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Poems And Songs Of Robert Burns by Robert Burns

Part 8 out of 13

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The Cameleon-Savage disturb'd her repose,
With tumult, disquiet, rebellion, and strife;
Provok'd beyond bearing, at last she arose,
And robb'd him at once of his hopes and his life:
The Anglian lion, the terror of France,
Oft prowling, ensanguin'd the Tweed's silver flood;
But, taught by the bright Caledonian lance,
He learned to fear in his own native wood.

The fell Harpy-raven took wing from the north,
The scourge of the seas, and the dread of the shore;
The wild Scandinavian boar issued forth
To wanton in carnage and wallow in gore:
O'er countries and kingdoms their fury prevail'd,
No arts could appease them, no arms could repel;
But brave Caledonia in vain they assail'd,
As Largs well can witness, and Loncartie tell.

Thus bold, independent, unconquer'd, and free,
Her bright course of glory for ever shall run:
For brave Caledonia immortal must be;
I'll prove it from Euclid as clear as the sun:
Rectangle-triangle, the figure we'll chuse:
The upright is Chance, and old Time is the base;
But brave Caledonia's the hypothenuse;
Then, ergo, she'll match them, and match them always.

To Miss Cruickshank

A very Young Lady

Written on the Blank Leaf of a Book, presented to her by the Author.

Beauteous Rosebud, young and gay,
Blooming in thy early May,
Never may'st thou, lovely flower,
Chilly shrink in sleety shower!
Never Boreas' hoary path,
Never Eurus' pois'nous breath,
Never baleful stellar lights,
Taint thee with untimely blights!
Never, never reptile thief
Riot on thy virgin leaf!
Nor even Sol too fiercely view
Thy bosom blushing still with dew!

May'st thou long, sweet crimson gem,
Richly deck thy native stem;
Till some ev'ning, sober, calm,
Dropping dews, and breathing balm,
While all around the woodland rings,
And ev'ry bird thy requiem sings;
Thou, amid the dirgeful sound,
Shed thy dying honours round,
And resign to parent Earth
The loveliest form she e'er gave birth.

Beware O' Bonie Ann

Ye gallants bright, I rede you right,
Beware o' bonie Ann;
Her comely face sae fu' o' grace,
Your heart she will trepan:
Her een sae bright, like stars by night,
Her skin sae like the swan;
Sae jimply lac'd her genty waist,
That sweetly ye might span.

Youth, Grace, and Love attendant move,
And pleasure leads the van:
In a' their charms, and conquering arms,
They wait on bonie Ann.
The captive bands may chain the hands,
But love enslaves the man:
Ye gallants braw, I rede you a',
Beware o' bonie Ann!

Ode On The Departed Regency Bill

(March, 1789)

Daughter of Chaos' doting years,
Nurse of ten thousand hopes and fears,
Whether thy airy, insubstantial shade
(The rights of sepulture now duly paid)
Spread abroad its hideous form
On the roaring civil storm,
Deafening din and warring rage
Factions wild with factions wage;
Or under-ground, deep-sunk, profound,
Among the demons of the earth,
With groans that make the mountains shake,
Thou mourn thy ill-starr'd, blighted birth;
Or in the uncreated Void,
Where seeds of future being fight,
With lessen'd step thou wander wide,
To greet thy Mother-Ancient Night.
And as each jarring, monster-mass is past,
Fond recollect what once thou wast:
In manner due, beneath this sacred oak,
Hear, Spirit, hear! thy presence I invoke!
By a Monarch's heaven-struck fate,
By a disunited State,
By a generous Prince's wrongs.
By a Senate's strife of tongues,
By a Premier's sullen pride,
Louring on the changing tide;
By dread Thurlow's powers to awe
Rhetoric, blasphemy and law;
By the turbulent ocean-
A Nation's commotion,
By the harlot-caresses
Of borough addresses,
By days few and evil,
(Thy portion, poor devil!)
By Power, Wealth, and Show,
(The Gods by men adored,)
By nameless Poverty,
(Their hell abhorred,)
By all they hope, by all they fear,
Hear! and appear!

Stare not on me, thou ghastly Power!
Nor, grim with chained defiance, lour:
No Babel-structure would I build
Where, order exil'd from his native sway,
Confusion may the regent-sceptre wield,
While all would rule and none obey:
Go, to the world of man relate
The story of thy sad, eventful fate;
And call presumptuous Hope to hear
And bid him check his blind career;
And tell the sore-prest sons of Care,
Never, never to despair!
Paint Charles' speed on wings of fire,
The object of his fond desire,
Beyond his boldest hopes, at hand:
Paint all the triumph of the Portland Band;
Hark how they lift the joy-elated voice!
And who are these that equally rejoice?
Jews, Gentiles, what a motley crew!
The iron tears their flinty cheeks bedew;
See how unfurled the parchment ensigns fly,
And Principal and Interest all the cry!
And how their num'rous creditors rejoice;
But just as hopes to warm enjoyment rise,
Cry Convalescence! and the vision flies.
Then next pourtray a dark'ning twilight gloom,
Eclipsing sad a gay, rejoicing morn,
While proud Ambition to th' untimely tomb
By gnashing, grim, despairing fiends is borne:
Paint ruin, in the shape of high D[undas]
Gaping with giddy terror o'er the brow;
In vain he struggles, the fates behind him press,
And clam'rous hell yawns for her prey below:
How fallen That, whose pride late scaled the skies!
And This, like Lucifer, no more to rise!
Again pronounce the powerful word;
See Day, triumphant from the night, restored.

Then know this truth, ye Sons of Men!
(Thus ends thy moral tale,)
Your darkest terrors may be vain,
Your brightest hopes may fail.

Epistle To James Tennant Of Glenconner

Auld comrade dear, and brither sinner,
How's a' the folk about Glenconner?
How do you this blae eastlin wind,
That's like to blaw a body blind?
For me, my faculties are frozen,
My dearest member nearly dozen'd.
I've sent you here, by Johnie Simson,
Twa sage philosophers to glimpse on;
Smith, wi' his sympathetic feeling,
An' Reid, to common sense appealing.
Philosophers have fought and wrangled,
An' meikle Greek an' Latin mangled,
Till wi' their logic-jargon tir'd,
And in the depth of science mir'd,
To common sense they now appeal,
What wives and wabsters see and feel.
But, hark ye, friend! I charge you strictly,
Peruse them, an' return them quickly:
For now I'm grown sae cursed douce
I pray and ponder butt the house;
My shins, my lane, I there sit roastin',
Perusing Bunyan, Brown, an' Boston,
Till by an' by, if I haud on,
I'll grunt a real gospel-groan:
Already I begin to try it,
To cast my e'en up like a pyet,
When by the gun she tumbles o'er
Flutt'ring an' gasping in her gore:
Sae shortly you shall see me bright,
A burning an' a shining light.

My heart-warm love to guid auld Glen,
The ace an' wale of honest men:
When bending down wi' auld grey hairs
Beneath the load of years and cares,
May He who made him still support him,
An' views beyond the grave comfort him;
His worthy fam'ly far and near,
God bless them a' wi' grace and gear!

My auld schoolfellow, Preacher Willie,
The manly tar, my mason-billie,
And Auchenbay, I wish him joy,
If he's a parent, lass or boy,
May he be dad, and Meg the mither,
Just five-and-forty years thegither!
And no forgetting wabster Charlie,
I'm tauld he offers very fairly.
An' Lord, remember singing Sannock,
Wi' hale breeks, saxpence, an' a bannock!
And next, my auld acquaintance, Nancy,
Since she is fitted to her fancy,
An' her kind stars hae airted till her
gA guid chiel wi' a pickle siller.
My kindest, best respects, I sen' it,
To cousin Kate, an' sister Janet:
Tell them, frae me, wi' chiels be cautious,
For, faith, they'll aiblins fin' them fashious;
To grant a heart is fairly civil,
But to grant a maidenhead's the devil.
An' lastly, Jamie, for yoursel,
May guardian angels tak a spell,
An' steer you seven miles south o' hell:
But first, before you see heaven's glory,
May ye get mony a merry story,
Mony a laugh, and mony a drink,
And aye eneugh o' needfu' clink.

