The Captive Ribband
Tune—"Robaidh dona gorach."
Dear Myra, the captive ribband's mine, 'Twas all my faithful love could gain; And would you ask me to resign The sole reward that crowns my pain?
Go, bid the hero who has run Thro' fields of death to gather fame, Go, bid him lay his laurels down, And all his well-earn'd praise disclaim.
The ribband shall its freedom lose— Lose all the bliss it had with you, And share the fate I would impose On thee, wert thou my captive too.
It shall upon my bosom live, Or clasp me in a close embrace; And at its fortune if you grieve, Retrieve its doom, and take its place.
My Heart's In The Highlands
Tune—"Failte na Miosg."
Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North, The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth; Wherever I wander, wherever I rove, The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.
Chorus.—My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here, My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer; Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe, My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go.
Farewell to the mountains, high-cover'd with snow, Farewell to the straths and green vallies below; Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods, Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods. My heart's in the Highlands, &c.
The Whistle—A Ballad
I sing of a Whistle, a Whistle of worth, I sing of a Whistle, the pride of the North. Was brought to the court of our good Scottish King, And long with this Whistle all Scotland shall ring.
Old Loda, still rueing the arm of Fingal, The god of the bottle sends down from his hall— "The Whistle's your challenge, to Scotland get o'er, And drink them to hell, Sir! or ne'er see me more!"
Old poets have sung, and old chronicles tell, What champions ventur'd, what champions fell: The son of great Loda was conqueror still, And blew on the Whistle their requiem shrill.
Till Robert, the lord of the Cairn and the Scaur, Unmatch'd at the bottle, unconquer'd in war, He drank his poor god-ship as deep as the sea; No tide of the Baltic e'er drunker than he.
Thus Robert, victorious, the trophy has gain'd; Which now in his house has for ages remain'd; Till three noble chieftains, and all of his blood, The jovial contest again have renew'd.
Three joyous good fellows, with hearts clear of flaw Craigdarroch, so famous for with, worth, and law; And trusty Glenriddel, so skill'd in old coins; And gallant Sir Robert, deep-read in old wines.
Craigdarroch began, with a tongue smooth as oil, Desiring Downrightly to yield up the spoil; Or else he would muster the heads of the clan, And once more, in claret, try which was the man.
"By the gods of the ancients!" Downrightly replies, "Before I surrender so glorious a prize, I'll conjure the ghost of the great Rorie More, And bumper his horn with him twenty times o'er."
Sir Robert, a soldier, no speech would pretend, But he ne'er turn'd his back on his foe, or his friend; Said, "Toss down the Whistle, the prize of the field," And, knee-deep in claret, he'd die ere he'd yield.
To the board of Glenriddel our heroes repair, So noted for drowning of sorrow and care; But, for wine and for welcome, not more known to fame, Than the sense, wit, and taste, of a sweet lovely dame.
A bard was selected to witness the fray, And tell future ages the feats of the day; A Bard who detested all sadness and spleen, And wish'd that Parnassus a vineyard had been.
The dinner being over, the claret they ply, And ev'ry new cork is a new spring of joy; In the bands of old friendship and kindred so set, And the bands grew the tighter the more they were wet.
Gay Pleasure ran riot as bumpers ran o'er: Bright Phoebus ne'er witness'd so joyous a core, And vow'd that to leave them he was quite forlorn, Till Cynthia hinted he'd see them next morn.
Six bottles a-piece had well wore out the night, When gallant Sir Robert, to finish the fight, Turn'd o'er in one bumper a bottle of red, And swore 'twas the way that their ancestor did.
Then worthy Glenriddel, so cautious and sage, No longer the warfare ungodly would wage; A high Ruling Elder to wallow in wine; He left the foul business to folks less divine.
The gallant Sir Robert fought hard to the end; But who can with Fate and quart bumpers contend! Though Fate said, a hero should perish in light; So uprose bright Phoebus—and down fell the knight.
Next uprose our Bard, like a prophet in drink:— "Craigdarroch, thou'lt soar when creation shall sink! But if thou would flourish immortal in rhyme, Come—one bottle more—and have at the sublime!
"Thy line, that have struggled for freedom with Bruce, Shall heroes and patriots ever produce: So thine be the laurel, and mine be the bay; The field thou hast won, by yon bright god of day!"
To Mary In Heaven
Thou ling'ring star, with lessening ray, That lov'st to greet the early morn, Again thou usher'st in the day My Mary from my soul was torn. O Mary! dear departed shade! Where is thy place of blissful rest? See'st thou thy lover lowly laid? Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast?
That sacred hour can I forget, Can I forget the hallow'd grove, Where, by the winding Ayr, we met, To live one day of parting love! Eternity will not efface Those records dear of transports past, Thy image at our last embrace, Ah! little thought we 'twas our last!
Ayr, gurgling, kiss'd his pebbled shore, O'erhung with wild-woods, thickening green; The fragrant birch and hawthorn hoar, 'Twin'd amorous round the raptur'd scene: The flowers sprang wanton to be prest, The birds sang love on every spray; Till too, too soon, the glowing west, Proclaim'd the speed of winged day.
Still o'er these scenes my mem'ry wakes, And fondly broods with miser-care; Time but th' impression stronger makes, As streams their channels deeper wear, My Mary! dear departed shade! Where is thy blissful place of rest? See'st thou thy lover lowly laid? Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast?
Epistle To Dr. Blacklock
Ellisland, 21st Oct., 1789.
Wow, but your letter made me vauntie! And are ye hale, and weel and cantie? I ken'd it still, your wee bit jauntie Wad bring ye to: Lord send you aye as weel's I want ye! And then ye'll do.
The ill-thief blaw the Heron south! And never drink be near his drouth! He tauld myself by word o' mouth, He'd tak my letter; I lippen'd to the chiel in trouth, And bade nae better.
But aiblins, honest Master Heron Had, at the time, some dainty fair one To ware this theologic care on, And holy study; And tired o' sauls to waste his lear on, E'en tried the body.
But what d'ye think, my trusty fere, I'm turned a gauger—Peace be here! Parnassian queans, I fear, I fear, Ye'll now disdain me! And then my fifty pounds a year Will little gain me.
Ye glaikit, gleesome, dainty damies, Wha, by Castalia's wimplin streamies, Lowp, sing, and lave your pretty limbies, Ye ken, ye ken, That strang necessity supreme is 'Mang sons o' men.
I hae a wife and twa wee laddies; They maun hae brose and brats o' duddies; Ye ken yoursels my heart right proud is— I need na vaunt But I'll sned besoms, thraw saugh woodies, Before they want.
Lord help me thro' this warld o' care! I'm weary sick o't late and air! Not but I hae a richer share Than mony ithers; But why should ae man better fare, And a' men brithers?
Come, Firm Resolve, take thou the van, Thou stalk o' carl-hemp in man! And let us mind, faint heart ne'er wan A lady fair: Wha does the utmost that he can, Will whiles do mair.
But to conclude my silly rhyme (I'm scant o' verse and scant o' time), To make a happy fireside clime To weans and wife, That's the true pathos and sublime Of human life.
My compliments to sister Beckie, And eke the same to honest Lucky; I wat she is a daintie chuckie, As e'er tread clay; And gratefully, my gude auld cockie, I'm yours for aye. Robert Burns.
The Five Carlins
An Election Ballad.
There was five Carlins in the South, They fell upon a scheme, To send a lad to London town, To bring them tidings hame.
Nor only bring them tidings hame, But do their errands there, And aiblins gowd and honor baith Might be that laddie's share.
There was Maggy by the banks o' Nith, A dame wi' pride eneugh; And Marjory o' the mony Lochs, A Carlin auld and teugh.
And blinkin Bess of Annandale, That dwelt near Solway-side; And whisky Jean, that took her gill, In Galloway sae wide.
And auld black Joan frae Crichton Peel,^1 O' gipsy kith an' kin; Five wighter Carlins were na found The South countrie within.
To send a lad to London town, They met upon a day; And mony a knight, and mony a laird, This errand fain wad gae.
O mony a knight, and mony a laird, This errand fain wad gae; But nae ane could their fancy please, O ne'er a ane but twae.
The first ane was a belted Knight, Bred of a Border band;^2 And he wad gae to London town, Might nae man him withstand.
And he wad do their errands weel, And meikle he wad say; And ilka ane about the court Wad bid to him gude-day.
[Footnote 1: Sanquhar.]
[Footnote 2: Sir James Johnston of Westerhall.]
The neist cam in a Soger youth,^3 Who spak wi' modest grace, And he wad gae to London town, If sae their pleasure was.
He wad na hecht them courtly gifts, Nor meikle speech pretend; But he wad hecht an honest heart, Wad ne'er desert his friend.
Now, wham to chuse, and wham refuse, At strife thir Carlins fell; For some had Gentlefolks to please, And some wad please themsel'.
Then out spak mim-mou'd Meg o' Nith, And she spak up wi' pride, And she wad send the Soger youth, Whatever might betide.
For the auld Gudeman o' London court^4 She didna care a pin; But she wad send the Soger youth, To greet his eldest son.^5
Then up sprang Bess o' Annandale, And a deadly aith she's ta'en, That she wad vote the Border Knight, Though she should vote her lane.
"For far-off fowls hae feathers fair, And fools o' change are fain; But I hae tried the Border Knight, And I'll try him yet again."
Says black Joan frae Crichton Peel, A Carlin stoor and grim. "The auld Gudeman or young Gudeman, For me may sink or swim;
[Footnote 3: Captain Patrick Millar of Dalswinton.]
[Footnote 4: The King.]
[Footnote 5: The Prince of Wales.]
For fools will prate o' right or wrang, While knaves laugh them to scorn; But the Soger's friends hae blawn the best, So he shall bear the horn."
Then whisky Jean spak owre her drink, "Ye weel ken, kimmers a', The auld gudeman o' London court, His back's been at the wa';
"And mony a friend that kiss'd his caup Is now a fremit wight; But it's ne'er be said o' whisky Jean— We'll send the Border Knight."
Then slow raise Marjory o' the Lochs, And wrinkled was her brow, Her ancient weed was russet gray, Her auld Scots bluid was true;
"There's some great folk set light by me, I set as light by them; But I will send to London town Wham I like best at hame."
Sae how this mighty plea may end, Nae mortal wight can tell; God grant the King and ilka man May look weel to himsel.
Election Ballad For Westerha'
Tune—"Up and waur them a', Willie."
The Laddies by the banks o' Nith Wad trust his Grace^1 wi a', Jamie; But he'll sair them, as he sair'd the King— Turn tail and rin awa', Jamie.
[Footnote 1: The fourth Duke of Queensberry, who supported the proposal that, during George III's illness, the Prince of Wales should assume the Government with full prerogative.]
Chorus.—Up and waur them a', Jamie, Up and waur them a'; The Johnstones hae the guidin o't, Ye turncoat Whigs, awa'!
The day he stude his country's friend, Or gied her faes a claw, Jamie, Or frae puir man a blessin wan, That day the Duke ne'er saw, Jamie. Up and waur them, &c.
But wha is he, his country's boast? Like him there is na twa, Jamie; There's no a callent tents the kye, But kens o' Westerha', Jamie. Up and waur them, &c.
To end the wark, here's Whistlebirk, Lang may his whistle blaw, Jamie; And Maxwell true, o' sterling blue; And we'll be Johnstones a', Jamie. Up and waur them, &c.
