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PORTRAIT, ...... To face Title. 


A guid New-year I wish thee, Maggie I page 

Hae, there's a rip to thy auld baggie. ...... .25 


The Souter tauid his qiieei-est stones; 

Tlie landlord's laugh was ready chorus, ... , . • , 48 

Xlie carlin claught her by the rump, 

And left poor Maggie scarce a stump. .,«■,•• 63 


Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow'r, 

Thou's met me in an evil hour. .,,,•,•• 82 


To burn their nits, an' pu' their stocks, 

An' baud their Halloween. ..... , , 96 


Come, gies your h'lnd, an' sae we're gree't; 

We'll ease our shanks an' tak a seat. . ' ■ , • . . . 131 


Sad thy tale, thou idle page, 

And dreadful thy alarms. ,,:-■.•.«<. 144 


Why, ye tenants of the lake. 

For me your wat'ry liaunt forsake? ... .... 152 


By some auld how'.et-haunted biggin,' 

Or kirk deserted by its riggin'. . . . . - . . .170 




Slie sank within my arms, and cried, 

Art thou my ain dear Willie? ........ 198 


ken ye what Meg o' the Mill has gotten ? 

An' ken ye what Meg o' the Mill has gotten? ...... 207 


Prone down the rock the whit'ning sheet descends, 

And viewless echo's ear, astonish'd, rends. ..»„... 23S 


For there I took the last fareweel, 

0' my sweet Highland Mary, • • • . • r » c 248 


On the seas and far away, 

On stormy seas and far away, . » . . • • c .268 


As gathering sweet fiow'rets, 

She stems thy clear waves, . • • • • • • t .293 


We'll gae down by Clouden side, 

Through the hazels spreading wid«, . . . . . * .316 


'Tis not the surging billow's loa', 

'Tis not that fatal, deadly shore, . . . • . . • .341 


How pleasant the banks of the clear-winding Devon, 

With green-spreading bushes, and flowers blooming fair! . . . • . 353 


As I gaed down the water side, 

There I met my sheplierd lad, ... . • • • . 880 


Cauld blaws the wind frae east to west, 

The drift is driving sairly, ....«••«. 393 


Down by the burn, where scented birks, 

Wi' dew »»■« hanging clear, my jo, ....••. 413 



Sweet closes the evening on C]<iigie-burn wood, 
And blitliely awakens the morrow, 



Then let me range by Cassilis' banks, 
\Vi' her, the lassie dear to me, 



Yon wild mossy mountains, sae lofty and wide, 
That nurse in their bosom the youth o' the Clyde, 


Notes to "Hallowekn, ' anjj GLObSARY, . , To be placed at end of Volume. 




The Twa Dogs, a Tale, .... 

The Cottar's Saturday Night, . 

Scotch Drink, ..... 

The Author'.s Earnest Cry and Prayer, 

The Auld Farmer's New-year Morning Salutation to his auld 

A Winter Night, .... 

Epistle to Davie, .... 

To a Mouse, ..... 

Winter, a Dirge, .... 

The Death and Dying Words of Poor Mailie, . 
Poor Mailie's Elegy, .... 

Tarn o' Shanter, a Tale, .... 

A Prayer undei' the pressure of violent anguish. 
The Humble Petition of Bruar Water, 
Address to the Unco Guid, 
The Brigs of Ayr, .... 

Address to the Shade of Thomson, 
Despondency, an Ode, .... 

A Dream, ..... 

Address to Edinburgh, .... 

To a Mountain Daisy, ...... 

On seeing a Wounded Hare limp by, ^ 

The Vision, . . . o . 

Elegy on the late Miss Burnet, 

Halloween, ..... 

On a Scotch Bard .... 

A Mother's Lament for the Death of her Sf>u, 
Epistie to J. Lapraik, . . . ■ 

To the same, ..... 














A Dedication to G. Hamilton, Esq., . 

To a Haggis, .... 

To Miss Logan, .... 

To Paiin, .... 

Epistle to a Young Friend, 

A Prayer in the Prospect of Death, 

Stanzas on the same occasion, . 

The First Psalm, 

A Prayer, left by the Author at a Reverend Friend's 

To Robert Graham, Esq., of Fintry, 

Death and Dr. Hornbook, 

To a Louse, .... 

Written with a Pencil over a Chimney-piece, 

To W. Simpson, Ochiltree, 

On Reading of the Death of John M'Leod, Esq., 

To Robert Graham, Esq., of Fintry, . 

To the Rev. John M'Math, 

On Scaring Water-fowl in Loch-Turit, 

Elegy on Captain Mathew Henderson, 

The Epitaph on the same. 

Ode sacred to the memory of Mrs. Oswald, 

To Mr. M'Adam, of Craigen-gillan, 

New Year's Day, a Sketch, 

To Miss Cruickshanks, a very young Lady, 

Poetical Address to Mr. William Tytler, 

A Bard's Epitaph, 

Lament of Mary Queen of Scots, 

Second Epistle to Davie, 

Stanzas on the Birth of a Posthumous child, 

On Captain Grose's Peregrinations, 

Verses on Dining with Lord Daer, 

To Dr. Blacklock, 

To Chi oris, ...» 

The Rights of Woman, 

Epistle to a Gentleman, 

On Pastoral Poetry, 

Fragment to the Right Hon. C. J. Fox, 

To a young Lady, 

Monody on a Lady famed for her Caprice, 

Sonnet on the Death of Robert Riddel, Esq., 

The Inventory, .... 

To Miss Jessy Lewars, . . 

house where he 




Impromptu, on Mrs. Riddel's Birtliday, 

Poem addressed to ]\Ir. Mitchell, 

Sketch, , . , . . 

Poem on Life, .... 

Address to the Toothache, 

On Sensibility, .... 

To William Creech, Esq., 

Liberty, a fragment, 

Clarinda, .... 

The Vowels, a Tale, 

The Guidwife of Wauchope-honse to Robert Burns, 

To Mrs. Scott of Wauchope-house, 

Scots Prologue, .... 

Lines written on a Bank-note, . 

Letter to James Tennaut of Glenconner, 

To Jaines Smith, 

Lament, when the Author was about to leave Scotland 

The Jolly Beggars, 

A Vision, .... 

The Hermit, .... 

The Five Carlins, 

Written with a Pencil, at the Fall of Fyers, 

On the Death of Sir James Hunter Blair, 

Prologue, spoken by Mr. Woods, 

On the Death of a Favourite Child, 

Man was made to IVIourn, 

Address to Beelzebub, . 

To the Owl, .... 

To J. Lapraik, .... 

Elegy on the Death of Robert Ruisseaux, 

On the Death of the late Lord President, 

Willie Chalmers, , . 

Lord Gregory, . 

The American War, 

The Lament, 

Tarn Samson's Elegy, . 

To Terraughty on his Birth -day, 

Farewell to the Brethren of St. James' Lodge, 

Farewell to Ayrshire, . 

Lament for James, Earl of Glencairn, 

First Six Verses of the Ninetieth Psalm, 

Delia, an Ode, , . . . 



Auld Rob IMorris, 

Epistle to R. Graham, Esq., 

Sonnet written on the Author's Birth-day, 

The Twa Herds, 

To John Taylor, 

Epistle to Mr. Hugh Parker, . 

Address spoken by Miss Fontenelle, 

Extempore in the Court of Session, 

A Toast at a Dinner of Volunteers, 

Prologue spoken at the Theatre, 

Written in Friars -carse Hermitage, 

Letter to John Goudie, Kilmarnock, 

To Gavin Hamilton, Esq., Mauchline, 

The Farewell, . 

Epistle to Major Logan, 

The Highland Widow's Lamen 

Address to the Deil, 

To Mr. Cunningham, . 

To John M'Murdo, Esq., 

To a Lady, . • 























Address to the Wood] ark, 
Adown winding Nith I did wander, 
Afton "Water, 

Amang the trees, . . 

Anna, thy charms, 
-A red, red rose, . 
A rose-bud by my early walk, . 
As I was a wandering, . 
Auld Lang Syne, 
Banks of Cree, . 
Behold the hour, 
Bessy and her spinning wheel, . 
Blithe hae I been on yon hill, . 
Blithe was she, . 
Bonnie Ann, 
Bonnie Bell, 
Bonnie Jean, 
Bonnie Lesley, . 
Bonnie Peg, 
Bonnie Peggy Alison, 
Bruce's Address to his army at Bannockburn, 
By Allan Stream, 

Ca' the ewes to the knowes, 
Canst thou leave me thus, my Katyl 
Castle Gordon, . 
Chloe, .... 
Come boat me o'er to Charlie, , 
Come, let me take thee. 
Coming through the rye, 
Contented wi' little, 
Country lassie, 
Craigie-burn Wood, 
Dainty Davie, . 
Damon and Sylvia, 
Deluded swain, . 



Down the Burn, Davie, 
Duncan Gray, • 

Evan Banks, 
Fair Eliza, 
Fair Jenny, 

Fairest maid on Devon Banks, 
Farewell, thou stream, . 
Farewell to Nancy, 
-For a' that, and a' that, 
For the sake of Somebody, 
Forlorn, my love, 
Frae the friends and land I love 
Gal la Water, . 
Gane is the day, 
Gloomy December, 
Green grow the rashes. 
Had I a cave, . 
Hark ! the mavis. 
Her flowing locks. 
Here's a health, 
Here's to thy health, my bonn 
Hey for a lass wi' a tocher. 
Highland Mary, 
How cruel are the parents. 
How lang and dreary is the ni; 
Husband, husband, cease your 
I am my Mammie's ae bairn, 
I do confess thou art sae fair, 
I dream'd I lay where flowers 
I'll aye ca' in by yon town, 
It is na, Jean, thy bonnie face, 
Jessie, . 

Jockey's ta'en the parting kiss 
John Anderson my jo, . 
John Barleycorn, 
Kenmure's on and awa. 
Lassie wi' the lint white locks. 
Last May a braw wooer. 
Let not woman e'er complain, 
Logan Braes, 
Lovely Davies, 



were sprmgmg, 




Lovely Polly Stewart, . 
Mark yonder pomp, 
Mary Morison, . 
Meg o' the Mill, 
Menie, . 
Merry hae I been teethin' a heckle, 
Montgomerie's Peggy, . 
M'Pherson's Farewell, . 
Musing on the roaring ocean. 
My bonnie Mary, 
My Chloris, 

My father was a farmer, 
My heart's in the Highlands, 
My Jean, 
My lady's gown there's gairs upon't, 
My Jockey's the jewel, . 
My Nannie, 0, . 
My Nannie's awa. 
My wife's a winsome wee thing, 
Nancy, . 

Nithsdale's welcome hame, 
Of a' the airts the wind can blaw, 
bonnie was yon rosy brier, 
for ane and-twenty, Tam ! 
• -- O, wert thou in the cauld blast, 
lassie, art thou sleeping yet 1 
lay thy loof in mine, lass, 
leave Novels, . 
luve will venture in, , 
O May, thy morn, 
Mally's meek, Mally's sweet, 
On a bank of flowers, . 
On Cessnock Banks, 
On Chloris being ill. 
One night as I did wander, 
On the Battle of Sherriff"-nuiir, 
On the seas and far away, 
once I loved a bonnie lass. 
Open the door to me. Oh ! 
poortith cauld, 






raging fortune's withering blast, .... 


saw ye my Pliely, 


wat ye wha's in yon town, . 


0, were I on Parnassus' hill, . 


wlm is she that lo'es me I . 


whar did ye get ] 


Peggy, . . . > • 


My Peggy's face, 


Peggy's Charms, 


Phillis the Fair, 


Prayer for Mary, 


Raging winds around her blowing, 


Robin shure in Ifairst, . 


She's fair and fause. 


She says she lo'es me best of a', 


Sic a wife as Willie had, 


Song of Death, .... 


Stay, my charmer. 


Strathallan's Lament, . 


St. Stephen's House, 


Sweetest May, . 


Sweet fa's the eve, 




The Auld Man, . 


The Author's Farewell to his Native C 


. 340 

The Banks o' Doon, 

. 305 

The Banks of Nith, 

. 160 

The Banks of the Devon, 

. 353 

The Belles of IMuuchline, 

. 371 

The Birks of Aberfeldy, 

. 332 

The Blissful Day, 

. 370 

The Blue-eyed Lassie, . 

. 316 

The blude-red rose at Yule may blaw, 

. 459 

The Bonnie Blink o' Mary's ee, 

. 447 

The Bonnie Lad that's far awa, 

. 379 

The Bonnie Wee Thing, 

. 341 

The Braes o' Ballochmyle, 

. 396 

The Chevalier's Lament, 

. 441 

The Cure for all Care, . 

. 274 

The Deil's awa wi' the Exciseman, 

. 343 

The Deuks dang owre my Daddie, 

, 387 

The Dumfries Volunteers, 

. 284 



The Gallant Weaver, . 

The Gardener, . 

The Gowden Locks of Anna, 

The heather was blooming, 

The Highland Laddie, . 

The Highland Lassie, . 

The Lass of Ballochmyle, 

The lazy mist, . 

The Lea Rig, . 

The lovely lass o' Inverness, 

The Lover's Morning Salute to his Mistress, 

The Ploughman, 

The Rigs o' Barley. 

The weary Fund o' Tow, 

The winter it is past, . 

The Young Highland Rover, 

There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame 

There's a youth in this city. 

There was a bonnie lass, 

There was a lad was born in Kyle, 

There was a lass, 

Their groves o' sweet myrtle. 

Thou hast left me ever, Jamie 

Tibbie Dunbar, 

Tibbie, I hae seen the day, 

This is no my ain lassie, 

To Mary, 

To I\Iary, 

To Mary in Heaven, . 

To thee, lov'd Nith, 

'Twas na her bonnie blue ee, 

Up in the morning early, 

Verses to an Old Sweetheart, 

Wae is my heart. 

Wandering Willie, 

Wee Willie Gray, 

When first I cam to Stewart Kyle, 

When wild war's deadly blast was blawn, 

AVhistle and I'll come to you, my lad 

Whistle o'er the lave o't. 

Wilt thou be my dearie 1 

Willie brewed a peck o' maut, . 



Wha is that at my bower door 1 
What can a young lassie, 
Why, why tell thy lover ] 
Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon, 
Yon wild mossy mountains, 
Young Jessy, • • * 

Young Jockey, • 
Young Peggy, . 





Epitaph on the Author's Father, 

Epitaph on a Friend, . 

On Miss J. Scott, 

Inscription on the Tombstone of Ferguson, 

On the death of a lap-dog, named Echo, 

Lines sent to Sir John Whitefoord, 

Extempore, 1782, 

Lines written and presented to Mrs. Kemble, 

Spoken Extempore, on a young Lady, . 

A Grace before IMeat, . 

A Grace after Meat, 

The Kirk of Lamington, 

Lines written on a Tumbler, . 

On John Dove, innkeeper, 

Epitaph on the Poet's Daughter, 

Out over the Forth, 

Epigram at an Lin, Inverary, . 

Verses to the Landlady at Roslin, 

On Mr. M'Murdo, 

The Solemn League and Covenant, 

Extemporaneous EfFusion, 

Jessy Lewars, .... 

The Toast, .... 

Epitaph on Jessy Lewars, 

The Recovery of Jessy Lewars, 







To Mr. John Murdoch, . 

To Mr. Aitken, . 

To Mrs. Dunlop, of Dunlop, 

To Mrs. Dunlop, 

To Dr. Moore, . 

To the Rev. G. Lawrie, . 

To Dr. Moore, . 

To the Eurl of Glencairn, 

To the Earl of Buchan, 

To Mrs. Dunlop, 

To the Rev. Dr. Hugh Blair, 

To Mr. Gilbert Burns, . 

To the Earl of Glencairn, 

To Sir John Whitefoord, 

To Mr. P. Hill, 

To R. Graham, Esq., of Fintry. 

To the Editor of the Star, 

To Mrs. Dunlop, 

To Miss Davies, 

To Mrs. Dunlop, 

To Mr. Cunningham, 

To Mr. M'Auley, of Dumbarton 

To R. Graham, Esq., of Fintry 

To Mrs. Dunlop, 

To Charles Sharpe, Esq, of Hoddam, 

To Mrs. Dunlop, 

To Mrs. Dunlop, 

From A. F. Tytler, Esq, 

To A. F. Tytler, Esq., 

To Mrs. Dunlop, 

To Miss Davies, 

To Mrs. Dunlop, 

To Miss Craik, . 

To John M'Murdo, Esq 

To Mr. Cunningham. 

'To Mrs. Dunlop, 





To Mrs. Dunlop, 

To Mr. Cunningham, . 

To Mrs. Burns, 

To a Femyle Friend, 

To the same, 

To the same. 

To the same, 

To James Burness, Montrose, . 

To Miss , 

To Mr. John Richmond, Edinburgh, 

To Miss Margaret Chalniert-, . 

To the same, . . : 

To the same, 

To the same. 

To the same, . . . 

To the same. 

To Mr. Richard Brown. Irvine, 

To Miss Chalmers, 

To Mr. Robert Ainslie, . 

To Mr. Robert Ainslie, . 

To Mr. Beugo, Edinburgh, 

To Mr. Robert Ainslie, . 

To Mr. Robert Ainslie, . 

To Mr Richard Brown, . 

To Mr, W. Nicol, 

To Crawford Tait, Esq., Edinburgh, 

To Mr. Alexander Dalziel, 

To Francis Grose, Escj., F.A.S., 

To Robert Graham, Esq., 

To John Francis Erskine, Esq., of Mar 

To Mr. Robert Ainslie, 

To Miss Kennedy, 

To Lady Glencairn, 

To the Earl of Glencairn, 

To the Earl of Buchan, 

To the Editors of the Morning Chronic 


To the Provost and Council of Dumfries, 

Selections from Letters to Clariuda, 



ROBERT BURNS, the poet of Scotland, and the greatest lyric of modern times, was 
born in a cottage about two miles from the town of Ayr, on the 25th January, 1759. 
His father, William Burness — for so William spelt the family name — had migrated to 
Ayrshire from the north, where his father, the poet's grandfather, Robert Burnes — 
another variation of the name — occupied the farm of Clockenhill in Kincardineshire, 
under the Earls Marischal. A family tradition averred that the Burnesses had been 
" out for the Stuarts," and although the particulars have never been correctly ascer- 
tained, the tradition was believed by the poet, and may account for his Jacobite 
tendencies, which could have no birthplace in the covenanting county of Ayr. It 
may, perhaps, also have influenced the migration of Robert's father, who, on his arrival 
in Ayrshire, Avas employed as a gardener, first by the laird of Fairlie, and afterwards 
by Mr. Crawford of Doonside. He then, on the banks of the Doon, rented seven 
acres of land for a nursery ground, and tliere, with his own hands, he built the cottage 
in which Robert was ushered into his feverish and unrequited life. The poet's mother, 
Agnes, daugliter of Gilbert Brown of Graigenton in Carrick, had little education 
beyond that of being able to read her Bible; but the poet's father was a man of hard- 
headed intelligence, and encouraged learning according to his ability ; sent Robert to 
a little school at Alloway-mill; and took the principal part in establishing a young 
•* dominie," John Murdoch, from whom Robert learned to read. William was a worthy 
specimen of the class that Scotland, for the last fifty years, has been so industriously 
engaged in expatriating — the Scottish peasant — a man who wrought hard, believed 
his faith, practised integrity, had the fear of God before him, and wished to bring up 
his children well — indulged in speculative theology, and fought his battle of life 
unflinchingly. He never throve ; yet, with adverse wind and tide, he held his face 
ever firm towards the blast, and in a very limited sphere exhibited qualities that bad 
the elements of greatness. When Robert was seven years of age, his father removed 
to the farm of Mount Oliphant, and there Robert wrought his daily work, as was the 
custom of the farmer's son. At fifteen he could do the work of a man. His form was 
robust ; yet overtasked by labour before the frame was knit, the nervous constitution, 
though it did not gixe way, received a strain, from which there was no after recovery. 
The melancholy of later times, and perhaps, moreover, the strong temptation to excite- 
ment, may have originated in the excessive labours of youth. The muscular fibre re- 
mained, but the nervous fibre was overstrung, and never afterwards acquired the faculty 
of repose. Few men have entered on life under less favourable circumstances. On the 

xviii MEMOIR 

one hand, he liad been brought up under the narroAv formalisms of a cold theology ; on 
the other, he had in him that spirit of fervid impulse which seeks to break through all 
barriers, and embrace all creation in the arms of love. When lit by love, genius, and 
passion, the peasant poet rushed into a tumult of fitful, fiery existence, throwhig around 
the coruscations of his meteoric nature — not living, but burning out a life, with flame 
and smoke swaying hither and thither till the fire burnt out, and the ashes of a noble 
nature alone remained marking the funeral-place of grand endowments. The marvel 
is not that his course was in some sense irregular, but that he lived to accomplish, 
with untiring industry, his wondrous treasure-store of song — that the warbling wood- 
note wild had not been quenched in the revelries that brought for a time forgetfulness 
of pain ; and that, under the hostility of all surrounding influences, he could still pour 
forth such matchless gems of lyric beauty. Burns commenced his poetic career by a 
love-song, Handsome Nell — "Oh! once I loe'd a bonnielass;" and plainly enough this 
doggerel was only the expression of his calf-love, when he thought he ought to be in 
love, but was not. In 1777 his father removed to the farm of Lochlea in the parish of 
Tarbolton, where William made a bad bargain, by taking one hundred and thirty 
acres of bad land at twenty shillings an acre. From this place Robert went to 
Kirkoswald to school, and by his own account learned many more things than mensu- 
ration and surveyhig. "I made," he says in the fragment of his autobiography, "'a 
greater progress in the knowledge of mankind. The contraband trade was at that 
time very successful, and it sometimes happened to me .to fall in with those who 
carried it on. Scenes of swaggering riot and roaring dissipation were till this time 
new to me, but I was no enemy to social life. Here, though I learnt to fill my glass, 
and to mix without fear in a drunken squabble, yet I went on with a high hand with 
my geometry, till the sun entered Virgo, a month which is always a carnival in my 
bosom, when a charming Jileiie, who lived next door to the school, overset my trigo- 
nometry, and set me off at a tangent from the sphere of my studies." The peculiarity 
of Burns' zodiac seems to have been, that all its signs were signs of Virgo. He was 
always in love, or in something like it. His first articulate utterance in song was "writ 
with a plume from Cupid's wing;" his last, seven days before the final delirium, told 
the same tale — " No love but thine my heart shall know." Up to his twenty-thii'd 
year Burns held on the same course. " Vive I'amour, et vive la bagatelle," were, he 
says, his principles of action, not knowing that he was making an utter mistranslation 
of his feelings. Nothing in his eyes was a bagatelle. He adds indeed, in sufficient 
contradiction — " My passions, when once lighted up, raged like so many devils, till 
they got vent in rhyme." He had the strong impulses of a man who had a future, 
but up to his twenty-third year he lived an irreproachable life of homely industry, as 
the eldest and most aiding son of a small farmer. Men of similar stamp, though not 
of similar genius, still grow in Ayrshire, their number rapidly diminishing before the 
march of the modern change of manners, and the exigencies of agricultural improve- 
ment. About this time he appears to have composed his first song of note, "My 
Nannie O!" "Behind yon hill where Stinchar flows," the name of the river being, 
with contemptible affectation, changed to Stinsiar. Even Burns was prevailed upon 
to substitute " Lugar." The vale of Stinchar is one of the most beautiful in Scotland, 
well worthy of an Ayrshire poet's celebration. 


"My twenty-third year," says Burns, "was to me an important era. Partly 

through whim, and partly that I wished to sot about doing something in life" (most 
probably with a view of marriage), "I joined a flax-dresser in the neighbouring town 
of Irvine. This was an unlucky affair. ... As we were giving a welcome 
carousal to the new year, the shop took fire, and burned to ashes, and I was left, 
like a true poet, not worth a sixpence. I was obliged to give up this scheme. The 
clouds of misfortune were gathering thick round my father's head, and what was 
worst of all, he was visibly far gone in consumption ; and to crown my distresses, a 
hclle jille, whom I adored, and who had pledged her soul to meet me in the field of 
matrimony, jilted me with peculiar circumstances of mortification. The finishing evil, 
that brought up the rear of this infernal pile, was my constitutional melancholy being 
increased to such a degree, that for three months I was in a state of mind scarcely to 
be envied by the hopeless wretches who have got their mittimus." At Irvine Burns 
learned something of a town life, and formed a friendship with a young fellow, "a 
very noble character," whose knowledge of the world was vastly superior to his own, 
and who was the only man he ever saw who was a greater fool than himself, where 
woman was the presiding star; "but he spoke of illicit love with the levity of a 
sailor, which hitherto I had regarded with horror. Here his friendship did me a 
mischief, and the consequence was that soon after I resumed the plough, and wrote 
'The Poet's Welcome.'" 

Burns remained at Lochlea, in the performance of his prdinary farm-work, until 
he was twenty-five years of age. He had there written "Poor Mailie," "John Barley- 
corn," " Mary Morrison," and some other pieces. At Lochlea his father died, on the 
13th February, 1784, not without presentiments that the future course of Robert's life 
would be in the wandering by-paths from which, with puritan fortitude, he had so 
carefully preserved his own footsteps. The old man pointed out that there was one 
of his family for whom he feared. Robert turned to the window, and with a smothered 
sob and a scalding tear acknowledged that he knew the meaning of the reproof He 
seems also to have made some serious resolutions of amendment, which he kept for 
a time. The old man was buried in Alloway kirk -yard, and on the headstone of his 
grave the poet son paid the following tribute to the puritan father : — 

" Oh ye whose cheek the tear of pity stains, 
Draw near with pious rev'rence and attend ! 
Here lie the loving husband's dear remains, 
The tender father, and the generous friend ; 
The pitying heart that felt for human woe, 
The dauntless heart that feared no human pride; 
The friend of man, to vice alone a foe : 
'For even his failings leaned to virtue's side."* 

Whatever Robert may have been at Lochlea, it is tolerably certain that he had not 
learned to join extravagance to his other accomplishments. His brother Gilbert kept 
the family accounts, and knew the outgoings. Robert received as wages — not an unusual 
thing in Scottish farming families — the munificent sum of seven pounds sterling per 
annum; and this sum Gilbert assures us he did not exceed. He was frugal, temperate, 
and " everythina; that could be wished." In the spring of 1784, the family removed 



to the farm of Mossgiel, in the parish of Mauchfine ; the sons and daughters of "Wilham 
Burness having, by ranking as creditors for arrears of wages, saved from the clutches 
of Scotch law a small amount of stock to begin the new adventure. Here Robert 
commenced his intended reformation — -read tanning books, calculati^d crops, attended 
markets, and believed that, " in spite of the world, the flesh, and the devil, he would 
be a wise man." But the first year, unfortunately, he bought bad seed, and the 
second he lost half his crops by a late harvest. The fates were adverse, or at least 
unpropitious, and he solaced himself with verse, producing a grand prayer, some 
psalms, " Green grow the rashes, O," &c. He siiffpred much from constitutional 
melancholy, and kept a barrel of water at his bedside, into which he plunged when 
attacked by fainting fits. He struggled on, however, attended a free-mason lodge, and 
learned that sort of sociality. He also made ^quaintance with Jean Armour — 

" A dancin', sweet, young, handsome quean, 
0' guileless heart " — 

to whom, in the strict moral sense of the word, he was undoubtedly married, but 
who, at the instigation of her father, thought prop'^r still to consider herself a single 
woman. The father — Armour, a stone-mason — reckoned Burns too poor to marry 
his daughter, and notwithstanding the accident of a prospective baby, calculated 
that she might still make a better match — a species of caution which approaches 
the horrible ; but, poor man ! his moral principles were sufficiently accommodating, 
and the church was satisfied if transgressors in this department went through the 
formality of public censure. Burns, in fact, had to do his penance, and to stand a 
rebuke before the congregation of Mauchline, Oth August, 17S6, being indulged in 
the liberty "of standing in my own seat," instead of on the stool of repentance, 
profanely called " ciittie." Jean, however, ultimately became Mrs. Burns, and was 
publicly acknowledged to be his wedded wife, August 5, 1788. 

We have now shortly to trace Burns' literary career. This he explains in a few 
words in the fragment of his autobiography: — "The first eminent composition that I 
recollect taking pleasure in was the Vision of Mirza, and a hymn of Addison's. 
The two first books I ever read in private, and which gave me more pleasure than any 
two books I ever read since, were the Life of Hannibal, and the History of Sir William 
Wallace. . . . Polemical divinity, about this time, was putting the country 

half mad, and I, ambitious of shining in conversation parties on Sundays between 
sermons, at funerals, &c., used, a few years afterwards, to puzzle Calvinism with so 
much heat and indiscretion, that 1 raised a hue and cry of heresy against me, which 
has not ceased to this hour." He here condenses his literary life into the smallest 
possible compass — poetry, patriotism, and opposition to the ecclesiastical system which 
prevailed in his time, and which, by the concuri'ent opinion of all present authorities, 
was sufficiently deplorable. He was a poet, a patriot, and a "heretic." But he tells 
us, also, that when he was a boy, an old woman resided in the family who had an 
extraordinary collection of tales and songs concerning devils, ghosts, fairies, brownies, 
witches, warlocks, &c. To poetry, patriotism, and " heresyj" therefore, must be added 
the popular demonology of his youth. " But far beyond all other impulses of my 
heart," says Burns, " was un penchant a Vadorable moitie du genre humain. My heart 


was completely tinder, and was eternally lighted up by some goddess or other." 
Add to these a passionate love of nature, and the marvellous power of description 
with which he could convey his appreciation of nature's loveliness, and we see 
at once the ori"-in of all that Burns ever wrote, and how it was that the author 
of the "Cotter's Saturday Night" should also be the author of his merciless satires; 
how the hand that could write" verses " To a Mouse," or " To a Mountain Daisy," could 
pen also "Scots wha hae;" how the wonderful epic, "Tam o' Shanter," sprang from 
the witch and warlock teachings of the old woman who dwelt in his father's house; 
and how, above all, his first song and his last were devoted to beauty, to woman, and 
to love. 

At Lochlea Burns had not written much. It was at Mossgiel in 1784, 1785, and 
1786, that he laid the foundation of his fame, and resolved to publish his first volume. 
The publication fell out in this wise. When Jean jilted him in 1786, he resolved to 
go to the West Indies, and actually accepted the office of bookkeeper on a slave estate. 
But he was poor — that being the reason that Jean did jilt him. He therefore applied 
to his landlord, wud advised him to publish his poems by subscription, and Burns, 
acting on this advice, had subscription papers thrown off, and circulated among his 
friends, whose fancy had probably been more tickled by his satires than attracted by 
his poetic powers. All this he tells us in his own concise way — "I have tried often 
to forget her ; I have rim into all kinds of dissipation and riot, mason meetings, 
drinkinfr matches, and other mischief, lo drive her out of my head, but all in vain. 
And now for a grand cure ; the ship is on her way home that is to take me out to 
Jamaica ; and then, farewell dear old Scotland, and farewell dear ungrateful Jean, for 
never, never will I see you more. You" (the correspondent to whom he is writing) "will 
have heard that I am going to commence poet in print, and to-morrow, June 13, 1786, 
my works go to the press. I expect it will be a volume of about two hundred pages ; 
it is just the last foolish action I intend to do, and then turn a wise man as fast as 
possible." At this time Highland Mary had gone home to her friends, to make pre- 
parations for her marriage Avith Burns; one of his songs being, "Will ye go to the 
Indies, my Mary." A bookseller in Kilmarnock, afterwards the founder of the Ayr 
Advertiser^ undertook the business of publication, and the volume appeared in July, 
under the title, "Poems, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect, by llobert Burns," with the 

motto — 

" The simple bard, unbroke to rules of art, 
He pours the wild effusions of the heart; 
And if inspired, 'tis nature's powers inspire — 
Hers all the melting thrill, and hers the kindling f5re." 

It contained about thirty of his best poems, including "The Cotter's Saturday .Night," 
and a few songs. The speculation produced twenty pounds of profit to the poet, and 
immediate popularity. " Even ploughboys and maid-servants would have gladly 
bestowed the wages they earned most hardly, and which they required to purchase 
necessary clothing, if they might but procure the works of Burns." 

But not only did "ploughboys and maid-servants" discover that there was merit in 
the "Poems, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect." A copy had reached Edinburgh, and had 
elicited the favourable criticism of those who, at that time, were supposed capable of 

xxii MEMOIR 

judging. Within three months of the publication of the volume at Kilmarnock^ Bums 
resolved to go to Edinburgh, and try his fortune there with a second edition, instead 
of going to the West Indies, although it appears that his passage was actually taken. 
He went to Edinburgh, and was received into society — was feasted, admired, and, 
above all, patronized. He saw tlie aristocracy of the land, and the aristocracy saw 
him — Robert Burns, the ploughman from Ayrshire, whose name will still be familiar 
as a household-word, when all with whom he came in contact will be consigned to 
oblivion, or only remembered as having been once seen in the presence of the Scottish 
bard who sung the requiem of lowland Scotland. He was patronized, " glowered 
at," and thought a wonder of some kind, but of what particular kind the ladies and 
gentlemen with whom he came in contact were not particularly certain. He was a 
" phenomenon," and as a phenomenon he was treated, and was lionized accordingly, 
and in that manner. His visit to Edinburgh probably did him more harm than good. 
However he may have preserved the independence of his bearing, he was false to 
the integrity of his own nature; and, accordingly, we find him writing verses to 
be placed below an earl's portrait, epistles to Mr. Graham of Fintry, prologue at 
Mr. Wood's benefit, letters to Clarinda, and much similar matter, which might well 
be forgotten had it not been written by him. One noble thing he did, however, 
which shows him in the light of a true man — he placed a stone and an epitaph on 
the grave of Robert Ferguson, poet, and this, be it remembered, before publishing 
a second time, or receiving the proceeds of a second edition of his works. The 
Edinburgh edition came out in April, 1787, no less than two thousand eight hundred 
copies being subscribed for ; the Caledonian Hunt taking a hundred copies at a guinea 
apiece. By this edition Burns made about four hundred pounds, including one 
hundred pounds received for the copyright. 

From Edinburgh he made an excursion through the south of Scotland and into 
England, as far as Newcastle. He visited Dunse, Coldstream, Kelso, Jedburgh, Inner- 
leithen, Traquair, Berwick, Eyemouth, Dunbar, Alnwick, Newcastle, Carlisle, and 
Dumfries, and returned to Mauchline ; from which place he again set out on a trip to 
the west Highlands, where " I have lately been rambling over by Dumbarton and 
Inverary, and running a drunken race on the side of Lochlomond with a wild High- 
landman. His horse, which had never known the ornament of iron or leather, zig- 
zao-ged across my old spavined hunter, Avhose name is Jenny Geddes, and down came 
the Highlandman, horse and all, and down came Jenny and my hardship ; so T have 
got such a skinful of bruises and wounds, that I shall be at least four weeks before I 
dare venture on my journey to Edinburgh." He reached Edinburgh in August, and 
before the end of the month set out on his principal Highland tour, passing by Falkirk, 
Carron, Stirling, Bannockburn, Blair-Athole, Inverness, Banff, Aberdeen, Stonehaven, 
Montrosfe, Perth, Lochleven, Dunfermline, and back to Edinburgh, near the end of 
October. In Edinburgh he remained till February, writing the Clarinda letters, then 
made a short run through to Ayrshire ; during which he concluded a bargain for the 
farm of Ellisland, on the banks of the Nith, about five or six miles above the town of 
Dumfries. He made another short visit to Edinburgh, and left that city apparently on 
the 24th March, 1788. The above places visited by Burns we have enumerated, 
because these journeyings not only form the subject of many of his letters, but because 

MEMOIR xxiii 

traces of them have been left in his poems. He returned again to Ayrshire for a time, 
and in June, 1788, took up his residence at his new farm of EUisland, where, among 
other things he wrote the Avonderful song, " Auld Langsyne," which, from that day to 
this, has moved the heart of Scotland; and the, perhaps, more wonderful "Tam o^ 
Shanter," in its construction and in its marvellous power of narration the most perfect 
of all hobgoblin epics. 

In the autumn of 1789 Burns, moved by an increasing family, applied to Mr. 
Graham of Fintry to procure him an appointment as excise officer of the district. The 
appointment was granted, and EUisland being as bad a bargain as usually fell to the lot 
of the poet, he thought that he had been "extremely lucky in getting an additional 
income of £50 a year, while at the same time the appointment will not cost me above 
£10 or £12 per annum of expenses more than I must have eventually incurred." It 
had its drawbacks, however; " the worst circumstance is that the excise division which 
I have got is so extensive — no less than ten parishes to ride ovei" — and it abounds, 
besides, with so much business that I can scarcely steal a spare moment." He had to 
ride from a hundred and fifty to two hundred miles a week, and for this he received 
a salary of £50 a year. This was his national reward. Genius was cheap in 

At EHisland we catch a glimpse of him. "In the summer of 1791 two English 
gentlemen, who had before met him in Edinburgh, paid a visit to him at EUisland. 
On calling at the house they were informed that he had walked out on the banks of 
the river; and, dismounting from their horses, they proceeded in search of him. On 
a rock that projected into the stream they saw a man employed in angling, of a 
singular appearance. He had a cap made of fox's skin on his head, a loose greatcoat 
fixed round him by a belt, from which depended an enormous Highland broadsword. 
It was BuriK." EUisland, however, was a bad, or perhaps rather an unprofitable 
farm, and Mr. Graham of Fintry once more exerted his influence to procure for Burns 
another appointment — that of exciseman at Dumfi'ies, with a salary of £70. To 
Dumfries, therefore, Burns removed in Dec, 1791, leaving nothing at EUisland but a 
putting-stone and £300 of his money. At Dumfries he remained in the performance 
of his duties till September, 1792, when he received a communication from Edinburgh, 
requesting him to contribute to the work afterwards published as the " Melodies of 
Scotland, with symphonies and accompaniments for the piano-forte, violin, &c. The 
poetry chiefly by Burns. The whole collected by George Thomson, F.A.S.E. In 
5 vols. London : T. Preston ; and Edinburgh : G. Thomson." To this work Burns 
contributed a hundred songs, for which he received £5, a shawl for his wife, and 
a picture by David Allan, representing the "Cotter's Saturday Night." He did not 
return the money, as that " would savour of affectation ; but as to any more 
traffic of that debtor and creditor kind, I swear by that honour, which crowns the 
upright statue of Kobert Burns' integrity, on the least motion of it I will indignantly 
spurn the by-past transaction, and from that moment commence entire stranger 
to you." 

From 1791 Burns remained at Dumfries, writing his many songs. He was an 
exciseman — ochone the day ! — and could reach no higher in social life ; iiaving no 
patronage, on account of his sympathies with the revolutionary movements of France. 


arising, in his case, from an intense love of liberty, and utter detestation of tyranny. 
He was soured. He saw that his fate was decided. Ambition died out of him, even 
though the spirit of poetry lingered to the last, with wreath in hand, to crown the 
grave, if it could not crown the poet. The dark shadows were* closing around the 
great heart that had sung so nobly and so well. Never having mastered himself, he 
had not been able to master fortune. He could not 

" On reason build resolve, 
• That column of true majesty in man." 

He took to the tavern, and wasted his heaven-born talents upon drunken boors. 
He came in contact with none who were worthy of him ; but this, indeed, was the 
fate of his Avhole life. His lot was cast in an evil, small-souled generation. Of 
all who saw him, there is not one worthy of remembrance in connection with his 

As early as December, 1794, when Burns was nearly thirty-six years of age, he 
began to feel that life was fading. "What a transient business is life. Very lately I 
was a boy ; but t'other day I was a young man, and I already begin to feel the rigid 
fibre and stiffening joints of old age coming fast o'er my frame." A year later we find 
him with liis health shattered. "His appetite," says Dr. Currie, "now began to fail, 
his hand shook, and his voice faltered on any exertion or emotion. His pulse became 
weaker and more rapid, and pain in the larger joints, and in the hands and feet, 
deprived him of the enjoyment of refreshing sleep. Too much dejected in his spirits, 
and too well aware of his real situation to entertain hopes of recovery, he was ever 
musing on the approaching desolation of his family, and his spirits sunk into a uniform 
gloom." In April, 1796, "I fear it will be some time before I tune my lyre again. 
By Babel's streams I have sat and wept. I have only known existence by the pressure 
of the heavy hand of sickness, and have counted lime by the repercussions of pain. 
Rheumatism, cold, and fever have formed to me a terrible combination. I close my 
eyes in misery, and open them without hope. I look on the vernal day, and say with 
poor Ferguson — 

' Say, wherefore has an all-indulgent Heaven, 
Light to the comfortless and wretched given?"" 

On the 4th of July, for the benefit of his health, he went to Brow, a sea-bathing 
village on the Sohvay. " I was struck," says a lady who visited him there, " with his 
appearance on entering the room. The stamp of death was imprinted on his features. 
He seemed already touching the brink of eternity." 

On the 12th he wrote thus to his cousin, Mr. James Burns, in Montrose — "When 
you offered me money assistance, little did I think I should want it so soon. A rascal 
of a haberdashei-, to whom I owe a considerable bill " (£7 45. for patriotic volunteer- 
inrr uniibrm), "taking it into his head that I am dying, has commenced a process 
against me, and will infallibly put my emaciated body in jail. Will you be so good 
as to accommodate me, and that by return of post, with ten pounds? Oh, James! 
did you know the pride of my heart, you would feel doubly for me. Alas ! I am not 
used to bepr." 




• " DuMFRiF.s, ISth July, 1796. 

"Mr DEAR Sir, 

"Do, for Heaven's sake, send Mrs. Armour here immediately. My wife is hourly expecting to be put 

to bed. Good God! what a situation for her to be in, poor girl (not yet thirty), without a friend. I returned 

from sea-bathing quarters to-day, and my medical friends would almost persuade me that I am better; but 

I think and feel that my strength is so gone, that the disorder will prove fatal to me. Your son-in-law, 

" R. B." 

The 19th and 20th pass over. The 21st comes and brings delirium. The children 
are sent for and stand round the bed. Last word — a curse on the law agent who had 
written for payment of volunteer uniform. On the 21st July, 1796, Robert Burns is 
no more. On the 25th he is buried with local honours — the volunteers firing three 
volleys over his grave — and the poet's wife bearing a son on the day of the funeral. 

To understand the position of Burns as a poet, he must be placed in relation to 
the history of his country. He belonged to lowland Scotland and rustic Scotland. 
He sang the song, therefore, of lowland and rustic Scottish life. But it was the 
death-song. Lowland Scotland, as a distinct nationality unmingled with extraneous 
elements, came in with two warriors and went out with two bards. It came in with 
William Wallace and Robert Bruce, and went out with Robert Burns and Walter 
Scott. The two first made the history; the two last told the story and sung the song. 

As the modern history of England commences at the Norman conqviest, so the 
modern history of Scotland commences at the war wliich determined whether the 
Norman conquest should or should not extend to the kingdom of Scotland — that is, at 
the war carried on by the Anglo-Norman Edwards. On the part of Scotland, that 
war was maintained by two historic men, the one representing the people, the other 
the aristocracy ; the one representing the Scottish element properly so called, the 
other representing the Scoto-Norman element, which assumed the reins of power and 
became predominant. Wallace was a Scotsman, Bruce was a Scoto-Norman. When 
the Anglo-Norman attempt to conquer the kingdom of Scotland was rolled back by 
Wallace and Bruce, Scotland entered on a national life distinct from that of England, 
and in this national life were the two elements of rustic, or Saxon Scotland, and aristo- 
cratic Scotland. At the Reformation the Saxon element came once more to the 
surface, and the Norman fashion of things underwent a change. In the parliamentary 
wars the two parties are pitched against each other — the covenanters representing 
i-ustic or Saxon Scotland, and the cavaliers representing aristocratic or Norman 
Scotland. Time flowed, and a union with England came about. The two countries 
were to merge into one on equal terms, and the distinct and separate life of Scotland 
was to be merged into a common kingdom. Nominally, the union took place in 
1707, but the real admixture and soldering of the two countries was little more than 
commenced at the end of the last century. Before Scotland could disappear, however, 
she must have her bards, and these appeared not unworthily in Robert Burns and 
Walter Scott — Burns taking the rustic life and ihe rustic language ; Scott taking 
the aristocratic life, and, except in dialogue, the aristocratic iangunge. Burns was 
therefore the national poet of Scotland, exclusive- cf the Norman element. Knight- 


hood was the theme of Scott — manhood the theme of Burns. With poetic j» nee 
both fell victims — Burns to passion, Scott to pride. 

For this purpose, and to be the type of Scottish lowland and lowly life, no man 
ever possessed such qualifications as Burns. He had a vast intellect and a burning 
nature — the sensibility of a woman and the strength of a giant. Had he chosen the 
path of duty instead of indulgence, it is impossible to say what he might not have 
achieved. With regard to intellectual endowment, he has no compeer in the history 
of his country. His intellect has the flash of intense electric light. He searches out 
the quintessence of feeling, and distils it off into expressions so concise and admirable, 
that they burn their way into the innermost existence of those who have the ears to 
hear. In four lines he paints a drama— 

" Had we never loved sae kindly, 
Had we never loved sae blindly. 
Never met — or never parted, 
We had ne'er been broken-hearted." 

In one line he sums up the highest and most universal form of all democracy — 

" A man's a man for a' that." 
In a single verse he prophesies the reign of merit and the advent of human brother- 
hood — 

" Then let us pray that come it may, 
As come it will for a' that, 
That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth, 

May bear the gree and a' that. 
For a' that, and a' that, 

It's coming yet for a' that, 
That man to man, the world o'er. 
Shall brothers be for a' that." 

Tarn o' Shanter, short as it is, is a complete epic, with begiiming, middle, end, and 
moral — a small picture, which, like one of Rembrandt's engravings, exhibits power 
condensed into the smallest compass. 

Burns' language was the lowland Scottish dialect, and in that he wrote naturally. 
English was, if not a foreign, at least an acquired dialect, and he used it with far less 
success than his own. And so true is it that Burns wrote the requiem of lowland 
Scotland, that since his time his very dialect has almost died away. There are very 
few in the present generation who can read Burns without a glossary, and in the next 
generation he will be almost as strange to Scotsmen as to Englishmen. His Scottish 
dialect must ever be a barrier to that universal popularity which he might have 
attained in a language more widely diffused ; but if genius have the inheritance of 
fame, Robert Burns will never disappear from the literature of the world. To a 
Scottish ear, his pathos, his power, his inimitable satire, his floods of native feeling, 
poured forth in words that seem to have been coined expressly for his use; his manly 
independence, his reverential awe, and the solemn majesty of his religious thought — 
enshrine him for ever as the poet of his country. But the moral of his life is dark 

and sad too dark and too sad to be touched on without the deepest and most 

serious reflection on the vanity of human genius when severed from moral resolution. 

