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This past for certain, undisputed;
An'ca'd it wrang ; An' muckle din there was about it,
Baith loud and lang.
Some herds, weel learn’d upo' the beuk, Wad threap auld folk the thing misteuk; For 'twas the auld moon turn'd a neuk,
An' out o' sight, An' backlins-comin, to the leuk,
She grew mair bright.
E’en winter bleak has charms for me, When winds rave through the naked tree; Or frosts on hills of Ochiltree
Are hoary gray ;
Darkening the day!
Wi’ life an’ light,
The lang, dark night!
An' no think lang;
A heartfelt sang !
And I, wi' pleasure,
Bum owre their treasure. Fareweel,“ my rhyme-composing brither!" We've been owre lang unkennd to ither: Now let us lay our heads thegither,
In love fraternal: May envy wallop in a tether,
Black fiend, infernal! While highlandmen hate tolls and taxes; While moorlan' herds like guid fat braxies: While terra firma, on her axis,
In Robert Burns.
This was denied, it was affirm'd ; The herds an' hissels were alarm’d: The reverend gray-beards raved an' storm'd,
That beardless laddies Should think they better were inform’d
Than their auld daddies.
Frae less to mair it gaed to sticks; Frae words an' aiths to clours an' nicks ; An’ monie a fallow gat his licks,
Wi' hearty crunt; An' some, to learn them for their tricks,
Were hang'd an' burnt. This game was play'd in monie lands, An' auld-light caddies bure sic hands, That faith the youngsters took the sands
Wi' nimble shanks, The lairds forbade, by strict commands,
Sic bluidy pranks.
But new-light herds gat sic a cowe, Folk thought them ruin'd stick-an’-stowe, Till now amaist on every knowe,
Ye'll find ane placed ; An' some, their new-light fair avow,
Just quite barefaced.
Nae doubt the auld-light flocks are bleatin ; Their zealous herds are vex'd an'sweatin; Mysel, I've even seen them greetin
Wi'girnin spite, To hear the moon sae sadly lie'd on
By word an' write.
My memory's no worth a preen;
By this “new-light,"* 'Bout which our herds sae aft hae been
Maist like to fight. In days when mankind were but callans At grammar, logic, an' sic talents, They took nae pains their speech to balance,
Or rules to gie, But spak their thoughts in plain, braid lallans,
Like you or me. In thae auld times, they thought the moon, Just like a sark, or pair o'shoon, Wore by degrees, till her last roon,
Gaed past their viewing, An' shortly after she was done,
They gat a new one.
But shortly they will cowe the louns ! Some auld-light herds in neebor towns Are mind't in things they ca' balloons,
To tak a flight, An' stay a month amang the moons
An' see them right.
Guid observation they will gie them ; An' when the auld moon's gaun to leave them, The hindmost shaird, they'll fetch it wi' them,
Just i’ their pouch,
I think they'll crouch!
In logic tulzie,
Than mind sic brulzie.
* “New-light” is a cant phrase in the west of Scotland, for those religious opinions which Dr. Taylor of Norwich has defended so strenuously.
EPISTLE TO J. R******.
ENCLOSING SOME POEMS.
OROUGH, rude, ready-witted R******, The wale o' cocks for fun an' drinkin! There's mony godly folks are thinkin,
Your dreams* an' tricks Will send you, Korah-like, a-sinkin,
Straught to auld Nick's.
Ye hae sae monie cracks an' cants, And in your wicked druncken rants, Ye mak a devil o' the saunts,
An' fill them fou ; And then their failings, flaws, an’ wants,
Are a' seen through.
But, by my gun, o'guns the wale,
I vow an' swear!
For this, niest year.
For my gowd guinea :
For't in Virginia.
Scarce through the feathers; An' baith a yellow George to claim,
An' thole their blethers!
When time's expedient:
Your most obedient.
Hypocrisy, in mercy spare it! That holy robe, 0 dinna tear it! Spare 't for their sakes wha aften wear it,
The lads in black ! But your curst wit, when it comes near it,
Rives 't aff their back.
Think, wicked sinner, wha ye’re skaithing, Its just the blue-gown badge an’claithing O’ saunts; tak that, ye lea'e them naething
To ken them by,
Like you or I.
I will expect
And no neglect.
An' danced my fill! I'd better gane an' sair't the king,
At Bunker's Hill.
Of brownyis and of bogilis full is this buke.
'Twas ae night lately in my fun, I gaed a roving wi' the gun, An' brought a paitrick to the grun,
A bonnie hen, And, as the twilight was begun,
Thought nane wad ken. The poor wee thing was little hurt; I straikit it a wee for sport, Ne’er thinkin they wad fash me fort;
The hale affair.
I scorn'd to lie;
An' pay't the fee.
When chapman billies leave the street,
This truth fand honest Tam O'Shanter,
O Tam! hadst thou but been sae wise,
* A certain humorous dream of his was then making a Doise in the country side.
† A song he had promised the author.
Ah, gentle dames ! it gars me greet, To think how mony counsels sweet, How mony lengthen'd, sage advices, The husband frae the wife despises !