Prologue Spoken At The Theatre Of Dumfries
On New Year's Day Evening, 1790.
No song nor dance I bring from yon great city, That queens it o'er our taste—the more's the pity: Tho' by the bye, abroad why will you roam? Good sense and taste are natives here at home: But not for panegyric I appear, I come to wish you all a good New Year! Old Father Time deputes me here before ye, Not for to preach, but tell his simple story: The sage, grave Ancient cough'd, and bade me say, "You're one year older this important day," If wiser too—he hinted some suggestion, But 'twould be rude, you know, to ask the question; And with a would-be roguish leer and wink, Said—"Sutherland, in one word, bid them Think!"
Ye sprightly youths, quite flush with hope and spirit, Who think to storm the world by dint of merit, To you the dotard has a deal to say, In his sly, dry, sententious, proverb way! He bids you mind, amid your thoughtless rattle, That the first blow is ever half the battle; That tho' some by the skirt may try to snatch him, Yet by the foreclock is the hold to catch him; That whether doing, suffering, or forbearing, You may do miracles by persevering.
Last, tho' not least in love, ye youthful fair, Angelic forms, high Heaven's peculiar care! To you old Bald-pate smoothes his wrinkled brow, And humbly begs you'll mind the important—Now! To crown your happiness he asks your leave, And offers, bliss to give and to receive.
For our sincere, tho' haply weak endeavours, With grateful pride we own your many favours; And howsoe'er our tongues may ill reveal it, Believe our glowing bosoms truly feel it.
Sketch—New Year's Day 
To Mrs. Dunlop.
This day, Time winds th' exhausted chain; To run the twelvemonth's length again: I see, the old bald-pated fellow, With ardent eyes, complexion sallow, Adjust the unimpair'd machine, To wheel the equal, dull routine.
The absent lover, minor heir, In vain assail him with their prayer; Deaf as my friend, he sees them press, Nor makes the hour one moment less, Will you (the Major's with the hounds, The happy tenants share his rounds; Coila's fair Rachel's care to-day, And blooming Keith's engaged with Gray) From housewife cares a minute borrow, (That grandchild's cap will do to-morrow,) And join with me a-moralizing; This day's propitious to be wise in.
First, what did yesternight deliver? "Another year has gone for ever." And what is this day's strong suggestion? "The passing moment's all we rest on!" Rest on—for what? what do we here? Or why regard the passing year? Will Time, amus'd with proverb'd lore, Add to our date one minute more? A few days may—a few years must— Repose us in the silent dust. Then, is it wise to damp our bliss? Yes—all such reasonings are amiss! The voice of Nature loudly cries, And many a message from the skies, That something in us never dies: That on his frail, uncertain state, Hang matters of eternal weight: That future life in worlds unknown Must take its hue from this alone; Whether as heavenly glory bright, Or dark as Misery's woeful night.
Since then, my honour'd first of friends, On this poor being all depends, Let us th' important now employ, And live as those who never die. Tho' you, with days and honours crown'd, Witness that filial circle round, (A sight life's sorrows to repulse, A sight pale Envy to convulse), Others now claim your chief regard; Yourself, you wait your bright reward.
Scots' Prologue For Mr. Sutherland
On his Benefit-Night, at the Theatre, Dumfries.
What needs this din about the town o' Lon'on, How this new play an' that new sang is comin? Why is outlandish stuff sae meikle courted? Does nonsense mend, like brandy, when imported? Is there nae poet, burning keen for fame, Will try to gie us sangs and plays at hame? For Comedy abroad he need to toil, A fool and knave are plants of every soil; Nor need he hunt as far as Rome or Greece, To gather matter for a serious piece; There's themes enow in Caledonian story, Would shew the Tragic Muse in a' her glory.—
Is there no daring Bard will rise and tell How glorious Wallace stood, how hapless fell? Where are the Muses fled that could produce A drama worthy o' the name o' Bruce? How here, even here, he first unsheath'd the sword 'Gainst mighty England and her guilty Lord; And after mony a bloody, deathless doing, Wrench'd his dear country from the jaws of Ruin! O for a Shakespeare, or an Otway scene, To draw the lovely, hapless Scottish Queen! Vain all th' omnipotence of female charms 'Gainst headlong, ruthless, mad Rebellion's arms: She fell, but fell with spirit truly Roman, To glut that direst foe—a vengeful woman; A woman, (tho' the phrase may seem uncivil,) As able and as wicked as the Devil! One Douglas lives in Home's immortal page, But Douglasses were heroes every age: And tho' your fathers, prodigal of life, A Douglas followed to the martial strife, Perhaps, if bowls row right, and Right succeeds, Ye yet may follow where a Douglas leads!
As ye hae generous done, if a' the land Would take the Muses' servants by the hand; Not only hear, but patronize, befriend them, And where he justly can commend, commend them; And aiblins when they winna stand the test, Wink hard, and say The folks hae done their best! Would a' the land do this, then I'll be caition, Ye'll soon hae Poets o' the Scottish nation Will gar Fame blaw until her trumpet crack, And warsle Time, an' lay him on his back!
For us and for our Stage, should ony spier, "Whase aught thae chiels maks a' this bustle here?" My best leg foremost, I'll set up my brow— We have the honour to belong to you! We're your ain bairns, e'en guide us as ye like, But like good mithers shore before ye strike; And gratefu' still, I trust ye'll ever find us, For gen'rous patronage, and meikle kindness We've got frae a' professions, sets and ranks: God help us! we're but poor—ye'se get but thanks.
Lines To A Gentleman,
Who had sent the Poet a Newspaper, and offered to continue it free of Expense.
Kind Sir, I've read your paper through, And faith, to me, 'twas really new! How guessed ye, Sir, what maist I wanted? This mony a day I've grain'd and gaunted, To ken what French mischief was brewin; Or what the drumlie Dutch were doin; That vile doup-skelper, Emperor Joseph, If Venus yet had got his nose off; Or how the collieshangie works Atween the Russians and the Turks, Or if the Swede, before he halt, Would play anither Charles the twalt; If Denmark, any body spak o't; Or Poland, wha had now the tack o't: How cut-throat Prussian blades were hingin; How libbet Italy was singin;
If Spaniard, Portuguese, or Swiss, Were sayin' or takin' aught amiss; Or how our merry lads at hame, In Britain's court kept up the game; How royal George, the Lord leuk o'er him! Was managing St. Stephen's quorum; If sleekit Chatham Will was livin, Or glaikit Charlie got his nieve in; How daddie Burke the plea was cookin, If Warren Hasting's neck was yeukin; How cesses, stents, and fees were rax'd. Or if bare arses yet were tax'd; The news o' princes, dukes, and earls, Pimps, sharpers, bawds, and opera-girls; If that daft buckie, Geordie Wales, Was threshing still at hizzies' tails; Or if he was grown oughtlins douser, And no a perfect kintra cooser: A' this and mair I never heard of; And, but for you, I might despair'd of. So, gratefu', back your news I send you, And pray a' gude things may attend you.
Ellisland, Monday Morning, 1790.
Elegy On Willie Nicol's Mare
Peg Nicholson was a good bay mare, As ever trod on airn; But now she's floating down the Nith, And past the mouth o' Cairn.
Peg Nicholson was a good bay mare, An' rode thro' thick and thin; But now she's floating down the Nith, And wanting even the skin.
Peg Nicholson was a good bay mare, And ance she bore a priest; But now she's floating down the Nith, For Solway fish a feast.
Peg Nicholson was a good bay mare, An' the priest he rode her sair; And much oppress'd and bruis'd she was, As priest-rid cattle are,—&c. &c.
The Gowden Locks Of Anna
Yestreen I had a pint o' wine, A place where body saw na; Yestreen lay on this breast o' mine The gowden locks of Anna.
The hungry Jew in wilderness, Rejoicing o'er his manna, Was naething to my hinny bliss Upon the lips of Anna.
Ye monarchs, take the East and West Frae Indus to Savannah; Gie me, within my straining grasp, The melting form of Anna:
There I'll despise Imperial charms, An Empress or Sultana, While dying raptures in her arms I give and take wi' Anna!
Awa, thou flaunting God of Day! Awa, thou pale Diana! Ilk Star, gae hide thy twinkling ray, When I'm to meet my Anna!
Come, in thy raven plumage, Night, (Sun, Moon, and Stars, withdrawn a';) And bring an angel-pen to write My transports with my Anna!
The Kirk an' State may join an' tell, To do sic things I maunna: The Kirk an' State may gae to hell, And I'll gae to my Anna.
She is the sunshine o' my e'e, To live but her I canna; Had I on earth but wishes three, The first should be my Anna.
Song—I Murder Hate
I murder hate by flood or field, Tho' glory's name may screen us; In wars at home I'll spend my blood— Life-giving wars of Venus. The deities that I adore Are social Peace and Plenty; I'm better pleas'd to make one more, Than be the death of twenty.
I would not die like Socrates, For all the fuss of Plato; Nor would I with Leonidas, Nor yet would I with Cato: The zealots of the Church and State Shall ne'er my mortal foes be; But let me have bold Zimri's fate, Within the arms of Cozbi!
Gudewife, Count The Lawin
Gane is the day, and mirk's the night, But we'll ne'er stray for faut o' light; Gude ale and bratdy's stars and moon, And blue-red wine's the risin' sun.
Chorus.—Then gudewife, count the lawin, The lawin, the lawin, Then gudewife, count the lawin, And bring a coggie mair.
There's wealth and ease for gentlemen, And simple folk maun fecht and fen'; But here we're a' in ae accord, For ilka man that's drunk's a lord. Then gudewife, &c.
My coggie is a haly pool That heals the wounds o' care and dool; And Pleasure is a wanton trout, An ye drink it a', ye'll find him out. Then gudewife, &c.
At the close of the contest for representing the Dumfries Burghs, 1790.
Addressed to R. Graham, Esq. of Fintry.
Fintry, my stay in wordly strife, Friend o' my muse, friend o' my life, Are ye as idle's I am? Come then, wi' uncouth kintra fleg, O'er Pegasus I'll fling my leg, And ye shall see me try him.
But where shall I go rin a ride, That I may splatter nane beside? I wad na be uncivil: In manhood's various paths and ways There's aye some doytin' body strays, And I ride like the devil.
Thus I break aff wi' a' my birr, And down yon dark, deep alley spur, Where Theologics daunder: Alas! curst wi' eternal fogs, And damn'd in everlasting bogs, As sure's the creed I'll blunder!
I'll stain a band, or jaup a gown, Or rin my reckless, guilty crown Against the haly door: Sair do I rue my luckless fate, When, as the Muse an' Deil wad hae't, I rade that road before.
Suppose I take a spurt, and mix Amang the wilds o' Politics— Electors and elected, Where dogs at Court (sad sons of bitches!) Septennially a madness touches, Till all the land's infected.
All hail! Drumlanrig's haughty Grace, Discarded remnant of a race Once godlike—great in story; Thy forbears' virtues all contrasted, The very name of Douglas blasted, Thine that inverted glory!
Hate, envy, oft the Douglas bore, But thou hast superadded more, And sunk them in contempt; Follies and crimes have stain'd the name, But, Queensberry, thine the virgin claim, From aught that's good exempt!
I'll sing the zeal Drumlanrig bears, Who left the all-important cares Of princes, and their darlings: And, bent on winning borough touns, Came shaking hands wi' wabster-loons, And kissing barefit carlins.
