tither skelpin' kiss,
While she held up her greedy gab,
Just like an aumous dish;
Ilk smack still, did crack still,
Just like a cadger's whip;
Then staggering an' swaggering
He roar'd this ditty up-


Tune-"Soldier's Joy."

I am a son of Mars who have been in many wars,
And show my cuts and scars wherever I come;
This here was for a wench, and that other in a trench,
When welcoming the French at the sound of the drum.
Lal de daudle, &c.

My 'prenticeship I past where my leader breath'd his last,
When the bloody die was cast on the heights of Abram:
and I served out my trade when the gallant game was play'd,
And the Morro low was laid at the sound of the drum.

I lastly was with Curtis among the floating batt'ries,
And there I left for witness an arm and a limb;
Yet let my country need me, with Elliot to head me,
I'd clatter on my stumps at the sound of a drum.

And now tho' I must beg, with a wooden arm and leg,
And many a tatter'd rag hanging over my bum,
I'm as happy with my wallet, my bottle, and my callet,
As when I used in scarlet to follow a drum.

What tho' with hoary locks, I must stand the winter shocks,
Beneath the woods and rocks oftentimes for a home,
When the t'other bag I sell, and the t'other bottle tell,
I could meet a troop of hell, at the sound of a drum.


He ended; and the kebars sheuk,
Aboon the chorus roar;
While frighted rattons backward leuk,
An' seek the benmost bore:
A fairy fiddler frae the neuk,
He skirl'd out, encore!
But up arose the martial chuck,
An' laid the loud uproar.


Tune-"Sodger Laddie."
I once was a maid, tho' I cannot tell when,
And still my delight is in proper young men;
Some one of a troop of dragoons was my daddie,
No wonder I'm fond of a sodger laddie,
Sing, lal de lal, &c.

The first of my loves was a swaggering blade,
To rattle the thundering drum was his trade;
His leg was so tight, and his cheek was so ruddy,
Transported I was with my sodger laddie.

But the godly old chaplain left him in the lurch;
The sword I forsook for the sake of the church:
He ventur'd the soul, and I risked the body,
'Twas then I proved false to my sodger laddie.

Full soon I grew sick of my sanctified sot,
The regiment at large for a husband I got;
From the gilded spontoon to the fife I was ready,
I asked no more but a sodger laddie.

But the peace it reduc'd me to beg in despair,
Till I met old boy in a Cunningham fair,
His rags regimental, they flutter'd so gaudy,
My heart it rejoic'd at a sodger laddie.

And now I have liv'd-I know not how long,
And still I can join in a cup and a song;
But whilst with both hands I can hold the glass steady,
Here's to thee, my hero, my sodger laddie.


Poor Merry-Andrew, in the neuk,
Sat guzzling wi' a tinkler-hizzie;
They mind't na wha the chorus teuk,
Between themselves they were sae busy:
At length, wi' drink an' courting dizzy,
He stoiter'd up an' made a face;
Then turn'd an' laid a smack on Grizzie,
Syne tun'd his pipes wi' grave grimace.


Tune-"Auld Sir Symon."

Sir Wisdom's a fool when he's fou;
Sir Knave is a fool in a session;
He's there but a 'prentice I trow,
But I am a fool by profession.

My grannie she bought me a beuk,
An' I held awa to the school;
I fear I my talent misteuk,
But what will ye hae of a fool?

For drink I would venture my neck;
A hizzie's the half of my craft;
But what could ye other expect
Of ane that's avowedly daft?

I ance was tied up like a stirk,
For civilly swearing and quaffin;
I ance was abus'd i' the kirk,
For towsing a lass i' my daffin.

Poor Andrew that tumbles for sport,
Let naebody name wi' a jeer;
There's even, I'm tauld, i' the Court
A tumbler ca'd the Premier.

Observ'd ye yon reverend lad
Mak faces to tickle the mob;
He rails at our mountebank squad, -
It's rivalship just i' the job.

And now my conclusion I'll tell,
For faith I'm confoundedly dry;
The chiel that's a fool for himsel',
Guid Lord! he's far dafter than I.


