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By this, the sun was out o’ sight,
It spak right howe,~" My name is Death, An’darker gloaming brought the night!
But be na Ney'd.”—Quoth I,“ Guid faith, The bum-clock humm'd wi' lazy drone ;
Ye're may be come to stap my breath; The kye stood rowtin i’ the loan;
But tent me, billie : When up they gat, and shook their lugs,
I red ye weel, tak care o' skaith,
Sce, there's a gully!"
“Guidman,” quo' he, “put up your whittle,
To be mislear'd,
I wad na mind it, no, that spittle
Out-owre my beard."
“Well, weel!” says I,“ a bargain be't; SOME books are lies frae end to end,
Come, gies your hand, an' sae we're gree't ; And some great lies were never penn'd,
We'll ease our shanks; an' tak a seat,
Come, gies your news;
This while* ye hae been monie a gate
At monie a house.'
“Ay, ay !" quo' he, an' shook his head, Which lately on a night befell,
“ It's e'en a lang, lang time indeed
Sin' I began to nick the thread,
An' choke the breath:
Folk maun do something for their bread,
An' sae maun Death. 'S a muckle pity. The Clachan yill had made me canty,
“ Sax thousand years are near hand fled I was na fou, but just had plenty ;
Sin' I was to the butching bred,
An' monie a scheme in vain's been laid,
To stap or scar me;
An' faith, he'll waur me. The rising moon began to glow'r
“ Ye ken Jock Hornbook i' the Clachan, The distant Cumnock hills out-owre:
Deil mak his king's-hood in a spleuchan !
He's grown sae well acquaint wi’ Buchant
An' ither chaps,
That weans haud out their fingers laughin
And pouk my hips.
“ See, here's a sithe, and there's a dart, And toddlin down on Willie's mill,
They hae pierced mony a gallant heart;
But Doctor Hornbook, wi' his art,
And cursed skill,
Has made them baith not worth a f-t,
Damn'd haet they'll kill.
“ 'Twas but yestreen, nae further gaen, An awfu' sithe, out-owre ae showther,
I threw a noble throw at ane;
It just play'd dirl on the bane,
But did nae mair.
“ Hornbook was by, wi' ready art, For fient a wame it had ava!
And had sae fortified the part,
It was sae blunt,
Fient haet o't wad hae pierced the heart
Of a kail-runt.
* An epidemical fever was then raging in that country. But naething spak;
+ This gentleman, Dr. Hornbook, is professionally, a At length, says I, “ Friend, whare ye gaun, brother of the sovereign order of the ferula ; but, by Will ye go back ?”
intuition and inspiration, is at once an apothecary, sur
geon, and physician. * This rencounter happened in seed-time, 1785.
1 Buchan's Domestic Medicine.
“ A bonnie lass, ye kend her name, Some ill-brewn drink had hoved her.wame : She trusts hersel, to hide the shame,
In Hornbook's care ; Horn sent her aff, to her lang hame,
To hide it there.
“I drew my sithe in sic a fury,
Withstood the shock; I might as weel hae try'd a quarry
O' hard whin rock. “ E'en them he canna get attended, Alto' their face he ne'er had kend it, Just — in a kail-blade, and send it,
As soon he smells't, Baith their disease, and what will mend it
At once he tells't.
“ That's just a swatch o’Hornbook's way; Thus goes he on from day to day, Thus does he poison, kill, an’ slay,
An's weel paid for't ; Yet stops me o' my lawfu' prey,
Wi' his d-mn'd dirt :
“ But, hark ! I'll tell you of a plot, Though dinna ye be speaking o't; I'll nail the self-conceited Scot
As dead's a herrin : Niest time we meet, I'll wad a groat,
He gets his fairin !"
< And then a' doctors' saws and whittles, Of a' dimensions, shapes, an' mettles, A' kinds o' boxes, mugs, an' bottles,
He's sure to hae; Their Latin names as fast he rattles
As A B C.
He has't in plenty ; Aqua-fortis, what you please,
He can content ye. * Forbye some new, uncommon weapons, Crinus Spiritus of capons ; Or mite-horn shavings, filings, scrapings,
Distillid per se; Sal-alkali o'midge-tail-clippings,
And monie mae.”
“Waes me for Johnny Ged's Hole* now,”
Sae white and bonnie,
They'll ruin Johnie !"
Tak ye nae fear:
In twa-three year.
That Hornbook's skill
By drap an' pill. * An honest wabster to his trade, Whase wife's twa nieves were scarce wee bred, Gat tippence-worth to mend her head
When it was sair;
But ne'er spak mair.
An' pays him well.
Was laird himsel.
Shall he, nurst in the peasant's lowly shed,
'Twas when the stacks get on their winter-hap, And thack and rape secure the toil-won crap ; Potato-bings are snugged up frae skaith Of coming winter's biting, frosty breath ;
* The grave-digger.