But to our tale: Ae market night,
Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
But pleasures are like poppies spread, You seize the flower, its bloom is shed; Or like the snow-falls in the river, A moment white—then melts for ever ; Or like the borealis race, That Ait ere you can point their place ; Or like the rainbow's lovely form Evanishing amid the storm.Nae man can tether time or tide ; The hour approaches Tam maun ride ; That hour, o' night's black arch the key-stane, That dreary hour he mounts his beast in; And sic a night he taks the road in, As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.
The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last; The rattling showers rose on the blast; The speedy gleams the darkness swallow'd; Loud, deep, and lang the thunder bellow'd : That night, a child might understand, The deil had business on his hand.
Weel mounted on his gray mare Meg, A better never lifted leg, Tam skelpit on through dub and mire, Despising wind, and rain, and fire; Whiles holding fast his guid blue bonnet: Whiles crooning o’er some auld Scots sonnet; Whiles glowering round wi' prudent cares, Lest bogles catch him unawares ; Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh, Whare ghaists and howlets nightly cry.
By this time he was cross the ford, Whare in the snaw the chapman smoord ; And past the birks an' meikle stane, Whare drunken Charlie brak's neck bane ; And through the whins, and by the cairn, Whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn;
And near the thorn, aboon the well,
Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
As Tammie glowr'd, amazed and curious,
Now Tam, 0 Tam! had they been queans,
Ae spring brought off her master hale,
Now, wha this tale o' truth shall read,
But wither'd beldams, auld and droll,
But Tam kennd what was what fu' brawlie,
But here my muse her wing maun cour;
As bees bizz out wi' angry fyke,
Ah, Tam! ah, Tam! thou'll get thy fairin!
WHEN O’er the hill the eastern star,
Tells bughtin-time is near, my jo; And owsen frae the furrow'd field,
Return sae dowf and weary, 0; Down by the burn, where scented birks,
Wi’ dew are hanging clear, my jo,
My ain kind dearie, 0.
I'd rove and ne'er be eerie, 0,
My ain kind dearie, 0.
And I were ne'er sae wearie, 0,
My ain kind dearie, 0.
To rouse the mountain deer, my jo,
Along the hurn to steer, my jo ; Gie me the hour o'gloamin gray,
It maks my heart sae cheery, 0, To meet thee on the lea-rig,
My ain kind dearie, 0.
TUNE“ Ewe-bughts, Marion." Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary,
And leave auld Scotia's shore? Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary,
Across th’ Atlantic's roar ? O sweet grows the lime and the orange,
And the apple on the pine ; But a' the charms o' the Indies,
Can never equal thine. I hae sworn by the heavens to my Mary,
I hae sworn by the heavens to be true; And sae may the heavens forget me,
When I forget my vow !
And plight me your lily-white hand; O plight me your faith, my Mary,
Before I leave Scotia's strand,
* It is a well known fact that witches, or any evil spirits, have no power to follow a poor wight any farther than the middle of the next running stream.--It may be proper likewise to mention to the benighted traveller, that when ke falls in with bogles, whatever danger may be in his going forward, there is much more hazard in turning
We hae plighted our troth, my Mary,
In mutual affection to join, And curst be the cause that shall part us!
The hour, and the moment o' time!
MY WIFE'S A WINSOME WEE THING.
She is a winsome wee thing,
How sweetly bloom'd the gay green birk,
How rich the hawthorn's blossom ; As underneath their fragrant shade
I clasped her to my bosom! The golden hours on angel wings
Flew o'er me and my dearie;
Was my sweet Highland Mary.
Our parting was fu' tender;
We tore oursels asunder ;
That nipt my flower sae early !
That wraps my Highland Mary! O pale, pale now, those rosy lips
I aft hae kiss'd sae fondly! And closed for aye the sparkling glance
That dwelt on me sae kindly ! And mouldering now in silent dust
That heart that loved me dearly ! But stil' within my bosom's core
Shall live my Highland Mary.
AULD ROB MORRIS.
O saw ye bonnie Lesley
As she gaed o'er the border? She's gane, like Alexander,
To spread her conquests farther.
And love but her for ever ;
And ne'er made sic anither !
Thy subjects we, before thee ; Thou art divine, fair Lesley,
The hearts o' men adore thee. The deil he could na scaith thee,
Or aught that wad belang thee; He'd look into thy bonnie face,
And say, “ I canna wrang thee." The powers aboon will tent thee;
Misfortune sha’na steer thee; Thou’rt like themselves sae lovely
That ill they'll ne'er let near thee. Return again, fair Lesley,
Return to Caledonie !
There's nane again sae bonnie.
THERE's auld Rob Morris that wons in yon glen,
TUNE—"Catharine Ogie." YE banks, and braes, and streams around,
The castle o' Montgomery,
Your waters never drumlie!
And there the langest tarry ;
O' my sweet Highland Mary.
DUNCAN GRAy came here to woo,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't, On blithe yule night when we were fou,
Ha, ha, the wooing o't. Maggie coost her head fu' high, Look'd asklent and unco skeigh, Gart poor Duncan stand abeigh;
Ha, ha, the wooing o't. Duncan fleech'd, and Duncan pray'd;
Ha, ha, &c. Meg was deaf as Ailsa Craig,
Ha, ha, &c.