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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 summer sun exalt my bloom;
But I maun lie before the storm,

And ithers plant them in my room.
"I've seen sae monie 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' that 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 my 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, involved 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 prime!
Why did I live to see that day?

A day to me so full of woe!
O! had I met the mortal shaft

Which 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!"

TUNE-"Katherine Ogie."

Ye banks, and braes, and streams around
The castle o' Montgomery,

Green be your woods, and fair your flowers,
Your waters never drumlie!

There simmer first unfald her robes,

And there the langest tarry;

For there I took the last fareweel
O' my sweet Highland Mary.
How sweetly bloom'd the gay green birk,
How rich the hawthorn's blossom;
As underneath their fragrant shade
I clasp'd her to my bosom!
The golden hours on angel wings

Flew o'er me and my dearie;
For dear to me, as light and life,

Was my sweet Highland Mary.

Wi' mony a vow, and lock'd embrace,
Our parting was fu' tender;
And, pledging aft to meet again,
We tore oursels asunder;
But oh! fell death's untimely frost,
That nipt my flower sae early!

Now green's the sod, and cauld's the clay,
That wraps my Highland Mary!

O pale, pale now, those rosy lips,
I aft hae kiss'd sae fondly!

And clos'd, for ay, the sparkling glance,
That dwelt on me sae kindly!
And mouldering now in silent dust,
That heart that lo'ed me dearly!
But still within my bosom's core
Shall live my Highland Mary.



Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,

Wi' bickerin brattle!

I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Has broken nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,

Which maks thee startle
At me, thy poor earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!

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Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste, An' weary winter comin fast, An' cozie here, beneath the blast,

Thou thought to dwell, Till, crash! the cruel coulter past Out through thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,

To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft a-gley,

An' lea'e us nought but grief and pain,
For promis'd joy.

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But, och! I backward cast my e'e
On prospects drear!
An' forward, though I canna see,

I guess an' fear.


APRIL, 1786.

Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow'r,
Thou'st met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure
Thy slender stem;
To spare thee now is past my pow'r,
Thou bonie gem.

Alas! it's no thy neebor sweet,
The bonie lark, companion meet!
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet,

Wi' spreckled breast,

When upward-springing, blythe, to greet
The purpling east.

Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Upon thy early, humble birth;
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth
Amid the storm,
Scarce rear'd above the parent-earth
Thy tender form.

The flaunting flow'rs our gardens yield, High shelt'ring woods and wa's maun shield, But thou, beneath the random bield, O' clod or stane,

Adorns the histie stibble-field,

Unseen, alane.

There, in thy scanty mantle clad, Thy snawie bosom sun-ward spread, Thou lifts thy unassuming head In humble guise ;

But now the share uptears thy bed, And low thou lies!

Such is the fate of artless Maid, Sweet floweret of the rural shade! By love's simplicity betray'd,

And guileless trust, Till she, like thee, all soil'd is laid Low i' the dust.

Such is the fate of simple Bard, On life's rough ocean luckless starr'd! Unskilful he to note the card

Of prudent lore,

Till billows rage, and gales blow hard, And whelm him o'er!

Such fate to suffering worth is giv’n, Who long with wants and woes has striv❜n, By human pride or cunning driv'n,

To mis'ry's brink,

Till wrench'd of ev'ry stay but Heav'n,
He, ruin'd, sink!

Ev'n thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate,
That fate is thine no distant date;
Stern Ruin's ploughshare drives elate,
Full on thy bloom,

Till crush'd beneath the furrow's weight,

Shall be thy doom!



Of Brownyis and of Bogilis full is this Buke,

When chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neebors, neebors meet,
As market-days are wearing late,
An' 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 styles,
That lie between us and our hame;
Whare sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gath'ring her brows like gath'ring storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter,
As he, fra Ayr, ae night did canter,
(Auld Ayr wham ne'er a town surpasses,
For honest men and bonie lasses.)