The bees, rejoicing o'er their summer toils,
Ance ye were streekit o'er frae bank to bank; The death o' devils smoor'd wi' brimstone reek :
But gin ye be a brig as auld as me, The thundering guns are heard on every side,
Though faith that day, I doubt, ye'll never see, The wounded coveys, reeling, scatter wide;
There'll be, if that date come, I'll wad a boddle, The feather'd field-mates, bound by nature's tie,
Some fewer whigmeleeries in your noddle.
Auld Vandal, ye but show your little mense, Nae mair the flower in field or meadow springs ;
Just much about it wi' your scanty sense ; Nae mair the grove with airy concert rings,
Will your poor, narrow footpath of a street, Except, perhaps, the robin's whistling glee,
Where twa wheelbarrows tremble when they meet, Proud o' the height o' some bit half-lang tree :
Your ruin'd, formless bulk o'stane an' lime, The hoary morns precede the sunny days,
Compare wi' bonnie brigs o’ modern time?
There's men o'taste would tak the Ducat-stream,* Mild, calm, serene, wide spreads the noontide blaze,
Though they should cast the very sark an'swim, While thick the gossamer waves wanton in the rays. Of sic an ugly Gothic hulk as you.
Ere they would grate their feelings wi' the view 'Twas in that season, when a simple bard, Unknown and poor, simplicity's reward : Ae night, within the ancient brugh of Ayr, By whim inspired, or haply prest wi' care ;
Conceited gowk! puff?d up wi' windy pride! He left his bed, and took his wayward route,
This monie a year I've stood the flood an' tide ; And down by Simpson's* wheel'd the left about :
And though wi' crazy eild I'm sair forfaim, (Whether impell’d by all-directing fate,
I'll be a brig when ye're a shapeless cairn ! To witness what I after shall narrate ;
As yet ye little ken about the matter, Or whether, rapt in meditation high,
But twa-three winters will inform you better, He wander'd out, he knew not where nor why ;)
When heavy, dark, continued, a'-day rains, The drowsy dungeon-clockt had number'd two,
Wi’ deepening deluges o’erflow the plains ; And Wallace towert had sworn the fact was true:
When from the hills where springs the brawling Coil, The tide-swoln Firth with sullen sounding roar,
Or stately Lugar's mossy fountains boil, Through the still night dash'd hoarse along the shore: Or where the Greenock winds his moorland course, All else was hush'd as nature's closed e'e ;
Or haunted Garpalt draws his feeble source, The silent moon shone high o'er tower and tree :
Aroused by blustering winds an' spotting thowes, The chilly frost, beneath the silver beam,
In mony a torrent down his sna-broo rowes; Crept, gently crusting, o'er the glittering stream.
While crashing ice, borne on the roaring speat, When, lo! on either hand the listening bard,
Sweeps dams, an' mills, an' brigs, a' to the gate; The clanging sugh of whistling wings is heard ;
And from Glenbuck, down to the Rotton-key, Two dusky forms dart through the midnight air,
Auld Ayr is just one lengthen'd, tumbling sea ; Swift as the gost drives on the wheeling hare;
Then down ye hurl, deil nor ye never rise ! Ane on th' auld brig his airy shape uprears,
And dash the gumlie jaups up to the pouring skies: The ither flutters o'er the rising piers :
A lesson sadly teaching, to your cost,
That architecture's noble art is lost!
Fine architecture! trowth, I needs must sayt o't,
Hanging with threatening jut, like precipices, The vera wrinkles Gothic in his face :
O’er arching, mouldy, gloom-inspiring coves, He seem'd as he wi' time had warstled lang,
Supporting roofs fantastic, stony groves : Yet teughly doure, he bade an unco bang.
Windows and doors, in nameless sculpture drest, New Brig was buskit in a braw new coat,
With order, symmetry, or taste unblest; That he, at Lon'on, frae ane Adams got :
Forms like some bedlam statuary's dream, In's hand five taper staves as smooth's a bead,
The crazed creations of misguided whim; Wi' virls and whirlygigums at the head.
Forms might be worshipp'd on the bended knee, The Goth was stalking round with anxious search, And still the second dread command be free; Spying the time-worn flaws in every arch ;
Their likeness is not found on earth, in air, or sea. It chanced his new-come neebor took his e'e, And e'en a vex'd and angry heart had he !
* A noted ford, just above the auld brig. Wi' thieveless sneer to see his modish mien,
+ The banks of Garpal Water is one of the few places He, down the water, gies him this guideen :
in the west of Scotland, where those fancy-scaring beings, known by the name of ghaists, still continue pertina
ciously to inhabit. * A noted tavern at the auld brig end.
The source of the river Ayr. + The two steeples. # The gos-hawk, or falcon. § A small landing place above the large key.
Mansions that would disgrace the building taste O had MʻLauchlan,* thairm-inspiring sage,
Been there to hear this heavenly band engage, Fit only for a doited monkish race,
When through his dear strathspeys they bore with Or frosty maids forsworn the dear embrace,
highland rage ; Or cuiss of later times, wha held the notion Or when they struck old Scotia's melting airs, That sullen gloom was sterling, true devotion; The lover's raptured joys or bleeding cares ; Fancies that our guid brugh denies protection, How would his highland lug been nobler fired, And soon may they expire, unblest with resurrec- And e'en his matchless hand with finer touch intion !