Now fare ye weel, an' joy be wi' you:
For my sake, this I beg it o' you,
Assist poor Simson a' ye can,
Ye'll fin; him just an honest man;
Sae I conclude, and quat my chanter,
Your's, saint or sinner,
Rob the Ranter.

A New Psalm For The Chapel Of Kilmarnock

On the Thanksgiving-Day for His Majesty's Recovery.

O sing a new song to the Lord,
Make, all and every one,
A joyful noise, even for the King
His restoration.

The sons of Belial in the land
Did set their heads together;
Come, let us sweep them off, said they,
Like an o'erflowing river.

They set their heads together, I say,
They set their heads together;
On right, on left, on every hand,
We saw none to deliver.

Thou madest strong two chosen ones
To quell the Wicked's pride;
That Young Man, great in Issachar,
The burden-bearing tribe.

And him, among the Princes chief
In our Jerusalem,
The judge that's mighty in thy law,
The man that fears thy name.

Yet they, even they, with all their strength,
Began to faint and fail:
Even as two howling, ravenous wolves
To dogs do turn their tail.

Th' ungodly o'er the just prevail'd,
For so thou hadst appointed;
That thou might'st greater glory give
Unto thine own anointed.

And now thou hast restored our State,
Pity our Kirk also;
For she by tribulations
Is now brought very low.

Consume that high-place, Patronage,
From off thy holy hill;
And in thy fury burn the book-
Even of that man M'Gill.^1

Now hear our prayer, accept our song,
And fight thy chosen's battle:
We seek but little, Lord, from thee,
Thou kens we get as little.

[Footnote 1: Dr. William M'Gill of Ayr, whose "Practical Essay on the Death of
Jesus Christ" led to a charge of heresy against him. Burns took up his cause
in "The Kirk of Scotland's Alarm" (p. 351).-Lang.]

Sketch In Verse

Inscribed to the Right Hon. C. J. Fox.

How wisdom and Folly meet, mix, and unite,
How Virtue and Vice blend their black and their white,
How Genius, th' illustrious father of fiction,
Confounds rule and law, reconciles contradiction,
I sing: If these mortals, the critics, should bustle,
I care not, not I-let the Critics go whistle!

But now for a Patron whose name and whose glory,
At once may illustrate and honour my story.

Thou first of our orators, first of our wits;
Yet whose parts and acquirements seem just lucky hits;
With knowledge so vast, and with judgment so strong,
No man with the half of 'em e'er could go wrong;
With passions so potent, and fancies so bright,
No man with the half of 'em e'er could go right;
A sorry, poor, misbegot son of the Muses,
For using thy name, offers fifty excuses.
Good Lord, what is Man! for as simple he looks,
Do but try to develop his hooks and his crooks;
With his depths and his shallows, his good and his evil,
All in all he's a problem must puzzle the devil.

On his one ruling passion Sir Pope hugely labours,
That, like th' old Hebrew walking-switch, eats up its neighbours:
Mankind are his show-box-a friend, would you know him?
Pull the string, Ruling Passion the picture will show him,
What pity, in rearing so beauteous a system,
One trifling particular, Truth, should have miss'd him;
For, spite of his fine theoretic positions,
Mankind is a science defies definitions.

Some sort all our qualities each to its tribe,
And think human nature they truly describe;
Have you found this, or t'other? There's more in the wind;
As by one drunken fellow his comrades you'll find.
But such is the flaw, or the depth of the plan,
In the make of that wonderful creature called Man,
No two virtues, whatever relation they claim.
Nor even two different shades of the same,
Though like as was ever twin brother to brother,
Possessing the one shall imply you've the other.

But truce with abstraction, and truce with a Muse
Whose rhymes you'll perhaps, Sir, ne'er deign to peruse:
Will you leave your justings, your jars, and your quarrels,
Contending with Billy for proud-nodding laurels?
My much-honour'd Patron, believe your poor poet,
Your courage, much more than your prudence, you show it:
In vain with Squire Billy for laurels you struggle:
He'll have them by fair trade, if not, he will smuggle:
Not cabinets even of kings would conceal 'em,
He'd up the back stairs, and by God, he would steal 'em,
Then feats like Squire Billy's you ne'er can achieve 'em;
It is not, out-do him-the task is, out-thieve him!

The Wounded Hare

Inhuman man! curse on thy barb'rous art,
And blasted be thy murder-aiming eye;
May never pity soothe thee with a sigh,
Nor ever pleasure glad thy cruel heart!

Go live, poor wand'rer of the wood and field!
The bitter little that of life remains:
No more the thickening brakes and verdant plains
To thee a home, or food, or pastime yield.

Seek, mangled wretch, some place of wonted rest,
No more of rest, but now thy dying bed!
The sheltering rushes whistling o'er thy head,
The cold earth with thy bloody bosom prest.

Perhaps a mother's anguish adds its woe;
The playful pair crowd fondly by thy side;
Ah! helpless nurslings, who will now provide
That life a mother only can bestow!

Oft as by winding Nith I, musing, wait
The sober eve, or hail the cheerful dawn,
I'll miss thee sporting o'er the dewy lawn,
And curse the ruffian's aim, and mourn thy hapless fate.

Delia, An Ode

"To the Editor of The Star.-Mr. Printer-If the productions of a simple
ploughman can merit a place in the same paper with Sylvester Otway, and the
other favourites of the Muses who illuminate the Star with the lustre of
genius, your insertion of the enclosed trifle will be succeeded by future
communications from-Yours, &c., R. Burns.

Ellisland, near Dumfries, 18th May, 1789."

Fair the face of orient day,
Fair the tints of op'ning rose;
But fairer still my Delia dawns,
More lovely far her beauty shows.

Sweet the lark's wild warbled lay,
Sweet the tinkling rill to hear;
But, Delia, more delightful still,
Steal thine accents on mine ear.

The flower-enamour'd busy bee
The rosy banquet loves to sip;
Sweet the streamlet's limpid lapse
To the sun-brown'd Arab's lip.

But, Delia, on thy balmy lips
Let me, no vagrant insect, rove;
O let me steal one liquid kiss,
For Oh! my soul is parch'd with love.

The Gard'ner Wi' His Paidle

tune-"The Gardener's March."

When rosy May comes in wi' flowers,
To deck her gay, green-spreading bowers,
Then busy, busy are his hours,
The Gard'ner wi' his paidle.

The crystal waters gently fa',
The merry bards are lovers a',
The scented breezes round him blaw-
The Gard'ner wi' his paidle.

When purple morning starts the hare
To steal upon her early fare;
Then thro' the dews he maun repair-
The Gard'ner wi' his paidle.

When day, expiring in the west,
The curtain draws o' Nature's rest,
He flies to her arms he lo'es the best,
The Gard'ner wi' his paidle.

On A Bank Of Flowers

On a bank of flowers, in a summer day,
For summer lightly drest,
The youthful, blooming Nelly lay,
With love and sleep opprest;
When Willie, wand'ring thro' the wood,
Who for her favour oft had sued;
He gaz'd, he wish'd
He fear'd, he blush'd,
And trembled where he stood.

Her closed eyes, like weapons sheath'd,
Were seal'd in soft repose;
Her lip, still as she fragrant breath'd,
It richer dyed the rose;
The springing lilies, sweetly prest,
Wild-wanton kissed her rival breast;
He gaz'd, he wish'd,
He mear'd, he blush'd,
His bosom ill at rest.

Her robes, light-waving in the breeze,
Her tender limbs embrace;
Her lovely form, her native ease,
All harmony and grace;
Tumultuous tides his pulses roll,
A faltering, ardent kiss he stole;
He gaz'd, he wish'd,
He fear'd, he blush'd,
And sigh'd his very soul.