O Tam! hads't thou but been sae wise, As taen thy ain wife Kate's advice! She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum, A blethring, blustering, drunken blellum; That frae November till October, Ae market-day thou was na sober; That ilka melder, wi' the miller, Thou sat as long as thou had siller; That ev'ry naig was ca'd a shoe on, The smith and thee gat roaring fou on; That at the L-d's house, ev'n on Sunday, Thou drank wi' Kirton Jean till Monday. She prophesy'd, that, late or soon, Thou would 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 monie counsels sweet,
How monie 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 swats, that drank divinely;
And at his elbow, souter Johnny,
His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony.
Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither;
They had been fou for weeks thegither.
The night drave on wi' sangs and 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 himself amang the nappy;
As bees flee hame wi' lades of treasure,
The minutes wing'd their way wi' pleasure:
Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,
O'er a' the i!ls 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 or tide;

The hour approaches Tam maun ride;

That hour, o' night's black arch the key-stane,
That dreary hour he mounts his beast in;
And sic a night he taks the road in,
As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.

The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last;
The rattling show'rs 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 ;

Whyles holding fast his guid blue bonnet;
Whyles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet;
Whyles glow'ring round wi' prudent cares,
Lest bogles catch him unawares;
Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh,
Whare ghaists and houlets nightly cry.

By this time he was cross the ford,
Whare in the snaw the chapman smoor'd;
And past the birks and meikle stane,
Whare drunken Charlie brak's neck bane;
And through the whins, and by the cairn,
Whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn;
And near the thorn, aboon the well,
Whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel.
Before him Doon pours all his floods;
The doubling storm roars through the woods;
The lightnings flash from pole to pole;
Near and more near the thunders roll;
When, glimmering through the groaning trees,
Kirk-Alloway seem'd in a bleeze;
Through 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 Deil's 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, vow! Tam saw an unco sight!
Warlocks and witches in a dance;
Nae cotillion 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 screwed the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof an' rafters a' did dirl.

Coffins stood round like open presses,
That shaw'd the dead in their last dresses;
And by some devilish cantrip slight,
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, unchristen'd bairns;
A thief, new cutted frae a rape,
Wi' his last gasp his gab did gape;
Five tomahawks, wi' bluid red-rusted;
Five scymitars, wi' murder crusted;
A garter, which a babe had strangled;
A knife, a father's throat had mangled,
Whom his ain son o' life bereft,
The grey hairs yet stack to the heft;

Three lawyers' tongues turn'd inside out,
Wi' lies seam'd like a beggar's clout,
And priests' hearts, rotten, black as muck,
Lay, stinking, vile, in every neuk.
Wi' mair o' horrible and awfu',
Which ev'n 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 ;

They reel'd, they set, they cross'd, they cleckit,
Till ilka carlin swat and reekit,

And coost her duddies to the wark,
And linket 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 flannen,
Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linen!
Thir breeks o' mine, my only pair,
That ance were plush, o' guid blue hair,
I wad hae gi'en them aff my hurdies,
For ae blink o' the bonie burdies!

But wither'd beldams, auld and droll,
Rigwoodie hags wad spean a foal,
Lowping an' flinging on a crummock,
I wonder didna turn thy stomach.

But Tam kenn'd what was what fu' brawlie,
There was ae winsome wench and walie,
That night inlisted in the core

(Lang after kenn'd on Carrick shore!
For monie a beast to dead she shot,
And perish'd monie a bonie boat,
And shook baith meikle corn and beer,
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 kenn'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 o' witches!

But here my Muse her wing maun cow'r;
Sic flights are far beyond her pow'r!
To sing how Nannie lap and flang,

(A souple jad she was and strang)
And how Tam stood, like ane bewitch'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 a' 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,

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When, "Catch the thief!" resounds aloud;

So Maggie runs, the witches follow,
Wi' monie an eldritch skreech and hollow.

Ah, Tam! ah, Tam! thou'll get thy fairin!
In hell they'll roast thee like a herrin!
In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin!
Kate soon will be a woefu' woman!
Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg,
And win the key-stane of the brig;
There at them thou thy tail may toss,
A running stream they dare na cross.
But ere the key-stane she could make,
The fient a tail she had to shake!
For Nannie, far before the rest,
Hard upon noble Maggie prest,
And flew at Tam wi' furious ettle;
But little wist she Maggie's mettle-
Ae spring brought aff 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 run in your mind,
Think, ye may buy the joys o'er dear,
Remember Tam o' Shanter's mare.


