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Something, however, is to be allowed to the nature of the subject, and something to the education of the poet: and if from veneration to the names of Swift and Dryden, we tolerate the grossness of the one, and the indelicacy of the other, the respect due to that of Burns, may surely claim indulgence for a few light strokes of broad humour. The same collection contains Holy Willie's Prayer,' a piece of satire more exquisitely severe than any which Burns afterwards wrote, but unfortunately cast in a form too daringly profane to be received into Dr. Currie's Collection.
“ Knowing that these, and hoping that other compositions of similar spirit and tenor might yet be recovered, we were induced to think that some of them, at least, had found a place in the collection given to the public by Mr. Cromek. But he has neither risqued the censure, nor laid claim to the applause, which might have belonged to such an undertaking."
A critique so highly commendatory, from the pea of one whose judgment in poetical matters is of great authority, must have excited the curiosity of the public with respect to the poem, and may avail as a licence for its insertion here. The Editor, however, must avow, that he still feels the full force of his former scruples, and that he waves them only in deference
to the general respect which is paid to the opinion of so eminent a critic.
At the same time, it is a matter of satisfaction to him to find a resting place for this genuine offspring of the Muse of Burns, which has long been wandering uncertain of a home, and has often appeared with other pieces of inferior merit, erroneously ascribed to him.
THE JOLLY BEGGARS.*
When lyart leaves bestrow the yird,
Bedim cauld Boreas' blast;
In hoary cranreuch drest;
O'randie, gangrel bodies,
To drink their orra duddies :
* The present copy is printed from a MS. by Burns, in 4to, belonging to Mr. T. Stewart, of Greenock. This gentleman first introduced it to the public.--Ed.
Wi' quaffing, and laughing,
They ranted an' they sang ;
The vera girdle rang.
First, neist the fire, in auld, red rags,
And knapsack a' in order ;
She blinket on her sodger :
The tither skelpan kiss,
Just like an aumous dish :
Just like a cadger's whip;
Hè roar'd this ditty up
I am a son of Mars, who have been in many wars, And shew 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, 8c.
My prenticeship I past where my leader breath'd
his last, When the bloody die was cast on the heights of
Abram; I served out my trade when the gallant game was
play'd, And the Moro low was laid at the sound of the
I lastly was with Curtis, among the floating battries,
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 us'd in scarlet to follow a drum.
V. What tho', with hoary locks, I must stand the winter
shocks, Beneath the woods and rocks oftentimes for a home, When the tother bag I sell, and the tother 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;
An' seek the benmost bore:
He skirl'd out, encore !
An' laid the loud uproar.
I once was a maid, tho' I cannot tell when,
* Callet, a Soldier's Drab, or Trull.