As flies the partridge from the brake,
On fear-inspired wings,
So Nelly, starting, half-awake,
Away affrighted springs;
But Willie follow'd-as he should,
He overtook her in the wood;
He vow'd, he pray'd,
He found the maid
Forgiving all, and good.

Young Jockie Was The Blythest Lad

Young Jockie was the blythest lad,
In a' our town or here awa;
Fu' blythe he whistled at the gaud,
Fu' lightly danc'd he in the ha'.

He roos'd my een sae bonie blue,
He roos'd my waist sae genty sma';
An' aye my heart cam to my mou',
When ne'er a body heard or saw.

My Jockie toils upon the plain,
Thro' wind and weet, thro' frost and snaw:
And o'er the lea I leuk fu' fain,
When Jockie's owsen hameward ca'.

An' aye the night comes round again,
When in his arms he taks me a';
An' aye he vows he'll be my ain,
As lang's he has a breath to draw.

The Banks Of Nith

The Thames flows proudly to the sea,
Where royal cities stately stand;
But sweeter flows the Nith to me,
Where Comyns ance had high command.
When shall I see that honour'd land,
That winding stream I love so dear!
Must wayward Fortune's adverse hand
For ever, ever keep me here!

How lovely, Nith, thy fruitful vales,
Where bounding hawthorns gaily bloom;
And sweetly spread thy sloping dales,
Where lambkins wanton through the broom.
Tho' wandering now must be my doom,
Far from thy bonie banks and braes,
May there my latest hours consume,
Amang the friends of early days!

Jamie, Come Try Me

Chorus.-Jamie, come try me,
Jamie, come try me,
If thou would win my love,
Jamie, come try me.

If thou should ask my love,
Could I deny thee?
If thou would win my love,
Jamie, come try me!
Jamie, come try me, &c.

If thou should kiss me, love,
Wha could espy thee?
If thou wad be my love,
Jamie, come try me!
Jamie, come try me, &c.

I Love My Love In Secret

My Sandy gied to me a ring,
Was a' beset wi' diamonds fine;
But I gied him a far better thing,
I gied my heart in pledge o' his ring.

Chorus.-My Sandy O, my Sandy O,
My bonie, bonie Sandy O;
Tho' the love that I owe
To thee I dare na show,
Yet I love my love in secret, my Sandy O.

My Sandy brak a piece o' gowd,
While down his cheeks the saut tears row'd;
He took a hauf, and gied it to me,
And I'll keep it till the hour I die.
My Sand O, &c.

Sweet Tibbie Dunbar

O wilt thou go wi' me, sweet Tibbie Dunbar?
O wilt thou go wi' me, sweet Tibbie Dunbar?
Wilt thou ride on a horse, or be drawn in a car,
Or walk by my side, O sweet Tibbie Dunbar?

I care na thy daddie, his lands and his money,
I care na thy kin, sae high and sae lordly;
But sae that thou'lt hae me for better for waur,
And come in thy coatie, sweet Tibbie Dunbar.

The Captain's Lady

Chorus.-O mount and go, mount and make you ready,
O mount and go, and be the Captain's lady.

When the drums do beat, and the cannons rattle,
Thou shalt sit in state, and see thy love in battle:
When the drums do beat, and the cannons rattle,
Thou shalt sit in state, and see thy love in battle.
O mount and go, &c.

When the vanquish'd foe sues for peace and quiet,
To the shades we'll go, and in love enjoy it:
When the vanquish'd foe sues for peace and quiet,
To the shades we'll go, and in love enjoy it.
O mount and go, &c.

John Anderson, My Jo

John Anderson, my jo, John,
When we were first acquent;
Your locks were like the raven,
Your bonie brow was brent;
But now your brow is beld, John,
Your locks are like the snaw;
But blessings on your frosty pow,
John Anderson, my jo.

John Anderson, my jo, John,
We clamb the hill thegither;
And mony a cantie day, John,
We've had wi' ane anither:
Now we maun totter down, John,
And hand in hand we'll go,
And sleep thegither at the foot,
John Anderson, my jo.

My Love, She's But A Lassie Yet

My love, she's but a lassie yet,
My love, she's but a lassie yet;
We'll let her stand a year or twa,
She'll no be half sae saucy yet;
I rue the day I sought her, O!
I rue the day I sought her, O!
Wha gets her needs na say she's woo'd,
But he may say he's bought her, O.

Come, draw a drap o' the best o't yet,
Come, draw a drap o' the best o't yet,
Gae seek for pleasure whare you will,
But here I never miss'd it yet,
We're a' dry wi' drinkin o't,
We're a' dry wi' drinkin o't;
The minister kiss'd the fiddler's wife;
He could na preach for thinkin o't.

song-Tam Glen

My heart is a-breaking, dear Tittie,
Some counsel unto me come len',
To anger them a' is a pity,
But what will I do wi' Tam Glen?

I'm thinking, wi' sic a braw fellow,
In poortith I might mak a fen;
What care I in riches to wallow,
If I maunna marry Tam Glen!

There's Lowrie the Laird o' Dumeller-
"Gude day to you, brute!" he comes ben:
He brags and he blaws o' his siller,
But when will he dance like Tam Glen!

My minnie does constantly deave me,
And bids me beware o' young men;
They flatter, she says, to deceive me,
But wha can think sae o' Tam Glen!

My daddie says, gin I'll forsake him,
He'd gie me gude hunder marks ten;
But, if it's ordain'd I maun take him,
O wha will I get but Tam Glen!

Yestreen at the Valentine's dealing,
My heart to my mou' gied a sten';
For thrice I drew ane without failing,
And thrice it was written "Tam Glen"!

The last Halloween I was waukin
My droukit sark-sleeve, as ye ken,
His likeness came up the house staukin,
And the very grey breeks o' Tam Glen!

Come, counsel, dear Tittie, don't tarry;
I'll gie ye my bonie black hen,
Gif ye will advise me to marry
The lad I lo'e dearly, Tam Glen.

Carle, An The King Come

Chorus.-Carle, an the King come,
Carle, an the King come,
Thou shalt dance and I will sing,
Carle, an the King come.

An somebody were come again,
Then somebody maun cross the main,
And every man shall hae his ain,
Carle, an the King come.
Carle, an the King come, &c.

I trow we swapped for the worse,
We gae the boot and better horse;
And that we'll tell them at the cross,
Carle, an the King come.
Carle, an the King come, &c.

Coggie, an the King come,
Coggie, an the King come,
I'se be fou, and thou'se be toom
Coggie, an the King come.
Coggie, an the King come, &c.

The Laddie's Dear Sel'

There's a youth in this city, it were a great pity
That he from our lassies should wander awa';
For he's bonie and braw, weel-favor'd witha',
An' his hair has a natural buckle an' a'.

His coat is the hue o' his bonnet sae blue,
His fecket is white as the new-driven snaw;
His hose they are blae, and his shoon like the slae,
And his clear siller buckles, they dazzle us a'.

For beauty and fortune the laddie's been courtin;
Weel-featur'd, weel-tocher'd, weel-mounted an' braw;
But chiefly the siller that gars him gang till her,
The penny's the jewel that beautifies a'.

There's Meg wi' the mailen that fain wad a haen him,
And Susie, wha's daddie was laird o' the Ha';
There's lang-tocher'd Nancy maist fetters his fancy,
-But the laddie's dear sel', he loes dearest of a'.

Whistle O'er The Lave O't

First when Maggie was my care,
Heav'n, I thought, was in her air,
Now we're married-speir nae mair,
But whistle o'er the lave o't!

Meg was meek, and Meg was mild,
Sweet and harmless as a child-
Wiser men than me's beguil'd;
Whistle o'er the lave o't!

How we live, my Meg and me,
How we love, and how we gree,
I care na by how few may see-
Whistle o'er the lave o't!

Wha I wish were maggot's meat,
Dish'd up in her winding-sheet,
I could write-but Meg maun see't-
Whistle o'er the lave o't!

My Eppie Adair

Chorus.-An' O my Eppie, my jewel, my Eppie,
Wha wad na be happy wi' Eppie Adair?