Combustion thro' our boroughs rode, Whistling his roaring pack abroad Of mad unmuzzled lions; As Queensberry blue and buff unfurl'd, And Westerha' and Hopetoun hurled To every Whig defiance.
But cautious Queensberry left the war, Th' unmanner'd dust might soil his star, Besides, he hated bleeding: But left behind him heroes bright, Heroes in Caesarean fight, Or Ciceronian pleading.
O for a throat like huge Mons-Meg, To muster o'er each ardent Whig Beneath Drumlanrig's banners; Heroes and heroines commix, All in the field of politics, To win immortal honours.
M'Murdo and his lovely spouse, (Th' enamour'd laurels kiss her brows!) Led on the Loves and Graces: She won each gaping burgess' heart, While he, sub rosa, played his part Amang their wives and lasses.
Craigdarroch led a light-arm'd core, Tropes, metaphors, and figures pour, Like Hecla streaming thunder: Glenriddel, skill'd in rusty coins, Blew up each Tory's dark designs, And bared the treason under.
In either wing two champions fought; Redoubted Staig, who set at nought The wildest savage Tory; And Welsh who ne'er yet flinch'd his ground, High-wav'd his magnum-bonum round With Cyclopeian fury.
Miller brought up th' artillery ranks, The many-pounders of the Banks, Resistless desolation! While Maxwelton, that baron bold, 'Mid Lawson's port entrench'd his hold, And threaten'd worse damnation.
To these what Tory hosts oppos'd With these what Tory warriors clos'd Surpasses my descriving; Squadrons, extended long and large, With furious speed rush to the charge, Like furious devils driving.
What verse can sing, what prose narrate, The butcher deeds of bloody Fate, Amid this mighty tulyie! Grim Horror girn'd, pale Terror roar'd, As Murder at his thrapple shor'd, And Hell mix'd in the brulyie.
As Highland craigs by thunder cleft, When lightnings fire the stormy lift, Hurl down with crashing rattle; As flames among a hundred woods, As headlong foam from a hundred floods, Such is the rage of Battle.
The stubborn Tories dare to die; As soon the rooted oaks would fly Before th' approaching fellers: The Whigs come on like Ocean's roar, When all his wintry billows pour Against the Buchan Bullers.
Lo, from the shades of Death's deep night, Departed Whigs enjoy the fight, And think on former daring: The muffled murtherer of Charles The Magna Charter flag unfurls, All deadly gules its bearing.
Nor wanting ghosts of Tory fame; Bold Scrimgeour follows gallant Graham; Auld Covenanters shiver— Forgive! forgive! much-wrong'd Montrose! Now Death and Hell engulph thy foes, Thou liv'st on high for ever.
Still o'er the field the combat burns, The Tories, Whigs, give way by turns; But Fate the word has spoken: For woman's wit and strength o'man, Alas! can do but what they can; The Tory ranks are broken.
O that my een were flowing burns! My voice, a lioness that mourns Her darling cubs' undoing! That I might greet, that I might cry, While Tories fall, while Tories fly, And furious Whigs pursuing!
What Whig but melts for good Sir James, Dear to his country, by the names, Friend, Patron, Benefactor! Not Pulteney's wealth can Pulteney save; And Hopetoun falls, the generous, brave; And Stewart, bold as Hector.
Thou, Pitt, shalt rue this overthrow, And Thurlow growl a curse of woe, And Melville melt in wailing: Now Fox and Sheridan rejoice, And Burke shall sing, "O Prince, arise! Thy power is all-prevailing!"
For your poor friend, the Bard, afar He only hears and sees the war, A cool spectator purely! So, when the storm the forest rends, The robin in the hedge descends, And sober chirps securely.
Now, for my friends' and brethren's sakes, And for my dear-lov'd Land o' Cakes, I pray with holy fire: Lord, send a rough-shod troop o' Hell O'er a' wad Scotland buy or sell, To grind them in the mire!
Elegy On Captain Matthew Henderson
A Gentleman who held the Patent for his Honours immediately from Almighty God.
Should the poor be flattered?—Shakespeare.
O Death! thou tyrant fell and bloody! The meikle devil wi' a woodie Haurl thee hame to his black smiddie, O'er hurcheon hides, And like stock-fish come o'er his studdie Wi' thy auld sides!
He's gane, he's gane! he's frae us torn, The ae best fellow e'er was born! Thee, Matthew, Nature's sel' shall mourn, By wood and wild, Where haply, Pity strays forlorn, Frae man exil'd.
Ye hills, near neighbours o' the starns, That proudly cock your cresting cairns! Ye cliffs, the haunts of sailing earns, Where Echo slumbers! Come join, ye Nature's sturdiest bairns, My wailing numbers!
Mourn, ilka grove the cushat kens! Ye haz'ly shaws and briery dens! Ye burnies, wimplin' down your glens, Wi' toddlin din, Or foaming, strang, wi' hasty stens, Frae lin to lin.
Mourn, little harebells o'er the lea; Ye stately foxgloves, fair to see; Ye woodbines hanging bonilie, In scented bow'rs; Ye roses on your thorny tree, The first o' flow'rs.
At dawn, when ev'ry grassy blade Droops with a diamond at his head, At ev'n, when beans their fragrance shed, I' th' rustling gale, Ye maukins, whiddin thro' the glade, Come join my wail.
Mourn, ye wee songsters o' the wood; Ye grouse that crap the heather bud; Ye curlews, calling thro' a clud; Ye whistling plover; And mourn, we whirring paitrick brood; He's gane for ever!
Mourn, sooty coots, and speckled teals; Ye fisher herons, watching eels; Ye duck and drake, wi' airy wheels Circling the lake; Ye bitterns, till the quagmire reels, Rair for his sake.
Mourn, clam'ring craiks at close o' day, 'Mang fields o' flow'ring clover gay; And when ye wing your annual way Frae our claud shore, Tell thae far warlds wha lies in clay, Wham we deplore.
Ye houlets, frae your ivy bow'r In some auld tree, or eldritch tow'r, What time the moon, wi' silent glow'r, Sets up her horn, Wail thro' the dreary midnight hour, Till waukrife morn!
O rivers, forests, hills, and plains! Oft have ye heard my canty strains; But now, what else for me remains But tales of woe; And frae my een the drapping rains Maun ever flow.
Mourn, Spring, thou darling of the year! Ilk cowslip cup shall kep a tear: Thou, Simmer, while each corny spear Shoots up its head, Thy gay, green, flow'ry tresses shear, For him that's dead!
Thou, Autumn, wi' thy yellow hair, In grief thy sallow mantle tear! Thou, Winter, hurling thro' the air The roaring blast, Wide o'er the naked world declare The worth we've lost!
Mourn him, thou Sun, great source of light! Mourn, Empress of the silent night! And you, ye twinkling starnies bright, My Matthew mourn! For through your orbs he's ta'en his flight, Ne'er to return.
O Henderson! the man! the brother! And art thou gone, and gone for ever! And hast thou crost that unknown river, Life's dreary bound! Like thee, where shall I find another, The world around!
Go to your sculptur'd tombs, ye Great, In a' the tinsel trash o' state! But by thy honest turf I'll wait, Thou man of worth! And weep the ae best fellow's fate E'er lay in earth.
Stop, passenger! my story's brief, And truth I shall relate, man; I tell nae common tale o' grief, For Matthew was a great man.
If thou uncommon merit hast, Yet spurn'd at Fortune's door, man; A look of pity hither cast, For Matthew was a poor man.
If thou a noble sodger art, That passest by this grave, man; There moulders here a gallant heart, For Matthew was a brave man.
If thou on men, their works and ways, Canst throw uncommon light, man; Here lies wha weel had won thy praise, For Matthew was a bright man.
If thou, at Friendship's sacred ca', Wad life itself resign, man: Thy sympathetic tear maun fa', For Matthew was a kind man.
If thou art staunch, without a stain, Like the unchanging blue, man; This was a kinsman o' thy ain, For Matthew was a true man.
If thou hast wit, and fun, and fire, And ne'er guid wine did fear, man; This was thy billie, dam, and sire, For Matthew was a queer man.
If ony whiggish, whingin' sot, To blame poor Matthew dare, man; May dool and sorrow be his lot, For Matthew was a rare man.
But now, his radiant course is run, For Matthew's was a bright one! His soul was like the glorious sun, A matchless, Heavenly light, man.
Verses On Captain Grose
Written on an Envelope, enclosing a Letter to Him.
Ken ye aught o' Captain Grose?—Igo, and ago, If he's amang his friends or foes?—Iram, coram, dago.
Is he to Abra'm's bosom gane?—Igo, and ago, Or haudin Sarah by the wame?—Iram, coram dago.
Is he south or is he north?—Igo, and ago, Or drowned in the river Forth?—Iram, coram dago.
Is he slain by Hielan' bodies?—Igo, and ago, And eaten like a wether haggis?—Iram, coram, dago.
Where'er he be, the Lord be near him!—Igo, and ago, As for the deil, he daur na steer him.—Iram, coram, dago.
But please transmit th' enclosed letter,—Igo, and ago, Which will oblige your humble debtor.—Iram, coram, dago.
So may ye hae auld stanes in store,—Igo, and ago, The very stanes that Adam bore.—Iram, coram, dago,
So may ye get in glad possession,—Igo, and ago, The coins o' Satan's coronation!—Iram coram dago.
Tam O' Shanter
"Of Brownyis and of Bogillis full is this Buke."
When chapman billies leave the street, And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet; As market days are wearing late, And folk begin to tak the gate, While we sit bousing at the nappy, An' getting fou and unco happy, We think na on the lang Scots miles, The mosses, waters, slaps and stiles, That lie between us and our hame, Where sits our sulky, sullen dame, Gathering her brows like gathering storm, Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.
This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter, As he frae Ayr ae night did canter: (Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses, For honest men and bonie lasses).
O Tam! had'st thou but been sae wise, As taen thy ain wife Kate's advice! She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum, A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum; That frae November till October, Ae market-day thou was na sober; That ilka melder wi' the Miller, Thou sat as lang as thou had siller; That ev'ry naig was ca'd a shoe on The Smith and thee gat roarin' fou on; That at the Lord's house, ev'n on Sunday, Thou drank wi' Kirkton Jean till Monday, She prophesied that late or soon, Thou wad be found, deep drown'd in Doon, Or catch'd wi' warlocks in the mirk, By Alloway's auld, haunted kirk.
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, Tam had got planted unco right, Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely, Wi reaming saats, that drank divinely; And at his elbow, Souter Johnie, His ancient, trusty, drougthy crony: Tam lo'ed him like a very brither; They had been fou for weeks thegither. The night drave on wi' sangs an' clatter; And aye the ale was growing better: The Landlady and Tam grew gracious, Wi' favours secret, sweet, and precious: The Souter tauld his queerest stories; The Landlord's laugh was ready chorus: The storm without might rair and rustle, Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.
Care, mad to see a man sae happy, E'en drown'd himsel amang the nappy. As bees flee hame wi' lades o' treasure, The minutes wing'd their way wi' pleasure: Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious, O'er a' the ills o' life victorious!