No guess could tell what instrument appear’d, Oye, my dear-remember'd, ancient yealings, But all the soul of music's self was heard ; Were ye but here to share my wounded feelings ! Harmonious concert rung in every part, Ye worthy proveses, an'mony a bailie,
While simple melody pour'd moving on the heart. Wha in the paths o’righteousness did toil aye;
The genius of the stream in front appears, Ye dainty deacons, and ye douce conveners,
A venerable chief advanced in years ; To whom our moderns are but causey-cleaners;
His hoary head with water-lilies crown'd, Ye godly councils wha hae blest this town,
His manly leg with garter tangle bound. Ye godly brethren of the sacred gown,
Next came the loveliest pair in all the ring, Wha meekly gie your hurdies to the smiters ;
Sweet female beauty hand in hand with spring ; And (what would now be strange) ye godly writers:
Then, crown'd with flowery hay, came rural joy, A' ye douce folk I've borne aboon the broo,
And summer, with his fervid-beaming eye: Were ye but bere, what would ye say or do ?
All-cheering plenty, with her flowing horn, How would your spirits groan in deep vexation,
Led yellow autumn wreathed with nodding corn ; To see each melancholy alteration;
Then winter's time-bleach'd locks did hoary show, And, agonizing, curse the time and place
By hospitality with cloudless brow. When ye begat the base, degenerate race!
Next follow'd courage with his martial stride, Nae langer reverend men, their country's glory,
From where the feal wild-woody coverts hide ; In plain braid Scots hold forth a plain braid story;
Benevolence, with mild, benignant air, Nae langer thrifty citizens, an' douce,
A female form, came from the towers of Stair : Meet owre a pint, or in the council-house ;
Learning and worth in equal measures trode But staumrel, corky-headed, graceless gentry,
From simple Catrine, their long-loved abode : The herryment and ruin of the country ;
Last, white-robed peace, crownd with a hazel Men, three parts made by tailors and by barbers,
wreath, Wha waste your well-hain'd gear on d-d new
To rustic agriculture did bequeath brigs and harbours !
The broken iron instruments of death,
At sight of whom our sprites forgat their kindling Now haud you there! for faith ye’ve said enough,
THE DEATH AND DYING WORDS OF POOR
THE AUTHOR'S ONLY PET YOWE.
AN UNCO MOURNFU' TALE.
As Mailie an' her lambs thegither
Upon her cloot she coost a hitch, Men wha grew wise priggin owre hops an' raisins,
An' owre she warsl'd in the ditch. Or gather'd liberal views in bonds and seisins. There, groaning, dying, she did lie, If haply knowledge, on a random tramp,
When Hughoct he cam doytin by. Had shored them with a glimmer of his lamp,
Wi' glowrin een, and lifted hans, And would to common sense for once betray'd them,
Poor Hughoc like a statue stans; Plain, dull stupidity stept kindly in to aid them.
He saw her days were near-hand ended,
But, waes my heart! he could na mend it ! What farther clishmaclaver might been said, He gaped wide, but naething spak! What bloody wars, if sprites had blood to shed, At length poor Mailie silence brak. No man can tell: but, all before their sight,
“() thou, whase lamentable face A fairy train appear'd in order bright:
Appears to mourn my woefu' case ! Adown the glittering stream they featly danced,
My dying words attentive hear,
An' bear them to my master dear.
* A well known performer of Scottish music on the While arts of minstrelsy among them rung,
violin. And soul-ennobling bards heroic ditties sung.
† A neebor herd-callan.
“ Tell him, if e'er again he keep, As muckle gear as buy a sheep, 0, bid him never tie them mair Wi’ wicked strings o' hemp or hair! But ca’ them out to park or hill, An’ let them wander at their will; So may his flock increase, and grow To scores o' lambs, an' packs o' woo?!
It's no the loss o' warl's gear, That could sae bitter draw the tear Or mak our bardie, dowie, wear
The mourning weed : He's lost a friend and neebor dear,
In Mailie dead.
Through a' the town she trotted by him; A lang half-mile she could descry him; Wi’ kindly bleat, when she did spy him,
She ran wi' speed: A friend mair faithful ne'er eam nigh him,
Than Mailie dead.
“ Tell him, he was a master kin',
aye was guid to me and mine ; An' now my dying charge I gie him, My helpless lambs I trust them wi' him.
“O, bid him save their harmless lives Frae dogs, an' tods, an' butchers' knives ! But gie them guid cow-milk their fill, Till they be fit to fend themsel: An' tent them duly, e'en an? morn, Wi' teats o' hay an' rips o' corn.
I wat she was a sheep o' sense, And could behave hersel wi' mense : I'll say't, she never brak a fence,
Through thievish greed. Our bardie, lanely, keeps the spense
Sin' Mailie's dead.