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To serve their king and country weel,
By word, or pen, or pointed steel !
May health and peace, with mutual rays,
Shine on the evening o' his days;
Till his wee curlie John's ier-oe,
When ebbing life nae mair shall flow,
The last, sad, mournful rites bestow !”

I will not wind a lang conclusion,
Wi' complimentary effusion :
But whilst your wishes and endeavours
Are blest with fortune's smiles and favours,
I am, dear sir, with zeal most fervent,
Your much indebted, humble servant.

But if (which powers above prevent!) That iron-hearted carl, want, Attended in his grim advances By sad mistakes, and black mischances, While hopes, and joys, and pleasures fly him, Make you as poor a dog as I am, Your humble servant then no more ; For who would humbly serve the poor? But by a poor man's hopes in heaven! While recollection's power is given, If, in the vale of humble life, The victim sad of fortune's strife, I, through the tender gushing tear, Should recognise my master dear, If friendless, low, we meet together, Then, sir, your hand-my friend and brother!

O Jenny, dinna toss your head, An' set your beauties a’abread! Ye little ken what cursed speed

The blastie's makin! Thae winks and finger-ends, I dread,

Are notice takin!
O wad some power me giftie gie us,
To see oursels as others see us !
It wad frae monie a blunder free us

And foolish notion ; What airs in dress and gait wad lea'e us

And e'en devotion !


Edina! Scotia's darling seat!

All hail thy palaces and towers, Where once beneath a monarch's feet

Sat legislation's sovereign powers ! From marking wildly-scatter'd flowers

As on the banks of Ayr I stray'd, And singing, lone, the lingering hours,

I shelter in thy honour'd shade.

II. Here wealth still swells the golden tide,

As busy trade his labours plies ; There architecture's noble pride

Bids elegance and splendour rise ; Here justice, from her native skies,

High wields her balance and her rod; There learning, with his eagle eyes,

Seeks science in her coy abode.


HA! whare ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie?
Your impudence protects you sairly :
I canna say but ye strunt rarely

Owre gauze and lace;
Though faith, I fear ye dine but sparely

On sic a place.
Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
Detested, shunn'd by saunt and sinner,
How dare ye set your fit upon her,

Sae fine a lady?
Gae somewhere else, and seek your dinner,

On some poor body.
Swith, in some beggar's haffet squattle ;
Where ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle
Wi' ither kindred, jumpin cattle,

In shoals and nations ;
Whare horn or bane ne'er dare unsettle

Your thick plantations.
Now haud ye there, ye're out o sight,
Below the fatt'rils, snug an' tight;
Na, faith ye yet! ye'll no be right

Till ye've got on it,
The vera tapmost, towering height

O'miss's bonnet. My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out, As plump and gray as onie grozet; O for some rank, mercurial rozet,

Or fell, red smeddum, I'd gie you sic a hearty doze o't,

Wad dress your droddum!

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Like some bold veteran, gray in arms,

It pat me fidgin-fain to hear't, And mark'd with many a seamy scar;

And sae about him there I spier't ; The ponderous walls and massy bar,

Then a' that ken’t him round declared Grim rising o'er the rugged rock;

He had ingine, Have oft withstood assailing war,

That nane excell'd it, few cam near't,
And oft repell’d th’invader's shock.

It was sae fine.

That set him to a pint of ale,
With awe-struck thought, and pitying tears, An' either douce or merry tale,
I view that noble, stately dome,

Or rhymes an’ sangs he'd made himsel, Where Scotia's kings of other years,

Or witty catches,
Famed heroes! had their royal home: 'Tween Inverness and Tiviotdale,
Alas! how changed the times to come!

He had few matches.
Their royal name low in the dust!
Their hapless race wild-wandering roam!

Then up I gat, an' swoor an'aith,
Though rigid law cries out, 'Twas just!

Though I should pawn my pleugh and graith,

Or die a cadger pownie's death,

At some dyke-back,
Wild beats my heart to trace your steps, A pint an' gill I'd gie them baith
Whose ancestors, in days of yore,

To hear your crack.
Through hostile ranks and ruin'd gaps
Old Scotia's bloody lion bore :

But, first an' foremost, I should tell,
E’en I who sing in rustic lore,

Amaist as soon as I could spell, Haply my sires have left their shed,

I to the crambo-jingle fell, And faced grim danger's loudest roar,

Though rude an' rough, Bold following where your fathers led !

Yet crooning to a body's oel,

Does well eneugh.


Edina! Scotia's darling seat !

All hail thy palaces and towers, Where once beneath a monarch's feet

Sat legislation's sovereign powers ! From marking wildly-scatter'd flowers,

As on the banks of Ayr I stray'd, And singing, lone, the lingering hours,

I shelter in thy honour'd shade.

I am nae poet, in a sense,
But just a rhymer, like, by chance,
An' hae to learning nae pretence,

Yet, what the matter?
Whene'er my muse does on me glance,

I jingle at her.
Your critic folk may cock their nose,
And say, “ How can you e'er propose,
You wha ken hardly verse frae prose,

To mak a sang ?”
But, by your leaves, my learned foes,

Ye're may be wrang.


