On A Scotch Bard, Gone To The West Indies
A' ye wha live by sowps o' drink,
A' ye wha live by crambo-clink,
A' ye wha live and never think,
Come, mourn wi' me!
Our billie 's gien us a' a jink,
An' owre the sea!
Lament him a' ye rantin core,
Wha dearly like a random splore;
Nae mair he'll join the merry roar;
In social key;
For now he's taen anither shore.
An' owre the sea!
The bonie lasses weel may wiss him,
And in their dear petitions place him:
The widows, wives, an' a' may bless him
Wi' tearfu' e'e;
For weel I wat they'll sairly miss him
That's owre the sea!
O Fortune, they hae room to grumble!
Hadst thou taen aff some drowsy bummle,
Wha can do nought but fyke an' fumble,
'Twad been nae plea;
But he was gleg as ony wumble,
That's owre the sea!
Auld, cantie Kyle may weepers wear,
An' stain them wi' the saut, saut tear;
'Twill mak her poor auld heart, I fear,
In flinders flee:
He was her Laureat mony a year,
That's owre the sea!
He saw Misfortune's cauld nor-west
Lang mustering up a bitter blast;
A jillet brak his heart at last,
Ill may she be!
So, took a berth afore the mast,
An' owre the sea.
To tremble under Fortune's cummock,
On a scarce a bellyfu' o' drummock,
Wi' his proud, independent stomach,
Could ill agree;
So, row't his hurdies in a hammock,
An' owre the sea.
He ne'er was gien to great misguidin,
Yet coin his pouches wad na bide in;
Wi' him it ne'er was under hiding;
He dealt it free:
The Muse was a' that he took pride in,
That's owre the sea.
Jamaica bodies, use him weel,
An' hap him in cozie biel:
Ye'll find him aye a dainty chiel,
An' fou o' glee:
He wad na wrang'd the vera deil,
That's owre the sea.
Farewell, my rhyme-composing billie!
Your native soil was right ill-willie;
But may ye flourish like a lily,
I'll toast you in my hindmost gillie,
Tho' owre the sea!
Song—Farewell To Eliza
From thee, Eliza, I must go,
And from my native shore;
The cruel fates between us throw
A boundless ocean's roar:
But boundless oceans, roaring wide,
Between my love and me,
They never, never can divide
My heart and soul from thee.
Farewell, farewell, Eliza dear,
The maid that I adore!
A boding voice is in mine ear,
We part to meet no more!
But the latest throb that leaves my heart,
While Death stands victor by,—
That throb, Eliza, is thy part,
And thine that latest sigh!
A Bard's Epitaph
Is there a whim-inspired fool,
Owre fast for thought, owre hot for rule,
Owre blate to seek, owre proud to snool,
Let him draw near;
And owre this grassy heap sing dool,
And drap a tear.
Is there a bard of rustic song,
Who, noteless, steals the crowds among,
That weekly this area throng,
O, pass not by!
But, with a frater-feeling strong,
Here, heave a sigh.
Is there a man, whose judgment clear
Can others teach the course to steer,
Yet runs, himself, life's mad career,
Wild as the wave,
Here pause—and, thro' the starting tear,
Survey this grave.
The poor inhabitant below
Was quick to learn the wise to know,
And keenly felt the friendly glow,
And softer flame;
But thoughtless follies laid him low,
And stain'd his name!
Reader, attend! whether thy soul
Soars fancy's flights beyond the pole,
Or darkling grubs this earthly hole,
In low pursuit:
Know, prudent, cautious, self-control
Is wisdom's root.
Epitaph For Robert Aiken, Esq.
Know thou, O stranger to the fame
Of this much lov'd, much honoured name!
(For none that knew him need be told)
A warmer heart death ne'er made cold.
Epitaph For Gavin Hamilton, Esq.
The poor man weeps—here Gavin sleeps,
Whom canting wretches blam'd;
But with such as he, where'er he be,
May I be sav'd or damn'd!
Epitaph On "Wee Johnie"
Hic Jacet wee Johnie.
Whoe'er thou art, O reader, know
That Death has murder'd Johnie;
An' here his body lies fu' low;
For saul he ne'er had ony.
The Lass O' Ballochmyle
'Twas even—the dewy fields were green,
On every blade the pearls hang;
The zephyr wanton'd round the bean,
And bore its fragrant sweets alang:
In ev'ry glen the mavis sang,
All nature list'ning seem'd the while,
Except where greenwood echoes rang,
Amang the braes o' Ballochmyle.
With careless step I onward stray'd,
My heart rejoic'd in nature's joy,
When, musing in a lonely glade,
A maiden fair I chanc'd to spy:
Her look was like the morning's eye,
Her air like nature's vernal smile:
Perfection whisper'd, passing by,
"Behold the lass o' Ballochmyle!"
Fair is the morn in flowery May,
And sweet is night in autumn mild;
When roving thro' the garden gay,
Or wand'ring in the lonely wild:
But woman, nature's darling child!
There all her charms she does compile;
Even there her other works are foil'd
By the bonie lass o' Ballochmyle.
O, had she been a country maid,
And I the happy country swain,
Tho' shelter'd in the lowest shed
That ever rose on Scotland's plain!
Thro' weary winter's wind and rain,
With joy, with rapture, I would toil;
And nightly to my bosom strain
The bonie lass o' Ballochmyle.
Then pride might climb the slipp'ry steep,
Where frame and honours lofty shine;
And thirst of gold might tempt the deep,
Or downward seek the Indian mine:
Give me the cot below the pine,
To tend the flocks or till the soil;
And ev'ry day have joys divine
With the bonie lass o' Ballochmyle.
Lines To An Old Sweetheart
Once fondly lov'd, and still remember'd dear,
Sweet early object of my youthful vows,
Accept this mark of friendship, warm, sincere,
Friendship! 'tis all cold duty now allows.
And when you read the simple artless rhymes,
One friendly sigh for him—he asks no more,
Who, distant, burns in flaming torrid climes,
Or haply lies beneath th' Atlantic roar.
Motto Prefixed To The Author's First Publication
The simple Bard, unbroke by rules of art,
He pours the wild effusions of the heart;
And if inspir'd 'tis Nature's pow'rs inspire;
Her's all the melting thrill, and her's the kindling fire.