Then niest outspak a raucle carlin,
Wha kent fu' weel to cleek the sterlin;
For mony a pursie she had hooked,
An' had in mony a well been douked;
Her love had been a Highland laddie,
But weary fa' the waefu' woodie!
Wi' sighs an' sobs she thus began
To wail her braw John Highlandman.


Tune-"O, an ye were dead, Guidman."

A Highland lad my love was born,
The Lalland laws he held in scorn;
But he still was faithfu' to his clan,
My gallant, braw John Highlandman.


Sing hey my braw John Highlandman!
Sing ho my braw John Highlandman!
There's not a lad in a' the lan'
Was match for my John Highlandman.

With his philibeg an' tartan plaid,
An' guid claymore down by his side,
The ladies' hearts he did trepan,
My gallant, braw John Highlandman.
Sing hey, &c.

We ranged a' from Tweed to Spey,
An' liv'd like lords an' ladies gay;
For a Lalland face he feared none, -
My gallant, braw John Highlandman.
Sing hey, &c.

They banish'd him beyond the sea.
But ere the bud was on the tree,
Adown my cheeks the pearls ran,
Embracing my John Highlandman.
Sing hey, &c.

But, och! they catch'd him at the last,
And bound him in a dungeon fast:
My curse upon them every one,
They've hang'd my braw John Highlandman!
Sing hey, &c.

And now a widow, I must mourn
The pleasures that will ne'er return:
The comfort but a hearty can,
When I think on John Highlandman.
Sing hey, &c.


A pigmy scraper wi' his fiddle,
Wha us'd at trystes an' fairs to driddle.
Her strappin limb and gausy middle
(He reach'd nae higher)
Had hol'd his heartie like a riddle,
An' blawn't on fire.

Wi' hand on hainch, and upward e'e,
He croon'd his gamut, one, two, three,
Then in an arioso key,
The wee Apoll
Set off wi' allegretto glee
His giga solo.


Tune-"Whistle owre the lave o't."

Let me ryke up to dight that tear,
An' go wi' me an' be my dear;
An' then your every care an' fear
May whistle owre the lave o't.


I am a fiddler to my trade,
An' a' the tunes that e'er I played,
The sweetest still to wife or maid,
Was whistle owre the lave o't.

At kirns an' weddins we'se be there,
An' O sae nicely's we will fare!
We'll bowse about till Daddie Care
Sing whistle owre the lave o't.
I am, &c.

Sae merrily's the banes we'll pyke,
An' sun oursel's about the dyke;
An' at our leisure, when ye like,
We'll whistle owre the lave o't.
I am, &c.

But bless me wi' your heav'n o' charms,
An' while I kittle hair on thairms,
Hunger, cauld, an' a' sic harms,
May whistle owre the lave o't.
I am, &c.


Her charms had struck a sturdy caird,
As weel as poor gut-scraper;
He taks the fiddler by the beard,
An' draws a roosty rapier-
He swoor, by a' was swearing worth,
To speet him like a pliver,
Unless he would from that time forth
Relinquish her for ever.

Wi' ghastly e'e poor tweedle-dee
Upon his hunkers bended,
An' pray'd for grace wi' ruefu' face,
An' so the quarrel ended.
But tho' his little heart did grieve
When round the tinkler prest her,
He feign'd to snirtle in his sleeve,
When thus the caird address'd her:


Tune-"Clout the Cauldron."

My bonie lass, I work in brass,
A tinkler is my station:
I've travell'd round all Christian ground
In this my occupation;
I've taen the gold, an' been enrolled
In many a noble squadron;
But vain they search'd when off I march'd
To go an' clout the cauldron.
I've taen the gold, &c.

Despise that shrimp, that wither'd imp,
With a' his noise an' cap'rin;
An' take a share with those that bear
The budget and the apron!
And by that stowp! my faith an' houp,
And by that dear Kilbaigie,^1
If e'er ye want, or meet wi' scant,
May I ne'er weet my craigie.
And by that stowp, &c.

