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Coffins stood round, like open presses,
As Tammie glowr'd, amaz'd, and curious, The mirth and fun grew fast and furious: The piper loud and louder blew; The dancers quick and quicker flew ; They reel’d, they set, they cross'd, they cleekit, Til ilka carlin swat and reekit,
And coost her duddies to the wark,
Now Tam, O Tam ! had thae been queans, A' plump and strapping in their teens, Their sarks, instead o' creeshie flannen, Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linnen ! Thir breeks o' mine, my only pair, That ance were plush, o'gude blue hair, I wad hae gi'en them off my hurdies, For ae blink o' the bonnie burdies !
But wither'd beldams, auld and droll,
But Tam kend what was what fu' brawlie, There was ae winsome wench and wawlie, That night enlisted in the core, (Lang after kend on Carrick shore; For mony a beast to dead she shot, And perish'd mony a bonnie boat, And shook baith meikle corn and bear, And kept the country-side in fear);
Her cutty sark, o' Paisley harn,
But here my muse her wing maun cour;
As bees bizz out wi' angry fyke,
As open pussie's mortal foes,
mony an eldritch skreech and hollow.
Ah, Tam! Ah, Tam ! thou'll get thy fairin! In hell they 'll roast thee like a herrin! In vain thy Kute awaits thy comin! Kate soon will be a woefu' woman! Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg, And win the key-stane * of the brig; There at them thou thy tail may toss, A running stream they dare na cross. But ere the key-stane she could make, The fient a tail she had to shake! For Nannie, far before the rest, Hard upon
noble Maggie prest,
* 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 he falls in with bogles, whatever danger may be in his going forward, there is much more hazard in turning back.
And flew at Tam wi' furious ettle;
Now, wha this tale o' truth shall read, Ilk man and mother's son, take heed : Whene'er to drink you are inclin'd, Or cutty-sarks run in Think, ye may buy the joys o'er dear, Remember Tam o' Shanter's mare.