MEMOIR xxvii 

The followin"- description of Burns' personal appearance is from Dr. Currie : — 
"Burns was nearly five feet ten inches in height, and of a form that indicated agility 
as well as strength. His well -raised forehead, shaded with black curling hair, indi- 
cated extensive capacity. His eyes were large, dark, full of ardour and intelligence. 
His face was well formed, and his countenance uncommonly interesting and expres- 
sive. His mode of dressing, which was often slovenly, and a certain fullness and 
bend of his shoulders, characteristic of his original profession, disguised in some 
degree the natural symmetry and elegance of his form. The external aj^pearance of 
Burns was most strikingly indicative of the character of his mind. On a first view 
his physiognomy had a certain air of coarseness, mingled, however, with an expres- 
sion of deep penetration, and of calm thoughtfulness, approaching to melancholy. 
There appeared in his first manner and address perfect ease and self-possession, but a 
stern and almost supercilious elevation, not indeed incompatible with openness and 
affability, which, however, bespoke a mind conscious of sviperior talents. Strangers 
who supposed themselves approaching an Ayrshire peasant who could make rhymes, 
and to whom their notice was an honovir, found themselves speedily overawed by the 
presence of a man who bore himself with dignity, and who possessed a singular power 
of correcting forwardness and of repelling intrusion." 

Upwards of a hundred editions of the works of Burns have been published. In 
addition to the first, published at Kilmarnock by John "Wilson in 1786, and the 
second published in Edinburgh in 1787 by William Creech, the following maybe 
mentioned : — The Scots Musical Museum, six vols. 8vo, published between 1787 and 
1803 by James Johnson, engraver, Edinburgh — in this are included one hundred 
and eighty-four songs, written or corrected by Burns ; The Works of Robert Burns 
with an Account of his Life, Liverpool, 1800, Dr. Currie's first edition; Cromek's 
Reliques of Burns, 1808; Life of Burns by J. G. Lockhart, Edinburgh, 1828 (The 
Edinburgh Review, No. 96, for December, 1828, contains a critique on Lockhart's Life 
of Burns by Thomas Carlyle, the only man who could ever have written a life of 
Burns with insight both into the man, and into the whole circumstances of Scottish 
rural life. Properly speaking. Burns' life has not yet been written, and in fifty years 
it will be impossible) ; Works and Life by Allan Cunningham, eight vols., London, 
1834; Works edited by the Ettrick Shepherd and William Motherwell, five vols., 
Glasgow, 1834 ; the Correspondence between Burns and Clarinda, with a Memoir of 
Mrs. M'Lehose (Clarinda), by her Grandson, Edinburgh, 1843; Life and Works, by 
Robert Chambers, Edinburgh, 1852. In America many editions have of course 
appeared, and the French and Germans have tried the rather difficult task of render- 
ing Burns in other languages. The French edition is entitled "Poesies completes de 
Robert Burns, traduites de I'Ecossais par M. Leon de Wailly," Paris, 1843, 


(From the Dumfries Courier, April, 1834.) 

At a late hour on the night of Wednesday, the 2Gth March, 1834, the world and its 
concerns closed for ever on Mrs. Jean Armour — the venerable relict of the Poet Burns. 
On the Saturday preceding she was seized with paralysis, for the fourth time during 
the last few years ; and although perfectly conscious of her situation, and the presence 
of friends, became deprived, before she could be removed to bed, of the f;iculty of 
speech, and a day or two thereafter of the sense of hearing, Still she lay wonderfully 
calm and composed, and, in the opinion of her medical attendant, suffered from weak- 
ness rather than from pain. Frequently she gazed, with the greatest earnestness, on her 
granddaughter Sarah ; and it was easy to read what was passing within, from the 
tears that filled her aged eyes and trickled down her cheeks. To another individual 
she directed looks so eager and lull of meaning, as to impress him with the idea that 
she had some dying request to make, and deeply regretted that it was too late ; for 
even if her salvation had depended on the exertion, she was unfortunately incapacitated 
from uttering a syllable, guiding a pen, or even making an intelligible sign. The mind, 
in her case, survived the body ; and this, perhaps, was the only painful circumstance 
attending her deathbed — considering how admirable her conduct had always been, her 
general health so sound, her span protracted beyond the common lot, her character for 
prudence and piety so well established, and her sitviation in life every way so comfort- 
able. On the night of Tuesday, or morning of Wednesday, a fifth shock, unperceived 
by the attendants, deprived Mrs. Burns of mental consciousness ; and from that time, 
till the hour of her death, her situation was exactly that of a breathing corpse. And 
thus passed away all that remained of "Bonnie Jean" — the relict of a man whose fame 
is as wide as the world itself, and the venerated heroine of many a lay, which bid fair 
to live in the memories of the people of Scotland, and of thousands far removed from 
its shores, as long as the language in which they are written is spoken or understood. 

The deceased was born at Mauchline, in February, 1765, and had thus entered the 
seventieth year of her age. Her father was an industrious master mason, in good 
employment, who enjoyed the esteem of the gentry and others within the district, and 
reared the numerous family of eleven sons and daughters, four of whom still survive — 
viz., Robert, a respectable merchant in London; James, who resides in the town of 
Paisley; Mrs. Lees; and Mrs. Brown. The alleged circumstances attending Mrs. Burns' 
union with the bard are well known, and may be dismissed with the remark, that we 
have good authority for saying, that they have been incorrectly narrated by nearly 


every writer who has touched upon the subject. To the poet, Jean Armour bore a 
family of five sons and four daughters. The whoie of the latter died in early life, and 
were interred in the cemetery of their maternal grandfather in Mauchline churchyard. 
Of the sons two died very young — viz., Francis "Wallace and Maxwell Burns, the last 
of whom was a posthumous child, born the very day his father was buried. Of the 
said family of nine, three sons alone survive — Robert, the eldest, a retired officer of 
the Accountant-General's Department, Stamp-Office, London, now in Dumfries; 
William, ultimately a colonel, and James Glencairn Burns,* a lieutenant-colonel in the 
Hon. the East India Company's Service. 

Burns certainly left his family puor (and how could it be otherwise?), but it is not true, 
as Collector Findlater has most successfully shown, that they were in immediate want, 
or lacked any necessary comfort. The relief fund annuity of an exciseman's widow is 
known to be small (now, we believe, about £12 per annum) ; but Providence, shortly 
after the husband and father's decease, raised to the family many valuable friends. 
Passing exigencies were supplied from this honourable source ; and no lengthened 
period elapsed until the active and disinterested benevolence of Dr. Currie, in con- 
junction with his excellent talents, placed at the feet of the family, to the great delight 
of the people of Scotland, very nearly £2000 sterling, in name of profits arising from 
the Liverpool edition of the poet's works. The poet died in 1796, and up to 1818 his 
widow's income exceeded not, if it equalled, sixty pounds per annum. But on this sum, 
small as it may appear, she contrived to maintain a decent appearance, was never known 
to be in debt, or wanting in cliarity — so unaspiring were her ambition and views, and 
undeviating her prudence, economy, and frugality. At the period just mentioned. 
Captain James Glencairn Burns wrote in breathless haste, from India, to say, that 
having obtained promotion through the kindness of the Marquis of Hastings, he had 
been enabled to set apart £150 yearly for the uses of his mother, and, as an earnest of 
affection, transmitted a draft for £75. And it is due to this gentleman to say, that from 
first to last, including some assistance from his brother, and allowances for his infant 
daughter Sarah, he remitted his mother in all the handsome sum of £2400 sterling. 
Leave of absence, and some other circumstances, at length impaired the means and 
changed the fortunes of the individual alluded to; but Captain William Burns, later in 
life, very cheerfully took his brother's place, and discharged, with equal promptitude, 
generosity, and affection, duties dear to the best and kindliest feelings of our nature. 
In this way, for sixteen years at least, Mrs. Burns enjoyed an income of £200 per 
annum — a change of fortune which enabled her to add many comforts to her decent 
domicile, watch over the education of a favourite grandchild, and exercise on a 
broader scale the Christian duty of charity, which she did the more efficiently by 
acting in most cases as her own almoner. 

The term of Mrs. Burns' widowhood extended to thirty-eight years, in itself rather 
an unusual circumstance — and in July, 1796, when the bereavement occurred, she was 
but little beyond the age at which the majority of females marry. But she had too 
much respect for the memory of her husband, and regard for his children, to think of 
changing her name, although she might have done so more than once with advantage; 
and was even careful to secure on lease, and repair and embellish, as soon as she could 
* This gentleman died in London on the 18th of November, 1865. 


afford it, the decent though modest mansion in which he died. And her^, for more 
than thirty years, she was visited by thousands on thousands of strangers, from the 
peer down to itinerant sonneteers — a class of persons to whom she never refused 
an audience, or dismissed unrewarded. Occasionally, during the summer months, 
she was a good deal annoyed ; but she bore all in patience, and although naturally fond 
of quiet, seemed to consider her house as open to visitors, and its mistress, in some 
degree, the property of the public. But the attentions of strangers neither turned her 
head, nor were ever alluded to in the spirit of boasting; and had it not been for a 
female friend who accompanied her on one occasion to the King's Arms Inn, to meet 
by invitation the marchioness of Hastings, no one would have known that that excellent 
lady directed the present marquis, who was then a boy, to present Mrs. Burns with a 
glass of wine, and at the same time remarked, that " he should consider himself very 
highly honoured, and cherish the recollection of having met the poet's widow, as long 
as he lived." Her's, iu short, was one of those well-balanced minds that cling instinc- 
tively to propriety and a medium in all things ; and such as knew the deceased,^earliest 
and latest, were imconscious of any change in her demeanour and habits, excepting, 
perhaps, greater attention to dress, and more refinement of manner, insensibly acquired 
by frequent intercourse with families of the first respectability. In her tastes she was 
frugal, simple, and pure, and delighted in music, pictures, and flowers. In spring and 
summer it was impossible to pass her windows without being struck with the beauty of 
the floral treasures they contained ; and if extravagant in anything, it was in the article 
of roots and plants of the finest sorts. Fond of the society of young people, she 
mingled, as long as able, in their innocent pleasures, and cheerfully filled for them the 
cup " which cheers but not inebriates." Although neither a sentimentalist nor a "blue 
stocking," she was a clever woman, possessed great shrewdness, discriminated character 
admirably, and frequently made very pithy remarks ; and were this the proper place 
for such a detail, proofs of what is stated might easily be adduced. 

When young, she mvist have been a handsome comely woman, if not indeed a 
beauty, when the poet saw her for the first time on a bleach-green at Mauchline, 
engaged like Peggy and Jenny at Habbie's Howe. Her limbs were cast in the finest 
mould; and up to middle life her jet black eyes were clear and sparkling, her carriage 
easy, and her step light. The writer of the present sketch never saw Mrs. Burns 
dance, nor heard her sing ; but he has learned from others that she moved Avith great 
grace on the floor, and chanted her "wood-notes wild" in a style but rarely equalled 
by unprofessional singers. Her voice was a brilliant treble, and in singing, " Coolen," 
"I gaed a waefu' gate yestreen," and other songs, she rose without effort as high as B 
natural. In ballad poetry her taste was good, and range of reading rather extensive. 
Her memory, too, was strong, and she could quote when she chose at considerable 
length and with great aptitude. Of these powers the bard was so well aware, that he 
read to her almost every piece he composed, and was not ashamed to own that he had 
profited by her judgment. In fact, ncme save relations, neighbours, and friends 
could form a proper estimate of l>er character. In the presence of strangers she 
was shy and silent, and required to be drawn out, or, as some would say, shown 
off" to advantage, by persons who possessed her confidence and knew her intimately. 
But we have perhaps said enough, and although our heart has been thrown into 


our words, the portrait given is so strictly true to nature, that we conclude by saying, 
in the spirit of friendship not of yesterday — peace to the manes, and honour to the 
memory, of Bonnie Jean ! 

The remains of Mrs. Burns were interred in the family vault on Tuesday, the 1st 
April, with many marks of public respect, in presence of an immense crowd of spec- 
tators. Independently of the Bard's Mausoleum, St, Michael's churchyard is perhaps 
the most remarkable cemetery in Britain; amidst innumerable tombs thousands on 
thousands sleep below ; and on the day alluded to, public interest or curiosity waxed 
so intensely, that it became, if such an expression may be used, instinct with life as 
well as death. By many a strong wish was expressed that the funeral should be 
made public. The Magistrates and Commissioners of Police politely offered to mark 
their respect for Mrs. Burns' memory by attending her funeral in their public capacity 
— an offer so honourable that it was at once acknowledged and acceded to by the 

Exhumation of the Poet. — It is generally known that the remains of Burns 
were exhumed, privately, on the 19th September, 1815, and deposited, with the 
reverence due to the remains of genius, in the arched vault attached to the mausoleum, 
then newly erected to his memory. Originally his ashes lay in the north corner of the 
churchyard ; and as years elapsed before any general movement was made, his widow, 
with pious care, marked the spot by a modest monument, the expense of which she 
willingly defrayed out of her own slender means. Everything was conducted with the 
greatest propriety and care ; and after the second grave-bed of the poet and his 
offspring had been carefully prepared, the original tomb-stone was placed above their 
ashes, and the vault closed for a period of nearly nineteen years — that is, from the 
19th September, 1815, till the 28th March, 1834. 

The remains of Mrs. Burns, as has already been stated, were interred on Tuesday, 
the 1st April. On the day preceding the vault was opened by Mr. Crombie — a work 
of considerable difficulty and labour — and the keys of the mausoleum, which is guarded 
round and round with high iron-pillared doors, placed temporarily in the possession of 
Mr. M'Diarmid. A strong desire had frequently been expressed that, if possible, a 
cast from the poet's skull should be obtained. With consent of the remaining relative 
of the family, this was accomplished. "On the night of Monday, the 31st March, 
1834," Mr. Blacklock says, "Mr. John M'Diarmid, Mr. Adam Rankine, Mr. James 
Kerr, Mr. James Bogie, Mr, Andrew Crombie, and myself, descended into the vault of 
the mausoleum, for the purpose of examining the remains of Burns, and, if possible, 
procuring a cast of his skull. Mr. Crombie having witnessed the exhumation of the 
bard's I'emains in 1815, and seen them deposited in their present resting-place, at once 
pointed out the exact spot where the head would be found, and a few spadefuls of 
loose sandy soil being removed, the skull was brought into view, and carefully lifted. 

" The cranial bones were perfect in every respect, if we except a little erosion of their 
external table, and firmly held together by their sutures ; even the delicate bones of 
the orbits, with the trifling exception of the os unguis in the left, were sound and 
uninjured by death and the grave. The superior maxillary bones still retained the 
four most posterior teeth on each side, including the denies sapientice, and all without 
spot or blemish ; the incisores, cuspidati, &c., had, in all probability, recently dropt 


from the jaw, for the alveoli were but little decayed. The bones of the foce and palate 
were also sound. Some small portion of black hair, with a very few grey hairs inter- 
mixed, were observed while detaching some extraneous matter from the occiput. 
Indeed, nothing could exceed the high state of preservation in which we found the 
bones of the cranium, or offer a fairer opportunity of supplying what has so long been 
desiderated by phrenologists — a correct model of our immortal poet's head ; and in 
order to accomplish this in the most accurate and satisfactory manner, every particle 
of sand, or other foreign body, was carefully washed off, and the plaster of Paris 
applied with all the tact and accuracy of an experienced artist. The cast is admirably 
taken, and cannot fail to prove highly interesting to phrenologists and others. 

" Having completed our intention, the skull, securely inclosed in a leaden case, was 
again committed to the earth precisely where we found it." 

The effects of Mrs. Burns were sold by public auction on the 10th and 11th April, 
and, from the anxiety of the public to possess relics of this interesting household^ 
brought uncommonly high sums. According to the Dumfries Courier, "the auctioneer 
commenced with small articles, and when he came to a broken copper coffee-pot, there 
were so many bidders that the price paid exceeded twenty-fold the intrinsic value» 
A tea-kettle of the same metal succeeded, and reached the high point of two pounds 
sterling. Of the linens, a table-cloth, marked 1792, which, speaking commercially, 
may be worth half-a-crown or five shillings, was knocked down at five pounds seven 
shillings. Many other articles commanded handsome prices, and the older and phiiner 
the furniture, the better it sold. The rusty iron top of a shower-bath, which Mrs. 
Dunlop of Dunlop sent to the poet when afflicted with rheumatism, was bought by a 
Carlisle gentleman for twenty-eight shillings; and a low wooden kitchen chair, on 
which the late Mrs. Burns sat when nursing her children, was run up to three pounds 
seven shillings. The crystal and china were much coveted, and brought, in most 
cases, splendid prices. Even an old fender reached a figure which would go far to 
buy half a dozen new ones, and everything towards the close attracted notice, down 
to grey-beards, bottles, and a half-worn pair of bellows. The poet's eight-day clock, 
made by a Mauchline artist of tlie name of Brown, which stood originally in the house 
at Mossf^iel, and accompanied him in his removal to EUisland and Dumfries, attracted 
great attention, from the circumstance that it had frequently been wound up by his 
own hand. In a few seconds it was bid up to fifteen pounds or guineas, and was 
finally disposed of for thirty-five pounds. The purchaser had a hard battle to fight ; 
but his spirit was good, and his purse obviously not a light one, and the story ran, 
that he had instructed Mr. Richardson to secure a preference at any sum under sixty 

The original portrait of the poet, by the veteran Nasmyth, has been removed to 
London, as the property of Miss Sarah Burns, a sister of the original- 





'Twas in that place o' Scotland's isle 
That bears the name o' Anld King Coil, 
Upon a bonnie day in June, 
When wearing through the afternoon, 
Twa dogs, that were na thrang at hame, 
Forgather'd ance upon a time. 


The first I'll name, they ca'd him Cffisar, 
Was keepit for his Honour's pleasure; 
His hair, his size, his mouth, his lugs, 
Show'd he was nane o' Scotland's dogs, 
But whalpit some place far abroad, 
Where sailors gang to fish for Cod. 

His locked, letter'd, braw brass collar, 
Show'd him the gentleman and scholar: 
But though he was o' high degree, 
The fient a pride, na pride had he ; 
But wad hae spent an hour caressin, 
Ev'n wi' a tinkler-gypsey's messin. 
At kirk or market, mill or smiddie, 
Nae tawted tyke, tho' e'er sae duddie. 
But he would stawn't, as glad to see hini. 
And stroan't on stanes and hillocks wi' him. 

The tither was a ploughman's collie, 
A rhyming, ranting, raving billie, 
Wha for his friend an' comrade had him. 
And in his freaks had Luath ca'd Mm, 
After some dog in Highland sang, 
Was made lang syne — Lord knows how lang. 

He was a gash an' faithfu' tyke. 
As ever lap a sheugh or dyke. 
His honest, sonsie, baws'nt face, 
Aye gat him friends in ilka place; 
His breast was white, his towsie back, 
Weel clad wi' coat o' glossy black; 
His gawcie tail, wi' upward curl, 
Huns: o'er his hurdles wi' a swurl. 

Nae doubt but they were fain o' ither, 
An' unco pack an' thick thegither; 
Wi' social nose whyles snuff'd and snowkit, 
Whyles mice an' moudieworts they howkit; 
Whyles scour'd awa' in lang excursion, 
An' worry'd ither in diversion; 
Until wi' daffin weary grown, 
Upon a knowe they sat them down. 
And there began a lang digression 
About the lords o' the creation. 



I've aften wonder'd, honest Luath, 
What sort o' life poor dogs like you have. 
An' when the gentry's life I saw, 
What way poor bodies liv'd ava. 

Our Laird gets in his racked rents, 
His coals, his kain, and a' his stents : 
He rises when he likes himsel ; 
His flunkies answer at the bell; 
He ca's his coach, he ca's his horse ; 
He draws a bonnie silken purse 
As lang's my tail, whare, thro' the steeks. 
The yellow letter'd Geordie keeks. 

Frae morn to e'en it's nought but toiling 
At baking, roasting, frying, boiling ; 
An' tho' the gentry first are stechin. 
Yet ev'n the ha' folk fill their pechan 
Wi' sauce, ragouts, and siclike trasherie. 
That's little short o' downright wastrie. 
Our AVliipper-in, wee blasted wonner. 
Poor worthless eK, it eats a dinner. 
Better than ony tenant man 
His honour has in a' the Ian'; 
An' what poor cot-folk pit their painch in, 
I own it's past my comprehension. 


Trowth, Caesar, whyles they're fash't eneugh: 
A cotter howking in a sheugh, 
Wi' dirty stanes biggin a dyke. 
Baring a quarry, and sic like, 
Himself, a wife, he thus sustains, 
A smytrie o' wee duddie weans, 
And nought but his han' darg, to keep 
Them right and tight in thack an' rape. 

An' when they meet wi' sair disasters. 
Like loss o' health, or want o' masters, 
Ye maist wad think, a wee touch langer. 
An' they maun starve o' cauld an' hunger; 
But how it comes I never kenn'd yet. 
They're maistly wonderfu' contented ; 
An' buirdly duels, and clever hizzies. 
Are bred in sic a way as this is. 



But then to see how ye're negleckit, 
How huff'd, and cuff d, and disrespeckit ! 
Faith, man, our gentry care as little 
For delvers, ditchers, an' sic cattle ; 
They gang as saucy by poor fo'k 
As I wad by a stinking brock. 

I've notic'd on our Laird's court-day. 
An' mony a time my heart's been wae, 
Poor tenant bodies, scant o' cash, 
How they maun thole a factor's snash ; 
He'll stamp an' threaten, curse an' swear, 
He'll apprehend them, poind their gear; 
AVhile they maun staun', wi' aspect humble, 
An' hear it a', an' fear an' tremble. 

I see how folk live that hae riches; 
But surely poor folk maun be wretches? 


They're nae sae wretched's ane wad think, 
Tho' constantly on poortith's brink : 
They're sae accustomed wi' the sight. 
The view o't gies them little fright. 

Then chance an' fortune are sae gTuded, 
They're aye in less or mair provided ; 
An' tho' fatigu'd wi' close employment, 
A blink o' rest's a sweet enjoyment. 

The dearest comfort o' their lives, 
Their grushie weans an' faithfu' wives ; 
The prattlings things are just their pride. 
That sweetens a' their fire-side. 

An' whyles twalpennie worth o' nappy 
Can mak the bodies unco happy : 
They lay aside their private cares. 
To mend the Kirk and State affairs ; 
They'll talk o' patronage and priests, 
Wi' kindling fury in their breasts, 
Or tell what new taxation's comin. 
An' ferlie at the folk in Lon'on. 

As bleak-faced Hallowmass returns. 
They get the jovial, ranting kirns, 
Wlien rural life, o' ev'ry station, 
Unite in common recreation ; 


Love blinks, Wit slaps, an' social Mirth, 
Forgets there's Care iipo' the earth. 

That merry day the year begins, 
They bar the door on frosty winds ; 
The nappy reeks wi' mantling ream, 
An' sheds a heart-inspiring steam ; 
The luntin pipe, an' sneeshin mill. 
Are handed round wi' right guid wiU ; 
The cantie auld folks crackin crouse. 
The young anes rantin thro' the house — 
My heart has been sae fain to see them, 
That I for joy hae barkit wi' them. 

Still it's owre true that ye hae said. 
Sic game is now owre aften play'd. 
There's mony a creditable stock 
0' decent, honest, fawsont fo'k. 
Are riven out, baith root and branch, 
Some rascal's pridefu' greed to quench, 
Wha thinks to knit himsel the faster 
In favour wi' some gentle master, 
Wha, aiblins, thrang a-parliamentin, 
For Britain's guid his saul indentin — 


Haith, lad, ye little ken about it ; 
For Britain's guid ! guid faith, I doubt it ! 
Say rather, gaun as Premiers lead him, ' 
An' saying ay or no's they bid him : 
At operas an' plays parading, 
Mortgaging, gambling, masquerading; 
Or may be, in a frolic daft. 
To Hague or Calais takes a waft. 
To mak a tour, an' tak a whirl, 
To learn hon ton, an' see the warl'. 

There, at Vienna or Versailles, 
He rives his faither's auld entails : 
Or by Madrid he takes the rout. 
To thrum guitars and fecht wi' nowt; 
Or down Italian vista startles, 
Courtin' 'mang sweet groves o' myrtles: 
Then bouses drumlie German water, 
To mak himsel look fair and fatter. 


An' clear the consequential sorrows, 
Love-gifts of Carnival signoras. 
For Britain's guid ! for her destruction ! 
Wi' dissipation, feud, an' faction. 


Hech man ! dear Sirs ! is that the gate 
They waste sae mony a braw estate ? 
Are we sae foughten an' harass'd 
For gear to gang that gate at last ? 

would they stay aback frae courts, 
An' please themsels wi' kintra sports, 
It wad for ev'ry ane be better, 
The Laird, the Tenant, an' the Cotter! 
For thae frank, rantin, ramblin billies, 
Fient haet o' them's ill-hearted fellows ; 
Except for breaking o' their timmer. 
Or speaking lightly o' their limmer, 
Or shootin o' a hare or moorcock, 
The ne'er a bit they're ill to poor folk. 

But will ye tell me, Master Caesar, 
Sure great folk's life's a life o' pleasure? 
Nae cauld nor hunger e'er can steer them, 
The very thought o't needna fear them. 


Faith, man, were ye but whyles whare I am, 
The gentles ye wad ne'er envy 'em. 

It's true, they needna starve or sweat, 
Thro' winter's cauld, or simmer's heat ; 
They've nae sair wark to craze their banes. 
An' fill auld age wi' gripes an' granes: 
But human bodies are sic fools. 
For a' their colleges and schools, 
That when nae real ills perplex them. 
They mak enow themselves to vex them; 
An' aye the less they hae to sturt them, 
In like proportion less will hurt them. 
A country fellow at the pleugh. 
His acre's till'd, he's right eneugh ; 
A kintra lassie at her wheel. 
Her dizzen's done, she's unco weel: 


But gentlemen, an' ladies warst, 
Wi' ev'ndown want o' wark are curst. 
They loiter, lounging, lank, an' lazy; 
Tho' deil liaet ails them, yet uneasy ; 
Their days insipid, dull, an' tasteless ; 
Their nights unquiet, lang, an' restless ; 
An' e'en their sports, their balls an' races. 
Their galloping thro' pulilic places, 
There's sic parade, sic pomp an' art, 
That joy can scarcely reach the heart. 

The men cast out in party matches, 
Then sowther a' in deep debauches ; 
Ae night they're mad wi' drink an' swearing, 
Mest day their life is past all bearing. 

The ladies arm-in-arm in clusters. 
As great and gracious a' as sisters ; 
But hear their absent thochts o' ither, 
They're a' run deils an' jads thegither. 
Whyles o'er the wee bit cup an' platie. 
They sip the scandal potion pretty; 
Or lee-lang nights, wi' crabbit leuks, 
Pore owre the devil's pictur'd beuks ; 
Stake on a chance a farmer's stackyard, 
An' cheat like onie unhang'd blackguard. 

There's some exceptions, man an' woman, 
But this is Gentry's life in common. 

By this the sun was out o' sight, 
An' darker gloaming brought the night! 
The bum-clock humm'd wi' lazy drone; 
The kye stood rowtin i' the loan ; 
Wlien up they gat, and shook their lugs. 
Rejoiced they werena men but dogs ; 
An' each took aff his several way, 
Eesolv'd to meet some ither day. 



Let not Ambition mock their useful toil, 
Their homelir joys, and destiny obscure; 

Nor Grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile. 
The short and simple annuls of the poor. 


My lov'd, my honouv'd, much respected friend, 

No mercenary bard his homage pays : 
Witli honest pride I scorn each selfish end ; 

My dearest meed, a friend's esteem and praise: 
To you I sing, in simple Scottisli lays, 

The lowly train in life's sequestcr'd scene, 
The native feelings strong, the guileless ways ; 

What Aiken in a cottage woiild have been ; 
Ah ! tho' his worth unknown, far happier there, I weeiL 



November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh: 

The short' ning winter-day is near a close; 
The miry beasts retreating frae the pleugh ; 

The black'ning train o' craws to their repose: 
The toil-worn Cotter frae his labour goes, 

This night his weekly moil is at an end, 
Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes, 

Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend, 
And weary, o'er the moor, his course does hameward bend. 


At length his lonely cot appears in view. 

Beneath the shelter of an aged tree ; 
Th' expectant wee-things, toddlin, stacher thro' 

To meet their Dad wi' flichterin noise an' glee. 
His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonnily, 

His clean hearth-stane, his thriftie wifie's smile. 
The lisping infant prattling on his knee. 

Does a' his weary carking cares beguile, 
An' makes him quite forget his labour and his toil. 


Belyve the elder bairns come drapping in. 

At service out amang the farmers roun' ; 
Some ca' the pleugh, some herd, some tentie rin 

A cannie errand to a neebor town : 
Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman gi-own, 

In youthfu' bloom, love sparkling in her e'e. 
Comes hame, perhaps, to show a braw new gown, 

Or deposit her sair-won penny-fee 
To help her parents dear, if they in hardship be. 


Wi' joy unfeign'd brothers and sisters meet, 

An' each for other's weelfare kindly spiers: 
The social hours, swift-wing'd, unnotic'd fleet; 

Each tells the uncos that he sees or hears; 
The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years ; 

Anticipation forward points the view. 
The mother, wi' her needle an' her sheers, 

Gars auld claes look amaist as weel's the new; 
The father mixes a' wi' admonition due. 



Tlieir master's an' their mistress's command. 

The younkers a' are warned to obey ; 
"An' mind their labours wi' an eydent hand, 

An' ne'er, tho' out o' sight, to jauk or play: 
An', oh! be sure to fear the Lord alway i 

An' mind your duty, duly, morn an' night! 
Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray, 

Implore His counsel and assisting might: 
They never sought in vain that sought the Lord aright ! " 


But, hark ! a rap comes gently to the door ; 
Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the same. 
Tells how a neebor lad cam o'er the moor. 

To do some errands, and convoy her hame. 
The wily mother sees the conscious flame 
Sparkle in Jenny's e'e, and flush her cheek ; 
. With heart-struck anxious care inquires his name, 

While Jenny hafflins is afraid to speak ; 
Weel pleas'd the mother hears, its nae wild worthless rakb. 



Wi' kindly welcome Jenny brings him ben; 

A strappan youth; he taks the mother's eye; 
Blythe Jenny sees the visit's no ill ta'en : 

The father cracks of horses, pleughs, and kye. 
The youngster's artless heart o'erflows wi' joy, 

But blate and laithfu', scarce can weel behave; 
The mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy 

What makes the youth sae bashfu' an' sae grave; 
Weel pieas'd to think her bairn's respected like the lave. 


happy love! where love like this is found! 

heart-felt raptures! bliss beyond compare! 
I've paced much this weary mortal round, 

And sage Experience bids me this declare — 
" If Heaven a draught of heavenly pleasure spare, 

One cordial in this melancholy vale, 
'Tis when a youthful, loving, modest pair. 

In other's arms breathe out the tender tale. 
Beneath the milk-white thorn that scents the ev'ning gale.' 

Is there, in human form, that bears a heart — 

A wretch! a villain! lost to love and truth! 
That can, with studied, sly, ensnaring art. 

Betray sweet Jenny's unsuspecting youth? 
Curse on his perjur'd arts! dissembling smooth! 

Are honour, virtue, conscience, all exil'd ? 
Is there no pity, no relenting ruth. 

Points to the parents fondling o'er their child? 
Then paints the ruin'd maid, and their distraction wild? 


But now the supper crowns their simple board. 

The halesome parritch, chief o' Scotia's food; 
The soupe their only Hawkie does afford. 

That 'yont the hallan snugly chows her cood: 
The dame brings forth, in complimental mood. 

To grace the lad, her weel-hain'd kebbuck ; feU. 
An' aft he's prest, an' aft he ca's it guid ; 

The frugal wifie, garrulous, will tell, 
How 'twas a towmond auld sin' lint was i' the beU. 




The cheerfu' supper done, wi' serious face 

They, round the ingle, form a circle wide; 
The sire turns o'er, wi patriarchal grace. 

The big ha-Bible, ance his father's pride: 
His bonnet rev'rently is laid aside. 

His lyart haffets wearing thin an' bare; 
Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide. 

He wales a portion with judicious care; 
And 'Let us worship God!' he says with solemn air. 


They chant their artless notes in simple guise, 

They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim; 
I'erhaps Dundee's wild warbling measures rise, 

Or plaintive Martyrs, worthy of the name ; 
Or noble Elgin beets the heav'nward flame, 

The sweetest far of Scotia's holy lays: 
Compar'd with these, Italian trills are tame. 

The tickl'd ears no heart-felt raptures raise, 
Nae unison hae they with our Creator's praise. 



The priestlike father reads the sacred page, 

How Abram was the friend of God on high; 
Or Moses bade eternal warfare wage 

With Amalek's ungracious progeny ; 
Or how the royal Bard did groaning lie 

Beneath the stroke of Heaven's avenging ire; 
Or Job's pathetic plaint and wailing cry; 

Or rapt Isaiah's wild seraphic fire ; 
Or other holy seers that tune the sacred lyre. 


Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme, 

How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed, 
How He, who bore in heaven the second name, 

Had not on earth whereon to lay his head; 
How his first followers and servants sped ; 

The precepts sage they wrote to many a land ; 
How he, who lone in Patmos banished. 

Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand. 
And heard great Bab'lon's doom pronounc'd by Heav'n's command. 


Then kneeling down, to heaven's Eternal King 

The saint, the father, and the husband prays: 
Hope "springs exulting on triumphant wing," 

That thus they all shall meet in future days: 
There ever bask in uncreated rays, 

No more to sigh or shed the bitter tear, 
Together hymning their Creator's praise 

In such society, yet still more dear, 
Wliile circling time moves round in an eternal sphere. 


Compar'd with this, how poor Eeligion's pride. 

In all the pomp of method and of art, 
When men display, to congregations wide. 

Devotion's ev'ry grace, except the heart! 
The Pow'r, incens'd, the pageant will desert. 

The pompous strain, the sacerdotal stole; 
But haply, in some cottage far apart, 

May hear, well pleased, the language of the soul. 
And in his Book of Life the inmates poor enrol. 




Then homeward all take off their sev'ral way; 

The youngling cottagers retire to rest : 
The parent-pair their secret homage pay. 

And proffer up to heaven the warm request 
That He, who stills the raven's clam'rous nest. 

And decks the lily fair in tiow'ry pride, 
"Would, in the way his wisdom sees the best. 

For them and for their little ones provide ; 
But chiefly in their hearts with grace divine preside. 


From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs, 

That makes her lov'd at home, rever'd abroad. 
Princes and lords are but the breath of kings, 

"An honest man's the noblest work of God:" 
And certes, in fair Virtue's heavenly road. 

The cottage leaves the palace far behind; 
What is a lordling's pomp? a cumbrous load, 

DissuisinLC oft the wretch of human kind, 
Studied in arts of hell, in wickedness refin'd ! 




Scotia ! my dear, my native soil 

For whom my warmest wish to heaven is sent ! 
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil 

Be bless'd with health, and peace, and sweet content I 
And, ! may Heaven their simple lives prevent 

From luxury's contagion, weak and vile ! 
Then, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent, 

A virtuous populace may rise the while. 
And stand a wall uf fire around their much-lov'd isle. 


Thou ! who pour'd the patriotic tide 

That stream'd thro' Wallace's undaunted heart ; 
"Who dar'd to nobly stem tyrannic pride. 

Or nobly die, the second glorious part, 
(The Patriot's God peculiarly thou art, 

His friend, inspirer, guardian, and reward!) 
never, never Scotia's realm desert ; 

But still the Patriot, and the patriot Bard, 
In bright succession raise, her ornament and guard 1 


YE whose cheek the tear of pity stains. 

Draw near, with pious rev'rence, and attend ! 
Here lie the loving husband's dear remains, 

The tender father, and the gen'rous friend ; 
The pitying heart that felt for human woe ; 

The dauntless heart that fear'd no human pride; 
The friend of man, to vice alone a foe ; 

" For ev'n his failiuCTs lean'd to virtue's side." 



Gie him strong drink, until he wink, 

That's sinking in despair; 
An" liquor guid to fire his bluid, 

That's press'd wi' grief an' care; 
There let him bouse, an' deep carouse, 

Wi' bumpers flowing o'er, 
Till he forgets his loves or debts, 

And 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 Scotch here can mak us, 

In glass or jug. 

O thou, my Muse ! guid auld Scotch Drink, 
AVhether 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, 
An' Aits set up their awnie horn. 
An' Peas and Beans, at e'en or morn, 

Perfume the plain; 
Leeze me on thee, John Barleycorn, 

Thou king o' grain ! 

On thee aft Scotland chews her cood. 
In souple scones, the wale o' food ! 
Or tumbling 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 hea\'y dragg'd wi' pine an' grievin ; 

But, oil'd by thee. 
The wheels o' life gae down-hill, scrievin, 

Wi' rattlin glee. 

Thou clears the head o' doited Lear ; 
Thou cheers the heart o' droopin Care ; 
Thou strings the nerves o' Labour sair, 

At's weary toil ; 
Thou even brightens dark Despair 

Wi' gloomy snule. 

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. 

Tliou 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 mornin' 

In cog or bicker. 
An' just a wee drap sp'ritual burn in, 

An' gusty sucker! 

When Vulcan gies his beUows breath, 
An' ploughmen gather wi' their graith, 
rare ! to see thee fizz an' freath 

r th' luggit caup! 
Then Burnewin comes on like death 

At every chaup. 


Nae mercy, then, for airn or steel ; 
The brawnie, bainie, 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 cuifs their dearies slight; 

Wae worth the name ! 
Nae howdie gets a social night. 

Or plack frae them. 

When neebours anger at a plea. 
An' just as wud as wud can be. 
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 mony 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' mony a pain an' brash ; 
Twins mony a poor, doylt, drunken hash 

O' half his days, 
An' sends, beside, auld Scotland's cash 

To her warst faes. 

Ye Scots, wha wish auld Scotland well! 
Ye chief, to you my tale I tell. 
Poor, plackless deevils 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 

0' sour disdain, 
Out owTe a glass o' whisky punch 

Wi' honest men. 

O Whisky ! saul o' plays an' pranks ! 

Accept a Bardie's humble thanks I 

^Vlren wanting thee, what tuneless cranks 

Are my poor verses! 
Thou comes — they rattle i' their ranks 

At ither's faces ! 

Thee, Ferintosh ! sadly lost ! 
Scotland, lament frae coast to coast! 
Now colic grips, an' barkin hoast, 

May kill us a'; 
For royal Forbes' charter'd boast 

Is ta'en awa. 

Thae curst horse-leeches o' the Excise, 
Wha mak the Whisky Stells their prize! 
Haud up thy han', Deil ! ance, twice, thrice! 

There, seize the blinkers I 
And bake them up in brunstane pies 

For poor deep drinkers. 

Fortune-! if thou'll but gie me still 
Hale breeks, a scone, and Whisky gill. 
An' rowth o' rhyme to rave at wiU, 

Tak a' the rest. 
An' deal't about as thy blind skill 

Directs thee best. 






Dearest of Distillation ! last and best — 
Hovv art thou lost ! 

Parody on Milton. 

Ye Irish Lords, ye Knights an' Squires, 
Wha represent our brughs an' shires, 
An' doucely manage our affairs 

In parliament. 
To you a simple Poet's prayers 

Are humbly sent. 

Tell them wha hae the chief direction, 
Scotland an' me's in great affliction, 
E'er sin' they laid that curst restriction 

On Aquavitae ; 
An' rouse them up to strong conviction. 

An' move their pity. 

Stand forth, an' tell yon Premier Youth-, 

The honest, open, naked truth ; 

TeU him o' mine an' Scotland's drouth, 

His servants humble: 
The muckle deevil blaw ye south, 

If ye dissemble! 

Does ony great man glunch an' gloom? 
Speak out, an' never fash your thumb ! 
Let posts an' pensions sink or soom 

Wi' them wha grant 'em 
If honestly they canna come, 

Far better want 'em. 


In gath'ring votes ye were na slack; 
Now stand as tightly by your tack ; 
Ne'er claw your lug, an' fidge your back, 

An' hum an' haw ; 
But raise your arm, an' tell your crack 

Before them a*. 

Paint Scotland greeting owre her thrissle; 
Her mutchkin stoup as toom's a whissle ; 
An' curs'd Excisemen in a bussle. 

Seizin a Stell, 
Triumphant crush in't like a mussel 

Or lampit shell. 

Then, on the tither hand, present her, 
A blackguard Smuggler right behint her, 
An' cheek-for-chow, a chuffie Vintner, 

CoUeaguing join. 
Picking her pouch as bare as winter 

Of a' kind coin. 

Is there, that bears the nam- o' Scot, 
But feels his heart's bluid rising hot. 
To see his poor auld Mither's pot 

Thus dung in staves. 
An' plunder'd o' her hindmost groat 

By gallows knaves? 

Alas! I'm but a nameless wight, 
Trode i' the mire clean out o' sight; 
But could I like Montgom'ries fight, 

Or gab like BosweU, 
There's some sark-necks I wad draw tight. 

An' tie some hose weU. 

God bless your Honors, can ye see't, 
The kind, auld, cantie Carlin greet, 
An' no get warmly to your feet. 

An' gar them hear it. 
An' tell them, wi' a patriot heat. 

Ye winna bear it ! 


Some o' you nicely ken the laws, 
To round the period, an' pause, 
An' \vi' rhetoric, clause on clause. 

To mak harangues ; 
Then echo thro' Saint Stephen's wa's 

Auld Scotland's \\Tangs. 

Dempster, a true blue Scot, I'se warran; 
Thee, aith-detesting, chaste Kilkerran ; 
An' that glib-gabbet Highland Baron, 

The Laird o' Graham, 
An' ane, a chap that's gey auldfarran, 

Dundas his name. 

Erskine, a spunkie Norland billie ; 
True Campbells, Frederick an' Hay ; 
An' Livingstone, the bauld Sir "Willie; 

An' niony ithers. 
Whom auld Demosthenes or TuUy 

Might own for brithers. 

Arouse, my boys ! exert your mettle. 
To get auld Scotland back her kettle ; 
Or faith ! I'll wad my new pleugh-pettle, 

Ye'll see't, or lang, 
She'll teach you, wi' a reekin whittle, 

Anither sang. 

This while she's been in crankous mood. 
Her lost Militia fir'd her bluid ; 
(Deil na they never mair do guid, 

Play'd her that pliskie t) 
An' now she's hke to rin red-wud 

About her "VSTiisky. 

An' faith, if ance they pit her till't, 
Her tartan petticoat she'll kilt, 
An' durk an' pistol at her belt, 

She'll tak the streets, 
An' rin her whittle to the hilt, 

I' th' first she meets! 


for God-sake, Sirs ! then speak her fair, 
An' straik her cannie wi' the hair. 
An' to the muckle house repair, 

Wi' instant speed, 
An' strive, wi' a' your wit and lear, 

To get remead. 

Yon ill-tongu'd tinkler, Charlie Eox, 
May taunt you wi' his jeers an' mocks ; 
But gie him't het, my hearty cocks! 

E'en cowe the caddie I 
An' send him to his dicing box 

An' sportin lady. 

Tell yon guid bluid o' auld Boconnock's, 

I'll be his debt twa mashlum bannocks, 

An' drink his health in auld Nanse Tinnock's 

Nine times a-week, 
If he some scheme, like tea an' winnocks. 

Wad kindly seek. 

Could he some commutation broach, 

I'll pledge my aith in guid braid Scotch, 

He need na fear their full reproach 

Nor erudition. 
Yon mixtie-maxtie, queer hotchpotch. 

The Coalition. 

Auld Scotland has a raucle tongue; 
She's just a devil w4' a rung; 
An' if she promise auld or young 

To tak their part, 
Tho' by the neck she should be strung, 

She'U no desert. 

An' now, ye chosen Eive-and-Forty, 

May still your Mither's heart support ye ; 

Tlien, though a Minister grow dorty, 

An' kick your place, 
Ye'll snap your fingers, poor an' hearty, 

Before his face. 



God bless your Honours a' your days, 
Wi' soups o' kail and brats o' claise, 
In spite o' a' the thievish kaes, 

That haunt St. Jamie's ! 
Your humble Poet sings an' prays 

While Eab his name is. 


Let half-starv'd slaves, in warmer skies 
See future wines, rich clust'ring, rise ; 
Their lot auld Scotland ne'er envies, 

But blythe and frisky, 
She eyes her freeborn, martial boys, 

Tak aff their Whisky. 

Wliat tho' their Phcebus kinder warms, 
"V\liile fragrance blooms and beauty charms. 
When wretches range, in famish'd swarms, 

The scented groves, 
Or hounded forth, dishonour arms 

In hungry droves. 

Their gun's a burden on their shouther ; 
They downa bide the stink o' powther; 
Their bauldest thought's a hank'ring swither 

To stan' or rin. 
Till skelp — a shot — they're aff, a' throw'ther, 

To save their skin. 

But bring a Scotsman frae his hill. 
Clap in his cheek a Highland gill, 
Say, such is royal George's will, 

An' there's the foe. 
He has nae thought but how to kiU 

Twa at a blow. 

Nae cauld faint-hearted doubtings tease him; 
Death comes, wi' fearless eye he sees him ; 
Wi' bluidy hand a welcome gies him ; 

An' when he fa's, 
His latest draught o' breathin lea'es him 

In faint huzzas. 


A ^uid Ne-w-Year 1 wish thee Ma^giel 
Hae, there 3 a rip to thy auid ba^^ie 


Sages their solemn een may steek, 
An' raise a philosophic reek, 
An' physically causes seek 

In clime and season ; 
But tell me whisky's name in Greek, 

I'll tell the reason. 

Scotland, my auld respected mither! 
Tho' whiles ye moistify your leather. 
Till whare ye sit, on craps o' heather. 

Ye tine your dam ; 
Freedom and whisky gang thegither! 

Tak aff your dram. 



A QUID New-year I wish thee, Maggie! 
Hae, there's a rip to thy auld baggie; 
Tho' thou's howe-backit now, an' knaggie, 

I've seen the day 
Thou could hae gaen like ony staggie 

Out-owre the lay. 