Lines To Mr. John Kennedy
Farewell, dear friend! may guid luck hit you,
And 'mang her favourites admit you:
If e'er Detraction shore to smit you,
May nane believe him,
And ony deil that thinks to get you,
Good Lord, deceive him!
Lines Written On A Banknote
Wae worth thy power, thou cursed leaf!
Fell source o' a' my woe and grief!
For lack o' thee I've lost my lass!
For lack o' thee I scrimp my glass!
I see the children of affliction
Unaided, through thy curst restriction:
I've seen the oppressor's cruel smile
Amid his hapless victim's spoil;
And for thy potence vainly wished,
To crush the villain in the dust:
For lack o' thee, I leave this much-lov'd shore,
Never, perhaps, to greet old Scotland more.
Stanzas On Naething
Extempore Epistle to Gavin Hamilton, Esq.
To you, sir, this summons I've sent,
Pray, whip till the pownie is freathing;
But if you demand what I want,
I honestly answer you—naething.
Ne'er scorn a poor Poet like me,
For idly just living and breathing,
While people of every degree
Are busy employed about—naething.
Poor Centum-per-centum may fast,
And grumble his hurdies their claithing,
He'll find, when the balance is cast,
He's gane to the devil for-naething.
The courtier cringes and bows,
Ambition has likewise its plaything;
A coronet beams on his brows;
And what is a coronet-naething.
Some quarrel the Presbyter gown,
Some quarrel Episcopal graithing;
But every good fellow will own
Their quarrel is a' about—naething.
The lover may sparkle and glow,
Approaching his bonie bit gay thing:
But marriage will soon let him know
He's gotten—a buskit up naething.
The Poet may jingle and rhyme,
In hopes of a laureate wreathing,
And when he has wasted his time,
He's kindly rewarded wi'—naething.
The thundering bully may rage,
And swagger and swear like a heathen;
But collar him fast, I'll engage,
You'll find that his courage is—naething.
Last night wi' a feminine whig—
A Poet she couldna put faith in;
But soon we grew lovingly big,
I taught her, her terrors were naething.
Her whigship was wonderful pleased,
But charmingly tickled wi' ae thing,
Her fingers I lovingly squeezed,
And kissed her, and promised her—naething.
The priest anathemas may threat—
Predicament, sir, that we're baith in;
But when honour's reveille is beat,
The holy artillery's naething.
And now I must mount on the wave—
My voyage perhaps there is death in;
But what is a watery grave?
The drowning a Poet is naething.
And now, as grim death's in my thought,
To you, sir, I make this bequeathing;
My service as long as ye've ought,
And my friendship, by God, when ye've naething.
The valiant, in himself, what can he suffer?
Or what does he regard his single woes?
But when, alas! he multiplies himself,
To dearer serves, to the lov'd tender fair,
To those whose bliss, whose beings hang upon him,
To helpless children,—then, Oh then, he feels
The point of misery festering in his heart,
And weakly weeps his fortunes like a coward:
Such, such am I!—undone!
Thomson's Edward and Eleanora.
Farewell, old Scotia's bleak domains,
Far dearer than the torrid plains,
Where rich ananas blow!
Farewell, a mother's blessing dear!
A borther's sigh! a sister's tear!
My Jean's heart-rending throe!
Farewell, my Bess! tho' thou'rt bereft
Of my paternal care.
A faithful brother I have left,
My part in him thou'lt share!
Adieu, too, to you too,
My Smith, my bosom frien';
When kindly you mind me,
O then befriend my Jean!
What bursting anguish tears my heart;
From thee, my Jeany, must I part!
Thou, weeping, answ'rest—"No!"
Alas! misfortune stares my face,
And points to ruin and disgrace,
I for thy sake must go!
Thee, Hamilton, and Aiken dear,
A grateful, warm adieu:
I, with a much-indebted tear,
Shall still remember you!
All hail then, the gale then,
Wafts me from thee, dear shore!
It rustles, and whistles
I'll never see thee more!
To the Rev. James Steven, on his text, Malachi, ch. iv. vers. 2. "And ye shall go forth, and grow up, as Calves of the stall."
Right, sir! your text I'll prove it true,
Tho' heretics may laugh;
For instance, there's yourself just now,
God knows, an unco calf.
And should some patron be so kind,
As bless you wi' a kirk,
I doubt na, sir but then we'll find,
Ye're still as great a stirk.
But, if the lover's raptur'd hour,
Shall ever be your lot,
Forbid it, ev'ry heavenly Power,
You e'er should be a stot!
Tho' when some kind connubial dear
Your but—and—ben adorns,
The like has been that you may wear
A noble head of horns.
And, in your lug, most reverend James,
To hear you roar and rowt,
Few men o' sense will doubt your claims
To rank amang the nowt.
And when ye're number'd wi' the dead,
Below a grassy hillock,
With justice they may mark your head—
"Here lies a famous bullock!"
Nature's Law—A Poem
Humbly inscribed to Gavin Hamilton, Esq.
Great Nature spoke: observant man obey'd—Pope.
Let other heroes boast their scars,
The marks of sturt and strife:
And other poets sing of wars,
The plagues of human life:
Shame fa' the fun, wi' sword and gun
To slap mankind like lumber!
I sing his name, and nobler fame,
Wha multiplies our number.
Great Nature spoke, with air benign,
"Go on, ye human race;
This lower world I you resign;
Be fruitful and increase.
The liquid fire of strong desire
I've pour'd it in each bosom;
Here, on this had, does Mankind stand,
And there is Beauty's blossom."
The Hero of these artless strains,
A lowly bard was he,
Who sung his rhymes in Coila's plains,
With meikle mirth an'glee;
Kind Nature's care had given his share
Large, of the flaming current;
And, all devout, he never sought
To stem the sacred torrent.
He felt the powerful, high behest
Thrill, vital, thro' and thro';
And sought a correspondent breast,
To give obedience due:
Propitious Powers screen'd the young flow'rs,
From mildews of abortion;
And low! the bard—a great reward—
Has got a double portion!
Auld cantie Coil may count the day,
As annual it returns,
The third of Libra's equal sway,
That gave another Burns,
With future rhymes, an' other times,
To emulate his sire:
To sing auld Coil in nobler style
With more poetic fire.
Ye Powers of peace, and peaceful song,
Look down with gracious eyes;
And bless auld Coila, large and long,
With multiplying joys;
Lang may she stand to prop the land,
The flow'r of ancient nations;
And Burnses spring, her fame to sing,
To endless generations!