But pleasures are like poppies spread, You seize the flow'r, 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 flit ere you can point their place; Or like the Rainbow's lovely form Evanishing amid the storm.— Nae man can tether Time nor 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 grey mare, Meg, A better never lifted leg, Tam skelpit on thro' dub and mire, Despising wind, and rain, and fire; Whiles holding fast his gude blue bonnet, Whiles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet, Whiles glow'rin round wi' prudent cares, Lest bogles catch him unawares; Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh, Where ghaists and houlets nightly cry.
By this time he was cross the ford, Where in the snaw the chapman smoor'd; And past the birks and meikle stane, Where drunken Charlie brak's neck-bane; And thro' the whins, and by the cairn, Where hunters fand the murder'd bairn; And near the thorn, aboon the well, Where Mungo's mither hang'd hersel'. Before him Doon pours all his floods, The doubling storm roars thro' the woods, The lightnings flash from pole to pole, Near and more near the thunders roll, When, glimmering thro' the groaning trees, Kirk-Alloway seem'd in a bleeze, Thro' ilka bore the beams were glancing, And loud resounded mirth and dancing.
Inspiring bold John Barleycorn! What dangers thou canst make us scorn! Wi' tippenny, we fear nae evil; Wi' usquabae, we'll face the devil! The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's noddle, Fair play, he car'd na deils a boddle, But Maggie stood, right sair astonish'd, Till, by the heel and hand admonish'd, She ventur'd forward on the light; And, wow! Tam saw an unco sight!
Warlocks and witches in a dance: Nae cotillon, brent new frae France, But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels, Put life and mettle in their heels. A winnock-bunker in the east, There sat auld Nick, in shape o' beast; A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large, To gie them music was his charge: He screw'd the pipes and gart them skirl, Till roof and rafters a' did dirl.— Coffins stood round, like open presses, That shaw'd the Dead in their last dresses; And (by some devilish cantraip sleight) Each in its cauld hand held a light. By which heroic Tam was able To note upon the haly table, A murderer's banes, in gibbet-airns; Twa span-lang, wee, unchristened bairns; A thief, new-cutted frae a rape, Wi' his last gasp his gabudid gape; Five tomahawks, wi' blude red-rusted: Five scimitars, wi' murder crusted; A garter which a babe had strangled: A knife, a father's throat had mangled. Whom his ain son of life bereft, The grey-hairs yet stack to the heft; Wi' mair of horrible and awfu', Which even to name wad be unlawfu'.
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, The reel'd, they set, they cross'd, they cleekit, Till ilka carlin swat and reekit, And coost her duddies to the wark, And linkit at it in her sark!
Now Tam, O Tam! had they been queans, A' plump and strapping in their teens! Their sarks, instead o' creeshie flainen, Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linen!— Thir breeks o' mine, my only pair, That ance were plush o' guid blue hair, I wad hae gien them off my hurdies, For ae blink o' the bonie burdies! But wither'd beldams, auld and droll, Rigwoodie hags wad spean a foal, Louping an' flinging on a crummock. I wonder did na turn thy stomach.
But Tam kent what was what fu' brawlie: There was ae winsome wench and waulie That night enlisted in the core, Lang after ken'd on Carrick shore; (For mony a beast to dead she shot, And perish'd mony a bonie boat, And shook baith meikle corn and bear, And kept the country-side in fear); Her cutty sark, o' Paisley harn, That while a lassie she had worn, In longitude tho' sorely scanty, It was her best, and she was vauntie. Ah! little ken'd thy reverend grannie, That sark she coft for her wee Nannie, Wi twa pund Scots ('twas a' her riches), Wad ever grac'd a dance of witches!
But here my Muse her wing maun cour, Sic flights are far beyond her power; To sing how Nannie lap and flang, (A souple jade she was and strang), And how Tam stood, like ane bewithc'd, And thought his very een enrich'd: Even Satan glowr'd, and fidg'd fu' fain, And hotch'd and blew wi' might and main: Till first ae caper, syne anither, Tam tint his reason a thegither, And roars out, "Weel done, Cutty-sark!" And in an instant all was dark: And scarcely had he Maggie rallied. When out the hellish legion sallied.
As bees bizz out wi' angry fyke, When plundering herds assail their byke; As open pussie's mortal foes, When, pop! she starts before their nose; As eager runs the market-crowd, When "Catch the thief!" resounds aloud; So Maggie runs, the witches follow, Wi' mony an eldritch skreich and hollow.
Ah, Tam! Ah, Tam! thou'll get thy fairin! In hell, they'll roast thee like a herrin! In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin! Kate soon will be a woefu' woman! Now, do thy speedy-utmost, Meg, And win the key-stone o' the brig;^1 There, at them thou thy tail may toss, A running stream they dare na cross. But ere the keystane she could make, The fient a tail she had to shake! For Nannie, far before the rest, Hard upon noble Maggie prest, And flew at Tam wi' furious ettle; But little wist she Maggie's mettle! Ae spring brought off her master hale, But left behind her ain grey tail: The carlin claught her by the rump, And left poor Maggie scarce a stump.
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 rin in your mind, Think ye may buy the joys o'er dear; Remember Tam o' Shanter's mare.
On The Birth Of A Posthumous Child
Born in peculiar circumstances of family distress.
Sweet flow'ret, pledge o' meikle love, And ward o' mony a prayer, What heart o' stane wad thou na move, Sae helpless, sweet, and fair?
November hirples o'er the lea, Chil, on thy lovely form: And gane, alas! the shelt'ring tree, Should shield thee frae the storm.
[Footnote 1: It is a well-known fact that witches, or any evil spirits, have no power to follow a poor wight any further 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.—R.B.]
May He who gives the rain to pour, And wings the blast to blaw, Protect thee frae the driving show'r, The bitter frost and snaw.
May He, the friend o' Woe and Want, Who heals life's various stounds, Protect and guard the mother plant, And heal her cruel wounds.
But late she flourish'd, rooted fast, Fair in the summer morn, Now feebly bends she in the blast, Unshelter'd and forlorn.
Blest be thy bloom, thou lovely gem, Unscath'd by ruffian hand! And from thee many a parent stem Arise to deck our land!
Elegy On The Late Miss Burnet Of Monboddo
Life ne'er exulted in so rich a prize, As Burnet, lovely from her native skies; Nor envious death so triumph'd in a blow, As that which laid th' accomplish'd Burnet low.
Thy form and mind, sweet maid, can I forget? In richest ore the brightest jewel set! In thee, high Heaven above was truest shown, As by His noblest work the Godhead best is known.
In vain ye flaunt in summer's pride, ye groves; Thou crystal streamlet with thy flowery shore, Ye woodland choir that chaunt your idle loves, Ye cease to charm; Eliza is no more.
Ye healthy wastes, immix'd with reedy fens; Ye mossy streams, with sedge and rushes stor'd: Ye rugged cliffs, o'erhanging dreary glens, To you I fly—ye with my soul accord.
Princes, whose cumb'rous pride was all their worth, Shall venal lays their pompous exit hail, And thou, sweet Excellence! forsake our earth, And not a Muse with honest grief bewail?
We saw thee shine in youth and beauty's pride, And Virtue's light, that beams beyond the spheres; But, like the sun eclips'd at morning tide, Thou left us darkling in a world of tears.
The parent's heart that nestled fond in thee, That heart how sunk, a prey to grief and care; So deckt the woodbine sweet yon aged tree; So, from it ravish'd, leaves it bleak and bare.
Lament Of Mary, Queen Of Scots, On The Approach Of Spring
Now Nature hangs her mantle green On every blooming tree, And spreads her sheets o' daisies white Out o'er the grassy lea; Now Phoebus cheers the crystal streams, And glads the azure skies; But nought can glad the weary wight That fast in durance lies.
Now laverocks wake the merry morn Aloft on dewy wing; The merle, in his noontide bow'r, Makes woodland echoes ring; The mavis wild wi' mony a note, Sings drowsy day to rest: In love and freedom they rejoice, Wi' care nor thrall opprest.
Now blooms the lily by the bank, The primrose down the brae; The hawthorn's budding in the glen, And milk-white is the slae: The meanest hind in fair Scotland May rove their sweets amang; But I, the Queen of a' Scotland, Maun lie in prison strang.
I was the Queen o' bonie France, Where happy I hae been; Fu' lightly raise I in the morn, As blythe lay down at e'en: And I'm the sov'reign of Scotland, And mony a traitor there; Yet here I lie in foreign bands, And never-ending care.
But as for thee, thou false woman, My sister and my fae, Grim Vengeance yet shall whet a sword That thro' thy soul shall gae; The weeping blood in woman's breast Was never known to thee; Nor th' balm that draps on wounds of woe Frae woman's pitying e'e.
My son! my son! may kinder stars Upon thy fortune shine; And may those pleasures gild thy reign, That ne'er wad blink on mine! God keep thee frae thy mother's faes, Or turn their hearts to thee: And where thou meet'st thy mother's friend, Remember him for me!
O! soon, to me, may Summer suns Nae mair light up the morn! Nae mair to me the Autumn winds Wave o'er the yellow corn? And, in the narrow house of death, Let Winter round me rave; And the next flow'rs that deck the Spring, Bloom on my peaceful grave!
There'll Never Be Peace Till Jamie Comes Hame
By yon Castle wa', at the close of the day, I heard a man sing, tho' his head it was grey: And as he was singing, the tears doon came,— There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame.
The Church is in ruins, the State is in jars, Delusions, oppressions, and murderous wars, We dare na weel say't, but we ken wha's to blame,— There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame.
My seven braw sons for Jamie drew sword, But now I greet round their green beds in the yerd; It brak the sweet heart o' my faithful and dame,— There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame.
Now life is a burden that bows me down, Sin' I tint my bairns, and he tint his crown; But till my last moments my words are the same,— There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame.
Song—Out Over The Forth
Out over the Forth, I look to the North; But what is the north and its Highlands to me? The south nor the east gie ease to my breast, The far foreign land, or the wide rolling sea.
But I look to the west when I gae to rest, That happy my dreams and my slumbers may be; For far in the west lives he I loe best, The man that is dear to my babie and me.
The Banks O' Doon—First Version
Sweet are the banks—the banks o' Doon, The spreading flowers are fair, And everything is blythe and glad, But I am fu' o' care. Thou'll break my heart, thou bonie bird, That sings upon the bough; Thou minds me o' the happy days When my fause Luve was true: Thou'll break my heart, thou bonie bird, That sings beside thy mate; For sae I sat, and sae I sang, And wist na o' my fate.
Aft hae I rov'd by bonie Doon, To see the woodbine twine; And ilka birds sang o' its Luve, And sae did I o' mine: Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose, Upon its thorny tree; But my fause Luver staw my rose And left the thorn wi' me: Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose, Upon a morn in June; And sae I flourished on the morn, And sae was pu'd or noon!
The Banks O' Doon—Second Version
Ye flowery banks o' bonie Doon, How can ye blume sae fair? How can ye chant, ye little birds, And I sae fu' o care! Thou'll break my heart, thou bonie bird, That sings upon the bough! Thou minds me o' the happy days When my fause Luve was true. Thou'll break my heart, thou bonie bird, That sings beside thy mate; For sae I sat, and sae I sang, And wist na o' my fate.
Aft hae I rov'd by bonie Doon, To see the woodbine twine; And ilka bird sang o' its Luve, And sae did I o' mine. Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose, Upon its thorny tree; But my fause Luver staw my rose, And left the thorn wi' me. Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose, Upon a morn in June; And sae I flourished on the morn, And sae was pu'd or noon.