Tho' now thou's dowie, stiff, an' crazy. 
An' thy auld hide's as white's a daisy, 
I've seen thee dappl't, sleek, and glaiziti, 

A bonnie gray : 
He should been tight that daur't to raize thee 

Ance in a day. 

Thou ance was i' the foremost rank, 
A filly, buirdly, steeve, an' swank. 
An' set weel down a shapely shank 

As e'er tread yird ; 
An' could hae flown out-owre a stank. 

Like ony bird. 


It's now some nine an' twenty year, 
Sin' thou Avas my guid- father's meere ; 
He gied me thee, o' tocher clear, 

An' fifty mark ; 
Tho' it was sma', 'twas weel-won gear, 

An' thou was stark. 

AMien first I gaed to woo my Jenny, 
Ye then was trottin wi' your minnie : 
Tho' ye was trickie, slee, an' funnie, 

Ye ne'er was donsie ; 
But hamely, tawie, quiet, an' cannie, 

An' unco sonsie. 

Tliat day ye pranc'd wi' muckle pride, 
AVlien ye bure hame my bonnie bride; 
An' sweet an' gracefu' she did ride, 

Wi' maiden air! 
Kyle Stewart I could bragged wide 

For sic a pair. 

Tho' now ye dow but hoyte an' hobble. 
An' wintle like a saumont-coble, 
That day ye was a j inker noble. 

For heels an win' I 
An' ran them till they a' did wauble 

Far, far behin'. 

^Tien thou an I were young an' skeigh, 

An' stable-meals at fairs w^ere dreigh, 

How thou wad prance, an' snore, an' skreigh, 

An' tak the road! 
Town's bodies ran, and stood abeigh, 

An' ca't thee mad. 

AMien thou was corn't, an' I was mellow. 
We took the road aye like a swallow: 
At brooses thou had ne'er a fellow 

For pith an' speed; 
But ev'ry tail thou pay't them hollow 

\Miare'er thou gaed. 


Tlie sma', droop-rumpl't, hunter cattle, 
Might aiblins wavir't thee for a brattle ; 
But sax Scotch miles thou try't their mettle, 

An' gar't them whaizle: 
Nae whip nor spur, but just a wattle 

0' saugh or hazel. 

Thou was a noble fittie-lan'. 

As e'er in tug or tow was drawn! 

Aft thee an' I, in aught hours gaun, 

In guid March weather, 
Hae turn'd sax rood beside our han'. 

For days thegither. 

Thou never braindg't, an' fetch't, an' fliskit. 
But thy auld tail thou wad hae whiskit, 
An' spread abreed thy weel-fiU'd brisket, 

Wi' pith an' power, 
Till spritty knowes wad rair't and risket. 

An' slypet owre. 

Wlien frosts lay lang, an' snaws were deep. 
An' threaten'd labour back to keep, 
I gied thy cog a wee-bit heap 

Aboon the timmer ; 
I kenn'd my Maggie wadna sleep 

For that, or simmer. 

In cart or car thou never reestit ; 

The steyest brae thou wad hae fac't it ; 

Thou never lap, and sten't, and breastit. 

Then stood to blaw ; 
But just thy step a wee thing hastit. 

Thou snoov't awa. 

My pleugh is now thy bairn-time a'. 
Four gallant brutes as e'er did draw ; 
Forbye sax mae I've sell't awa, 

That thou hast nurst: 
They drew me thretteen pund an' twa. 

The vera warst. 

28 MY JEAN. 

Moiiy a sair daurk we twa hae wrought. 
An' wi' the weary warl' fought ! 
An' mony an anxious day, I thought 

We wad be beat ! 
Yet here to crazy age we're brought 

Wi' something yet 

And think na', my auld trusty servan', 
That now perhaps thou's less deservin, 
And thy auld days may end in starvin, 

For my last fou, 
A heapit stimpart, I'll reserve ane 

Laid by for you. 

We've worn to crazy years thegither; 
We'll toyte about wi' ane anither; 
Wi' tentie care I'll flit thy tether, 

To some hain'd rig, 
Whare ye may nobly rax your leather 

Wi' sma' fatigue. 


Tho' cruel fate should bid us part, 

Far as the pole and line ; 
Her dear idea round my heart 

Should tenderly entwine. 
Tho' mountains frown, and deserts howl, 

And oceans roar between ; 
Yet, dearer than my deathless soul, 

I still would love my Jean. 

I -j'-or!,''y~\^i-: -- 


Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are, 

That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm! 

How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides, 

Your loop'd and windovv'd raggedness, defend you 

From seasons such as these? 


When biting Boreas, fell and doure, 
Sharp shivers thro' the leafless bow'r; 
When Phoebus gies a short-liv'd glow'r 

Far south the lift, 
Dim-dark'ning through the flaky show'r 

Or whirling drift: 

Ae night the storm the steeples rock'd, 
Poor labour sweet in sleep was lock'd. 
While burns, wi' snawy wreeths up-chock'd, 

Wild-eddying swirl, 
Or thro' the mining outlet bock'd, 

Down headlong hurl. 

List'ning the doors an' winnocks rattle, 
I thought me on the ourie cattle, 


Or silly sheep, wha, hide this brattle 

0' winter war. 

And thro' the drift, deep-lairing, sprattle 

Beneath a scaur. 

Ilk happing bird, wee, helpless thing, 
That in the merry months o' spring 
Delighted me to hear thee sing, 

Wliat comes o' thee ? 
Whare wilt thou cow'r thy chittering wing. 

An' close thy e'e ? 

Ev'n you on murdering errands toil'd. 

Lone from your savage homes exil'd, 

The blood-stain'd roost and sheep-cote spoil'd 

My heart forgets, 
While pitiless the tempest wild 

Sore on you beats. 

Now Phcebe in her midnio-ht reign, 
Dark-mutU'd, view'd the dreary plain ; 
Still crowding thoughts, a pensive train, 

Eose in my soul. 
When on my ear this plaintive strain. 

Slow, solemn, stole : — 

*' Blow, blow, ye winds, with heavier gust ; 
And freeze, thou bitter-biting frost ! 
Descend, ye chilly, smothering snows ! 
Not all your rage, as now united, shows 

More hard unkindness, unrelenting. 

Vengeful malice unrepenting, 
Than heav'n-illumin'd man on brother man bestows ! 

See stern oppression's iron grip. 
Or mad ambition's gory hand, 

Sending, like blood-hounds from the slip, 
Woe, want, and murder o'er a land ! 

Even in the peaceful rural vale. 

Truth, weeping, tells the mournful tale, 
How pamper'd luxury, flatt'ry by her side. 

The parasite empoisoning her ear, 

With all the servile wretches in the rear, 
Looks o'er proud property, extended wide ; 

And eyes the simple rustic hind, 


Whose toil upholds the gUtt'ring show, 
A creature of another kind. 
Some coarser substance, unrefin'd, 
Plac'd for her lordly use thus far, thus vile, below. 
Where, where is love's fond, tender throe. 
With lordly honour's lofty brow. 

The pow'rs you proudly own? 
Is there, beneath love's noble name. 
Can harbour, dark, the selfish aim, 

To bless himself alone ! 
Mark maiden innocence a prey 

To love-pretending snares. 
This boasted honour turns away, 
Shunning soft pity's rising sway, 
Regardless of the tears and unavaihng pray'rs! 
Perhaps, this hour, in mis'ry's squalid nest 
She strains your infant to her joyless breast, 
And with a mother's fears shrinks at the rocking blast! 

" Oh ye ! who, sunk in beds of down. 

Feel not a want but what yourselves create. 

Think, for a moment, on his wretched fate. 
Whom friends and fortune quite disown! 

ni-satislied keen nature's clam'rous call, 

Stretch'd on his straw he lays himself to sleep, 
While thro' the ragged roof and chinky wall, 

Chill o'er his slumbers piles the drifty heap! 

Think on the dungeon's grim confine, 

Where guilt and poor misfortune pine! 

Guilt, erring man, relenting view! 

But shall thy legal rage pursue 

The wretch, already crushed low 

By cruel fortune's undeserved blow? 
Affliction's sons are brothers in distress, 
A brother to relieve, how exquisite the bliss 1" 

I heard nae mair, for Chanticleer 

Shook aff the pouthery snaw. 
And hail'd the morning with a cheer, 

A cottage-rousing craw. 

But deep this truth impress'd my mind — 

Thro' aU his works abroad. 
The heart benevolent and kind 

The most resembles God. 


Tpjjp: — " / had a hcn-se, I had nne mair.'''' 

Now westlin winds and slaiight'ring guns 

Bring autumn's pleasant weather; 
The moorcock springs, on wliirring wings, 

Amang the blooming heather; 
Now waving grain, wide o'er the plain. 

Delights the weary farmer ; 
And the moon shines bright, when I rove at night 

To muse upon my charmer. 

PEGGY. 33 

The partridge loves the fruitful fells; 

The plover loves the mountains ; 
The woodcock haunts the lonely dells; 

The soaring hern the fountains: 
Thro' lofty groves the cushat roves. 

The path of man to shun it ; 
The hazel bush o'erhangs the thrush, 

The spreading thorn the linnet. 

Thus ev'ry kind their pleasure find, 

The savage and the tender; 
Some social join, and leagues combine ; 

Some solitary wander : 
Avaunt ! away ! the cruel sway, 

Tyi-annic man's dominion ; 
The sportsman's joy, the murd'ring cry. 

The flutt'ring, gory pinion ! 

But Peggy, dear, the ev'ning's clear. 

Thick flies the skimming swallow; 
The sky is blue, the fields in view, 

All fading-green and yellow: 
Come, let us stray our gladsome way. 

And view the charms of nature ; 
The rustling corn, the fruited thorn. 

And every happy creature. 

We'll gently walk, and sweetly talk. 

Till the silent moon shine clearly; 
I'll grasp thy waist, and, fondly prest. 

Swear how I love thee dearly: 
Not vernal show'rs to budding flow'rs, 

Not autumn to the farmer, 
So dear can be as thou to me. 

My fair, my lovely charmer! 





While winds frae aff Ben-Lomond blaw, 
And bar the doors wi' driving snaw. 

And hing us owre the ingle, 
I set me down to pass the time. 
And spin a verse or twa o' rhyme. 

In hamely westlin jingle. 
While frosty winds blaw in the drift 

Ben to the chimla lug, 
I grudge a wee the great folks' gift. 
That live sae bien an' snug; 
I tent less and want less 

Their roomy fire-side ; 
But hanker and canker, 
To see their cursed pride. 

It's hardly in a body's pow'r 

To keep, at times, frae being sour, 

To see how things are shar'd ; 
How best o' chiels are whyles in want. 
While cuifs on countless thousands rant. 

And ken na how to wair't. 
But Davie, lad, ne'er fash your head 

Tho' we hae little gear; 
We're fit to win our daily bread, 
As lang's we're hale an' fier: 
"Mair speir na, nor fear na," 
Auld age ne'er mind a feg; 
The last o't, the warst o't. 
Is only for to beg. 

To lie in kilns and barns at e'en, 

AVhen banes are craz'd and bluid is thin, 

Is, doubtless, great distress ! 
Yet then content could make us blest ; 
E'en then, sometimes, we'd snatch a taste 

Of truest happiness. 


The honest heart that's free frae a' 

Intended fraud or guile, 
However fortune kick the ba', 
Has aye some cause to smile : 
And mind still, you'll find still 

A comfort this nae sma'; 
Nae mair then we'll care then, 
Nae farther can we fa'. 

What tho', like commoners of air, 
We wander out we know not where, 

But either house or hall? 
Yet nature's charms, the hills and woods, 
The sweeping vales, and foaming floods. 

Are free alike to aU. 
In days when daisies deck the ground. 

And blackbirds whistle clear, 
Wi' honest joy our hearts will bound 
To see the coming year: 

On braes when we please, then, 

We'll sit an' sowth a tune; 
Syne rhyme till't we'll time till't. 
And sing't when we hae done. 

It's no in titles nor in rank. 

It's no in wealth like Lon'on bank, 

To purchase peace and rest: 
It's no in makin muckle mair, 
It's no in books, it's no in lear. 

To make us truly blest. 
If happiness hae not her seat 

And centre in the breast, 
We may be wise, or rich, or great. 
But never can be blest: 
•Nae treasures, nor pleasures, 

Could make us happy lang; 
The heart aye's the part aye 
That makes us right or wrang. 

Think ye that sic as you and I, 
Wha drudge and drive thro' wet an' dry 
Wi' never-ceasing toil — 


Think ye, are we less blest than they, 
AVha scarcely tent ns in their way, 

As hardly worth their while ? 
Alas I how aft, in haughty mood, 

God's creatures they oppress ! 
Or else, neglecting a' that's guid. 
They riot in excess ! 

Baith careless and fearless 
Of either heav'n or hell! 
Esteeming and deeming 
It's a' an idle tale ! 

Then let us cheerfu' acquiesce ; 
Nor make our scanty pleasures less. 

By pining at our state ; 
And, even should misfortunes come, 
I, here wha sit, hae met wi' some, 

An's thankfu' for them yet. 
They gie the wit of age to youth; 

They let us ken oursel' ; 
They make us see the naked truth. 
The real guid and ill. 
Tho' losses and crosses 

Be lessons right severe, 
There's wit there, ye'll get there, 
Ye'U find nae other where. 

But tent me, Davie, ace o' hearts ! 

(To say aught less would wrang the cartes, 

And flatt'ry I detest) 
This Hfe has joys for you and I ; 
And joys that riches ne'er could buy; 

And joys the very best. 
There's a' the pleasures o' the heart, 

The lover an' the frien'; 
Ye hae your Meg, your dearest part. 
And I my darling Jean! 

It warms me, it charms me, 
To mention but her name: 
It heats me, it beets me, 
And sets me a' on Hame ! 

all ye Pow'rs who rule above ! 
Thou, whose very self art love! 


Tliou know'st my words sincere ! 
The life-blood streaming thro' my heart. 
Or my more dear immortal part, 

Is not more fondly dear ! 
Wlien heart-corroding care and grief 

Deprive my soul of rest, 
Her dear idea brings relief 
And solace to my breast. 
Thou Being, All-seeing, 

O hear my fervent pray'r; 
Still take her, and make her 
Thy most pecidiar care ! 

All hail, ye tender feelings dear! 
The smile of love, the friendly tear. 

The sympathetic glow ; 
Long since, this world's thorny ways 
Had number'd out my weary days. 

Had it not been for you ! 
Fate still has blessed me with a friend, 

In every care and iU ; 
And oft a more endearing band, 
A tie more tender still : 
It lightens, it brightens, 

The tenebrific scene, 
To meet with, and greet with. 
My Davie or my Jean. 

how that name inspires my style ! 
The words come skelpin, rank and file, 

Amaist before I ken ! 
The ready measure rins as fine. 
As Phcebus and the famous Nine 

Were glo^vrin owre my pen. 
My spaviet Pegasus will limp, 

TiU ance he's fairly het ; 
And then he'll hilch, and stilt, and jimp, 
An' rin an unco fit : 

But least, then, the beast then 

Should rue this hasty ride, 
I'll light now, and dight now 
His sweaty, wizen'd hide. 




Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie, 

what a panic's in thy breastie ! 
Thou ueedna start awa sae hasty, 

Wi' bickering brattle ! 

1 wad be laith to rin an' chase thee 

Wi' murdering pattle ! 

I'm truly sorry man's dominion 
Has broken nature's social union, 
An' justifies that ill opinion, 

Which maks thee startle 
At me, thy poor earth-born companion, 

An' I'ellow-mortal ! 

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve; 
WTiat then ? poor beastie, thou maun live ! 
A daimen-icker in a thrave 

'S a sma' request; 
I'll get a blessing wi' the lave, 

An' never miss't ! 

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin ! 
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin; 
An' naething, now, to big a new ane, 

0' foggage green ! 
An' bleak December's winds ensuin, 

Baith snell an' keen! 

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste, 
An' weary winter comin fast, 
An' cozie here, beneath the blast. 

Thou thought to dwell, 
Till, crash ! the cruel coulter past, 

Out thro' thv cell. 


That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble 
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble ! 
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble, 

But house or hald, 
To thole the winter's sleety dribble, 

An' cranreuch cauld! 

But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane, 
In proving foresight may be vain: 
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men 

Gang aft a-gley, 
An' lea'e us nought but grief and pain 

For promis'd joy. 

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me ! 
The present only toucheth thee : 
But, Och ! I backward cast my e'e 

On prospects drear; 
An' forward, tho' I canua see, 

I guess an' fear. 

Tune — " The tither morn, as I for lor 71." 

Yon wand'ring rill that marks the hill, 
And glances o'er the brae. Sir, 

Slides by a bower, where mony a flower 
Sheds fragrance on the day. Sir. 

There Damon lay, with Sylvia gay; 

To love they thought nae crime, Sir. 
The wild birds sang, the echoes rang. 

While Damon's heart beat time, Sir. 



The wintry west extends his blast, 

And hail and rain does blaw ; 
Or the stormy north sends driving forth 

The blinding sleet and snaw: 
Wliile tumbling, brown, the burn comes dowL*, 

And roars frae bank to brae ; 
And bird and beast in covert rest, 

And pass the heartless day. 


"The sweeping blast, the sky o'ercast," 

The joyless winter-day, 
Let others tear, to me more dear 

Tliau all the pride of ]\Iay: 
The tempest's howl, it soothes my soul, 

My griefs it seems to join ! 
The leafless trees my fancy please, 

Their fate resembles mine ! 

Thou Power Supreme, whose mighty scheme 

These woes of mine fultil, 
Here firm I rest, they must be best, 

Because they are thy will '. 
Then all I want (0, do thou grant 

This one request of mine 1) 
Since to enjoy thou dost deny. 

Assist me to resign. 



As IVIailie an her lambs thegither. 
Were ae day nibbling on the tether, 
Upon her cloot she coost a hitch. 
An' owre she warsl'd in the ditch : 
There, groaning, dying, she did lie, 
When Hughoc he came doytin by. 

Wi' glowrin' een an' lifted ban's, 
Poor Hughoc like a statue stan's ; 
He saw her days were near-hand ended. 
But, waes my heart! he couldna mend it. 
He gaped wide, but naething spak ! 
At length poor Mailie silence brak. 


" O thou, whase lamentable face 
Appears to mourn my waefu' case ! 
My dying words attentive hear, 
An' bear them to my master dear. 

"Tell him, if e'er again he keep 
As muckle gear as buy a sheep, 
O bid him never tie them mair 
Wi' wicked strings o' hemp or hair I 
But ca' them out to park or hill, 
An' let them wander at their will ; 
So may his flocks increase an' grow 
To scores o' lambs, an' packs o' woo' ! 

" Tell him, he was a master kin'. 
An' aye was guid to me and mine; 
An' now my dying charge I gie him, 
My helpless lambs I trust them wi' him. 

" O bid him save their harmless lives 
Frae dogs, an' tods, an' butchers' knives ! 
But gie them guid cow-milk their fill. 
Till they be fit to fend themsel: 
An' tent them duly, e'en an' morn, 
Wi' teats o' hay an' rips o' corn. 

"An' may they never learn the gaets 
Of ither Aile wanrestfu' pets ! 
To slink thro' slaps, an' rea\'e an' steal 
At stacks o' pease or stocks o' kail 
So may they, like their gi-eat forbears, 
For mony a year come thro' the sheers : 
So wives will gie them bits o' bread. 
An' bairns greet for them when they're dead. 

"My poor toop-lamb, my son and heir, 
O bid him breed him up wi' care ! 
An' if he live to be a beast, 
To pit some bavins in his breast ! 
An' warn liim, what I winna name, 
To stay content wi' yowes at hame. 
An' no to rin an' wear his cloots, 
Like itlier menseless, sn^aceless brutes. 



"An' niest my yowie, silly thing, 
Gude keep thee frae a tether string ! 

may thou ne'er forgather up 
Wi' ony blastit moorland toop ; 

But aye keep mind to moop an' mell, 
AVi' sheep o' credit like thysel I 

"An' now, my bairns, wi' my last breath 

1 lea'e my blessin' wi' you baith : 

An' when you, think upo' your mither, 
Mind to be kin' to ane anither. 

" Now, honest Hughoc, dinna fail, 
To tell my master a' my tale ; 
An' bid him burn this cursed tether, 
An', for thy pains, thou'se get my blather." 

This said, poor Mailie turn'd her head, 
An' clos'd her e'en amans the dead. 


Lament in rhyme, lament in prose, 

Wi' saut tears trickling down your nose ; 

Our bardie's fate is at a close. 

Past a' remead ; 
The last sad cape-stane of his woes ; 

Poor Mailie's dead ! 

It's no the loss o' warl's gear. 
That could sae bitter draw the tear, 
Or mak our bardie, dowie, wear 

The mourning weed 
He's lost a friend and neebor dear, 

Tn ]\railie dead. 


Thro' a' the town she trotted by liim ; 
A lang half-mile she could descry him ; 
Wi' kindly bleat, when she did spy him, 

She ran wi' speed: 
A friend mair faithfu' ne'er cam nigh him, 

Than Mailie dead. 

I wat she was a sheep o' sense, 
An' could behave hersel wi' mense : 
I'll say't, she never brark a fence, 

Thro' thievish greed. 
Our bardie, lanely, keeps the speuce 

Sin' Mailie's dead. 

Or, if he wanders up the howe, 

Her living image in her yowe 

Comes bleating to him, owre the knowe. 

For bits o' bread-, 
. An' down the briny pearls rowe 

Eor jNIailie dead. 

She was nae get o' moorland tips, 

Wi' tawted ket an' hairy hips ; 

For her forbears were brought in ships 

Frae yont the Tweed; 
A bonnier fieesh ne'er cross'd the clips 

Than Mailie dead. 

Wae worth the man wha first did shape 
That vile, wanchancie thing — a rape ! 
It maks guid fellows girn an' gape, 

Wi' chokin dread- 
An' Robin's bonnet wave wi' crape, 

For ]\Iailie dead. 

O a' ye bards on bonnie Boon, 

An' wha on Ayr your chanters tune, 

Come, join the melancholious croon 

O' Eobin's reed! 
His heart will never get aboon 

His ]\Iailie dead. 


'PuNE. — " Corn rigs are bonnie.'^ 

It was upon a Lammas night, 

Wlien corn rigs are bonnie, 
Beneath the moon's unclouded light, 

I held awa to Annie: 
The time flew by wi' tentless heed, 

Till 'tween the late and early; 
Wi' sma' persuasion she agTced 

To see me thro' the barley. 

The sky was blue, the wind was still. 
The moon was shining clearly: 

I set her down wi' right good will, 
Amang the rigs o' barley: 


I kenn'd her heart was a' my ain ; 

I lov'd her most sincerely; 
I kiss'd lier owre and owre again 

Amang the rigs o' barley. 

I lock'd her in my fond embrace; 

Her heart was beating rarely: 
My blessings on that happy place, 

Amang the rigs o' barley! 
But by the moon and stars so bright, 

That shone that hour so clearly, 
She aye shall bless that happy night, 

Amang the rigs o' barley. 

I hae been blythe wi' comrades dear; 

I hae been merry drinkin' ; 
I hae been joyfu' gatherin' gear; 

I hae been happy thinkin' : 
But a' the pleasures ere I saw, 

Tho' three times doubl'd fairly, 
That happy night was worth them a', 

Amang the rigs o' barley. 


Corn rigs, an' barley rigs. 
An' corn rigs are bonnie : 

ril ne'er forget that happy night, 
Amang the rigs wi' Annie. 


An honest man here lies at rest. 
As e'er God with his image blest ; 
The friend of man, the friend of truth: 
The friend of age, and guide of youth: 
Few hearts like his, with virtue warm'd. 
Few heads with knowledge so inform'd : 
If there's anotlier world, he lives in bliss ; 
If there is none, he made the best of tliis. 




Of BroTrflyis and of Bogilis fuU is this Buke.— Gawin Douglas 

When chapman billies leave the street, 
And drouthy neebors neebors meet, 
As market-days are wearing late. 
An' folk begin to tak' the gate; 
While we sit bousing at the nappy, 
An' getting 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, wham ne'er a town surpasses 
For honest men and bonnie lasses). 

Tam! had'st 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 wasna sober; 
That ilka melder, wi' the miller. 
Thou sat as lang as thou had siller; 
That ev'ry naig was ca'd a shoe on, 
The smith and thee gat roaring fou on ; 
That at the Lord's house, ev'n on Sunday, 
Thou drank wi' Kirton Jean till Monday. 
She prophesy'd that, late or soon, 
Thou would be found deep drown'd in Doon 
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 lengtlien'd sage advices, 
The husband frae the ^vife despises! 

But to our tale: — Ae market night, 
Tam had got planted unco right, 
last by an ingle bleezing finely, 
Wi' reaming swats that drank di\-inely; 
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, 
"WT 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 didna mind the storm a whistle. 

Care, mad to see a man sae happy. 
E'en dro"\\Ti'd himself amang the napp}' ; 
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 flow'r, its bloom is shed ; 
Or like the snow falls in the river, 
A moment white — then melts for ever; 
Or like the borealis race, 
That flit ere you can point their place ; 
Or like the rainbow's lovely form, 
Evanishing amid the storm. 
Nae man can tether time or tide ; 
The hour approaches Tam maun ride ; 
That hour, o' night's black arch the key-stane, 
That dreary hour he mounts his beast in; 
And sic a night he taks the road in 
As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in. 

I'he souter tauld his queerest stcnes , 
The landlord's laugh was ready chorus 




The wind blew as 'twad blawm its last; 
'Phe rattlin show'rs 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, ]\Ieg, 
A better never lifted leg, 
Tarn skelpit on thro' dub and mire. 
Despising wind, and rain, and fii-e ; 
Wliyles holding fast his guid blue bonnet, 
Whyles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet; 


Whyles glow'ring round wi' prudent cares, 
Lest bogles catch him unawares ; 
Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh, 
Whare ghaists and houlets nightly cry. 

By this time he was cross the ford, 
AVliare in the snaw the chapman smoor'd ; 
And past the birks and meikle stane, 
Whare drunken Charlie brak's neck-bane ; 
And thro' the wdiins, and by the cairn, 
Whare hunters land the murder'd bairn ; 
And near the thorn, aboon the well, 
Whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel. 
Before him Doon pours all his floods ; 
The doubling storm roars thro' the woods ; 
The lightnings flash frae pole to pole ; 
Near and more near the thunders roll ; 
When, glimmering thro' the groaning trees, 
Kirk-Alloway seem'd in a bleeze ; 
Thro' ilka bore the beams were glancing. 
And loud resounded mirth and dancing. 

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn, 
What dangers thou canst make us scorn ! 
Wi' tippeny we fear nae evil ; 
Wi' usquabae we'll face the devil ! 
The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's noddle. 
Fair play, he card na deils a boddle. 
But Maggie stood right sair astonish'd, 
Till, by the heel and hand admonish'd, 
She ventur'd forward on the light ; 
And, wow ! Tam saw an unco sight ! 
Warlocks and witches in a dance ; 
Nae cotillon brent new frae France, 
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels, 
Put life and mettle in their heels. 
A winnock-bunker in the east, 
There sat auld Nick, in shape o' beast ; 
A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large, 
To gie them music was his charge : 
He screw'd the pipes and gart them skirl, 
Till roof and rafters a' did dirl. 
Coffins stood round like open presses. 


That shaw'd the dead in their last dresses ; 

And by some devilish cantrip slight 

Each in its cauld hand held a light — 

By which heroic Tarn was able 

To note upon the haly table, 

A murderer's banes in gibbet aims ; 

Twa span-lang, wee, unchristen'd bairns ; 

A thief, new cutted frae a rape, . 

Wi' his last gasp his gab did gape ; 

Eive tomahawks, wi' bluid red-rusted ; 

Five scimitars, wi' murder crusted ; 

A garter, which a babe had strangl'd ; 

A knife, a father's throat had mangl'd ; 

Wliom his ain son o' life bereft. 

The gray hairs yet stack to the heft: 

Wi' mair o' horrible and awfu'. 

Which ev'n to name would be unlawfu'. 

As Tammie glowr'd, amaz'd 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 thae been queans 
A' plump and strappin i' their teens ; 
Their sarks, instead o' creeshie flannen, 
Been snaw-white seventeen h under linen ! 
Thir breeks 0' mine, my only pair, 
That ance were plush, o' guid blue hair, 
I wad hae gi'en them aff my hurdles, 
For ae ' blink o' the bonnie burdies ! 

But wither'd beldams, auld and droll, 
Eigwoodie hags wad spean a foal, 
Lowping an' flinging on a crummock, 
I wonder didna turn thy stomach. 

Brt 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 here. 
And kept the country-side in fear) ; 
Her cuttie sark o' Paisley harn, 
That while a lassie she had worn, 
In longitude tho' 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 grac'd a dance of witches ! 

But here my Muse her wing maun cour; 
Sic flights are far beyond her pow'r, 
To sing how Nannie lap and flang, 
(A souple jade she was and Strang) 
And how Tarn stood, like ane bewitch'd, 
And thought his very een enrich'd ; 
Even Satan glowr'd, and fidg'd fu' fain. 
And hotch'd and blew wi' might and main: 
Till first ae caper, syne anither. 
Tarn tint his reason a' thegither, 
And roars out, "Weel done, Cutty-sark!" 
And in an instant all was dark : 
And scarcely had he Maggie rallied. 
When out the hellish legion sallied. 

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 eagar runs the market-crowd. 
When, " Catch the thief! " resounds aloud ; 
So Maggie rins, the witches follow, 
Wi' mony an eldritch skreech and hollow. 

Ah, Tarn ! ah. Tarn ! 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 woefu' woman I 

The carlm claught her by the rump. 
And left poor Maggie scarce a stamp. 


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 darena cross. 
But ere the key-stane she could make. 
The fient a tale she had to shake ! 
For Nannie, far before the rest. 
Hard upon noble Maggie prest, 
And flew at Tam wi' furious ettle : 
But little wist she Maggie's mettle — 
Ae spring brought off her master hale. 
But left behind her ain gray tail : 
The carlin claught her by the rump, 
And left poor Maggie scarce a stump. 

Now, wha this tale o' truth shall read, 
Ilk man and mother's son, take heed : 
Whene'er to drink you are inclin'd, 
Or cutty-sarks run in your mind, 
Think, ye may buy the joys owre dear — • 
Eemember Tam o' Shanter's meere. 



There were three kings into the east, 
Three kings both great and high. 

An' they hae sworn a solemn oath 
John Barleycorn should die. 

They took a plough and plough'd him down, 

Put clods upon his head. 
And they hae sworn a solemn oath 

John Barleycorn was dead. 

But the cheerful spring came kindly on. 

And show'rs began to fall ; 
John Barleycorn got up again. 

And sore surprised them all. 


The sultry suns of summer came, 
And he grew thick and strong, 

His head well arm'd wi' pointed spears, 
That no one should him wrong. 

The sober autumn enter'd mild, 
When he grew wan and pale ; 

His bending joints and drooping head 
Show'd he began to fail. 

His colour sicken'd more and more, 

He faded into age ; 
And then his enemies began 

To show their deadly rage. 

They've ta'en a weapon long and sharp. 
And cut him by the knee ; 

Then ty'd him fast upon a cart, . 
Like a rogue for forgerie. 

They laid him down upon his back. 
And cudgell'd him full sore ; 

They hung him up before the storm, 
And turn'd him o'er and o'er. 

They filled up a darksome pit 

With water to the brim, 
They heaved in John Barleycorn, 

There let him sink or swim. 

They laid him out upon the floor. 

To work him farther woe. 
And stills, as signs of life appear'd. 

They toss'd him to and fro. 

They wasted, o'er a scorching flame, 

The marrow of his bones ; 
But a miller us'd him worst of all. 

For he crush'd him 'tween two stones. 

And they hae ta'en his very heart's blood, 
And drank it round and round ; 

And still the more and more they drank. 
Their joy did more abound. 


John Barleycorn was a hero bold, 

Of noble enterprise, 
For if you do but taste his blood, 

'Twill make your courage rise. 

'Twill make a man forget his woe; 

'Twill heighten all his joy: 
'Twill make the widow's heart to sing, 

Tho' the tear were in her eye. 

Then let us toast John Barleycorn, 

Each man a glass in hand ; 
And may his great posterity 

Ne'er fail in old Scotland! 



Thou Great Being! what thou art 

Surpasses me to know: 
Yet sure I am, that known to thee 

Ai-e all thy works below. 

Thv creature here before thee stands. 

All wretched and distrest ; 
Yet sure those ills that wring my soul 

Obey thy high behest. 

Sure thou. Almighty, canst not act 

From cruelty or wrath ! 
O, free my weary eyes from tears. 

Or close them fast in death ! 

But if I must afflicted be, 
To suit some wise design; 

Then man my soul with firm resolves 
To bear and not repine! 





My Lord, I Tcnow, your noble ear 

Woe ne'er assaUs in vain ; 
Embolden'd thus, I beg you'll hear 

Your humble slave complain, 
How saucy Phoebus' scorching beams, 

In flaming summer-pride. 
Dry-withering, waste my foamy streams, 

And drink my crystal tide. 

The lightly-jumping, glowiin' trouts. 

That thro' my waters play, 
If, in their random wanton spouts, 

They near the margin stray ; 
If, hapless chance ! they linger lang, 

I'm scorching up so shallow, 
They're left the whitening stanes amang. 

In gasping death to wallow. 

Last day I grat wi' spite and teen. 

As Poet Burns came by, 
That to a bard I should be seen 

Wi' half my channel dry: 
A panegyric rhyme, I ween. 

Even as I was he shor'd me ; 
But had I in my glory been. 

He, kneeling, wad ador'd me. 

Here, foaming down the shelvy rocks. 

In twisting strength I rin ; 
There, high my boiling torrent smokes, 

AVild-roaring o'er a linn : 
Enjoying large each spring and well. 

As Nature gave them me, 
I am, altlio' I say't mysel, 

AYorth oaun a mile to see. 




Would then my noble master please 

To grant my highest wishes, 
He'll shade my banks wi' tow'ring trees. 

And bonnie spreading bushes ; 
Delighted doubly then, my Lord, 

You'll wander on my banks, 
And listen mony a grateful bird 

Eeturn you tuneful thanks. 

The sober laverock, warbling wild, 

Shall to the skies aspire ; 
The gowdspink, music's gayest child, 

Shall sweetly join the choir : 
The blackbird strong, the lintwhite clear, 

The mavis mild and mellow ; 
The robin pensive autumn cheer. 

In all her locks of yellow. 


This, too, a covert shall insure, 

To shield them from the storm ; 
And coward maukiu sleep secure. 

Low in her grassy form : 
Here shaD. the shepherd make his seat, 

To weave his crown of flow'rs ; 
Or find a sheltering safe retreat 

From prone-descending show'rs. 

And here, by sweet endearing stealth, 

Shall meet the loving pair, 
Despising worlds, with all their wealth, 

As empty idle care : 
The flow'rs shall vie, in all their charms, 

The hour of heav'n to grace. 
And birks extend their fragrant arms. 

To screen the dear embrace. 

Here, haply too, at vernal dawn. 

Some musing bard may stray, 
And eye the smoking, dewy lawn, 

And misty mountain gray ; 
Or, by the reaper's nightly beam. 

Mild-chequering thro' the trees. 
Rave to my darkly-dashing stream. 

Hoarse-swelling on the breeze. 

Let lofty firs and ashes cool 

My lowly banks o'erspread. 
And view, deep-bending in the pool. 

Their shadows' wat'ry bed ! 
Let fragrant birks, in woodbines drest. 

My craggy cliffs adorn ; 
And, for the little songster's nest. 

The close embow'ring thorn. 

So may old Scotia's darling hope, 

Your little angel band. 
Spring, like their fathers, up to prop 

Their honour'd native land ! 
So may thro' Albion's farthest ken. 

To social flowing glasses. 
The grace be — "Athole's honest men, 

And Athole's bonnie lasses !" 




O YE wha are sae guid yoursel, 

Sae pious and sae holy, 
Ye've nought to do but mark and tell 

Your neebour's fauts and folly ! 
Whase life is like a weel-gaun mill, 

Supply'd wi' store o' water ; 
The heapit happer's ebbing still, 

And still the clap plays clatter. 

Hear me, ye venerable core. 

As counsel for poor mortals. 
That frequent pass douce Wisdom's door 

For glaikit Folly's portals : 
I, for their thoughtless careless sakes, 

Would here propone defences. 
Their donsie tricks, their black mistakes, 

Their failings and mischances. 

Ye see your state wi' theirs compar'd, 

And shudder at the niffer; 
But cast a moment's fair regard, 

What maks the mighty differ ? 
Discount what scant occasion gave, 

That purity ye pride in. 
And (what's aft mair than a' the lave) 

Your better art o' hiding. 

Think, when your castigated pulse 

Gies now and then a wallop, 
Wliat ragings must his veins convulse, 

That still eternal gallop ; 
Wi' wind and tide fair i' your tail, 

Eight on ye scud your sea-way ; 
But in the teeth o' baith to sail, 

It maks an unco leeway. 


See social life and glee sit down, 

All joyous and unthinking, 
Till, quite transniugrify'd, they're grown 

Debauchery and drinking: 
O would they stay to calculate 

Th' eternal consequences ; 
Or your more dreaded hell to state, 

Summation of expenses ! 

Ye high, exalted, virtuous dames, 

Ty'd up in godly laces. 
Before ye gie poor frailty names. 

Suppose a change o' cases ; 
A dear lov'd lad, convenience snuc, 

A treacherous inclination — 
But, let me whisper i' your lug, 

Ye're aiblins nae temptation. 

Then gently scan your brother man, 

Still gentler sister woman ; 
Tho' they may gang a kennin' \\Tang; 

To step aside is human : 
One point must still be greatly dark, 

The moving why they do it ; 
And just as lamely can ye mark. 

How far perhaps they rue it. 

Who made the heart, 'tis He alone 

Decidedly can try us ; 
He knows each chord — its various tone. 

Each spring — its various bias : 
Then at the balance let's be mute. 

We never can adjust it ; 
"VMiat's done we partly may compute. 

But know not what's resisted. 

Tune — " Braes o' Balqufiidder." 

Ilk care and fear, when thou art near, 

I ever mair defy them, ; 
Young kings upon their hansel throne 

Are no sae blest as I am, ! 

When in my arms, wi' a' thy charms, 
I clasp my countless treasure, 0, 

I seek nae mair o' heaven to share, 
Than sic a moment's pleasure, ! 

And by tby een, sae bonnie blue, 
I swear I'm thine for ever, '. 

And on thy lips I seal my vow, 
And break it shaU I never, O' 


I'll kiss thee yet, yet. 

An' I'll kiss thee o'er again. 
An' I'D. kiss thee yet, yet. 

My bonnie Peggy Alison ! 




The simple Bard, rough at the rustic plough, 

Learning his tuneful trade from every bough — 

The chanting linnet, or the mellow thrush. 

Hailing the setting sun, sweet, in the green thorn bush ; 

The soaring lark, the perching red-breast shrill, 

Or deep-ton'd plovers, gray, wild-whistling o'er the hill — 

Shall he, nurst in the peasant's lowly shed, 

To hardy independence bravely bred. 

By early poverty to hardship steel'd, 

And train'd to arms in stern misfortune's field. 

Shall he be guilty of their hireling crimes, 

The servile mercenary Swiss of rhymes ? 

Or labour hard the panegyric close, 

With all the venal soul of dedicating prose? 

No ! though his artless strains he rudely sings, 

And throws his hand uncouthly o'er the strings, 

He glows with all the spirit of the bard. 

Fame, honest fame, his great, his dear reward. 

Still, if some patron's gen'rous care he trace, 

Skill'd in the secret to bestow with grace ; 

When Ballantyne befriends his humble name. 

And hands the rustic stranger up to fame, 

With heartfelt throes his grateful bosom swells, 

The godKke bliss, to give, alone excels. 

'Twas when the stacks get on their winter hap. 
And thack and rape secure the toil-won crap ; 
Potato-bings are snugged up frae skaith 
Of coming winter's biting frosty breath ; 
The bees, rejoicing o'er their summer toils, 
Unnumber'd buds an' flowers' delicious spoils 
Seal'd up with frugal care in massive w^axen piles, 


Are doom'd by man, that tyrant o'er the weak, 

The death o' devils smoor'd wi' brimstone reek: 

The thundering guns are heard on every side, 

The wounded coveys, reeling, scatter wide; 

The feather'd field-mates, bound by Nature's tie, 

Sires, mothers, children, in one carnage lie: 

(What warm poetic heart but inly bleeds, 

And execrates man's savage, ruthless deeds !) 

Kae mair the flower in field or meadow springs; 

Nae mair the grove with airy concert rings. 

Except perhaps the Robin's whistling glee. 

Proud o' the height o' some bit half-lang tree: 

The hoary morns precede the sunny days, 

Mild, calm, serene, wide spreads the noontide blaze, 

While thick the gossamour waves wanton in the rays. 

'Twas in that season, when a simple bard. 

Unknown and poor, simplicity's reward, 

Ae night, within the ancient brugh of Ayr, 

By whim inspir'd or haply prest wi' care. 

He left his bed, and took his wayward route. 

And down by Simpson's wheel'd the left about 

(Whether impell'd by all-directing Fate, 

To witness what I after shall narrate; 

Or whether, wrapt in meditation high. 

He wander'd out, he knew not where nor why); 

The drowsy Dungeon-clock had number'd two, 

And Wallace Tower had sworn the fact was true, 

The tide-swoln Firth, with sullen sounding roar, 

Thro' the still night dash'd hoarse along the shore. 

All else was hush'd as Nature's closed ee ; 

The silent moon shone high o'er tower and tree: 

The chilly frost, beneath the silver beam. 

Crept, gently-crusting, o'er the glittering stream. 

When, lo! on either hand the list'ning Bard, 

The clanging sugh of whistling wings is heard; 

Two dusky forms dart thro' the midnight air. 

Swift as the Gos drives on the wheeling hare; 

Ane on th' Auld Brig his airy shape uprears. 

The ither flutters o'er the rising piers: 

Our warlock Ehymer instantly descry'd 

The Sprites that o'er the Brigs o' Ayr preside. 

(That bards are second-sighted is nae joke. 

And ken the lingo of the sp'ritual folk ; 


Fays, Spunkies, Kelpies, a', they can explain them, 

And ev'n the very deils they brawly ken them.) 

Auld Brig appear'd of ancient Pictish race, 

The vera wrinkles Gothic in his face ; 

He seem'd as he wi' time had warstl'd lanar. 

Yet teughly doure, he bade an nnco bang. 

New Brig was buskit in a braw new coat. 

That he at Lon'on, frae ane Adams, got; 

In's hand five taper staves as smooth's a bead, 

Wi' virls and whirlygigums at the head. 

The Goth was stalking round with anxious search. 

Spying the time-worn flaws in ev'ry arch; 

It chanc'd his new-come neebor took his ee, 

And e'en a vex'd and angry heart had he ! 

Wi' thieveless sneer to see his modish mien. 

He, down the water, gies him this guideen: — 


I doubt na, frien', ye'U think ye're nae sheepshank, 
Ance ye were streekit o'er frae bank to bank! 
But gin ye be a brig as auld as me, 
Tho', faith, that day, I doubt, ye'll never see. 
There'll be if that date come, I'll wad a boddle. 
Some fewer whigmaleeries in your noddle. 


Auld Vandal, ye but sliow your little mense. 
Just much about it wi' your scanty sense ; 
Will your poor, narrow foot-path of a street, 
Where twa wheel-barrows tremble when they meet. 
Your ruin'd, formless bulk o' stane an' lime. 
Compare wi' bonnie brigs o' modern time ? 
There's men o' taste would tak the Ducat-stream, 
Tho' they should cast the vera sark an' swim. 
Ere they would grate their feelings wi' the view 
Of sic an ugly Gothic hulk as you. 


Conceited gowk ! puff'd up wi' windy pride ! 
This mony a year I've stood the flood an' tide; 


And tho' wi' crazy eild I'm sair forfairn, 

I'll be a Brig when ye're a shapeless cairn! 

As yet. ye little ken about the matter, 

But twa-three winters will inform you better. 

When heavy, dark, continued, a'-day rains, 

Wi' deepening deluges o'erflow the plains; 

When from the hills, where springs the brawling Coil, 

Or stately Lugar's mossy fountains boil, 

Or where the Greenock winds his moorland course, 

Or haunted Garpal draws his feeble source, 

Aix)us'd by blust'ring winds an' spotting thowes. 

In mony a torrent down his sna-broo rowes ; 

^Vhile crashing ice, borne on the roaring spate, 

Sweeps dams, an' mills, an' brigs, a' to the gate; 

And from Gleubuck down to the Ratton-key, 

Auld Ayr is just one lengthen'd tumbling sea; 

Then down ye'U hurl, deil nor ye never rise'. 

And dash the gumlie jaups up to the pouring skies; 

A lesson sadly teaching, to your cost. 

That Architecture's noble art is lostl 


Fine Architecture, trowth, I needs must say't o't* 
The Lord be thankit that we've tint the gate o't! 
Gaunt, ghastly, ghaist-alluring edifices. 
Hanging with threat'ning jut, like precipices ; 
O'er-arching, mouldy, gloom-inspiring coves. 
Supporting roofs fantastic, stony groves: 
Windows and doors, in nameless sculpture drest. 
With order, symmetry, or taste unblest; 
Forms like some bedlam statuary's dream, 
The craz'd creations of misguided whim; 
Forms might be worshipp'd on the bended knee. 
And still the second dread command be free. 
Their likeness is not found on earth, in air, or seaj 
Mansions that would disgrace the building taste 
Of any mason, reptile, bird, or beast. 
Fit only for a doited monkish race. 
Or frosty maids forsworn the dear embrace. 
Or cuifs o' later times, wha held the notion 
That sullen gloom was sterling true devotion; 
Fancies that our guid Brugh denies protection, 
And soon may they expire, unblest with resurrection! 




ye, my dear-remember'd ancient yealings. 
Were ye but here to share my wounded feelings 1 
Ye worthy Proveses, an' mony a Bailie, 
AVha in the paths o' righteousness did toil aye; 
Ye dainty Deacons, and ye douce Conveeners, 
To whom our moderns are but causey-cleaners ; 
Ye godly Councils wha hae blest this town ; 
Ye godly Brethren of the sacred gown, 
"Wlia meekly ga'e your hurdies to the smiters ; 
And (what would now be strange) ye godly Writers: 
A' ye douce folk I've borne aboon the broo. 
Were ye but here, what would ye say or do? 
How would your spirits groan in deep vexation, 
To see each melancholy alteration ; 
And, agonizing, curse the time and place, 
When ye begat the base degen'rate race! 
Nae langer Eev'rend Men, their country's glory, 
In plain braid Scots hold forth a plain braid stoiy! 
Nae langer thrifty Citizens, an' douce. 
Meet owre a pint, or in the Council-house ; 
But staumrel, corky-headed, graceless Gentry, 
The herryment and ruin o' the country; 
Men, three-parts made by Tailors and by Barbers, 
Wha waste your weU-hain'd gear on braw new Brigs and Harbours 


Now baud you there ! for faith ye've said enough, 
And muckle mair than you can mak to through; 
As for your priesthood, I sliall say but little. 
Corbies and Clergy are a shot right kittle; 
But under favour o' your langer beard, 
Abuse o' Magistrates might weel be spar'd: 
To liken them to your auld-warld squad, 
I must needs say comparisons are odd. 
In Ayr, Wag-wits nae mair can hae a handle 
To mouth "a Citizen," a term o' scandal: 
Nae mair the Council waddles down the street. 
In all the pomp o' ignorant conceit; 
Men wha grew wise priggin owre hops an' raisins. 
Or o-ather'd lib'ral views in Bonds and Seisins. 