[Footnote 1: A peculiar sort of whisky so called, a great favorite with Poosie
Nansie's clubs.-R. B.]


The caird prevail'd-th' unblushing fair
In his embraces sunk;
Partly wi' love o'ercome sae sair,
An' partly she was drunk:
Sir Violino, with an air
That show'd a man o' spunk,
Wish'd unison between the pair,
An' made the bottle clunk
To their health that night.

But hurchin Cupid shot a shaft,
That play'd a dame a shavie-
The fiddler rak'd her, fore and aft,
Behint the chicken cavie.
Her lord, a wight of Homer's craft,^2
Tho' limpin wi' the spavie,
He hirpl'd up, an' lap like daft,
An' shor'd them Dainty Davie.
O' boot that night.

He was a care-defying blade
As ever Bacchus listed!
Tho' Fortune sair upon him laid,
His heart, she ever miss'd it.
He had no wish but-to be glad,
Nor want but-when he thirsted;
He hated nought but-to be sad,
An' thus the muse suggested
His sang that night.


Tune-"For a' that, an' a' that."

I am a Bard of no regard,
Wi' gentle folks an' a' that;
But Homer-like, the glowrin byke,
Frae town to town I draw that.


For a' that, an' a' that,
An' twice as muckle's a' that;
I've lost but ane, I've twa behin',
I've wife eneugh for a' that.

[Footnote 2: Homer is allowed to be the oldest ballad-singer on record.-R.

I never drank the Muses' stank,
Castalia's burn, an' a' that;
But there it streams an' richly reams,
My Helicon I ca' that.
For a' that, &c.

Great love Idbear to a' the fair,
Their humble slave an' a' that;
But lordly will, I hold it still
A mortal sin to thraw that.
For a' that, &c.

In raptures sweet, this hour we meet,
Wi' mutual love an' a' that;
But for how lang the flie may stang,
Let inclination law that.
For a' that, &c.

Their tricks an' craft hae put me daft,
They've taen me in, an' a' that;
But clear your decks, and here's-"The Sex!"
I like the jads for a' that.


For a' that, an' a' that,
An' twice as muckle's a' that;
My dearest bluid, to do them guid,
They're welcome till't for a' that.


So sang the bard - and Nansie's wa's
Shook with a thunder of applause,
Re-echo'd from each mouth!
They toom'd their pocks, they pawn'd their duds,
They scarcely left to co'er their fuds,
To quench their lowin drouth:
Then owre again, the jovial thrang
The poet did request
To lowse his pack an' wale a sang,
A ballad o' the best;
He rising, rejoicing,
Between his twa Deborahs,
Looks round him, an' found them
Impatient for the chorus.


tune-"Jolly Mortals, fill your Glasses."

See the smoking bowl before us,
Mark our jovial ragged ring!
Round and round take up the chorus,
And in raptures let us sing-


A fig for those by law protected!
Liberty's a glorious feast!
Courts for cowards were erected,
Churches built to please the priest.

What is title, what is treasure,
What is reputation's care?
If we lead a life of pleasure,
'Tis no matter how or where!
A fig for, &c.

With the ready trick and fable,
Round we wander all the day;
And at night in barn or stable,
Hug our doxies on the hay.
A fig for, &c.

Does the train-attended carriage
Thro' the country lighter rove?
Does the sober bed of marriage
Witness brighter scenes of love?
A fig for, &c.

Life is al a variorum,
We regard not how it goes;
Let them cant about decorum,
Who have character to lose.
A fig for, &c.

Here's to budgets, bags and wallets!
Here's to all the wandering train.
Here's our ragged brats and callets,
One and all cry out, Amen!


A fig for those by law protected!
Liberty's a glorious feast!
Courts for cowards were erected,
Churches built to please the priest.

song-For A' That^1

tune-"For a' that."

Tho' women's minds, like winter winds,
May shift, and turn, an' a' that,
The noblest breast adores them maist-
A consequence I draw that.


For a' that, an' a' that,
And twice as meikle's a' that;
The bonie lass that I loe best
She'll be my ain for a' that.