WHILE briers and woodbines budding green, an' paitricks scraichin loud at e'en, An' morning poussie whiddin seen,

Inspire my muse,
This freedom in an unknown frien',

I pray excuse.
On fasten-een we had a rockin,
To ca’ the crack and weave our stockin;
And there was muckle fun an'jokin,

Ye need na doubt ;
At length we had a hearty yokin

At sang about.
There was ae sang, amang the rest,
Aboon them a' it pleased me best,
That some kind husband had addrest

To some sweet wife:
It thrill'd the heart-strings through the breast,

A' to the life.
I've scarce heard aught describes sae weel,
What generous, manly bosoms feel ;
Thought I, “ Can this be Pope, or Steele,

Or Beattie's wark !"
They tauld me 'twas an odd kind chiel

About Muirkirk.

What's a' your jargon o'your schools,
Your Latin names for horns an' stools ;
If honest nature made you fools,

What sairs your grammans:
Ye'd better ta'en up spades and shools,

Or knappin hammers.
A set o’ dull conceited hashes,
Confuse their brains in college classes !
They gang in stirks, and come out asses,

Plain truth to speak ;
An'syne they think to climb Parnassu;

By dint o'Greek!
Gie me ae spark o' nature's fire,
That's a' the learning I desire ;
Then though I drudge through dub an' mire

At pleugh or cart,
My muse, though hamely in attire,

May touch the heart.

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Now, sir, if ye hae friends enow, Though real friends, I b'lieve, are few, Yet, if your catalogue be fu',

I’se no insist,
But gif ye want ae friend that's true,

I'm on your list.
I winna blaw about mysel ;
As ill I like my fauts to tell ;
But friends, and folk that wish me well,

They sometimes roose me, Though I maun own, as monie still

As far abuse me.

There's ae wee faut they whyles lay to me, Plike the lasses–Gude forgie me! For monie a plack they wheedle frae me,

At dance or fair ;
May be some ither thing they gie me

They weel can spare.
But Mauchline race, or Mauchline fair,
I should be proud to meet you there ;
We’se gie ae 'night's discharge to care,

If we forgather,
An' hae a swap o' rhymin-ware

Wi' ane anither.

Forjesket sair, with weary legs, Rattlin' the corn out-owre the rigs, Or dealing through amang the naigs

Their ten-hours' bite,
My awkart muse sair pleads and begs

I would na write.
The tapeless ramfeezla hizzie,
She's saft at best, and something lazy,
Quo' she, “ Ye ken, we've been sae busy,

This month an' mair,
That trouth my head is grown right dizzie

An' something sair.”
Her dowff excuses pat me mad;
“Conscience,” says I,“ ye thowless jad !
I'll write, an' that a hearty blaud,

This vera night;
So dinna ye affront your trade,

But rhyme it right. “ Shall bauld Lapraik, the king o'hearts, Though mankind were a pack o' cartes, Roose you sae weel for your deserts,

In terms so friendly ; Yet ye'll neglect to shaw your parts,

An' thank him kindly !” Sae I gat paper in a blink, An' down gaed stumpie in the ink: Quoth I, “Before I sleep a wink,

I vow I'll close it; An' if ye winna mak it clink,

By Jove I'll prose it !" Sae I've begun to scrawl, but whether In rhyme or prose, or baith thegither, Or some hotch-potch that's rightly neither,

Let time mak proof; But I shall scribble down some blether

Just clean aff-loof.

The four-gill chap, we'se gar him clatter, An' kirsen him wi' reekin water; Syne we'll sit down an' tak our whitter,

To cheer our heart; An' faith we'se be acquainted better

Before we part.

Awa, ye selfish warly race, Wha think that havins, sense, an' grace, E'en love an' friendship, should give place

To catch-the-plack! I dinna like to see your face,

Nor hear you crack,

But ye whom social pleasure charms, Whose heart the tide of kindness warms, Who hold your being on the terms,

Each aid the others', Come to my bowl, come to my arms,

My friends, my brothers !

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But to conclude my lang epistle,
As my auld pen's worn to the grissle
Twa lines frae you wad gar me fissle,

Who am, most fervent, While I can either sing or whissle,

Your friend and servant.


Now comes the sax an' twentieth simmer I've seen the bud upo' the timmer, Still persecuted by the limmer

Frae year to year; But yet, despite the kittle kimmer,

I, Rob, am here.

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Do ye envy the city gent, Behint a kist to lie and sklent, Or purse-proud, big wi' cent, per cent.

And muckle wame, In some bit brugh to represent

A bailie's name?

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Yet when a tale comes i' my head, Or lasses gie my heart a screed, As whyles they're like to be my deed,

(O sad disease !) I kittle up my rustic reed;

It gies me ease.