If haply Knowledge, on a random tramp. 
Had shor'd them with a glimmer of his lamp, 
And would to Common-sense for once betray'd them, 
Plain, dull Stupidity stept kindly in to aid them. 

What farther clishmaclaver might been said, 
What bloody wars, if Sprites had blood to shed, 
No man can tell ; but all before their sight, 
A fairy train appear'd in order bright: 
Adown the ghttering stream they featly danc'd ; 
Bright to the moon their various dresses glanc'd: 
They footed o'er the wat'ry glass so neat, 
The infant ice scarce bent beneath their feet: 
While arts of Minstrelsy among them rung, 
And soul-ennobling bards heroic ditties sung. 
O had M'Lauchlan, thairm-inspiring Sage, 
Been there to hear this heavenly band engage, 
When thro' his dear Strathspeys they bore with Highland rage 
Or when they struck old Scotia's melting airs. 
The lover's raptur'd joys or bleeding cares ; 
How would his Highland lug been nobler fir'd, 
And ev'n his matchless hand with finer touch inspir'd! 
No guess could tell what instrument appear'd. 
But all the soul of Music's self was heard; 
Harmonious concert rung in every part, 
While simple melody pour'd moving on the heart. 

The Genius of the Stream in front appears, 
A venerable Chief, advanc'd in years : 
His hoary head M'ith water-lilies crown'd. 
His manly leg with garter tangle bound. 
Next came the loveliest pair in all the ring. 
Sweet Female Beauty hand in hand with Spring; 
Then crown'd with tlow'ry hay, came rural Joy, 
And Summer, with his fervid-beaming eye: 
AU-cheering Plenty, with her flowing horn. 
Led yellow Autumn wreath'd with nodding corn: 
Then Winter's time-bleach'd locks did hoary show. 
By Hospitality with cloudless brow. 
Next follow'd Courage wath his niartial stride, 
From where the Feal wild woody coverts hide; 
Benevolence, with mild benignant air, 
A female form, came from the tow'rs of Stair; 


Learning and Worth in equal measures trode, 

From simple Catrine, their long-lov'd abode : 

Last, white-rolj'd Peace, crown'd with a hazel wreath. 

To rustic Agriculture did bequeath 

The broken iron instruments of death ; 

At sight of whom our Sprites forgat their kindhug wrath. 



While virgin Spring, by Eden's flood. 

Unfolds her tender mantle green. 
Or pranks the sod in frolic mood. 

Or tunes Eolian strains between: 

Wlrile Summer with a matron grace, 

Eetreats to Dryburgh's cooling shade; 
Yet oft, delighted, stops to trace 
The progress of the spiky blade: 

AVhile Autumn, benefactor kind. 

By Tweed erects his aged head, 
And sees, with self-approving mind. 

Each creature on his bounty fed: 

While maniac Winter rages o'er 

The hills whence classic Yarrow flows. 

Rousing the turbid torrent's roar, 

Or sweeping, wild, a waste of snows: 

So long, sweet Poet of the year, 

Shall bloom that wreath thou well hast won ; 
While Scotia, with exulting tear, 

Proclaims that Thomson was her son. 



— '* What can a young lassie do wi' an aidd man" 

What can a young lassie, what shall a young lassie, 
Wliat can a young lassie do wi' an auld man ? 

Bad luck on the pennie that tempted my mnmie 
To sell her poor Jenny for siller an' Ian ! 

He's always compleenin frae mornin to e'enin. 

He hosts and lie hirples the weary day langj 
He's doylt and he's dozen, his bluid it is frozen, 

dreary's the night wi' a crazy auld man 1 

He hums and he hankers, he frets and he cankers, 

1 never can please him, do a' that I can; 
He's peevish and jealous of a' the young feUows, 

dool on the day I met wi' an auld man! 


My auld auntie Katie upon me taks pity, 
I'll do my endeavour to follow her plan ; 

I'll cross him and wrack him until I heart-brak him. 
And then his auld brass will buy me a new pan. 



Oppkess'd with grief, oppress'd ^vith care, 
A burden more than I can bear, 

I sit me down and sigh : 
O life ! thou art a galling load. 
Along a rough, a weary road, 

To \vretches such as I ! 
Dim backward as I cast my view. 

What sick'ning scenes appear ! 
Wliat sorrows yet may pierce me thro', 
Too justly I may fear ! 
Still caring, despairing, 

Must be my bitter doom ; 
My woes here shall close ne'er 
But with the closing tomb! 

Happy, ye sons of busy life, 
Who, equal to the bustling strife, 

No other view regard ! 
E'en when the wished end's deny'd. 
Yet while the busy means are ply'd, 

They bring their own reward: 
"WHiilst I, a hope-abandon'd wight, 

Unfitted with an aim. 
Meet ev'ry sad returning night. 
And joyless morn the same ; 
You, bustling, and justling, 

Forget each grief and pain; 
I, listless, yet restless. 
Find every prospect vain. 


How blest the solitary's lot, 
Who, all-forgetting, all-forgot, 

Within, his humble cell. 
The cavern wild with tangling roots, 
Sits o'er his newly-gather'd fruits, 

Beside his crystal well ! 
Or, haply, to his ev'ning thought, 

By unfrequented stream, 
The ways of men are distant brought, 
A faint collected dream : 
While praising, and raising 

His thoughts to Heav'n on high, 
As wand'ring, meand'ring, 
He views the solemn sky. 

Than I, no lonely hermit plac'd 
Where never human footstep trac'd, 

Less fit to play the part; 
The lucky moment to improve. 
And just to stop, and just to move, 

With self-respecting art : 
But, ah ! those pleasures, loves, and joys, 

Which I too keenly taste. 
The solitary can despise, 

Can want, and yet be blest ! 
He needs not, he heeds not, 

Or human love or hate, 
Whilst I here, must cry here 
At perfidy ingrate ! 

Oh ! enviable early days. 

When dancing thoughtless pleasure's maze, 

To care, to guilt unknown ! 
How ill exchang'd for riper times, 
To feel the follies or the crimes 

Of others, or my own ! 
Ye tiny elves, that guiltless sport 

Like linnets in the bush, 
Ye little know the ills ye court. 
When manhood is your wish 1 
The losses, the crosses. 

That active man engage! 
The fears all, the tears all, 
Of dim declining age! 

M E X I E. 

*rnNE — '■'■Johnny's Grey Breeks ' 

Again rejoicing nature sees 

Her robe assume its vernal hues. 

Her leafy locks wave in tlie breeze, 
All freshly steep'd in morning de^vs, 

In vain to me the cowslips blaw, 
In vain to me the vi'lets spring ; 

Tn vain to me, in glen or shaw, 
The mavis and the liut white sing, 


MENIE. 73 

The merry plougliboy cheers his team, 

Wi' joy the tentie seedsman stalks; 
But life to me's a weary dream, 

A dream of aue that never wauks. 

The wanton coot the water skims, 

Amang the reeds the ducklings cry. 
The stately swan majestic swims, 

And every thing is blest but I. 

The shepherd steeks his faulding slap. 
And owre the moorlands whistles shrill; 

Wi' wild, unequal, wand'ring step, 
I meet him on the dewy hill. 

And when the lark, 'tween light and dark, 

. Blythe waukens by the daisy's side. 
And mounts and sings on flittering wings, 
A woe-worn ghaist I hameward glide. 

Come, Winter, with thine angry howl. 

And raging bend the naked tree ; 
Thy gloom will soothe my cheerless soul, 

When Nature all is sad like me! 


And maun I still on Menie doat, 

And bear the scorn that's in her e'e ? 

Tor it's jet, jet black, an it's like a hawk, 
An' it winna let a body be. 




On reading, in the public papers, the Laureate's Ode, with the other parade of June 4, 
1786, the author was no sooner dropped asleep, than he imagined himself transported to 
the birth-day levee^ and in his dreaming fancy made the following Address 

"Thoughts, words, and deeds, the statute blames with reaeon ; 
But surely dreams were ne'er indicted treason." 

Gutd-mornin' to your Majesty! 

]\Iay Heaven augment your blisses. 
On every new birth-day ye see, 

A humble poet wishes ! 
My bardsliip here, at your levee. 

On sic a day as this is, 
Is sure an uncouth sight to see, 

Amang the birth-day dresses 

Sae line this day. 

I see ye're complimented thrang, 

By mony a lord and lady ; 
"God save the king!" 's a cuckoo sang 

That's unco easy said aye ; 
The poets, too, a venal gang, 

Wi' rhymes weel-turn\l and ready, 
Wad gar ye trow ye ne'er do ^rang, 

But aye unerring steady, 

On sic a day. 

For me ! before a monarch's face, 

Even there I winna flatter; 
For neither pension, post, nor place, 

Am I your humble debtor: 
So, nae reflection on your grace, 

Your kingship to bespatter ; 
There's mony waur been o' the race. 

And aiblins ane been better 

Than you this day. 

A DEEAM. 75 

'Tis very true, my sov'reign king, 

My skill may weel be doubted : 
But facts are cliiels that wiima ding, 

An' downa be disputed: 
Your royal nest, beneath your wing, 

Is e'en right reft an' clouted. 
And now the third part of the string, 

An' less, will gang about it 

Than did ae day. 

Far be't frae me that I aspire 

To blame your legislation. 
Or say, ye wisdom want, or fire. 

To rule this mighty nation! 
But, faith! I muckle doubt, my Sire, 

Ye've trusted ministration 
To chaps, wha, in a barn or byre, 

Wad better fill'd their station 

Than courts yon day. 

And now ye've gien auld Britain peace, 

Her broken shins to plaster; 
Your sair taxation does her fleece, 

Till she has scarce a tester; 
For me, thank God, my life's a lease, 

Nae bargain wearing faster, 
Or, faith! I fear, that wi' the geese, 

I shortly boost to pasture 

r the craft some day. 

I'm no mistrusting Willie Pitt, 

When taxes he enlarges 
(An' Will's a true guid fallow's get, 

A name not envy spairges), 
That he intends to pay your debt. 

An' lessen a' your oliarges ; 
But, G-d-sake! let nae saving-fit 

Abridge your bonnie barges 

An' boats this day. 

76 A DREAM. 

Adieu, my Liege ! may freedom geek 

Beneath your high protection ; 
An' may ye rax corruption's neck, 

An' gie her for dissection ! 
But since I'm here, I'll no neglect, 

In loyal true affection, 
To pay your Queen, with due respect, 

My fealty an' subjection 

Tliis great birth-day, 

Hail, Majesty Most Excellent! 

Wliile nobles strive to please ye. 
Will ye accept a compliment 

A simple poet gi'es ye ? 
Thae bonnie 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' Wales, 

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 ; 
Sae, ye may doucely fill a throne. 

For a' their clishmaclaver : 
There, him at Agincourt wha shone, 

Few better were or braver ; 
And yet, wi' funny, queer Sir John, 

He was an unco shaver 

Fur mony a day. 

A- DREAM. 77 

For you, right rev'rend Osnaburg, 

Nane sets the lawn-sleeve sweeter, 
Although a ribbon at your lug 

Wad been a dress completer: 
As 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, 

■\Veel rigg'd for Venus' barter; 
But first hang out, that she'H discern 

Your hymeneal charter; 
Then heave aboard your grapple airn, 

An' large upon her quarter 

Come full that dav. 

An' lastly, bonnie 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, 

Ye're unco muckle dautet ; 
But, ere the course o' life be thro'. 

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. 



Edina ! Scotia's darling seat ! 

All hail thy palaces and tow'rs. 
Where once beneath a monarch's feet 

Sat legislation's sovereign pow'rs ! 
From marking wildly-scatter'd flow'rs. 

As on the banks of Ayr I stray'd. 
And singing, lone, the ling'ring hours, 

I shelter in thy honour'd shade. 

Here wealth still swells the golden tide 

As busy trade his labour 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 enlarg'd, their lib'ral 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 en^y blot their name ! 

Thy daughters bright thy walks adorn! 

Gay as the gilded summer sky, 
Sweet as the dewy milk-white thorn, 

Dear as the raptur'd thrill of joy ! 
Fair Burnet strikes th' adoring eye, 

Heav'n'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 vet'ran, gray in arms, 

And mark'd witli many a seamy scar; 
The pond'rous wall and massy bar, 

Grim-rising o'er the rugged rock. 
Have oft withstood assailing war. 

And oft repell'd the invader's shock. 

With awe-struck thought, and pitying tears, 

I view that noble, stately dome, 
Where Scotia's kings of other years, 

Fam'd heroes ! had their royal home : 
Alas! how chang'd the times to come! 

Their royal name low in the dust! 
Their hapless race wikl-wand'ring roam! 

Tho' rigid law cries out, 'twas just! 

Wild beats my heart to trace your steps. 

Whose ancestors, in days of yore, 
Thro' hostile ranks and ruin'd gaps 

Old Scotia's bloody lion bore : 
Ev'n I, who sing in rustic lore, 

Haply my sires have left their shed, 
And fac'd grim danger's loudest roar. 

Bold following where your fathers led! 

Edina ! Scotia's darling seat ! 

All hail thy palaces and tow'rs. 
Where once, beneath a monarch's feet. 

Sat legislation's sov'reign pow'rs ! 
From marking wildly-scatter'd flowr's, 

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

I shelter in thy honour'd shade. 


Tune—" Tam Glen: 

My heart is a-breaking, dear Tittie, 
Some counsel unto me come len'; 

To anger them a' is a pity, 

But what will I do wi' Tam Glen? 

i'm thinkin, wi' sic a braw fallow, 
In poortith I might mak a fen'; 

What care I in riches to wallow, 
If I maunna marry Tam Glen ? 


There's Lowrie, the laird o' Drummeller, 
" Guid day to you, brute!" he comes hen: 

He brags and he blaws o' his siller, 

But when will he dance like Tarn Glen ? 

My minnie does constantly deave me, 

And bids me beware o' young men ; 
They flatter, she says, to deceive me ; 

But wha can think sae o' Tam Glen ? 

My daddie says, gin I'll forsake him, 

He'll gie me guid hunder marks ten: 
But if it's ordain'd I maun tak him, 

wha will I get but Tam Glen! 

Yestreen, at the valentines dealing. 

My heart to my mou gied a sten; 
For thrice I drew ane without failing, 

And thrice it was written, Tam Glen. 

The last Halloween I was waukin 

My droukit sark-sleeve, as ye ken; 
His likeness cam up the house staukin, 

And the very gray breeks o' Tam Glen. 

Come counsel, dear Tittie ! don't tarry ; 

I'U gie you my bonnie black hen, 
Gif ye will advise me to marry 

The lad I lo'e dearly, Tam Glen, 




Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow'r, 
Thou's met me in an evil hour; 
For I maun crush amang the stoure 

Thy slender stem, 
To spare thee now is past my pow'r. 

Thou bonnie gem. 

Alas ! it's no thy neebor sweet. 
The bonnie lark, companion meet. 
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet, 

Wi' spreckled breast, 
When upward-springing, blythe, to gi'eet 

The purpling east, 

Cauld blew the bitter-biting north 
Upon thy early, humble birth; 
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth 

Amid the storm. 
Scarce rear'd above the parent earth 

Thy tender form. 

The flaunting flow'rs our gardens }deld. 
High shelt'ring woods and was maun shield; 
But thou, beneath the random bield 

0' clod or stane. 
Adorns the histie stibble-field, 

Unseen, alaue. 

There, in thy scantie mantle clad, 
Thy sna^^y bosom sun-ward spread, 
Thou lifts thy unassuming head 

In humble guise ; 
But now the share uptears thy bed, 

And low thou lies! 

Wee. modest, crimson-tipped floWr, 
Thou 3 met m.e la an evil Jaour. 


Such is the fate of artless maid, 
Sweet flow'ret of tlie rural shade ! 
By love's simplicity betray'd, 

And guileless trust, 
Till she, like thee, all soil'd, is laid 

Low i' the dust. 

Such is the fate of simple bard, 

On life's rough ocean luckless starr'd ! 

Unskilful he to note the card 

Of prudent lore. 
Till billows rage, and gales blow hard, 

And whelm him o'er. 

Suoh fate to suffering worth is giv'n. 

Who long with wants and woes has striVn, 

By human pride or cunning driv'n 

To mis'ry's brink, 
Till, wrench'd of ev'ry stay but Heav'n, 

He, ruin'd, sink ! 

Ev'n thou, who mourn'st the daisy's fate. 
That fate is thine — no distant date ; 
Stern Euin's ploughshare drives, elate, 

Full on thy bloom. 
Till crush'd beneath the furrow's weight. 

Shall be thy doom! 



Oh ! had each Scot of ancient times, 
Been, Jeany Scott, as thou art, 
The bravest heart on English ground, 
Had yielded like a coward. 



Inhu:\iajs^ man ! curse on tliy barb'rous art. 
And blasted be thy murder-aiming eye: 
May never pity soothe thee with a sigh. 

Nor ever pleasure glad thy cruel heart! 

Go live, poor wanderer of the wood and field. 

The bitter little that of life remains: 

No more the thickening brakes and verdant plains. 
To thee shall home, or food, or pastime yield. 

Seek, mangled %\Tetch, some place of wonted rest, 
No more of rest, but now thy dying bed ! 
The sheltering rushes whistling o'er thy head, 

The cold earth with thy bloody bosom prest. 

Oft, as by winding Nith I musing wait 
The sober eve, or hail the cheerful dawn, 
I'll miss thee sporting o'er the de\\y lawn, 

And curse the ruffian's aim, and mourn thy hapless fate. 




The sun had clos'd the winter day. 
The curlers quat their roaring play, 
An' hunger'd maukin ta'en 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 till'd, wi' hoast-provoking smeek, 

The auld clay biggin: 
An' heard the restless rattons squeak 

About the riggin. 

All in this mottie, misty clime, 
I 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. 


I started, mutt'ring, blockhead ! coof ! 
And heav'd on liigli my wankit loot", 
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 sneck 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 needna doubt I held my whisht, 
The infant aith, half-formed, was crusht ; 
I giowT'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. 

Would soon been broken. 

A " hair-brain'd, sentimental trace," 
AVas 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 bonnie Jean 

Could only peer it ; 
Sae 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-fetch'd floods ; 
There, w^ell-fed Irwine 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 toVr, 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 race heroic wheel, 

And brandish round the deep-dy'd steel 

In sturdy blows ; 
While back-recoihng seem'd to reel 

Their Southron foes. 


His Country's Saviour, mark him well! 
Bold liichardton's heroic swell ; 
The chief on Sark who glorious fell, 

In high command; 
And he whom ruthless fates expel 

His native land. 

There, where a scepter'd Pictish shade, 
Stalk'd round his ashes lowly laid, 
I luark'd a martial race, portray'd 

In colours strong; 
Bold, soldier-featur'd, undismay'd 

They strode along. 

Thro' many a wild romantic grove, 
Near many a hermit-fancy' d cove, 
(Fit haunts for friendship or for love) 

In musing mood, 
An aged judge, I saw him rove. 

Dispensing good. 

With deep-struck reverential awe 
The learned sire and son I saw. 
To Nature's God and Nature's law 

They gave their lore: 
This, all its source and end to draw; 

That, to adore. 

Brydone's brave ward I well could spy. 
Beneath old Scotia's smiling eye; 
Who caU'd on Fame, low standing by. 

To hand him on, 
Where many a patriot name on high. 

And hero shone. 


With musing-deep, astonish'd stare, 
I view'd the heavenly-seeming fair; 
A whispering throb did witness bear, 

Of kindred sweet, 
When with an elder sister's air 

She did me gi'eet. 


" All hail ! my own inspired bard ! 
In me thy native Muse regard ! 
Nor longer mourn thy fate is hard, 

Thus poorly low ! 
I come to give thee such reward 

As we bestow. 

" Know, the great genius of this land 
Has many a light aerial band. 
Who all beneath his high command. 

As arts or arms they understand. 

Their labours ply. 

"They Scotia's race among them share; 
Some fire tlie soldier on to dare ; 
Some rouse the patriot up to bare 

Corruption's heart; 
Some teach the bard, a darling care, 

The tuneful art. 

'•'Mong swelling floods of reeking gore. 
They, ardent, kindling spirits pour ; 
Or, 'mid the venal senate's roar. 

They, sightless, stand. 
To mend the honest patriot-lore, 

And grace the hand. 

"And when the bard, or hoary sage. 
Charm or instruct the future age. 
They bind the wild poetic rage 

In energy. 
Or point the inconclusive page. 

Full on the eye. 

"Hence Fullarton, the brave and young; 
Hence Dempster's zeal-inspired tongue ; 
Hence sweet harmonious Beattie sung 

His ' Minstrel ' lays ; 
Or tore, with noble ardour stung, 

The sceptic's bays. 



"To lower orders are assign'd 

The humbler ranks of human-kind. 

The rustic bard, the lab'ring hind, 

The artisan ; 
All choose, as various they're inclin'd, 

The various man. 

"When yellow waves the heavy grain, 
The threat'ning storm some strongly rein ; 
Some teach to meliorate the plain 

With tillage-skiU ; 
And some instruct the shepherd-train, 

Blythe o'er the hill. 

" Some hint the lover's harmless wile ; 
Some grace the maiden's artless smile ; 
Some soothe the lab'rer's weary toil, 

For humble gains. 
And make his cottage-scenes beguile 

His cares and pains. 

"Some, bounded to a district-space. 
Explore at large man's infant race. 
To mark the embryotic trace 

Of rustic bard, 
And careful note each op'ning grace, 

A guide and guard. 

" Of these am I — Coila my name ; 
And this district as mine I claim, 
Where once the Campbells, chiefs of fame, 

Held ruling pow'r: 
I mark'd thy embryo tuneful flame. 

Thy natal hour. 

"With future hope I oft would gaze, 
Fond, on thy little early ways, 
Thy rudely-caroll'd chiming phrase, 

In uncouth rhymes, 
Fir'd at the simple, artless lays 

Of other times. 


«I saw thee seek the sounding shore, 
Delighted with the dashing roar; 
Or when the north his fleecy store 

Drove thro' the sky, 
I saw grim nature's visage hoar 

Struck thy young eye. 

"Or when the deep green-mantl'd earth, 
Warm-cherish'd ev'ry flow'ret's birth, 
And joy and music pouring forth 

In ev'ry grove. 
I saw thee eye the gen'ral mirth 

With boundless love. 

"When ripen'd fields, and azure skies, 
Call'd forth the reapers' rustUng noise, 
I saw thee leave their evening joys, 

And lonely stalk, 
To vent thy bosom's swelling rise 

In pensive walk. 

"When youthful love, warm-blushing, strong. 
Keen-shivering shot thy nerves along. 
Those accents, gi-ateful to thy tongue, 

Th' adored Name, 
I taught thee how to pour in song. 

To soothe thy flame. 

"I saw thy pulse's maddening play, 
Wild send thee pleasure's devious way. 
Misled by fancy's meteor ray. 

By passion driven; 
But yet the light that led astray 

Was hght from heaven. 

"I taught thy manners-painting strains. 
The loves, the ways of simple swains. 
Till now, o'er aU my wide domains 

Thy fame extends: 
And some, the pride of Coila's plains, 

Become thy friends. 


"Thou canst not learn, nor can I show, 
To paint with Thomson's landscape glow; 
Or wake the bosom-melting throe, 

With Shenstone's art ; 
Or pour, with Gray, the moving flow 

Warm on the heart. 

"Yet all beneath th' unrivall'd rose. 

The lowly daisy sweetly blows ; 

Tho' large the forest's monarch throws 

His army shade. 
Yet green the juicy hawthorn grows, 

Adown the glade. 

"Then never murmur nor repine, 
Strive in thy humble sphere to shine ; 
And trust me, not Potosi's mine, 

Nor kings' regard. 
Can give a bliss o'ermatching thine, 

A rustic Bard. 

"To give my counsels all in one. 
Thy tuneful flame still careful fan ; 
Preserve the dignity of man. 

With soul erect. 
And trust, the Universal Plan 

Will all protect. 

"And wear thou this" — she solemn said, 
And bound the holly round my head: 
The polish'd leaves and berries red 

Did rusthng play; 
And, like a passing thought, she fled 

In hght away. 


Tune—" Gilderoyr 

From thee, Eliza, I must go, 

And from my native shore ; 
The cruel fates between us throw 

A boundless ocean's roar: 
But boundless oceans, roaring wide. 

Between my love and me. 
They never, never, can divide 

My heart and soul from thee. 

Farewell, farewell, Eliza dear, 

The maid that I adore ! 
A boding voice is in mine ear. 

We part to meet no more ! 
But the last throb that leaves my heart. 

While death stands victor by, 
That throb, Eliza, is thy part. 

And thine that latest sigh ! 




Life ne'er exulted in so rich a prize. 

As Burnet, lovely from her native skies : 

Nor envious death so triumph'd in a blow. 

As that which laid the accomplish'd Burnet low. 

Thy form and mind, sweet maid, can I forget ? 

In richest ore the brightest jewel set ! 

In thee, high heaven above was truest shown, 

As by his noblest work the Godhead best is known. 

In vain ye flaunt in summer's pride, ye groves ; 

Thou crystal streamlet with thy flowery shore, 
Ye woodland choir that chant your idle loves. 

Ye cease to charm — Eliza is no more ! 

Ye heathy wastes, immix'd with reedy fens ; 

Ye mossy streams, with sedge and rushes stor'd ; 
Ye rugged clifis, o'erhanging dreary glens — 

To you I fly, ye with my soul accord. 

Princes, whose cumb'rous pride was all their worth, 
ShaU venal lays their pompous exit hail? 

And thou, sweet excellence ! forsake our earth, 
And not a muse in honest grief bewail ? 

We saw thee shine in youth and beauty's pride, 
And virtue's light, that beams beyond the spheres , 

But like the sun eclips'd at morning-tide, 
Thou left'st us darkling in a workl of tears. 

The parent's heart tliat nestled fond in thee, 
Tliat heart how sunk, a prey to grief and care I 

So deck'd the woodbine sweet yon aged tree, 
So from it ravish'd, leaves it bleak and bare. 


H A L L W E E N.i 

The following Poem will, by many readers, be well enough understood; but for the sake 
of those who are unacquainted with the manners and traditions of the country where the 
scene is cast notes are added, to give some account of the principal charms and spills of that 
night, so big with prophecy to the peasantry in the west of Scotland. The passion of prying 
into futurity makes a striking part of the history of human nature in its rude state, in all 
ages and nations; and it may be some entertainment to a philosophic mind, if any such 
should honour the author with a perusal, to see the remains of it among the more unen- 
lightened in our own. 

"Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain, 
The simple pleasures of the lowly train ; 
To me more dear, congenial to my heart. 
One native charm, than all the gloss of art." 


Upon that night, when fairies light, 

On Cassilis Downans^ dance, 
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze. 

On sprightly coursers prance ; 
Or for Colzean the route is ta'en, 

Beneath the moon's pale beams; 
There, up the Cove^ to stray an' rove, 

Amang the rocks and streams 

To sport that night. 

Amang the bonnie winding banks, 

Where Doon rins wimpling clear, 
"Wliere Bruce* ance rul'd the martial ranks. 

An' shook his Carrick spear. 
Some merry, friendly, country folks 

Together did convene, 
To burn their nits, an' pu' their stocks, 

An' baud their Halloween 

Fu' blythe that night. 

The lasses feat, an' cleanly neat, 
Mair braw than when they're fine; 

Their faces blythe, fu' sweetly kythe. 
Hearts leal, an' warm, an' kin': 


The lads sae trig, wi' wooer-babs 
Weel knotted on their garten. 

Some unco blate, an' some ^A'i' gabs 
Gar lasses' hearts gang startin 

Whyles fast at night. 

Then first and foremost, thro' the kail, 

Their stocks^ maun a' be sought ance: 
They steek their een, an' graip an' wale 

For muckle anes an' straught anes. 
Poor hav'rel Will fell aff the diift, 

An' wander'd thro' the bow-kail, 
An' pu'd, for want o' better shift, 

A runt was like a sow-tail, 

Sae bow't that night. 

Then straught or crooked, yird or nana, 

They roar and cry a' throu'ther. 
The vera wee things, todlin, rin 

Wi' stocks out-owre their shouther; 
An' gif the custoc's sweet or sour, 

Wi' joctelegs they taste them ; 
Syne coziely, aboon the door, 

Wi' caunie care they place them 

To lie that night. 

The lasses staw frae 'mang them a' 

To pu' their stalks o' corn ; 
But Rab slips out, an' jinks about. 

Behind the muckle thorn ; 
He grippet Nelly hard an' fast; 

Loud skirl'd a' the lasses ; 
But her tap-pickle maist was lost, 

When kuittlin in the fause-house^ 

Wi' him that night. 

The auld guidwife's weel-hoordet nits' 
Are round an' round di\aded, 

An' mony lads an' lasses' fates 
Are there that night decided : 

To burn their nits, an pu' their stocks 
An' hand their Halloween 


Some kindle, couthie, side by side, 

An' burn thegither trimly; 
Some start awa \vi' saucy pride, 

And jump out-owre the chimlie 

Eu' hioli that night 

Jean slips in twa wi' tentie e'e ; 

Wha 'twas she wadna tell; 
But this is Jock, an' this is me, 

She says in to hersel' ; 
He bleez'd owre her, an' she owre him. 

As they wad never mair part; 
Till, fuff ! he started up the lum. 

And Jean had e'en a sair heart 

To see't that night. 

Poor "Willie, wi' his bow-kail runt, 

Was brunt wi' primsie Mallie ; 
An' Mary, nae doubt, took the drunt. 

To be compar'd to Willie : 
Mall's nit lap out wi' pridefu' fling, 

An' her ain fit it brunt it ; 
While Willie lap, and swoor by jing 

'Twas just the way he wanted 

To be that night. 

Nell had the fause-house in her min', 

She pits hersel an' Eob in ; 
In loving bleeze they sweetly join, 

Till white in ase they're sobbin ; 
Nell's heart was dancin' at the view, 

She whisper'd Eob to leuk for't : 
Eob, stowlins, prie'd her bonnie mou 

Fu' cozie in the neuk for't, 

Unseen that nieht. 

But Merran sat behint their backs. 
Her thoughts on Andrew Bell ; 

She lea'es them gashin at their cracks, 
An' slips out by hersel ; 



She thro' the yard the nearest taks, 
All' to the kiln she goes then, 

An' darklins graipit for the banks, 
And in the blue-clue^ throws then, 

Eight fear't that night. 

An' aye she win't, an aye she swat, 

I wat she made nae jaukin' : 
Till something held wdthin the pat, 

Guid faith ! but she was quakin' I 
But whether 'twas the deil himsel, 

Or whether 'twas a bauk-en'. 
Or whether it was Andrew Bell, 

She didna wait on talkin 

To spier that night 

Wee Jenny to her grannie says, 

"Will ye go wi' me, grannie? 
I'll eat the apple ^ at the glass, 

I gat frae uncle Johnie : " 
She fuff't her pipe wi' sic a lunt. 

In wrath she was sae vap'rin', 
She notic't na an aizle brunt 

Her braw new worset apron 

Out thro' that night 

"Ye httle skelpie-limmer's face! 

How daur ye try sic sportiii', 
As seek the foul Thief ony place. 

For him to spae your fortune? 
Nae doubt but ye may get a sight! 

Great cause ye hae to fear it ; 
For mony a ane has gotten a Iright, 

An' hv'd an' died deleeret, 

On sic a night 

"Ae hairst afore the Sherra-moor, 
I mind't as weel's yestreen, 

I was a gilpey then, I'm sure 
I was na past fyfteen : 


The simmer had been cauld an' wat, 

An' stuff was unco green, 
An' aye a rantin kirn we gat, 

An' just on Halloween 

It fell that night. 

"Our stibhle-rig was Rab M'Graen, 

A clever, sturdy fallow, 
Since then he's married Eppie Lean 

That liv'd in Achmacalla: 
He gat hemp-seed,^*' I mind it weel, 

An' he made unco light o't ; 
But mony a day was by himsel'. 

He was sae sairly frightet 

That vera night." 

Then up gat fechtin' Jamie Fleck, 

An' he swoor by his conscience, 
That he could saw hemp-seed a peck. 

For it was a' but nonsense: 
The auld guidman raught down the pock. 

An' out a handfu' gied him; 
Syne bade him slip frae 'mang the folk. 

Sometime when nae ane seed him, 

An try't that night. 

He marches thro' amang the stacks, 

Tho' he was something sturtin ; 
The graip he for a harrow taks, 

An' haurls at his curpin: 
An' ev'ry now an' then he says, 

"Hemp-seed I saw thee. 
An' her that is to be my lass 

Come after me and draw thee. 

As fast this night." 

He whistl'd up Lord Lennox' March, 
To keep his courage cheerie ; 

Altho' his hair began to arch, 
He was sae fley'd an' eerie: 

Till presently he hears a squeak. 
An' then a grane and griintle : 

He by his shouther gae a keek, 
An' tumhl'd \vi' a wintle 

Out-owre that night. 

He roar'd a horrid murdcr-shont, 

In dreadfu' desperation ! 
An' young an' auld cam rinnin out, 

To hear the sad narration : 
He swore 'twas hilchin Jean ]\rc'raw, 

Or crouchie Merran Humphie, 
Till, stop ! she trotted thro' them a' ; 

An' wha was it but Grumphie 

Asteer that niuht ! 


Meg fain wad to the barn hae gaen, 

To win three wechts o' naething^^ 
But for to meet the deil her lane, 

She pat but little faith in : 
She gies the herd a pickle nits. 

An' twa red-cheekit apples, 
To watch, while for the barn she sets, 

In hopes to see Tarn Kipples 

That vera night. 

She turns the key "wi' cannie thraw. 

An' owre the threshold ventures ; 
But first on Sawnie gies a ca', 

Syne bauldly in she enters : 
A ratton rattled up the wa'. 

An' she cried — Lord, preserve her! 
An' ran thro' midden-hole an' ft', 

An' pray'd wi' zeal an' fervour, 

Fu' fast that night. 

They hoy't out Will, wi' sair advice ; 

They hecht him some fine braw ane ; 
It chanc'd the stack he faddom'd thrice ^^ 

Was timmer-propt for thrawin' : 
He taks a swirlie auld moss oak 

For some black grewsome carlin; 
An' loot a winze, an' drew a stroke. 

Till skin in blypes cam haurlin' 

Aff's nieves that night. 

A wanton widow Leezie was. 

As canty as a kittlin ; 
But, Och ! that night, amang the shaws. 

She gat a fearfu' settlin' ! 
She thro' the whins, an' by the cairn, 

An' owTe the hill gaed scrievin. 
Where three lairds' lands met at a burn,^^ 

To dip her left sark-sleeve in, 

Was bent that night 


Whyles owre a linn the burnie plays, 

As thro' the glen it wimpl't ; 
Whyles round a rocky scaur it strays; 

Whyles in a wiel it dimpl't ; 
Whyles glitter'd to the nightly rays, 

Wi' bickering, dancing dazzle ; 
Whyles cookit underneath the braes, 

Below the spreading hazel, 

Unseen that night. 

Amang the brackens on the brae, 

Between her an' the moon. 
The deil, or else an outler quey, 

Gat up an' gae a croon: 
Poor Leezie's heart maist lap the hool; 

Near lav'rock-height she jumpit, 
But mist a fit, an' in the pool 

Out-owre the lugs she plumpit, 

Wi' a plunge that night 

In order, on the clean hearth-stane, 

The luggies three ^* are ranged. 
And ev'ry time great care is ta'en. 

To see them duly changed : 
Auld uncle John, wha wedlock's joys 

Sin' Mar's year did desire. 
Because he gat the toom dish thrice, 

He heav'd them on the fire 

In wrath that night. 

Wi' meny sangs an' friendly cracks, 

I wat they didna weary ; 
An' unco tales, an' funnie jokes. 

Their sports were cheap an' cheery: 
Till butter'd so'ns ^^ wi' fragrant lunt. 

Set a' their gabs a-steerin ; 
Syne, wi' a social glass o' strunt. 

They parted aff careerin' 

Eu' blythe that night 




A YE wha live by soups o' drink, 
A' ye wha live by crambo-clink, 
A' ye wha live and never think. 

Come mourn wi' me! 
Our billie's gien us a' a jink. 

An' owre the sea. 

Lament him, a' ye rantin' core, 
Wha dearly like a random splore, 
Nae mair he'll join the merry roar 

In social key ; 
For now he's ta'en anither shore. 

An' owre the sea. 

The bonnie lasses weel may wiss him, 
And in their dear petitions place him ; 
The widows, wives, an' a' may bless him, 

Wi' tearfu' ee ; 
For weel I wat they'll sairly miss him 

That's -owre the sea. 

O Fortune, they hae room to grumble 1 
Hadst thou ta'en aff some drowsy bummle, 
Wha can do nought but fyke an' fummle, 

'Twad been nae plea ; 
But he was gleg as ony wumble, 

That's owre the sea. 

Auld cantie Kyle may weepers wear, 
An' stain them wi' the saut, saut tear; 
'Twill mak her poor auld heart, I fear, 

In flinders flee ; 
He was her laureate mony a year, 

That's owre the sea. 


He saw misfortune's cauld nor-wast 
Laug iiiusteriiig up a bitter blast; 
A jillet brak his heart at last 

111 may she be ! 
So took a berth afore the mast, 

An' owre the sea. 

To tremble under Fortune's cummock, 
On scarce a bellyfu' o' drimimock, 
Wi' his proud independent stomach 

Could ill agree : 
So row't liis hurdles in a hammock, 

An' owre the sea. 

He ne'er was gien to great misguiding, 
Yet coin his pouches wadna bide in ; 
Wi' him it ne'er was under hiding; 

He dealt it free : 
The Muse was a' that he took pride in, 

That's owre the sea. 

Jamaica bodies, use him weel, 
An' hap him in a cozie biel ; 
Ye'll find him aye a dainty chiel. 

And fu' o' glee ; 
He wadna wrang'd the vera deil, 

That's owTe the sea. 

Fareweel, my rhyme- composing billie! 
Your native soil was right ill-willie; 
But may ye flourish like a lily, 

Now bnnnilie ! 
I'll toast ye in my hindmost gillie, 

Tho' owre the sea. 



Tune — ^'Finlayston House" 

Eate gave the word, the arrow sped, 

And pierc'd my darling's heart: 
And with him all the joys are fled 

Life can to me impart. 
By cruel hands the sapling drops. 

In dust dishonour'd laid: 
So fell the pride of aU my hopes, 

My age's future shade. 

The mother-linnet in the brake 

Bewails her Vavish'd young ; 
So I, for my lost darling's sake, 

Lament the live-day long. 
Death, oft I'\^e fear'd thy fatal blow, 

Now, fond I bare my breast; 
do thou kindly lay me low 

With him I love, at rest! 



APRIL 1st, 1785. 

"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 needna 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 thro' the breast, 

A' to the life. 

I've scarce heard ought describ'd sae weel 
^Miat gen'rous manly bosoms feel ; 
Thought I, " Can this be Pope, or Steele, 

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

About IVIuirkirk. 

It pat me fidgin-fain to hear't, 
And sae about him there I spier't ; 
Tlien a tliat ken't him round declar'd 

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, 

Tho' 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 speU, 
I to the crambo-jingle fell; 

Tho' rude an' rough, 

Yet crooning to a body's seV 

Does weel 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 maybe wrang. 

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

Wliat sairs your grammars i 

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 Parnassus 

By dint o' Greek ! 

Gie me ae spark o' N"ature's fire, 

That's a' the learning I desire ; 

Then tho' I drudge thro' dul) an' mire 

At pleugh or cart, 
My muse, tho' hamely in attire. 

May touch the heart. 

for a spunk o' Allan's glee, 

Or Ferguson'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. 

Now, Sir, if ye hae friends enow, 
Tho' real friends, I b'lieve, are few. 
Yet, if your catalogue be fou, 

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

I'm on your hst. 

1 winna blaw about mysel ; 
As ill I like my lauts to tell ; 

But friends, and folk that wish me well, 

They sometimes roose me ; 

Tho' I maun own, as mony still 

As far abuse me. 

There's ae wee faut they whyles lay to me, 

I like the lasses — Gude forgie me ! 

For mony a j^lack they wheedle frae me, 

At dance or fair ; 
Maybe 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. 
And hae a swap o' rhymin'-ware 

Wi' ane anither. 

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, warl'y race, 
Wha think that havins, sense, an' grace, 
EVn love an' friendship, should give place 
To catch-the-plack ! 

I dinna like to see your face. 

Nor hear your crack. 

But ye, whom social pleasure charms, 
Whose hearts 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! 

But to conclude my lang epistle, ^ 
As my auld pens worn to the grissle; 
Twa lines frae you wad gar me fissle, 

Wlio am, most fervent; 
While I can either sing or whissle, 

Your friend and servant. 


APRIL 21st, 1785. 

While new-ca'd kye rout at the stake, 
An' pownies reek in pleugh or braik. 
This hour on e'enin's edge I take. 

To own I'm debtor 
To honest-hearted, auld Lapraik, 

For his kind letter. 

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

Their ten-hours' bite. 
My awkwart muse sair pleads and begs 

I wouldna write. 

The tapetless, ramfeezl'd 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 jaud ! 
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, 
Tho' 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. 

My worthy friend, ne'er grudge an' carp 
Tho' fortune use you hard an' sharp: 
Come kittle up your moorland harp 

Wi' gleesome touch! 
Ne'er mind how fortune waft an' warp: 

She's but a witch. 

She's gien me mony a jirt an' fleg, 
Sin' I could striddle owre a rig; 
But, by my saul, tho' I should beg 

Wi' lyart pow, 
I'll laugh, an' sing, an' shake my leg, 

As lang's I dow ! 

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. 

Do ye envy the city gent, 

Behind a kist to lie and sklent, 

Or purse-proud, big wi' cent, per cent. 

And muckle warae. 
In some bit brugh to represent 

A bailie's name? 

Or is't the paughty feudal thane, 
AVi' ruffl'd sark an' glancin' cane, 
Wha thinks himsel nae sheep-shank bane, 

But lordly stalks, 
While caps and bonnets aff are ta'en, 

As by he walks ? 


Thou wha gies us each guid gift, 
Gie me o' wit an' sense a lift, 
Then turn me, if Thou please, adrift. 

Thro' Scotland wide. 
Wi' cits nor lairds I wadna shift; 

In a their pride ! 

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

Beyond remead ; 
But, thanks to Heav'n ! 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 fidfils great Nature's plan, 

An' none but he ! " 

mandate, glorious and divine ! 
The ragged followers of the Nine, 
Poor, thoughtless devils, yet may shine 

In olorious lioht, 
While sordid sons of Mammon's line 

Are dark as night. 

Tlio' here they scrape, an' squeeze, an' growl, 
Tlieir worthless nievefu' of a soul 
May in some future carcase 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 ties 

Each passing year. 



The winter it is past, and the simmer conies at last. 
And the small birds sing on every tree; 

Now everything is glad, while I am very sad. 
Since my true love is parted from me. 

The rose npon the brier, by the waters running clear, 
.May have charms for the linnet or the bee; 

Their little loves are blest, and their little hearts at rest. 
But my trub love is parted from me. 




Expect na, Sir, in this narration, 
A fleechin, fleth'rin dedication. 
To roose you up, an' ca' you guid. 
An' sprung o' great an' noble bluid. 
Because ye're surnam'd like his Grace, 
Perhaps related to the race ; 
Then when I'm tir'd — and sae are ye, 
Wi' mony a fulsome, sinfu' lie — 
Set up a face, how I stop short 
For fear your modesty be hurt. 

This may do — maun do, Sir, wi' them who 
Maun please the great folk for a wamefou; 
For me ! sae laigh I needna bow, 
For, Lord be thankit, I can plough ; 
And when I downa yoke a naig. 
Then, Lord be thankit, I can beg ; 
Sae I shall say, an' that's nae fiatt'rin'. 
It's just sic Poet an' sic Patron. 

The Poet, some guid angel help him. 
Or else I fear some ill ane skelp him! 
He may do weel for a' he's done yet, 
But only he's no just begun yet. 

The Patron (Sir, ye maun forgie me, 
I winna lie, come what will o' me). 
On ev'ry hand it will allowed be. 
He's just — nae better than he should be. 

I readily and freely grant. 
He downa see a poor man want ; 
What's no his ain he winna tak it, 
What ance he says he winna break it ; 
Ought he can lend he'll no refus't, 
Till aft his auidness is abus'd : 


And rascals whyles that do him wrang, 
Ev'n that he doesna mind it lang: 
As master, landlord, husband, father, 
He doesna fail his part in either. 

But, then, nae thanks to him for a' that, 
Nae godly symptom ye can ca' that ; 
It's naething but a milder feature, 
Of our poor, sinfu', corrupt nature : 
Ye'll get the best o' moral works, 
'Mang black Gentoos and pagan Turks, 
Or hunters wild on Ponotaxi, 
Wha never heard of orthodoxy. 
That he's the poor man's friend in need. 
The gentleman in word and deed, 
It's no through terror of damnation; 
It's just a carnal inclination. 

Morality, thou deadly bane. 
Thy tens o' thousands thou hast slain ! 
Vain is his hope, whose stay and trust is 
In moral mercy, truth, and justice ! 

No — stretch a point to catch a plack; 
Abuse a brother to his back ; 
Be to the poor like onie whunstane. 
And hand their noses to the grunstane. 
Ply ev'ry art o' legal thieving; 
No matter — stick to sound believing! 

