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Hail, majesty most excellent!
A simple poet gies ye?
Thae bonie bairntime, heav'n has lent,
In bliss, till fate some day is sent,
For ever to release ye
Frae care that day.
For you, young potentate o' W—,
I'm tauld ye're driving rarely;
Or rattl'd dice wi' Charlie,
By night or day.
Yet aft a ragged cowte's been known
For a' their clish-ma-claver:
There, him at Agincourt wha shone,
And yet, wi' funny, queer sir John†,
For monie a day.
For you right rev'rend O
Nane sets the lawn-sleeve sweeter,
Altho' a ribban at your lug
Wad been a dress completer:
King Henry V.
Sir John Falstaff, vide Shakspeare.
ye disown yon paughty dog
Young, royal Tarry Breeks, I learn,
Then heave aboard your grapple airn,
Come full that day.
Ye, lastly, bonie blossoms a',
Ye royal lasses dainty,
Heav'n mak you guid as weel as braw
God bless you a'! consider now,
Your unco muckle dautet ;
It may be bitter sautet:
An' I hae seen their coggie fou,
That yet hae tarrow't at it;
But or the day was done, I trow,
The laggen they hae clautet
Fu' clean that day.
* Alluding to the news-paper account of a cer tain royal sailor's amour.
The sun had clos'd the winter day, The curlers quat their roaring play, An' hunger'd maukin taen her way
To kail-yards green,
While faithless snaws ilk step betray
Whare she has been.
The thresher's weary flingin-tree. The lee-lang day had tired me;
And whan the day had clos'd his e'e,
Far i' the west,
Ben i' the spence, right pensivelie,
I gaed to rest.
There, lanely, by the ingle-cheek,
An' heard the restless rattons squeak
About the riggin.
All in this mottie, misty clime, 1 backward mus'd on wasted time, How I had spent my youthfu' prime,
An' done nae-thing,
But stringin blethers up in rhyme,
For fools to sing.
Had I to guid advice but harkit, I might, by this, hae led a market, Or strutted in a bank an' clarkit
My cash-account :
While here, half-mad, half-fed, half-sarkit,
Is a' th' amount.
Duan, a term of Ossian's for the different divisions of a digressive poem. See his Cath-Loda, vol. ii. of M'Pherson's translation.
I started, mutt'ring, blockhead! coof!
Or some rash aith,
That I, henceforth, would be rhyme-proof
When click! the string the snick did draw; And jee! the door gaed to the wa';
An' by my ingle-lowe I saw,
Now bleezin bright,
A tight, outlandish hizzie, braw,
Come full in sight,
Ye need na doubt, I held my whisht; The infant aith, half-form'd, was crusht;" I glowr'd as eerie's I'd been dusht
In some wild glen ;
When sweet, like modest worth, she blusht
Green, slender, leaf-clad holly-boughs Were twisted, gracefu', round her brows; I took her for some Scottish muse,
By that same token;
An' come to stop those reckless vows,
Wou'd soon been broken.
A "hair-brain'd, sentimental trace"
Was strongly marked in her face;
A wildly-witty, rustic grace
Shone full upon her;
Her eye, ev'n turn'd on empty space,
Beam'd keen with honour.
Down flow'd her robe, a tartan sheen,
Till half a leg was scrimply seen;
And such a leg! my bonie Jean
Could only peer it;
She straught, sae taper, tight, and clean,
Nane else came near it
Her mantle large, of greenish hue,
Deep lights and shades, bold-mingling, threw
And seem'd, to my astonish'd view,
A well known land.
Here, rivers in the sea were lost; There, mountains to the skies were tost: Here, tumbling billows mark'd the coast,
With surging foam;
There, distant shone art's lofty boast,
Here, Doon pour'd down his far-fetched floods; There, well-fed Irvine stately thuds:
Auld hermit Ayr staw thro' his woods,
On to the shore ;
And many a lesser torrent scuds,
With seeming roar. «
Low, in a sandy valley spread,
She boasts a race,
To ev'ry nobler virtue bred,
And polish'd grace.
By stately tow'r or palace fair,
Or ruins pendent in the air,
Bold stems of heroes, here and there,
I could discern;
Some seem'd to muse, some seem'd to dare,
With feature stern.
My heart did glowing transport feel, To see a rage* heroic wheel,
And brandish round the deep-dy'd steel
In sturdy blows;
While back-recoiling seem'd to reel
Their suthron foes.