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O life! how pleasant in thy morning, Young fancy's rays the hills adorning ! Cold-pausing caution's lesson scorning, We frisk away,

Like school-boys, at th' expected warning, To join and play.

We wander there, we wander here, We eye the rose upon the brier, Unmindful that the thorn is near,

Among the leaves;

And tho' the puny wound appear,

Short while it grieves.

Some, lucky, find a flow'ry spot, For which they never toil'd nor swat; They drink the sweet and eat the fat,

But care or pain;

And, haply, eye the barren hut

With high disdain.

With steady aim, some fortune chase;

Keen hope does ev'ry sinew brace;

Thro' fair, thro' foul, they urge the race,

And seize the prey:

Then canie, in some cozie place,

They close the day.

And others, like your humble servan', Poor wights! nae rules nor roads observin; To right or left, eternal swervin,

They zig-zag on;

'Till curst with age, obscure an' starvin,

They aften groan.

Alas! what bitter toil an' straining→→ But truce with peevish, poor complaining! Is fortune's fickle Luna waning?

E'en let her gang!

Beneath what light she has remaining,

Let's sing our sang.

My pen I here fling to the door,

And kneel, " ye pow'rs!" and warm implore, "Tho' I should wander terra o'er,

In all her climes,

Grant me but this, I ask no more,

Aye rowth o' rhymes.

"Gie dreeping roasts to countra lairds, Till icicles hing frae their beards;

Gie fine braw claes to fine life-guards,

And maids of honour;

And yill an' whisky gie to cairds,

Until they sconner.

"A title, Dembster merits it; A garter gie to Willie Pitt;

Gie wealth to some be-ledger'd cit,

In cent. per cent.

But give me real, sterling wit,

And I'm content.

"While ye are pleas'd to keep me hale, I'll sit down o'er my scanty meal, Be't water-brose, or muslin-kail,

Wi' chearfu' face,

As lang's the muses dinna fail

To say the grace."

An anxious e'e I never throws

Behint my lug, or hymy nose;
I jouk beneath misfortune's blows
As weel's I may;

Sworn foe to sorrow, care, and prose,
I rhyme away.

O ye douce folk, that live by rule,
Grave, tideless-blooded, calm and cool,
Compar'd wi' you-O fool! fool! fool!
How much unlike!

Your hearts are just a standing pool,
Your lives, a dyke !

Nae hair-brain'd sentimental traces In your unletter'd, nameless faces ! In arioso trills and graces

Ye never stray,

But gravissimo, solemn basses

Ye hum away.

Ye are sae grave, nae doubt ye're wise; Nae ferly tho' ye do despise

The hairum-scairum, ram-stam boys,

The rattlin squad:

I see you upward cast your eyes

-Ye ken the road.

Whilst I-but I shall haud me thereWi' you I'll scarce gang ony whereThen, Jamie, I shall say nae mair,

But quat my sang,

Content wi' you to mak a pair,

Whare'er I gang.


Thoughts, words, and deeds, the statute blames with


But surely dreams were ne'er indicted treason.

[On reading, in the public papers, the Laureat's ode, with the other parade of June 4, 1786, the author was no sooner dropt asleep, than he imagined himself transported to the birth-day levee ; and in his dreaming fancy, made the following Address.]


Guid-mornin to your majesty !

May heaven augment your blisses,
On ev'ry new birth-day ye see,

A humble poet wishes!

My bardship here, at your levee,
On sic a day as this is,
Is sure an uncouth sight to see,
Amang the birth-day dresses

Sae fine this day,


I see ye're complimented thrang,
By mony a lord and lady;
"God save the king!"'s a cuckoo sang
That's unco easy said aye;

The poets, too, a venal gang,

Wi' rhymes weel-turn'd and ready, Wad gar you trow ye ne'er do wrang, But aye unerring steady,

On sie a day.


For me! before a monarch's face,
Ev'n there I winna flatter;
For neither pension, post, nor place,
Am I your humble debtor:
So, nae reflection on your grace,
Your kingship to bespatter;

There's monie waur been o' the race,

And aiblins ane been better

Than you this day.


'Tis very true, my sov'reign king,

My skill may weel be doubted:
But facts are cheels that winna ding,
An' downa be disputed:

Your royal nest, beneath your wing,
Is e'en right reft an' clouted,
And now the third part of the string,
An' less, will gang about it

Than did ae day.


Far be't frae me that I aspire

To blame your legislation,

Or say, ye wisdom want, or fire,
To rule this mighty nation!
But, faith! I muckle doubt, my sire,
Ye've trusted ministration

To chaps, wha, in a barn or byre,

Wad better fill'd their station

Than courts yon day.


And now ye've gien auld Britain peace,
Her broken shins to plaister;
Your sair taxation does her fleece,
Till she has scarce a tester;
For me, thank God, my life's a lease,
Nae bargain wearing faster,

Or, faith! I fear, that, wi' the geese,

I shortly boost to pasture

I' the craft some day.


I'm no mistrusting Willie Pitt,

When taxes he enlarges,

(An' Will's a true guid fallow's get,
A name not envy spairges,)
That he intends to pay your debt,
An' lessen a' your charges;
But G-d-sake! let nae saving-fit
Abridge your bonie barges

An' boats this day.


Adieu, my liege! may freedom geck
Beneath your high protection;
An' may ye rax corruption's neck,
And gie her for dissection!
But since I'm here, I'll no neglect,

In loyal, true affection,

To pay your queen, with due respect,

My fealty an' subjection

This great birth-day.

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