Learn three-mile pray'rs, and half-mile graces, 
Wi' weel-spread looves, an' lang wry faces; 
Grunt up a solemn, lengthen'd groan, 
Condemn a' parties but your own; 
I'll warrant then ye're nae deceiver, 
A steady, sturdy, staunch believer. 

O ye wha leave the springs of Calvin, 
For gumlie dubs of your ain delvin ! 
Ye sons of heresy and error, 
Ye'll some day squeel in quaking terror! 
When vengeance draws the sword in wrath, 
And in the fire throws the sheath; 


TMien Ellin, with his sweeping besom, 
Just frets till Heav'n commission gies him 
Wliile o'er the harp pale Misery moans, 
And strikes the ever-deep'ning tones, 
Still louder shrieks, and heavier groans ! 

Your pardon, Sir, for this digression, 
I maist forgat my dedication ; 
But when divinity comes cross me, 
My readers still are sure to lose me. 

So, Sir, ye see, 'twas nae daft vapour. 
But I maturely thought it proper, 
AVhen a' my works I did review, 
To dedicate them, Sir, to you: 
Because (ye need na tak it ill) 
I thought them something like yourseL 

Then patronize them wi' your favour 
And your petitioner shall ever — 
I had amaist said, ever pray. 
But that's a word I needna say: 
For prayin' I hae little skill o't ; 
I'm baith dead-sweer, an' wretched iU o't; 
But I'se repeat each poor man's pray'r. 
That kens or hears about you, Sir — 

" May ne'er misfortune's gowHng bark 
Howl thro' the dwelling o' the Clerk! 
May ne'er his gen'rous, honest heart, 
For that same gen'rous spirit smart ! 
May Kennedy's far-honour'd name 
Lang beet his hymeneal flame, 
Till Hamiltons, at least a dizen, 
Are frae their nuptial labours risen : 
Five bonnie lasses round their table. 
And seven braw fellows, stout an' able. 
To serve their king and country weel, 
Bv 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 mournfu' rites bestow . " 

I will not wind a lang conclusion, 
Wi' coraplimentaiy effusion ; 
But whilst your wishes and endeavours 
Are blest with fortune's smiles and fa > ours, 
I am, dear Sir, with zeal most fervent. 
Your much indebted, humble servant. 

But if (which Pow'rs above prevent!) 
That iron-hearted carl, Want — 
Attended in his grim advances 
By sad mistakes and black mischances, 
AVhile hopes, and joys, and pleasures ily him — 
Make you as poor a dog as I am; 
Your humble servant then no more, 
Eor who would humbly serve the poor ? 
But by a poor man's hopes in heav'n! 
While recollection's pow'r is giv'n, 
If, in the vale of humble life, 
The victim sad of fortune's strife, 
I, thro' the tender gushing tear. 
Should recognize my master dear, 
If friendless, low, ^^'e meet together, 
Then, Sir, your hand — my friend and brothei I 


Sweetest May, let love inspire thee; 
Take a heart which he desires thee; 
As thy constant slave regard it ; 
For its faith and truth reward it. 

Proof 0' shot to birth or money. 
Not the wealthy, but the bonnie ; 
Not high-born, but noble-minded. 
In love's silken bands can bind it 1 




Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face, 
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race ! 
Aboon them a' ye tak your place, 

Painch, tripe, or thairm: 
Weel are yfe wordy o' a grace 

As lang's my arm. 

The groaning trencher there ye fill, 
Your hurdies like a distant hill. 
Your pin wad help to mend a mill 

In time o' need, 
Willie thro' your pores the dews distil 

Like amber bead. 

His knife see rustic labour dight, 
An' cut you up with ready slight. 
Trenching your gushing entrails bright 

Like onie ditch ; 
And then, O what a t^lorious sight, 

Warm-reekin, rich ! 

Then horn for horn they stretch an' strive, 
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive. 
Till a' ■ their weel-swall'd kytes belyve 

Are bent like drums ; 
Then auld guidman, maist like to ryve, 

" Bethankit " hums. 

Is there that owre his P'rench ragout, 
Or olio that wad staw a sow. 
Or fricassee wad niak her spew 

Wi' perfect scunner ; 
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view 

On sic a dinner ? 



Poor devil ! see him owre his trash. 

As feckless as a wither'd rash, 

His spindle shank a guid whip lash, 

His nieve a nit; 
Thro' bloody flood or field to dash, 

how unfit ! 

But mark the rustic, haggis-fed, 

The trembling earth resounds his tread; 

Clap in his walie nieve a blade. 

He'll mak it whissle; 
An' legs, an' arms, an' heads will sued, 

Like taps o' thrissle. 

Ye Pow'rs, wha mak mankind your care, 
And dish them out their bill o' fare, 
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware. 

That jaups in luggies ; 
But, if ye wish her gratefu' pray'r, 

Gie her a Haggis! 



Again the silent wheels of time 
Their atmual round have driv'n, 

And you, tho' scarce in maiden prime, 
Are so much nearer heav'n. 

No gifts have I from Indian coasts 

The infant year to hail; 
I send you more than India boasts, 

In Edwin's simple tale. 

Our sex with guile and faithless love 

Is charg'd, perhaps, too true ; 
But may, dear maid, each lover prove 

An Edwin still to you! 


Tune— "7?oys Wi/e:' 

Is this tliy plighted, fond regard, 

Thus cruelly to part, my Katy, 
Is this thy faithful swain's reward — 

An aching broken heart, my Katy ? 
Farewell ! and ne'er such sorrows tear 

That fickle heart of tliine, my Katy ! 
Thou may'st find those will love thee dear- 

But not a love like mine, my Katy. 

TO RUIN. 121 


Canst thou leave me thus, my Katy? 

Canst thou leave me thus, my Katy ? 
Well thou know' St my aching heart. 

And canst thou leave me thus for pity ? 


All hail, inexorable lord! 

At whose destruction-breathing word, 

The mightiest empires fall! 
Thy cruel, woe-delighted train, 
The ministers of grief and pam, 

A sullen welcome all 1 
With stern-resolv'd, despairing eye. 

I see each aimed dart; 
For one has cut my dearest tie. 
And quivers in my heart. 
Then low'ring and pouring, 

The storm no more I dread 
Tho' thick'ning and black'ning 
Round my devoted head. 

And thou, grim pow'r, by life abhvrr'd. 
AVhile life a pleasure can afford, 

O hear a wretch's pray'rl 
No more I shrink appall'd, afraid ; 
I court, I beg thy friendly aid. 

To close this scene of care! 
When shall my soul in silent peace, 

Resign life's joyless day ? 
My weary heart its throbbing cease, 
Cold mould'ring in the clay? 
No fear more, no tear more. 
To stain my lifeless face, 
Enclasped and grasped 
Within thy cold embrace! 


May, 1786. 

I LANG liae thought, my youthfu' friend, 

A something to have sent you, 
Tho' it should serve nae other end 

Than just a kind memento ; 
But how the subject-theme may gang. 

Let time and chance determine ; 
Perhaps it may turn out a sang, 

Perhaps turn out a sermon. 

Ye '11 try the world soon, my lad, 

And, Andrew dear, believe me, 
Ye'll find mankind an unco squad. 

And muckle they may grieve ye : 
For care and trouble set your thought, 

Ev'n when your end's attained; 
And a' your views may come to nought. 

Where ev'ry nerve is strained. 

I'll no say men are villains a'; 

The real, harden'd wicked, 
Wha hae nae check but human law. 

Are to a few restricked ; 
But, och ! mankind are unco weak. 

An' little to be trusted ; 
If self the wavering balance shake. 

Its rarely right adjusted ! 

Yet they wha fa' in fortune's strife, 

Their fate we shouldna censure, 
For still th' important end of life, 

Tliey equally may answer; 
A man may hae an honest heart, 

Tho' poortith hourly stare him ; 
A man may tak a neebor's part, 

Yet hae nae cash to spare him. 


Aye free, aff han' your story tell, 

When wi' a bosom crony ; 
But still keep something to yoursel 

Ye scarcely tell to ony. 
Conceal yoursel as weel's ye can 

Frae critical dissection ; 
But keek thro' ev'ry other man, 

Wi' sharpen' d, slee inspection. 

The sacred lowe o' weel-plac'd love, 

Luxuriantly indulge it ; 
But never tempt th' illicit rove, 

Tho' naething should divulge it : 
I waive the quantum o' the sin. 

The hazard o' concealing ; 
But, och ! it hardens a' within, 

And petrifies the feeling ! 

To catch dame Fortune's golden smile, 

Assiduous wait upon her ; 
And gather gear by ev'ry wile 

That's justified by honour ; 
Not for to hide it in a hedge, 

Nor for a train-attendant; 
But for the glorious privilege 

Of being independent. 

The fear o' hell's a hangman's whip 

To hand the wretch in order; 
But where ye feel your honour grip. 

Let that aye be your border; 
Its slightest touches, instant pause — 

Debar a' side pretences ; 
And resolutely keep its laws. 

Uncaring consequences. 

The great Creator to revere 

Must sure become the creature : 
But still the preaching cant forbear, 

And ev'n the rigid feature : 
Yet ne'er with wits profane to range, 

Be complaisance extended ; 
An atheist's laugh's a poor exchange 

For Deity offended ! 

124 A PEAYEE. 

When ranting round in pleasure's ring, 

Eeligion may be blinded ; 
Or if she gie a random sting, 

It may be little minded ; 
But when on life we're tempest-driv'n, 

A conscience but a canker — 
A correspondence fix'd \d' heav'n — 

Is sure a noble anchor ! 

Adieu, dear amiable youth ! 

Your heart can ne'er be wanting : 
May prudence, fortitude, and truth. 

Erect your brow undaunting ! 
In ploughman phrase, " God send you speed ' 

Still daily to grow wiser : 
And may you better reck the rede, 

Thau ever did th' adviser! 



Thou unkno^\'n. Almighty Cause 

Of all my hope and fear, 
In whose dread presence ere an hour. 

Perhaps, I must appear! 

If I have wander'd in those paths 

Of life I ought to shun. 
As something loudly, in my "breast, 

Eemonstrates I have done ; 

Thou know'st that thou hast formed me 
"With passions wild and strong ; 

And list'ning to their witching voice 
Has often led me wrong. 


"Wliere human weakness lias come short. 

Or frailty stept aside. 
Do thou, All-Good ! for such thou art, 

In shades of darkness hide. 

Where with intention I have err'd. 

No other plea I have 
But, Thou art good ; and goodness still 

Delighteth to forgive. 


Why am I loth to leave this earthly scene? 

Have I so found it fuU of pleasing charms? 
Some drops of joy with draughts of ill between. 

Some gleams of sunshine 'mid renewing storms; 
Is it departing pangs my soul alarms ? 

Or death's unlovely, dreary, dark abode ? 
For guilt, for guilt, my terrors are in arms; 

I tremble to approach an angry God, 
And justly smart beneath his sin-avenging rod. 

Fain would I say, " Forgive my foul offence ! " 

Fain promise never more to disobey; 
But, should my Author health again dispense, 

Again I might desert fair virtue's way; 
Again in folly's path might go astray; 

Again exalt the brute and sink the man : 
Then how should I for heavenly mercy pray. 

Who act so counter heavenly mercy's plan ? 
Who sin so oft have mourn'd, yet to temptation ran ? 

Thou, great Governor of aU below! 

If I may dare a lifted eye to thee, 
Thy nod can make the tempest cease to blow, 

Or still the tumult of the raging sea: 
With that controlling pow'r assist ev'n me. 

Those headlong furious passions to confine; 
For all unfit I feel my pow'rs to be. 

To rule their torrent in th' allowed line; 
aid me with thy help. Omnipotence Divine! 



The man, in life wherever plac'd, 

Hath happiness in store, 
Who walks not in the wicked's way, 

Nor learns their guilty lore! 

Nor from the seat of scornful pride 
Casts forth his eyes abroad, 

But with humility and awe 
Still walks beibre his God. 

That man shall flourish like the treea 
Which by the streamlets grow; 

The fruitful top is spread on high, 
And firm the root below. 

But he whose blossom buds in guilt 
Shall to the ground be cast. 

And, like the rootless stubble, tost 
Before the sweeping blast. 

For why ? that God the good adore 
Hath giv'n them peace and rest. 

But hath decreed that wicked men 
Shall ne'er be truly blest. 



Thou dread Pow'r who reign'st above ! 

I know thou wilt me hear, 
When for this scene of peace and love 

I make my pray'r sincere. 


The hoary sire — the mortal stroke, 

Long, long be pleas'd to spare ! 
To bless his little filial flock, 

And show what good men are. 

She, who her lovely offspring eyes 

"With tender hopes and fears, 
bless her with a mother's joys, 

But spare a mother's tears ! 

Their hope, their stay, their darling youth, 

In manhood's dawning blush ; 
Bless him, thou God of love and truth, 

Up to a parent's wish ! 

The beauteous seraph sister-band, 

With earnest tears I pray. 
Thou know'st the snares on ev'ry hand. 

Guide thou their steps alway ! 

When soon or late they reach that coast. 

O'er life's rough ocean driv'n, 
May they rejoice, no wand'rer lost, 

A family in heav'n! 



Born, September olh, 1751 — Died, IGth October, 1774. 

No sculptur'd marble here, nor pompous lay, 
"No storied urn nor animated bust;" 

This simple stone directs pale Scotia's way 
To pour her sorrows o'er her Poet's dust. 

Tone — "/% tutiie taitie.'" 

Scots, wha hae wi' AVallace bled, 
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led, 
Welcome to your gory bed. 
Or to victory! 

Now's tlie day, and now's the horn ; 
See the front o' battle lour ; 
See approach proud Edward's power- 
Chaius and slavery ! 


Wha will be a traitor knave? 
Wha can fill a coward's grave? 
Wha sae base as be a slave? 
Let him turn and flee! 

Wha for Scotland's king and law 
Freedom's sword will strongly draw, 
Freeman stand, or freeman fa', 
Let him follow me! 

By oppression's woes and pains 1 

By your sons in servile chains! 

We will drain our dearest veins. 

But they shall be free! 

Lay the proud usurpers low! 
Tyrants fall in every foe! 
Liberty's in every blow! 
Let us do, or die! 



I CALL no goddess to inspire my strains, 
A fabled muse may suit a bard that feigns ; 
Friend of my life ! my ardent spirit burns. 
And all the tribute of my heart returns, 
For boons accorded, goodness ever new, 
The gift still dearer, as the giver you. 

Thou orb of day ! thou other paler light ! 
And all ye many sparkling stars of night ; 
If aught that giver from my mind efface ; 
If I that giver's bounty e'er disgrace ; 
Then roll to me, along your wandering spheres. 
Only to number out a villain's yeajsl 




Some books are lies frae end to end. 
And some great lies were never penn'd ; 
Ev'n ministers, they hae been kenn'd. 

In holy rapture, 
A rousing whid at times to vend. 

And nail't wi' Scripture 

But this that I am gaun to tell. 
Which lately on a night befel, 
It's just as true's the Deil's in hell 

Or Dublin city , 
That e'er he nearer comes oursel 

'S a muckle pity. 

The clachan yill had made me cantie, 

I wasna fou, but just had plenty : 

I stacher'd whyles, but yet took tent aye. 

To free the ditches ; 
An' hillocks, stanes, an' bushes, kenn'd aye 

Frae ghaists an' witches. 

The rising moon began to glow'r 
The distant Cumnock hills out-owre : 
To count her horns, wi' a' my pow'r, 

I set mysel ; 
But whether she had three or four, 

I coudna tell. 

I was come round about the hiU, 
And toddlin down on Willie's mill, 
Setting my staff wi' a* my skiU. 

To keep me sicker; 
Tho' leeward whyles, against my will, 

I took a bicker. 


Come, gies your hand, an' sae we re gree't. 
Well ease our shanks an' tak' a seat. 


1 there wi' something did forgather, 

That put me in an eerie swither ; 

An awfu' scythe out-owre ae shouther, 

Clear-dangling, hang ; 
A three-tae'd leister on the ither 

Lay, large an' lang. 

Its stature seem'd lang Scotch ells twa, 
The queerest shape that e'er I saw 
For fient a wame it had ava ! 

And then its shanks, 
They were as thin, as sharp an' sma', 

As cheeks o' branks. 

'• Guid-een," quo' I : " Friend ! hae ye been mawin' 
When ither folk are busy sawin' ?" 
It seem'd to mak a kind o' stan', 

But naething spak ; 
At length, says I, " Friend, whare ye gaun ? 

Will ye go back ?" 

It spak right howe — " My name is Death, 
But be na fley'd." — Quoth I, " Guid faith, 
Ye're maybe come to stap my breath ; 

But tent me, billie: 
I red ye weel tak care o' skaith, 

See, there's a gully !" 

"Guidman," quo' he, "put up your whittle, 
I'm no design'd to try its mettle ; 
But if I did, I wad be kittle 

To be mislear'd ; 
I wadna mind it, no that spittle 

Out-owre my beard.' 

"Weel, weel!" says I, "a bargain be't; 
Come, gies your hand, an' sae we're gree't; 
We'll ease our shanks an' tak a seat. 

Come, gies your news, 
This wliile ye hae been mony a gate, 

At mony a house." 


"Ay, ay!" quo' he, an' shook his head, 
" It's e'en a lang, lang time indeed 
Sin' I began to nick the thread, 

An' choke the breath: 
Folk maun do something for their bread, 

An' sae maun Death. 

"Sax thousand years are nearhand fled 

Sin' I was to the hutching bred. 

An' mony a scheme in vain's been laid. 

To stap or scaur me ; 
Till ane Hornbook's ta'en up the trade, 

An', faith, he'll waur me. 

"Ye ken Jock Hornbook i' the clachan, 
Deil mak his king's-hood in a spleuchan! 
He's grown sae weel acquaint wi' Buchan 

An' ither chaps, 
The weans baud out their fingers laughin' 

An' pouk my hips. 

"See, here's a scythe, and there's a dart, 
They hae pierc'd mony a gallant heart; 
But Doctor Hornbook, wi' his art. 

And cursed skill. 
Has made them baith no worth a groat, 

Fient haet they'll kiLL 

"Twas but yestreen, nae farther gaen, 

I threw a noble throw at ane ; 

AVi' less, I'm sure, I've hundreds slain; 

But deil-ma-care, 
It just play'd dirl on the bane, 

But did nae mair. 

"Hornbook was by wi' ready art. 
And had sae fortified the part, 
Tlmt when I looked to my dart. 

It was sae blunt, 
Fient haet o't wad hae pierc'd the heart 

Of a kail-runt. 


"I drew my scj^he in sic a fury, 
I nearhand cowpit wi' my hurry; 
But yet the baidd apothecary 

"Withstood the shock; 
I might as weel hae try'd a quarry 

0' hard whin rock, 

"And then a' doctors' saws and whittles. 
Of a' dimensions, shapes, an' metals, 
A' kinds o' boxes, mugs, and bottles. 

He's sure to hae ; 
Their Latin names as fast he rattles 

As A B C. 

"Calces o' fossils, earths, and trees; 
True sal-marinum o' the seas ; 
The farina of beans and peas. 

He has't in plenty; 
Aqua-fontis, what you please. 

He can content ye. 

"Forbye some new, uncommon weapons, 

Urinus Spiritus of capons ; 

Or mite-horn shavings, filings, scrapings, 

Distill'd per se ; 
Sal-alkali o' midge-tail clippings. 

And mony mae." 

"Waes me for Johnny Ged's hole now," 
Quo' I, " if that the news be true ! 
His braw calf-ward whare gowans grew, 

Sae white and bonnie, 
Nae doubt they'll rive it wi' the plew; 

They'll ruin Johnny !" 

The creature grain'd an eldritch laugh. 
And says, "Ye needna yoke the pleugh, 
Kirkyards will soon be till'd eneugh, 

Tak ye nae fear; 
They'll a' be trench'd wi' mony a sheugh 

In twa-three year. 


"Whare I kill'd ane a fair strae deatli, 
By loss o' blood or want o' breath, 
This night I'm free to tak my aith, 

That Hornbook's skill 
Has clad a score i' their last claith, 

By drap an' pill. 

" An honest wabster to his trade, 

Whase wife's twa nieves were scarce weel bred, 

Gat tippence-worth to mend her head, 

When it was sair; 
The wife slade canny to her bed, 

But ne'er spak mair. 

"A kintra laird had ta'en the bats, 
Or some curmurring in his guts, 
His only son for Hornbook sets, 

An' pays him well; 
The lad, for twa guid gimmer pets. 

Was laird himsel. 

"That's just a swatch o' Hornbook's way; 
Thus goes he on from day to day. 
Thus does he poison, kill, an' slay, 

An's weel paid for't : 
Yet stops me o' my lawfu' prey, 

Wi' his vile dirt. 

" But, hark ! I'll tell you of a plot, 
Tho' dinna ye be speaking o't ; 
I'll nail the self-conceited sot. 

As dead's a herrin: 
Niest time we meet, I'll wad a groat, 

He gets his fairin !" 

But just as he began to tell, 

The auld kirk-hammer strak the bell. 

Some wee short hour ayont the twal. 

Which rais'd us baith: 
I took the way that pleas'd mysel. 

And sae did Death. 




Ha ! whare ye gaun, ye crowlin' ferlie 1 
Your impudence protects you sairly: 
I canna say but ye strunt rarely 

Owre gauze and lace ; 
Tho.' faith, I fear ye dine but sparely 

On sic a place. 

Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner, 
Detested, shunn'd by saunt an' 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 liaffet squattle; 
There 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, tow'ring height 

0' Miss's bonnet. 

My sooth ! right bauld ye set your nose out, 
As plump and gray as onie grozet : 
for some rank mercurial rozet. 

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

Wad dress your drodduiu. 


I wadna been surpris'd to spy 
You on an auld wife's flannen toy. 
Or aiblins some bit duddie boy, 

On's wyliecoat ; 
But Miss's fine Lunardi ! fie ! 

How dare ye do't! 

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

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

Are notice takin'! 

wad some pow'r the giftie gie us. 

To see oursels as others see us ! 

It wad frae niony a blunder free iis, 

And foolish notion: 
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us. 

And ev'n devotion! 


In wood and wild, ye warbling throng, 

Your heavy loss deplore ; 
Now half-extinct your powers of song, 

Sweet Echo is no more. 

Ye jarring, screeching things around. 

Scream your discordant joys ; 
Now half your din of tuneless sound 

With Echo silent lies. 



Admiring nature in her wildest grace, 
These northern scenes with weary feet I trace; 
O'er many a winding dale and painful steep, 
Th' abodes of covey'd grouse and timid sheep, 
My savage journey, curious, I pursue, 
Till fam'd Breadalbane opens to my view. 
The meeting cliffs each deep-sunk glen divides, 
The woods, wild scatter'd, clothe their ample sides 


Th' outstretching lake, embosom'd 'mong the hills. 
The eye with wonder and amazement fills ; 
The Tay, meand'ring sweet in infant pride ; 
The palace, rising on its verdant side ; 
The lawns, wood-fring'd in nature's native taste; 
The hillocks, dropt in nature's careless haste ; 
The arches striding o'er the new-born stream ; 

The village, glittering in the noontide beam — 
* Poetic ardours in my bosom swell. 

Lone wand'ring by the hermit's mossy cell : 
The sweeping theatre of hanging woods ; 
Th' incessant roar of headlong tumbling floods- 
Here Poesy might wake her heav'n-taught lyre, 
And look through nature with creative fire ; 
Here, to the wrongs of fate half reconcil'd, 
Misfortune's lighten'd steps might wander wild ; 
And Disappointment, in these lonely bounds. 
Find balm to soothe her bitter, rankling wounds ; 
Here heart-struck Grief might heav'n-ward stretch her scan, 
And injur'd worth forget and pardon man. 


May, 1785. 

I GAT your letter, winsome Willie ; 
Wi' gi^atefu' heart I thank you brawlie ; 
Tho' I maun say't, I wad be siUy, 

An' unco vain, 
Should I believe, my coaxin' billie, 

Your flatt'rin' strain- 
But I'se believe ye kindly meant it, 
I sud be laith to think ye hinted 
Ironic satire, sidelin's sklented 

On my poor musie ; 
Tho' in sic phrasin' terms ye've penn'd it, 

I scarce excuse ye. 


My senses wad be in a creel, 
Should I but dare a hope to speel, 
Wi' Allan or wi' Gilbertfield, 

The braes o' fame; 
Or Ferguson, the writer chiel, 

A deathless name. 

(0 Ferguson! thy glorious parts 
Ill-suited law's dry, musty arts ! 
My curse upon your wliunstane hearts, 

Ye E'nbrugh gentry! 
Tlie tythe o' what ye waste at cartes. 

Wad stow'd his pantry !) 

Yet when a tale comes i' my head, 

Or lasses gie my heart a screed, 

As whyles they're like to be my dead 

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

It gies me ease. 

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 measur'd style ; 
She lay like some unkenn'd-of isle 

Beside New Hollan', 
Or whare wild-meeting oceans boil 

Besouth Magellan. 

Eamsay, an' famous Fergusson, 
Gied Forth an' Tay a lift aboon ; 
Yan-ow an' Tweed, to mony a tune, 

Owre Scotland rings ; 
While Irwin, Lugar, Ayr, an' Boon, 

Naebody sings. 

Th' missus, Tiber, Thames, an' Seine, 
Glide sweet in mony a tunefu' line! 
But, Willie, set your fit to mine, 

An' cock your cre'st, 
We'll gar our streams an burnies shine 

Up wi' the best. 

AVe'U sing auld Coila's plains an' fells, 
Her moors red-brown wi' heather bells, 
Her banks an' braes, her dens and dells, 

Where glorious Wallace 
Aft bure the gree, as story tells, 

Frae Southron billies. 

At Wallace' name what Scottish blood 
But boils up in a spring-tide flood! 
Oft have our fearless fathers strode 

By Wallace' side, 
Stni pressing onward, red-wat-shod. 

Or glorious died. 

O! sweet are Coila's haughs an' woods. 
When lintwhites chant amang the buds. 
And jiukin hares, in amorous whids, 

Their loves enjoy, 
While thro' the braes the cushat croods 

With wailfu' cry. 


Ev'n winter bleak has charms for me, 
When winds rave thro' the naked tree; 
Or frosts on hills of Ochiltree 

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

Dark'ning the dayl 

O Nature! a' thy shows an' forms 
To feehuo-, pensive hearts hae charms! 
AVhether 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; 
sweet! to stray, an' pensive ponder 

A heart-felt 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, 
ShaU let the busy grumbhng hive 

Bum owre their treasure. 

Tareweel, "my rhyme-composing brither!" 
We've been owre lang unkenn'd to ither; 
Now let us lay our heads thegither. 

In love fraternal: 
May envj waUop in a tether, 

Black fiend infernal. 

While highlandmen hate tolls and taxes ; 
AATiile moorlan' herds like guid fat braxies; 
While terra firma on her axis 

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

In Eobert Burns. 



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 fisht. 

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 ane. 

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' hirsels were alarm'd : 

The rev'rend gray-beards rav'd 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' mony a fallow gat his licks, 

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

Were hang'd an' brunt. 

This game was play'd in mony lands, 
An' Auld-light caddies bure sic hands 
That faith the youngsters took the sands 

Wi' nimble shanks, 
Till 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 ev'ry knowe, 

Ye'll find ane plac'd ; 
An' some their New-light fair avow. 

Just quite barefac'd. 

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' wi'ite. 

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 wiU gie them ; 

An' when the auld moon's gaun to lea'e 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 naethiug but a "moonshine matter;" 

But the' dull prose-folk Latin splatter 

In logic tuilzie, 
I hope we bardies ken some better 

Than mind sic bruilzie. 




Sad thy tale, thou idle page, 

And rueful thy alarms ; 
Death tears the brother of her love 

From Isabella's arms. 

Sweetly deckt with pearly dew. 

The morning rose may blow ; 
But cold successive noontide blasts 

May lay its beauties low. 

Fair on Isabella's morn 

The sun proj)itious smil'd ; 
But, long ere noon, succeeding clouds 

Succeeding hopes beguil'd. 

Fate oft tears the bosom chords 

That Nature finest strung ; 
So Isabella's heart was form'd. 

And so that heart was wrung. 

Dread Omnipotence, alone. 

Can heal the wound he gave ; 
Can point the brimful gi'ief-worn eyes 

To scenes beyond the grave. 

Virtue's blossoms there shall blow. 

And fear no withering blast; 
Tliere Isabelki's spotless worth 

Shall happy be at last. 

Tune — " John Anderson my jo.''^ 

John Andekson my jo, John, 

When we were first acquent. 
Your locks were like the raven. 

Your bonnie brow was brent; 
But now your brow is beld, John, 

Your locks are like the snow ; 
But blessings on your frosty pow, 

John Anderson my jo. 

John Anderson my jo, John, 
We clamb the hill thegither; 

And mony a cantie day, John, 
We've had wi' ane anither: 



Now we maun totter down, John, 
But hand in hand we'll go, 

And sleep thegither at the foot, 
John Anderson my jo. 



Late crippl'd of an arm, and now a leg, 
About to beg a pass for leave to beg; 
Dull, listless, teas'd, dejected, and deprest 
(Nature is adverse to a cripple's rest) : 
Will generous Graham list to his Poet's wail 
(It soothes poor misery, heark'ning to her tale), 
And hear him curse the light he first survey 'd, 
And doubly curse the luckless rhyming trade ? 

Thou, Nature, partial Nature ! I arraign ; 
Of thy caprice maternal I complain. 
The lion and the bull thy care have found, 
One shakes the forest, and one spurns the ground; 
Thou giv'st the ass his hide, the snail his shell, 
Th' envenom'd wasp, victorious, guards his cell. 
Thy minions, kings, defend, control, devour. 
In all th' omnipotence of rule and power. 
Foxes and statesmen subtle wiles insure ; 
The cit and polecat stink, and are secure; 
Toads with their poison, doctors with their drug, 
The priest and hedgehog in their robes are snug: 
Ev'n silly woman has her warlike arts, 
Her tongue and eyes, her dreaded spear and darts. 

But, oh ! thou bitter step-mother and hard, 
To thy poor, fenceless, naked child — the Bard ! 
A thing unteachable in world's skill. 
And half an idiot, too, more helpless stiU. 


No heels to bear him from the op'ning dim ; 
No claws to dig, his hated sight to shun ; 
No horns, but those by luckless Hymen worn, 
And those, alas ! not Amalthea's horn ; 
No nerves olfact'ry, Mammon's trusty cur, 
Clad in rich Dulness' comfortable fur : 
In naked feeling, and in aching pride. 
He bears th' unbroken blast from ev'ry side ; 
Vampyre booksellers drain him to the heart. 
And scorpion critics cureless venom dart. 

Critics — appall'd I venture on the name, 
Those cut-throat bandits in the paths of fame: 
Bloody dissectors, worse than ten Monroes ! 
He hacks to teach, they mangle to expose. 

His heart by causeless wanton malice wrung. 
By blockheads' daring into madness stung; 
His well-won bays, than life itself more dear, 
By miscreants torn, who ne'er one sprig must wear: 
Foil'd, bleeding, tortur'd, in th' unequal strife. 
The hapless poet flounders on thro' life; 
Till fled each hope that once his bosom fir'd, 
And fled each muse that, glorious, once inspir'd. 
Low sunk in squalid unprotected age, 
Dead even resentment for his injur'd page. 
He heeds or feels no more the ruthless critic's rage! 

So, by some hedge, the generous steed deceas'd, 
For half-starv'd snarling curs a dainty feast ; 
By toil and famine worn to skin and bone, 
Lies senseless of each tugging bitch's son, 

dulness ! portion of the truly blest ! 
Calm slielter'd haven of eternal rest ! 
Thy sons ne'er madden in the fierce extremes 
Of fortune's polar frost, or torrid beams. 
If mantling high she fills the golden cup. 
With sober selfish ease they sip it up : 
Conscious the bounteous meed they well deserve, 
They only wonder "some folks" do not starve. 


The grave sage hern thus easy picks his frog. 

And thinks the mallard a sad worthless dog. 

AVhen disappointment snaps the clue of hope, 

And thro' disastrous night they darkling grope, 

With deaf endurance sluggishly they bear, 

And just conclude that "fools are fortune's care." 

So, heavy, passive to the tempest's shocks. 

Strong on the sign-post stands the stupid ox. 

Not so the idle muses' mad-cap train, 

Not such the workings of their moon-struck brain; 

In equanimity they never dwell, 

By turns in soaring heav'n or vaulted hell. 

I dread thee, Fate, relentless and severe, 
With all a poet's, husband's, father's fear ! 
Already one strong-hold of hope is lost, 
Glencairn, the truly noble, lies in dust 
(Fled, like the sun eclips'd as noon appears, 
And left us darkling in a world of tears) : 
! hear my ardent, grateful, selfish pray'r ! 
Fintry, my other stay, long bless and spare ! 
Thro' a long life his hopes and wishes crown, 
And bright in cloudless skies his sun go down! 
]\Iay bliss domestic smooth his private path, 
Give energy to life, and soothe his latest breath, 
With many a filial tear circling the bed of death. 



Thou, who thy honour as thy God rever'st. 

Who, save thy mind's reproach, nought earthly fear'?t 

To thee this votive offering I impart. 

The tearful tribute of a broken heart. 

The friend thou valued'st, I the patron lov'd ; 

His worth, his honour, all the world approv'd. 

We'll mourn till we too go as he has gone, 

And tread the dreary path to that dark world unkncjwn 



AVhile at the stook the shearers cow'r 

To shun the bitter bhxiidin' show'r, 

Or in gulravage rinnin' seow'r 

To pass tlie time. 

To you I dedicate the horn- 
In idle rhyme. 

My musie, tir'd wi' mony a sonnet 

On gown, an' ban', an' douce black bonnet, 

Is grown right eerie now she's done it, 

Lest they should blame her, 
An' rouse their holy thunder on it, 

And anathem her. 

I own 'twas rash, an' rather hardy, 
That I, a simple kintra bardie, 
Should meddle wi' a pack sae sturdy, 

Wha, if they ken me, 
Can easy, wi' a single wordie, 

Lowse hell upon me. 

But I gae mad at their grimaces. 
Their sighin', cantin', grace-proud faces. 
Their three-mile prayers, an' hauf-mile graces, 

Their raxin' conscience, 
Whase greed., revenge, an' pride disgraces 

Waur nor their nonsense. 

There's Gaun, misca't waur than a beast, 
Wha has mair honour in his breast 
Than mony scores as guid's the priest, 

Wha sae abus't him; 
An' may a bard no crack his jest 

What way they've use't him. 


See liim, the poor man's friend in need. 
The gentleman in word and deed, 
An' shall his fame an' honour bleed 

By worthless skellums. 
An' not a muse erect her head 

To cowe the blellums? 

Pope, had I thy satire's darts 
To gie the rascals their deserts, 
I'd rip their rotten, hollow hearts, 

And tell aloud 
Their jugglin' hocus-pocus arts 

To cheat the crowd. 

God knows, I'm no the thing I should be. 
Nor am I even the thing I could be ; 
But twenty times I rather would be 

An atheist clean, 
Thau under gospel colours hid be, 

Just for a screen. 

An honest man may like a glass. 
An honest man may like a lass. 
But mean revenge an' malice fause 

He'll still disdain. 
An' then cry zeal for gospel laws. 

Like some we ken. 

They take religion in their mouth ; 
They talk o' mercy, grace, an' truth. 
For what ? to gie their malice skouth 

On some puir wight. 
An' hunt him down, o'er right an' ruth. 

To ruin streight. 

All hail, Eeligion! maid divine! 
Pardon a muse sae mean as mine. 
Who in her rough imperfect line. 

Thus daurs to name thee; 
To stigmatize false friends o' thine 

Can ne'er defame thee. 


Tho' blotch't an' foul wi' mony a stain, 

An' far unworthy of thy train, 

With trembling voice I tune my strain 

To join with those, 
Who boldly dare thy cause maintain 

In spite of foes ; 

In spite o' crowds, in spite o' mobs. 
In spite of undermining jobs, 
In spite o' dark banditti stabs 

At worth an' merit. 
By scoundrels, even wi' holy robes, 

But hellish spirit, 

Ayr ! my dear, my native ground. 
Within thy presbyterial bound 
A candid Ub'ral baud is found 

Of public teachers, 
As men, as Christians too, renown'd, 

An' manly preachers. 

Sir, in that circle you are nam'd ; 
Sir, in that circle you are fam'd ; 
And some, by whom your doctrine's blam'd 

(Which gies you honour). 
Even, Sir, by them your heart's esteem'd. 

An' winning manner. 

Pardon this freedom I have ta'en. 
An' if impertinent I've been. 
Impute it not, good Sir, in ane 

Whase heart ne'er wrang'd ye, 
But to his utmost would befriend 

Ought that belang'd ye. 




Why, ye tenants of the lake, 
For me your wat'ry haunt forsake ? 
Tell me, fellow -creatures, w^hy 
At my presence thus you fly? 
Why disturb your social joys. 
Parent, filial, kindred ties ? 
Common friend to you and me, 
Nature's gifts to all are free : 
Peaceful keep your dimpling wave, 
Busy feed, or wanton lave ; 
Or, beneath the sheltering rock, 
Bide the surging billow^'s shock. 

Conscious, blushing for our race. 
Soon, too soon, your fears I trace : 
Man, your proud usurping foe. 
Would be lord of all below. 
Plumes himself in Freedom's pride. 
Tyrant stern to all beside. 

The eagle, from the cliffy brow. 
Marking you his prey below. 
In his breast no pity dwells, 
Strong necessity compels. 
But man, to whom alone is giv'n 
A ray direct from pitying hea^•'n, 
Glories in his heart humane — 
And creatures for his pleasure slain. 

In these savage liquid plains, 
Only known to wand' ring swains, 
Where the mossy riv'lct strays. 
Far from human haunts and ways; 
All on Nature you depend, 
And life's poor season peaceful spend. 

Why. ye tenants of the lake. 

For me your waf ry haunt forsake ? 



Or, if man's superior might 
Dare invade your native right, 
On the lofty ether borne, 
Man, with aU his pow'rs, you scorn; 

Swiftly seek, on clanging wings. 
Other lakes and other springs ; 
And the foe you cannot brave. 
Scorn at least to be his slave. 




"But now his radiant course is run, 
For Matthew's course was bright; 
His soul was liiie the glorious sun, 
A matchless heav'nly light!" 

O DEATH ! thou tyrant fell and bloody ! 

The meikle devil wi' a woodie 

Haurl thee hame to his black smiddie, 

O'er hurcheon hides, 
And like stock-fisli come o'er his studdie 

Wi' thy auld sides! 

He's gane, he's gane ! he's frae us torn. 

The ae best fellow e'er was born ! 

Thee, Matthew, Nature's sel' shall mourn 

By wood and wild, 
Where, haply. Pity strays forlorn, 

Frae man exil'd. 

Ye hills, near neebors o' the starns. 
That proudly cock your cresting cairns! 
Ye cliffs, the haunts of sailing yearns, 

Wliere echo slumbers 1 
Come join, ye Nature's sturdiest bairns, 

My wailing numbers ! 

Mourn, ilka grove the cushat kens! 
Ye haz'lly shaws and briery dens! 
Ye burnies, wimplin' down your glens 

Wi' toddlin' din, 
Or foaming Strang, wi' hasty stens, 

Frae lin to lin. 


Mouru, little harebells o'er the lee ; 
Ye stately foxgloves, fair to see ; 
Ye woodbines, hanging bonnilie 

In scented bow'rs ; 
Ye roses on your thorny tree, 

The first o' flow'rs. 

At dawn, when ev'ry grassy blade 

Droops with a diamond at its head. 

At ev'n, when beans their fragrance shed 

I' th' rustling gale, 
Ye maukins, whiddin thro' the glade. 

Come join my waiL 

Mourn, ye wee songsters o' the wood; 
Ye grouse that crap the heather bud; 
Ye curlews calling thro' a clud ; 

Ye whistling plover ; 
And mourn, ye whirring paitrick brood ; 

He's gane for ever! 

Mourn, sooty coots, and speckled teals. 
Ye fisher herons, watching eels ; 
Ye duck and drake, wi' airy wheels 

Circling the lake; 
Ye bitterns, till the quagmire reels, 

Eair for his sake. 

IVIourn, clam'ring craiks at close o' day, 
'Mang fields o' llow'ring clover gay; 
And when ye wing your annual way 

Frae our cauld shore. 
Tell thae far warlds, wha lies in clay. 

Wham we deplore. 

Ye houlets, frae your ivy bow'r. 
In some auld tree or eldritch tow'r, 
What time the moon, wi' silent glow'r. 

Sets up her horn. 
Wail thro' the dreary midnight hour 

Till waukrife morn! 


rivers, forests, hills, and plains! 
Oft have ye heard my cantie strains: 
But now, what else for me remains 

But tales of woe ? 
And frae my een the drapping rains 

Maun ever flow. 

Mourn, spring, thou darling of the year! 
Ilk cowslip cup shall kep a tear : 
Thou, simmer, while each corny spear 

.Shoots up its head, 
Thy gay, green, flow'ry tresses shear 

For him that's dead. 

Thou, autumn, wi' thy yellow hair, 
In grief thy sallow mantle tear ! 
Thou, winter, hurling thro' the air 

The roaring blast. 
Wide o'er the naked world declare 

The worth we've lost! 

Mourn him, thou sun, great source of light 1 
Mourn, empress of the silent night ! 
And you, ye twinkling starnies bright. 

My Matthew mourn I 
For thro' your orbs he's ta'en his flight, 

Ne'er to return. 

O Henderson, the man! the brother! 
And art thou gone, and gone for ever? 
And hast thou cross'd that unknown river, 

Life's dreary bound ? 
Like thee, where shall I find another, 

The world around ? 

Go to your sculptur'd tombs, ye great, 
In a' the tinsel trash o' state ! 
But by thy honest turf I'll wait. 

Thou man of worth! 
And weep the ae best fellow's fate 

E'er lay in earth. 



Stop, passenger! my story's brief, 
And truth I shall relate, man; 

I tell nae common tale o' grief, 
For Matthew was a great man. 

If thou uncommon merit hast, 

Yet spurn'd at fortune's door, man; 

A look of pity hither cast. 
For Matthew was a poor man. 

If thou a noble sodger art. 

That passest by this grave, man, 

There moulders here a gallant heart; 
For ]SIatthew was a brave man. 

If thou on men, their works and ways, 
Canst throw uncommon light, man; 

Here lies wha weel had won thy praise, 
For Matthew was a bright man. 

If thou at friendship's sacred ca* 
Wad life itself resign, man; 

Thy sympathetic tear maun fa'. 
For Matthew was a kind man! 

If thou art staunch without a stain, 
Like the unchanging blue, man; 

This was a kinsman o' thy ain, 
For ISIatthew was a true man. 

If thou hast wit, and fun, and fire. 
And ne'er guid wine did fear, man; 

This was thy billie, dam, and sire, 
For Matthew was a queer man. 

If ony whiggish, whingin' sot, 

To blame poor Matthew dare, man; 

May duol and sorrow be his lot! 
For Matthew was a rare man. 



Dweller in yon dungeon dark, 
Hangman of creation ! mark 
Who in widow weeds appears, 
Laden with unhonour'd years. 
Noosing with care a bursting purse. 
Baited with many a deadly curse! 


View the wither'd beldam's face — 

Can thy keen inspection trace 

Aught of humanity's sweet, melting grace ? 

Note that eye, 'tis rheum o'erflows; 

Pity's flood there never rose. 

See those hands, ne'er stretch'd to save. 

Hands that took — but never gave. 

Keeper of Mammon's iron chest, 

Lo, there she goes, unpitied and unblest 

She goes, but not to realms of everlasting rest! 


Plunderer of armies, lift thine eyes 

(A while forbear, ye tort'ring fiends), 

Seest thou whose step unwilling hither bends ! 

No fallen angel, hurl'd from upper skies ; 

'Tis thy trusty quondam mate 

Doom'd to share thy fiery fate. 

She, tardy, hell-ward plies. 


And are they of no more avail, 

Ten thousand giitt'ring pounds a year? 

In other worlds can Mammon fail, 

Omnipotent as he is here ? 

O, bitter mock'ry of the pompous bier, 

While down the wretched vital part is driven! 

The cave-lodg'd beggar, with a conscience clear. 

Expires in rags, unknown, and goes to heaVn. 




Sir, o'er a gill I gat your card, 

I trow it made me proud ; 
"See wha taks notice o' the Bard!" 

I lap aud cried fu' loud. 

Now deil-ma-care about their jaw, 

The senseless, gawky million; 
I'll cock my nose aboon them a', 

I'm roos'd by Craigen-GiUan ! 

'Twas noble, Sir; 'twas like yoursel'. 
To grant your high protection: 

A great man's smile, ye ken fu' well, 
Is aye a blest infection; 

Tho', by his banes wha in a tub 

Match'd Macedonian Sandy: 
On my ain legs, thro' dirt an' dub, 

I independent stand aye. 

And when those legs to guid, warm kail, 

Wi' welcome canna bear me, 
A lee dyke-side, a sybow tail, 

And barley-scone shall cheer me. 

Heaven spare you lang to kiss the breath 

0' mony flow'ry simmers! 
And bless your bonnie lasses baith, 

I'm tald they're loosome kimmers! 

And God bless young Dunaskin's laird, 

The blossom of our gentry ! 
And may he wear an auld man's beard, 

A credit to his country. 


Tune — " Robie Dona Gorach." 

The Tliames flows proudly to the sea, 

Where royal cities stately stand; 
But sweeter flows the Nith to me, 

Where Cummins ance had high command: 
When shall I see that honour'd land, 

That winding stream I love so dear! 
Must wayward fortune's adverse hand 

For ever, ever keep me here ? 

How lovely, Nith, thy fruitful vales. 

Where spreading hawthorns gaily bloom! 
How sweetly wind thy sloping dales, 

Where lambkins wanton thro' the broom! 
Tho' wandering now must be my doom, 

Far from thy bonnie banks and braes. 
May there my latest hours consmne, 

Amang the friends of early days! 