Mr. Chalmers, a gentleman in Ayrshire, a particular friend of mine, asked me to write a poetic epistle to a young lady, his Dulcinea. I had seen her, but was scarcely acquainted with her, and wrote as follows:—
Wi' braw new branks in mickle pride,
And eke a braw new brechan,
My Pegasus I'm got astride,
And up Parnassus pechin;
Whiles owre a bush wi' donwward crush,
The doited beastie stammers;
Then up he gets, and off he sets,
For sake o' Willie Chalmers.
I doubt na, lass, that weel ken'd name
May cost a pair o' blushes;
I am nae stranger to your fame,
Nor his warm urged wishes.
Your bonie face sae mild and sweet,
His honest heart enamours,
And faith ye'll no be lost a whit,
Tho' wair'd on Willie Chalmers.
Auld Truth hersel' might swear yer'e fair,
And Honour safely back her;
And Modesty assume your air,
And ne'er a ane mistak her:
And sic twa love-inspiring een
Might fire even holy palmers;
Nae wonder then they've fatal been
To honest Willie Chalmers.
I doubt na fortune may you shore
Some mim-mou'd pouther'd priestie,
Fu' lifted up wi' Hebrew lore,
And band upon his breastie:
But oh! what signifies to you
His lexicons and grammars;
The feeling heart's the royal blue,
And that's wi' Willie Chalmers.
Some gapin', glowrin' countra laird
May warsle for your favour;
May claw his lug, and straik his beard,
And hoast up some palaver:
My bonie maid, before ye wed
Sic clumsy-witted hammers,
Seek Heaven for help, and barefit skelp
Awa wi' Willie Chalmers.
Forgive the Bard! my fond regard
For ane that shares my bosom,
Inspires my Muse to gie 'm his dues
For deil a hair I roose him.
May powers aboon unite you soon,
And fructify your amours,—
And every year come in mair dear
To you and Willie Chalmers.
Reply To A Trimming Epistle Received From A Tailor
What ails ye now, ye lousie bitch
To thresh my back at sic a pitch?
Losh, man! hae mercy wi' your natch,
Your bodkin's bauld;
I didna suffer half sae much
Frae Daddie Auld.
What tho' at times, when I grow crouse,
I gie their wames a random pouse,
Is that enough for you to souse
Your servant sae?
Gae mind your seam, ye prick-the-louse,
King David, o' poetic brief,
Wrocht 'mang the lasses sic mischief
As filled his after-life wi' grief,
An' bluidy rants,
An' yet he's rank'd amang the chief
O' lang-syne saunts.
And maybe, Tam, for a' my cants,
My wicked rhymes, an' drucken rants,
I'll gie auld cloven's Clootie's haunts
An unco slip yet,
An' snugly sit amang the saunts,
At Davie's hip yet!
But, fegs! the session says I maun
Gae fa' upo' anither plan
Than garrin lasses coup the cran,
Clean heels ower body,
An' sairly thole their mother's ban
Afore the howdy.
This leads me on to tell for sport,
How I did wi' the Session sort;
Auld Clinkum, at the inner port,
Cried three times, "Robin!
Come hither lad, and answer for't,
Ye're blam'd for jobbin!"
Wi' pinch I put a Sunday's face on,
An' snoov'd awa before the Session:
I made an open, fair confession—
I scorn't to lee,
An' syne Mess John, beyond expression,
Fell foul o' me.
A fornicator-loun he call'd me,
An' said my faut frae bliss expell'd me;
I own'd the tale was true he tell'd me,
"But, what the matter?
(Quo' I) I fear unless ye geld me,
I'll ne'er be better!"
"Geld you! (quo' he) an' what for no?
If that your right hand, leg or toe
Should ever prove your sp'ritual foe,
You should remember
To cut it aff—an' what for no
Your dearest member?"
"Na, na, (quo' I,) I'm no for that,
Gelding's nae better than 'tis ca't;
I'd rather suffer for my faut
A hearty flewit,
As sair owre hip as ye can draw't,
Tho' I should rue it.
"Or, gin ye like to end the bother,
To please us a'—I've just ae ither—
When next wi' yon lass I forgather,
Whate'er betide it,
I'll frankly gie her 't a' thegither,
An' let her guide it."
But, sir, this pleas'd them warst of a',
An' therefore, Tam, when that I saw,
I said "Gude night," an' cam' awa',
An' left the Session;
I saw they were resolved a'
On my oppression.
The Brigs Of Ayr
Inscribed to John Ballantine, Esq., Ayr.
The simple Bard, rough at the rustic plough,
Learning his tuneful trade from ev'ry bough;
The chanting linnet, or the mellow thrush,
Hailing the setting sun, sweet, in the green thorn bush;
The soaring lark, the perching red-breast shrill,
Or deep-ton'd plovers grey, wild-whistling o'er the hill;
Shall he—nurst in the peasant's lowly shed,
To hardy independence bravely bred,
By early poverty to hardship steel'd.
And train'd to arms in stern Misfortune's field—
Shall he be guilty of their hireling crimes,
The servile, mercenary Swiss of rhymes?
Or labour hard the panegyric close,
With all the venal soul of dedicating prose?
No! though his artless strains he rudely sings,
And throws his hand uncouthly o'er the strings,
He glows with all the spirit of the Bard,
Fame, honest fame, his great, his dear reward.
Still, if some patron's gen'rous care he trace,
Skill'd in the secret, to bestow with grace;
When Ballantine befriends his humble name,
And hands the rustic stranger up to fame,
With heartfelt throes his grateful bosom swells,
The godlike bliss, to give, alone excels.
'Twas when the stacks get on their winter hap,
And thack and rape secure the toil-won crap;
Potatoe-bings are snugged up frae skaith
O' coming Winter's biting, frosty breath;
The bees, rejoicing o'er their summer toils,
Unnumber'd buds an' flow'rs' delicious spoils,
Seal'd up with frugal care in massive waxen piles,
Are doom'd by Man, that tyrant o'er the weak,
The death o' devils, smoor'd wi' brimstone reek:
The thundering guns are heard on ev'ry side,
The wounded coveys, reeling, scatter wide;
The feather'd field-mates, bound by Nature's tie,
Sires, mothers, children, in one carnage lie:
(What warm, poetic heart but inly bleeds,
And execrates man's savage, ruthless deeds!)