The Banks O' Doon—Third Version
Ye banks and braes o' bonie Doon, How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair? How can ye chant, ye little birds, And I sae weary fu' o' care! Thou'll break my heart, thou warbling bird, That wantons thro' the flowering thorn: Thou minds me o' departed joys, Departed never to return.
Aft hae I rov'd by Bonie Doon, To see the rose and woodbine twine: And ilka bird sang o' its Luve, And fondly sae did I o' mine; Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose, Fu' sweet upon its thorny tree! And may fause Luver staw my rose, But ah! he left the thorn wi' me.
Lament For James, Earl Of Glencairn
The wind blew hollow frae the hills, By fits the sun's departing beam Look'd on the fading yellow woods, That wav'd o'er Lugar's winding stream: Beneath a craigy steep, a Bard, Laden with years and meikle pain, In loud lament bewail'd his lord, Whom Death had all untimely ta'en.
He lean'd him to an ancient aik, Whose trunk was mould'ring down with years; His locks were bleached white with time, His hoary cheek was wet wi' tears! And as he touch'd his trembling harp, And as he tun'd his doleful sang, The winds, lamenting thro' their caves, To Echo bore the notes alang.
"Ye scatter'd birds that faintly sing, The reliques o' the vernal queir! Ye woods that shed on a' the winds The honours of the aged year! A few short months, and glad and gay, Again ye'll charm the ear and e'e; But nocht in all-revolving time Can gladness bring again to me.
"I am a bending aged tree, That long has stood the wind and rain; But now has come a cruel blast, And my last hald of earth is gane; Nae leaf o' mine shall greet the spring, Nae simmer sun exalt my bloom; But I maun lie before the storm, And ithers plant them in my room.
"I've seen sae mony changefu' years, On earth I am a stranger grown: I wander in the ways of men, Alike unknowing, and unknown: Unheard, unpitied, unreliev'd, I bear alane my lade o' care, For silent, low, on beds of dust, Lie a' hat would my sorrows share.
"And last, (the sum of a' my griefs!) My noble master lies in clay; The flow'r amang our barons bold, His country's pride, his country's stay: In weary being now I pine, For a' the life of life is dead, And hope has left may aged ken, On forward wing for ever fled.
"Awake thy last sad voice, my harp! The voice of woe and wild despair! Awake, resound thy latest lay, Then sleep in silence evermair! And thou, my last, best, only, friend, That fillest an untimely tomb, Accept this tribute from the Bard Thou brought from Fortune's mirkest gloom.
"In Poverty's low barren vale, Thick mists obscure involv'd me round; Though oft I turn'd the wistful eye, Nae ray of fame was to be found: Thou found'st me, like the morning sun That melts the fogs in limpid air, The friendless bard and rustic song Became alike thy fostering care.
"O! why has worth so short a date, While villains ripen grey with time? Must thou, the noble, gen'rous, great, Fall in bold manhood's hardy prim Why did I live to see that day— A day to me so full of woe? O! had I met the mortal shaft That laid my benefactor low!
"The bridegroom may forget the bride Was made his wedded wife yestreen; The monarch may forget the crown That on his head an hour has been; The mother may forget the child That smiles sae sweetly on her knee; But I'll remember thee, Glencairn, And a' that thou hast done for me!"
Lines Sent To Sir John Whiteford, Bart
With The Lament On The Death Of the Earl Of Glencairn
Thou, who thy honour as thy God rever'st, Who, save thy mind's reproach, nought earthly fear'st, To thee this votive offering I impart, The tearful tribute of a broken heart. The Friend thou valued'st, I, the Patron lov'd; His worth, his honour, all the world approved: We'll mourn till we too go as he has gone, And tread the shadowy path to that dark world unknown.
Sweet closes the ev'ning on Craigieburn Wood, And blythely awaukens the morrow; But the pride o' the spring in the Craigieburn Wood Can yield to me nothing but sorrow.
Chorus.—Beyond thee, dearie, beyond thee, dearie, And O to be lying beyond thee! O sweetly, soundly, weel may he sleep That's laid in the bed beyond thee!
I see the spreading leaves and flowers, I hear the wild birds singing; But pleasure they hae nane for me, While care my heart is wringing. Beyond thee, &c.
I can na tell, I maun na tell, I daur na for your anger; But secret love will break my heart, If I conceal it langer. Beyond thee, &c.
I see thee gracefu', straight and tall, I see thee sweet and bonie; But oh, what will my torment be, If thou refuse thy Johnie! Beyond thee, &c.
To see thee in another's arms, In love to lie and languish, 'Twad be my dead, that will be seen, My heart wad burst wi' anguish. Beyond thee, &c.
But Jeanie, say thou wilt be mine, Say thou lo'es nane before me; And a' may days o' life to come I'l gratefully adore thee, Beyond thee, &c.
The Bonie Wee Thing
Chorus.—Bonie wee thing, cannie wee thing, Lovely wee thing, wert thou mine, I wad wear thee in my bosom, Lest my jewel it should tine.
Wishfully I look and languish In that bonie face o' thine, And my heart it stounds wi' anguish, Lest my wee thing be na mine. Bonie wee thing, &c.
Wit, and Grace, and Love, and Beauty, In ae constellation shine; To adore thee is my duty, Goddess o' this soul o' mine! Bonie wee thing, &c.
Epigram On Miss Davies
On being asked why she had been formed so little, and Mrs. A—so big.
Ask why God made the gem so small? And why so huge the granite?— Because God meant mankind should set That higher value on it.
The Charms Of Lovely Davies
O how shall I, unskilfu', try The poet's occupation? The tunefu' powers, in happy hours, That whisper inspiration; Even they maun dare an effort mair Than aught they ever gave us, Ere they rehearse, in equal verse, The charms o' lovely Davies.
Each eye it cheers when she appears, Like Phoebus in the morning, When past the shower, and every flower The garden is adorning: As the wretch looks o'er Siberia's shore, When winter-bound the wave is; Sae droops our heart, when we maun part Frae charming, lovely Davies.
Her smile's a gift frae 'boon the lift, That maks us mair than princes; A sceptred hand, a king's command, Is in her darting glances; The man in arms 'gainst female charms Even he her willing slave is, He hugs his chain, and owns the reign Of conquering, lovely Davies.
My Muse, to dream of such a theme, Her feeble powers surrender: The eagle's gaze alone surveys The sun's meridian splendour. I wad in vain essay the strain, The deed too daring brave is; I'll drap the lyre, and mute admire The charms o' lovely Davies.
What Can A Young Lassie Do Wi' An Auld Man
What can a young lassie, what shall a young lassie, What can a young lassie do wi' an auld man? Bad luck on the penny that tempted my minnie To sell her puir Jenny for siller an' lan'. Bad luck on the penny that tempted my minnie To sell her puir Jenny for siller an' lan'!
He's always compleenin' frae mornin' to e'enin', He hoasts and he hirples the weary day lang; He's doylt and he's dozin, his blude it is frozen,— O, dreary's the night wi' a crazy auld man! He's doylt and he's dozin, his blude it is frozen, O, dreary's the night wi' a crazy auld man.
He hums and he hankers, he frets and he cankers, I never can please him do a' that I can; He's peevish an' jealous o' a' the young fellows,— O, dool on the day I met wi' an auld man! He's peevish an' jealous o' a' the young fellows, O, dool on the day I met wi' an auld man.
My auld auntie Katie upon me taks pity, I'll do my endeavour to follow her plan; I'll cross him an' wrack him, until I heartbreak him And then his auld brass will buy me a new pan, I'll cross him an' wrack him, until I heartbreak him, And then his auld brass will buy me a new pan.
O luve will venture in where it daur na weel be seen, O luve will venture in where wisdom ance has been; But I will doun yon river rove, amang the wood sae green, And a' to pu' a Posie to my ain dear May.
The primrose I will pu', the firstling o' the year, And I will pu' the pink, the emblem o' my dear; For she's the pink o' womankind, and blooms without a peer, And a' to be a Posie to my ain dear May.
I'll pu' the budding rose, when Phoebus peeps in view, For it's like a baumy kiss o' her sweet, bonie mou; The hyacinth's for constancy wi' its unchanging blue, And a' to be a Posie to my ain dear May.
The lily it is pure, and the lily it is fair, And in her lovely bosom I'll place the lily there; The daisy's for simplicity and unaffected air, And a' to be a Posie to my ain dear May.
The hawthorn I will pu', wi' its locks o' siller gray, Where, like an aged man, it stands at break o' day; But the songster's nest within the bush I winna tak away And a' to be a Posie to my ain dear May.
The woodbine I will pu', when the e'ening star is near, And the diamond draps o' dew shall be her een sae clear; The violet's for modesty, which weel she fa's to wear, And a' to be a Posie to my ain dear May.
I'll tie the Posie round wi' the silken band o' luve, And I'll place it in her breast, and I'll swear by a' above, That to my latest draught o' life the band shall ne'er remove, And this will be a Posie to my ain dear May.
On Glenriddell's Fox Breaking His Chain
A Fragment, 1791.
Thou, Liberty, thou art my theme; Not such as idle poets dream, Who trick thee up a heathen goddess That a fantastic cap and rod has; Such stale conceits are poor and silly; I paint thee out, a Highland filly, A sturdy, stubborn, handsome dapple, As sleek's a mouse, as round's an apple, That when thou pleasest canst do wonders; But when thy luckless rider blunders, Or if thy fancy should demur there, Wilt break thy neck ere thou go further.
These things premised, I sing a Fox, Was caught among his native rocks, And to a dirty kennel chained, How he his liberty regained.
Glenriddell! Whig without a stain, A Whig in principle and grain, Could'st thou enslave a free-born creature, A native denizen of Nature? How could'st thou, with a heart so good, (A better ne'er was sluiced with blood!) Nail a poor devil to a tree, That ne'er did harm to thine or thee?
The staunchest Whig Glenriddell was, Quite frantic in his country's cause; And oft was Reynard's prison passing, And with his brother-Whigs canvassing The Rights of Men, the Powers of Women, With all the dignity of Freemen.
Sir Reynard daily heard debates Of Princes', Kings', and Nations' fates, With many rueful, bloody stories Of Tyrants, Jacobites, and Tories: From liberty how angels fell, That now are galley-slaves in hell; How Nimrod first the trade began Of binding Slavery's chains on Man; How fell Semiramis—God damn her! Did first, with sacrilegious hammer, (All ills till then were trivial matters) For Man dethron'd forge hen-peck fetters;
How Xerxes, that abandoned Tory, Thought cutting throats was reaping glory, Until the stubborn Whigs of Sparta Taught him great Nature's Magna Charta; How mighty Rome her fiat hurl'd Resistless o'er a bowing world, And, kinder than they did desire, Polish'd mankind with sword and fire; With much, too tedious to relate, Of ancient and of modern date, But ending still, how Billy Pitt (Unlucky boy!) with wicked wit, Has gagg'd old Britain, drain'd her coffer, As butchers bind and bleed a heifer,
Thus wily Reynard by degrees, In kennel listening at his ease, Suck'd in a mighty stock of knowledge, As much as some folks at a College; Knew Britain's rights and constitution, Her aggrandisement, diminution, How fortune wrought us good from evil; Let no man, then, despise the Devil, As who should say, 'I never can need him,' Since we to scoundrels owe our freedom.
