Слике страница

alluded, that his personal satire was fierce and acrimonious. I am not, however, disposed to consider his attacks on Rumble John, and Holy Willie, as destitute of wit; and his poem on the clerical settlements at Kilmarnock, blends a good deal of ingenious metaphor with his accustomed humour. Even viewing him as a satirist, the last and humblest light in which he can be regarded as a poet, it may still be said of him,

“ His style was witty, though it had some gall; “ Something he might have mended-so may all."



'Twas in that place o' Scotland's isle,
That bears the name o' Auld King Coil,
Upon a bonnie day in June,
When wearing thro' the afternoon,
Twa dogs that were na thrang at hame,
Forgather'd ance upon a time.

The first I'll name, they ca'd him Cæsar,
Was keepit for his Honour's pleasure :
His hair, his size, his mouth, his lugs,
Shew'd he was na ne o' Scotland's dogs;
But whalpit some place far abroad,
Where sailors gang to fish for cod.

His locked, letter'd, braw brass collar Shew'd him the gentleman and scholar: But tho' he was o' high degree, The fient a pride na pride had he; But wad hae spent an hour caressin, Ev'n with a tinkler-gipsy's messin. At kirk or market, mill or smiddie, Nae tawted tyke, tho' e'er sae duddie, But he wad stan't, as glad to see him, And stroan't on stanes an' hillocks wi' him.

The tither was a ploughman's collie,
A rhyming, ranting, raving billie,
Wha for his friend an' comrade had him,
And in his freaks had Luath ca’d him,
After some dog in Highland sang,
Was made lang syne-Lord knows how lang.

He was a gash an' faithful tyke,
As ever lap a sheugh or dyke.
His honest, sonsie, baws'nt face,
Ay gat him friends in ilka place.
His breast was white, his towzie back
Weel clad wi' coat o' glossy black;
His gawcie tail, wi' upward curl,
Hung o'er his hurdies wi' a swirl.

Nae doubt but they were fain o'ither,
An' unco pack an' thick thegither;
Wi' social nose whyles snuffd and snowkit;
Whyles mice an' moudieworts they howkit;
Whyles scour'd awa in lang excursion,
An' worry'd ither in diversion ;

Until wi' daffin weary grown,
Upon a knowe they sat them down,
And there began a lang digression,
About the lords o' the creation.

CÆSAR. I've aften wonder’d, honest Luath, What sort o' life poor dogs like you have; An' when the gentry's life I saw, What way poor bodies liv'd ava.

Our Laird gets in his racked rents, His coals, his kain, and a' his stents : He rises when he likes himsel ; His flunkies answer at the bell; He ca's his coach, he ca's his horse; He draws a bonnie silken purse As lang's my tail, whare, thro' the steeks, The yellow letter'd Geordie keeks.

Frae morn to e'en it's nought but toiling, At baking, roasting, frying, boiling ; An' tho' the gentry first are stechin, Yet ev'n the ha' folk fill their pechan Wi' sauce, ragouts, and sic like trashtrie, That’s little short o' downright wastrie. Our Whipper-in, wee blastit wonner, Poor worthless elf, it eats a dinner, Better than ony tenant man His Honour has in a' the lan': An' what poor cot-folk pit their painch in, I own it's past my comprehension,

LUATH. Trowth, Cæsar, whyles they're fash't enough; A cottar howkin in a sheugh, Wi' dirty stanes biggin a dyke, Baring a quarry, and sic like, Himself, a wife, he thus sustains, A smytrie o' wee duddie weans, An' nought but his han' darg, to keep Them right and tight in thack an' rape.

An' when they meet wi' sair disasters, Like loss o' health, or want o' masters, Ye maist wad think, a wee touch langer, An' they maun starve o' cauld and hunger; But, how it comes, I never kenn'd it, They're maistly wonderfu' contented; An' buirdly chiels, an' clever hizzies, Are bred in sic a way as this is.

But then to see how ye're negleckit,
How huff'd, and cuff'd, and disrespeckit!
L-d, man, our gentry care as little
For delvers, ditchers, an' sic cattle;
They gang as saucy by poor fo'k,
As I wad by a stinking brock.

I've notic'd, on our Laird's court-day,
An' mony a time my heart's been wae,
Poor tenant bodies, scant o' cash,
How they maun thole a factor's snash;
He'll stamp an' threaten, curse an' swear,
He'll apprehend them, poind their gear;

While they maun stan', wi' aspect humble, An' hear it a', an' fear an' tremble !

I see how folk live that hae riches; But surely poor folk maun be wretches !

LUATH. They're nae sae wretched's ane wad think; Tho' constantly on poortith’s brink: They're sae accustom'd wi’ the sight, The view o't gies them little fright.

Then chance an' fortune are sae guided, They're ay in less or mair provided; An' tho' fatigu'd wi' close employment, A blink o' rest's a sweet enjoyment.

The dearest comfort o' their lives,
Their grushie weans an' faithfu' wives;
The prattling things are just their pride,
That sweetens a' their fire-side.

An' whyles twalpennie worth o’nappy
Can mak the bodies unco happy;
They lay aside their private cares,
To mind the kirk and state affairs :
They'll talk o' patronage and priests,
Wi' kindling fury in their breasts,
Or tell what new taxation's comin,
An' ferlie at the folk in Lon'on.

As bleak-fac'd Hallowmass returns,
They get the jovial, ranting kirns,
When rural life, o' every station,
Unite in common recreation ;

« ПретходнаНастави »