Great love I bear to a' the fair,
Their humble slave, an' a' that;
But lordly will, I hold it still
A mortal sin to thraw that.
For a' that, &c.

But there is ane aboon the lave,
Has wit, and sense, an' a' that;
A bonie lass, I like her best,
And wha a crime dare ca' that?
For a' that, &c.

In rapture sweet this hour we meet,
Wi' mutual love an' a' that,

[Footnote 1: A later version of "I am a bard of no regard" in "The Jolly

But for how lang the flie may stang,
Let inclination law that.
For a' that, &c.

Their tricks an' craft hae put me daft.
They've taen me in, an' a' that;
But clear your decks, and here's-"The Sex!"
I like the jads for a' that.
For a' that, &c.

Song-Merry Hae I Been Teethin A Heckle

tune-"The bob O' Dumblane."

O Merry hae I been teethin' a heckle,
An' merry hae I been shapin' a spoon;
O merry hae I been cloutin' a kettle,
An' kissin' my Katie when a' was done.
O a' the lang day I ca' at my hammer,
An' a' the lang day I whistle and sing;
O a' the lang night I cuddle my kimmer,
An' a' the lang night as happy's a king.

Bitter in idol I lickit my winnins
O' marrying Bess, to gie her a slave:
Blest be the hour she cool'd in her linnens,
And blythe be the bird that sings on her grave!
Come to my arms, my Katie, my Katie;
O come to my arms and kiss me again!
Drucken or sober, here's to thee, Katie!
An' blest be the day I did it again.

The Cotter's Saturday Night

Inscribed to R. Aiken, Esq., of Ayr.

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile,
The short and simple annals of the Poor.

My lov'd, my honour'd, much respected friend!
No mercenary bard his homage pays;
With honest pride, I scorn each selfish end,
My dearest meed, a friend's esteem and praise:
To you I sing, in simple Scottish lays,
The lowly train in life's sequester'd scene,
The native feelings strong, the guileless ways,
What Aiken in a cottage would have been;
Ah! tho' his worth unknown, far happier there I ween!

November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh;
The short'ning winter-day is near a close;
The miry beasts retreating frae the pleugh;
The black'ning trains o' craws to their repose:
The toil-worn Cotter frae his labour goes, -
This night his weekly moil is at an end,
Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes,
Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend,
And weary, o'er the moor, his course does hameward bend.

At length his lonely cot appears in view,
Beneath the shelter of an aged tree;
Th' expectant wee-things, toddlin, stacher through
To meet their dead, wi' flichterin noise and glee.
His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonilie,
His clean hearth-stane, his thrifty wifie's smile,
The lisping infant, prattling on his knee,
Does a' his weary kiaugh and care beguile,
And makes him quite forget his labour and his toil.

Belyve, the elder bairns come drapping in,
At service out, amang the farmers roun';
Some ca' the pleugh, some herd, some tentie rin
A cannie errand to a neibor town:
Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman-grown,
In youthfu' bloom-love sparkling in her e'e-
Comes hame, perhaps to shew a braw new gown,
Or deposite her sair-won penny-fee,
To help her parents dear, if they in hardship be.

With joy unfeign'd, brothers and sisters meet,
And each for other's weelfare kindly speirs:
The social hours, swift-wing'd, unnotic'd fleet:
Each tells the uncos that he sees or hears.
The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years;
Anticipation forward points the view;
The mother, wi' her needle and her shears,
Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new;
The father mixes a' wi' admonition due.

Their master's and their mistress' command,
The younkers a' are warned to obey;
And mind their labours wi' an eydent hand,
And ne'er, tho' out o' sight, to jauk or play;
"And O! be sure to fear the Lord alway,
And mind your duty, duly, morn and night;
Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray,
Implore His counsel and assisting might:
They never sought in vain that sought the Lord aright."

But hark! a rap comes gently to the door;
Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the same,
Tells how a neibor lad came 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 flush her cheek;
With heart-struck anxious care, enquires his name,
While Jenny hafflins is afraid to speak;
Weel-pleased the mother hears, it's nae wild, worthless rake.

