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The calendrer, amazed to see
His neighbour in such trim,
And thus accosted him: “What news? what news? your tidings tell ;
Tell me you must and shall ;
Or why you come at all?"
And loved a timely joke ; And thus unto the calendrer
In merry guise he spoke:
And, if I well forebode,
They are upon the road.”
His friend in merry pin,
But to the house went in :
A wig that flow'd behind,
Each comely in its kind.
Thus show'd his ready wit;
They therefore needs must fit.
That hangs upon your face;
Be in a hungry case.”
And all the world would stare,
And I should dine at Ware."
So, turning to his horse, he said,
“I am in haste to dine ;
You shall go back for mine."
For which he paid full dear;
Did sing most loud and clear;
Had heard a lion roar,
As he had done before.
Went Gilpin's hat and wig ;
For why ?--they were too big.
Her husband posting down Into the country far away,
She pull’d out half a crown; And thus unto the youth she said,
That drove them to the Bell, “ This shall be yours when you bring back
My husband safe and well.”
John coming back amain ;
By catching at his rein;
And gladly would have done,
And made him faster run.
Went postboy at his heels,
The lumb'ring of the wheels.
Sıx gentlemen upon the road,
Thus seeing Gilpin fly,
They raised the hue and cry:
Not one of them was mute;
Did join in the pursuit.
Flew open in short space;
That Gilpin rode a race.
For he got first to town;
He did again get down.
And Gilpin, long live he;
May I be there to see!
ROBERT BURNS. 1759–1796.
THE COTTER'S SATURDAY-NIGHT. My loved, 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 A**** in a cottage would have been, Ah! though his worth unknown, far happier there,
November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh;
The shortening winter-day is near a close ; The miry beasts retreating frae the pleugh,
The blackening trains o' craws to their repose: The toilworn 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 dad, wi' flichterin noise an' glee. His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonnily,
His clean hearthstane, his thrifty wifie's smile, The lisping infant prattling on his knee,
Does a' his weary, carking cares beguile,
At service out, amang the farmers roun':
A cannie errand to a neebor town:
In youthfu' bloom, love sparkling in her e'e, Comes hame, perhaps, to show a braw new gown,
Or deposite her sair-won penny-fee,
An each for others' weelfare kindly spiers : The social hours, swift-wing’d, unnoticed 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 an' her shears,
Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new : The father mixes a'wi' admonition due.
Their master's an' their mistress's command,
The younkers a’ are warned to obey ; “ An' mind their labours wi' an eydent hand,
An' ne'er, though out o' sight, to jauk or play; An' oh! be sure to fear the Lord alway!
An' mind your duty, duly, morn an' night! Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray,
Implore his counsel and assisting might: They never sought in vain that sought the Lord
But, hark! a rap comes gently to the door;
Jenny, wha kens the meaning o’ the same, Tells how a neebor 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, inquires his name, While Jenny, hafflins, is afraid to speak ; Weel pleased the mother hears, it's nae wild, worth
Wi' kindly welcome Jenny brings him ben ;
A strappan youth; he taks the mother's eye; Blithe 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 blathe and laithfu', scarce can weel behave; The mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy What makes the youth sae bashfu' an' sae
grave; Weel pleased to think her bairn’s respected like the
Oh, happy love! where love like this is found !
Oh, heartfelt raptures ! bliss beyond compare! I've paced much this weary mortal round,
And sage Experience bids me this declare :