Nae mair the flow'r in field or meadow springs,
Nae mair the grove with airy concert rings,
Except perhaps the Robin's whistling glee,
Proud o' the height o' some bit half-lang tree:
The hoary morns precede the sunny days,
Mild, calm, serene, wide spreads the noontide blaze,
While thick the gosamour waves wanton in the rays.
'Twas in that season, when a simple Bard,
Unknown and poor—simplicity's reward!—
Ae night, within the ancient brugh of Ayr,
By whim inspir'd, or haply prest wi' care,
He left his bed, and took his wayward route,
And down by Simpson's^1 wheel'd the left about:
(Whether impell'd by all-directing Fate,
To witness what I after shall narrate;
Or whether, rapt in meditation high,
He wander'd out, he knew not where or why:)
The drowsy Dungeon-clock^2 had number'd two,
and Wallace Tower^2 had sworn the fact was true:
The tide-swoln firth, with sullen-sounding roar,
Through the still night dash'd hoarse along the shore.
All else was hush'd as Nature's closed e'e;
The silent moon shone high o'er tower and tree;
The chilly frost, beneath the silver beam,
Crept, gently-crusting, o'er the glittering stream—
When, lo! on either hand the list'ning Bard,
The clanging sugh of whistling wings is heard;
Two dusky forms dart through the midnight air;
Swift as the gos^3 drives on the wheeling hare;
Ane on th' Auld Brig his airy shape uprears,
The other flutters o'er the rising piers:
Our warlock Rhymer instantly dexcried
The Sprites that owre the Brigs of Ayr preside.
(That Bards are second-sighted is nae joke,
And ken the lingo of the sp'ritual folk;
Fays, Spunkies, Kelpies, a', they can explain them,
And even the very deils they brawly ken them).
Auld Brig appear'd of ancient Pictish race,
The very wrinkles Gothic in his face;
He seem'd as he wi' Time had warstl'd lang,
Yet, teughly doure, he bade an unco bang.
[Footnote 1: A noted tavern at the Auld Brig end.—R. B.]
[Footnote 2: The two steeples.—R. B.]
[Footnote 3: The Gos-hawk, or Falcon.—R. B.]
New Brig was buskit in a braw new coat,
That he, at Lon'on, frae ane Adams got;
In 's hand five taper staves as smooth 's a bead,
Wi' virls and whirlygigums at the head.
The Goth was stalking round with anxious search,
Spying the time-worn flaws in every arch;
It chanc'd his new-come neibor took his e'e,
And e'en a vexed and angry heart had he!
Wi' thieveless sneer to see his modish mien,
He, down the water, gies him this guid-e'en:—
"I doubt na, frien', ye'll think ye're nae sheepshank,
Ance ye were streekit owre frae bank to bank!
But gin ye be a brig as auld as me—
Tho' faith, that date, I doubt, ye'll never see—
There'll be, if that day come, I'll wad a boddle,
Some fewer whigmaleeries in your noddle."
"Auld Vandal! ye but show your little mense,
Just much about it wi' your scanty sense:
Will your poor, narrow foot-path of a street,
Where twa wheel-barrows tremble when they meet,
Your ruin'd, formless bulk o' stane and lime,
Compare wi' bonie brigs o' modern time?
There's men of taste wou'd tak the Ducat stream,^4
Tho' they should cast the very sark and swim,
E'er they would grate their feelings wi' the view
O' sic an ugly, Gothic hulk as you."
"Conceited gowk! puff'd up wi' windy pride!
This mony a year I've stood the flood an' tide;
And tho' wi' crazy eild I'm sair forfairn,
I'll be a brig when ye're a shapeless cairn!
As yet ye little ken about the matter,
But twa—three winters will inform ye better.
When heavy, dark, continued, a'-day rains,
[Footnote 4: A noted ford, just above the Auld Brig.—R. B.]
Wi' deepening deluges o'erflow the plains;
When from the hills where springs the brawling Coil,
Or stately Lugar's mossy fountains boil;
Or where the Greenock winds his moorland course.
Or haunted Garpal draws his feeble source,
Aroused by blustering winds an' spotting thowes,
In mony a torrent down the snaw-broo rowes;
While crashing ice, borne on the rolling spate,
Sweeps dams, an' mills, an' brigs, a' to the gate;
And from Glenbuck,^5 down to the Ratton-key,^6
Auld Ayr is just one lengthen'd, tumbling sea—
Then down ye'll hurl, (deil nor ye never rise!)
And dash the gumlie jaups up to the pouring skies!
A lesson sadly teaching, to your cost,
That Architecture's noble art is lost!"
"Fine architecture, trowth, I needs must say't o't,
The Lord be thankit that we've tint the gate o't!
Gaunt, ghastly, ghaist-alluring edifices,
Hanging with threat'ning jut, like precipices;
O'er-arching, mouldy, gloom-inspiring coves,
Supporting roofs, fantastic, stony groves;
Windows and doors in nameless sculptures drest
With order, symmetry, or taste unblest;
Forms like some bedlam Statuary's dream,
The craz'd creations of misguided whim;
Forms might be worshipp'd on the bended knee,
And still the second dread command be free;
Their likeness is not found on earth, in air, or sea!
Mansions that would disgrace the building taste
Of any mason reptile, bird or beast:
Fit only for a doited monkish race,
Or frosty maids forsworn the dear embrace,
Or cuifs of later times, wha held the notion,
That sullen gloom was sterling, true devotion:
Fancies that our guid Brugh denies protection,
And soon may they expire, unblest wi' resurrection!"
[Footnote 5: The source of the River Ayr.—R. B.]
[Footnote 6: A small landing place above the large quay.—R. B.]
"O ye, my dear-remember'd, ancient yealings,
Were ye but here to share my wounded feelings!
Ye worthy Proveses, an' mony a Bailie,
Wha in the paths o' righteousness did toil aye;
Ye dainty Deacons, and ye douce Conveners,
To whom our moderns are but causey-cleaners
Ye godly Councils, wha hae blest this town;
ye godly Brethren o' the sacred gown,
Wha meekly gie your hurdies to the smiters;
And (what would now be strange), ye godly Writers;
A' ye douce folk I've borne aboon the broo,
Were ye but here, what would ye say or do?
