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The ladies arm-in-arm in elusters,
By this, the sun was out o' sight,
Gie him strong drink, until he wink,
An' liquor guid to fire his bluid,
That's prest wi' grief an' care;
Till he forgets his loves or debts,
An' minds his griefs no more.
Solomon's Proverbs, xxxi. 6, 7.
Let other poets raise a fracas
'Bout vines, an' wines, an' drunken Bacchus,
An' crabbit names an' stories wrack us,
An' grate our lug,
I sing the juice Scots bear can mak us,
O thou, my Muse! guid auld Scotch Drink, Whether thro' wimpling worms thou jink,
Or, richly brown, ream o'er the brink,
In glorious faem,
Inspire me, till I lisp and wink,
To sing thy name!
Let husky wheat the haughs adorn,
Leeze me on thee, John Barleycorn,
Thou king o' grain!
On thee aft Scotland chows her cood, In souple scones, the wale o' food!
Or tumblin in the boiling flood
Wi' kail an' beef;
But when thou pours thy strong heart's blood, There thou shines chief.
Food fills the wame, an' keeps us livin; Tho' life's a gift no worth receivin,
When heavy dragg'd wi' pine an' grievin;
But, oil'd by thee,
The wheels o' life gae down-hill, serievin,
Thou clears the head o' doited Lear; Thou cheers the heart o' drooping Care; Thou strings the nerves o' Labour sair,
At's weary toil;
Thou even brightens dark Despair
Wi' gloomy smile.
Aft, clad in massy siller weed, Wi' gentles thou erects thy head; Yet humbly kind in time o' need,
The poor man's wine,
His wee drap parritch, or his bread,
Thou kitchens fine.
Thou art the life o' public haunts; But thee, what were our fairs and rants? Ev'n godly meetings o' the saunts,
By thee inspir'd,
When gaping they besiege the tents,
Are doubly fir'd.
That merry night we get the corn in, O sweetly then thou reams the horn in; Or reekin on a new-year morning
In cog or bicker,
An' just a wee drap sp'ritual burn in,
When Vulcan gies his bellows breath, An' ploughmen gather wi' their graith, O rare to see the fizz an' freath
I' th' lugget caup! Then Burnewin* comes on like death At ev'ry chaup.
Nae mercy, then, for airn or steel; The brawnie, banie, ploughman chiel, Brings hard owrehip, wi' sturdy wheel,
The strong forehammer,
Till block an' studdie ring an' reel
Wi' dinsome clamour.
When skirlin weanies see the light, Thou maks the gossips clatter bright, How fumblin eufs their dearies slight;
Wae worth the name!
Nae howdie gets a social night,
Or plack frae them.
When neebors anger at a plea, An' just as wud as wud can be,
ah appropriate title. E.
How easy can the barley-bree
Cement the quarrel!
It's aye the cheapest lawyer's fee,
To taste the barrel.
Alake! that e'er my muse has reason To wyte her countrymen wi' treason! But monie daily weet their weason
Wi' liquors nice,
An' hardly, in a winter's season,
E'er spier her price.
Wae worth that brandy, burning trash! Fell source o' monie a pain an' brash! Twins monie a poor, doylt, drunken hash, O' half his days;
An' sends, beside, auld Scotland's cash
To her worst faes.
Ye Scots, wha wish auld Scotland well!
Ye chief, to you my tale I tell,
Poor plackless devils like mysel!
It sets you ill,
Wi' bitter, dearthfu' wines to mell,
Or foreign gill.
May gravels round his blather wrench, An' gouts torment him inch by inch, Wha twists his gruntle wi' a glunch
O' sour disdain,
Out owre a glass o' whisky punch
Wi' honest men.
0 Whisky soul o' plays an' pranks! Accept a bardie's humble thanks!
When wanting thee, what tuneless cranks
Are my poor verses!
Thou comes they rattle i' their ranks
Thee, Ferintosh! O sadly lost! Scotland lament frae coast to coast!
Now colic grips, an' barkin hoast,
May kill us a';
For loyal Forbes' charter'd boast
Is ta'en awa!
Thae curst horse-leeches o' th' excise, Wha mak the whisky stells their prize! Haud up thy han', deil! ance, twice, thrice!
There, seize the blinkers!
An' bake them up in brunstane pies
For poor d-n'd drinkers.
Fortune! if thou'll but gie me still Hale breeks, a scone, an' whisky gill, An' rowth o' rhyme to rave at will, Tak a' the rest,
An' deal't about as thy blind skill
Directs thee best.
EARNEST CRY AND PRAYER*
TO THE SCOTCH REPRESENTATIVES IN
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS,
Dearest of distillation! last and best!
How art thou lost !
Parody on Milton.
Ye Irish lords, ye knights an' squires, Wha represent our brughs an' shires,
*This was written before the act anent the Scotch distilleries, of session 1786; for which Scotland and the author return their most grateful thanks.