Page images

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!



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!

I wad na been surprised to spy You on an auld wife's flainen toy; Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,

On's wylie coat;

But miss's fine Lunardi! fie,

How dare ye do't?

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 the 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.


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.


Thy sons, Edina, social, kind,

With open arms the stranger hail; Their views enlarged, their liberal mind, Above the narrow, rural vale; Attentive still to sorrow's wail,

Or modest merit's silent claim; And never may their sources fail! And never envy blot their name!

IV. Thy daughters bright thy walks adorn! Gay as the gilded summer sky, Sweet as the dewy milk-white thorn, Dear as the raptured thrill of joy! Fair B strikes th' adoring eye, Heaven's beauties on my fancy shine;

I see the sire of love on high,

And own his work indeed divine!


There, watching high the least alarms, Thy rough, rude fortress gleams afar;

Like some bold veteran, gray in arms, And mark'd with many a seamy scar; The ponderous walls and massy bar, Grim rising o'er the rugged rock; Have oft withstood assailing war,

And oft repell'd th' invader's shock.


With awe-struck thought, and pitying tears,
I view that noble, stately dome,
Where Scotia's kings of other years,

Famed heroes! had their royal home: Alas! how changed the times to come! Their royal name low in the dust! Their hapless race wild-wandering roam! Though rigid law cries out, 'Twas just!


Wild beats my heart to trace your steps,
Whose ancestors, in days of yore,
Through hostile ranks and ruin'd gaps
Old Scotia's bloody lion bore :
E'en I who sing in rustic lore,

Haply my sires have left their shed, And faced grim danger's loudest roar, Bold following where your fathers led! VIII.

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.


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

It pat me fidgin-fain to hear't, And sae about him there I spier't; Then a' that ken't him round declared He had ingine,

That nane excell'd it, few cam near't, It was sae fine.

That set him to a pint of ale,
An' either douce or merry tale,
Or rhymes an' sangs he'd made himsel,
Or witty catches,

'Tween Inverness and Tiviotdale,

He had few matches.

Then up I gat, an' swoor an' aith, Though I should pawn my pleugh and graith, Or die a cadger pownie's death,

At some dyke-back,

A pint an' gill I'd gie them baith

To hear your crack.

But, first an' foremost, I should tell,
Amaist as soon as I could spell,
I to the crambo-jingle fell,

Though rude an' rough,

Yet crooning to a body's sel,

Does well eneugh.

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.

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

What sairs your grammars:

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.

O for a spunk o' Allan's glee,
Or Fergusson's, the bauld and slee,
Or bright Lapraik's my friend to be,
If I can hit it!
That would be lear eneugh for me,
If I could get it.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

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 lallans, 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.

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

This past for certain, undisputed; It ne'er cam i' their heads to doubt it, Till chiels gat up an' wad confute it, An' ca'd it wrang; An' muckle din there was about it, Baith loud and lang.

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 sie hands, That faith the youngsters took the sands Wi' nimble shanks, The lairds forbade, by strict commands, Sic bluidy pranks.

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.

« PreviousContinue »