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EPISTLE TO J. R******
ENCLOSING SOME POEMS.
O ROUGH, rude, ready-witted R******, The wale o' cocks for fun an' drinkin! There's mony godly folks are thinkin,
Your dreams* an' tricks Will send you, Korah-like, a-sinkin, Straught to auld Nick's.
Ye hae sae monie cracks an' cants, And in your wicked druncken rants, Ye mak a devil o' the saunts,
An' fill them fou; And then their failings, flaws, an' wants, Are a' seen through.
Hypocrisy, in mercy spare it! That holy robe, O dinna tear it! Spare 't for their sakes wha aften wear it, The lads in black! But your curst wit, when it comes near it, Rives 't aff their back.
Think, wicked sinner, wha ye're skaithing Its just the blue-gown badge an' claithing O' saunts; tak that, ye lea'e them naething To ken them by, Frae ony unregenerate heathen Like you or I.
I've sent you home some rhyming ware,
Yon sang,t ye'll sen't wi' cannie care,
Though faith, sma' heart hae I to sing! My muse dow scarcely spread her wing! I've play'd mysel a bonnie spring,
An' danced my fill! I'd better gane an' sair't the king, At Bunker's Hill.
"Twas ae night lately in my fun, I gaed a roving wi' the gun, An' brought a paitrick to the grun, A bonnie hen, And, as the twilight was begun, Thought nane wad ken.
The poor wee thing was little hurt; I straikit it a wee for sport, Ne'er thinkin they wad fash me for't; But, deil-ma-care ' Somebody tells the poacher-court The hale affair.
Some auld used hands had ta'en a note,
I scorn'd to lie;
A certain humorous dream of his was then making a noise in the country side.
A song he had promised the author.
But, by my gun, o' guns the wale, An' by my pouther an' my hail, An' by my hen, an' by her tail, I vow an' swear! The game shall pay o'er moor an' dale, For this, niest year.
As soon's the clockin-time is by, An' the wee pouts begun to cry, Ld, I'se hae sportin by an' by, For my gowd guinea: Though I should herd the buckskin kye For't in Virginia.
Trowth, they had muckle for to blame : 'Twas neither broken wing nor limb, But twa-three draps about the wame Scarce through the feathers An' baith a yellow George to claim,
An' thole their blethers!
It pits me aye as mad's a hare;
When time's expedient: Meanwhile I am, respected sir,
Your most obedient.
Of brownyis and of bogilis full is this buke. GAWIN DOUGLAS WHEN chapman billies leave the street, And drouthy neębors neebors meet, As market-days are wearing late, An' folk begin to tak the gate; While we sit bousing at the nappy, An' gettin fou and unco happy, We think na on the lang Scots miles, The mosses, waters, slaps, and stiles, That lie between us and our hame, Whare sits our sulky, sullen dame, Gathering her brows like gathering storm, Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.
This truth fand honest Tam O'Shanter, As he frae Ayr ae night did canter, (Auld Ayr, whom ne'er a town surpasses, For honest men and bonny lasses.)
O Tam! hadst thou but been sae wise, As ta'en thy ain wife Kate's advice! She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum, A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum; That frae November till October, Ae market-day thou was nae sober; That ilka melder, wi' the miller, Thou sat as lang as thou had siller; That every naig was ca'd a shoe on, The smith and thee gat roaring fou on; That at the L-d's house, e'en on Sunday, Thou drank wi' Kirton Jean till Monday. She prophesied, that late or soon, Thou would be found deep drown'd in Doou Or catch'd wi' warlocks in the mirk, By Alloway's auld haunted kirk.
Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet, To think how mony counsels sweet, How mony 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 an' 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 o' treasure, The minutes wing'd their way wi' pleasure; Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious, O'er a' the ills o' life victorious.
But pleasures are like poppies spread, You seize the flower, its bloom is shed; Or like the snow-falls in the river,
A moment white-then melts for ever;
Nae man can tether time or tide;
The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last; The rattling showers 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 gray mare Meg,
Whiles holding fast his guid blue bonnet:
By this time he was cross the ford, Whare in the snaw the chapman smoor'd; And past the birks an' 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,
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,
Wi' his last gasp his gab did gape;
As Tammie glowr'd, amazed 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 cleekit 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 gien them aff my hurdies For ae blink o' the bonnie 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 enlisted in the core, (Lang after kenn'd on Carrick shore ! For mony a beast to dead she shot, And perish'd mony a bonnie boat, And shook baith meikle corn and bear, And kept the country side in fear.), Her cuttie sark, o' Paisley harn. That while a lassie she had worn, In longitude though 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 graced a dance of witches!
