Robert Burns: Poems

1785 (b)

Song—Young Peggy Blooms

Tune—"Loch Eroch-side."

Young Peggy blooms our boniest lass,

Her blush is like the morning,

The rosy dawn, the springing grass,

With early gems adorning.

Her eyes outshine the radiant beams

That gild the passing shower,

And glitter o'er the crystal streams,

And cheer each fresh'ning flower.

Her lips, more than the cherries bright,

A richer dye has graced them;

They charm th' admiring gazer's sight,

And sweetly tempt to taste them;

Her smile is as the evening mild,

When feather'd pairs are courting,

And little lambkins wanton wild,

In playful bands disporting.

Were Fortune lovely Peggy's foe,

Such sweetness would relent her;

As blooming spring unbends the brow

Of surly, savage Winter.

Detraction's eye no aim can gain,

Her winning pow'rs to lessen;

And fretful Envy grins in vain

The poison'd tooth to fasten.

Ye Pow'rs of Honour, Love, and Truth,

From ev'ry ill defend her!

Inspire the highly-favour'd youth

The destinies intend her:

Still fan the sweet connubial flame

Responsive in each bosom;

And bless the dear parental name

With many a filial blossom.

Song—Farewell To Ballochmyle

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

The Catrine woods were yellow seen,

The flowers decay'd on Catrine lee,

Nae lav'rock sang on hillock green,

But nature sicken'd on the e'e.

Thro' faded groves Maria sang,

Hersel' in beauty's bloom the while;

And aye the wild-wood ehoes rang,

Fareweel the braes o' Ballochmyle!

Low in your wintry beds, ye flowers,

Again ye'll flourish fresh and fair;

Ye birdies dumb, in with'ring bowers,

Again ye'll charm the vocal air.

But here, alas! for me nae mair

Shall birdie charm, or floweret smile;

Fareweel the bonie banks of Ayr,

Fareweel, fareweel! sweet Ballochmyle!

Fragment—Her Flowing Locks

Her flowing locks, the raven's wing,

Adown her neck and bosom hing;

How sweet unto that breast to cling,

And round that neck entwine her!

Her lips are roses wat wi' dew,

O' what a feast her bonie mou'!

Her cheeks a mair celestial hue,

A crimson still diviner!


[Footnote 1: Is thought to be a night when witches, devils,

and other mischief-making beings are abroad on their baneful

midnight errands; particularly those aerial people, the

fairies, are said on that night to hold a grand


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

Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,

The simple pleasure of the lowly train;

To me more dear, congenial to my heart,

One native charm, than all the gloss of art.—Goldsmith.

Upon that night, when fairies light

On Cassilis Downans^2 dance,

Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,

On sprightly coursers prance;

Or for Colean the rout is ta'en,

Beneath the moon's pale beams;

There, up the Cove,^3 to stray an' rove,

Amang the rocks and streams

To sport that night;

[Footnote 2: Certain little, romantic, rocky, green hills,

in the neighbourhood of the ancient seat of the Earls of


[Footnote 3: A noted cavern near Colean house, called the

Cove of Colean; which, as well as Cassilis Downans, is

famed, in country story, for being a favorite haunt of


Amang the bonie winding banks,

Where Doon rins, wimplin, clear;

Where Bruce^4 ance rul'd the martial ranks,

An' shook his Carrick spear;

Some merry, friendly, countra-folks

Together did convene,

To burn their nits, an' pou their stocks,

An' haud their Halloween

Fu' blythe that night.

[Footnote 4: The famous family of that name, the ancestors

of Robert, the great deliverer of his country, were Earls of


The lasses feat, an' cleanly neat,

Mair braw than when they're fine;

Their faces blythe, fu' sweetly kythe,

Hearts leal, an' warm, an' kin':

The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs

Weel-knotted on their garten;

Some unco blate, an' some wi' gabs

Gar lasses' hearts gang startin

Whiles fast at night.

Then, first an' foremost, thro' the kail,

Their stocks^5 maun a' be sought ance;

[Footnote 5: The first ceremony of Halloween is pulling each

a "stock," or plant of kail. They must go out, hand in hand,

with eyes shut, and pull the first they meet with: its being

big or little, straight or crooked, is prophetic of the size

and shape of the grand object of all their spells—the

husband or wife. If any "yird," or earth, stick to the root,

that is "tocher," or fortune; and the taste of the

"custock," that is, the heart of the stem, is indicative of

the natural temper and disposition. Lastly, the stems, or,

to give them their ordinary appellation, the "runts," are

placed somewhere above the head of the door; and the

Christian names of the people whom chance brings into the

house are, according to the priority of placing the "runts,"

the names in question.—R. B.]

They steek their een, and grape an' wale

For muckle anes, an' straught anes.

Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the drift,

An' wandered thro' the bow-kail,

An' pou't for want o' better shift

A runt was like a sow-tail

Sae bow't that night.

Then, straught or crooked, yird or nane,

They roar an' cry a' throu'ther;

The vera wee-things, toddlin, rin,

Wi' stocks out owre their shouther:

An' gif the custock's sweet or sour,

Wi' joctelegs they taste them;

Syne coziely, aboon the door,

Wi' cannie care, they've plac'd them

To lie that night.

The lassies staw frae 'mang them a',

To pou their stalks o' corn;^6

But Rab slips out, an' jinks about,

Behint the muckle thorn:

He grippit Nelly hard and fast:

Loud skirl'd a' the lasses;

But her tap-pickle maist was lost,

Whan kiutlin in the fause-house^7

Wi' him that night.

[Footnote 6: They go to the barnyard, and pull each, at

three different times, a stalk of oats. If the third stalk

wants the "top-pickle," that is, the grain at the top of the

stalk, the party in question will come to the marriage-bed

anything but a maid.—R.B.]

[Footnote 7: When the corn is in a doubtful state, by being

too green or wet, the stack-builder, by means of old timber,

etc., makes a large apartment in his stack, with an opening

in the side which is fairest exposed to the wind: this he

calls a "fause-house."—R.B.]

The auld guid-wife's weel-hoordit nits^8

Are round an' round dividend,

An' mony lads an' lasses' fates

Are there that night decided:

Some kindle couthie side by side,

And burn thegither trimly;

Some start awa wi' saucy pride,

An' jump out owre the chimlie

Fu' high that night.