This day, Time winds th' exhausted chain. 
To run the twelvemonth's length again; 
I see the old bald-pated fellow, 
With ardent eyes, complexion saUow, 
Adjust the unimpair'd machine. 
To wheel the equal, dull routine. 
The absent lover, minor heir, 
In vain assail him with their pray'r; 
Deaf as my friend, he sees them press, 
Nor makes the hour one moment less. 
WiU you (the Major's with the hounds, 
The happy tenants share his rounds; 
Coila's fair Eachel's care to-day. 
And blooming Keith's engaged with Gray) 
Erom housewife cares a minute borrow — 
That grandchild's cap will do to-morrow — 
And join with me a-moralizing ? 
This day's propitious to be wise in. 
First, what did yesternight deliver? 
"Another year is gone for ever." 
And what is this day's strong suggestion? 
"The passing moment's all we rest on!" 
Eest on — for what? what do we here? 
Or why regard the passing year? 
Will Time, amus'd with proverb lore, 
Add to our date one minute more? 
A few days may— a few years must — 
Eepose us in the silent dust! 
Then, is it wise to damp our bliss? 
Yes — all such reasonings are amiss! 
The voice of nature loudly cries. 
And many a message from the skies. 
That something in us never dies: 
That on this frail uncertain state. 
Hang matters of eternal weight ; 
That future life in worlds unknown 
Must take its hue from this alone. 


Whether as heavenly glory bright, 

Or dark as misery's woeful night. 

Since then, my honour'd, first of friends, 

On this poor being all depends. 

Let us th' important now employ, 

And live as those who never die. 

Tho' you, with days and honours crown'd, 

"Witness that filial circle round 

(A sight life's sorrows to repulse, 

A sight pale en\y to convulse), 

Others now claim your chief regard ; 

Yourself, you wait your bright reward. 



Beauteous rose-bud, young and gay, 

Blooming in thy early May, 

Never may'st thou, lovely floVr, 

Chilly shrink in sleety show'r ! 

Never Boreas' hoary path, 

Never Eurus' pois'nous breath. 

Never baleful stellar lights. 

Taint thee with untimely blights ! 

Never, never reptile thief 

Riot on thy virgin leaf! 

Nor even Sol too fiercely view 

Thy bosom, blushing still with dew ! 

May'st thou long, sweet crimson gem ! 
Richly deck thy native stem; 
Till some ev'ning, sober, calm. 
Dropping dews and breathing balm. 
While all around the woodland rings. 
And ev'ry bird thy requiem sings ; 
Thou, amid the dirgeful sound. 
Shed thy dying honours round. 
And resign to parent earth 
Tlic l()V(>liest form she e'er gave birth. 




Revered defender of beauteous Stuart, 

Of Stuart, a name once respected, 
A name which to love was the mark of a true heart, 

But now 'tis despised and neglected. 

Tho' something like moisture conglobes in my eye. 

Let no one misdeem me disloyal ; 
A poor friendless wand'rer may well claim a sigh. 

Still more if that wand'rer were royal. 

My fathers that name have rever'd on a throne; 

My fathers have fallen to right it; 
Those fathers would spurn their degenerate son, 

That name should he willingly slight it. 

Still, in prayers for King George I most heartily join, 
The Queen, and the rest of the gentry: 

Be they wise, be they foolish, is nothing of mine; 
Their title's avow'd by my country. 

But why of that epocha make such a fuss. 

That gave us the Hanover stem ? 
If bringing them over was lucky for us, 

I'm sure 'twas as lucky for them. 

But loyalty, truce! we're on dangerous ground. 
Who knows how the fashions may alter? 

The doctrine, to-day, that is loyalty sound, 
To-morrow may bring us a halter. 

I send you a trifle, a head of a bard, 

A trifle scarce worthy your care; 
But accept it, good Sir, as a mark of regard. 

Sincere as a saint's dying prayer. 


Now life's chilly evening dim shades on your eye, 
And ushers the lontr dreary niirht ; 

But you, like the star that atlnvart gilds the sky. 
Your course to the latest is bright. 


Is there a whim-inspired fool, 

Owre fast for thought, owre hot. for rule, 

Owre blate to seek, owre proud to snool, 

Let him draw near; 
And owre this grassy heap sing dool, 

And drap a tear. 

Is there a bard of rustic song, 

Wlio, noteless, steals the crowds among. 

That weekly this area throng, 

pass not by ! 
But with a frater-feeling strong. 

Here heave a sigh. 

Is there a man, whose judgment, clear, 
Can others teach the course to steer. 
Yet runs himself life's mad career. 

Wild as the wave; 
Here pause — and thro' the starting tear, 

Survey this grave. 

The poor inhabitant below 

Was quick to learn, and wise to know, 

And keenly felt the friendly glow. 

And softer flame ; 
But thoughtless follies laid him low. 

And stain'd his name. 

Eeader, attend — whether thy soul 
Soars fancy's flights beyond the pole, 
Or darkling grul)S this earthly hole, 

In low pursuit ; 
Know, prudent, cautious, self-control, 

Is wisdom's root. 



Now Nature hangs her mantle green 

On every blooming tree; 
And spreads her sheets o' daisies white 

Out o'er the grassy lea: 
Now Phoebus cheers the crystal streams, 

And glads the azure skies ; 
But nought can glad the weary wight, 

That fast in durance lies. 

Now lav'rocks wake the merry morn, 

Aloft on dewy wing ; 
The merle, in his noontide bow'r, 

Makes woodland echoes ring; 


The mavis mild, wi' many a note, 

Sings drowsy day to rest: 
In love and freedom they rejoice, 

Wi' care nor thrall opprest. 

Now blooms the lily by the bank, 

The primrose down the brae ; 
The hawthorn's budding in the glen. 

And milk-white is the slae : 
The meanest hind in fair Scotland 

May rove their sweets amang; 
But I, the queen of a' Scotland 

Maun lie in prison Strang. 

I was the queen o' bonnie France, 

Where happy I hae been ; 
Fu' lightly raise I in the morn. 

As blithe lay down at e'en : 
And I'm the sovereign of Scotland, 

And mony a traitor there ; 
Yet here I lie in foreign bands, 

And never-ending care. 

But as for thee, thou false woman ! 

My sister and my fae. 
Grim vengeance yet shall whet a sword 

That thro' thy soul shall gae : 
The weeping blood in woman's breast 

Was never known to thee ; 
Nor th' balm that draps on wounds of woe 

Frae woman's pitying e'e. 

My son ! my son ! may kinder stars 

Upon thy fortune shine ; 
And may those pleasures gild thy reign, 

That ne'er wad blink on mine! 
God keep thee frae thy mother's faes. 

Or turn their hearts to thee : 
And when thou meet'st thy mother's friend, 

Remember him for me ! 


O! soon, to me, may summer-suns 

Nae mair light up the mora! 
Nae mair, to me, the autumn winds 

Wave o'er the yellow corn! 
And in the narrow house o' death 

Let winter round me rave; 
And the next flow'rs that deck the spring, 

Bloom on my peaceful gravel 



AuLD Neebor, 

I'm three times doubly o'er your debtor, 
For youj auld-farrant, frien'ly letter; 
Tho' I maun say't, I doubt ye flatter, 

Ye speak sae fair; 
For my puir silly rhymin' clatter 

Some less maun sair. 

Hale he your heart, hale be your fiddle, 
Lang may your elbow jink an' diddle. 
To cheer you thro' the weary widdle 

0' wa'rly cares, 
Till bairns' bairns kindly cuddle 

Your auld gray hairs. 

But Davie, lad, I'm red ye're glaikit ; 
I'm tauld the Muse ye hae negleckit: 
An' gif its sae, ye sud be licket 

Until ye fyke; 
Sic haims as you sud ne'er be faikit. 

Be hain't wha like. 

For me, I'm on Parnassus' brink, 

Eivin' the words to gar them clink; 

Whyles dais't wi' love, whyles dais't wi' drink, 

Wi' jads or masons; 
An' whyles, but aye owre late, I think 

Braw sober lessons. 

168 • STANZAS. 

Of a' the thoughtless sons o' man, 
Commen' me to the bardie clan; 
Except it be some idle plan 

0' rhymin' clink, 
The devil-haet, that I sud ban, 

They ever think. 

Nae thought, nae view, nae scheme o' livin', 
Nae cares to gie us joy or grievin' : 
But just the pouch to put the nieve in. 

An' while ought's there, 
Then, hiltie skiltie, we gae scrievin', 

An' fash nae mair. 

Leeze me on rhyme ! it's aye a treasure. 
My chief, amaist my only pleasure : 
At hame, a-fiel', at wark or leisure. 

The Muse, puir hizzie! 
Tho' rough an' raploch be her measure. 

She's seldom lazy. 

Hand to the Muse, my dainty Davie ; 
The warl' may play you mony a shavie ; 
But for the j\Iuse, she'll never leave ye, 

Tho' e'er sae puir, 
"Na,, ev'n tho' limpin wi' the spavie 

Frae door to door. 



Sweet flow'ret, pledge o' meikle love, 

And ward o' mony a pray'r, 
What heart o' stane wad thou na move, 

Sae helpless, sweet, and fair! 

November hirples o'er the lea, 

Chill, on thy lovely form ; 
And gane, alas ! the shelf ring tree 

Should shield thee frae the storm. 


May He, who gives the rain to pour, 

And wings the blast to blaw, 
Protect thee frae the driving show'r, 

The bitter frost and snaw ! 

May He, the friend of woe and want. 

Who heals life's various stounds, 
Protect and guard the mother plant. 

And heal her cruel wounds ! 

But late she flourish'd, rooted fast, 

Fair on the summer morn : 
Now feebly bends she in the blast, 

Unshelter'd and forlorn. 

Blest be thy bloom, thou lovely gem, 

Unscath'd by ruffian hand ! 
And from thee many a parent stem 

Arise to deck our land ! 




Hear, Land o' Cakes, and brither Scots, 
Frae Maidenkirk to Johnnie Groat's ; 
If there's a hole in a' your coats, 

I rede you tent it: 
A chield's amang you taking notes, 

And, faith, he'U prent it. 

If in your bounds ye chance to light 

Upon a fine, fat, fodgel wight 

0' stature short, but genius bright, 

• That's he, mark weel — 

And, vow ! he has an unco slight 

0' cauk and keeL 



By some aiild howlet-haunted biggin'. 

Or kirk deserted by its riggiii', 

It's ten to ane ye'll find him snug in 

Some eldritch part, 
Wi' deils and witches aye colleaguin' 

At some black art. 

Ilk ghaist that haunts auld ha' or chaumer. 

Ye gipsy-gang that deal in glamour, 

And you deep read in hell's black grammar, 

Warlocks and witches ; 
Ye'll quake at his conjuring hammer, 

Ye midnight wretches. 

It's tauld he was a sodger bred. 
And ane wad rather fa'n than fled; 
But now he's quat the spurtle blade. 

And dog-skin wallet. 
And ta'en the — Antiquarian trade, 

I think they call it. 

He has a fouth o' auld nick-nackets, 
Eusty airn caps and jinglin jackets. 
Wad hand the Lothians three in tackets, 

A towmont guid ; 
And parritch-pats, and auld saut-backets. 

Before the Flood. 

But wad ye see him in his glee. 
For meikle glee and fun has he. 
Then set him down, and twa or three 

Guid fellows wi' him ; 
And port, port ! shine thou a wee, 

And then ye'll see him. 

Now, by the pow'rs o' verse and prose ; 
Thou art a dainty chield, Grose ! 
Wliae'er o' thee shall ill suppose, 

They sair misca* thee ; 
I'd take the rascal by the nose, 

Wad say, Shame fa' thea 

By some auld, howlet-haunted "biggin", 
Or kirk deserted by its riggm' 



This wot ye aU whom it concerus, 
I Rhymer Robin, alias Burns, 

October twenty-third, 
A ne'er to be forgotten day, 
Sae far I sprachled up the brae, 

I dinner'd wi' a Lord. 

I've been at drucken writers' feasts, 
Nay, been owre fou 'mang godly priests. 

Wi' rev'rence be it spoken ; 
I've even join'd the honour'd jorum, 
When mighty squireships o' the quorum 

Their hydra drouth did sloken. 

But wi' a Lord ! — stand out my shin ! 
A Lord — a Peer — an Earl's son — 

Up higher yet my bonnet ! 
An' sic a Lord! — lang Scotch ells twa, 
Our Peerage he o'erlooks them a'. 

As I look o'er my sonnet. 

But for Hogarth's magic pow'r! 
To show Sir Bardy's willyart glow'r. 

And how he star'd and stammer'd, 
When goavan, as if led wi' brauks, 
An' stumpin' on his ploughman shanks, 

He in the parlour hammer'd. 

I sidling shelter'd in a nook. 
An' at his Lordship steal't a look 

Like some portentous omen; 
Except good sense and social glee, 
An' (what surprised me) modesty, 

I marked nouffht uncommon. 


I watcli'd the symptoms o' the great, 
The gentle pride, the lordly state. 

The arrogant assuming ; 
The fient a pride, nae pride had he, 
Nor sauce, nor state that I could see, 

Mair than an honest ploughman. 

Then from his Lordship I shall learn. 
Henceforth to meet with unconcern 

One rank as well's another ; 
Nae honest worthy man need care 
To meet wnth noble, youthful Daer, 

For he but meets a brother. 


Ellisland, 21st October, 1789. 

Wow, but your letter made me vauntie ! 
And are ye hale, and weel, and cantie ? 
I kenn'd it still your wee bit jauntie 

Wad bring you to : 
Lord send you aye as weel's I w^ant ye. 

And then ye'll do. 

The ill-thief blaw the Heron south! 
And never drink be near his drouth! 
He tald mysel' by word o' mouth, 

He'd tak my letter; 
I lippen'd to the chiel in trouth, 

And bade nae better. 

But aiblins honest Master Heron 
Had at the time some dainty fair one. 
To ware his theologic care on, 

And holy study; 
And tir'd o' sauls to waste his lear on, 

E'en tried the body. 


But what d'ye think, my trusty tier, 
I'm turu'd a gauger — Peace be here! 
Parnassian queens, I fear, I fear 

Yell now disdain me, 
And then my fifty pounds a year 

Will little gain me. 

Ye glaikit, gleesome, daintie damies, 
Wha by Castalia's wimplin' streamies, 
Lowp, sing, and lave your pretty limbies, 

Ye ken, ye ken, 
That Strang necessity supreme is 

'Mang sons o' men. 

I hae a wife and twa wee laddies. 

They maun hae brose and brats o' duddies; 

Ye ken yoursels my heart right proud is, 

I need na vaunt, 
But I'll sned besoms — thraw saugh woodies. 

Before they want. 

Lord help me thro' this warld o* care! 
I'm weary sick o't late an' air! 
Not but I hae a richer share 

Than mony ithers ; 
But why should ae man better fare. 

An' a' men brithers? 

Come, Pirm Eesolve, take thou the van. 

Thou stalk o' carl-hemp in man! 

An' let us mind, faint heart ne'er wan 

A lady fair; 
"Wha does the utmost that he can. 

Can whyles do mair. 

But to conclude my silly rhyme 
(Pm scant o' verse, an' scant o' time), 
To mak a happy fire-side clime 

To weans and wife. 
That's the true pathos and sublime 

Of human life. 


My compliments to sister Beckie; 
And eke the same to honest Lucky, 
I wat she is a dainty chuckie, 

As e'er tread clay! 
And gratefully, my guid auld cockie, 

I'm yours for aye. 

Egbert Burns. 



'Tis friendship's pledge, my young, fair friend. 

Nor thou the gift refuse. 
Nor with unwilling ear attend 

The moralizing muse. 

Since thou, in all thy youth and charms. 

Must bid the world adieu 
(A world 'gainst peace in constant arms). 

To join the friendly few; 

Since thy gay morn of life o'ercast. 

Chill came the tempest's lour: 
(And ne'er misfortune's eastern blast 

Did nip a fairer flower); 

Since life's gay scenes must charm no more: 

Still much is left behind 
Still nobler wealth hast thou in store, 

The comforts of the mind! 

Thine is the self-approving glow, 

On conscious honour's part; 
And, dearest gift of heaven below, 

Thine friendship's truest heart; 

The joys refin'd of sense and taste, 

"With every muse to rove : 
And doubly were the poet blest 

These joys could he improve. 




While Europe's eye is fix'd on mighty things. 
The fate of empires and the fall of kings ; 
While quacks of state must each produce his plan, 
And even children lisp the Eights of Man ; 
Amidst this mighty fuss, just let me mention. 
The Rights of Woman merit some attention. 

First, in the sexes' intermixed connection, 
One sacred Right of Woman is — Protection. 
The tender flower that lifts its head, elate. 
Helpless must fall before the blasts of fate. 
Sunk on the earth, defac'd its lovely form, 
Unless your shelter ward th' impending storm. 

Our second Right — but needless here is caution, 
To keep that right inviolate's the fashion. 
Each man of sense has it so full before him, 
He'd die before he'd wrong it — 'tis Decorum. 
There was, indeed, in far less polish'd days, 
A time when rough rude man had naughty ways; 
Would swagger, swear, get drunk, kick up a riot ; 
Nay, even thus invade a lady's quiet. 
Now, thank our stars ! these Gothic times are fled ; 
Now, well-bred men — and you are all well-bred — 
Most justly think (and we are much the gainers) 
Such conduct neither spirit, wit, nor manners. 

For Right the third, our last, our best, our dearest. 
That right to fluttering female hearts the nearest. 
Which even the Rights of Kings in low prostration 
Most himibly own — 'tis dear, dear Admiration ! 
In that blest sphere alone we live and move ; 
There taste that life of life — immortal love. 
Smiles, glances, sighs, tears, fits, flirtations, airs, 
'Gainst such an host what flinty savage dares — ■ 
"VMien awful Beauty joins with all her charms. 
Who is so rash as rise in rebel arms ? 


But truce with kings, and truce with constitutions, 
i With bloody armaments and revolutions ; 

Let Majesty your first attention summon, 
All ! 9a ira ! the Majesty of Woman ! 



Kind Sir, I've read your paper through, 
And faith, to me, 'twas really new ! 
How guessed ye. Sir, what maist I wanted ? 
This mony a day I've grau'd and gauuted. 
To ken what French mischief was brewiu'; 
■ Or what the drumlie Dutch were doin'; 
That vile doup-skelper, Emperor Joseph, 
If Venus yet had got his nose off; 
Or how the collieshangie works 
Atween the Russians and the Turks; 
Or if the Swede, before he halt. 
Would play another Charles the Twalt; 
If Denmark, any body spak o't ; 
Or Poland, wha had now the tack o't ; 
How cut-throat Prussian blades were hingin*. 
How gleesoine Italy was singin'; 
If Spaniard, Portuguese, or Swiss, 
Were sayin' or takin' aught amiss : 
Or how our merry lads at hame. 
In Britain's court kept up the game: 
How royal George, the Lord leuk o'er him I 
Was managing St. Stephen's quorum; 
If sleekit Chatham WiU was livin', 
Or glaikit Charlie got his nieve in ; 
How daddie Burke the plea was cookin'. 
If Warren Hastings' neck was yeukin'; 
A' this and mair I never heard of, 
And but for you I might despaired of ; 
So, gratefu', back your news I send you. 
And pray a' guid things may attend you. 
Ellisland, 1790. 


Tune — " Druimion dubh." 

Musing on the roaring ocean, 
Which divides my love and me; 

Wearying Heaven in warm devotion, 
For his weal where'er he be; 

Hope and fear's alternate billow, 
Yielding late to Nature's law; 

Whisp'ring spirits round my pillow 
Talk of him that's far awa'. 

Ye whom sorrow never wounded, 
Ye who never shed a tear, 

Care-untroubled, joy-surrounded, 
Gaudy day to you is dear. 

Gentle night, do thou befriend me, 
Downy sleep, the curtain draw; 

Spirits kind, again attend me. 
Talk of him that's far awa! 



Hail, Poesie ! thou Nymph reserv'd ! 

In chase o' thee, what crowds has swerv'd 

Frae common sense, or sunk enerv'd 

'Mang heaps o' clavers ; 
And, och ! o'er aft thy joes hae starv'd 

'Mid a' thy favours ! 

Say, lassie, why thy train amang, 
WhUe loud the trump's heroic clang, 
And sock or buskin skelp alang 

To death or marriage, 
Scarce ane has tried the shepherd-sang 

But wi' miscarriage ? 

In Homer's craft Jock Milton thrives ; 
^schylus' pen Will Sliakspeare drives. 
Wee Pope, the knurlin, till him rives 

Horatian fame ; 
In thy sweet sang, Barbauld, survives 

Even Sappho's flame. 

But thee, Theocritus, wha matches t 
They're no herd's baUats, Maro's catches : 
Squire Pope but busks his skinklin* patches 

0' heathen tatters : 
I pass by hunders, nameless wretches 

That ape their betters. 

In this braw age o' wit and lear, 
Will nane the shepherd's whistle mair 
Blaw sweetly, in its native air 

And rural grace, , 
And wi' the far-fam'd Grecian share 

A rival place ? 


Yes! there is ane — a Scottish callan ! 
There's ane ; come forrit, honest Allan ! 
Thou needna jouk behint the hallan, 

A chiel sae clever; 
The teeth o' Time may gnaw Tantallau, 

But thou's for ever. 

Thou paints auld Nature to the nines, 

In thy sweet Caledonian lines ; 

Nae gowden stream thro' myrtles twines, 

Where Philomel, 
While nightly breezes sweep the vines, 

Her griefs will tell ! 

In gowany glens thy burnie strays, 
Where bonnie lasses bleach their claes ; 
Or trots by hazelly shaws and braes, 

Wi' hawthorns gray, 
Where blackbirds join the shepherd's lays 

At close o' day. 

Thy rural loves are Nature's sel' ; 
Nae bombast spates o' nonsense swell ; 
Nae snap conceits, but that sweet spell 

0' witchin' love ; 
That charm that can the strongest quell, 

The sternest move. 

r E A G M E N T, 


How wisdom and folly meet, mix, and unite; 
How virtue and vice blend their black and their white; 
How genius, the illustrious father of fiction. 
Confounds rule and law, reconciles contradiction — 
I sing : If these mortals, the critics, should bustle, 
I care not, not I, let the critics go whistle. 


But now for a Patron, whose name and whose gloiy 
At once may illustrate and honour my stor/. 

Thou first of our orators, first of our wits, 

Yet whose parts and acquirements seem mere lucky hits; 

With knowledge so vast, and with judgment so strong, 

Ko man with the half of 'em e'er went far wrong ; 

With passions so potent, and fancies so bright, 

No man with the half of 'em e'er went quite right; 

A sorry, poor, misbegot son of the Muses, 

For using thy name offers fifty excuses. 

Good Lord, what is man ! for as simple he looks, 
Do but try to develop his hooks and his crooks ; 
With his depths and his shallows, his good and his evil, 
All in all he's a problem must puzzle the devil. 

On his one ruling passion Sir Pope hugely labours, 

That, like th' old Hebrew walking-switch, eats up its neighbours; 

Mankind are his show-box — a friend, would you know him ? 

Pull the string, ruling passion the picture wiU show him: 

What pity, in rearing so beauteous a system, 

One trifling particular, truth, should have fniss'd him. 

For, spite of his fine theoretic positions. 

Mankind is a science defies definitions. 

Some sort all our qualities each to its tribe, 

And think human nature they truly describe ; 

Have you found this, or t'other? there's more in the wind. 

As by one drunken fellow his comrades you'll find. 

But such is the flaw, or the depth of the plan, 

In the make of that wonderful creature called Man, 

No two virtues, whatever relation they claim. 

Nor even two different shades of the same, 

Though like as was ever twin brother to brother. 

Possessing the one shall imply you've the other. 




Here, where the Scottish Muse immortal lives, 
In sacred strains and tuneful numbers join'd, 

Accept the gift; tho' humble he who gives, 
Eich is the tribute of the grateful mind. 

So may no ruffian-feeling in thy breast. 
Discordant jar thy bosom-chords among; 

But peace attune thy gentle soul to rest. 
Or love ecstatic wake his seraph song; 

Or pity's notes, in luxury of tears. 

As modest want the tale of woe reveals ; 

While conscious virtue all the strain endears, 
And heaven-born piety her sanction seals. 


How cold is that bosom which folly once fir'd ! 

How pale is that cheek where the rouge lately glistened! 
How silent that tongue which the echoes oft tired ! 

How dull is that ear which to flattery so listen'd! 

If sorrow and anguish their exit await. 

From friendship and dearest affection remov'd; 

How doubly severer, Eliza, thy fate, 

Thou diedst unwept, as thou livedst unloved. 

Loves, Graces, and Virtues, I call not on you; 

So shy, grave, and distant, ye shed not a tear: 
But come, all ye offspring of folly so true, 

And flowers let ^s cull for Eliza's cold bier. 


We'll search thro' the garden for each silly flower, 
We'll roam thro' the forest for each idle weed; 

But chiefly the nettle, so typical, shower, 

For none e'er approach'd her but rued the rash deed, 

We'U sculpture the marble, we'll measure the lay ; 

Here Vanity strums on her idiot lyre ; 
There keen Indignation shall dart on her prey, 

Which spurning Contempt shall redeem from his ire. 


Heke lies, now a prey to insulting neglect, 

What once was a butterfly, gay in life's beam: 

Want only of wisdom denied her respect. 
Want only of goodness denied her esteem. 



No more, ye warblers of the wood, no more. 
Nor pour your descant, grating on my soul: 
Thou young-eyed Spring, gay in thy verdant stole. 

More welcome were to me grim Winter's wildest roar 

How can ye charm, ye flow'rs with all your dyes ? 

Ye blow upon the sod that wraps my friend: 

How can I to the tuneful strain attend? 
That strain flows round th' untimely tomb where Riddel lies. 

Yes pour, ye warblers, pour the notes of woe, 
And soothe the Virtues weeping on this bier: 
The Man of Worth, and has not left his peer. 

Is in his "narrow house," for ever darkly low. 

Thee, Spring, again with joy shall others greet; 
Me, mem'ry of my loss will only meet. 




Sir, as your mandate did request, 
I send you here a faithfu' list. 
My horses, servants, carts, and graith, 
To which I'm free to tak my aith. 

Imprimis, then, for carriage cattle, 
I hae four brutes o' gallant mettle. 
As ever drew afore a pettle. 
My hand-a-fore, a guid auld has been. 
And wight and wilfu' a' his days been ; 
My hand-a-hin, a guid brown fillie, 
Wha aft has borne me safe frae Killie, 
And your auld borough mony a time. 
In days when riding was nae crime: 
My fur-a-hin, a guid gray beast. 
As e'er in tug or tow was trac'd : 
The fourth, a Highland Donald hastie ; 
A cross, red-wud Kilbnrnie blastie ; 
Forbye a cowte of cowtes the wale, 
As ever ran before a tail ; 
An' he be spar'd to be a beast, 
He'U. draw me fifteen pund at least. 

Wheel-carriages I hae but few. 
Three carts, and twa are feckly new; 
An auld-wheel-barrow, mair for token 
Ae leg and baith the trams are broken; 
I made a poker o' the spin'le. 
And my auld mither brunt the trin'le. 
For men, I've three mischievous boys, 
Ptun-deils for rantin' and for noise; 
A gaudsman ane, a thrasher t'other. 
Wee Davoc bauds the nowte in fother. 
I rule them, as I ought, discreetly. 
And often labour them completely. 


And aye on Sundays duly, nightly, 
I on the Questions tairge them tightly. 
Till, faith ! wee Davoc's grown sae gleg 
(Tho' scarcely langer than my leg), 
He'll screed you afif Effectual Calling, 
As fast as ony in the dwalling. 
I've nane in female servant station, 
Lord, keep me aye from a' temptation! 
I hae nae wife, a^id that my bliss is, 
And ye hae laid nae tax on misses ; 
For weans I'm mair than weel contented, 
Heaven sent me ane mair than I wanted; 
My sonsie, smirking, dear-bought Bess, 
She stares the daddie in her face, 
Enough of ought ye like but grace. 
But her, my bonnie, sweet, wee lady, 
I've said enough for her already, 
And if ye tax her or her mither, 
By George ye'se get them a' thegither! 

And now, remember, Mr. Aiken, 
Nae kind of license out I'm takin' ; 
Thro' dirt and dub for life I'll paidle, 
Ere I sae dear pay for a saddle ; 
I've sturdy stumps, the Lord be thankit! 
And a' my gates on foot I'll shank it. 

This list wi' my ain hand I've wrote it, 
The day and date as under noted ; 
Then know all ye whom it concerns, 
"Subscripsi liuic" 

Egbert Burns. 

MOSSGIEL, 22nd Febmary, 1786. 

Tune— " /nyercawWs ReeU* 

Yestreen I met you on the moor, 
Ye spak'na, but gaed by like stoure; 
Ye geek at me because I'm poor, 
But fient a hair care I. 

I doubtna, lass, but ye may think, 
Because ye hae the name o' clink, 
That ye can please me at a wink, 
Whene'er ye like to try. 

But sorrow tak him that's sae mean, 
Altho' his pouch o' coin were clean, 
Wha folloM^s ony saucy quean, 
That looks sae proud and high. 
2 a 


Altho' a lad were e'er sae smart. 
If that he want the yellow dirt, 
Ye'U cast your head anither airt. 
And answer him fu' dry. 

But if he hae the name o' gear, 
Ye'U fasten to him like a brier, 
Tho' hardly he, for sense or lear. 
Be better than the kye. 

But, Tibbie, lass, tak my advice, 
Your daddie's gear maks you sae nice; 
The deil a ane wad spier your price, 
Were ye as poor as I. 

There lives a lass in yonder park, 
I wadna gie her in her sark, 
For thee wi' a' thy thousand mark; 
Ye need na look sae high. 


Tibbie, I hae seen the day 
Ye wadna been sae shy ; 

For lack o' gear ye lightly me, 
But, trowth, I carena by. 



Thine be the volumes, Jessy fair, 
And with them take the Poet's prayer; 
That Eate may in her fairest page, 
With every kindliest, best presage 
Of future bliss, enrol thy name : 
With native worth, and spotless fame. 
And wakeful caution still aware 
Of ill— but chief, man's felon snare ; 
All blameless joys on earth we find. 
And all the treasures of the mind— 
These be thy guardians and reward; 
So prays thy faithful friend, the Bard. 



NOVEMBER 4, 1793. 

Old Winter with his frosty beard. 
Thus once to Jove his prayer preferred; 
What have I done of all the year, 
To bear this hated doom severe ? 
My cheerless suns no pleasure know; 
Night's horrid car drags dreary slow; 
My dismal months no joys are crowning, 
But spleeny English hanging, drowning. 

Now, Jove, for once be mighty civil, 

To counterbalance all this evil ; 

Give me, and I've no more to say. 

Give me Maria's natal day ! 

That brilliant gift will so enrich me, 

Spring, Summer, Autumn, cannot match me. 

'Tis done ! says Jove ; so ends my story. 

And Winter once rejoiced in glory. 



Fkiend of the Poet, tried and leal, 
Wha, wanting thee, might beg or steal; 
Alake ! alake ! the meikle deil, 

Wi' a' his witches. 
Are at it, skelpin', jig and reel, 

In my poor pouches! 

I modestly fu' fain wad hint it, 
ITiat one pound one, I sairly want it: 
If wi' the hizzie down ye sent it. 

It wad be land; 
And while my heart wi' life-blood dunted, 

rd bear't in mind- 

188 SKETCH. 

So may the aiild year gang out moaning, 
To see the new come laden, groaning, 
Wi' double plenty o'er the loanin, 

To thee and thine j 
Domestic peace and comforts crowning 

The hale design. 


YeVe heard this while how I've been licket, 
And by fell death was nearly nicket: 
Grim loon ! lie gat me by the fecket. 

An' sair me sheuk ; 
But by guid luck I lap a wicket, 

And turn'd a neuk. 

But by that health, I've got a share o't. 
And by that life, I'm promis'd mair o't. 
My hale and weel I'll tak a care o't 

A tentier way; 
Then fareweel folly, hide and hair o't. 

For ance and aye. 


A LITTLE, upright, pert, tart, tripping wight, 
And stiU his precious self his dear delight; 
Who loves his own smart shadow in the streets, 
Better than e'er the fairest she he meets; 
A man of fashion too, he made his tour, 
Learn'd " vive la bagatelle, et vive I'amour;" 
So travell'd monkeys their grimace improve, 
Polish their grin, nay, sigh for ladle's love. 
Much specious lore, but little understood 
(Veneering oft outshines the solid wood): 
His solid sense by inches you must tell, 
But mete his cunning by the old Scots ell ; 
His meddling vanity, a busy fiend, 
Still making work his selfish craft must mend. 


Tune — " The mucking o' Geordie's Byre. 

Adown winding Nith I did wander, 

To mark the sweet flowers as they spring; 

Adown winding Nith I did wander, 
Of Phillis to muse and to sing. 

The daisy amus'd my fond fancy, 
So artless, so simple, so wild; 
Thou emblem, said I, o' my Phillis! 
For she is simplicity's child. 

The rose-bud's the blush o' my charmer, 
Her sweet balmy lip when 'tis prest ; 

How fair and how pure is the lily, 
But fairer and purer her breast. 

Yon knot of gay flowers in the arbour, 
They ne'er wi' my PhiUis can vie: 

Her breath is the breath o' the woodbine, 
Its dew-drop o' diamond her eye. 


Her voice is the song of the morning, 

That wakes thro' the green-spreading grove, 

When Phoebus peeps over the mountains. 
On music, and pleasure, and love. 

But beauty, how frail and how fleeting. 
The bloom of a fine summer's day ! 

While worth in the mind o' my Phillis 
Will flourish without a decay. 


Awa wi' your belles and your beauties, 
They never wi' her can compare : 

Whaever has met wi' my Phillis, 
Has met wi' the queen o' the fair. 



My honour'd colonel, deep I feel 
Your interest in the Poet's weal; 
Ah! how sma' heart hae I to speel 

The steep Parnassus, 
Surrounded thus by bolus pill, 

And potion glasses. 

O what a canty warld were it, 

Would pain, and care, and sickness spare it ; 

And fortune favour worth and merit. 

As they deserve ; 
And aye a rowth, roast beef and claret; 

Syne wha wad starve ? 

Dame Life, tho' fiction out may trick her. 
And in paste gems and frippery deck her ; 
Oh ! flickering, feeble, and unsicker 

I've foimd her stiU, 
Aye wavering, like the willow wicker, 

'Tween good and ilL 


Then that curst carmagnole, auld Satan. 
Watches, like baudrons by a rattan, 
Our sinfu' saul to get a claut on 

Wi' felon ire; 
Syne, whip! his tail ye'U ne'er cast saut on, 

He's off like fire. 

Ah Nick! ah Nick! it isna fair. 
First showing us the tempting ware. 
Bright wines and bonnie lasses rare, 

To put us daft; 
Syne weave, unseen, thy spider snare 

0' heU's teuch waft. 

Poor man, the flie aft bizzes by. 

And aft as chance he comes thee nigh, 

Thy auld crank elbow yeuks wi' joy. 

And heUish pleasure; 
Already, in thy fancy's eye, 

Thy sicker treasure. 

But lest you think I am uncivil. 

To plague you with this draunting drivel, 

Abjuring a' intentions evil, 

I quat my pen: 
The Lord preserve us frae the devil! 

Amen! amen I 


My curse upon thy venom'd stang. 
That shoots my tortur'd gums alang. 
And thro' my lugs gies mony a twang, 

Wi' gnawing vengeance; 
Tearing my nerves wi' bitter pang. 

Like racking engines. 


When fevers burn, or ague freezes, 
Rheumatics gnaw, or choUc squeezes, 
Our neighbour's sympathy may ease us, 

Wi' pitying moan; 
But thee, thou king o' a' diseases, 

Aye mocks our gi'oan. 

Adown my beard the slavers trickle ! 
I throw the wee stools o'er the mickle. 
As round the fire the giglets keckle. 

To see me loup ; 
While raving mad, I wish a heckle 

Were in their doup. 

0' a' the num'rous human dools, 
ni har'sts, daft bargains, cutty-stools. 
Or worthy friends rak'd i' the mools, 

Sad sight to see ! 
The tricks o' knaves, or fash o' fools, 

Thou bear'st the snree. 

WTiare'er that place be priests ca' hell, 
Whence a' the tones o' mis'ry yell, 
And ranked plagues their numbers tell, 

In dreadfu' raw. 
Thou, Toothache, surely bear'st the bell 

Amang them a' ! 

thou grim, mischief-making chiel, 
That gars the notes o' discord squeel, 
Till daft mankind aft dance a reel 

In gore a shoe-thick ; 
Gie a' the faes o' Scotland's weal 

A towmond's Toothache I 


Tune — " Dainty Davie.'' 

Now rosy May comes in wi' flowers, 
To deck her gay, green-spreading bowers; 
And now comes in my happy hours. 
To wander wi' my Davie. 

The crystal waters round us fa', 
The merry birds are lovers a', 
The scented breezes round us blaw, 
A wandering wi' my Davie. 

"VVlien purple morning starts the hare. 
To steal upon her early fare. 
Then thro' the dews I will repair. 
To meet my faithfu' Davie. 
2 B 


When day, expiring in the west, 
The curtain draws o' Nature's rest, 
I flee to his arms I lo'e best, 
* And that's my ain dear Davie. 


Meet me on the warlock knowe, 
Dainty Davie, dainty Davie, 

There I'U. spend the day wi' you, 
My ain dear dainty Davie. 



Sensibility how charming, 

Thou, my friend, canst truly teU; 

But distress, with horrors arming. 
Thou hast also known too well! 

Fairest flower, behold the lily. 

Blooming in the sunny ray; 
Let the blast sweep o'er the valley. 

See it prostrate on the clay. 

Hear the wood-lark charm the forest. 

Telling o'er his little joys ; 
Hapless bird ! a prey the surest 

To each pirate of the skies. 

Dearly bought the hidden treasure 

Einer feelings can bestow ; 
Chords that vibrate sweetest pleasure, 

Thrill the deepest notes of woe. 



SELKIRK, MAY 13, 1787. 

AuLD chuckle Eeekie's sair distrest, 

Down droops her ance weel-burnish'd crest, 

Nae joy her bonnie huskit nest 

Can yield ava ; 
Her darling bird that she lo'es best, 

WiUie's awa! 

Willie was a witty wight, 

And had o' things an unco slight; 
Auld Eeekie aye he keepit tight, 

And trig an' braw : 
But now they'll busk her like a fright, 

WiUie's awa ! 

The stiffest o' them a' he bow'd. 
The bauldest o' them a' he cow'd ; 
They durst nae mair than he allow' d, 

That was a law : 
We've lost a birkie weel worth gowd, 

Willie's awa ! 

Now gawkies, tawpies, gowks, and fools, 
Erae colleges and boarding schools. 
May sprout like simmer puddock-stools 

In glen or shaw ; 
He wha could brush them down to mools, 

Willie's awa! 

The brethren o' the Commerce-Chaumer 
May mourn their loss wi' doolfu' clamour; 
He was a dictionar and grammar 

Amang them a' ; 

1 fear they'U now mak mony a stammer, 

Willie's awa ! 


Nae mair we see his levee door 
Philosophers and Poets pour. 
Aud toothy critics by the score, 

In bloody raw ! 
The adjutant o' a' the core, 

Willie's awa! 

Now worthy Gregory's Latin face, 
Tytler's and Greenfield's modest grace; 
Mackenzie, Stewart, sic a brace 

As Eome ne'er saw ; 
They a' maun meet some ither place, 

Willie's awa! 

Poor Burns — e'en Scotch drink canna quicken, 
He cheeps like some bewilder'd chicken, 
Scar'd frae its minnie and the cleckin 

By hoodie-craw ; 
Grief's gien his heart an unco kickin', 

WiUie's awa! 

Now ev'ry sour-mou'd girnin' blellum, 
And Calvin's folk, are fit to fell him; 
And self-conceited critic shell um 

His quill may draw; 
He wha could brawlie ward their helium, 

Willie's awa! 

Up wimpling stately Tweed I've sped. 
And Eden scenes on crystal Jed, 
And Ettrick banks, now roaring red, 

While tempests blaw; 
But every joy and pleasure's fled, 

Willie's awa! 

May I be slander's common speech, 
A text for infamy to preach. 
And, lastly, streekit out to bleach 

In winter snaw, 
AVlien I forget thee, Willie Creech, 

Tho' far awa! 


May never wicked fortune touzle him ! 
May never wicked men bamboozle him ! 
Until a pow as auld's Methusalem 

He canty claw I 
Then to the blessed New Jerusalem, 

Eleet wing awa! 


Air—" The Mill, Mill 0." 

When wild war's deadly blast was blawu, 

And gentle peace returning, 
Wi' mony a sweet babe fatherless, 

And mony a widow mourning; 
I left the lines and tented field, 

Where lang I'd been a lodger. 
My humble knapsack a' my wealth, 

A poor but honest sodger. 

A leal light heart was in my breast, 

My hand unstain'd wd' plunder; 
And for fair Scotia, hame again, 

I cheery on did wander. 
I thought upon the banks o' Coil, 

I thought upon my Nancy, 
I thought upon the witching smile 

That caught my youthful fancy. 

At length I reach'd the bonnie glen, 

Where early life I sported ; 
I pass'd the mill, and trysting thorn, 

Where Nancy aft I courted: 
Wha spied I but my ain dear maid, 

Down by her mother's dwelling ! 
And turned me round to hide the flood 

That in my een was swelling. 

Wi' altered voice, quoth I, Sweet lass^ 
Sweet as yon hawthorn's blossom. 

! happy, happy may he be, 
Tliat's dearest to thy bosom' 


My purse is light, I've far to gang, 
And fain wad be thy lodger; 

I've serv'd my king and country lang, 
Take pity on a sodger. 

Sae wistfully she gaz'd on me. 

And lovelier was than ever: 
Quo' she, A sodger ance I lo'ed, 

Forget him shall I never: 
Our humble cot, and hamely fare, 

Ye freely shall partake it ; 
That gallant badge, the dear cockade, 

Ye're welcome for the sake o't. 

She gaz'd — she redden'd like a rose — 

Syne pale like ony lily ; 
She sank within my arms, and cried. 

Ar t thou my ain dear Willie ! 
By Him who made yon sun and sky. 

By whom true love's regarded, 
I am the man; and thus may still 

True lovers be rewarded. 

The wars are o'er, and I'm come hame. 
And find thee still true-hearted ; 

Tho' poor in gear, we're rich in love, 
And mair we'se ne'er be parted. 

Quo' she, My grandsire left me gowd, 
A mailen plenish'd fairly ; 

And come, my faithfu' sodger lad, 

Thou'rt welcome to it dearly! 

For gold the merchant ploughs the main, 
The farmer ploughs the manor; 

But glory is the sodger's prize; 
The sodger's wealth is honour. 

The brave poor sodger ne'er despise. 
Nor count him as a stranger; 

Remember he's his country's stay- 
In day and hour of danger. 

She sank within my arms, and cried. 
Art thou my am dear Willie? 


L I B E E T Y. 


Thee, Caledonia, thy wild heaths among, 
Thee, famed for martial deed and sacred song, 

To thee I turn with swimming eyes, 
Where is that soul of freedom fled ? 
Immingled with the mighty dead, 

Beneath that hallowed turf where Wallace lies I 
Hear it not, Wallace, in thy bed of death! 

Ye babbling winds in silence sweep, 

Disturb not ye the hero's sleep. 
Nor give the coward secret breath. 

Is this the power in freedom's war 

That wont to bid the battle rage? 
Behold that eye which shot immortal hate. 

Crushing the despot's proudest bearing; 
That arm which, nerved with thundering fate, 

Braved usurpation's boldest daring! 
One quench'd in darkness, like the sinking star. 
And one the palsied arm of tottering, powerless age. 

E X T E M P R E. 

APRIL, 1782. 

WHY the deuce should I repine. 
And be an ill foreboder? 

I'm twenty -three, and five feet nine — 
I'U go and be a sodger ! 

1 gat some gear wi' meikle care, 
I held it weel thegither; 

But now it's gane, and something mair — - 
I'll go and be a sodger! 


■■■• Ji'-iJ^I 

^' ^^4^'^ - 


'^^/'j^r, '-;- 

C L A R I N D A. 

Clarinda, mistress of my smil, 
The measur'd time is run ! 

The wretch beneath the dreary ])()lo, 
So marks his latest sun. 

To what dark cave of frozen night 
Shall poor Sylvander hie ; 

Depriv'd of thee, his life and light, 
The sun of all his joy. 


We part — but by these precious drops 

That fill thy lovely eyes! 
No other light shall guide my steps 

Till thy bright beams arise. 

She, the fair sun of all her sex, 

Has blest my glorious day : 
And sliall a glimmering planet fLX 

My worship to its ray ? 



'TwAS where the birch and sounding thong are plied, 

The noisy domicile of pedant pride ; 

Where ignorance her darkening vapour throws, 

And cruelty directs the thickening blows; 

Upon a time, Sir A-be-ce the great. 

In all his pedagogic powers elate, 

His awful chair of state resolves to mount. 

And call the trembling vowels to account. 

First enter'd A, a grave, broad, solemn wight. 
But, ah ! deform'd, dishonest to the sight ! 
His twisted head look'd backward on his way. 
And flagrant from the scourge, he grunted, "ai!" 

Eeluctant, E stalk'd in ; with piteous grace 
The justling tears ran down his honest face ! 
That name, that well-worn name, and all his OM^n, 
Pale he surrenders at the tyrant's throne ! 
The pedant stifles keen the Eoman sound 
Not all his mongrel diphthongs can compound ; 
And next the title following close behind. 
He to the nameless, ghastly wretch assign'd. 

The cobweb'd gothic dome resounded, Y! 
In sullen vengeance, I disdain'd reply : 
The pedant swung his felon cudgel round, 
And knock'd the groaning vowel to the ground ! 
2 c 


In rueful apprehension enter'd 0, 

The wailing minstrel of despairing woe ! 

Th' Inquisitor of Spain the most expert, 

Might there have learnt new mysteries of his art ; 

So grim, deform'd, with horrors entering, U 

His dearest friend and brother scarcely knew ! 

As trembling U stood staring all aghast, 
The pedant in his left hand clutch'd him fast, 
In helpless infant's tears he dipp'd his right, 
Baptiz'd him " eu," and kick'd him from his sight. 



February, 1787. 

My canty, witty, rhyming ploughman, 

I haftlins doubt it isna true, man. 

That ye between the stilts were bred, 

Wi' ploughmen school'd, wi' ploughmen fed ; 

I doubt it sair, ye've drawn your knowledge 

Either frae grammar-school or college. 

Guid troth, your saul and body baith 

War' better fed, I'd gie my aith, 

Than theirs, who sup sour-milk and parritch. 

An' bummil thro' the Single Carritch. 

Wha ever heard the ploughman speak. 

Could tell gif Homer was a Greek ? 

He'd flee as soon upon a cudgel. 

As get a single line of Virgil. 