By love, and by beauty, by law, and by duty,
I swear to be true to my Eppie Adair!
By love, and by beauty, by law, and by duty,
I swear to be true to my Eppie Adair!
And O my Eppie, &c.

A' pleasure exile me, dishonour defile me,
If e'er I beguile ye, my Eppie Adair!
A' pleasure exile me, dishonour defile me,
If e'er I beguile thee, my Eppie Adair!
And O my Eppie, &c.

On The Late Captain Grose's Peregrinations Thro' Scotland

Collecting The Antiquities Of That Kingdom

Hear, Land o' Cakes, and brither Scots,
Frae Maidenkirk to Johnie Groat's;-
If there's a hole in a' your coats,
I rede you tent it:
A chield's amang you takin notes,
And, faith, he'll prent it:

If in your bounds ye chance to light
Upon a fine, fat fodgel wight,
O' stature short, but genius bright,
That's he, mark weel;
And wow! he has an unco sleight
O' cauk and keel.

By some auld, houlet-haunted biggin,
Or kirk deserted by its riggin,
It's ten to ane ye'll find him snug in
Some eldritch part,
Wi' deils, they say, Lord save's! colleaguin
At some black art.

Ilk ghaist that haunts auld ha' or chaumer,
Ye gipsy-gang that deal in glamour,
And you, deep-read in hell's black grammar,
Warlocks and witches,
Ye'll quake at his conjuring hammer,
Ye midnight bitches.

It's tauld he was a sodger bred,
And ane wad rather fa'n than fled;
But now he's quat the spurtle-blade,
And dog-skin wallet,
And taen the-Antiquarian trade,
I think they call it.

He has a fouth o' auld nick-nackets:
Rusty airn caps and jinglin jackets,
Wad haud the Lothians three in tackets,
A towmont gude;
And parritch-pats and auld saut-backets,
Before the Flood.

Of Eve's first fire he has a cinder;
Auld Tubalcain's fire-shool and fender;
That which distinguished the gender
O' Balaam's ass:
A broomstick o' the witch of Endor,
Weel shod wi' brass.

Forbye, he'll shape you aff fu' gleg
The cut of Adam's philibeg;
The knife that nickit Abel's craig
He'll prove you fully,
It was a faulding jocteleg,
Or lang-kail gullie.

But wad ye see him in his glee,
For meikle glee and fun has he,
Then set him down, and twa or three
Gude fellows wi' him:
And port, O port! shine thou a wee,
And Then ye'll see him!

Now, by the Pow'rs o' verse and prose!
Thou art a dainty chield, O Grose!-
Whae'er o' thee shall ill suppose,
They sair misca' thee;
I'd take the rascal by the nose,
Wad say, "Shame fa' thee!"

Epigram On Francis Grose The Antiquary

The Devil got notice that Grose was a-dying
So whip! at the summons, old Satan came flying;
But when he approached where poor Francis lay moaning,
And saw each bed-post with its burthen a-groaning,
Astonish'd, confounded, cries Satan-"By God,
I'll want him, ere I take such a damnable load!"

The Kirk Of Scotland's Alarm

A Ballad.

tune-"Come rouse, Brother Sportsman!"

Orthodox! orthodox, who believe in John Knox,
Let me sound an alarm to your conscience:
A heretic blast has been blown in the West,
"That what is no sense must be nonsense,"
Orthodox! That what is no sense must be nonsense.

Doctor Mac! Doctor Mac, you should streek on a rack,
To strike evil-doers wi' terror:
To join Faith and Sense, upon any pretence,
Was heretic, damnable error,
Doctor Mac!^1 'Twas heretic, damnable error.

Town of Ayr! town of Ayr, it was mad, I declare,
To meddle wi' mischief a-brewing,^2
Provost John^3 is still deaf to the Church's relief,
And Orator Bob^4 is its ruin,
Town of Ayr! Yes, Orator Bob is its ruin.

D'rymple mild! D'rymple mild, tho' your heart's like a child,
And your life like the new-driven snaw,
Yet that winna save you, auld Satan must have you,
For preaching that three's ane an' twa,
D'rymple mild!^5 For preaching that three's ane an' twa.

Rumble John! rumble John, mount the steps with a groan,
Cry the book is with heresy cramm'd;
Then out wi' your ladle, deal brimstone like aidle,
And roar ev'ry note of the damn'd.
Rumble John!^6 And roar ev'ry note of the damn'd.

[Footnote 1: Dr. M'Gill, Ayr.-R.B,]

[Footnote 2: See the advertisement.-R.B.]

[Footnote 3: John Ballantine,-R.B.]

[Footnote 4: Robert Aiken.-R.B.]

[Footnote 5: Dr. Dalrymple, Ayr.-R.B.]

[Footnote 6: John Russell, Kilmarnock.-R.B.]

Simper James! simper James, leave your fair Killie dames,
There's a holier chase in your view:
I'll lay on your head, that the pack you'll soon lead,
For puppies like you there's but few,
Simper James!^7 For puppies like you there's but few.

Singet Sawnie! singet Sawnie, are ye huirdin the penny,
Unconscious what evils await?
With a jump, yell, and howl, alarm ev'ry soul,
For the foul thief is just at your gate.
Singet Sawnie!^8 For the foul thief is just at your gate.

Poet Willie! poet Willie, gie the Doctor a volley,
Wi' your "Liberty's Chain" and your wit;
O'er Pegasus' side ye ne'er laid a stride,
Ye but smelt, man, the place where he sh-t.
Poet Willie!^9 Ye but smelt man, the place where he sh-t.

Barr Steenie! Barr Steenie, what mean ye, what mean ye?
If ye meddle nae mair wi' the matter,
Ye may hae some pretence to havins and sense,
Wi' people that ken ye nae better,
Barr Steenie!^10 Wi'people that ken ye nae better.

Jamie Goose! Jamie Goose, ye made but toom roose,
In hunting the wicked Lieutenant;
But the Doctor's your mark, for the Lord's holy ark,
He has cooper'd an' ca'd a wrang pin in't,
Jamie Goose!^11 He has cooper'd an' ca'd a wrang pin in't.

Davie Bluster! Davie Bluster, for a saint ye do muster,
The corps is no nice o' recruits;

[Footnote 7: James Mackinlay, Kilmarnock.-R.B.]

[Footnote 8: Alexander Moodie of Riccarton.-R.B.]

[Footnote 9: William Peebles, in Newton-upon-Ayr, a poetaster, who, among many
other things, published an ode on the "Centenary of the Revolution," in which
was the line: "And bound in Liberty's endering chain."-R.B.]

[Footnote 10: Stephen Young of Barr.-R.B.]

[Footnote 11: James Young, in New Cumnock, who had lately been foiled in an
ecclesiastical prosecution against a Lieutenant Mitchel-R.B.]

Yet to worth let's be just, royal blood ye might boast,
If the Ass were the king o' the brutes,
Davie Bluster!^12 If the Ass were the king o' the brutes.

Irvine Side! Irvine Side, wi' your turkey-cock pride
Of manhood but sma' is your share:
Ye've the figure, 'tis true, ev'n your foes will allow,
And your friends they dare grant you nae mair,
Irvine Side!^13 And your friends they dare grant you nae mair.

Muirland Jock! muirland Jock, when the Lord makes a rock,
To crush common-sense for her sins;
If ill-manners were wit, there's no mortal so fit
To confound the poor Doctor at ance,
Muirland Jock!^14 To confound the poor Doctor at ance.

Andro Gowk! Andro Gowk, ye may slander the Book,
An' the Book nought the waur, let me tell ye;
Tho' ye're rich, an' look big, yet, lay by hat an' wig,
An' ye'll hae a calf's-had o' sma' value,
Andro Gowk!^15 Ye'll hae a calf's head o' sma value.

Daddy Auld! daddy Auld, there'a a tod in the fauld,
A tod meikle waur than the clerk;
Tho' ye do little skaith, ye'll be in at the death,
For gif ye canna bite, ye may bark,
Daddy Auld!^16 Gif ye canna bite, ye may bark.