[Footnote 8: Burning the nuts is a favorite charm. They name

the lad and lass to each particular nut, as they lay them in

the fire; and according as they burn quietly together, or

start from beside one another, the course and issue of the

courtship will be.—R.B.]

Jean slips in twa, wi' tentie e'e;

Wha 'twas, she wadna tell;

But this is Jock, an' this is me,

She says in to hersel':

He bleez'd owre her, an' she owre him,

As they wad never mair part:

Till fuff! he started up the lum,

An' Jean had e'en a sair heart

To see't that night.

Poor Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt,

Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie;

An' Mary, nae doubt, took the drunt,

To be compar'd to Willie:

Mall's nit lap out, wi' pridefu' fling,

An' her ain fit, it brunt it;

While Willie lap, and swore by jing,

'Twas just the way he wanted

To be that night.

Nell had the fause-house in her min',

She pits hersel an' Rob in;

In loving bleeze they sweetly join,

Till white in ase they're sobbin:

Nell's heart was dancin at the view;

She whisper'd Rob to leuk for't:

Rob, stownlins, prie'd her bonie mou',

Fu' cozie in the neuk for't,

Unseen that night.

But Merran sat behint their backs,

Her thoughts on Andrew Bell:

She lea'es them gashin at their cracks,

An' slips out—by hersel';

She thro' the yard the nearest taks,

An' for the kiln she goes then,

An' darklins grapit for the bauks,

And in the blue-clue^9 throws then,

Right fear't that night.

[Footnote 9: Whoever would, with success, try this spell,

must strictly observe these directions: Steal out, all

alone, to the kiln, and darkling, throw into the "pot" a

clue of blue yarn; wind it in a new clue off the old one;

and, toward the latter end, something will hold the thread:

demand, "Wha hauds?" i.e., who holds? and answer will be

returned from the kiln-pot, by naming the Christian and

surname of your future spouse.—R.B.]

An' ay she win't, an' ay she swat—

I wat she made nae jaukin;

Till something held within the pat,

Good Lord! but she was quaukin!

But whether 'twas the deil himsel,

Or whether 'twas a bauk-en',

Or whether it was Andrew Bell,

She did na wait on talkin

To spier that night.

Wee Jenny to her graunie says,

"Will ye go wi' me, graunie?

I'll eat the apple at the glass,^10

I gat frae uncle Johnie:"

She fuff't her pipe wi' sic a lunt,

In wrath she was sae vap'rin,

She notic't na an aizle brunt

Her braw, new, worset apron

Out thro' that night.

[Footnote 10: Take a candle and go alone to a looking-glass;

eat an apple before it, and some traditions say you should

comb your hair all the time; the face of your conjungal

companion, to be, will be seen in the glass, as if peeping

over your shoulder.—R.B.]

"Ye little skelpie-limmer's face!

I daur you try sic sportin,

As seek the foul thief ony place,

For him to spae your fortune:

Nae doubt but ye may get a sight!

Great cause ye hae to fear it;

For mony a ane has gotten a fright,

An' liv'd an' died deleerit,

On sic a night.

"Ae hairst afore the Sherra-moor,

I mind't as weel's yestreen—

I was a gilpey then, I'm sure

I was na past fyfteen:

The simmer had been cauld an' wat,

An' stuff was unco green;

An' eye a rantin kirn we gat,

An' just on Halloween

It fell that night.

"Our stibble-rig was Rab M'Graen,

A clever, sturdy fallow;

His sin gat Eppie Sim wi' wean,

That lived in Achmacalla:

He gat hemp-seed,^11 I mind it weel,

An'he made unco light o't;

But mony a day was by himsel',

He was sae sairly frighted

That vera night."

[Footnote 11: Steal out, unperceived, and sow a handful of

hemp-seed, harrowing it with anything you can conveniently

draw after you. Repeat now and then: "Hemp-seed, I saw thee,

hemp-seed, I saw thee; and him (or her) that is to be my

true love, come after me and pou thee." Look over your left

shoulder, and you will see the appearance of the person

invoked, in the attitude of pulling hemp. Some traditions

say, "Come after me and shaw thee," that is, show thyself;

in which case, it simply appears. Others omit the harrowing,

and say: "Come after me and harrow thee."—R.B.]

Then up gat fechtin Jamie Fleck,

An' he swoor by his conscience,

That he could saw hemp-seed a peck;

For it was a' but nonsense:

The auld guidman raught down the pock,

An' out a handfu' gied him;

Syne bad him slip frae' mang the folk,

Sometime when nae ane see'd him,

An' try't that night.

He marches thro' amang the stacks,

Tho' he was something sturtin;

The graip he for a harrow taks,

An' haurls at his curpin:

And ev'ry now an' then, he says,

"Hemp-seed I saw thee,

An' her that is to be my lass

Come after me, an' draw thee

As fast this night."

He wistl'd up Lord Lennox' March

To keep his courage cherry;

Altho' his hair began to arch,

He was sae fley'd an' eerie:

Till presently he hears a squeak,

An' then a grane an' gruntle;

He by his shouther gae a keek,

An' tumbled wi' a wintle

Out-owre that night.

He roar'd a horrid murder-shout,

In dreadfu' desperation!

An' young an' auld come rinnin out,

An' hear the sad narration:

He swoor 'twas hilchin Jean M'Craw,

Or crouchie Merran Humphie—

Till stop! she trotted thro' them a';

And wha was it but grumphie

Asteer that night!

Meg fain wad to the barn gaen,

To winn three wechts o' naething;^12

But for to meet the deil her lane,

She pat but little faith in:

[Footnote 12: This charm must likewise be performed

unperceived and alone. You go to the barn, and open both

doors, taking them off the hinges, if possible; for there is

danger that the being about to appear may shut the doors,

and do you some mischief. Then take that instrument used in

winnowing the corn, which in our country dialect we call a

"wecht," and go through all the attitudes of letting down

corn against the wind. Repeat it three times, and the third

time an apparition will pass through the barn, in at the

windy door and out at the other, having both the figure in

question, and the appearance or retinue, marking the

employment or station in life.—R.B.]

She gies the herd a pickle nits,

An' twa red cheekit apples,

To watch, while for the barn she sets,

In hopes to see Tam Kipples

That vera night.

She turns the key wi' cannie thraw,

An'owre the threshold ventures;

But first on Sawnie gies a ca',

Syne baudly in she enters:

A ratton rattl'd up the wa',

An' she cry'd Lord preserve her!

