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While terra firma, on her axis

Diurnal turns, Count on a friend, in faith an' practice,

lo Robert Burns.



memory's no worth a preen: I had amaist forgotten clean, Ye bade me write you what they mean

By this new light, * 'Bout which our herds sae aft bae 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 lallaos,

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..
This past for certain undisputed;
It oe'er cam i' their heads to doubt it,
Till chiels gat up an' wad confute it,

An'ca'd it wrang ;
And muckle din there was about it,

Baith loud an' 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 oʻsigbt, Jo' backlips-coming to the leuk,

She grew mair bright,

• See note, p. 37.

This was deny'd it was affirm’d;
The herds an' hissels were alarm’d;
The rev'rend gray-beards rav'd 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' mopie a fallow gat his licks,

Wi' hearty crunt; An’some, to learn them for their tricks,

Were hang'd an' brunt: 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,
Till lairds forbade, by strict commands,

Sic bluidy pranks.
But new-light herds gat sic a cowe,
Folk thought them ruin'd stick-and-stowe,
Till now ainaist on ev'ry knowe,

Ye'll find ane plac'd;
An' some, their new-light fair avow,

Just quite barefac’d. 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 sprite, To bear the moon sae sadly lie'd on

By word an' write. But sbortly they will cowe the louns ! Some auld-ligbt 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 lea'e them, The hindmost shaird, they'll fetch it wi' them,

Just i' their pouch,

An' when the new-light billies see them,

I think they'll crouch!
Sae, ye observe that a'this clatter
Is naething but a ‘moonshine matter;'
But, tho' dull prose-folk Latin splatter

Io logic tudzie,
I hope we bardies ken some better

Tbau mind sic brulzie.

EPISTLE TO J. R******,


ROUGH, rude, ready-witted R******,
The wale o cocks for fun and drinkin!
There's monie 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 drunken rants,
Ye mak a devil o' the saunts,

An' fill them fou ;
And theu their failings, flaws, an' wants,

Are a' seen thro'.
Hypocrisy, in mercy spare it!
That holy robe, o dinna tear it!
Spare't for their sakes wha often 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,
It's just the blue-gown badge an' claithing
O'saunts; tak that, ye lea'e them naething

To ken them by,
Frae ony upregenerate heathen

Like you or I.

A certain humourous dream of his was then making a poise in ine countryoside.

I've sent you here some rhyrning ware,
A’ that I bargain’d for, an' mair;
Sae, when ye hae an hour to spare,

I will expect
Yon sang, * Ye'll sen't wi cannie care,

And do neglect.
Tho' faith, sma' heart hae I to sing !
My Muse dow scarcely spread her wing!
l've play'd mysel a bonnie spring,

An' danc'd my fill : l'd better gaen, an' saird the king

At Bunker's Hill.
'Twas ae night lately in my fun,
I gaed a roving wi' the gun,
An' brought a patrick to the grun,

A bonnie hen,
An'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 for't ;

But deil-ma-care!
Somebody tells the poacher-court

The hale affair.
Some auld-us'd hands had ta'en a note,
That sic a hen had got a shot:
I was suspected for the plot;

I scorn’d to lie ;
So gat the whissle o' my groat,

An' pay't the fee.
But, by my gun, o' guns the wale,
An' by my pouther, an' iny hail,
Au' by my hen, an' by her tail,

I vow an' swear !
The game shall pay o'er moor an' dale,

For this niest year.
As soon's the clockin-time is by,
An'the wee pouts begin to cry,

• A song he had promised the author

L-d, l’se hae sportio by an' by,

For my guid guinea :
Tho' I should herd the buckskin kye

For't, in Virginia.
Trowth, they had muckle for to blame !
"Twas neither broken wing nor limb,
But wa-three draps about the wame

Scarce thro' the feathers;
An' baith a yellow George to claim,

An' thole their blethers!
It pits me ay as mad's a hare;
So I can rhyme nor write nae mair;
But pennyworths again is fair,

When time's expedient :
Meanwhile I am, respected sir,

Your most obedient.



THERE was three kings into the east,

Three king: both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath

John Barleycorn should die.
They took a plough, an' plough'd him down,

Put clods upon his head,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath

John Barleycorn was dead :
But cheerful spring came kindly on,

And show'rs began to fall;
Johp Barleycorn got up again,

And sore surpris'd them all.
The sultry suns of summer came,

And he grew thick and strong,
His head weel arm’d wi' pointed spears,

That no one should him wrong.

* This is partly composed on the plan of an old song known by

the same name.

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