Poem On Pastoral Poetry
Hail, Poesie! thou Nymph reserv'd! In chase o' thee, what crowds hae swerv'd Frae common sense, or sunk enerv'd 'Mang heaps o' clavers: And och! o'er aft thy joes hae starv'd, 'Mid a' thy favours!
Say, Lassie, why, thy train amang, While loud the trump's heroic clang, And sock or buskin skelp alang To death or marriage; Scarce ane has tried the shepherd—sang But wi' miscarriage?
In Homer's craft Jock Milton thrives; Eschylus' pen Will Shakespeare drives; Wee Pope, the knurlin', till him rives Horatian fame; In thy sweet sang, Barbauld, survives Even Sappho's flame.
But thee, Theocritus, wha matches? They're no herd's ballats, Maro's catches; Squire Pope but busks his skinklin' patches O' heathen tatters: I pass by hunders, nameless wretches, That ape their betters.
In this braw age o' wit and lear, Will nane the Shepherd's whistle mair Blaw sweetly in its native air, And rural grace; And, wi' the far-fam'd Grecian, share A rival place?
Yes! there is ane—a Scottish callan! There's ane; come forrit, honest Allan! Thou need na jouk behint the hallan, A chiel sae clever; The teeth o' time may gnaw Tantallan, But thou's for ever.
Thou paints auld Nature to the nines, In thy sweet Caledonian lines; Nae gowden stream thro' myrtle twines, Where Philomel, While nightly breezes sweep the vines, Her griefs will tell!
In gowany glens thy burnie strays, Where bonie lasses bleach their claes, Or trots by hazelly shaws and braes, Wi' hawthorns gray, Where blackbirds join the shepherd's lays, At close o' day.
Thy rural loves are Nature's sel'; Nae bombast spates o' nonsense swell; Nae snap conceits, but that sweet spell O' witchin love, That charm that can the strongest quell, The sternest move.
Verses On The Destruction Of The Woods Near Drumlanrig
As on the banks o' wandering Nith, Ae smiling simmer morn I stray'd, And traced its bonie howes and haughs, Where linties sang and lammies play'd, I sat me down upon a craig, And drank my fill o' fancy's dream, When from the eddying deep below, Up rose the genius of the stream.
Dark, like the frowning rock, his brow, And troubled, like his wintry wave, And deep, as sughs the boding wind Amang his caves, the sigh he gave— "And come ye here, my son," he cried, "To wander in my birken shade? To muse some favourite Scottish theme, Or sing some favourite Scottish maid?
"There was a time, it's nae lang syne, Ye might hae seen me in my pride, When a' my banks sae bravely saw Their woody pictures in my tide; When hanging beech and spreading elm Shaded my stream sae clear and cool: And stately oaks their twisted arms Threw broad and dark across the pool;
"When, glinting thro' the trees, appear'd The wee white cot aboon the mill, And peacefu' rose its ingle reek, That, slowly curling, clamb the hill. But now the cot is bare and cauld, Its leafy bield for ever gane, And scarce a stinted birk is left To shiver in the blast its lane."
"Alas!" quoth I, "what ruefu' chance Has twin'd ye o' your stately trees? Has laid your rocky bosom bare— Has stripped the cleeding o' your braes? Was it the bitter eastern blast, That scatters blight in early spring? Or was't the wil'fire scorch'd their boughs, Or canker-worm wi' secret sting?"
"Nae eastlin blast," the sprite replied; "It blaws na here sae fierce and fell, And on my dry and halesome banks Nae canker-worms get leave to dwell: Man! cruel man!" the genius sighed— As through the cliffs he sank him down— "The worm that gnaw'd my bonie trees, That reptile wears a ducal crown."^1
The Gallant Weaver
Where Cart rins rowin' to the sea, By mony a flower and spreading tree, There lives a lad, the lad for me, He is a gallant Weaver. O, I had wooers aught or nine, They gied me rings and ribbons fine; And I was fear'd my heart wad tine, And I gied it to the Weaver.
My daddie sign'd my tocher-band, To gie the lad that has the land, But to my heart I'll add my hand, And give it to the Weaver. While birds rejoice in leafy bowers, While bees delight in opening flowers, While corn grows green in summer showers, I love my gallant Weaver.
[Footnote 1: The Duke of Queensberry.]
Epigram At Brownhill Inn^1
At Brownhill we always get dainty good cheer, And plenty of bacon each day in the year; We've a' thing that's nice, and mostly in season, But why always Bacon—come, tell me a reason?
You're Welcome, Willie Stewart
Chorus.—You're welcome, Willie Stewart, You're welcome, Willie Stewart, There's ne'er a flower that blooms in May, That's half sae welcome's thou art!
Come, bumpers high, express your joy, The bowl we maun renew it, The tappet hen, gae bring her ben, To welcome Willie Stewart, You're welcome, Willie Stewart, &c.
May foes be strang, and friends be slack Ilk action, may he rue it, May woman on him turn her back That wrangs thee, Willie Stewart, You're welcome, Willie Stewart, &c.
Lovely Polly Stewart
Chorus.—O lovely Polly Stewart, O charming Polly Stewart, There's ne'er a flower that blooms in May, That's half so fair as thou art!
The flower it blaws, it fades, it fa's, And art can ne'er renew it; But worth and truth, eternal youth Will gie to Polly Stewart, O lovely Polly Stewart, &c.
[Footnote 1: Bacon was the name of a presumably intrusive host. The lines are said to have "afforded much amusement."—Lang]
May he whase arms shall fauld thy charms Possess a leal and true heart! To him be given to ken the heaven He grasps in Polly Stewart! O lovely Polly Stewart, &c.
Fragment,—Damon And Sylvia
Tune—"The Tither Morn."
Yon wandering rill that marks the hill, And glances o'er the brae, Sir, Slides by a bower, where mony a flower Sheds fragrance on the day, Sir; There Damon lay, with Sylvia gay, To love they thought no crime, Sir, The wild birds sang, the echoes rang, While Damon's heart beat time, Sir.
Johnie Lad, Cock Up Your Beaver
When first my brave Johnie lad came to this town, He had a blue bonnet that wanted the crown; But now he has gotten a hat and a feather, Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!
Cock up your beaver, and cock it fu' sprush, We'll over the border, and gie them a brush; There's somebody there we'll teach better behaviour, Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver!
My Eppie Macnab
O saw ye my dearie, my Eppie Macnab? O saw ye my dearie, my Eppie Macnab? She's down in the yard, she's kissin the laird, She winna come hame to her ain Jock Rab.
O come thy ways to me, my Eppie Macnab; O come thy ways to me, my Eppie Macnab; Whate'er thou hast dune, be it late, be it sune, Thou's welcome again to thy ain Jock Rab.
What says she, my dearie, my Eppie Macnab? What says she, my dearie, my Eppie Macnab? She let's thee to wit that she has thee forgot, And for ever disowns thee, her ain Jock Rab.
O had I ne'er seen thee, my Eppie Macnab! O had I ne'er seen thee, my Eppie Macnab! As light as the air, and as fause as thou's fair, Thou's broken the heart o' thy ain Jock Rab.
Altho' He Has Left Me
Altho' he has left me for greed o' the siller, I dinna envy him the gains he can win; I rather wad bear a' the lade o' my sorrow, Than ever hae acted sae faithless to him.
My Tocher's The Jewel
O Meikle thinks my luve o' my beauty, And meikle thinks my luve o' my kin; But little thinks my luve I ken brawlie My tocher's the jewel has charms for him. It's a' for the apple he'll nourish the tree, It's a' for the hinny he'll cherish the bee, My laddie's sae meikle in luve wi' the siller, He canna hae luve to spare for me.
Your proffer o' luve's an airle-penny, My tocher's the bargain ye wad buy; But an ye be crafty, I am cunnin', Sae ye wi anither your fortune may try. Ye're like to the timmer o' yon rotten wood, Ye're like to the bark o' yon rotten tree, Ye'll slip frae me like a knotless thread, And ye'll crack your credit wi' mae nor me.
O For Ane An' Twenty, Tam
Chorus.—An' O for ane an' twenty, Tam! And hey, sweet ane an' twenty, Tam! I'll learn my kin a rattlin' sang, An' I saw ane an' twenty, Tam.
They snool me sair, and haud me down, An' gar me look like bluntie, Tam; But three short years will soon wheel roun', An' then comes ane an' twenty, Tam. An' O for, &c.
A glieb o' lan', a claut o' gear, Was left me by my auntie, Tam; At kith or kin I need na spier, An I saw ane an' twenty, Tam. An' O for, &c.
They'll hae me wed a wealthy coof, Tho' I mysel' hae plenty, Tam; But, hear'st thou laddie! there's my loof, I'm thine at ane an' twenty, Tam! An' O for, &c.
Thou Fair Eliza
Turn again, thou fair Eliza! Ae kind blink before we part; Rue on thy despairing lover, Can'st thou break his faithfu' heart? Turn again, thou fair Eliza! If to love thy heart denies, Oh, in pity hide the sentence Under friendship's kind disguise!
Thee, sweet maid, hae I offended? My offence is loving thee; Can'st thou wreck his peace for ever, Wha for thine would gladly die? While the life beats in my bosom, Thou shalt mix in ilka throe: Turn again, thou lovely maiden, Ae sweet smile on me bestow.
Not the bee upon the blossom, In the pride o' sinny noon; Not the little sporting fairy, All beneath the simmer moon; Not the Minstrel in the moment Fancy lightens in his e'e, Kens the pleasure, feels the rapture, That thy presence gies to me.
My Bonie Bell
The smiling Spring comes in rejoicing, And surly Winter grimly flies; Now crystal clear are the falling waters, And bonie blue are the sunny skies. Fresh o'er the mountains breaks forth the morning, The ev'ning gilds the ocean's swell; All creatures joy in the sun's returning, And I rejoice in my bonie Bell.
The flowery Spring leads sunny Summer, The yellow Autumn presses near; Then in his turn comes gloomy Winter, Till smiling Spring again appear: Thus seasons dancing, life advancing, Old Time and Nature their changes tell; But never ranging, still unchanging, I adore my bonie Bell.
Flow gently, sweet Afton! amang thy green braes, Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise; My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream, Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.
Thou stockdove whose echo resounds thro' the glen, Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den, Thou green-crested lapwing thy screaming forbear, I charge you, disturb not my slumbering Fair.
How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighbouring hills, Far mark'd with the courses of clear, winding rills; There daily I wander as noon rises high, My flocks and my Mary's sweet cot in my eye.
How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below, Where, wild in the woodlands, the primroses blow; There oft, as mild Ev'ning weeps over the lea, The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me.
Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides, And winds by the cot where my Mary resides; How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave, As, gathering sweet flowerets, she stems thy clear wave.
Flow gently, sweet Afton, amang thy green braes, Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my lays; My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream, Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.
Address To The Shade Of Thomson
On Crowning His Bust at Ednam, Roxburghshire, with a Wreath of Bays.
While virgin Spring by Eden's flood, Unfolds her tender mantle green, Or pranks the sod in frolic mood, Or tunes Eolian strains between.
While Summer, with a matron grace, Retreats to Dryburgh's cooling shade, Yet oft, delighted, stops to trace The progress of the spiky blade.
While Autumn, benefactor kind, By Tweed erects his aged head, And sees, with self-approving mind, Each creature on his bounty fed.
While maniac Winter rages o'er The hills whence classic Yarrow flows, Rousing the turbid torrent's roar, Or sweeping, wild, a waste of snows.