An' ran thro' midden-hole an' a',

An' pray'd wi' zeal and fervour,

Fu' fast that night.

They hoy't out Will, wi' sair advice;

They hecht him some fine braw ane;

It chanc'd the stack he faddom't thrice^13

Was timmer-propt for thrawin:

He taks a swirlie auld moss-oak

For some black, grousome carlin;

An' loot a winze, an' drew a stroke,

Till skin in blypes cam haurlin

Aff's nieves that night.

[Footnote 13: Take an opportunity of going unnoticed to a

"bear-stack," and fathom it three times round. The last

fathom of the last time you will catch in your arms the

appearance of your future conjugal yoke-fellow.—R.B.]

A wanton widow Leezie was,

As cantie as a kittlen;

But och! that night, amang the shaws,

She gat a fearfu' settlin!

She thro' the whins, an' by the cairn,

An' owre the hill gaed scrievin;

Whare three lairds' lan's met at a burn,^14

To dip her left sark-sleeve in,

Was bent that night.

[Footnote 14: You go out, one or more (for this is a social

spell), to a south running spring, or rivulet, where "three

lairds' lands meet," and dip your left shirt sleeve. Go to

bed in sight of a fire, and hang your wet sleeve before it

to dry. Lie awake, and, some time near midnight, an

apparition, having the exact figure of the grand object in

question, will come and turn the sleeve, as if to dry the

other side of it.—R.B.]

Whiles owre a linn the burnie plays,

As thro' the glen it wimpl't;

Whiles round a rocky scar it strays,

Whiles in a wiel it dimpl't;

Whiles glitter'd to the nightly rays,

Wi' bickerin', dancin' dazzle;

Whiles cookit undeneath the braes,

Below the spreading hazel

Unseen that night.

Amang the brachens, on the brae,

Between her an' the moon,

The deil, or else an outler quey,

Gat up an' ga'e a croon:

Poor Leezie's heart maist lap the hool;

Near lav'rock-height she jumpit,

But mist a fit, an' in the pool

Out-owre the lugs she plumpit,

Wi' a plunge that night.

In order, on the clean hearth-stane,

The luggies^15 three are ranged;

An' ev'ry time great care is ta'en

To see them duly changed:

Auld uncle John, wha wedlock's joys

Sin' Mar's-year did desire,

Because he gat the toom dish thrice,

He heav'd them on the fire

In wrath that night.

[Footnote 15: Take three dishes, put clean water in one,

foul water in another, and leave the third empty; blindfold

a person and lead him to the hearth where the dishes are

ranged; he (or she) dips the left hand; if by chance in the

clean water, the future (husband or) wife will come to the

bar of matrimony a maid; if in the foul, a widow; if in the

empty dish, it foretells, with equal certainty, no marriage

at all. It is repeated three times, and every time the

arrangement of the dishes is altered.—R.B.]

Wi' merry sangs, an' friendly cracks,

I wat they did na weary;

And unco tales, an' funnie jokes—

Their sports were cheap an' cheery:

Till butter'd sowens,^16 wi' fragrant lunt,

[Footnote 16: Sowens, with butter instead of milk to them,

is always the Halloween Supper.—R.B.]

Set a' their gabs a-steerin;

Syne, wi' a social glass o' strunt,

They parted aff careerin

Fu' blythe that night.

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

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,

O, what a panic's in thy breastie!

Thou need na start awa sae hasty,

Wi' bickering brattle!

I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,

Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion,

Has broken nature's social union,

An' justifies that ill opinion,

Which makes thee startle

At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,

An' fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;

What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!

A daimen icker in a thrave

'S a sma' request;

I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,

An' never miss't!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!

It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!

An' naething, now, to big a new ane,

O' foggage green!

An' bleak December's winds ensuin,

Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,

An' weary winter comin fast,

An' cozie here, beneath the blast,

Thou thought to dwell—

Till crash! the cruel coulter past

Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,

Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!

Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,

But house or hald,

To thole the winter's sleety dribble,

An' cranreuch cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,

In proving foresight may be vain;

The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men

Gang aft agley,

An'lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,

For promis'd joy!

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me

The present only toucheth thee:

But, Och! I backward cast my e'e.

On prospects drear!

An' forward, tho' I canna see,

I guess an' fear!

Epitaph On John Dove, Innkeeper

Here lies Johnie Pigeon;

What was his religion?

Whae'er desires to ken,

To some other warl'

Maun follow the carl,

For here Johnie Pigeon had nane!

Strong ale was ablution,

Small beer persecution,

A dram was memento mori;

But a full-flowing bowl

Was the saving his soul,

And port was celestial glory.

Epitaph For James Smith

Lament him, Mauchline husbands a',

He aften did assist ye;

For had ye staid hale weeks awa,

Your wives they ne'er had miss'd ye.

Ye Mauchline bairns, as on ye press

To school in bands thegither,

O tread ye lightly on his grass,—

Perhaps he was your father!

Adam Armour's Prayer

Gude pity me, because I'm little!

For though I am an elf o' mettle,

An' can, like ony wabster's shuttle,

Jink there or here,

Yet, scarce as lang's a gude kail-whittle,

I'm unco queer.

An' now Thou kens our waefu' case;

For Geordie's jurr we're in disgrace,

Because we stang'd her through the place,

An' hurt her spleuchan;

For whilk we daurna show our face

Within the clachan.

An' now we're dern'd in dens and hollows,

And hunted, as was William Wallace,

Wi' constables-thae blackguard fallows,

An' sodgers baith;

But Gude preserve us frae the gallows,

That shamefu' death!

Auld grim black-bearded Geordie's sel'—

O shake him owre the mouth o' hell!

There let him hing, an' roar, an' yell

Wi' hideous din,

And if he offers to rebel,

Then heave him in.

When Death comes in wi' glimmerin blink,

An' tips auld drucken Nanse the wink,

May Sautan gie her doup a clink

Within his yett,

An' fill her up wi' brimstone drink,

Red-reekin het.

Though Jock an' hav'rel Jean are merry—

Some devil seize them in a hurry,

An' waft them in th' infernal wherry

Straught through the lake,

An' gie their hides a noble curry

Wi' oil of aik!

As for the jurr-puir worthless body!

She's got mischief enough already;

Wi' stanged hips, and buttocks bluidy

She's suffer'd sair;

But, may she wintle in a woody,

If she wh-e mair!