Wi' kindly welcome, Jenny brings him ben;
A strappin youth, he takes the mother's eye;
Blythe Jenny sees the visit's no ill ta'en;
The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye.
The youngster's artless heart o'erflows wi' joy,
But blate an' laithfu', scarce can weel behave;
The mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy
What makes the youth sae bashfu' and sae grave,
Weel-pleas'd to think her bairn's respected like the lave.

O happy love! where love like this is found:
O heart-felt raptures! bliss beyond compare!
I've paced much this weary, mortal round,
And sage experience bids me this declare, -
"If Heaven a draught of heavenly pleasure spare-
One cordial in this melancholy vale,
'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair
In other'sarms, breathe out the tender tale,
Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the evening gale."

Is there, in human form, that bears a heart,
A wretch! a villain! lost to love and truth!
That can, with studied, sly, ensnaring art,
Betray sweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth?
Curse on his perjur'd arts! dissembling smooth!
Are honour, virtue, conscience, all exil'd?
Is there no pity, no relenting ruth,
Points to the parents fondling o'er their child?
Then paints the ruin'd maid, and their distraction wild?

But now the supper crowns their simple board,
The halesome parritch, chief of Scotia's food;
The sowp their only hawkie does afford,
That, 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood:
The dame brings forth, in complimental mood,
To grace the lad, her weel-hain'd kebbuck, fell;
And aft he's prest, and aft he ca's it guid:
The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell
How t'was a towmond auld, sin' lint was i' the bell.

The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face,
They, round the ingle, form a circle wide;
The sire turns o'er, with patriarchal grace,
The big ha'bible, ance his father's pride:
His bonnet rev'rently is laid aside,
His lyart haffets wearing thin and bare;
Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide,
He wales a portion with judicious care;
And "Let us worship God!" he says with solemn air.

They chant their artless notes in simple guise,
They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim;
Perhaps Dundee's wild-warbling measures rise;
Or plaintive Martyrs, worthy of the name;
Or noble Elgin beets the heaven-ward flame;
The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays:
Compar'd with these, Italian trills are tame;
The tickl'd ears no heart-felt raptures raise;
Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise.

The priest-like father reads the sacred page,
How Abram was the friend of God on high;
Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage
With Amalek's ungracious progeny;
Or how the royal bard did groaning lie
Beneath the stroke of Heaven's avenging ire;
Or Job's pathetic plaint, and wailing cry;
Or rapt Isaiah's wild, seraphic fire;
Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre.

Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme,
How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed;
How He, who bore in Heaven the second name,
Had not on earth whereon to lay His head:
How His first followers and servants sped;
The precepts sage they wrote to many a land:
How he, who lone in Patmos banished,
Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand,
And heard great Bab'lon's doom pronounc'd by Heaven's command.

Then, kneeling down to Heaven's Eternal King,
The saint, the father, and the husband prays:
Hope "springs exulting on triumphant wing,"^1
That thus they all shall meet in future days,
There, ever bask in uncreated rays,
No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear,
Together hymning their Creator's praise,
In such society, yet still more dear;
While circling Time moves round in an eternal sphere

Compar'd with this, how poor Religion's pride,
In all the pomp of method, and of art;
When men display to congregations wide

[Footnote 1: Pope's "Windsor Forest."-R.B.]

Devotion's ev'ry grace, except the heart!
The Power, incens'd, the pageant will desert,
The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole;
But haply, in some cottage far apart,
May hear, well-pleas'd, the language of the soul;
And in His Book of Life the inmates poor enroll.

Then homeward all take off their sev'ral way;
The youngling cottagers retire to rest:
The parent-pair their secret homage pay,
And proffer up to Heaven the warm request,
That he who stills the raven's clam'rous nest,
And decks the lily fair in flow'ry pride,
Would, in the way His wisdom sees the best,
For them and for their little ones provide;
But chiefly, in their hearts with grace divine preside.