Holy Will! holy Will, there was wit in your skull,
When ye pilfer'd the alms o' the poor;
The timmer is scant when ye're taen for a saunt,
Wha should swing in a rape for an hour,
Holy Will!^17 Ye should swing in a rape for an hour.

Calvin's sons! Calvin's sons, seize your spiritual guns,
Ammunition you never can need;

[Footnote 12: David Grant, Ochiltree.-R.B.]

[Footnote 13: George Smith, Galston.-R.B.]

[Footnote 14: John Shepherd Muirkirk.-R.B.]

[Footnote 15: Dr. Andrew Mitchel, Monkton.-R.B.]

[Footnote 16: William Auld, Mauchline; for the clerk, see "Holy Willie"s

[Footnote 17: Vide the "Prayer" of this saint.-R.B.]

Your hearts are the stuff will be powder enough,
And your skulls are a storehouse o' lead,
Calvin's sons! Your skulls are a storehouse o' lead.

Poet Burns! poet Burns, wi" your priest-skelpin turns,
Why desert ye your auld native shire?
Your muse is a gipsy, yet were she e'en tipsy,
She could ca'us nae waur than we are,
Poet Burns! She could ca'us nae waur than we are.

Presentation Stanzas To Correspondents

Factor John! Factor John, whom the Lord made alone,
And ne'er made anither, thy peer,
Thy poor servant, the Bard, in respectful regard,
He presents thee this token sincere,
Factor John! He presents thee this token sincere.

Afton's Laird! Afton's Laird, when your pen can be spared,
A copy of this I bequeath,
On the same sicker score as I mention'd before,
To that trusty auld worthy, Clackleith,
Afton's Laird! To that trusty auld worthy, Clackleith.

Sonnet On Receiving A Favour

10 Aug., 1979.

Addressed to Robert Graham, Esq. of Fintry.

I call no Goddess to inspire my strains,
A fabled Muse may suit a bard that feigns:
Friend of my life! my ardent spirit burns,
And all the tribute of my heart returns,
For boons accorded, goodness ever new,
The gifts still dearer, as the giver you.
Thou orb of day! thou other paler light!
And all ye many sparkling stars of night!
If aught that giver from my mind efface,
If I that giver's bounty e'er disgrace,
Then roll to me along your wand'rig spheres,
Only to number out a villain's years!
I lay my hand upon my swelling breast,
And grateful would, but cannot speak the rest.

Extemporaneous Effusion

On being appointed to an Excise division.

Searching auld wives' barrels,
Ochon the day!
That clarty barm should stain my laurels:
But-what'll ye say?
These movin' things ca'd wives an' weans,
Wad move the very hearts o' stanes!

Song -Willie Brew'd A Peck O' Maut^1

O Willie brew'd a peck o' maut,
And Rob and Allen cam to see;
Three blyther hearts, that lee-lang night,
Ye wadna found in Christendie.

Chorus.-We are na fou, we're nae that fou,
But just a drappie in our ee;
The cock may craw, the day may daw
And aye we'll taste the barley bree.

Here are we met, three merry boys,
Three merry boys I trow are we;
And mony a night we've merry been,
And mony mae we hope to be!
We are na fou, &c.

It is the moon, I ken her horn,
That's blinkin' in the lift sae hie;
She shines sae bright to wyle us hame,
But, by my sooth, she'll wait a wee!
We are na fou, &c.

Wha first shall rise to gang awa,
A cuckold, coward loun is he!
Wha first beside his chair shall fa',
He is the King amang us three.
We are na fou, &c.

[Footnote 1: Willie is Nicol, Allan is Masterton the writing-master. The scene
is between Moffat and the head of the Loch of the Lowes. Date,
August-September, 1789.-Lang.]

Ca' The Yowes To The Knowes

Chorus.-Ca' the yowes to the knowes,
Ca' them where the heather grows,
Ca' them where the burnie rowes,
My bonie dearie

As I gaed down the water-side,
There I met my shepherd lad:
He row'd me sweetly in his plaid,
And he ca'd me his dearie.
Ca' the yowes, &c.

Will ye gang down the water-side,
And see the waves sae sweetly glide
Beneath the hazels spreading wide,
The moon it shines fu' clearly.
Ca' the yowes, &c.

Ye sall get gowns and ribbons meet,
Cauf-leather shoon upon your feet,
And in my arms ye'se lie and sleep,
An' ye sall be my dearie.
Ca' the yowes, &c.

If ye'll but stand to what ye've said,
I'se gang wi' thee, my shepherd lad,
And ye may row me in your plaid,
And I sall be your dearie.
Ca' the yowes, &c.

While waters wimple to the sea,
While day blinks in the lift sae hie,
Till clay-cauld death sall blin' my e'e,
Ye sall be my dearie.
Ca' the yowes, &c.

I Gaed A Waefu' Gate Yestreen

I gaed a waefu' gate yestreen,
A gate, I fear, I'll dearly rue;
I gat my death frae twa sweet een,
Twa lovely een o'bonie blue.

'Twas not her golden ringlets bright,
Her lips like roses wat wi' dew,
Her heaving bosom, lily-white-
It was her een sae bonie blue.

She talk'd, she smil'd, my heart she wyl'd;
She charm'd my soul I wist na how;
And aye the stound, the deadly wound,
Cam frae her een so bonie blue.
But "spare to speak, and spare to speed;"
She'll aiblins listen to my vow:
Should she refuse, I'll lay my dead
To her twa een sae bonie blue.

Highland Harry Back Again

My Harry was a gallant gay,
Fu' stately strade he on the plain;
But now he's banish'd far away,
I'll never see him back again.

Chorus.-O for him back again!
O for him back again!
I wad gie a' Knockhaspie's land
For Highland Harry back again.

When a' the lave gae to their bed,
I wander dowie up the glen;
I set me down and greet my fill,
And aye I wish him back again.
O for him, &c.

O were some villains hangit high,
And ilka body had their ain!
Then I might see the joyfu' sight,
My Highland Harry back again.
O for him, &c.

The Battle Of Sherramuir

tune-"The Cameronian Rant."

"O cam ye here the fight to shun,
Or herd the sheep wi' me, man?
Or were ye at the Sherra-moor,
Or did the battle see, man?"
I saw the battle, sair and teugh,
And reekin-red ran mony a sheugh;
My heart, for fear, gaed sough for sough,
To hear the thuds, and see the cluds
O' clans frae woods, in tartan duds,
Wha glaum'd at kingdoms three, man.
La, la, la, la, &c.

The red-coat lads, wi' black cockauds,
To meet them were na slaw, man;
They rush'd and push'd, and blude outgush'd
And mony a bouk did fa', man:
The great Argyle led on his files,
I wat they glanced twenty miles;
They hough'd the clans like nine-pin kyles,
They hack'd and hash'd, while braid-swords, clash'd,
And thro' they dash'd, and hew'd and smash'd,
Till fey men died awa, man.
La, la, la, la, &c.

But had ye seen the philibegs,
And skyrin tartan trews, man;
When in the teeth they dar'd our Whigs,
And covenant True-blues, man:
In lines extended lang and large,
When baiginets o'erpower'd the targe,
And thousands hasten'd to the charge;
Wi' Highland wrath they frae the sheath
Drew blades o' death, till, out o' breath,
They fled like frighted dows, man!
La, la, la, la, &c.

"O how deil, Tam, can that be true?
The chase gaed frae the north, man;
I saw mysel, they did pursue,
The horsemen back to Forth, man;
And at Dunblane, in my ain sight,
They took the brig wi' a' their might,
And straught to Stirling wing'd their flight;
But, cursed lot! the gates were shut;
And mony a huntit poor red-coat,
For fear amaist did swarf, man!"
La, la, la, la, &c.