As I stood by yon roofless tower,

Where the wa'-flower scents the dewy air, Where the howlet mourns in her ivy bower, And tells the midnight moon her care:

The winds were laid, the air was still,
The stars they shot alang the sky;
The fox was howling on the hill,

And the distant-echoing glens reply.
The stream, adown its hazelly path,
Was rushing by the ruin'd wa's,
Hasting to join the sweeping Nith,

Whase distant roaring swells and fa's.

The cauld blue north was streaming forth

Her lights, wi' hissing eerie din ; Athort the lift they start and shift,

Like fortune's favours tint as win.

By heedless chance I turn'd my eyes,

And, by the moonbeam, shook, to see A stern and stalwart ghaist arise, Attir'd as minstrels wont to be.

Had I a statue been o' stane,

His darin look had daunted me; And on his bonnet grav'd was plain,

The sacred posy-Libertie !

And frae his harp sic strains did flow,
Might rous'd the slumbering dead to hear;
But oh it was a tale of woe,
As ever met a Briton's ear!

He wi' joy his former day, sang

He, weeping, wail'd his latter times;

But what he said it was nae play,

I winna ventur't in my rhymes.


Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has often led;
Welcome to your gory bed,

Or to glorious victorie.

Now's the day, and now's the hour;
See the front o' battle lower;
See approach proud Edward's power-
Edward! chains! and slavery!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward's grave?
Wha sa base as be a slave?

Traitor! coward! turn and flee!

Wha for Scotland's king and law Freedom's sword will strongly draw, Free-man stand, or free-man fa',

Caledonian! on wi' me!

By oppression's woes and pains!
By your sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,

But they shall be-shall be free!

Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow!

Forward! let us do or die!

TUNE-"Bide ye yet."

O Mary, at thy window be,

It is the wish'd, the trysted hour!
Those smiles and glances let me see,
That make the miser's treasure poor:
How blithely wad I bide the stoure,
A weary slave frae sun to sun;
Could I the rich reward secure,
The lovely Mary Morison.

Yestreen when to the trembling string,

The dance gaed through the lighted ha',

To thee my fancy took its wing,

I sat, but neither heard nor saw :
Though this was fair, and that was braw,
And yon the toast of a' the town,
I sigh'd, and said amang them a',
"Ye are na Mary Morison."

O Mary, canst thou wreck his peace,
Wha for thy sake wad gladly die?
Or canst thou break that heart of his,
Whase only faut is loving thee?

If love for love thou wilt na gie, At least be pity to me shown! A thought ungentle canna be The thought o' Mary Morison.



O were my love yon lilac fair,

Wi' purple blossoms to the spring; And I, a bird to shelter there,

When wearied on my little wing:

How I wad mourn, when it was torn
By autumn wild and winter rude!
But I wad sing on wanton wing,

When youthfu' May its bloom renew'd.

"O gin my love were yon red rose,

That grows upon the castle wa', And I mysel' a drap o' dew,

Into her bonie breast to fa'!

"Oh, there beyond expression blest, I'd feast on beauty a' the night; Seal'd on her silk-saft faulds to rest, Till fley'd awa by Phoebus' light."


John Anderson my jo, John,
When we were first acquent,
Your locks were like the raven,
Your bonie brow was brent;
But now your brow is beld, John,
Your locks are like the snow;
But blessings on your frosty pow,
John Anderson my jo.

John Anderson my jo, John,

We clamb the hill thegither:
And monie a cantie day, John,

We've had wi' ane anither:
Now we maun totter down, John,
But hand in hand we'll go,
And sleep thegither at the foot,
John Anderson my jo.


O saw ye bonie Lesley

As she gaed o'er the border? 'She's gane, like Alexander, To spread her conquests farther. To see her is to love her,

And love but her for ever; For nature made her what she is, And never made anither! Thou art a queen, fair Lesley,

Thy subjects we, before thee:

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