The Jolly Beggars: A Cantata^1

[Footnote 1: Not published by Burns.]


When lyart leaves bestrow the yird,

Or wavering like the bauckie-bird,

Bedim cauld Boreas' blast;

When hailstanes drive wi' bitter skyte,

And infant frosts begin to bite,

In hoary cranreuch drest;

Ae night at e'en a merry core

O' randie, gangrel bodies,

In Poosie-Nansie's held the splore,

To drink their orra duddies;

Wi' quaffing an' laughing,

They ranted an' they sang,

Wi' jumping an' thumping,

The vera girdle rang,

First, neist the fire, in auld red rags,

Ane sat, weel brac'd wi' mealy bags,

And knapsack a' in order;

His doxy lay within his arm;

Wi' usquebae an' blankets warm

She blinkit on her sodger;

An' aye he gies the tozie drab

The tither skelpin' kiss,

While she held up her greedy gab,

Just like an aumous dish;

Ilk smack still, did crack still,

Just like a cadger's whip;

Then staggering an' swaggering

He roar'd this ditty up—


Tune—"Soldier's Joy."

I am a son of Mars who have been in many wars,

And show my cuts and scars wherever I come;

This here was for a wench, and that other in a trench,

When welcoming the French at the sound of the drum.

Lal de daudle, &c.

My 'prenticeship I past where my leader breath'd his last,

When the bloody die was cast on the heights of Abram:

and I served out my trade when the gallant game was play'd,

And the Morro low was laid at the sound of the drum.

I lastly was with Curtis among the floating batt'ries,

And there I left for witness an arm and a limb;

Yet let my country need me, with Elliot to head me,

I'd clatter on my stumps at the sound of a drum.

And now tho' I must beg, with a wooden arm and leg,

And many a tatter'd rag hanging over my bum,

I'm as happy with my wallet, my bottle, and my callet,

As when I used in scarlet to follow a drum.

What tho' with hoary locks, I must stand the winter shocks,

Beneath the woods and rocks oftentimes for a home,

When the t'other bag I sell, and the t'other bottle tell,

I could meet a troop of hell, at the sound of a drum.


He ended; and the kebars sheuk,

Aboon the chorus roar;

While frighted rattons backward leuk,

An' seek the benmost bore:

A fairy fiddler frae the neuk,

He skirl'd out, encore!

But up arose the martial chuck,

An' laid the loud uproar.


Tune—"Sodger Laddie."

I once was a maid, tho' I cannot tell when,

And still my delight is in proper young men;

Some one of a troop of dragoons was my daddie,

No wonder I'm fond of a sodger laddie,

Sing, lal de lal, &c.

The first of my loves was a swaggering blade,

To rattle the thundering drum was his trade;

His leg was so tight, and his cheek was so ruddy,

Transported I was with my sodger laddie.

But the godly old chaplain left him in the lurch;

The sword I forsook for the sake of the church:

He ventur'd the soul, and I risked the body,

'Twas then I proved false to my sodger laddie.

Full soon I grew sick of my sanctified sot,

The regiment at large for a husband I got;

From the gilded spontoon to the fife I was ready,

I asked no more but a sodger laddie.

But the peace it reduc'd me to beg in despair,

Till I met old boy in a Cunningham fair,

His rags regimental, they flutter'd so gaudy,

My heart it rejoic'd at a sodger laddie.

And now I have liv'd—I know not how long,

And still I can join in a cup and a song;

But whilst with both hands I can hold the glass steady,

Here's to thee, my hero, my sodger laddie.


Poor Merry-Andrew, in the neuk,

Sat guzzling wi' a tinkler-hizzie;

They mind't na wha the chorus teuk,

Between themselves they were sae busy:

At length, wi' drink an' courting dizzy,

He stoiter'd up an' made a face;

Then turn'd an' laid a smack on Grizzie,

Syne tun'd his pipes wi' grave grimace.


Tune—"Auld Sir Symon."

Sir Wisdom's a fool when he's fou;

Sir Knave is a fool in a session;

He's there but a 'prentice I trow,

But I am a fool by profession.

My grannie she bought me a beuk,

An' I held awa to the school;

I fear I my talent misteuk,

But what will ye hae of a fool?

For drink I would venture my neck;

A hizzie's the half of my craft;

But what could ye other expect

Of ane that's avowedly daft?

I ance was tied up like a stirk,

For civilly swearing and quaffin;

I ance was abus'd i' the kirk,

For towsing a lass i' my daffin.

Poor Andrew that tumbles for sport,

Let naebody name wi' a jeer;

There's even, I'm tauld, i' the Court

A tumbler ca'd the Premier.

Observ'd ye yon reverend lad

Mak faces to tickle the mob;

He rails at our mountebank squad,—

It's rivalship just i' the job.

And now my conclusion I'll tell,

For faith I'm confoundedly dry;

The chiel that's a fool for himsel',

Guid Lord! he's far dafter than I.


Then niest outspak a raucle carlin,

Wha kent fu' weel to cleek the sterlin;

For mony a pursie she had hooked,

An' had in mony a well been douked;

Her love had been a Highland laddie,

But weary fa' the waefu' woodie!

Wi' sighs an' sobs she thus began

To wail her braw John Highlandman.


Tune—"O, an ye were dead, Guidman."

A Highland lad my love was born,

The Lalland laws he held in scorn;

But he still was faithfu' to his clan,

My gallant, braw John Highlandman.


Sing hey my braw John Highlandman!

Sing ho my braw John Highlandman!

There's not a lad in a' the lan'

Was match for my John Highlandman.

With his philibeg an' tartan plaid,

An' guid claymore down by his side,

The ladies' hearts he did trepan,

My gallant, braw John Highlandman.

Sing hey, &c.

We ranged a' from Tweed to Spey,

An' liv'd like lords an' ladies gay;

For a Lalland face he feared none,—

My gallant, braw John Highlandman.

Sing hey, &c.

They banish'd him beyond the sea.

But ere the bud was on the tree,

Adown my cheeks the pearls ran,

Embracing my John Highlandman.

Sing hey, &c.

But, och! they catch'd him at the last,

And bound him in a dungeon fast:

My curse upon them every one,

They've hang'd my braw John Highlandman!

Sing hey, &c.