So long, sweet Poet of the year! Shall bloom that wreath thou well hast won; While Scotia, with exulting tear, Proclaims that Thomson was her son.
Nithsdale's Welcome Hame
The noble Maxwells and their powers Are coming o'er the border, And they'll gae big Terreagles' towers And set them a' in order. And they declare Terreagles fair, For their abode they choose it; There's no a heart in a' the land But's lighter at the news o't.
Tho' stars in skies may disappear, And angry tempests gather; The happy hour may soon be near That brings us pleasant weather: The weary night o' care and grief May hae a joyfu' morrow; so dawning day has brought relief, Fareweel our night o' sorrow.
Frae The Friends And Land I Love
Frae the friends and land I love, Driv'n by Fortune's felly spite; Frae my best belov'd I rove, Never mair to taste delight: Never mair maun hope to find Ease frae toil, relief frae care; When Remembrance wracks the mind, Pleasures but unveil despair.
Brightest climes shall mirk appear, Desert ilka blooming shore, Till the Fates, nae mair severe, Friendship, love, and peace restore, Till Revenge, wi' laurel'd head, Bring our banished hame again; And ilk loyal, bonie lad Cross the seas, and win his ain.
Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation
Fareweel to a' our Scottish fame, Fareweel our ancient glory; Fareweel ev'n to the Scottish name, Sae fam'd in martial story. Now Sark rins over Solway sands, An' Tweed rins to the ocean, To mark where England's province stands— Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!
What force or guile could not subdue, Thro' many warlike ages, Is wrought now by a coward few, For hireling traitor's wages. The English stell we could disdain, Secure in valour's station; But English gold has been our bane— Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!
O would, or I had seen the day That Treason thus could sell us, My auld grey head had lien in clay, Wi' Bruce and loyal Wallace! But pith and power, till my last hour, I'll mak this declaration; We're bought and sold for English gold— Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!
Ye Jacobites By Name
Ye Jacobites by name, give an ear, give an ear, Ye Jacobites by name, give an ear, Ye Jacobites by name, Your fautes I will proclaim, Your doctrines I maun blame, you shall hear.
What is Right, and What is Wrang, by the law, by the law? What is Right and what is Wrang by the law? What is Right, and what is Wrang? A short sword, and a lang, A weak arm and a strang, for to draw.
What makes heroic strife, famed afar, famed afar? What makes heroic strife famed afar? What makes heroic strife? To whet th' assassin's knife, Or hunt a Parent's life, wi' bluidy war?
Then let your schemes alone, in the state, in the state, Then let your schemes alone in the state. Then let your schemes alone, Adore the rising sun, And leave a man undone, to his fate.
I Hae Been At Crookieden
I Hae been at Crookieden, My bonie laddie, Highland laddie, Viewing Willie and his men, My bonie laddie, Highland laddie. There our foes that burnt and slew, My bonie laddie, Highland laddie, There, at last, they gat their due, My bonie laddie, Highland laddie.
Satan sits in his black neuk, My bonie laddie, Highland laddie, Breaking sticks to roast the Duke, My bonie laddie, Highland laddie, The bloody monster gae a yell, My bonie laddie, Highland laddie. And loud the laugh gied round a' hell My bonie laddie, Highland laddie.
O Kenmure's On And Awa, Willie
O Kenmure's on and awa, Willie, O Kenmure's on and awa: An' Kenmure's lord's the bravest lord That ever Galloway saw.
Success to Kenmure's band, Willie! Success to Kenmure's band! There's no a heart that fears a Whig, That rides by kenmure's hand.
Here's Kenmure's health in wine, Willie! Here's Kenmure's health in wine! There's ne'er a coward o' Kenmure's blude, Nor yet o' Gordon's line.
O Kenmure's lads are men, Willie, O Kenmure's lads are men; Their hearts and swords are metal true, And that their foes shall ken.
They'll live or die wi' fame, Willie; They'll live or die wi' fame; But sune, wi' sounding victorie, May Kenmure's lord come hame!
Here's him that's far awa, Willie! Here's him that's far awa! And here's the flower that I loe best, The rose that's like the snaw.
Epistle To John Maxwell, ESQ., Of Terraughty
On His Birthday.
Health to the Maxwell's veteran Chief! Health, aye unsour'd by care or grief: Inspir'd, I turn'd Fate's sibyl leaf, This natal morn, I see thy life is stuff o' prief, Scarce quite half-worn.
This day thou metes threescore eleven, And I can tell that bounteous Heaven (The second-sight, ye ken, is given To ilka Poet) On thee a tack o' seven times seven Will yet bestow it.
If envious buckies view wi' sorrow Thy lengthen'd days on this blest morrow, May Desolation's lang-teeth'd harrow, Nine miles an hour, Rake them, like Sodom and Gomorrah, In brunstane stour.
But for thy friends, and they are mony, Baith honest men, and lassies bonie, May couthie Fortune, kind and cannie, In social glee, Wi' mornings blythe, and e'enings funny, Bless them and thee!
Fareweel, auld birkie! Lord be near ye, And then the deil, he daurna steer ye: Your friends aye love, your faes aye fear ye; For me, shame fa' me, If neist my heart I dinna wear ye, While Burns they ca' me.
Second Epistle To Robert Graham, ESQ., Of Fintry
5th October 1791.
Late crippl'd of an arm, and now a leg, About to beg a pass for leave to beg; Dull, listless, teas'd, dejected, and deprest (Nature is adverse to a cripple's rest); Will generous Graham list to his Poet's wail? (It soothes poor Misery, hearkening to her tale) And hear him curse the light he first survey'd, And doubly curse the luckless rhyming trade?
Thou, Nature! partial Nature, I arraign; Of thy caprice maternal I complain; The lion and the bull thy care have found, One shakes the forests, and one spurns the ground; Thou giv'st the ass his hide, the snail his shell; Th' envenom'd wasp, victorious, guards his cell; Thy minions kings defend, control, devour, In all th' omnipotence of rule and power; Foxes and statesmen subtile wiles ensure; The cit and polecat stink, and are secure; Toads with their poison, doctors with their drug, The priest and hedgehog in their robes, are snug; Ev'n silly woman has her warlike arts, Her tongue and eyes—her dreaded spear and darts.
But Oh! thou bitter step-mother and hard, To thy poor, fenceless, naked child—the Bard! A thing unteachable in world's skill, And half an idiot too, more helpless still: No heels to bear him from the op'ning dun; No claws to dig, his hated sight to shun; No horns, but those by luckless Hymen worn, And those, alas! not, Amalthea's horn: No nerves olfact'ry, Mammon's trusty cur, Clad in rich Dulness' comfortable fur; In naked feeling, and in aching pride, He bears th' unbroken blast from ev'ry side: Vampyre booksellers drain him to the heart, And scorpion critics cureless venom dart.
Critics—appall'd, I venture on the name; Those cut-throat bandits in the paths of fame: Bloody dissectors, worse than ten Monroes; He hacks to teach, they mangle to expose:
His heart by causeless wanton malice wrung, By blockheads' daring into madness stung; His well-won bays, than life itself more dear, By miscreants torn, who ne'er one sprig must wear; Foil'd, bleeding, tortur'd in th' unequal strife, The hapless Poet flounders on thro' life: Till, fled each hope that once his bosom fir'd, And fled each muse that glorious once inspir'd, Low sunk in squalid, unprotected age, Dead even resentment for his injur'd page, He heeds or feels no more the ruthless critic's rage!
So, by some hedge, the gen'rous steed deceas'd, For half-starv'd snarling curs a dainty feast; By toil and famine wore to skin and bone, Lies, senseless of each tugging bitch's son.
O Dulness! portion of the truly blest! Calm shelter'd haven of eternal rest! Thy sons ne'er madden in the fierce extremes Of Fortune's polar frost, or torrid beams. If mantling high she fills the golden cup, With sober selfish ease they sip it up; Conscious the bounteous meed they well deserve, They only wonder "some folks" do not starve. The grave sage hern thus easy picks his frog, And thinks the mallard a sad worthless dog. When disappointments snaps the clue of hope, And thro' disastrous night they darkling grope, With deaf endurance sluggishly they bear, And just conclude that "fools are fortune's care." So, heavy, passive to the tempest's shocks, Strong on the sign-post stands the stupid ox.
Not so the idle Muses' mad-cap train, Not such the workings of their moon-struck brain; In equanimity they never dwell, By turns in soaring heav'n, or vaulted hell.
I dread thee, Fate, relentless and severe, With all a poet's, husband's, father's fear! Already one strong hold of hope is lost— Glencairn, the truly noble, lies in dust (Fled, like the sun eclips'd as noon appears, And left us darkling in a world of tears); O! hear my ardent, grateful, selfish pray'r! Fintry, my other stay, long bless and spare! Thro' a long life his hopes and wishes crown, And bright in cloudless skies his sun go down! May bliss domestic smooth his private path; Give energy to life; and soothe his latest breath, With many a filial tear circling the bed of death!
The Song Of Death
Tune—"Oran an aoig."
Scene—A Field of Battle. Time of the day—evening. The wounded and dying of the victorious army are supposed to join in the following song.
Farewell, thou fair day, thou green earth, and ye skies, Now gay with the broad setting sun; Farewell, loves and friendships, ye dear tender ties, Our race of existence is run! Thou grim King of Terrors; thou Life's gloomy foe! Go, frighten the coward and slave; Go, teach them to tremble, fell tyrant! but know No terrors hast thou to the brave!
Thou strik'st the dull peasant—he sinks in the dark, Nor saves e'en the wreck of a name; Thou strik'st the young hero—a glorious mark; He falls in the blaze of his fame! In the field of proud honour—our swords in our hands, Our King and our country to save; While victory shines on Life's last ebbing sands,— O! who would not die with the brave!
Poem On Sensibility
Sensibility, how charming, Dearest Nancy, thou canst tell; But distress, with horrors arming, Thou alas! hast known too well!
Fairest flower, behold the lily Blooming in the sunny ray: Let the blast sweep o'er the valley, See it prostrate in the clay.
Hear the wood lark charm the forest, Telling o'er his little joys; But alas! a prey the surest To each pirate of the skies.
Dearly bought the hidden treasure Finer feelings can bestow: Chords that vibrate sweetest pleasure Thrill the deepest notes of woe.
Of Lordly acquaintance you boast, And the Dukes that you dined wi' yestreen, Yet an insect's an insect at most, Tho' it crawl on the curl of a Queen!
Divine Service In The Kirk Of Lamington
As cauld a wind as ever blew, A cauld kirk, an in't but few: As cauld a minister's e'er spak; Ye'se a' be het e'er I come back.
How daur ye ca' me howlet-face, Ye blear-e'ed, withered spectre? Ye only spied the keekin'-glass, An' there ye saw your picture.
A Grace Before Dinner, Extempore
O thou who kindly dost provide For every creature's want! We bless Thee, God of Nature wide, For all Thy goodness lent: And if it please Thee, Heavenly Guide, May never worse be sent; But, whether granted, or denied, Lord, bless us with content. Amen!
A Grace After Dinner, Extempore
O thou, in whom we live and move— Who made the sea and shore; Thy goodness constantly we prove, And grateful would adore; And, if it please Thee, Power above! Still grant us, with such store, The friend we trust, the fair we love— And we desire no more. Amen!