From scenes like these, old Scotia's grandeur springs,
That makes her lov'd at home, rever'd abroad:
Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,
"An honest man's the noblest work of God;"
And certes, in fair virtue's heavenly road,
The cottage leaves the palace far behind;
What is a lordling's pomp? a cumbrous load,
Disguising oft the wretch of human kind,
Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refin'd!

O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!
For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent,
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil
Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content!
And O! may Heaven their simple lives prevent
From luxury's contagion, weak and vile!
Then howe'er crowns and coronets be rent,
A virtuous populace may rise the while,
And stand a wall of fire around their much-lov'd isle.

O Thou! who pour'd the patriotic tide,
That stream'd thro' Wallace's undaunted heart,
Who dar'd to nobly stem tyrannic pride,
Or nobly die, the second glorious part:
(The patriot's God peculiarly thou art,
His friend, inspirer, guardian, and reward!)
O never, never Scotia's realm desert;
But still the patriot, and the patriot-bard
In bright succession raise, her ornament and guard!

Address To The Deil

O Prince! O chief of many throned Pow'rs
That led th' embattl'd Seraphim to war-

O Thou! whatever title suit thee-
Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie,
Wha in yon cavern grim an' sootie,
Clos'd under hatches,
Spairges about the brunstane cootie,
To scaud poor wretches!

Hear me, auld Hangie, for a wee,
An' let poor damned bodies be;
I'm sure sma' pleasure it can gie,
Ev'n to a deil,
To skelp an' scaud poor dogs like me,
An' hear us squeel!

Great is thy pow'r an' great thy fame;
Far ken'd an' noted is thy name;
An' tho' yon lowin' heuch's thy hame,
Thou travels far;
An' faith! thou's neither lag nor lame,
Nor blate, nor scaur.

Whiles, ranging like a roarin lion,
For prey, a' holes and corners tryin;
Whiles, on the strong-wind'd tempest flyin,
Tirlin the kirks;
Whiles, in the human bosom pryin,
Unseen thou lurks.

I've heard my rev'rend graunie say,
In lanely glens ye like to stray;
Or where auld ruin'd castles grey
Nod to the moon,
Ye fright the nightly wand'rer's way,
Wi' eldritch croon.

When twilight did my graunie summon,
To say her pray'rs, douse, honest woman!
Aft'yont the dyke she's heard you bummin,
Wi' eerie drone;
Or, rustlin, thro' the boortrees comin,
Wi' heavy groan.

Ae dreary, windy, winter night,
The stars shot down wi' sklentin light,
Wi' you, mysel' I gat a fright,
Ayont the lough;
Ye, like a rash-buss, stood in sight,
Wi' wavin' sough.

The cudgel in my nieve did shake,
Each brist'ld hair stood like a stake,
When wi' an eldritch, stoor "quaick, quaick,"
Amang the springs,
Awa ye squatter'd like a drake,
On whistlin' wings.

Let warlocks grim, an' wither'd hags,
Tell how wi' you, on ragweed nags,
They skim the muirs an' dizzy crags,
Wi' wicked speed;
And in kirk-yards renew their leagues,
Owre howkit dead.

Thence countra wives, wi' toil and pain,
May plunge an' plunge the kirn in vain;
For oh! the yellow treasure's ta'en
By witchin' skill;
An' dawtit, twal-pint hawkie's gane
As yell's the bill.

Thence mystic knots mak great abuse
On young guidmen, fond, keen an' crouse,
When the best wark-lume i' the house,
By cantrip wit,
Is instant made no worth a louse,
Just at the bit.

When thowes dissolve the snawy hoord,
An' float the jinglin' icy boord,
Then water-kelpies haunt the foord,
By your direction,
And 'nighted trav'llers are allur'd
To their destruction.

And aft your moss-traversin Spunkies
Decoy the wight that late an' drunk is:
The bleezin, curst, mischievous monkies
Delude his eyes,
Till in some miry slough he sunk is,
Ne'er mair to rise.

When masons' mystic word an' grip
In storms an' tempests raise you up,
Some cock or cat your rage maun stop,
Or, strange to tell!
The youngest brither ye wad whip
Aff straught to hell.

Lang syne in Eden's bonie yard,

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