How would your spirits groan in deep vexation,
To see each melancholy alteration;
And, agonising, curse the time and place
When ye begat the base degen'rate race!
Nae langer rev'rend men, their country's glory,
In plain braid Scots hold forth a plain braid story;
Nae langer thrifty citizens, an' douce,
Meet owre a pint, or in the Council-house;
But staumrel, corky-headed, graceless Gentry,
The herryment and ruin of the country;
Men, three-parts made by tailors and by barbers,
Wha waste your weel-hain'd gear on damn'd new brigs and harbours!"
"Now haud you there! for faith ye've said enough,
And muckle mair than ye can mak to through.
As for your Priesthood, I shall say but little,
Corbies and Clergy are a shot right kittle:
But, under favour o' your langer beard,
Abuse o' Magistrates might weel be spar'd;
To liken them to your auld-warld squad,
I must needs say, comparisons are odd.
In Ayr, wag-wits nae mair can hae a handle
To mouth 'a Citizen,' a term o' scandal;
Nae mair the Council waddles down the street,
In all the pomp of ignorant conceit;
Men wha grew wise priggin owre hops and raisins,
Or gather'd lib'ral views in Bonds and Seisins:
If haply Knowledge, on a random tramp,
Had shor'd them with a glimmer of his lamp,
And would to Common-sense for once betray'd them,
Plain, dull Stupidity stept kindly in to aid them."
What farther clish-ma-claver aight been said,
What bloody wars, if Sprites had blood to shed,
No man can tell; but, all before their sight,
A fairy train appear'd in order bright;
Adown the glittering stream they featly danc'd;
Bright to the moon their various dresses glanc'd:
They footed o'er the wat'ry glass so neat,
The infant ice scarce bent beneath their feet:
While arts of Minstrelsy among them rung,
And soul-ennobling Bards heroic ditties sung.
O had M'Lauchlan,^7 thairm-inspiring sage,
Been there to hear this heavenly band engage,
When thro' his dear strathspeys they bore with Highland rage;
Or when they struck old Scotia's melting airs,
The lover's raptured joys or bleeding cares;
How would his Highland lug been nobler fir'd,
And ev'n his matchless hand with finer touch inspir'd!
No guess could tell what instrument appear'd,
But all the soul of Music's self was heard;
Harmonious concert rung in every part,
While simple melody pour'd moving on the heart.
The Genius of the Stream in front appears,
A venerable Chief advanc'd in years;
His hoary head with water-lilies crown'd,
His manly leg with garter-tangle bound.
Next came the loveliest pair in all the ring,
Sweet female Beauty hand in hand with Spring;
Then, crown'd with flow'ry hay, came Rural Joy,
And Summer, with his fervid-beaming eye;
[Footnote 7: A well-known performer of Scottish music on the
All-cheering Plenty, with her flowing horn,
Led yellow Autumn wreath'd with nodding corn;
Then Winter's time-bleach'd locks did hoary show,
By Hospitality with cloudless brow:
Next followed Courage with his martial stride,
From where the Feal wild-woody coverts hide;^8
Benevolence, with mild, benignant air,
A female form, came from the tow'rs of Stair;^9
Learning and Worth in equal measures trode,
From simple Catrine, their long-lov'd abode:^10
Last, white-rob'd Peace, crown'd with a hazel wreath,
To rustic Agriculture did bequeath
The broken, iron instruments of death:
At sight of whom our Sprites forgat their kindling wrath.
Fragment Of Song
The night was still, and o'er the hill
The moon shone on the castle wa';
The mavis sang, while dew-drops hang
Around her on the castle wa';
Sae merrily they danced the ring
Frae eenin' till the cock did craw;
And aye the o'erword o' the spring
Was "Irvine's bairns are bonie a'."
Epigram On Rough Roads
I'm now arrived—thanks to the gods!—
Thro' pathways rough and muddy,
A certain sign that makin roads
Is no this people's study:
Altho' Im not wi' Scripture cram'd,
I'm sure the Bible says
That heedless sinners shall be damn'd,
Unless they mend their ways.
[Footnote 8: A compliment to the Montgomeries of Coilsfield,
on the Feal or Faile, a tributary of the Ayr.]
[Footnote 9: Mrs. Stewart of Stair, an early patroness of the poet.]
[Footnote 10: The house of Professor Dugald Stewart.]
Prayer—O Thou Dread Power
Lying at a reverend friend's house one night, the author left the following verses in the room where he slept:—
O Thou dread Power, who reign'st above,
I know thou wilt me hear,
When for this scene of peace and love,
I make this prayer sincere.
The hoary Sire—the mortal stroke,
Long, long be pleas'd to spare;
To bless this little filial flock,
And show what good men are.
She, who her lovely offspring eyes
With tender hopes and fears,
O bless her with a mother's joys,
But spare a mother's tears!
Their hope, their stay, their darling youth.
In manhood's dawning blush,
Bless him, Thou God of love and truth,
Up to a parent's wish.
The beauteous, seraph sister-band—
With earnest tears I pray—
Thou know'st the snares on ev'ry hand,
Guide Thou their steps alway.
When, soon or late, they reach that coast,
O'er Life's rough ocean driven,
May they rejoice, no wand'rer lost,
A family in Heaven!
Farewell Song To The Banks Of Ayr
"I composed this song as I conveyed my chest so far on my road to Greenock, where I was to embark in a few days for Jamaica. I meant it as my farewell dirge to my native land."—R. B.
The gloomy night is gath'ring fast,
Loud roars the wild, inconstant blast,
Yon murky cloud is foul with rain,
I see it driving o'er the plain;
The hunter now has left the moor.
The scatt'red coveys meet secure;
While here I wander, prest with care,
Along the lonely banks of Ayr.
The Autumn mourns her rip'ning corn
By early Winter's ravage torn;
Across her placid, azure sky,
She sees the scowling tempest fly:
Chill runs my blood to hear it rave;
I think upon the stormy wave,
Where many a danger I must dare,
Far from the bonie banks of Ayr.
'Tis not the surging billow's roar,
'Tis not that fatal, deadly shore;
Tho' death in ev'ry shape appear,
The wretched have no more to fear:
But round my heart the ties are bound,
That heart transpierc'd with many a wound;
These bleed afresh, those ties I tear,
To leave the bonie banks of Ayr.