O May, Thy Morn
O may, thy morn was ne'er so sweet As the mirk night o' December! For sparkling was the rosy wine, And private was the chamber: And dear was she I dare na name, But I will aye remember: And dear was she I dare na name, But I will aye remember.
And here's to them that, like oursel, Can push about the jorum! And here's to them that wish us weel, May a' that's guid watch o'er 'em! And here's to them, we dare na tell, The dearest o' the quorum! And here's to them, we dare na tell, The dearest o' the quorum.
Ae Fond Kiss, And Then We Sever
Tune—"Rory Dall's Port."
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever; Ae fareweel, alas, for ever! Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee, Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee. Who shall say that Fortune grieves him, While the star of hope she leaves him? Me, nae cheerful twinkle lights me; Dark despair around benights me.
I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy, Naething could resist my Nancy: But to see her was to love her; Love but her, and love for ever. Had we never lov'd sae kindly, Had we never lov'd sae blindly, Never met—or never parted, We had ne'er been broken-hearted.
Fare-thee-weel, thou first and fairest! Fare-thee-weel, thou best and dearest! Thine be ilka joy and treasure, Peace, Enjoyment, Love and Pleasure! Ae fond kiss, and then we sever! Ae fareweeli alas, for ever! Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee, Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee.
Behold The Hour, The Boat, Arrive
Behold the hour, the boat, arrive! My dearest Nancy, O fareweel! Severed frae thee, can I survive, Frae thee whom I hae lov'd sae weel?
Endless and deep shall be my grief; LNae ray of comfort shall I see, But this most precious, dear belief, That thou wilt still remember me!
Alang the solitary shore Where flitting sea-fowl round me cry, Across the rolling, dashing roar, I'll westward turn my wishful eye.
"Happy thou Indian grove," I'll say, "Where now my Nancy's path shall be! While thro' your sweets she holds her way, O tell me, does she muse on me?"
Thou Gloomy December
Ance mair I hail thee, thou gloomy December! Ance mair I hail thee wi' sorrow and care; Sad was the parting thou makes me remember— Parting wi' Nancy, oh, ne'er to meet mair!
Fond lovers' parting is sweet, painful pleasure, Hope beaming mild on the soft parting hour; But the dire feeling, O farewell for ever! Is anguish unmingled, and agony pure!
Wild as the winter now tearing the forest, Till the last leaf o' the summer is flown; Such is the tempest has shaken my bosom, Till my last hope and last comfort is gone.
Still as I hail thee, thou gloomy December, Still shall I hail thee wi' sorrow and care; For sad was the parting thou makes me remember, Parting wi' Nancy, oh, ne'er to meet mair.
My Native Land Sae Far Awa
O sad and heavy, should I part, But for her sake, sae far awa; Unknowing what my way may thwart, My native land sae far awa.
Thou that of a' things Maker art, That formed this Fair sae far awa, Gie body strength, then I'll ne'er start At this my way sae far awa.
How true is love to pure desert! Like mine for her sae far awa; And nocht can heal my bosom's smart, While, oh, she is sae far awa!
Nane other love, nane other dart, I feel but her's sae far awa; But fairer never touch'd a heart Than her's, the Fair, sae far awa.
I do Confess Thou Art Sae Fair
Alteration of an Old Poem.
I Do confess thou art sae fair, I was been o'er the lugs in luve, Had I na found the slightest prayer That lips could speak thy heart could muve.
I do confess thee sweet, but find Thou art so thriftless o' thy sweets, Thy favours are the silly wind That kisses ilka thing it meets.
See yonder rosebud, rich in dew, Amang its native briers sae coy; How sune it tines its scent and hue, When pu'd and worn a common toy.
Sic fate ere lang shall thee betide, Tho' thou may gaily bloom awhile; And sune thou shalt be thrown aside, Like ony common weed and vile.
Lines On Fergusson, The Poet
Ill-fated genius! Heaven-taught Fergusson! What heart that feels and will not yield a tear, To think Life's sun did set e'er well begun To shed its influence on thy bright career.
O why should truest Worth and Genius pine Beneath the iron grasp of Want and Woe, While titled knaves and idiot—Greatness shine In all the splendour Fortune can bestow?
The Weary Pund O' Tow
Chorus.—The weary pund, the weary pund, The weary pund o' tow; I think my wife will end her life, Before she spin her tow.
I bought my wife a stane o' lint, As gude as e'er did grow, And a' that she has made o' that Is ae puir pund o' tow. The weary pund, &c.
There sat a bottle in a bole, Beyont the ingle low; And aye she took the tither souk, To drouk the stourie tow. The weary pund, &c.
Quoth I, For shame, ye dirty dame, Gae spin your tap o' tow! She took the rock, and wi' a knock, She brak it o'er my pow. The weary pund, &c.
At last her feet—I sang to see't! Gaed foremost o'er the knowe, And or I wad anither jad, I'll wallop in a tow. The weary pund, &c.
When She Cam' Ben She Bobbed
O when she cam' ben she bobbed fu' law, O when she cam' ben she bobbed fu' law, And when she cam' ben, she kiss'd Cockpen, And syne denied she did it at a'.
And was na Cockpen right saucy witha'? And was na Cockpen right saucy witha'? In leaving the daughter of a lord, And kissin' a collier lassie an' a'!
O never look down, my lassie, at a', O never look down, my lassie, at a', Thy lips are as sweet, and thy figure complete, As the finest dame in castle or ha'.
Tho' thou has nae silk, and holland sae sma', Tho' thou has nae silk, and holland sae sma', Thy coat and thy sark are thy ain handiwark, And lady Jean was never sae braw.
Scroggam, My Dearie
There was a wife wonn'd in Cockpen, Scroggam; She brew'd gude ale for gentlemen; Sing auld Cowl lay ye down by me, Scroggam, my dearie, ruffum.
The gudewife's dochter fell in a fever, Scroggam; The priest o' the parish he fell in anither; Sing auld Cowl lay ye down by me, Scroggam, my dearie, ruffum.
They laid the twa i' the bed thegither, Scroggam; That the heat o' the tane might cool the tither; Sing auld Cowl, lay ye down by me, Scroggam, my dearie, ruffum.
My Collier Laddie
"Whare live ye, my bonie lass? And tell me what they ca' ye;" "My name," she says, "is mistress Jean, And I follow the Collier laddie." "My name, she says, &c.
"See you not yon hills and dales The sun shines on sae brawlie; They a' are mine, and they shall be thine, Gin ye'll leave your Collier laddie. "They a' are mine, &c.
"Ye shall gang in gay attire, Weel buskit up sae gaudy; And ane to wait on every hand, Gin ye'll leave your Collier laddie." "And ane to wait, &c.
"Tho' ye had a' the sun shines on, And the earth conceals sae lowly, I wad turn my back on you and it a', And embrace my Collier laddie. "I wad turn my back, &c.
"I can win my five pennies in a day, An' spen't at night fu' brawlie: And make my bed in the collier's neuk, And lie down wi' my Collier laddie. "And make my bed, &c.
"Love for love is the bargain for me, Tho' the wee cot-house should haud me; and the warld before me to win my bread, And fair fa' my Collier laddie!" "And the warld before me, &c.
Sic A Wife As Willie Had
Willie Wastle dwalt on Tweed, The spot they ca'd it Linkumdoddie; Willie was a wabster gude, Could stown a clue wi' ony body: He had a wife was dour and din, O Tinkler Maidgie was her mither; Sic a wife as Willie had, I wad na gie a button for her!
She has an e'e, she has but ane, The cat has twa the very colour; Five rusty teeth, forbye a stump, A clapper tongue wad deave a miller: A whiskin beard about her mou', Her nose and chin they threaten ither; Sic a wife as Willie had, I wadna gie a button for her!
She's bow-hough'd, she's hein-shin'd, Ae limpin leg a hand-breed shorter; She's twisted right, she's twisted left, To balance fair in ilka quarter: She has a lump upon her breast, The twin o' that upon her shouther; Sic a wife as Willie had, I wadna gie a button for her!
Auld baudrons by the ingle sits, An' wi' her loof her face a-washin; But Willie's wife is nae sae trig, She dights her grunzie wi' a hushion; Her walie nieves like midden-creels, Her face wad fyle the Logan Water; Sic a wife as Willie had, I wadna gie a button for her!
Lady Mary Ann
O lady Mary Ann looks o'er the Castle wa', She saw three bonie boys playing at the ba', The youngest he was the flower amang them a', My bonie laddie's young, but he's growin' yet.
O father, O father, an ye think it fit, We'll send him a year to the college yet, We'll sew a green ribbon round about his hat, And that will let them ken he's to marry yet.
Lady Mary Ann was a flower in the dew, Sweet was its smell and bonie was its hue, And the longer it blossom'd the sweeter it grew, For the lily in the bud will be bonier yet.
Young Charlie Cochran was the sprout of an aik, Bonie and bloomin' and straught was its make, The sun took delight to shine for its sake, And it will be the brag o' the forest yet.
The simmer is gane when the leaves they were green, And the days are awa' that we hae seen, But far better days I trust will come again; For my bonie laddie's young, but he's growin' yet.
There lived a carl in Kellyburn Braes, Hey, and the rue grows bonie wi' thyme; And he had a wife was the plague of his days, And the thyme it is wither'd, and rue is in prime.
Ae day as the carl gaed up the lang glen, Hey, and the rue grows bonie wi' thyme; He met with the Devil, says, "How do you fen?" And the thyme it is wither'd, and rue is in prime.
I've got a bad wife, sir, that's a' my complaint, Hey, and the rue grows bonie wi' thyme; "For, savin your presence, to her ye're a saint," And the thyme it is wither'd, and rue is in prime.
It's neither your stot nor your staig I shall crave, Hey, and the rue grows bonie wi' thyme; "But gie me your wife, man, for her I must have," And the thyme it is wither'd, and rue is in prime.
"O welcome most kindly!" the blythe carl said, Hey, and the rue grows bonie wi' thyme; "But if ye can match her ye're waur than ye're ca'd," And the thyme it is wither'd, and rue is in prime.
The Devil has got the auld wife on his back, Hey, and the rue grows bonie wi' thyme; And, like a poor pedlar, he's carried his pack, And the thyme it is wither'd, and rue is in prime.
He's carried her hame to his ain hallan door, Hey, and the rue grows bonie wi' thyme; Syne bade her gae in, for a bitch, and a whore, And the thyme it is wither'd, and rue is in prime.
Then straight he makes fifty, the pick o' his band, Hey, and the rue grows bonie wi' thyme: Turn out on her guard in the clap o' a hand, And the thyme it is wither'd, and rue is in prime.
The carlin gaed thro' them like ony wud bear, Hey, and the rue grows bonie wi' thyme; Whae'er she gat hands on cam near her nae mair, And the thyme it is wither'd, and rue is in prime.
A reekit wee deevil looks over the wa', Hey, and the rue grows bonie wi' thyme; "O help, maister, help, or she'll ruin us a'!" And the thyme it is wither'd, and rue is in prime.
The Devil he swore by the edge o' his knife, Hey, and the rue grows bonie wi' thyme; He pitied the man that was tied to a wife, And the thyme it is wither'd, and rue is in prime.
The Devil he swore by the kirk and the bell, Hey, and the rue grows bonie wi' thyme; He was not in wedlock, thank Heav'n, but in hell, And the thyme it is wither'd, and rue is in prime.