But here my muse her wing maun cour; Sic flights are far beyond her power; To sing how Nannie lap and flang, (A souple jade she was and strang,) And how Tam stood like ane bewitch'd, And thought his very e'en enrich'd; E'en Satan glowr'd, and fidged 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!"
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, When "Catch the thief!" resounds aloud; So Maggie runs, the witches follow, Wi' mony 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 wofu' 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 Nannic, far before the rest, Hard upon noble Maggie prest, And flew at Tam wi' furious ettle; But little wist she Maggie's mettle
It is a well known fact that witches, or any evil spirits, have no power to follow a poor wight any farther than the middle of the next running stream.-It may be proper likewise to mention to the benighted traveller, that when he falls in with bogles, whatever danger may be in his going forward, there is much more hazard in turning, back.
Ae spring brought off her master hale,
Now, wha this tale o' truth shall read, Ilk man and mother's son, tak heed: Whene'er to drink you are inclined, Or cutty-sarks run in your mind, Think, ye may buy the joys o'er dear,Remember Tam O'Shanter's mare.
WHEN o'er the hill the eastern star,
In mirkest glen, at midnight hour,
If through that glen, I gaed to thee,
Although the night were ne'er sae wild,
The hunter lo'es the morning sun,
To rouse the mountain deer, my jo, At noon the fisher seeks the glen,
Along the burn to steer, my jo;
It maks my heart sae cheery, 0,
WILL ye go to the Indies, my Mary,
O sweet grows the lime and the orange, And the apple on the pine;
But a' the charms o' the Indies,
Can never equal thine.
I hae sworn by the heavens to my Mary, I hae sworn by the heavens to be true; And sae may the heavens forget me, When I forget my vow!
O plight me your faith, my Mary,
And plight me your lily-white hand; O plight me your faith, my Mary, Before I leave Scotia's strand.
We hae plighted our troth, my Mary, In mutual affection to join,
And curst be the cause that shall part us! The hour, and the moment o' time!
MY WIFE'S A WINSOME WEE THING.
SHE is a winsome wee thing,
I never saw a fairer,
I never lo'ed a dearer,
And niest my heart I'll wear her, For fear my jewel tine.
She is a winsome wee thing,
O SAW ye bonnie 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;
Thy subjects we, before thee;
The hearts o' men adore thee. The deil he could na scaith thee, Or aught that wad belang thee; He'd look into thy bonnie face,
And say, "I canna wrang thee." The powers aboon will tent thee;
Misfortune sha'na steer thee; Thou'rt like themselves sae lovely
That ill they'll ne'er let near thee.
Return again, fair Lesley,
Return to Caledonie !
That we may brag, we hae a lass There's nane again sae bonnie.
YE banks, and braes, and streams around,
Green be your woods, and fair your flowers, Your waters never drumlie!
There simmer first unfauld her robes,
For there I took the last fareweel
How sweetly bloom'd the gay green birk,
I clasped her to my bosom !
Was my sweet Highland Mary.
Wi' mony a vow, and lock'd embrace,
And pledging aft to meet again,
But O! fell death's untimely frost,
Now green's the sod, and cauld's the clay,
O pale, pale now, those rosy lips I aft hae kiss'd sae fondly!
And closed for aye the sparkling glance
AULD ROB MORRIS.
THERE'S auld Rob Morris that wons in yon glen, He's the king o' guid fellows and wale of auld men He has gowd in his coffers, he has owsen and kine, And ae bonnie lassie, his darling and mine.
She's fresh as the morning, the fairest in May; She's sweet as the evening amang the new hay; As blithe and as artless as the lambs on the lea, And dear to my heart as the light to my e'e.
But O! she's an heiress, auld Robin's a laird,
The day comes to me, but delight brings me nane
O, had she been but of lower degree,
I then might hae hoped she wad smiled upon me!
DUNCAN GRAY. DUNCAN GRAY came here to woo, Ha, ha, the wooing o't, On blithe yule night when we were fou, Ha, ha, the wooing o't. Maggie coost her head fu' high Look'd asklent and unco skeigh, Gart poor Duncan stand abeigh;
Ha, ha, the wooing o't. Duncan fleech'd, and Duncan pray'd; Ha, ha, &c. Meg was deaf as Ailsa Craig, Ha, ha, &c.