Farewell, old Coila's hills and dales,
Her healthy moors and winding vales;
The scenes where wretched Fancy roves,
Pursuing past, unhappy loves!
Farewell, my friends! farewell, my foes!
My peace with these, my love with those:
The bursting tears my heart declare—
Farewell, the bonie banks of Ayr!
Address To The Toothache
My curse upon your venom'd stang,
That shoots my tortur'd gums alang,
An' thro' my lug gies mony a twang,
Wi' gnawing vengeance,
Tearing my nerves wi' bitter pang,
Like racking engines!
When fevers burn, or argues freezes,
Rheumatics gnaw, or colics squeezes,
Our neibor's sympathy can ease us,
Wi' pitying moan;
But thee—thou hell o' a' diseases—
Aye mocks our groan.
Adown my beard the slavers trickle
I throw the wee stools o'er the mickle,
While round the fire the giglets keckle,
To see me loup,
While, raving mad, I wish a heckle
Were in their doup!
In a' the numerous human dools,
Ill hairsts, daft bargains, cutty stools,
Or worthy frien's rak'd i' the mools,—
Sad sight to see!
The tricks o' knaves, or fash o'fools,
Thou bear'st the gree!
Where'er that place be priests ca' hell,
Where a' the tones o' misery yell,
An' ranked plagues their numbers tell,
In dreadfu' raw,
Thou, Toothache, surely bear'st the bell,
Amang them a'!
O thou grim, mischief-making chiel,
That gars the notes o' discord squeel,
Till daft mankind aft dance a reel
In gore, a shoe-thick,
Gie a' the faes o' Scotland's weal
A townmond's toothache!
Lines On Meeting With Lord Daer^1
This wot ye all whom it concerns,
I, Rhymer Robin, alias Burns,
[Footnote 1: At the house of Professor Dugald Stewart.]
A ne'er-to-be-forgotten day,
Sae far I sprackl'd up the brae,
I dinner'd wi' a Lord.
I've been at drucken writers' feasts,
Nay, been bitch-fou 'mang godly priests—
Wi' rev'rence be it spoken!—
I've even join'd the honour'd jorum,
When mighty Squireships of the quorum,
Their hydra drouth did sloken.
But wi' a Lord!—stand out my shin,
A Lord—a Peer—an Earl's son!
Up higher yet, my bonnet
An' sic a Lord!—lang Scoth ells twa,
Our Peerage he o'erlooks them a',
As I look o'er my sonnet.
But O for Hogarth's magic pow'r!
To show Sir Bardie's willyart glow'r,
An' how he star'd and stammer'd,
When, goavin, as if led wi' branks,
An' stumpin on his ploughman shanks,
He in the parlour hammer'd.
I sidying shelter'd in a nook,
An' at his Lordship steal't a look,
Like some portentous omen;
Except good sense and social glee,
An' (what surpris'd me) modesty,
I marked nought uncommon.
I watch'd the symptoms o' the Great,
The gentle pride, the lordly state,
The arrogant assuming;
The fient a pride, nae pride had he,
Nor sauce, nor state, that I could see,
Mair than an honest ploughman.
Then from his Lordship I shall learn,
Henceforth to meet with unconcern
One rank as weel's another;
Nae honest, worthy man need care
To meet with noble youthful Daer,
For he but meets a brother.
Tune—"Shawn-boy," or "Over the water to Charlie."
Ye sons of old Killie, assembled by Willie,
To follow the noble vocation;
Your thrifty old mother has scarce such another
To sit in that honoured station.
I've little to say, but only to pray,
As praying's the ton of your fashion;
A prayer from thee Muse you well may excuse
'Tis seldom her favourite passion.
Ye powers who preside o'er the wind, and the tide,
Who marked each element's border;
Who formed this frame with beneficent aim,
Whose sovereign statute is order:—
Within this dear mansion, may wayward Contention
Or withered Envy ne'er enter;
May secrecy round be the mystical bound,
And brotherly Love be the centre!
Tam Samson's Elegy
An honest man's the noblest work of God—Pope.
When this worthy old sportman went out, last muirfowl season, he supposed it was to be, in Ossian's phrase, "the last of his fields," and expressed an ardent wish to die and be buried in the muirs. On this hint the author composed his elegy and epitaph.—R.B., 1787.
Has auld Kilmarnock seen the deil?
Or great Mackinlay^1 thrawn his heel?
Or Robertson^2 again grown weel,
To preach an' read?
"Na' waur than a'!" cries ilka chiel,
"Tam Samson's dead!"
[Footnote 1: A certain preacher, a great favourite with the
million. Vide "The Ordination." stanza ii.—R. B.]
[Footnote 2: Another preacher, an equal favourite with the few,
who was at that time ailing. For him see also "The Ordination,"
Kilmarnock lang may grunt an' grane,
An' sigh, an' sab, an' greet her lane,
An' cleed her bairns, man, wife, an' wean,
In mourning weed;
To Death she's dearly pay'd the kane—
Tam Samson's dead!
The Brethren, o' the mystic level
May hing their head in woefu' bevel,
While by their nose the tears will revel,
Like ony bead;
Death's gien the Lodge an unco devel;
Tam Samson's dead!
When Winter muffles up his cloak,
And binds the mire like a rock;
When to the loughs the curlers flock,
Wi' gleesome speed,
Wha will they station at the cock?
Tam Samson's dead!
When Winter muffles up his cloak,
He was the king o' a' the core,
To guard, or draw, or wick a bore,
Or up the rink like Jehu roar,
In time o' need;
But now he lags on Death's hog-score—
Tam Samson's dead!
Now safe the stately sawmont sail,
And trouts bedropp'd wi' crimson hail,
And eels, weel-ken'd for souple tail,
And geds for greed,
Since, dark in Death's fish-creel, we wail
Tam Samson's dead!
Rejoice, ye birring paitricks a';
Ye cootie muircocks, crousely craw;
Ye maukins, cock your fud fu' braw
Your mortal fae is now awa;
Tam Samson's dead!
That woefu' morn be ever mourn'd,
Saw him in shooting graith adorn'd,
While pointers round impatient burn'd,
Frae couples free'd;
But och! he gaed and ne'er return'd!
Tam Samson's dead!
In vain auld age his body batters,
In vain the gout his ancles fetters,
In vain the burns cam down like waters,
An acre braid!