And now a widow, I must mourn

The pleasures that will ne'er return:

The comfort but a hearty can,

When I think on John Highlandman.

Sing hey, &c.


A pigmy scraper wi' his fiddle,

Wha us'd at trystes an' fairs to driddle.

Her strappin limb and gausy middle

(He reach'd nae higher)

Had hol'd his heartie like a riddle,

An' blawn't on fire.

Wi' hand on hainch, and upward e'e,

He croon'd his gamut, one, two, three,

Then in an arioso key,

The wee Apoll

Set off wi' allegretto glee

His giga solo.


Tune—"Whistle owre the lave o't."

Let me ryke up to dight that tear,

An' go wi' me an' be my dear;

An' then your every care an' fear

May whistle owre the lave o't.


I am a fiddler to my trade,

An' a' the tunes that e'er I played,

The sweetest still to wife or maid,

Was whistle owre the lave o't.

At kirns an' weddins we'se be there,

An' O sae nicely's we will fare!

We'll bowse about till Daddie Care

Sing whistle owre the lave o't.

I am, &c.

Sae merrily's the banes we'll pyke,

An' sun oursel's about the dyke;

An' at our leisure, when ye like,

We'll whistle owre the lave o't.

I am, &c.

But bless me wi' your heav'n o' charms,

An' while I kittle hair on thairms,

Hunger, cauld, an' a' sic harms,

May whistle owre the lave o't.

I am, &c.


Her charms had struck a sturdy caird,

As weel as poor gut-scraper;

He taks the fiddler by the beard,

An' draws a roosty rapier—

He swoor, by a' was swearing worth,

To speet him like a pliver,

Unless he would from that time forth

Relinquish her for ever.

Wi' ghastly e'e poor tweedle-dee

Upon his hunkers bended,

An' pray'd for grace wi' ruefu' face,

An' so the quarrel ended.

But tho' his little heart did grieve

When round the tinkler prest her,

He feign'd to snirtle in his sleeve,

When thus the caird address'd her:


Tune—"Clout the Cauldron."

My bonie lass, I work in brass,

A tinkler is my station:

I've travell'd round all Christian ground

In this my occupation;

I've taen the gold, an' been enrolled

In many a noble squadron;

But vain they search'd when off I march'd

To go an' clout the cauldron.

I've taen the gold, &c.

Despise that shrimp, that wither'd imp,

With a' his noise an' cap'rin;

An' take a share with those that bear

The budget and the apron!

And by that stowp! my faith an' houp,

And by that dear Kilbaigie,^1

If e'er ye want, or meet wi' scant,

May I ne'er weet my craigie.

And by that stowp, &c.

[Footnote 1: A peculiar sort of whisky so called,

a great favorite with Poosie Nansie's clubs.—R.B.]


The caird prevail'd—th' unblushing fair

In his embraces sunk;

Partly wi' love o'ercome sae sair,

An' partly she was drunk:

Sir Violino, with an air

That show'd a man o' spunk,

Wish'd unison between the pair,

An' made the bottle clunk

To their health that night.

But hurchin Cupid shot a shaft,

That play'd a dame a shavie—

The fiddler rak'd her, fore and aft,

Behint the chicken cavie.

Her lord, a wight of Homer's craft,^2

Tho' limpin wi' the spavie,

He hirpl'd up, an' lap like daft,

An' shor'd them Dainty Davie.

O' boot that night.

He was a care-defying blade

As ever Bacchus listed!

Tho' Fortune sair upon him laid,

His heart, she ever miss'd it.

He had no wish but—to be glad,

Nor want but—when he thirsted;

He hated nought but—to be sad,

An' thus the muse suggested

His sang that night.


Tune—"For a' that, an' a' that."

I am a Bard of no regard,

Wi' gentle folks an' a' that;

But Homer-like, the glowrin byke,

Frae town to town I draw that.


For a' that, an' a' that,

An' twice as muckle's a' that;

I've lost but ane, I've twa behin',

I've wife eneugh for a' that.

[Footnote 2: Homer is allowed to be the

oldest ballad-singer on record.—R.B.]

I never drank the Muses' stank,

Castalia's burn, an' a' that;

But there it streams an' richly reams,

My Helicon I ca' that.

For a' that, &c.

Great love Idbear to a' the fair,

Their humble slave an' a' that;

But lordly will, I hold it still

A mortal sin to thraw that.

For a' that, &c.

In raptures sweet, this hour we meet,

Wi' mutual love an' a' that;

But for how lang the flie may stang,

Let inclination law that.

For a' that, &c.

Their tricks an' craft hae put me daft,

They've taen me in, an' a' that;

But clear your decks, and here's—"The Sex!"

I like the jads for a' that.


For a' that, an' a' that,

An' twice as muckle's a' that;

My dearest bluid, to do them guid,

They're welcome till't for a' that.


So sang the bard—and Nansie's wa's

Shook with a thunder of applause,

Re-echo'd from each mouth!

They toom'd their pocks, they pawn'd their duds,

They scarcely left to co'er their fuds,

To quench their lowin drouth:

Then owre again, the jovial thrang

The poet did request

To lowse his pack an' wale a sang,

A ballad o' the best;

He rising, rejoicing,

Between his twa Deborahs,

Looks round him, an' found them

Impatient for the chorus.


Tune—"Jolly Mortals, fill your Glasses."

See the smoking bowl before us,

Mark our jovial ragged ring!

Round and round take up the chorus,

And in raptures let us sing—


A fig for those by law protected!

Liberty's a glorious feast!

Courts for cowards were erected,

Churches built to please the priest.

What is title, what is treasure,

What is reputation's care?

If we lead a life of pleasure,

'Tis no matter how or where!

A fig for, &c.

With the ready trick and fable,

Round we wander all the day;

And at night in barn or stable,

Hug our doxies on the hay.

A fig for, &c.

Does the train-attended carriage

Thro' the country lighter rove?

Does the sober bed of marriage

Witness brighter scenes of love?

A fig for, &c.

Life is al a variorum,

We regard not how it goes;

Let them cant about decorum,

Who have character to lose.

A fig for, &c.

Here's to budgets, bags and wallets!

Here's to all the wandering train.

Here's our ragged brats and callets,

One and all cry out, Amen!


A fig for those by law protected!

Liberty's a glorious feast!

Courts for cowards were erected,

Churches built to please the priest.

Song—For A' That^1

Tune—"For a' that."

