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But, faith the birkie wants a manse,

So, cannily he hums them;
Altho' his carnal wit an' sense
Like hafflins-ways o'ercomes him

At times that day.

Now butt an ben, the change-house fills,

Wi' yill-caup commentators :
Here's crying out for bakes and gills,

An' there the pint stowp clatters ; While thick an’thrang, an' loud an' lang,

Wi’ logic, an' wi' scripture, They raise a din, that, in the end, Is like to breed a rupture

O' wrath that day.

I.eeze me on drink ! it gies us mair

Than either school or college :
It kindles wit, it waukens lair,

It pangs us fou o' knowledge.
Be't whiskey gill, or penny wheep,

Or ony stronger potion,
It never fails, on drinking deep,
To kittle up our notion

By night or day.

The lads an' lasses, blythely bent

To mind baith saul an' body,
Sit round the table, weel content,

An' steer about the toddy.
On this ane's dress, an' that ane's leuk,

They're making observations ; While some are cozie i' the neuk, An' formin assignations

To meet some day.

But now the L-d's ain trumpet touts,

Till a'the hills are rairin,
An' echoes back return the shouts :

Black ****** is na spairin :

His piercing words, like Highlan swords,

Divide the joints an' marrow; His talk o’h-ll, whare devils dwell, Our vera sauls does harrow*

Wi' fright that day.

A vast, unbottom'd, boundless pit,

Fillid fou o' lowin brunstane,
Wha's ragin flame, an' scorchin heat,

Wad melt the hardest whun-stane! The half asleep start up wi’ fear,

An' think they hear it roarin, When presently it does appear, 'Twas but some neebor snorin

Asleep that day.

'Twad be owre lang a tale, to tell

How monie stories past,
An' how they crouded to the yill,

When they were a' dismist :
How drink gaed round, in cogs an' caups,

Amang the furms and benches ; An' cheese an' bread, frae women's laps, Was dealt about in lunches,

An' dawds that day.

In comes à gaucie, gash guidwife,

An' sits down by the fire,
Syne draws her kebbuck an' her knife,

The lasses they are shyer.
The auld guidmen, about the grace,

Frae side to side they bother,
Till some ane by his bonnet lays,
An' gies them't like a tether,

Fu’ lang that day.

* Shakspeare's Hamlet.

Waesucks! for him that gets nae lass,

Or lasses that hae naething !
Sma' peed has he to say a grace,

Or melvie his braw claithing!
O, wives, be mindfu', ance yoursel,

How bonie lads ye wanted,
An' dinna, for a kebbuck-heel,
Let lasses be affronted

On sic day!

Now Clinkumbell, wi' rattlin tow,

Begins to jow an' croon;
Some swagger home, the best they dow,

Some wait the afternoon.
At slaps the billies halt a blink,

Till lasses strip their shoon:
Wi' faith and hope, an' love an' drink,
They're a' in famous tune

For crack that day,

How monie hearts this day converts

O' sinners and o'lasses !
Their hearts ostane gin night are gane,

As saft as ony flesh is.
There's some are fou o’ love divine;

There's some are fou o' brandy;
An' monie jobs that day begin,
May end in houghmagandie

Some ither day.



Some books are lies frae end to end,
And some great lies were never penn’d:
Ev'n ministers they hae been kenn'd,

In holy rapture,

A rousing whid, at times, to vend,

And nail't wi' scripture.

But this that I am gaun to tell,
Which lately on a night befel,
Is just as true's the deil's in h-11

Or Dublin city :
That e'er he nearer comes oursel

'S a muckle pity.

The Clachan yill had made me canty,
I was na fou, but just had plenty ;
I stacher'd whyles, but yet took tent aye

To free the ditches;
An' hillocks, stanes, an' bushes, kenn'd aye

Frae ghaists an' witchies.

The rising moon began to glowr
The distant Cumnock hills out-owre:
To count her horns, wi' a' my pow'r,

I set mysel;
But whether she had three or four,

I cou'd na tell.

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I was come round about the hill,
And todlin down on Willie's mill,
Setting my staff wi' a' my skill

To keep me sicker;
Tho' leeward whyles, against my will,

I took a bicker.

I there w' something did forgather,
That put me in an eerie swither;
An awfu’ scythe, out-owre ae shouther,

Clear-dangling, hang; A three-tae'd leister on the ither

Lay, large an’ lang.

Its stature seem'd lang Scotch ells twa,
The queerest shape that e'er I saw,
For fient a wame it had ava;

And then its shanks,
'They were as thin, as sharp an' sma'

As cheeks o' branks.

B 2

“Guid-een," quo' I;“ friend ! hae ye been mawin,
When ither folk are busy sawin* ?"
It seem'd to mak a kind o stan',

But naething spak ;
At length, says I, “ Friend, whare ye gaun ?


ye go back ?"

It spak right howe,-“ My name is Death,
But be na’ fley'd."-Quoth I, “Guid faith,
Ye're may be come to stap my breath ;

But tent me, billie ;
I red ye weel, tak care o' skaith,

See there's a gully!"

“Gudeman,” quo' he, “put up your whittle,
I'm no design'd to try its mettle ;
But if I did, I wad be kittle

To be mislear'd,
I wad na mind it, no that spittle

Out-owre my beard."

“ Weel, weel !” says I, “ a bargain bre't ; Come, gies your hand, an' sae we're greet; We'll ease our shanks an' tak a seat,

Come, gies your news ; This whilet ye hae been mony a gate


At mony

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Ay, ay !" quo' he, an’ shook his head, “It's e'en a lang, lang time indeed Sin I began to nick the thread,

An' choke the breath : Falk maun do something for their bread,

An' sae maun Death.

“Sax thousand years are near hand fled
Sin' I was to the butching bred,
An' mony a scheme in vain's been laid,

To stap or scar me ;

* This rencounter happened in seed time, 1785.

+ An epidemical fever was then raging in that country

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