Now ev'ry auld wife, greetin, clatters
"Tam Samson's dead!"
Owre mony a weary hag he limpit,
An' aye the tither shot he thumpit,
Till coward Death behind him jumpit,
Wi' deadly feid;
Now he proclaims wi' tout o' trumpet,
"Tam Samson's dead!"
When at his heart he felt the dagger,
He reel'd his wonted bottle-swagger,
But yet he drew the mortal trigger,
Wi' weel-aimed heed;
"Lord, five!" he cry'd, an' owre did stagger—
Tam Samson's dead!
Ilk hoary hunter mourn'd a brither;
Ilk sportsman youth bemoan'd a father;
Yon auld gray stane, amang the heather,
Marks out his head;
Whare Burns has wrote, in rhyming blether,
"Tam Samson's dead!"
There, low he lies, in lasting rest;
Perhaps upon his mould'ring breast
Some spitefu' muirfowl bigs her nest
To hatch an' breed:
Alas! nae mair he'll them molest!
Tam Samson's dead!
When August winds the heather wave,
And sportsmen wander by yon grave,
Three volleys let his memory crave,
O' pouther an' lead,
Till Echo answer frae her cave,
"Tam Samson's dead!"
Heav'n rest his saul whare'er he be!
Is th' wish o' mony mae than me:
He had twa fauts, or maybe three,
Yet what remead?
Ae social, honest man want we:
Tam Samson's dead!
Tam Samson's weel-worn clay here lies
Ye canting zealots, spare him!
If honest worth in Heaven rise,
Ye'll mend or ye win near him.
Go, Fame, an' canter like a filly
Thro' a' the streets an' neuks o' Killie;^3
Tell ev'ry social honest billie
To cease his grievin';
For, yet unskaithed by Death's gleg gullie.
Tam Samson's leevin'!
Epistle To Major Logan
Hail, thairm-inspirin', rattlin' Willie!
Tho' fortune's road be rough an' hilly
To every fiddling, rhyming billie,
We never heed,
But take it like the unback'd filly,
Proud o' her speed.
[Footnote 3: Kilmarnock.—R. B.]
When, idly goavin', whiles we saunter,
Yirr! fancy barks, awa we canter,
Up hill, down brae, till some mischanter,
Some black bog-hole,
Arrests us; then the scathe an' banter
We're forced to thole.
Hale be your heart! hale be your fiddle!
Lang may your elbuck jink and diddle,
To cheer you through the weary widdle
O' this wild warl'.
Until you on a crummock driddle,
A grey hair'd carl.
Come wealth, come poortith, late or soon,
Heaven send your heart-strings aye in tune,
And screw your temper-pins aboon
A fifth or mair
The melancholious, lazy croon
O' cankrie care.
May still your life from day to day,
Nae "lente largo" in the play,
But "allegretto forte" gay,
A sweeping, kindling, bauld strathspey—
A blessing on the cheery gang
Wha dearly like a jig or sang,
An' never think o' right an' wrang
By square an' rule,
But, as the clegs o' feeling stang,
Are wise or fool.
My hand-waled curse keep hard in chase
The harpy, hoodock, purse-proud race,
Wha count on poortith as disgrace;
Their tuneless hearts,
May fireside discords jar a base
To a' their parts.
But come, your hand, my careless brither,
I' th' ither warl', if there's anither,
An' that there is, I've little swither
About the matter;
We, cheek for chow, shall jog thegither,
I'se ne'er bid better.
We've faults and failings—granted clearly,
We're frail backsliding mortals merely,
Eve's bonie squad, priests wyte them sheerly
For our grand fa';
But still, but still, I like them dearly—
God bless them a'!
Ochone for poor Castalian drinkers,
When they fa' foul o' earthly jinkers!
The witching, curs'd, delicious blinkers
Hae put me hyte,
And gart me weet my waukrife winkers,
By by yon moon!—and that's high swearin—
An' every star within my hearin!
An' by her een wha was a dear ane!
I'll ne'er forget;
I hope to gie the jads a clearin
In fair play yet.
My loss I mourn, but not repent it;
I'll seek my pursie whare I tint it;
Ance to the Indies I were wonted,
Some cantraip hour
By some sweet elf I'll yet be dinted;
Then vive l'amour!
Faites mes baissemains respectueuses,
To sentimental sister Susie,
And honest Lucky; no to roose you,
Ye may be proud,
That sic a couple Fate allows ye,
To grace your blood.
Nae mair at present can I measure,
An' trowth my rhymin ware's nae treasure;
But when in Ayr, some half-hour's leisure,
Be't light, be't dark,
Sir Bard will do himself the pleasure
To call at Park.
Mossgiel, 30th October, 1786.
Fragment On Sensibility
Rusticity's ungainly form
May cloud the highest mind;
But when the heart is nobly warm,
The good excuse will find.
Propriety's cold, cautious rules
Warm fervour may o'erlook:
But spare poor sensibility
Th' ungentle, harsh rebuke.
A Winter Night
Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm!
How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides,
Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these?—Shakespeare.
When biting Boreas, fell and dour,
Sharp shivers thro' the leafless bow'r;
When Phoebus gies a short-liv'd glow'r,
Far south the lift,
Dim-dark'ning thro' the flaky show'r,
Or whirling drift:
Ae night the storm the steeples rocked,
Poor Labour sweet in sleep was locked,
While burns, wi' snawy wreaths up-choked,
Or, thro' the mining outlet bocked,
Down headlong hurl:
List'ning the doors an' winnocks rattle,
I thought me on the ourie cattle,
Or silly sheep, wha bide this brattle
O' winter war,
And thro' the drift, deep-lairing, sprattle
Beneath a scar.
Ilk happing bird,—wee, helpless thing!
That, in the merry months o' spring,
Delighted me to hear thee sing,
What comes o' thee?
Whare wilt thou cow'r thy chittering wing,
An' close thy e'e?
Ev'n you, on murdering errands toil'd,
Lone from your savage homes exil'd,
The blood-stain'd roost, and sheep-cote spoil'd
My heart forgets,
While pityless the tempest wild
Sore on you beats!
Now Phoebe in her midnight reign,
Dark-muff'd, view'd the dreary plain;
Still crowding thoughts, a pensive train,
Rose in my soul,
When on my ear this plantive strain,
Slow, solemn, stole:—
"Blow, blow, ye winds, with heavier gust!