Tho' women's minds, like winter winds,

May shift, and turn, an' a' that,

The noblest breast adores them maist—

A consequence I draw that.


For a' that, an' a' that,

And twice as meikle's a' that;

The bonie lass that I loe best

She'll be my ain for a' that.

Great love I bear to a' the fair,

Their humble slave, an' a' that;

But lordly will, I hold it still

A mortal sin to thraw that.

For a' that, &c.

But there is ane aboon the lave,

Has wit, and sense, an' a' that;

A bonie lass, I like her best,

And wha a crime dare ca' that?

For a' that, &c.

In rapture sweet this hour we meet,

Wi' mutual love an' a' that,

[Footnote 1: A later version of "I am a bard

of no regard" in "The Jolly Beggars."]

But for how lang the flie may stang,

Let inclination law that.

For a' that, &c.

Their tricks an' craft hae put me daft.

They've taen me in, an' a' that;

But clear your decks, and here's—"The Sex!"

I like the jads for a' that.

For a' that, &c.

Song—Merry Hae I Been Teethin A Heckle

Tune—"The bob O' Dumblane."

O Merry hae I been teethin' a heckle,

An' merry hae I been shapin' a spoon;

O merry hae I been cloutin' a kettle,

An' kissin' my Katie when a' was done.

O a' the lang day I ca' at my hammer,

An' a' the lang day I whistle and sing;

O a' the lang night I cuddle my kimmer,

An' a' the lang night as happy's a king.

Bitter in idol I lickit my winnins

O' marrying Bess, to gie her a slave:

Blest be the hour she cool'd in her linnens,

And blythe be the bird that sings on her grave!

Come to my arms, my Katie, my Katie;

O come to my arms and kiss me again!

Drucken or sober, here's to thee, Katie!

An' blest be the day I did it again.

The Cotter's Saturday Night

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

Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,

Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;

Nor Grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile,

The short and simple annals of the Poor.


My lov'd, my honour'd, much respected friend!

No mercenary bard his homage pays;

With honest pride, I scorn each selfish end,

My dearest meed, a friend's esteem and praise:

To you I sing, in simple Scottish lays,

The lowly train in life's sequester'd scene,

The native feelings strong, the guileless ways,

What Aiken in a cottage would have been;

Ah! tho' his worth unknown, far happier there I ween!

November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh;

The short'ning winter-day is near a close;

The miry beasts retreating frae the pleugh;

The black'ning trains o' craws to their repose:

The toil-worn Cotter frae his labour goes,—

This night his weekly moil is at an end,

Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes,

Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend,

And weary, o'er the moor, his course does hameward bend.

At length his lonely cot appears in view,

Beneath the shelter of an aged tree;

Th' expectant wee-things, toddlin, stacher through

To meet their dead, wi' flichterin noise and glee.

His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonilie,

His clean hearth-stane, his thrifty wifie's smile,

The lisping infant, prattling on his knee,

Does a' his weary kiaugh and care beguile,

And makes him quite forget his labour and his toil.

Belyve, the elder bairns come drapping in,

At service out, amang the farmers roun';

Some ca' the pleugh, some herd, some tentie rin

A cannie errand to a neibor town:

Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman-grown,

In youthfu' bloom-love sparkling in her e'e—

Comes hame, perhaps to shew a braw new gown,

Or deposite her sair-won penny-fee,

To help her parents dear, if they in hardship be.

With joy unfeign'd, brothers and sisters meet,

And each for other's weelfare kindly speirs:

The social hours, swift-wing'd, unnotic'd fleet:

Each tells the uncos that he sees or hears.

The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years;

Anticipation forward points the view;

The mother, wi' her needle and her shears,

Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new;

The father mixes a' wi' admonition due.

Their master's and their mistress' command,

The younkers a' are warned to obey;

And mind their labours wi' an eydent hand,

And ne'er, tho' out o' sight, to jauk or play;

"And O! be sure to fear the Lord alway,

And mind your duty, duly, morn and night;

Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray,

Implore His counsel and assisting might:

They never sought in vain that sought the Lord aright."

But hark! a rap comes gently to the door;

Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the same,

Tells how a neibor lad came o'er the moor,

To do some errands, and convoy her hame.

The wily mother sees the conscious flame

Sparkle in Jenny's e'e, and flush her cheek;

With heart-struck anxious care, enquires his name,

While Jenny hafflins is afraid to speak;

Weel-pleased the mother hears, it's nae wild, worthless rake.

Wi' kindly welcome, Jenny brings him ben;

A strappin youth, he takes the mother's eye;

Blythe Jenny sees the visit's no ill ta'en;

The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye.

The youngster's artless heart o'erflows wi' joy,

But blate an' laithfu', scarce can weel behave;

The mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy

What makes the youth sae bashfu' and sae grave,

Weel-pleas'd to think her bairn's respected like the lave.

O happy love! where love like this is found:

O heart-felt raptures! bliss beyond compare!

I've paced much this weary, mortal round,

And sage experience bids me this declare,—

"If Heaven a draught of heavenly pleasure spare—

One cordial in this melancholy vale,

'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair

In other'sarms, breathe out the tender tale,

Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the evening gale."

Is there, in human form, that bears a heart,

A wretch! a villain! lost to love and truth!

That can, with studied, sly, ensnaring art,

Betray sweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth?

Curse on his perjur'd arts! dissembling smooth!

Are honour, virtue, conscience, all exil'd?

Is there no pity, no relenting ruth,

Points to the parents fondling o'er their child?

Then paints the ruin'd maid, and their distraction wild?

But now the supper crowns their simple board,

The halesome parritch, chief of Scotia's food;

The sowp their only hawkie does afford,

That, 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood:

The dame brings forth, in complimental mood,

To grace the lad, her weel-hain'd kebbuck, fell;

And aft he's prest, and aft he ca's it guid:

The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell

How t'was a towmond auld, sin' lint was i' the bell.

The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face,

They, round the ingle, form a circle wide;

The sire turns o'er, with patriarchal grace,

The big ha'bible, ance his father's pride:

His bonnet rev'rently is laid aside,

His lyart haffets wearing thin and bare;

Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide,

He wales a portion with judicious care;

And "Let us worship God!" he says with solemn air.