Were this the charter of our state, « On pain o'hell be rich an' great,” Damnation then would be our fate

Beyond remead;
But, thanks to heaven! that's no the gate

We learn our creed.
For thus the royal mandate ran,
When first the human race began,
“The social, friendly, honest man,

Whate'er he be, *Tis he fulfils great nature's plan,

An' none but he !"
O mandate glorious and divine !
The ragged followers of the nine,
Poor, thoughtless devils ! yet may shine

In glorious light,
While sordid sons of Mammon's line

Are dark as night. Though here they scrape, an' squeeze, an'

growl, Their worthless nievefu' of a soul May in some future carcass howl,

The forest's fright;
Or in some day-detesting owl

May shun the light.
Then may Lapraik and Burns arise,
To reach their native, kindred skies,
And sing their pleasures, hopes, an' joys,

In some mild sphere,
Still closer knit in friendship’s tie

Each passing year.

Auld Coila now may fidge fu’fain,
She's gotten poets o' her ain,
Chiels wha their chanters winna hain,

But tune their lays,
Till echoes a' resound again

Her weel-sung praise. Nae poet thought her worth his while, To set her name in measured style; She lay like some unkenn'd-of isle

Beside New Holland, Or whare wild-meeting oceans boil

Besouth Magellan. Ramsay an’ famous Fergusson Gied Forth an' Tay a list aboon; Yarrow an' Tweed to monie a tune,

Owre Scotland rings, While Irwin, Lugar, Ayr, an' Doon,

Naebody sings. Th’ Illyssus, Tiber, Thames, an’ Seine, Glide sweet in monie a tunefu’ line! But, Willie, set your fit to mine,

An' cock your crest, We'll gar our streams and burnies shine

Up wi' the best.

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E'en winter bleak has charms for me, When winds rave through the naked tree; Or frosts on hills of Ochiltree

Are hoary gray ;
Or blinding drifts wild-furious flee,

Darkening the day!
O nature ! a' thy shows an' forms
To feeling, pensive hearts hae charms !
Whether the simmer kindly warms

Wi’ life an’ light,
Or winter howls, in gusty storms,

The lang, dark night!
The muse, nae poet ever fand her,
Till by himsel he learn'd to wander,
Adown some trotting burn's meander,

An' no think lang;
O sweet! to stray, an' pensive ponder

A heartfelt sang!
The warly race may drudge an' drive,
Hog-shouther, jundie, stretch, an' strive,
Let me fair nature's face descrive,

And I, wi' pleasure,
Shall let the busy, grumbling hive,

Bum owre their treasure. Fareweel,“ my rhyme-composing brither!” We've been owre lang unkenn'd to ither: Now let us lay our heads thegither,

In love fraternal: May envy wallop in a tether,

Black fiend, infernal! While highlandmen hate tolls and taxes; While moorlan' herds like guid fat braxies : While terra firma, on her axis,

Diurnal turns,
Count on a friend, in faith an' practice,

In Robert Burns.

Some herds, weel learn'd upo' the beuk, Wad threap auld folk the thing misteuk ; For 'twas the auld moon turn'd a neuk,

An' out o' sight, An' backlins-comin, to the leuk,

She grew mair bright. This was denied, it was affirm'd; The herds an' hissels were alarm'd: The reverend gray-beards raved an' storm'd,

That beardless laddies Should think they better were inform'd

Than their auld daddies.

Frae less to mair it gaed to sticks ; Frae words an' aiths to clours an' nicks ; An' monie a fallow gat his licks,

Wi' hearty crunt; An’some, to learn them for their tricks,

Were hang'd an' burnt. This game was play'd in monie lands, An' auld-light caddies bure sic hands, That faith the youngsters took the sands

Wi' nimble shanks, The lairds forbade, by strict commands,

Sic bluidy pranks.

My memory's no worth a preen;
I had amaist forgotten clean,
Ye bade me write you what they mean

By this “new-light,"** 'Bout which our herds sae aft hae been

Maist like to fight. In days when mankind were but callans At grammar, logic, an' sic talents, They took nae pains their speech to balance,

Or rules to gie, But spak their thoughts in plain, braid Jallans,

Like you or me. In thae auld times, they thought the moon, Just like a sark, or pair o'shoon, Wore by degrees, till her last roon,

Gaed past their viewing, An' shortly after she was done,

. They gat a new one.

But new-light herds gat sic a cowe, Folk thought them ruin'd stick-an'-stowe, Till now amaist on every knowe,

Ye'll find ane placed ; An' some, their new-light fair avow,

Just quite barefaced. Nae doubt the auld-light flocks are bleatin ; Their zealous herds are vex'd an' sweatin; Mysel, I've even seen them greetin

Wi'girnin spite, To hear the moon sae sadly lie'd on

By word an' write. But shortly they will cowe the louns ! Some auld-light herds in neebor towns Are mind't in things they ca? balloons,

To tak a flight, An' stay a month amang the moons

An' see them right.

Guid observation they will gie them; An' when the auld moon's gaun to leave them, The hindmost shaird, they'll fetch it wi' them,

Just i' their pouch,
An' when the new-light billies see them,

I think they'll crouch!
Sae, ye observe that a' this clatter
Is naething but a “ moonshine matter;"
But though dull prose-folk Latin splatter

In logic tulzie,
I hope, we bardies ken some better,

Than mind sic brulzie.

* "New-light” is a cant phrase in the west of Scotland, for those religious opinions which Dr. Taylor of Norwich has defended 80 strenuously.

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