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Hail, majesty most excellent!
While nobles strive to please ye,
Will ye accept a compliment

A simple poet gies ye?

Thae bonie bairntime, heav'n has lent,
Still higher may they heeze ye

In bliss, till fate some day is sent,

For ever to release ye

Frae care that day.


For you, young potentate o' W—,
I tell your highness fairly,
Down pleasure's stream, wi' swelling sails,

I'm tauld ye're driving rarely;
But some day ye may gnaw your nails,
An' curse your folly sairly,
That e'er ye brak Diana's pales,

Or rattl'd dice wi' Charlie,

By night or day.


Yet aft a ragged cowte's been known
To mak a noble aiver ;
So ye may doucely fill a throne,

For a' their clish-ma-claver:

There, him at Agincourt wha shone,
Few better were, or braver;

And yet, wi' funny, queer sir John†,
He was an unco shaver

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
That bears the keys of Peter,
Then, swith! an' get a wife to hug,
Or, trouth! ye'll stain the mitre
Some luckless day.


Young, royal Tarry Breeks, I learn,
Ye've lately come athwart her;
A glorious galley*, stem an' stern,
Weel rigg'd for Venus' barter;
But first hang out, that she'll discern,
Your hymeneal charter,

Then heave aboard your grapple airn,
An' large upo' her quarter,

Come full that day.


Ye, lastly, bonie blossoms a',

Ye royal lasses dainty,

Heav'n mak you guid as weel as braw
An' gie you lads a-plenty :
But sneer na British boys awa',
For kings are unco scant aye;
An' German gentles are but sma',
They're better just than want aye
On onie day.


God bless you a'! consider now,

Your unco muckle dautet ;
But ere the course o' life be through,

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,
I sat and ey'd the spewing reek,
That fill'd, wi' hoast-provoking smeek,
The auld clay biggin;

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!
And heav'd on high my waukit loof,
To swear by a' yon starry roof,

Or some rash aith,

That I, henceforth, would be rhyme-proof
Till my last breath-

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
And stepped ben.

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,
My gazing wonder chiefly drew;

Deep lights and shades, bold-mingling, threw
A lustre grand;

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,
The lordly dome.

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,
An ancient borough rear'd her head;
Still, as in Scottish story read,

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.

*The Wallaces,

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