They chant their artless notes in simple guise,

They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim;

Perhaps Dundee's wild-warbling measures rise;

Or plaintive Martyrs, worthy of the name;

Or noble Elgin beets the heaven-ward flame;

The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays:

Compar'd with these, Italian trills are tame;

The tickl'd ears no heart-felt raptures raise;

Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise.

The priest-like father reads the sacred page,

How Abram was the friend of God on high;

Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage

With Amalek's ungracious progeny;

Or how the royal bard did groaning lie

Beneath the stroke of Heaven's avenging ire;

Or Job's pathetic plaint, and wailing cry;

Or rapt Isaiah's wild, seraphic fire;

Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre.

Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme,

How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed;

How He, who bore in Heaven the second name,

Had not on earth whereon to lay His head:

How His first followers and servants sped;

The precepts sage they wrote to many a land:

How he, who lone in Patmos banished,

Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand,

And heard great Bab'lon's doom pronounc'd by Heaven's command.

Then, kneeling down to Heaven's Eternal King,

The saint, the father, and the husband prays:

Hope "springs exulting on triumphant wing,"^1

That thus they all shall meet in future days,

There, ever bask in uncreated rays,

No more to sigh, or shed the bitter tear,

Together hymning their Creator's praise,

In such society, yet still more dear;

While circling Time moves round in an eternal sphere

Compar'd with this, how poor Religion's pride,

In all the pomp of method, and of art;

When men display to congregations wide

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

Devotion's ev'ry grace, except the heart!

The Power, incens'd, the pageant will desert,

The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole;

But haply, in some cottage far apart,

May hear, well-pleas'd, the language of the soul;

And in His Book of Life the inmates poor enroll.

Then homeward all take off their sev'ral way;

The youngling cottagers retire to rest:

The parent-pair their secret homage pay,

And proffer up to Heaven the warm request,

That he who stills the raven's clam'rous nest,

And decks the lily fair in flow'ry pride,

Would, in the way His wisdom sees the best,

For them and for their little ones provide;

But chiefly, in their hearts with grace divine preside.

From scenes like these, old Scotia's grandeur springs,

That makes her lov'd at home, rever'd abroad:

Princes and lords are but the breath of kings,

"An honest man's the noblest work of God;"

And certes, in fair virtue's heavenly road,

The cottage leaves the palace far behind;

What is a lordling's pomp? a cumbrous load,

Disguising oft the wretch of human kind,

Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refin'd!

O Scotia! my dear, my native soil!

For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent,

Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil

Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet content!

And O! may Heaven their simple lives prevent

From luxury's contagion, weak and vile!

Then howe'er crowns and coronets be rent,

A virtuous populace may rise the while,

And stand a wall of fire around their much-lov'd isle.

O Thou! who pour'd the patriotic tide,

That stream'd thro' Wallace's undaunted heart,

Who dar'd to nobly stem tyrannic pride,

Or nobly die, the second glorious part:

(The patriot's God peculiarly thou art,

His friend, inspirer, guardian, and reward!)

O never, never Scotia's realm desert;

But still the patriot, and the patriot-bard

In bright succession raise, her ornament and guard!

Address To The Deil

O Prince! O chief of many throned Pow'rs

That led th' embattl'd Seraphim to war—


O Thou! whatever title suit thee—

Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie,

Wha in yon cavern grim an' sootie,

Clos'd under hatches,

Spairges about the brunstane cootie,

To scaud poor wretches!

Hear me, auld Hangie, for a wee,

An' let poor damned bodies be;

I'm sure sma' pleasure it can gie,

Ev'n to a deil,

To skelp an' scaud poor dogs like me,

An' hear us squeel!

Great is thy pow'r an' great thy fame;

Far ken'd an' noted is thy name;

An' tho' yon lowin' heuch's thy hame,

Thou travels far;

An' faith! thou's neither lag nor lame,

Nor blate, nor scaur.

Whiles, ranging like a roarin lion,

For prey, a' holes and corners tryin;

Whiles, on the strong-wind'd tempest flyin,

Tirlin the kirks;

Whiles, in the human bosom pryin,

Unseen thou lurks.

I've heard my rev'rend graunie say,

In lanely glens ye like to stray;

Or where auld ruin'd castles grey

Nod to the moon,

Ye fright the nightly wand'rer's way,

Wi' eldritch croon.

When twilight did my graunie summon,

To say her pray'rs, douse, honest woman!

Aft'yont the dyke she's heard you bummin,

Wi' eerie drone;

Or, rustlin, thro' the boortrees comin,

Wi' heavy groan.

Ae dreary, windy, winter night,

The stars shot down wi' sklentin light,

Wi' you, mysel' I gat a fright,

Ayont the lough;

Ye, like a rash-buss, stood in sight,

Wi' wavin' sough.

The cudgel in my nieve did shake,

Each brist'ld hair stood like a stake,

When wi' an eldritch, stoor "quaick, quaick,"

Amang the springs,

Awa ye squatter'd like a drake,

On whistlin' wings.

Let warlocks grim, an' wither'd hags,

Tell how wi' you, on ragweed nags,

They skim the muirs an' dizzy crags,

Wi' wicked speed;

And in kirk-yards renew their leagues,

Owre howkit dead.

Thence countra wives, wi' toil and pain,

May plunge an' plunge the kirn in vain;

For oh! the yellow treasure's ta'en

By witchin' skill;

An' dawtit, twal-pint hawkie's gane

As yell's the bill.

Thence mystic knots mak great abuse

On young guidmen, fond, keen an' crouse,

When the best wark-lume i' the house,

By cantrip wit,

Is instant made no worth a louse,

Just at the bit.

When thowes dissolve the snawy hoord,

An' float the jinglin' icy boord,

Then water-kelpies haunt the foord,

By your direction,

And 'nighted trav'llers are allur'd

To their destruction.

And aft your moss-traversin Spunkies

Decoy the wight that late an' drunk is:

The bleezin, curst, mischievous monkies

Delude his eyes,

Till in some miry slough he sunk is,

Ne'er mair to rise.

When masons' mystic word an' grip

In storms an' tempests raise you up,

Some cock or cat your rage maun stop,

Or, strange to tell!

The youngest brither ye wad whip

Aff straught to hell.

Lang syne in Eden's bonie yard,

When youthfu' lovers first were pair'd,

An' all the soul of love they shar'd,

The raptur'd hour,

Sweet on the fragrant flow'ry swaird,

In shady bower;^1

Then you, ye auld, snick-drawing dog!