And then sae slee you crack your jokes 

0' Willie Pitt and Charlie Fox, 

Our great men a' sae weel descrive. 

An' how to gar the nation thrive, 

Ane maist wad swear ye dwelt amang them, 

An' as ye saw them, sae ye sang them. 

Rut be ye ploughman, be ye peer. 

Ye are a funny blade, I swear ; 

An' though the cauld I ill can bide, 

Yet twenty miles an' mair I'd ride 


O'er moss an' muir, an' never grumble 

Tho' my auld yad should gie a stumble. 

To crack a winter night wi' thee. 

And hear thy sangs and sonnets slee. 

A guid saut herring an' a cake, 

Wi' sic a chiel, a feast wad make; 

I'd rather scour your reaming yill, 

Or eat o' cheese and bread my fill, 

Than wi' dull lairds on turtles dine. 

An' ferlie at their wit and wine. 

gif I kenn'd but whare ye baide, 

I'd send to you a marled plaid; 

'Twad hand your shouthers warm and braw. 

An' douse at kirk or market shaw. 

For south, as well as north, my lad, 

A' honest Scotchman lo'e the maud. 

Eight wae that we're sae far frae ither. 

Yet proud I am to ca' ye brither. 

Your most obedt., 

E. S, 



I MIND it weel, in early date, 

When I was beardless, young, and blate, 

An' first could thrash the barn; 
Or baud a yokin at the pleugh, 
An' tho' forfoughten sair eneugh, 

Yet unco proud to learn; 
Wlien first amang the yellow corn 

A man I reckon'd was, 
And wi' the lave, ilk merry morn, 
Could rank my rig an' lass. 
Still shearing, and clearing, 

The tither stookit raw, 
Wi' claivers an' haivers 
Wearing the day awa — • 


E'en then a vnsh (I mind its power), 
A wish that to my latest hour 

Shall strongly heave my breast ; 
That I, for poor auld Scotland's sake, 
Some usefu' plan or book could make. 

Or sing a sang at least. 
The rough bur-thistle, spreading wide 

Among the bearded here, 
I turn'd my weeding-heuk aside. 
An' spar'd the symbol dear ; 
No nation, no station. 

My en^y e'er could raise, 
A Scot still but blot still, 
I knew nae higher praise. 

But still the elements o' sang 

In formless jumble, right an' wrang. 

Wild floated in my brain ; 
Till on that hairst I said before, 
]\Iy partner in the merry core. 

She rous'd the forming strain. 
I see her yet, the sonsie quean. 

That lighted up her jingle, 
Her w'itching smile, her pauky een. 
That gart my heart-strings tingle; 
I fired, inspired. 

At every kindling keek ; 
But bashing and dashing, 
I feared aye to speak. 

Health to the sex, ilk guid chiel says, 
Wi' merry dance in winter-days, 

An' we to share in common : 
The gust o' joy, the balm of w^oe, 
The saul o' life, the heav'n below. 

Is rapture-giving woman. 
Ye surly sumphs, who hate the name. 

Be mindfu' o' your mither: 
She, honest woman, may think shame 

That ye're connected with her. 


Ye're wae men, ye're nae men, 

That slight the lovely clears; 
To shame ye, disclaim ye. 

Ilk honest birkie swears. 

For you, no bred to barn and bp-e, 
AVha sweetly tune the Scottish lyre. 

Thanks to you for your line. 
The marled plaid ye kindly spare, 
By me should gratefully be ware; 

'Twad please me to the nine. 
I'd be mair vauntie o' my hap, 
Douce hingin' o'er my curple, 
Than ony ermine ever lap, 
Or proud imperial purple. 

Fareweel then, lang hale then, 

An' plenty be your fa: 
May losses and crosses 
Ne'er at your hallan ca'. 

EoBEET Burns. 



What needs this din about the town o' Lon'on,^ 
How this new play an' that new sang is comin' ? 
Why is outlandish stuff sae meikle courted ? 
Does nonsense mend, like brandy, when imported? 
Is there nae poet, burning keen for fame. 
Will try to gie us sangs and plays at hame ? 
For comedy abroad he needna toil, 

A fool and knave are plants of every soil; 

Nor need he hunt as far as Konie and Greece 

To gather matter for a serious piece; 

There's themes enough in Caledonian story 

Would show the tragic Muse in a' her glory. 

Is there no daring bard will rise, and tell 
How glorious Wallace stood, how hapless fell? 


Where are the Muses fled, that could produce 

A drama worthy o' the name o' Bruce ? 

How here, even here, he first unsheath'd the sword 

'Gainst mighty England and her gxiilty lord; 

And after many a bloody, deathless doin', 

Wrench'd his dear country from the jaws of ruin ? 

for a Shaksj)eare or an Otway scene, 

To draw the lovely, hapless Scottish Queen! 

Vain all th' omnipotence of female charms 

'Gainst headlong, ruthless, mad rebelhon's arms. 

She fell, but fell with spirit truly Eoman, 

To glut tlie vengeance of a rival woman : 

A woman, tho' the phrase may seem uncivil. 

As able and as cruel as the devil ! 

One Douglas lives in Home's immortal page. 

But Douglases were heroes every age : 

And tho' your fathers, prodigal of life, 

A Douglas foUow'd to the martial strife. 

Perhaps if bowls row right, and Eight succeeds, 

Ye yet may follow where a Douglas leads ! 

As ye hae generous done, if a' the land 
Would take the Muses' servants by the hand; 
Not only hear, but patronize, befriend them. 
And where ye justly can commend, commend thorn; 
And aiblins when they winna stand the test. 
Wink hard, and say. The folks hae done their best ! 
Would a' the land do this, then I'll be caution 
Ye'll soon hae poets o' the Scottish nation. 
Will gar Fame blaw until her trumpet crack. 
And warsle Time, an' lay him on his back ! 

For us, and for our stage, should ony spier, 

" MTiase aught thae cliiels maks a' this bustle here ? " 

My best leg foremost, I'll set up my brow. 

We have the honour to belong to you ! 

We're your ain bairns, e'en guide us as ye like, 

But, like good mithers, shore before ye strike. 

And gratefu' still I hope ye'll ever tind us, 

For a' tlie patronage and nicikle kindness 

We've got frae a' professions, sets, and ranks : 

God help us ! we're but poor — ye'se get but thanks. 

Plate K 

O ken ye what Me^ o' the Mill has gotten. 
An' ken ye what Meg o' the Mill has gotten? 
She has gotten a cool wi a claut o' siller, 
And broken the heart o' the barley miUer 



Wae worth thy power, thou cursed leaf! 

Fell source of a' my woe and grief! 

Eor lack o' thee I've lost my lass; 

For lack o' thee I sciimp my glass. 

I see the children of affliction 

Unaided, thro' thy curs'd restriction. 

I've seen the oppressor's cruel smile 

Amid his hapless victim's spoil. 

And for thy potence vainly wished, 

To crush the villain in the dust. 

For lack o' thee I leave this much-loved shore, 

Never, perhaps, to greet auld Scotland more. 


Tune — " bonnie lass, will you lie in a Barrack f^ 

O KEN ye what Meg o' the Mill has gotten ? 
An' ken ye what Meg o' the Mill has gotten ? 
She has gotten a coof wi' a claut o' siller. 
And broken the heart o' the barley miller. 

The miller was strappin', the miller was ruddy; 
A heart like a lord, and a hue like a lady: 
The laird was a widdiefu' bleerit knurl; 
She's left the guid fellow and ta'en the churl. 

The miller he liecht her a heart leal and loving; 
The laird did address her wi' matter mair movinsr. 
A fine prancing horse wi' a clear chained bridle, 
A whip by her side, and a bonnie side-saddle. 

wae on the siller, it is sae prevailing; 
And wae on the love that is fix'd on a mailen! 
A tocher's nae word in a true lover's parle, 
But gie me my love, and a fig for the warl! 



AuLD comrade dear, and brither sinner. 

How's a' the folk about Glenconuer ? 

How do you, this blae eastlin wind, 

That's like to blaw a body blind? 

For me, my faculties are frozen, 

My dearest member nearly dozen' d. 

I've sent you here, by Johnnie Simpson, 

Twa sage philosophers to glimpse on; 

Smith, wi' his sympathetic feeling, 

An' Eeid to common sense appealing. 

Pliilosophers have fought an wrangl'd. 

An' meikle Greek an' Latin mangl'd. 

Till wi' their logic jargon tir'd, 

An' in the depth of science mir'd, 

To common sense they now appeal, 

'\^^lat wives an' wabsters see an' feel. 

But, hark ye, friend ! I charge you strictlj^ 

Peruse them, an' return them quickly. 

For now I'm grown sae cursed douse, 

I pray and ponder butt the house ; 

My shins, my lane, I there sit roastin'. 

Perusing Bunyan, Brown, and Boston; 

Till by an' by, if I hand on, 

I'll grunt a real gospel groan. 

Already I begin to try it. 

To cast my e'en up like a pyet 

When by the gun she tumbles o'er, 

Fluttering an' gasping in her gore: 

Sae shortly you shall see me bright, 

A burning an' a shining light. 

My heart-warm love to guid auld Glen, 
The ace an' wale of honest men: 
When bending down with auld gray hairs* 
Beneath the load of years and cares, 
May He who made him still support him, 
An' views beyond the grave comfort him; 
His worthy fam'ly, far and near, 
God bless them a' wi' grace and gear. 

Tune—" Where'llhonnie Annie lie,'' or, "-Loch Eroch sicUr 

O STAY, sweet warbling woocTlark, stay! 
Nor quit for me the trembling spray; 
A hapless lover courts thy lay, 
Thy soothing, fond complaining. 

Again, again that tender part. 
That I may catch thy melting art; 
For surely that wad touch her heart 
AAlia kills me wi' disdaining. 


Say, was thy little mate unkind, 
And heard thee as the careless wind ? 
Oh ! nocht but love and sorrow joined. 
Sic notes o' woe could wauken. 

Thou tells o' never-ending care; 
0' speechless grief, and dark despair: 
Tor pity's sake, sweet bird, nae mair, 
Or my poor heart is broken. 


"Friendship! mysterious cement of the soult 
Sweet'ner of life, and solder of society I 
I owe thee much," — Blair. 

Dear Smith, the slee'st, paukie thief, 
That e'er attempted stealth or rief, 
Ye surely hae some warlock-breef 

Owre human hearts ; 
For ne'er a bosom yet was prief 

Against your arts. 

For me, I swear by sun and moon. 
And every star that blinks aboon, 
Ye've cost me twenty pair o' shoon 

Just gaun to see you; 
And every ither pair that's done, 

Mair ta'en I'm wi' you. 

That auld capricious carlin. Nature, 
To mak amends for scrimpit stature, 
She's turned you aff, a human creature 

On her first plan ; 
And in her freaks, on every feature 

She's wTote, the Man. 


Just now I've ta'en a fit o' rhyme, 
My barmic noddle's working prime, 
My fancy yerkit up sublime 

Wi' hasty summon: 
Hae ye a leisure-moment's time 

To hear what's comin' ? 

Some rhyme a neighbour's name to lash ; 
Some rhyme (vain thought !) for needfu' cash ; 
Some rhyme to court the country clash. 

And raise a din; 
For me, an aim I never fash — 

I rhyme for fun. 

The star that rules my luckless lot. 

Has fated me the russet coat, 

An' pinn'd my fortune to the groat; 

But in requit, 
Has blest me wi' a random shot 

O country wit. 

This while my notion's ta'en a sklent, 
To try my fate in guid black prent ; 
But still the mair I'm that way bent. 

Something cries " HooUe ! 
T red you, honest man, tak tent ! 

Ye'il shaw your folly. 

"There's ither poets much your betters. 
Far-seen in Greek, deep men o' letters, 
Hae thought they had insured their debtors 

A' future ages ; 
Now moths deform in shapeless tatters 

Their unknown pages." 

Then farewell hopes o' laurel-boughs 
To garland my poetic brows ! 
Henceforth I'll vo\e where busy ploughs 

Are whistling thrang, 
And teach the lanely heights and howes 

My rustic sang. 


I'll wander on, with tentless heed 
How never-halting moments speed, 
Till fate shall snap the brittle thread ; 

Then, all unknown, 
I'U lay me with the inglorious dead, 

Forgot and gone ! 

But why o' death begin a tale ? 

Just now we're living, sound and hale, 

Then top and maintop crowd the sail. 

Heave care o'er side ! 
And large before enjoyment's gale, 

Let's tak the tide. 

This life, sae far's I understand, 

Is a' enchanted fairy land. 

Where pleasure is the magic wand, 

That, wielded right, 
Maks hours like minutes, hand in hand. 

Dance by fu' light. 

The magic wand then let us wield ; 
For, ance that five-and-forty's speel'd. 
See, crazy, weary, joyless eild, 

Wi' wrinkled face. 
Comes hostin', hirplin' owre the field, 

Wi' creepin' pace. 

Wlien ance life's day draws near the gloaming 
Then fareweel vacant careless roamin' ; 
And fareweel cheerfu' tankards foamin'. 

And social noise ; 
And fareweel dear, deluding woman ! 

The joy o' joys ! 

Oh Life ! how pleasant in thy morning. 
Young Fancy's rays the hills adorning ! 
Cold-pausing Caution's lesson scorning, 

We li'isk away, 
Like schoolboys, at the expected warning. 

To joy and i)lay. 

We wander there, we wander here, 
We eye the rose upon the brier. 
Unmindful that the thorn is near. 

Among the leaves! 
And though the puny wound appear, 

Short while it grieves. 

Some, lucky, find a flowery spot. 
For which they never toiled or swat; 
They drink the sweet, and eat the fat, 

But care or pain; 
And, haply, eye the barren hut 

With high disdain. 

With steady aim some Fortune chase; 

Keen Hope does every sinew brace; 

Through fair, through foul, they urge the race, 

And seize the prey; 
Then cannie, in some cozie place. 

They close the day. 


And others, like your humble servan', 
Poor wights ! nae rules nor roads observin' ; 
To right or left, eternal swervin'. 

They zig-zag on ; 
Till, curst with age, obscure and starvin'. 

They aften groan. 

Alas ! what bitter toil and straining — 
But truce with peevish, poor complaining ! 
Is Fortune's fickle Luna waning ? 

E'en let her gang '. 
Beneath what light she has remaining. 

Let's sing our sang. 

My pen I here fling to the door, 

And kneel, " Ye Powers," and warm implore, 

" Though I should wander Terra o'er. 

In all her cKmes, 
Grant me but this, I ask no more. 

Aye rowth o' rhymes. 

" Gie dreeping roasts to country lairds. 
Till icicles hang frae their beards ; 
Gie fine braw claes to fine life-guards. 

And maids of honour! 
And yill and whisky gie to cairds, 

Until they sconner, 

"A title, Dempster merits it; 

A garter gie to Willie Pitt ; 

Gie wealth to some be-ledgered cit, 

In cent, per cent., 
But gie me real, sterling wit, 

And I'm content. 

"While ye are pleased to keep me hale, 
I'll sit down o'er my scanty meal, 
Be't water brose or muslin kail, 

Wi' cheerfu' face, 
As lang's the Muses dinna fail 

To say the grace." 


An anxious e'e I never throws 
Behint my lug or by my nose; 
I jouk beneath misfortune's blows 

As weel's I may; 
Sworn foe to sorrow, care, and prose, 

I rhyme away. 

ye douce folk, that live by rule, 
Grave, tideless-blooded, calm and cool, 
Compared wi' you — oh fool ! fool ! fool ! 

How much unlike; 
Your hearts are just a standing pool, 

Your lives a dykel 

Nae hair-brained, sentimental traces, 
In your unlettered nameless faces I 
In arioso trills and graces 

Ye never stray. 
But gravissimo, solemn basses 

Ye hum away. 

Ye are sae grave, nae doubt ye're wise; 
Nae ferly though ye do despise 
The hairum-scairum, ram-stam boys, 

The rattling squad: 
I see you upward cast your eyes — 

Ye ken the road ; 

Whilst I — but I shall baud me there — 
Wi' you I'll scarce gang onywhere : 
Then, Jamie, I shall say nae mair, 

But quat my sang. 
Content with you to mak a pair, 

AVhare'er I gang. 

C H L E. 


Tune — " Dainty Davie.'" 

It was the charming month of May 
When all the flowers were fresh and gay; 
One morning, by the break of day, 

The youthful, charming Chloe, 
From peaceful slumber she arose, 
Girt on her mantle and her hose. 
And o'er the flowery mead she goes. 

The youthful, charming Chloe. 

The feathered people you miglit see 
Perched all around on every tree, 
In notes of sweetest melody 
They hail the charming Chloe; 

LAMENT. 217 

Till, painting gay the eastern skies, 
The glorious sun began to rise, 
Outrivall'd l3y the radiant eyes 
Of youthful, charming Chloe. 


Lovely was she by the dawn, 
Youthful Chloe, charming Chloe. 

Tripping o'er the pearly lawn, 
The youthful, charming Cliloe. 



O'er the mist-shrouded cliffs of the lone mountain straying. 
Where the wild winds of winter incessantly rave, 

What woes wring my heart while intently surveying 
The storm's gloomy path on the breast of the wave. 

Ye foam-crested billows, allow me to wail, 

Ere ye toss me afar from my lov'd native shore ; 

Where the flower which bloom'd sweetest in Coila's green vale, 
The pride of my bosom, my Mary's no more. 

No more by the banks of the streamlet we'll wander, 
And smile at the moon's rimpled face in the wave; 

No more shall my arms cling with fondness around her, 
For the dew-drops of morning fall cold on her grave. 

No more shall the soft thrill of love warm my breast, 
I haste with the storm to a far distant shore ; 

Wliere unknown, unlamented, my ashes shall rest, 
And joy shall revisit my bosom no more. 

2 K 



When lyart leaves bestrew the yird, 
Or, wavering like the bauckie bird, 

Bedim cauld Boreas' blast : 
When hailstanes drive wi' bitter skyte, 
And infant frosts begin to bite. 

In hoary cranreuch drest ; 
Ae night at e'en, a merry core 

O' randie gangrel bodies. 
In Poosie-Nansie's held the splore, 
To drink their ora duddies : 
Wi' quaffing and laughing, 

They ranted and they sang; 
Wi' jumping and thumping 
The vera girdle rang. 

First, niest the fire, in auld red rags, 
Ane sat, weel brac'd wi' mealy bags. 

And knapsack a' in order ; 
His doxy lay within his arm, 
AVi' usquebae and blankets warm. 

She blinket on her sodger; 
And aye he gies the tousie drab 

The tither skelpin kiss. 
While she held up her greedy gab. 
Just like an aumous dish. 

Ilk smack stiU, did crack still, 

Just like a cadger's whup, 
Then staggering, and swaggering, 
He roar'd this ditty up — 


TUNE — " Soldiers Jorj.'^ 

I AM a son of Mars, who have been in many wars. 
And show my cuts and scars wherever I come; 


This here was for a wench, and that other in a trench, 
When welcoming the French at the sound of the drum. 

Lai de daudle, &c. 

My 'prentiship I past, where my leader breath'd his last. 
When the bloody die was cast on the heights of Abram ; 
I served out my trade when the gallant game was play'd, 
And the Morro low was laid at the sound of the drum. 

Lai de daudle, &c. 

I lastly was with Curtis, among the floating batt'ries. 
And there I left for witnesses an arm and a limb : 
Yet let my countiy need me, with Elliot to head me, 
I'd clatter on my stumps at the sound of the drum. 

Lai de daudle, &c. 

And now, tho' I must beg, with a wooden arm and leg, 
And many a tatter'd rag, like a glaikit scum, 
I'm as happy with my wallet, my bottle, and my callet. 
As when I us'd in scarlet to follow the drum. 

Lai de daudle, &c. 

What tho' with hoary locks I must stand the winter shocks, 
Beneath the woods and rocks, oftentimes for a home ; 
When the tother bag I sell, and the tother bottle tell, 
I could meet a troop of hell at the sound of the drum. 

Lai de daudle, &c. 


He ended ; and the kebars sheuk 

Aboon the chorus roar ; 
While frightened rattans backward leuk, 

And seek the benmost bore : 

A fairy fiddler frae the neuk. 

He skirl'd out encore ! 
But up arose tlie martial chuck. 

And laid tlie loud uproar. 



TUNE— " Soldier Laddie.'' 

I ONCE was a maid, tho' I cannot tell when, 
And still my delight is in proper young men; 
The chief of a troop of dragoons was my daddie, 
No wonder I'm fond of a sodger laddie. 

Sing, Lai de lal, &c. 

The first of my loves was a swaggering blade, 
To rattle the thundering drum was liis trade; 
His leg was so tight, and his cheek was so ruddy. 
Transported I w^as wdth my sodger laddie. 

Sing, Lal de lal, &c. 

But the peace it reduc'd me to beg in despair. 
Till I met my old boy at a Cunningham fair; 
His rags regimental they flutter'd sae gaudy, 
My heart it rejoic'd at my sodger laddie. 

Sing, Lal de lal, &c. 

And now I have liv'd — I know not how long, 

And still I can join in a cup or a song; 

But whilst with both hands I can hold the glass steady 

Here's to thee, my hero, my sodger laddie. 

Sing, Lal de lal, &c. 


Poor Merry Andrew, in the neuk 

Sat guzzling wi' a tinkler hizzie ; 
They mind't na \vlia the chorus took. 

Between themselves they were sae bizzy. 
At length, wi' drink and courting dizzy. 

He stoiter'd up an' made a face ; 
Then turn'd an' laid a smack on Grizzy. 

Sj'ne tuu'd his pipes wi' grave grimace. 


TUNE — " Auld Syr Symon." 

Sir Wisdom's a fool when he's fou, 

Sir Knave is a fool in a session ; 
He's there but a 'prentice I trow, 

But I am a fool by profession. 

My grannie she bought me a beuk. 
And 1 held awa to the school ; 

I fear I my talent misteuk, 

But what will ye hae of a fool ? 

For drink I wad venture my neck; 

A hizzie's the half o' my craft; 
But what could ye other expect 

Of ane that's avowedly daft ? 

I ance was tied up like a stirk. 
For civilly swearing and quaffing: 

I ance was abus'd i' the kirk, 
For towzling a lass i' my daffin. 

Poor Andrew, that tumbles for sport,. 
Let naebody name wi' a jeer; 

There's ev'n, I'm tauld, i' the court 
A tumbler ca'd the Premier. 

Observ'd ye yon reverend lad 
Maks faces to tickle the mob ; 

He rails at our mountebank squad, 
It's rivalship just i' the job. 

And now my conclusion I'll tell. 
For faith I'm confoundedly dry. 

The chiel that's a fool for himsel', 
Gude faith, is far dafter than I. 



Then niest outspak a raucle carlin, 
Wha keut fu' weel to cleek the sterlin'; 
For mony a pursie she had hooked, 
And had in mony a well been dooked ; 
Her dove liad been a Highland laddie, 
But weary fa' the waefu' woodie ! 
Wi' sighs and sabs she thus began 
To wail her braw John Highlaudman. 


TUNE — " O, an' ye were dead, guidman." 

A HIGHLAND lad my love was born, 
The Lawlan' laws he held in scorn; 
But he still was faithfu' to his clan. 
My gallant, braw John Highlandman. 

Sing, hey, my braw John Highlandman ; 
Sing, ho, my braw John Highlandman; 
There's no a lad in a' the Ian' 
Was match for my John Highlandman. 

With his philibeg an' tartan plaid, 
And guid claymore down by his side. 
The ladies' hearts he did trepan, 
My gallant, braw John Highlandman. 
Sing, hey, &c. 

We ranged a' from Tweed to Spey, 
And liv'd like lords and ladies gay; 
For a Lawlan' face he feared nane, 
My gallant, braw John Highlandman. 
Sing, hey, &c. 

They banish'd him beyond the sea. 
But ere the bud was on the tree, 
AdoM-n my cheeks the pearls ran, 
Embracing my John Highlandman. 
Sing, hey, &c. 


But, oh ! they catch'd him at the last, 
And bound him in a dungeon fast ; 
My curse upon them every ane, 
They've hang'd my braw John Highlandman. 
Sing, hey, &c. 

And now a widow, I must mourn 
The pleasures that will ne'er return; 
No comfort but a hearty can, 
When I think on John Highlandman. 
Sing, hey, &c. 


A pigmy scraper wi' his fiddle, 

"Wha us'd at trysts and fairs to driddle, 

Her strappin' limb and gaucy middle 

(He reach'd nae higher), 
Had hol't his heartie like a riddle. 

And blawn't on fire. 

Wi' hand on hainch, and upward e'e, 
He croon'd his gamut, ane, twa, three, 
Then, in an Arioso key. 

The wee Apollo 
Set aff, wi' Allegretto glee, 

His giga solo. 


TUNE — " Whistle o'er the lave o'ty 

Let me ryke up to dight that tear. 
And go wi' me and be my dear. 
And then your every care and fear 
May whistle owre the lave o't. 

I am a fiddler to my trade. 
And a' the tunes that e'er I played, 
Th3 sweetest still to wife or maid. 
Was whistle owre the lave o't. 


At kirns and weddings we'se be there. 
And, oh ! sae nicely's we will fare ; 
We'll bouse about, till Daddie Care 
Sings whistle owi-e the lave o't. 
I am, &c. 

Sae merrily's the banes we'll pyke, 
And sun oursels about the dyke, 
And at our leisure, when ye like, 
We'll whistle owre the lave o't. 
I am, &c. 

But bless me wi' your heav'n o' charma, 
And while I kittle hair on thairms, 
Hunger, cauld, and a' sic hariiis. 
May whistle owre the lave o't. 
I am, &c. 


Her charms had struck a sturdy caird. 
As weel as poor gut-scraper ; 

He taks the fiddler by the beard, 
And draws a roosty rapier — 

He swoor, by a' was swearing worth. 
To speet him like a pliver, 

Unless he would from that time forth 
Eelinquish her for ever. 

Wi' ghastly e'e, poor tweedle-dee 

Upon his hunkers bended, 
And pray'd for grace, wi' ruefu' face, 

And sae the quarrel ended. 

But tho' his little heart did grieve 
When round the tinkler prest her. 

He feign'd to snirtle in his sleeve, 
When thus the caird address'd her — 


TUNE — " Clout the Caudron^ 
My bonnie lass, I work in brass, 

A tinkler is my station; 
I've travell'd round all Christian ground 

In this my occupation; 
I've ta'en the gold, I've been enroU'd 

In many a noble squadron; 
But vain they search'd, when off I march'd 
To go and clout the caudron. 

I've ta'en the gold, &c. 

Despise that shrimp, that wither'd imp, 

Wi' a' his noise and cap'rin', 
And tak a share wi' those that bear 

The budget and the apron; 
And by that stoup, my faith and houp, 

And by that dear Kilbagie, 
If e'er ye want, or meet wi' scant, 
• May I ne'er weet my craigie, 

And by that stoup, &c. 


The caird prevail'd— th' unblushing fair 

In his embraces sunk. 
Partly wi' love o'ercome sae sair. 

And partly she was drunk. 
Sir Violino, with an air 

That show'd a man of spunk, 
Wish'd unison between the pair, 

And made the bottle clunk 

To their health that night. 

But hurchin Cupid shot a shaft. 

That play'd a dame a shavie, 
The fiddler rak'd her fore and aft, 

Behint the chicken cavie. 
Her lord, a wight o' Homer's craft, 

Tho' limpin' wi' the spavie, 
He hirpl'd up, and lap like daft, 

And shor'd them Dainty Davie 

0' boot that night. 


He was a care-defying blade 

As ever Bacclius listed, 
Tho' Fortune sair upon him laid, 

His heart she ever miss'd it. 
He had nae wish but — to be glad, 

Nor want but — when he thirsted; 
He hated nought but — to be sad. 

And thus the Muse suggested 

His sang that night. 

TUNE — " For a' that and a' that.''^ 

I AM a bard of no regard 

AVi' gentlefolks, and a' that: 
But Homer-like, the glowran byke, 

Erae town to town I draw that. 

For a' that and a' that, 

And twice as meikle's a' that; 

I've lost but ane, I've twa behin', 
I've wife enough for a' that. 

I never drank the Muses' stank, 

Castalia's burn, and a' that ; 
But there it streams, and richly reams. 

My Helicon I ca' that. 

For a' that, &c. 

Great love I bear to a' the fair, 
Their humble slave, and a' that; 

But lordly will, I hold it still 
A mortal sin to thraw that. 

For a' that, &c. 

In raptures sweet, this hour we meet 

Wi' mutual love, and a' that ; 
But for how lang the flie may stang, 

Let inclination law that. 

For a' that, &c. 


Their tricks and craft hae put me daft. 

They've ta'en me in, and a' that ; 
But clear your decks, and "Here's the sex!" 

I like the jads for a' that. 

For a' that and a' that, 

And twice as meikle's a' that, 
My dearest bluid, to do them guid. 

They're welcome till't for a' that. 


So sung the bard — and Nansie's wa's 
Shook with a thunder of applause, 

Ee-echo'd from each mouth ; 
They toom'd their pocks, and pawn'd their duds, 
They scarcely left to co'er their fuds. 

To quench their lowan drouth. 

Then owre again, the jovial thraug, 

The poet did request. 
To lowse his pack, and wale a sang, 
A ballad o' the best; 
He, rising, rejoicing, 

Between his twa Deborahs, 
Looks round him, and found them 
Impatient for the chorus. 

TUNE— "/o//y Mortals, fill your Glasses." 

See ! the smoking bowl before us, 

Mark our jovial ragged ring ; 
Eound and round take up the chorus, 

And in raptures let us sing : 

A fig for those by law protected ! 

Liberty's a glorious feast ! 
Courts for cowards were erected, 

Churches built to please the priest. 


What is title ? What is treasure ? 

What is reputation's care ? 
If we lead a life of pleasure, 

'Tis no matter how or where ! 
A jfig, &c. 

With the ready trick and fable, 
Eound we wander all the day: 

And at night, in barn or stable. 
Hug our doxies on the hay. 
A fig, &c. 

Does the train-attended carriage 
Thro' the country lighter rove ? 

Does the sober bed of marriage 
Witness brighter scenes of love ? 
A fig, &c. 

Life is all a variorum. 

We regard not how it goes; 

Let them cant about decorum 
Who have characters to lose. 
A fig, &c. 

Here's to budgets, bags, and wallets ! 

Here's to all the wandering train ! 
Here's our ragged brats and callets ! 

One and all cry out, Amen! 
A fig, &c. 




Kemble, thou cur'st my unbelief 

Of Moses and his rod ; 
At Yarico's sweet notes of grief, 

The rock with tears had fiow'd. 



As I stood by yon roofless tower» 

Where the wa'-flower scents the dewy air. 

Where the howlet mourns in her ivy bower. 
And tells the midnight moon her care; 

The winds were laid, the air was still, 
The stars they shot along the sky; 

The fox was howling on the hiU 

And the distant echoing glens reply. 

The stream, adown its hazelly path. 
Was rushing by the ruined wa's. 

Hasting to join the sweeping Nith, 
Whose distant roaring swells and fa's. 

The cauld blue north was streaming forth 
Her lights, wi' hissing, eerie din; 

Athort the lift they start and shift, 
Like fortune's favours, tint as win. 


By heedless chance I turned mine eyes, 

And, by the moonbeam, shook to see 
A stern and stalwart ghaist arise, 

Attired as minstrels wont to be. 

Had I a statue been o' stane. 

His darin' look had daunted me ; 
And on his bonnet graved was plain, 

The sacred posy — " Libertie ! " 

And frae his harp sic strains did flow, 
Might roused the slumb'ring dead to hear 

But oh ! it was a tale of woe, 
As ever met a Briton's ear. 

He sang wi' joy the former day, 

He weeping wailed his latter times; 
But what he said it was nae play — 

I winna ventur't in my rhymes. 


A lassie, all alone was making her moan, 

Lamenting our lads beyond the sea : 
In the bluidy wars they fa', and our honour's gane an' a', 

And broken-hearted we maun die. 



Whoe'er thou art, these lines now reading, 
Think not, though from the world receding, 
I joy my lonely days to lead in 

This desert drear; 
That with remorse a conscience bleeding 

Hath led me here. 


No thought of giiilt my bosom sours ; 
Free-will'd I fled from courtly bowers! 
For well I saw in halls and tow'rs 

That lust and pride, 
The arch-fiend's dearest, darkest pow'rs. 

In state preside. 

I saw mankind with vice incrusted; 
I saw that honour's sword was rusted; 
That few for aught but folly lusted ; 
That he was still deceiv'd who trusted 

To love or friend ; 
And hither came, with men disgusted. 

My life to end. 

In this lone cave, in garments lowly. 

Alike a foe to noisy folly, 

And brow-bent gloomy melancholy, 

I wear away 
My hfe, and in my office holy. 

Consume the day. 

This rock my shield when storms are blowing. 
The limpid streamlet yonder flowing 
Supplying drink, the earth bestowing 

My simple food; 
But few enjoy the calm I know in 

This desert wood. 

Content and comfort bless me more in 

This grot, than e'er I felt before in 

A palace, and with thought still soaring 

To God on high, 
Each night and morn, with voice imploring. 

This wish I sigh : — 

*'Let me, O Lord, from life retire. 
Unknown each guilty worldly fire, 
Eemorseless throb, or loose desire ; 

And when I die. 
Let me in this belief expire — 

To God I fly." 


Stranger, if full of youth and riot, 
And yet no grief liath marr'd thy quiet, 
Thou, haply, throw'st a scornful eye at 

The Hermit's prayer: 
But if thou hast a cause to sigh at 

Thy fault or care : 

If thou hast known false love's vexation. 
Or hast been exil'd from thy nation. 
Or guilt affrights thy contemplation, 

And makes thee pine. 
Oh ! how must thou lament thy station. 

And envy mine. 


Tune — " Cauld Kail in Aberdeen.''^ 

How lang and dreary is the night, 
When I am frae my dearie ; 

I restless lie frae e'en to morn. 
The' I were ne'er sae weary. 

When I think on the lightsome days 
I spent wi' thee, my dearie, 

And now what seas between us roar. 
How can I be but eerie ? 

How slow ye move, ye heavy hours ; 

The joyless day how dreary ! 
It wasna sae ye glinted by. 

When I was wi' my dearie. 


Eor, oh ! her lanely nights are lang, 
And, oh ! her dreams are eerie ; 

And, oh ! her widow'd heart is sair, 
Tliat's absent frae her dearie. 


TuNE-"ifm Forbes' Farewell to Banff;' or -Ettrick Banks" 

'TWAS even— the dewy fields were green 

On every blade the pearls hang! 
The Zephyrs wantoned round the bean, 

And bore its fragrant sweets alang ; 
In every glen the Mavis sang, 

All nature listening seemed the while, 
Except where greenwood echoes rang, 

Amang the braes o' Ballochniyle. 

With careless step I onward strayed, 
My heart rejoiced in nature's joy, 

When, musing in a lonely glade, 
A maiden fair I chanced to spy. 

2 Cr 


Her look was like the morning's eye, 
Her air like nature's vernal smile, 

Perfection whispered, passing l3y, 
Behold the lass o' Ballochmyle ! 

Fair is the morn in flowery J\Iay, 

And sweet is night in autumn mild; 
When roving through the garden gay. 

Or wandering in a lonely wild : 
But Woman, Nature's darling child ! 

There all her charms she does compile ; 
Even there her other works are foiled 

By the bonnie lass o' Balloclmayle. 

Oh had she been a country maid, 

And I the happy country swain ! 
Though sheltered in the lowest shed 

That ever rose on Scotland's plain^ 
Through weary winter's wind and rain, 

With joy, with rapture, I would toil; 
And nightly to my bosom strain 

The bonny lass o' Ballochmyle. 

Then pride might climb the slipp'ry steep. 

Where fame and honours lofty shine; 
And thirst of gold might tempt the deep 

Or downward seek the Indian mine; 
Give me the cot below the pine. 

To tend the flocks, or till the soil, 
And every day has joys divine 

With the bonnie lass o' Ballochmyle. 



Ekom the white-blossom'd sloe, my dear Chloe requested 

A sprig her fair breast to adorn ; 
Nay, by Heaven! said I, may I perish if ever 

I plant in your bosom a thorn. 




Tune— "C/igy^ Chase." 

There were five Carlins in the south, 

They fell upon a scheme, 
To send a lad to Lon'on town 

To bring us tidings hame: 

Not only bring us tidings hame. 

But do our errands there ; 
And aiblins gowd and honour baith 

Might be that laddie's share. 

There was Maggie by the banks o' Nith, 

A dame wi' pride eneugh ; 
And Marjorie o' the monie Lochs, 

A Carlin auld an teugh ; 

And blinkin Bess o' Annandale, 
That dwells near Solway side; 

And whisky Jean, that took her gill 
In Galloway so wide; 

And auld black Joan frae Creighton peel, 

O' gipsy kith an' kin; 
Eive wighter Carlins werena foun' 

The south kintra within. 

To send a lad to Lon'on town 

They met upon a day, 
And mony a knight and mony a laird 

That errand fain would gae. 

! mony a knight and mony a laird 

This errand fain would gae ; 
But nae ane could their fancy please, 

! ne'er a ane but twae. 


The first ane was a belted Knight, 
Bred o' a border clan, ' 

An' he wad gae to Lon'on town, 
Might nae man him withstan'. 

And he wad do their errands weel. 

And meikle he wad say. 
And ilka ane at Lon'on court 

Wad bid to him gTnd day. 

Then neist came in a sodger youth. 
And spak wi' modest grace, 

An' he wad gae to Lon'on town. 
If sae their pleasure was. 

He wadna hecht them courtly gift. 
Nor meikle speech pretend ; 

But he wad hecht an honest heart 
Wad ne'er desert his friend. 

Now wham to choose and wham refuse 

To strife thae Carlins fell; 
For some had gentle folk to please. 

And some wad please themsel. 

Then out spak mim-mou'd Meg o' Nith. 

An' she spak out wi' pride, 
An' she wad send the sodger youth, 

Whatever might betide. 

For the auld guidman o' Lon'on court 

She didna care a pin, 
But she wad send the sodger youth 

To greet his eldest son. 

Then up sprang Bess o' Annandale : 

A deadly aith she's ta'en, 
That she wad vote the border Knightu 

Tho' she should vote her lane. 


Tor far-aff fowls hae feathers fair, 

An' fools o' change are fain: 
But I hae tried the border Knight, 

I'll try liim yet again. 

Says auld black Joan frae Creighton peel, 

A carlin stoor and grim, 
The auld guidman or young guidman 

For me may sink or swim! 

Tor fools may freit o' right and wrang, 
While knaves laugh them to scorn : 

But the sodger's friends hae blawn the best, 
Sae he shall bear the horn. 

Then whisky Jean spak o'er her drink. 

Ye weel ken, kimmers a'. 
The auld guidman o' Lon'on court. 

His back's been at the wa'. 

And monie a friend that kiss'd his caup, 

Is now a frammit wight; 
But it's ne'er sae wi' whisky Jean, 

We'll send the border Knight. 

Then slow raise :Marjorie o' the Lochs, 

And wrinkled was her brow: 
Her ancient weed was russet gray. 

Her auld Scots bluid was true. 

There's some great folks set Hght by me, 

I set as light by them; 
But I will send to Lon'on town 

Wha I lo'e best at hame. 

So how this weighty plea will end, 

Nae mortal wight can tell; 
God grant the king and ilka man 

May look weel to himseri 




Among the heathy hills and ragged woods, 

The roaring Fyers pours his mossy floods ; 

Till full he dashes on the rocky mounds, 

Wliere through a shapeless breach his stream resounds. 

As high in air the bursting torrents flow, 

As deep-recoiling surges foam below, 

Prone down the rock the whit'ning sheet descends. 

And viewless Echo's ear, astonish'd, rends. 

Dim seen, thro' rising mists and ceaseless show'rs, 

The hoary cavern, wide-surrounding, low'rs ; 

Still thro' the gap the struggling river toils, 

And still below the horrid cauldron boils — 


The lamp of day, with ill-presaging glare, 

Dim, cloudy, sunk beneath the western wave ; 

Th' inconstant blast howl'd thro' the darkening air, 
And hollow whistl'd in the rocky cave ; 

Lone as I wander'd by each cliff and deU, 
Once the lov'd haunts of Scotia's royal train ; 

Or mus'd where limpid streams, once hallow'd well, 
Or mouldering ruins mark the sacred fane. 

Th' increasing blast roar'd round the beetling rocks. 
The clouds, swift-wing'd, flew o'er the starry sky, 

The groaning trees untimely shed their locks. 
And shooting meteors caught the startled eye. 

Prone down the rock the whifning sheet descends. 
And viewless echo's ear, astcnish'd, rends. 


The paly moon rose in the livid east, 

And 'mong the cliffs disclos'd a stately Form, 

In weeds of woe that frantic beat her breast, 
And mix'd her wailings with the raving storm. 

Wild to my heart the filial pulses glow, 
'Twas Caledonia's trophied shield I view'd 

Her form majestic droop'd in pensive woe. 
The lightning of her eye in tears imbued. 

Eevers'd that spear, redoubtable in war ; 

Eeclin'd that banner, erst in fields unfurl'd, 
That like a deathful meteor gleam'd afar, 

And brav'd the mighty monarchs of the world. 

"My patriot son fills an untimely grave!" 
With accents wild and lifted arms she cried; 

"Low lies the hand that oft was stretch'd to save, 
Low lies the heart that swell'd with honest pride 1 

"A weeping country joins a widow's tear; 

The helpless poor mix with the orphan's cry; 
The drooping arts surround their patron's bier ; 

And grateful science heaves the heartfelt sigh. 

"I saw my sons resume their ancient fire; 

I saw fair Freedom's blossoms richly blow: 
But ah ! how Hope is born but to expire ! 

Eelentless fate has laid their guardian low. 

"My patriot falls, but shall he lie unsung, 

While empty greatness saves a worthless name? 

No : every Muse shall join her tuneful tongue, 
And futu,re ages hear his growing fame. 

" And I will join a mother's tender cares, 
Thro' future times to make his virtues last; 

That distant years may boast of other Blairs !" 
She said, and vanish'd with the sweeping blast. 


To thee, lov'd Nitli, thy gladsome plains, 
Wliere late wi' careless thought I rang'd. 

Though prest wi' care and sunk in woe, 
To thee I brincj a heart unchang'd. 

I love thee, Nith, thy hanks and braes, 
Tho' mem'ry there my bosom tear; 

For there he rov'd that brake my heart, 
Yet to that heart, ah, still how dear! 


P E L G U E, 

APRIL 16, 1787. 

When by a generous public's kind acclaim, 
That dearest meed is granted— honest fame; 
When here your favour is the actor's lot, 
Nor even the man in private life forgot; 
What breast so dead to heavenly virtue's glow, 
But heaves impassioned with the grateful throe? 

Poor is the task to please a barbarous throng. 
It needs no Siddons' powers in Southern's song; 
But here an ancient nation famed afar, 
For genius, learning high, as great in war- 
Hail, Caledonia, name for ever dear! 
Before whose sons I'm honoured to appear! 
Where every science — every nobler art — 
That can inform the mind, or mend the heart. 
Is known; as grateful nations oft have found, 
Far as the rude barbarian marks the bound. 
Philosophy, no idle, pedant dream. 

Here holds her search by heaven-taught Reason's beam; 
Here History paints with elegance and force 
The tide of Empire's fluctuating course ; 
Here Douglas forms wild Shakspeare into plan. 
And Harley rouses all the god in man. 
When well-formed Taste and sparkling Wit unite 
With manly Lore, or female Beauty bright 
(Beauty, where faultless symmetiy and grace, 
Can only charm us in the second place) 
Witness my heart, how oft with panting fear, 
As on this night, I've met those judges here I 
But still the hope Experience taught to live. 
Equal to judge— you're candid to forgive. 
No hundred-headed Riot here we meet. 
With Decency and Law beneath his feet; 
Nor Insolence assumes fair Freedom's name; 
Like Caledonians you applaud or blame. 



thou dread Power ! whose empire-giving liand 
Has oft been stretched to shield tlie honoured land! 
Strong may she glow with all her ancient fire! 
May every son be worthy of his sire ! 
Firm may she rise with generous disdain 
At Tyranny's or direr Pleasure's chain! 
Still self-dependent in her native shore, 
Bold may she brave grim Danger's loudest roar, 
TiU Fate the curtain drop on worlds to be no more. 


Oh sweet be thy sleep in the land of the grave. 

My dear little angel, for ever ; 
For ever — oh no! let not man be a slave. 

His hopes from existence to sever. 

Though cold be the clay where thou pillow'st thy head. 

In the dark silent mansions of sorrow, 
The spring shall return to thy low narrow bed. 

Like the beam of the day-star to-morrow. 

The flower-stem shall bloom like thy sweet seraph form, 

Ere the spoiler had nipt thee in blossom, 
Wlien thou shrunk'st frae the scowl of the loud winter storm, 

And nestled thee close to that bosom. 

Oh still I behold thee, all lovely in death, 

Pieclined on the lap of thy mother; 
When the tear trickled bright, when the short stifled breath, 

Told how dear ye were aye to each other. 

My child, thou art gone to the home of thy rest, 

Wliere suffering nO longer can harm ye, 
Where the songs of the good, where the hymns of the blest, 

Through an endless existence shall charm thee ; 

While he, thy fond parent, must sighing sojouru, 

Through the dire desert regions of sorrow. 
O'er the hope and misfortune of being to mourn. 

And sigh for this life's latest morrow. 




When chill November's surly blast 

Made fields and forests bare, 
One evening, as I wandered forth 

Along the banks of Ayr, 
I spy'd a man whose aged step 

Seem'd weary, worn with care ; 
His face was furrow'd o'er with years. 

And hoary was his hair. 

Young stranger, whither wand'rest thou ? 

Began the reverend sage : 
Does thirst of wealth thy step constrain. 

Or youthful pleasure's rage ? 
Or haply, prest with cares and woes. 

Too soon thou hast began 
To wander forth, with me, to mourn 

The miseries of Man. 

The sun that overhangs yon moors, 

Outspreading far and wide, 
"VMiere hundreds labour to support 

A haughty lordling's pride : 
I've seen yon weary winter sun 

Twice forty times return ; 
And every time has added proofs 

That Man was made to mourn. 

man ! while in thy early years, 

How prodigal of time ! 
Misspending all thy precious hours, 

Thy glorious youthful prime ! 
Alternate follies take the sway, 

Licentious passions burn ; 
Which tenfold force give Nature's law. 

That Man was made to mourn. 


Look not alone on youthful prime. 

Or manhood's active might ; 
Man then is useful to his kind. 