And freeze, thou bitter-biting frost!
Descend, ye chilly, smothering snows!
Not all your rage, as now united, shows
More hard unkindness unrelenting,
Vengeful malice unrepenting.
Than heaven-illumin'd Man on brother Man bestows!
"See stern Oppression's iron grip,
Or mad Ambition's gory hand,
Sending, like blood-hounds from the slip,
Woe, Want, and Murder o'er a land!
Ev'n in the peaceful rural vale,
Truth, weeping, tells the mournful tale,
How pamper'd Luxury, Flatt'ry by her side,
The parasite empoisoning her ear,
With all the servile wretches in the rear,
Looks o'er proud Property, extended wide;
And eyes the simple, rustic hind,
Whose toil upholds the glitt'ring show—
A creature of another kind,
Some coarser substance, unrefin'd—
Plac'd for her lordly use thus far, thus vile, below!
"Where, where is Love's fond, tender throe,
With lordly Honour's lofty brow,
The pow'rs you proudly own?
Is there, beneath Love's noble name,
Can harbour, dark, the selfish aim,
To bless himself alone?
Mark maiden-innocence a prey
To love-pretending snares:
This boasted Honour turns away,
Shunning soft Pity's rising sway,
Regardless of the tears and unavailing pray'rs!
Perhaps this hour, in Misery's squalid nest,
She strains your infant to her joyless breast,
And with a mother's fears shrinks at the rocking blast!
"Oh ye! who, sunk in beds of down,
Feel not a want but what yourselves create,
Think, for a moment, on his wretched fate,
Whom friends and fortune quite disown!
Ill-satisfy'd keen nature's clamorous call,
Stretch'd on his straw, he lays himself to sleep;
While through the ragged roof and chinky wall,
Chill, o'er his slumbers, piles the drifty heap!
Think on the dungeon's grim confine,
Where Guilt and poor Misfortune pine!
Guilt, erring man, relenting view,
But shall thy legal rage pursue
The wretch, already crushed low
By cruel Fortune's undeserved blow?
Affliction's sons are brothers in distress;
A brother to relieve, how exquisite the bliss!"
I heard nae mair, for Chanticleer
Shook off the pouthery snaw,
And hail'd the morning with a cheer,
A cottage-rousing craw.
But deep this truth impress'd my mind—
Thro' all His works abroad,
The heart benevolent and kind
The most resembles God.
Song—Yon Wild Mossy Mountains
Yon wild mossy mountains sae lofty and wide,
That nurse in their bosom the youth o' the Clyde,
Where the grouse lead their coveys thro' the heather to feed,
And the shepherd tends his flock as he pipes on his reed.
Not Gowrie's rich valley, nor Forth's sunny shores,
To me hae the charms o'yon wild, mossy moors;
For there, by a lanely, sequestered stream,
Besides a sweet lassie, my thought and my dream.
Amang thae wild mountains shall still be my path,
Ilk stream foaming down its ain green, narrow strath;
For there, wi' my lassie, the day lang I rove,
While o'er us unheeded flie the swift hours o'love.
She is not the fairest, altho' she is fair;
O' nice education but sma' is her share;
Her parentage humble as humble can be;
But I lo'e the dear lassie because she lo'es me.
To Beauty what man but maun yield him a prize,
In her armour of glances, and blushes, and sighs?
And when wit and refinement hae polish'd her darts,
They dazzle our een, as they flie to our hearts.
But kindness, sweet kindness, in the fond-sparkling e'e,
Has lustre outshining the diamond to me;
And the heart beating love as I'm clasp'd in her arms,
O, these are my lassie's all-conquering charms!
Address To Edinburgh
Edina! Scotia's darling seat!
All hail thy palaces and tow'rs,
Where once, beneath a Monarch's feet,
Sat Legislation's sov'reign pow'rs:
From marking wildly scatt'red flow'rs,
As on the banks of Ayr I stray'd,
And singing, lone, the lingering hours,
I shelter in they honour'd shade.
Here Wealth still swells the golden tide,
As busy Trade his labours plies;
There Architecture's noble pride
Bids elegance and splendour rise:
Here Justice, from her native skies,
High wields her balance and her rod;
There Learning, with his eagle eyes,
Seeks Science in her coy abode.
Thy sons, Edina, social, kind,
With open arms the stranger hail;
Their views enlarg'd, their liberal mind,
Above the narrow, rural vale:
Attentive still to Sorrow's wail,
Or modest Merit's silent claim;
And never may their sources fail!
And never Envy blot their name!
Thy daughters bright thy walks adorn,
Gay as the gilded summer sky,
Sweet as the dewy, milk-white thorn,
Dear as the raptur'd thrill of joy!
Fair Burnet strikes th' adoring eye,
Heaven's beauties on my fancy shine;
I see the Sire of Love on high,
And own His work indeed divine!
There, watching high the least alarms,
Thy rough, rude fortress gleams afar;
Like some bold veteran, grey in arms,
And mark'd with many a seamy scar:
The pond'rous wall and massy bar,
Grim—rising o'er the rugged rock,
Have oft withstood assailing war,
And oft repell'd th' invader's shock.
With awe-struck thought, and pitying tears,
I view that noble, stately Dome,
Where Scotia's kings of other years,
Fam'd heroes! had their royal home:
Alas, how chang'd the times to come!
Their royal name low in the dust!
Their hapless race wild-wand'ring roam!
Tho' rigid Law cries out 'twas just!
Wild beats my heart to trace your steps,
Whose ancestors, in days of yore,
Thro' hostile ranks and ruin'd gaps
Old Scotia's bloody lion bore:
Ev'n I who sing in rustic lore,
Haply my sires have left their shed,
And fac'd grim Danger's loudest roar,
Bold-following where your fathers led!
Edina! Scotia's darling seat!
All hail thy palaces and tow'rs;
Where once, beneath a Monarch's feet,
Sat Legislation's sovereign pow'rs:
From marking wildly-scatt'red flow'rs,
As on the banks of Ayr I stray'd,
And singing, lone, the ling'ring hours,
I shelter in thy honour'd shade.
Address To A Haggis
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' yet tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace
As lang's my arm.
The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin was help to mend a mill
In time o'need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.
His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Then, horn for horn, they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?
Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckles as wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro' blody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!
But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' hands will sned,
Like taps o' trissle.
Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!