Ye cam to Paradise incog,

[Footnote 1: The verse originally ran: "Lang syne, in Eden's

happy scene When strappin Adam's days were green, And Eve

was like my bonie Jean, My dearest part, A dancin, sweet,

young handsome quean, O' guileless heart."]

An' play'd on man a cursed brogue,

(Black be your fa'!)

An' gied the infant warld a shog,

'Maist rui'd a'.

D'ye mind that day when in a bizz

Wi' reekit duds, an' reestit gizz,

Ye did present your smoutie phiz

'Mang better folk,

An' sklented on the man of Uzz

Your spitefu' joke?

An' how ye gat him i' your thrall,

An' brak him out o' house an hal',

While scabs and botches did him gall,

Wi' bitter claw;

An' lows'd his ill-tongu'd wicked scaul',

Was warst ava?

But a' your doings to rehearse,

Your wily snares an' fechtin fierce,

Sin' that day Michael^2 did you pierce,

Down to this time,

Wad ding a Lallan tounge, or Erse,

In prose or rhyme.

An' now, auld Cloots, I ken ye're thinkin,

A certain bardie's rantin, drinkin,

Some luckless hour will send him linkin

To your black pit;

But faith! he'll turn a corner jinkin,

An' cheat you yet.

But fare-you-weel, auld Nickie-ben!

O wad ye tak a thought an' men'!

Ye aiblins might—I dinna ken—

Stil hae a stake:

I'm wae to think up' yon den,

Ev'n for your sake!

[Footnote 2: Vide Milton, Book vi.—R. B.]

Scotch Drink

Gie him strong drink until he wink,

That's sinking in despair;

An' liquor guid to fire his bluid,

That's prest wi' grief and care:

There let him bouse, an' deep carouse,

Wi' bumpers flowing o'er,

Till he forgets his loves or debts,

An' minds his griefs no more.

(Solomon's Proverbs, xxxi. 6, 7.)

Let other poets raise a fracas

'Bout vines, an' wines, an' drucken Bacchus,

An' crabbit names an'stories wrack us,

An' grate our lug:

I sing the juice Scotch bear can mak us,

In glass or jug.

O thou, my muse! guid auld Scotch drink!

Whether thro' wimplin worms thou jink,

Or, richly brown, ream owre the brink,

In glorious faem,

Inspire me, till I lisp an' wink,

To sing thy name!

Let husky wheat the haughs adorn,

An' aits set up their awnie horn,

An' pease and beans, at e'en or morn,

Perfume the plain:

Leeze me on thee, John Barleycorn,

Thou king o' grain!

On thee aft Scotland chows her cood,

In souple scones, the wale o'food!

Or tumblin in the boiling flood

Wi' kail an' beef;

But when thou pours thy strong heart's blood,

There thou shines chief.

Food fills the wame, an' keeps us leevin;

Tho' life's a gift no worth receivin,

When heavy-dragg'd wi' pine an' grievin;

But, oil'd by thee,

The wheels o' life gae down-hill, scrievin,

Wi' rattlin glee.

Thou clears the head o'doited Lear;

Thou cheers ahe heart o' drooping Care;

Thou strings the nerves o' Labour sair,

At's weary toil;

Though even brightens dark Despair

Wi' gloomy smile.

Aft, clad in massy siller weed,

Wi' gentles thou erects thy head;

Yet, humbly kind in time o' need,

The poor man's wine;

His weep drap parritch, or his bread,

Thou kitchens fine.

Thou art the life o' public haunts;

But thee, what were our fairs and rants?

Ev'n godly meetings o' the saunts,

By thee inspired,

When gaping they besiege the tents,

Are doubly fir'd.

That merry night we get the corn in,

O sweetly, then, thou reams the horn in!

Or reekin on a New-year mornin

In cog or bicker,

An' just a wee drap sp'ritual burn in,

An' gusty sucker!

When Vulcan gies his bellows breath,

An' ploughmen gather wi' their graith,

O rare! to see thee fizz an freath

I' th' luggit caup!

Then Burnewin comes on like death

At every chap.

Nae mercy then, for airn or steel;

The brawnie, banie, ploughman chiel,

Brings hard owrehip, wi' sturdy wheel,

The strong forehammer,

Till block an' studdie ring an reel,

Wi' dinsome clamour.

When skirling weanies see the light,

Though maks the gossips clatter bright,

How fumblin' cuiffs their dearies slight;

Wae worth the name!

Nae howdie gets a social night,

Or plack frae them.

When neibors anger at a plea,

An' just as wud as wud can be,

How easy can the barley brie

Cement the quarrel!

It's aye the cheapest lawyer's fee,

To taste the barrel.

Alake! that e'er my muse has reason,

To wyte her countrymen wi' treason!

But mony daily weet their weason

Wi' liquors nice,

An' hardly, in a winter season,

E'er Spier her price.

Wae worth that brandy, burnin trash!

Fell source o' mony a pain an' brash!

Twins mony a poor, doylt, drucken hash,

O' half his days;

An' sends, beside, auld Scotland's cash

To her warst faes.

Ye Scots, wha wish auld Scotland well!

Ye chief, to you my tale I tell,

Poor, plackless devils like mysel'!

It sets you ill,

Wi' bitter, dearthfu' wines to mell,

Or foreign gill.

May gravels round his blather wrench,

An' gouts torment him, inch by inch,

What twists his gruntle wi' a glunch

O' sour disdain,

Out owre a glass o' whisky-punch

Wi' honest men!

O Whisky! soul o' plays and pranks!

Accept a bardie's gratfu' thanks!

When wanting thee, what tuneless cranks

Are my poor verses!

Thou comes—they rattle in their ranks,

At ither's a-s!

Thee, Ferintosh! O sadly lost!

Scotland lament frae coast to coast!

Now colic grips, an' barkin hoast

May kill us a';

For loyal Forbes' charter'd boast

Is ta'en awa?

Thae curst horse-leeches o' the' Excise,

Wha mak the whisky stells their prize!

Haud up thy han', Deil! ance, twice, thrice!

There, seize the blinkers!

An' bake them up in brunstane pies

For poor damn'd drinkers.

Fortune! if thou'll but gie me still

Hale breeks, a scone, an' whisky gill,

An' rowth o' rhyme to rave at will,

Tak a' the rest,

An' deal't about as thy blind skill

Directs thee best.