My sister Kate cam up the gate
Wi' crowdie unto me, man;
She swoor she saw some rebels run
To Perth unto Dundee, man;
Their left-hand general had nae skill;
The Angus lads had nae gude will
That day their neibors' blude to spill;
For fear, for foes, that they should lose
Their cogs o' brose; they scar'd at blows,
And hameward fast did flee, man.
La, la, la, la, &c.

They've lost some gallant gentlemen,
Amang the Highland clans, man!
I fear my Lord Panmure is slain,
Or fallen in Whiggish hands, man,
Now wad ye sing this double fight,
Some fell for wrang, and some for right;
But mony bade the world gude-night;
Then ye may tell, how pell and mell,
By red claymores, and muskets knell,
Wi' dying yell, the Tories fell,
And Whigs to hell did flee, man.
La, la, la, la, &c.

The Braes O' Killiecrankie

Where hae ye been sae braw, lad?
Whare hae ye been sae brankie, O?
Whare hae ye been sae braw, lad?
Cam ye by Killiecrankie, O?

Chorus.-An ye had been whare I hae been,
Ye wad na been sae cantie, O;
An ye had seen what I hae seen,
I' the Braes o' Killiecrankie, O.

I faught at land, I faught at sea,
At hame I faught my Auntie, O;
But I met the devil an' Dundee,
On the Braes o' Killiecrankie, O.
An ye had been, &c.

The bauld Pitcur fell in a furr,
An' Clavers gat a clankie, O;
Or I had fed an Athole gled,
On the Braes o' Killiecrankie, O.
An ye had been, &c.

Awa' Whigs, Awa'

Chorus.-Awa' Whigs, awa'!
Awa' Whigs, awa'!
Ye're but a pack o' traitor louns,
Ye'll do nae gude at a'.

Our thrissles flourish'd fresh and fair,
And bonie bloom'd our roses;
But Whigs cam' like a frost in June,
An' wither'd a' our posies.
Awa' Whigs, &c.

Our ancient crown's fa'en in the dust-
Deil blin' them wi' the stoure o't!
An' write their names in his black beuk,
Wha gae the Whigs the power o't.
Awa' Whigs, &c.

Our sad decay in church and state
Surpasses my descriving:
The Whigs cam' o'er us for a curse,
An' we hae done wi' thriving.
Awa' Whigs, &c.

Grim vengeance lang has taen a nap,
But we may see him wauken:
Gude help the day when royal heads
Are hunted like a maukin!
Awa' Whigs, &c.

A Waukrife Minnie

Whare are you gaun, my bonie lass,
Whare are you gaun, my hinnie?
She answered me right saucilie,
"An errand for my minnie."

O whare live ye, my bonie lass,
O whare live ye, my hinnie?
"By yon burnside, gin ye maun ken,
In a wee house wi' my minnie."

But I foor up the glen at e'en.
To see my bonie lassie;
And lang before the grey morn cam,
She was na hauf sae saucie.

O weary fa' the waukrife cock,
And the foumart lay his crawin!
He wauken'd the auld wife frae her sleep,
A wee blink or the dawin.

An angry wife I wat she raise,
And o'er the bed she brocht her;
And wi' a meikle hazel rung
She made her a weel-pay'd dochter.

O fare thee weel, my bonie lass,
O fare thee well, my hinnie!
Thou art a gay an' a bonnie lass,
But thou has a waukrife minnie.

The Captive Ribband

tune-"Robaidh dona gorach."

Dear Myra, the captive ribband's mine,
'Twas all my faithful love could gain;
And would you ask me to resign
The sole reward that crowns my pain?

Go, bid the hero who has run
Thro' fields of death to gather fame,
Go, bid him lay his laurels down,
And all his well-earn'd praise disclaim.

The ribband shall its freedom lose-
Lose all the bliss it had with you,
And share the fate I would impose
On thee, wert thou my captive too.

It shall upon my bosom live,
Or clasp me in a close embrace;
And at its fortune if you grieve,
Retrieve its doom, and take its place.

My Heart's In The Highlands

tune-"Failte na Miosg."

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,
The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

Chorus.-My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.

Farewell to the mountains, high-cover'd with snow,
Farewell to the straths and green vallies below;
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods,
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods.
My heart's in the Highlands, &c.

The Whistle-A Ballad

I sing of a Whistle, a Whistle of worth,
I sing of a Whistle, the pride of the North.
Was brought to the court of our good Scottish King,
And long with this Whistle all Scotland shall ring.

Old Loda, still rueing the arm of Fingal,
The god of the bottle sends down from his hall-
"The Whistle's your challenge, to Scotland get o'er,
And drink them to hell, Sir! or ne'er see me more!"

Old poets have sung, and old chronicles tell,
What champions ventur'd, what champions fell:
The son of great Loda was conqueror still,
And blew on the Whistle their requiem shrill.

Till Robert, the lord of the Cairn and the Scaur,
Unmatch'd at the bottle, unconquer'd in war,
He drank his poor god-ship as deep as the sea;
No tide of the Baltic e'er drunker than he.

Thus Robert, victorious, the trophy has gain'd;
Which now in his house has for ages remain'd;
Till three noble chieftains, and all of his blood,
The jovial contest again have renew'd.

Three joyous good fellows, with hearts clear of flaw
Craigdarroch, so famous for with, worth, and law;
And trusty Glenriddel, so skill'd in old coins;
And gallant Sir Robert, deep-read in old wines.

Craigdarroch began, with a tongue smooth as oil,
Desiring Downrightly to yield up the spoil;
Or else he would muster the heads of the clan,
And once more, in claret, try which was the man.

"By the gods of the ancients!" Downrightly replies,
"Before I surrender so glorious a prize,
I'll conjure the ghost of the great Rorie More,
And bumper his horn with him twenty times o'er."

Sir Robert, a soldier, no speech would pretend,
But he ne'er turn'd his back on his foe, or his friend;
Said, "Toss down the Whistle, the prize of the field,"
And, knee-deep in claret, he'd die ere he'd yield.

To the board of Glenriddel our heroes repair,
So noted for drowning of sorrow and care;
But, for wine and for welcome, not more known to fame,
Than the sense, wit, and taste, of a sweet lovely dame.

A bard was selected to witness the fray,
And tell future ages the feats of the day;
A Bard who detested all sadness and spleen,
And wish'd that Parnassus a vineyard had been.

The dinner being over, the claret they ply,
And ev'ry new cork is a new spring of joy;
In the bands of old friendship and kindred so set,
And the bands grew the tighter the more they were wet.

Gay Pleasure ran riot as bumpers ran o'er:
Bright Phoebus ne'er witness'd so joyous a core,
And vow'd that to leave them he was quite forlorn,
Till Cynthia hinted he'd see them next morn.

Six bottles a-piece had well wore out the night,
When gallant Sir Robert, to finish the fight,
Turn'd o'er in one bumper a bottle of red,
And swore 'twas the way that their ancestor did.

Then worthy Glenriddel, so cautious and sage,
No longer the warfare ungodly would wage;
A high Ruling Elder to wallow in wine;
He left the foul business to folks less divine.

The gallant Sir Robert fought hard to the end;
But who can with Fate and quart bumpers contend!
Though Fate said, a hero should perish in light;
So uprose bright Phoebus-and down fell the knight.

Next uprose our Bard, like a prophet in drink:-
"Craigdarroch, thou'lt soar when creation shall sink!
But if thou would flourish immortal in rhyme,
Come-one bottle more-and have at the sublime!

"Thy line, that have struggled for freedom with Bruce,
Shall heroes and patriots ever produce:
So thine be the laurel, and mine be the bay;
The field thou hast won, by yon bright god of day!"

To Mary In Heaven

Thou ling'ring star, with lessening ray,
That lov'st to greet the early morn,
Again thou usher'st in the day
My Mary from my soul was torn.
O Mary! dear departed shade!
Where is thy place of blissful rest?
See'st thou thy lover lowly laid?
Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast?

That sacred hour can I forget,
Can I forget the hallow'd grove,
Where, by the winding Ayr, we met,
To live one day of parting love!
Eternity will not efface
Those records dear of transports past,
Thy image at our last embrace,
Ah! little thought we 'twas our last!

Ayr, gurgling, kiss'd his pebbled shore,
O'erhung with wild-woods, thickening green;
The fragrant birch and hawthorn hoar,
'Twin'd amorous round the raptur'd scene:
The flowers sprang wanton to be prest,
The birds sang love on every spray;
Till too, too soon, the glowing west,
Proclaim'd the speed of winged day.

Still o'er these scenes my mem'ry wakes,
And fondly broods with miser-care;
Time but th' impression stronger makes,
As streams their channels deeper wear,
My Mary! dear departed shade!
Where is thy blissful place of rest?
See'st thou thy lover lowly laid?
Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast?

Epistle To Dr. Blacklock

Ellisland, 21st Oct., 1789.

Wow, but your letter made me vauntie!
And are ye hale, and weel and cantie?
I ken'd it still, your wee bit jauntie
Wad bring ye to:
Lord send you aye as weel's I want ye!
And then ye'll do.

The ill-thief blaw the Heron south!
And never drink be near his drouth!
He tauld myself by word o' mouth,
He'd tak my letter;
I lippen'd to the chiel in trouth,
And bade nae better.

But aiblins, honest Master Heron
Had, at the time, some dainty fair one
To ware this theologic care on,
And holy study;
And tired o' sauls to waste his lear on,
E'en tried the body.

But what d'ye think, my trusty fere,
I'm turned a gauger-Peace be here!
Parnassian queans, I fear, I fear,
Ye'll now disdain me!
And then my fifty pounds a year
Will little gain me.

Ye glaikit, gleesome, dainty damies,
Wha, by Castalia's wimplin streamies,
Lowp, sing, and lave your pretty limbies,
Ye ken, ye ken,
That strang necessity supreme is
'Mang sons o' men.

I hae a wife and twa wee laddies;
They maun hae brose and brats o' duddies;
Ye ken yoursels my heart right proud is-
I need na vaunt
But I'll sned besoms, thraw saugh woodies,
Before they want.

Lord help me thro' this warld o' care!
I'm weary sick o't late and air!
Not but I hae a richer share
Than mony ithers;
But why should ae man better fare,
And a' men brithers?

Come, Firm Resolve, take thou the van,
Thou stalk o' carl-hemp in man!
And let us mind, faint heart ne'er wan
A lady fair:
Wha does the utmost that he can,
Will whiles do mair.

But to conclude my silly rhyme
(I'm scant o' verse and scant o' time),
To make a happy fireside clime
To weans and wife,
That's the true pathos and sublime
Of human life.

My compliments to sister Beckie,
And eke the same to honest Lucky;
I wat she is a daintie chuckie,
As e'er tread clay;
And gratefully, my gude auld cockie,
I'm yours for aye.
Robert Burns.

The Five Carlins

An Election Ballad.

tune-"Chevy Chase."

There was five Carlins in the South,
They fell upon a scheme,
To send a lad to London town,
To bring them tidings hame.

Nor only bring them tidings hame,
But do their errands there,
And aiblins gowd and honor baith
Might be that laddie's share.

There was Maggy by the banks o' Nith,
A dame wi' pride eneugh;
And Marjory o' the mony Lochs,
A Carlin auld and teugh.

And blinkin Bess of Annandale,
That dwelt near Solway-side;
And whisky Jean, that took her gill,
In Galloway sae wide.

And auld black Joan frae Crichton Peel,^1
O' gipsy kith an' kin;
Five wighter Carlins were na found
The South countrie within.

To send a lad to London town,
They met upon a day;
And mony a knight, and mony a laird,
This errand fain wad gae.

O mony a knight, and mony a laird,
This errand fain wad gae;
But nae ane could their fancy please,
O ne'er a ane but twae.

The first ane was a belted Knight,
Bred of a Border band;^2
And he wad gae to London town,
Might nae man him withstand.

And he wad do their errands weel,
And meikle he wad say;
And ilka ane about the court
Wad bid to him gude -day.

[Footnote 1: Sanquhar.]

[Footnote 2: Sir James Johnston of Westerhall.]

The neist cam in a Soger youth,^3
Who spak wi' modest grace,
And he wad gae to London town,
If sae their pleasure was.

He wad na hecht them courtly gifts,
Nor meikle speech pretend;
But he wad hecht an honest heart,
Wad ne'er desert his friend.

Now, wham to chuse, and wham refuse,
At strife thir Carlins fell;
For some had Gentlefolks to please,
And some wad please themsel'.

Then out spak mim-mou'd Meg o' Nith,
And she spak up wi' pride,
And she wad send the Soger youth,
Whatever might betide.

For the auld Gudeman o' London court^4
She didna care a pin;
But she wad send the Soger youth,
To greet his eldest son.^5

Then up sprang Bess o' Annandale,
And a deadly aith she's ta'en,
That she wad vote the Border Knight,
Though she should vote her lane.

"For far-off fowls hae feathers fair,
And fools o' change are fain;
But I hae tried the Border Knight,
And I'll try him yet again."

Says black Joan frae Crichton Peel,
A Carlin stoor and grim.
"The auld Gudeman or young Gudeman,
For me may sink or swim;

[Footnote 3: Captain Patrick Millar of Dalswinton.]

[Footnote 4: The King.]

[Footnote 5: The Prince of Wales.]

For fools will prate o' right or wrang,
While knaves laugh them to scorn;
But the Soger's friends hae blawn the best,
So he shall bear the horn."

Then whisky Jean spak owre her drink,
"Ye weel ken, kimmers a',
The auld gudeman o' London court,
His back's been at the wa';

"And mony a friend that kiss'd his caup
Is now a fremit wight;
But it's ne'er be said o' whisky Jean-
We'll send the Border Knight."

Then slow raise Marjory o' the Lochs,
And wrinkled was her brow,
Her ancient weed was russet gray,
Her auld Scots bluid was true;

"There's some great folk set light by me,
I set as light by them;
But I will send to London town
Wham I like best at hame."

Sae how this mighty plea may end,
Nae mortal wight can tell;
God grant the King and ilka man
May look weel to himsel.

Election Ballad For Westerha'

tune-"Up and waur them a', Willie."

The Laddies by the banks o' Nith
Wad trust his Grace^1 wi a', Jamie;
But he'll sair them, as he sair'd the King-
Turn tail and rin awa', Jamie.

[Footnote 1: The fourth Duke of Queensberry, who supported the proposal that,
during George III's illness, the Prince of Wales should assume the Government
with full prerogative.]

Chorus.-Up and waur them a', Jamie,
Up and waur them a';
The Johnstones hae the guidin o't,
Ye turncoat Whigs, awa'!

The day he stude his country's friend,
Or gied her faes a claw, Jamie,
Or frae puir man a blessin wan,
That day the Duke ne'er saw, Jamie.
Up and waur them, &c.

But wha is he, his country's boast?
Like him there is na twa, Jamie;
There's no a callent tents the kye,
But kens o' Westerha', Jamie.
Up and waur them, &c.

To end the wark, here's Whistlebirk,
Lang may his whistle blaw, Jamie;
And Maxwell true, o' sterling blue;
And we'll be Johnstones a', Jamie.
Up and waur them, &c.

Prologue Spoken At The Theatre Of Dumfries

On New Year's Day Evening, 1790.

No song nor dance I bring from yon great city,
That queens it o'er our taste-the more's the pity:
Tho' by the bye, abroad why will you roam?
Good sense and taste are natives here at home:
But not for panegyric I appear,
I come to wish you all a good New Year!
Old Father Time deputes me here before ye,
Not for to preach, but tell his simple story:
The sage, grave Ancient cough'd, and bade me say,
"You're one year older this important day,"
If wiser too-he hinted some suggestion,
But 'twould be rude, you know, to ask the question;
And with a would-be roguish leer and wink,
Said-"Sutherland, in one word, bid them Think!"

Ye sprightly youths, quite flush with hope and spirit,
Who think to storm the world by dint of merit,
To you the dotard has a deal to say,
In his sly, dry, sententious, proverb way!
He bids you mind, amid your thoughtless rattle,
That the first blow is ever half the battle;
That tho' some by the skirt may try to snatch him,
Yet by the foreclock is the hold to catch him;
That whether doing, suffering, or forbearing,
You may do miracles by persevering.

Last, tho' not least in love, ye youthful fair,
Angelic forms, high Heaven's peculiar care!
To you old Bald-pate smoothes his wrinkled brow,
And humbly begs you'll mind the important-Now!
To crown your happiness he asks your leave,
And offers, bliss to give and to receive.

For our sincere, tho' haply weak endeavours,
With grateful pride we own your many favours;
And howsoe'er our tongues may ill reveal it,
Believe our glowing bosoms truly feel it.

Sketch-New Year's Day [1790]

To Mrs. Dunlop.

This day, Time winds th' exhausted chain;
To run the twelvemonth's length again:
I see, the old bald-pated fellow,
With ardent eyes, complexion sallow,
Adjust the unimpair'd machine,
To wheel the equal, dull routine.

The absent lover, minor heir,
In vain assail him with their prayer;
Deaf as my friend, he sees them press,
Nor makes the hour one moment less,
Will you (the Major's with the hounds,
The happy tenants share his rounds;
Coila's fair Rachel's care to-day,
And blooming Keith's engaged with Gray)
From housewife cares a minute borrow,
(That grandchild's cap will do to-morrow,)
And join with me a-moralizing;
This day's propitious to be wise in.

First, what did yesternight deliver?
"Another year has gone for ever."
And what is this day's strong suggestion?
"The passing moment's all we rest on!"
Rest on-for what? what do we here?
Or why regard the passing year?
Will Time, amus'd with proverb'd lore,
Add to our date one minute more?
A few days may-a few years must-
Repose us in the silent dust.
Then, is it wise to damp our bliss?
Yes-all such reasonings are amiss!
The voice of Nature loudly cries,
And many a message from the skies,
That something in us never dies:
That on his frail, uncertain state,
Hang matters of eternal weight:
That future life in worlds unknown
Must take its hue from this alone;
Whether as heavenly glory bright,
Or dark as Misery's woeful night.

Since then, my honour'd first of friends,
On this poor being all depends,
Let us th' important now employ,
And live as those who never die.
Tho' you, with days and honours crown'd,
Witness that filial circle round,
(A sight life's sorrows to repulse,
A sight pale Envy to convulse),
Others now claim your chief regard;
Yourself, you wait your bright reward.

Scots' Prologue For Mr. Sutherland

On his Benefit-Night, at the Theatre, Dumfries.

What needs this din about the town o' Lon'on,
How this new play an' that new sang is comin?
Why is outlandish stuff sae meikle courted?
Does nonsense mend, like brandy, when imported?
Is there nae poet, burning keen for fame,
Will try to gie us sangs and plays at hame?
For Comedy abroad he need to toil,
A fool and knave are plants of every soil;
Nor need he hunt as far as Rome or Greece,
To gather matter for a serious piece;
There's themes enow in Caledonian story,
Would shew the Tragic Muse in a' her glory. -

Is there no daring Bard will rise and tell
How glorious Wallace stood, how hapless fell?
Where are the Muses fled that could produce
A drama worthy o' the name o' Bruce?
How here, even here, he first unsheath'd the sword
'Gainst mighty England and her guilty Lord;
And after mony a bloody, deathless doing,
Wrench'd his dear country from the jaws of Ruin!
O for a Shakespeare, or an Otway scene,
To draw the lovely, hapless Scottish Queen!
Vain all th' omnipotence of female charms
'Gainst headlong, ruthless, mad Rebellion's arms:
She fell, but fell with spirit truly Roman,
To glut that direst foe-a vengeful woman;
A woman, (tho' the phrase may seem uncivil,)
As able and as wicked as the Devil!
One Douglas lives in Home's immortal page,
But Douglasses were heroes every age:
And tho' your fathers, prodigal of life,
A Douglas followed to the martial strife,
Perhaps, if bowls row right, and Right succeeds,
Ye yet may follow where a Douglas leads!

As ye hae generous done, if a' the land
Would take the Muses' servants by the hand;
Not only hear, but patronize, befriend them,
And where he justly can commend, commend them;
And aiblins when they winna stand the test,
Wink hard, and say The folks hae done their best!
Would a' the land do this, then I'll be caition,
Ye'll soon hae Poets o' the Scottish nation
Will gar Fame blaw until her trumpet crack,
And warsle Time, an' lay him on his back!

For us and for our Stage, should ony spier,
"Whase aught thae chiels maks a' this bustle here?"
My best leg foremost, I'll set up my brow-
We have the honour to belong to you!
We're your ain bairns, e'en guide us as ye like,
But like good mithers shore before ye strike;
And gratefu' still, I trust ye'll ever find us,
For gen'rous patronage, and meikle kindness
We've got frae a' professions, sets and ranks:
God help us! we're but poor-ye'se get but thanks.

Lines To A Gentleman,

Who had sent the Poet a Newspaper, and offered to continue it free of

Kind Sir, I've read your paper through,
And faith, to me, 'twas really new!
How guessed ye, Sir, what maist I wanted?
This mony a day I've grain'd and gaunted,
To ken what French mischief was brewin;
Or what the drumlie Dutch were doin;
That vile doup-skelper, Emperor Joseph,
If Venus yet had got his nose off;
Or how the collieshangie works
Atween the Russians and the Turks,
Or if the Swede, before he halt,
Would play anither Charles the twalt;
If Denmark, any body spak o't;
Or Poland, wha had now the tack o't:
How cut-throat Prussian blades were hingin;
How libbet Italy was singin;

If Spaniard, Portuguese, or Swiss,
Were sayin' or takin' aught amiss;
Or how our merry lads at hame,
In Britain's court kept up the game;
How royal George, the Lord leuk o'er him!
Was managing St. Stephen's quorum;
If sleekit Chatham Will was livin,
Or glaikit Charlie got his nieve in;
How daddie Burke the plea was cookin,
If Warren Hasting's neck was yeukin;
How cesses, stents, and fees were rax'd.
Or if bare arses yet were tax'd;
The news o' princes, dukes, and earls,
Pimps, sharpers, bawds, and opera-girls;
If that daft buckie, Geordie Wales,
Was threshing still at hizzies' tails;
Or if he was grown oughtlins douser,
And no a perfect kintra cooser:
A' this and mair I never heard of;
And, but for you, I might despair'd of.
So, gratefu', back your news I send you,
And pray a' gude things may attend you.

Ellisland, Monday Morning, 1790.

Elegy On Willie Nicol's Mare

Peg Nicholson was a good bay mare,
As ever trod on airn;
But now she's floating down the Nith,
And past the mouth o' Cairn.

Peg Nicholson was a good bay mare,
An' rode thro' thick and thin;
But now she's floating down the Nith,
And wanting even the skin.

Peg Nicholson was a good bay mare,
And ance she bore a priest;
But now she's floating down the Nith,
For Solway fish a feast.

Peg Nicholson was a good bay mare,
An' the priest he rode her sair;
And much oppress'd and bruis'd she was,
As priest-rid cattle are,-&c. &c.

The Gowden Locks Of Anna

Yestreen I had a pint o' wine,
A place where body saw na;
Yestreen lay on this breast o' mine
The gowden locks of Anna.

The hungry Jew in wilderness,
Rejoicing o'er his manna,
Was naething to my hinny bliss
Upon the lips of Anna.

Ye monarchs, take the East and West
Frae Indus to Savannah;
Gie me, within my straining grasp,
The melting form of Anna:

There I'll despise Imperial charms,
An Empress or Sultana,
While dying raptures in her arms
I give and take wi' Anna!

Awa, thou flaunting God of Day!
Awa, thou pale Diana!
Ilk Star, gae hide thy twinkling ray,
When I'm to meet my Anna!

Come, in thy raven plumage, Night,

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