Supported is his right : 
But see him on the edge of life, 

With cares and sorrows worn ; 
Then age and want — Oh, ill-matched pair 

Show Man was made to mourn. 

A few seem favourites of fate, 

In pleasure's lap caress'd ; 
Yet think not all the rich and "leat 

Are likewise truly blest. 
But, Oh ! what crowds in every land 

Are wretched and forlorn ; 
Through weary life this lesson learn. 

That jMan was made to mourn. 

Many and sharp the num'rous ills 

Inwoven wdth our frame ! 
More pointed still we make, ourselves, 

Regret, remorse, and shame ; 
And man, whose heaven-erected face 

The smiles of love adorn, 
Man's inhumanity to man 

Makes countless thousands mourn I 

See yonder poor, o'erlaboured wight, 

So abject, mean, and vile, 
Who begs a brother of the earth 

To give him leave to toil ; 
And see his lordly fellow-worm 

The poor petition spurn, 
Unmindful, though a weeping wife 

And helpless offspring mourn. 

If I'm designed yon lordling's slave — 

By Nature's law designed — 
Wliy was an independent wish 

E'er planted in my mind ? 
If not, why am I subject to 

His cruelty or scorn ? 
Or why has man the will and power 

To make his fellow mourn ? 

Yet let not this too much, my son, 

Distm-b thy youthful breast; 
This partial view of human-kind 

Is surely not the last ! 
The poor, oppressed, honest man. 

Had never, sure, been born, 
Had there not been some recompense 

To comfort those that mourn! 

O death ! the poor man's dearest friend, 

The kindest and the best! 
AVelcome the hour my aged limbs 

Are laid with thee at rest! 
The great, the wealthy, fear thy blow, 

From pomp and pleasure torn 1 
But, Oh ! a blest relief to those 

That weary-laden mourn ! 




Long life, my lord, an' health be yours, 
Unscaith'd by hunger'd Highland boors ! 
Lord, grant nae duddie desperate beggar, 
Wi' dirk, claymore, or rusty trigger. 
May twin auld Scotland o' a life 
She likes — as lambkins like a knife ! 

Faith, you and Applecross were right 
To keep the Highland hounds in sight! 
I doubtna ! they wad bid nae better. 
Than let them ance out owre the water. 
Then up amang the lakes and seas 
They'll mak' what rules an' laws they please. 
Some daring Hancocke, or a Franklin, 
May set their Highland bluid a ranklin' ; 
Some Washington again may head them, 
Or some Montgomery, fearless, lead them ; 
Till God knows what may be effected 
When by such heads an' hearts directed : 
Poor dunghill sons of dirt and mire, 
May to patrician rights aspire ! 
Nae sage North, now, nor sager Sack villa, 
To watch and premier o'er the pack vile ! 
An' whare will ye get Howes and Clintons 
To bring them to a right repentance. 
To cowe the rebel generation. 
An' save the honour o' the nation ? 

They, an' be hanged ! what right hae they 
To meat, or sleep, or light o' day ? 
Far less to riches, pow'r, or freedom, 
But what your lordship likes to gie them! 

But hear, my lord ! Glengarry, hear ! 
Your hand's owre light on them, I fear; 


Your factors, grieves, trustees, an' bailies, 

I canna say but they do gay lies ; 

They lay aside a' tender mercies, 

An' tirl the hallions to the birses ; 

Yet, while they're only poind't and herriet, 

They'll keep their stubborn Highland spirit ; 

But smash them ! crash them a' to spails. 

An' rot the dyvors i' the jails ! 

The young dogs, swinge them to the labour! 

Let wark an' hunger mak' them sober! 

The hizzies, if they're aughtlins fawsont, 

Let them in Drury Lane be lesson'd ! 

An' if the wives, an' dirty brats 

E'en thigger at your doors an' yetts, 

riaffan wi' duds an' grey wi' beas', 

Frightin' awa your deucks an' geese ; 

Get out a horsewhip or a jowler. 

The langest thong, the fiercest growler, 

An' gar the tatter'd gipsies pack 

Wi' a' their bastarts on their back ! 

Go on, my lord ! I lang to meet you, 
An' in my house at hame to greet you! 
Wi' common lords ye shanna mingle, 
The benmost neuk beside the ingle, 
At my right hand assign'd your seat 
'Tween Herod's hip an' Polycrate; 
Or if ye on your station tarrow, 
Between Almagro an' Pizarro ; 
A seat, I'm sure, ye're weel deservin't ; 
An' till ye come — Your humble servanfc, 


June 1, Anno Mundi 5790. 


Tune — ^^ Katherine Ogie.'' 

Ya banks, and braes, and streams around 

The castle o' Montgomery, 
Green be your woods, and fair your fiowers. 

Your waters never drumlie ! 
There simmer first unfauld her robes, 

And there the langest tarry ; 
Tor there I took the last fareweel 

0' my sweet Highland Mary. 

How sweetly bloom'd the gay green birk. 

How rich the liawtliorn's blossom, 
As underneath their fragrant shade, 

I clasp'd her to my bosom ! 
The golden hours, on angel wings, 

Flew o'er me and my dearie; 
For dear to me, as light and life, 

Was my sweet Highland Mary. 

Wi' mony a vow, and lock'd embrace, 

Our parting was fu' tender; 
And, pledging aft to meet again 

We tore oursels asunder; 
But Oh! fell death's untimely frost, 

That nipt my flower sae early ! 
Now green's the sod, and cauld's the clay, 

That wraps my Highland ^Vlary! 

pale, pale now, those rosy lips, 

I aft hae kiss'd sae fondly ! 
And closed for aye the sparkling glance, 

That dwelt on me sae kindly I 
And mould'ring now in silent dust, 

That heart that lo'ed me dearly '. 
But still within my bosom's core 

Shall live my Iliniiland Mary. 

For there I took the last fareweel 
0' my sweet Highland Mary 


Sad Bird of Night, what sorrow calls thee forth, 
To vent thy plaints thus in the midnight hour? 

Is it some blast that gathers in the north, 
Threat'ning to nip the verdure of thy bow'r? 

Is it, sad Owl, that Autumn strips the shade, 
And leaves thee here, unsheltered and forlorn ? 

Or fear that Winter will thy nest invade ? 
Or friendly Melancholy bids thee mourn? 

Shut out, lone bird, from all the feather'd train, 
To tell thy sorrows to th' unheeding gloom ; 

No friend to pity when thou dost complain. 
Grief all thy thought, and solitude thy home. 
2 I 


Sing on, sad mourner ! I will bless thy strain. 
And pleased in sorrow listen to thy song : 

Sing on, sad mourner ! to the night complain, 
While the lone echo wafts thy notes along. 

Is beauty less, when doM^n the glowing cheek 
Sad piteous tears in native sorrows fall ? 

Less kind the heart, when Sorrow bids it break? 
Less happy he who lists to pity's call? 

Ah no, sad Owl ! nor is thy voice less sweet, 
That sadness tunes it, and that grief is there ; 

That Spring's gay notes, unskill'd, thou canst repeat. 
And sorrow bids thee to the gloom repair ; 

Nor that the treble songsters of the day. 

Are quite estranged, sad Bird of Night, from thee; 

Nor that the thrush deserts the evening spray, 
When darkness calls thee from thy reverie. 

From some old tower, thy melancholy dome. 
While the grey walls and desert solitudes 

Return each note, responsive, to the gloom 
Of ivied coverts and surrounding woods ; 

There hooting, I will list more pleased to thee 
Than ever lover to the nightingale ; 

Or drooping wretch, oppressed with misery. 
Lending his ear to some condoling tale. 


O Thou, who kindly dost provide 

For every creature's want ! 
We bless thee, God of Nature wide. 

For all thy goodness lent ; 
And, if it please thee, heavenly Guide, 

May never worse be sent ; 
But, whether granted or denied 

Lord, bless us with content I Amen ! 


TO J. L A P R A I K. 

September 13, 1785, 

GuiD speed an' furder to you Johnnie, 
Guid health, hale han's, an' weather bonnie; 
Now when ye' re nickan down fu' cannie 

The staff o' bread, 
May ye ne'er want a stoup o' brany 

To clear your head. 

May Boreas never thresh your rigs, 
Nor kick your rickles aff their legs, 
Sendin' the stuff o'er muirs an' hags 

Like drivin' wrack ; 
But may the tapmost grain that wags 

Come to the sack. 

I'm bizzie too, an' skelpin' at it, 

But bitter, daudin showers hae wat it ; 

Sae my auld stumpie pen I gat it 

Wi' muckle wark, 
An' took my jocteleg an' whatt it. 

Like ony clerk. 

It's now twa month that I'm your debtor. 
For your braw, nameless, dateless letter, 
Abusin' me for harsh ill-nature 

On holy men. 
While deil a hair yoursel' ye're better. 

But mair profane. 

But let the kirk-folk ring their bells. 
Let's sing about our noble sels ; 
We'll cry nae jads frae heathen hills 

To help, or roose us. 
But browster wives an' whiskie stills, 

They are the Muses. 


Your friendship, Sir, I winna quat it, 

All' if ye mak objections at it, 

Then han' in nieve some day we'll knot it, 

An' witness take. 
An' when wi' Usquebae we've wat it. 

It winna break. 

But if the beast and branks be spar'd 
Till kye be gaun without the herd. 
An' a' the vittel in the yard. 

An' theekit right, 
I mean your ingle-side to guard 

Ae winter night. 

Then muse-inspirin' aqua-vitjB 

Shall make us baitli sae blithe an' witty, 

Till ye forget ye're auld an' gatty, 

An' be as canty 
As ye were nine years less than thretty, 

Sweet ane an' twenty! 

But stooks are cowpet wi' the blast. 
An' now the sinn keeks in the west, 
Then I maun rin amang the rest 

An' quit my chanter; 
Sae I subscribe inysel in haste, 

Yours, Eab the Eanter! 


Now Eobin lies in his last lair, 

He'll gabble rhyme, nor sing, nae mair; 

Cauld poverty, wi' hungry stare, 

Nac niair shall fear him : 
Nor anxious fear, nor cankert care, 

E'er mair come near him. 


To tell the truth, they seldom fasht him, 
Except the moment that they crusht him; 
For sune as chance or late had husht 'em, 

Tho' e'er sae short. 
Then wi' a rhyme or song he lasht 'em, 

And thought it sport. 

Tho' he was bred to kintra wark. 

And counted was baith wight and stark. 

Yet that was never Robin's mark 

To muk' a man ; 
But tell him, he was learn'd and dark, 

Ye roos'd him then! 


Lone on the bleaky hills the straying flocks 

Shun the fierce storms among the sheltering rocks; 

Down foam the rivulets, red with dashing rains, 

The gathering floods burst o'er the distant plains; 

Beneath the blasts the leafless forests gToan; 

The hollow caves return a sullen moan. 

Ye hills, ye plains, ye forests, and ye caves. 

Ye howling winds, and wintry swelling waves; 

Unheard, unseen, by human ear or eye. 

Sad to your sympathetic scenes I fly. 

Where to the whistling blast and waters' roar, 

Pale Scotia's recent wound I may deplore. 

heavy loss, thy country ill could bear! 
A loss these evil days can ne'er repair! 
Justice, the high vice-regent of her God, 
Her doubtful balance eyed, and sway'd her rod; 
Hearing the tidings of the fatal blow. 
She sunk, abandon'd to the wildest woe. 

Wrongs, injuries, from many a darksome den 
Now gay in hope explore the paths of men. 
See from his cavern grim Oppression rise, 
And throw on poverty his cruel eyes; 


Keen on the lielplesf? victim see him fly, 

And stifle, dark, the feebly-bursting cry : 

Mark ruffian Violence, distain'd with crimes 

Rousing elate in these degenerate times: 

View unsuspecting Innocence a prey. 

As guileful Fraud points out the erring way; 

While subtile Litigation's pliant tongue 

The life-blood equal sucks of Right and Wrong: 

Hark ! injur'd Want recounts th' unhsten'd tale 

And much-wrong'd Mis'ry pours th' unpitied wail ! 

Ye dark waste hills, and brown unsightly plains, 
To you I sing my grief-inspired strains: 
Ye tempests, rage! ye turbid torrents, roll! 
Ye suit the joyless tenor of my soul. 
Life's social haunts and pleasures I resign, 
Be nameless wilds and lonely wanderings mine, 
To mourn the woes my country must endure. 
That wound degenerate ages cannot cure. 


Wi' braw new branks in mickle pride, 

And eke a braw new brechan. 
My Pegasus I'm got astride. 

And up Parnassus pechin ; 
Whiles owre a bush wi' downward crush. 

The doited beastie stammers ; 
Then up he gets, and oft' he sets 

For sake o' Willie Chalmers. 

I doubtna, lass, that weel-kenn'd name 

May cost a pair o' blushes ; 
I am nae stranger to your fame 

Nor his warm urged wishes. 
Your bonnie face sae mild and sweet. 

His honest heart enamours, 
And faith ye'll no be lost a whit, 

Tho' waired on Willie Chalmers. 


Auld Truth hersel' might swear ye're fair, 

And Honour safely back her, 
And Modesty assume your air, 

And ne'er a ane mistak' her; 
And sic twa love-inspiring een 

Might fire even holy Palmers ; 
Nae wonder then they've fatal beea 

To honest Willie Chalmers. 

I doubtna fortune may you shore 

Some mim-mou'd pouther'd priestie, 
Fii' lifted up wi' Hebrew lore. 

And band upon his breastie ; 
But, Oh : what signifies to you, 

His lexicons and grammars ; 
The feeling heart's the royal blue. 

And that's wi' Willie Chalmers. 

Some gapin', glowrin', kintra laird, 

May warsle for your favour 
May claw his lug, and straik his beard. 

And host up some palaver. 
My bonnie maid, before ye wed 

Sic clumsy-witted hammers, 
Seek Heaven for help, and barefit skelp 

Awa wi' Willie Chalmers. 

Forgive the Bard ! my fond regard 

For ane that shares my bosom, 
Inspires my muse to gie 'm his dues. 

For de'il a hair I roose him. 
May powers aboon unite you soon, 

And fructify your amours ; 
And every year come in mair dear 

To you and Willie Chalmers. 


MIRK, mirk is this midniglit hour. 
And loud the tempest's roar ; 

A waefu' wanderer seeks thy tower, 
Lord Gregory, ope thy door. 

An exile frae her father's ha'. 
And a' for loving thee ; 

At least some pity on me shaw, 
If love it mayna be. 


Lord Gregory, mind'st thou not the grove. 

By bonnie Irwine side, 
Where first I own'd that virgin-love 

I lang, lang had denied ? 

How aften didst thou pledge and vow 

Thou wad for aye be mine ! 
And my fond heart, itsel' sae true, 

It ne'er mistrusted thine. 

Hard is thy heart, Lord Gregory, 

And flinty is thy breast: 
Tliou dart of heaven that flashest by, 

wilt thou give me rest! 

Ye mustering thunders from above, 

Your willing victim see ! 
But spare, and pardon my fause love, 

His wrangs to heaven and me 1 



Tune — " Killiecrankie.'''' 

When Guilford good our pilot stood, 

And did our hellim thraw, man, 
Ae night, at tea, began a plea. 

Within America, man: 
Then up they gat the maskin-pat, 

And in the sea did jaw, man ; 
And did nae less, in full Congress, 

Than quite refuse our law, man. 

Then through the lakes Montgomery takes, 

I wat he wasna slaw, man; 
Down Lowrie's burn he took a turn, 

And Carleton did ca', man; 
2 K 


But yet, what-reck, he, at Quebec, 
Montgomery-like, did fa', man, 

Wi' sword in hand, before his band, 
Amang his en'mies a', man. 

Poor Tammy Gage, within a cage, 

Was kept at Boston ha', man ; 
Till Willie Howe took o'er the knowe 

For Philadelphia, man ; 
Wi' sword an' gun he thought a sin 

Guid Christian blood to draw, man : 
But at New-York, wi' knife an' fork, 

Sir Loin he hacked sma', man. 

Burgoyne gaed up, like spur an' whip. 

Till Eraser brave did fa', man; 
Then lost his way, ae misty day, 

In Saratoga shaw, man. 
CornwaUis fought as lang's he dought. 

An' did the Buckskins claw, man; 
But Clinton's glaive frae rust to save, 

He huncr it to the wa', man. 

Then Montague, an' Guilford too, 

Began to fear a fa', man ; 
And Sackville doure, wha stood the stoure. 

The German Chief to thraw, man: 
For Paddy Burke, like ony Turk, 

Nae mercy had at a', man ; 
And Charlie Fox threw by the box. 

And lows'd his tinkler jaw, man. 

Then Rockingham took up the game 

Till death did on him ca', man; 
When Shelburne meek held up his cheek, 

Conform to gospel law, man ; 
Saint Stephen's boys, wi' jarring noise, 

They did his measures thraw, man. 
For North and Fox united stocks, 

And bore him to the wa', man. 


Then Clubs and Hearts were Charlie's cartes. 

He swept the stakes awa', man, 
Till the Diamond's Ace, of Indian race. 

Led him a sair " faux pas," man ; 
The Saxon lads, wi' loud placads, 

On Chatham's boy did ca', man; 
And Scotland drew her pipe and blew, 

"Up, WilKe, waur them a', man!" 

Behind the throne then Grenvllle's gone, 

A secret word or twa, man ; 
While slee Dundas arous'd the class. 

Be-north the Roman wa', man : 
And Chatham's wraith, in heavenly graith 

(Inspired Bardies saw, man), 
Wi' kindling eyes cried, " Willie, rise 1 

Would I hae fear'd them a', man?" 

But, word an' blow, North, Fox, and Co., 

Gowff'd Willie like a ba', man, 
Till Suthron raise, an' coost their claise 

Behind him in a raw, man ; 
And Caledon threw by the drone, 

And did her whittle draw, man ; 
An' swoor fu' rude, through dirt an' blood. 

To make it guid in law, man. 



Thou, in whom we live and move. 

Who mad'st the sea and shore. 
Thy goodness constantly we prove, 

And grateful would adore. 
And if it please thee. Power above, 

Still grant us, with such store, 
The friend we trust, the fair we love. 

And we desire no more. 



"Alas! how oft does Goodness wound itself, 

And sweet Affection prove the spring of woe." — Hojtb. 

THOU pale orb, that silent shines. 

While care-untroubled mortals sleep! 
Thou seest a wretch that inly pines, 

And wanders here to wail and weepl 
With woe I nightly vigils keep, 

Beneath thy wan, unwarming beam; 
And mourn, in lamentation deep. 

How life and love are all a dream. 


I joyless view thy rays adorn 

The faintly-marked, distant hill : 
I joyless view thy trembling horn, 

Eeflected in the gurgling rill : 
My fondly-fluttering heart, be still ! 

Thou busy pow'r, Remembrance, cease J 
Ah ! must the agonizing thrill 

For ever bar returning peace! 

No idly-feign'd poetic pains 

My sad, love-lorn lamentings claim : 
No shepherd's pipe — Arcadian strains ; 

No fabled tortures, quaint and tame : 
The plighted faith, the mutual flame, 

The oft-attested Pow'rs above. 
The promis'd father's tender name — 

These were the pledges of my love ! 

Encircled in her clasping arms. 

How have the raptur'd moments flown! 
How have I wish'd for fortune's charms 

For her dear sake, and her's alone ! 
And must I think it ! is she gone, 

Aly secret heart's exulting boast ? 
And does she heedless hear my groan ? 

And is she ever, ever lost ? 

Oh ! can she bear so base a heart. 

So lost to honour, lost to truth, 
As from the fondest lover part, 

The plighted husband of her youth ! 
Alas ! life's path may be unsmooth. 

Her way may lie thro' rough distress ! 
Then who her pangs and pains will soothe, 

Her sorrows share, and make them less ? 

Ye winged liours that o'er us past, 
Enraptur'd more, the more enjoy'd, 

Your dear remembrance in my breast. 
My fondly-treasur'd thoughts employ'd. 


That breast how dreary now, and void, 
For her too scanty once of room 1 

Ev'n ev'ry ray of hope destroyed. 
And not a wish to gild the gloom ! 

The morn that warns th' approaching day. 

Awakes me up to toil and woe : 
I see the hours in long array, 

That I must suffer, lingering, slow. 
Full many a pang, and many a throe. 

Keen recollection's direful train, 
Must wring my soul, ere Phoebus, low, 

Shall kiss the distant, western main. 

And when my nightly couch I try, 

Sore-harass'd out with care and grief, 
My toil-beat nerves, and tear worn eye, 

Keep watchings with the nightly thief; 
Or if I slumber. Fancy, chief, 

EeigriS, haggard-wild, in sore affright: 
Ev'n day, all-bitter, brings relief. 

From such a horror-breathing night. 

! thou bright queen, who o'er th' expanse, 

Now highest reign'st with boundless sway ! 
Oft has thy silent-marking glance 

Observ'd us, fondly-wand'ring, stray ! 
The time, unheeded, sped away, 

"VMiile love's luxurious pulse beat high. 
Beneath thy silver-gleaming ray, 

To mark the mutual-kindling eye. 

Oh ! scenes in strong remembrance set ! 

Scenes never, never, to return ! 
Scenes, if in stupor I forget, 

Again I feel, again I burn ! 
From ev'ry joy and pleasure torn, 

Life's weary vale I'll wander thro' : 
And hopeless, comfortless, I'll mourn 

A faithless woman's broken vow. 



"An honest man's the noblest work of God." — Pope. 

Has auld Kilmarnock seen the Deil ? 
Or great M'Kinlay thrawn his heel ? 
Or Eobertson again grown weel, 

To preach an' read ? 
"Na, waiir than a'!" cries ilka chiel, 

"Tarn Samson's dead!" 

Kilmarnock lang may grunt an' grane. 

An' sigh, an' sab, an' greet her lane, 

An' deed her bairns, man, wife, an' wean, 

In mourning weed; 
To Death she's dearly paid the kane, 

Tam Samson's dead i 

The Brethren o' the mystic level 
May hing their head in woefu' bevel, 
While by their nose the tears will revel, 

Like ony bead ; 
Death's gien the Lodge an unco devel — 

Tam Samson's dead ! 

When Winter muffles up his cloak. 
And binds the mire like a rock ; 
When to the loch the curlers flock 

Wi' gleesome speed, 
Wha will they station at the cock ? 

Tam Samson's dead ! 

He was the king o' a' the core, 
To guard, or draw, or wick a bore. 
Or up the rink like Jehu roar 

In time o' need ; 
But now he lags on death's hog-score, 

Tam Samson's dead ! 


Now safe the stately sawmont sail, 
And trouts bedropp'd wi' crimson hail. 
And eels weel ken'd lor souple tail. 

And geds lor greed, 
Since dark in death's fish-creel we wail 

Tarn damson dead I 

Eejoice, ye birring paitricks a' ; 

Ye cootie moorcocks, cruusely craw; 

Ye maukins, cock your fud fu' braw, 

Withouten dread ; 
Your mortal fae is now awa'. 

Tarn Samson's dead I 

That woefu' morn be ever mourn' d 
Saw him in shootin' graith adorn'd, 
"Wliile pointers round impatient burn'd, 

Erae couples freed ; 
But, Och ! he gaed and ne'er return'd ! 

Tani Samson's dead! 

In vain auld age his body batters ; 
In vain the gout his ancles fetters ; 
In vain the burns came down like waters 

An acre braid ! 
Now every auld wife, greetin', clatters 

" Tam Samson's dead 1 " 

OwTe many a weary hag he limpit, 
An' aye the tither shot he thumpit, 
Till coward Death behind him jumpit 

AVi' deadly feide ; 
Now he proclaims, wi' tout o' trumpet, 

Tam Samson's dead ! 

"When at his heart he felt the dagger, 
He reel'd his wonted bottle-swagger, 
But yet he drew the mortal trigger 

AVi' weel-aim'd heed ! 
"Hey, five!" he cried, an' owre did stagger- 

Tam Samson's dead ! 

Ilk hoary hunter mourn'd a brither ; 
Ilk sportsman youth bemoan'd a father: 
Yon auld grey stane, amang the heather, 

Marks out his head, 
Wliare Burns has WTote, in rhyming blether, 

Tam Samson's dead ! 

There low he lies, in lasting rest ; 
Perhaps upon his mould'ring breast 
Some spitefu' muirfowl bigs her nest, 

To hatch and breed ; 
Alas ! nae mair hs'U them molest ! 

Tam Samson's dead ! 

2 L 


"VMien August winds the heather wave. 
And sportsmen wander by yon grave. 
Three volleys let his mem'ry crave 

0' pouther an' lead. 
Till Echo answer frae her cave, 

Tarn Samson's deadl 

Heaven rest his saul, whare'er he be ! 
Is th' wish o' mony mae than me; 
He had twa fauts, or maybe three, 

Yet what remead? 
Ae social, honest man want we : 

Tarn Samson's dead! 


Tarn Samson's weel-worn clay here lies, 
Ye canting zealots spare him ! 

If honest worth in heaven rise, 
Ye'll mend or ye win near him. 


Go, Fame, an' canter like a filly 
Through a' the streets an' neuks o' Killie, 
Tell every social, honest billie 

To cease his grievin', 
For yet, unskaithed by Death's gleg gullie, 

Tam Samson's livin' ! 


As cauld a wind as ever blew, 
A caulder kirk, and in't but few ; 
As cauld a minister's e'er spak ; 
Ye'se a' be het ere I come back. 




Health to the Maxwells' vet'ran Chief! 
Health, aye unsour'd by care or grief: 
Inspir'd, I turn Fate's sybil leaf 

This natal morn; 

I see thy life is stuff o' prief. 

Scarce quite half worn. 

TMs day thou metes threescore eleven, 
And I can tell that bounteous Heaven 
(The second-sight, ye ken, is given 

To ilka poet) 
On thee a tack o' seven times seven 

Will yet bestow it. 

If envious buckies view wi' sorrow 

Thy lengthen'd days on this blest morrow, 

May desolation's lang-teeth'd harrow. 

Nine miles an hour, 
Eake them, like Sodom and Gomorrah, 

In brunstane stoure — 

But for thy friends, and they are monie, 
Baith honest men and lasses bonnie,^ 
May couthie fortune, kind and cannie, 

In social glee, 
Wi' mornings blithe and e'enings funny 

Bless them and thee! 

Fareweel, auld birkie ! Lord be near ye, 
And then the deil he daurna steer ye: 
Tour friends aye love, your faes aye fear ye; 

For me, shame fa me, 
If niest my heart I dinna wear ye. 

While Burns they ca' me. 



Tune — " O'er the hills and far away''' 

How can my poor heart be glad, 
When absent from my Sailor lad ? 
How can I the tlionght forego, 
He's on the seas to meet the foe ? 
Let me wander, let me rove, 
Still my heart is with my love ; 
Niglitly dreams and thoughts by day 
Are with him that's far away. 

When in summer's noon I faint, 
As weary flocks around me pant. 
Haply in this scorching sun 
My Sailor's thund'ring at his gun; 
Bullets, spare my only joy ! 
Bullets, spare my darling boy ! 
Fate do with me what you may, 
Spare but him that's far away ! 

At the starless midnight hour. 

When winter rules with boundless power; 

As the storms the forest tear. 

And thunders rend the howling air, 

Listening to the doubling roar. 

Surging on the rocky shore ; 

All I can — I weep and pray, 

For his weal that's far away. 

Peace, thy olive wand extend. 
And bid wild war his ravage end, 
Man with brotlier man to meet. 
And as a brother kindly greet : 
Then may heaven with prosp'rous gales 
Fill my Sailor's welcome sails, 
To my arms tlieir charge convey, 
My dear lad tliat's far away. 

Plate Q. 

On the seas and far a-way. 
On storniv seas and far away 



On tlie seas and far away, 
On stormy seas and far away ; 
Nightly dreams and thoughts by day 
Are aye with him that's far away. 


Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 

And never brought to min' ? 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot. 

And days o' lang syne ? 

We twa hae run about the braes, 

And pu'd the gowans fine ; 
But we've wander'd mony a weary foot 

Sin auld lang syne. 

We twa hae paidl't i' the burn, 

From mornin' sun till dine ; 
But seas between us braid hae roar'd 

Sin auld lang syne. 

And here's a hand, my trusty fiere, 

And gie's a hand o' thine ; 
And we'll tak a right guid willie-waught, 

For auld lang syne. 

And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp, 

And surely I'll be mine ; 
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet 

For auld lang syne. 


For auld lang syne, my dear, 

For auld lang syne, 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet. 

For auld lang syne. 



Tune — " Duncan Gray." 

Let not woman e'er complain 

Of inconstancy in love ; 
Let not woman e'er complain, 

Eickle man is apt to rove : 

Look abroad through Nature's range, 
Nature's mighty law is change ; 
Ladies, would it not be strange, 
Man should then a monster prove ? 

Mark the winds, and mark the skies ; 

Ocean's ebb, and ocean's flow ; • 
Sun and moon but set to rise, 

Eound and round the seasons go. 

Why then ask of silly man. 
To oppose great Nature's plan? 
We'll be constant while we can — 
You can be no more, you know. 


Tune— "^Z/an Water." 

By Allan stream I chanc'd to rove. 

While Phoebus sank beyond Benleddi ; 
The winds were whispering thro' the grove. 

The yellow corn was wa\dng ready: 
I listen'd to a lover's sang, 

And thought on youthfu' pleasures monie; 
And aye the wild-wood echoes rang — 

0, dearly do I love thee, Annie ! 


0, happy be the woodbine bower, 

Nae nightly bogle mak it eerie; 
Nor ever" ^sorrow stain the hour, 

The place and time I met my dearie ! 
Her head tipon my throbbing breast, 

She, sinking, said " I'm thine for ever ! " 
While monie a kiss the seal imprest, 

The sacre(j4 vow, we ne'er should sever. 

The haunt o' spring's the primrose brae, 

The simmer joys the flocks to follow ; 
How cheery thro' her sttortening day 

Is autumn, in her weeds o' yellow ! 
But can they| melt the glowing heart, 

Or chain the soul in speechless pleasure. 
Or thro' each nerve the rapture dart, 

Like meeting her, our bosom's treasuie'? 



Tune—" Cauld Kail." 

Come, let me take thee to my breast, 

And pledge we ne'er shall sunder; 
And I shall spurn as vilest dust 

The warld's wealth and grandeur: 
And do I hear my Jeanie own 

That equal transports move her? 
I ask for dearest life alone 

That I may live to love her. 

Thus in my arms, wi' all th}^ charms, 

I clasp my countless treasure; 
I'll seek nae mair o' heaven to share, 

Than sic a moment's pleasure: 
And by thy een, sae bonnie blue, 

I swear I'm thine for ever ! 
And on thy lips I seal my vow, 

And break it shall I never. 

272 ■ ; 




You're welcome, Willie Stewart; 

You're welcome, Willie Stewart; 
There's ne'er a flower tha^ blooms in May, 

That's half sae welcomfi s thou art. 

Come, bumpers high, express your joy, 
The bowl we maun renew it; 

The tappit-hen, gae bring her ben, 
To welcome Willie St€?vvart. 

May foes be Strang, and friends be slack, 

Ilk action may he rue it ; 
May woman on him turn her back, 

That wrangs thee, Willie Stewart! 



Here lies Johnny Pidgeon; 

What was his religion ? 

Wha e'er desires to ken. 

To some other warl' 

Maun follow the carl. 

For here Johnny Pidgeon had nane! 

Strong ale was ablution. 
Small beer persecution, 
A dram was memento niori; 
But a full flowing bowl 
Was the saving his soul, 
And port was celestial glory. 


TcNE — ^'■Bonnie Dundee.''' 

True-hearted was he, the sad swain of the Yarrow, 

And fair are the maids on the banks o' the Ayr, 
But by the sweet side o' the Nitli's winding river. 

Are lovers as faithful, and maidens as fair: 
To equal young Jessie seek Scotland all over; 

To equal young Jessie you seek it in vain; 
Grace, beauty, and elegance fetter her lover, 

And maidenly modesty fixes the chain. 


0, fresh is the rose in the gay dewy morning. 

And sweet is the lily at evening close ; 
But in the fair presence o' lovely young Jessie 

Unseen is the lily, unheeded the rose. 
Love sits in her smile, a wizard ensnaring ; 

Enthron'd in her een he delivers his law : 
And still to her charms she alone is a stranger! 

Her modest demeanour's the jewel of a' ! 


Tune — '■'Prepare, my dear Brethren, to the tavern, letsjly* 

No churchman am I for to rail and to ^vlite, 
No statesman nor soldier to plot or to fight, 
No sly man of business contriving a snare, 
Eor a big-belly'd bottle's the whole of my care. 

The peer I don't envy, I give him his bow; 

I scorn not the peasant, tho' ever so low ; 

But a club of good fellows, Hke those that are there, 

And. a bottle like this, are my glory and care. 

Here passes the squire on his brother — ^his horse; 
There centum per centum, the cit with his purse : 
But see you the Crown, how it weaves in the air! 
There, a big-belly'd bottle still eases my care. 

The wife of my bosom, alas ! she did die ; 
Eor sweet consolation to church I did fly; 
I found that old Solomon proved it fair. 
That the big-belly'd bottle's a cure for all care. 

I once was persuaded a venture to make ; 
A letter inform'd me that all was to wreck ; 
But the pursy old landlord just waddled up stairs. 
With a glorious bottle that ended my cares. 


"Life's cares, they are comforts" — a maxim laid down 
By the bard, what d'ye call him, that wore the black gown, 
And, faith, I agree with th' old prig to a hair; 
For a big-belly'd bottle's a heav'n of a care. 


Then fill up a bumper, and make it o'erflow, 
And honours masonic prepare for to throw ; 
May every true brother of the compass and square 
Have a big-belly'd bottle when harass'd with care. 

Tune — " Savj ye my Father^ 

Where are the joys I have met in the morning, 
That danc'd to the lark's early sang ? 

Where is the peace that awaited my wand'ring, 
At evening the wild woods amang ? 

No more a-winding the course of yon river, 
And marking sweet flow'rets so fair : 

No more I trace the light footsteps of pleasure, 
But sorrow and sad sighing care. 

Is it that summer's forsaken our valleys, 

And grim, surly winter is near ? 
No, no, the bees humming round the gay roses. 

Proclaim it the pride of the year. 

I'ain Avould I hide what I fear to discover 
Yet long, long too well have I known : 

All that has caus'd this wreck in my bosom. 
Is Jenny, fair Jenny alone. 

Time cannot aid me, my griefs are immortal, 

Nor hope dare a comfort bestow : 
Come, then, enamour'd and fond of my anguish. 

Enjoyment I'U seek in my woe. 


Tune—" The Flowers of Edinburgh." 

Here . is the glen, and here the bower. 
All underneath the birchen shade, 

The village-bell has toll'd the hour, 
what can stay my lovely maid? 

'Tis not ]\Iaria's whispering call : 
'Tis but the balmy breatliing gale, 

Mix'd with some warbler's dying fall. 
The dewy star of eve to hail. 

It is Maria's voice I hear ! 

So calls the woodlark in the gro\'e 
His little faithful mate to cheer ; 

At once 'tis music — and 'tis love. 

And art thou come? and art thou true? 

welcome, dear, to love and me ! 
And let us all our vows renew. 

Along the flow'ry banks of Cree. 


Tune—" Oran Gaoil." 

Behold the hour, the boat arrive ! 

Thou goest, thou darling of my heart: 
Sever'd from thee can I survive ? 

But fate has will'd, and we nmst part! 
I'll often greet this surging swell ; 

Yon distant isle will often hail : 
" E'en here I took the last farewell ; 

There latest marked her vanish'd sail." 


Along the solitary shore. 

While Hitting sea-fowls round me cry. 
Across the rolling, dashing roar, 

I'll westward turn my wistful eye : 
"Happy, thou Indian grove," I'll say, 

" Where now my Nancy's path may be ! 
While thro' thy sweets she loves to stray, 

tell me, does she muse on me!" 

Tone — " My Jo, Janet.'" 

Husband, husband, cease your strife, 

Nor longer idly rave, sir ; 
Tho' I am your wedded wife. 

Yet I am not your slave, sir. 

"One of two must stiU obey, 

Nancy, Nancy ; 
Is it man or woman, say, 

My spouse, Nancy ? " 

If 'tis still the lordly word, 

Service and obedience; 
I'll desert my sov'reign lord, 

And so good-bye allegiance? 

"Sad will I be, so bereft, 

Nancy, Nancy ! 
Yet I'U try to make a shift. 

My spouse, Nancy." 

My poor heart then break it must, 

My last hour I'm near it: 
When you lay me in the dust, 

Think, tliink how you will bear it. 


-' I will hope and trust in Heaven, 

Nancy, Nancy ; 
Strength to bear it will be given, 

My spouse, Nancy." 

Well, sir, from the silent dead 
StiU I'll try to daunt you; 

Ever round your midnight bed 
Horrid sprites shall haunt you. 

" I'll wed another, like my dear 

Nancy, Nancy ; 
Then all hell will fly for fear, 

My spouse, Nancy." 

Tune — " The Colliers honnie Dochter.^ 

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; 

For Nature made her what she is. 
And ne'er made sic anither! 

Thou art a queen, fair Lesley, 
Thy subjects we, before thee: 

Thou art divine, fair Lesley, 
The hearts o' men adore thee. 

The deil he couldna scaith thee. 
Or aught that wad belang thee; 

He'd look into thy bonnie face, 
And say, "I canna wrang thee." 

TO MAKY. 279 

J'he 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- 

Eeturn again, fair Lesley, 

Ketiirn to Caledonie ! 
That we may brag, we hae a lass 

There's nane again sae bonnie. 

TO ]M A E Y. 
Tune — ^'- Ewe-hughts, Jifanon.^* 

"Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary, 
And leave auld Scotia's shore ? 

Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary, 
Across the Atlantic's roar ? 

sweet grows the lime and the orange, 
And the apple on the pine ; 

But a' the charms o' the Indies 
Can never equal thine. 

1 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 ! 

plight me your faith, my Mary, 
And phght 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 I 

The hour, and the moment o' time! 




Tune — " Good night, and joy he ivi' you a'." 

Adieu! a heart-warm, fond adieu! 

Dear brothers of the mystic tie ! 
Ye favom-'d, ye enhghteu'd few, 

Companions of my social joy ! 
Though I to foreign lands must hie, 

Pursuing Fortune's slidd'ry ba', 
With melting heart, and brimful eye, 

I'll mind you still, tho' far awa'. 

Oft have I met your social band. 

And spent the cheerful, festive night; 
Oft, honour'd with supreme command. 

Presided o'er the sons of light : 
And by that hieroglyphic bright, 

Which none but craftsmen ever saw! 
Strong mem'ry on my heart shall write 

Those happy scenes when far awa' ! 

May freedom, hamiony, and love. 

Unite you in the grand design, 
Beneath th' Omniscient Eye above. 

The glorious Architect Divine! 
That you may keep th' unerring hne. 

Still rising by the plummet's law, 
Till Order bright completely shine. 

Shall be my pray'r when far awa'. 

And You, farewell ! whose merits claim. 

Justly, that highest badge to wear! 
Heav'n bless your honour'd, noble name. 

To Masonry and Scotia dear! 
A last request permit me here, 

When yearly ye assemble a'. 
One round — I ask it with a tear — 

To him, the Bard that's far awa'. 

TuKE — " Eobin Adair.'' 

While larks with little wing 

Fanii'd the pure air, 
Tasting the breathing spring, 

Forth I did fare: 
Gay the sun's golden eye 
Peep'd o'er the mountains high; 
Such thy morn ! did I cry, 

Phillis the fair. 

In each bird's careless song 

Glad did I share ; 
While yon wild flowers among, 

Chance led me there: 

282 MY NANNIE,. 0. 

Sweet to the opening day, 
Eosebuds bent the dewy spray; 
Such thy bloom ! did I say, 
Phillis the fair. 

Down in a shady walk, 

Doves cooing were, 
I mark'd the cruel hawk 

Caught in a snare : 
So kind may Fortune be, 
Such make his destiny, 
He who would injure thee, 
Phillis the fair. 

Tune — '■'■My Nannie, 0." 

Behind yon hiUs where Lugar flows, 
'Mang moors and mosses many, 0, 

The wintry sun the day has clos'd, 
And I'll awa' to Nannie, 0, 

The westlin wind blaws loud and shill; 

The night's baith mirk and rainy, ; 
But I'll get my plaid and out I'll steal. 

And owre the hills to Nannie, 0. 

My Nannie's charming, sweet, and young; 

Nae artfu' wiles to win ye, : 
May ill befa' the flattering tongue 

That wad beguile my Nannie, ! 

Her face is fair, her heart is true. 
As spotless as she's bonnie, : 

The op'ning gowan, wat wi' dew, 
Nae purer is than Nannie, 0. 


A country lad is my degree, 

And few there be that ken me, O; 
But what care 1 how few they be, 

I'm welcome aye to Nannie, 0. 

My riches a's my penny-fee, 

And I maun guide it cannie, ; 
But warl's gear ne'er troubles me. 

My thoughts are a' — my Nannie, 0. 

Our auld guidman delights to view 
His sheep and kye thrive bonnie, ; 

But I'm as blythe that bauds his pleugh, 
And has nae care but Nannie, 0. 

Come weel, come woe, I carena by 

I'U tak' what Heaven wiU sen me, 0; 

Nae ither care in life have I, 

But live, and love my Nannie, O. 

Tune — '^My Lodging is on the Cold Ground." 

My Chloris, mark how green the groves, 
The primrose banks how fair: 

The balmy gales awake the flowers, 
And wave thy flaxen hair. 

The lav'rock shuns the palace gay, 

And o'er the cottage sings; 
For nature smiles as sweet, I ween, 

To shepherds as to kings. 

Let minstrels sweep the skilfu' string 

In lordly lighted ha': 
The shepherd stops his simple reed, 

Blythe, in the birken shaw. 


The princely revel may survey 
Our rustic dance wi' scorn ; 

But are their hearts as light as ours 
Beneath the milk-white thorn ? 

The shepherd, in the flowery glen. 
In shepherd's phrase will woo : 

The courtier tells a finer tale, 
But is his heart as true ? 

These wild-wood flowers I've pu'd, to deck 
That spotless breast o' thine : 

The courtiers' gems may witness love — 
But 'tis na love like mine. 


Tune — " Push about the Jorum." 

APRIL, 1795. 

Does haughty Gaul invasion threat? 

Then let the loons beware, sir, 
There's wooden walls upon our seas, 

And volunteers on shore, sir. 
The Nith shall run to Corsincon, 

And Criff'el sink to Solway, 
Ere we permit a foreign foe 

On British ground to rally ! 

Fal de ral, &c. 

O let us not like snarling tykes 

In wrangling be divided ; 
Till, slap, come in an unco loon 

And wi' a rung decide it. 
Be Britain still to Britain true, 

Amang oursel's united ; 
For never but by British hands 

Maun British wrangs be righted ! 

Fal de ral, &c. 


The kettle o' the kirk and state, 

Perhaps a clout may fail in't ; 
But deil a foreign tinkler loon 

Shall ever ca' a nail in't. 
Our fathers' bluid the kettle bought, 

And wha wad dare to spoil it; 
By heaven, the sacrilegious dog 

Shall fuel be to boil it. 

Fal de ral, &c. 

The wretch that wad a tyrant own, 

And the wretch his true-born brother, 
"Who would set the mob aboon the throne, 

May they be damned together ! 
Who will not sing, " God save the King," 

Shall hang as high's the steeple ; 
But while we sing, " God save the King," 

We'll ne'er forget the People. 

Pal de ral, &c. 

Tune — ^^ If he be a butcher neat and trim" 

On Cessnock banks a lassie dwells ; 

Could I describe her shape and mien. 
Our lasses a' she far excels. 

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een. 

She's sweeter than the morning dawn 

When rising Phoebus first is seen, 
And dew-drops twinkle o'er the lawn ; 

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een. 

She's stately like yon youthful ash 
That grows the cowslip braes between, 

And drinks the stream with vigour fresh ; 
An' she has twa sparkling roguish een. 


She's spotless like the flow'ring thorn 

With flow'rs so white and leaves so green, 

Wlien purest in the dewy morn ; 

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een. 

Her looks are like the vernal May, 
When ev'ning Phoebus shines serene, 

While birds rejoice on every spray ; 
An' she has twa sparkling roguish een. 

Her hair is like the curling mist 

That climbs the mountain-sides at e'en, 

When flow'r-reviving rains are past ; 
An' she has twa sparkling roguish een. 

Her forehead's like the show'ry bow, 
Wlien gleaming sunbeams intervene 

And gild the distant mountain's brow; 
An' she has twa sparkling roguish een. 

Her cheeks are like yon crimson gem. 
The pride of all the flowery scene. 

Just opening on its thorny stem ; 

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een. 

Her lips are like yon cherries ripe, 
That sunny walls from Boreas screen, 

They tempt the taste and charm the sight ; 
An' she has twa sparkling roguish een. 

Her teeth are like a flock of sheep, 
With fleeces newly washen clean, 

That slowly mount the rising steep ; 
An' she's twa glancing sparkling een. 

Her breath is like the fragrant breeze 
That gently stirs the blossom'd bean. 

When Phoebus sinks behind the seas ; 
An' she has twa sparkling roguish een. 


Her voice is like the ev'ning thrush 
That sings on Cessnock banks unseen, 

While his mate sits nestling in the bush; 
An' she has twa sparkling roguish een. 

But it's not her air, her form, her face, 
Tho' matching beauty's fabled queen ; 

'Tis the mind that shines in ev'ry grace, 
And chietiy in her roguish een. 


Tune — " Miss Admiral Gordon's Strathspey.'^ 

Of a' the airts the wind can blaw, 

I dearly like the west. 
For there the bonnie lassie lives. 

The lassie I lo'e best : 
Though wild woods grow, and rivers row. 

And mony a hill between; 
Baith day and night my fancy's flight 

Is ever wi' my Jean. 

I see her in the dewy flowers; 

I see her sweet and fair : 
I hear her in the tunefu' birds, 

I hear her charm the air : 
There's not a bonnie flower that springs, 

By fountain, shaw, or green, 
There's not a bonnie bird that sings, 

But minds me o' my Jean. 

blaw, ye westlin' winds, blaw saft, 

Amang the leafy trees ; 
Wi' gentle gale, frae muir and dale. 

Bring hame the laden bees ; 
And bring the lassie back to me 

That's aye sae neat and clean: 
Ae smile o' her wad banish care, 

Sae lovely is my Jean. 


What sighs and vows, amang the knowes, 

Ha'e passed atween us twa ! 
How fain to meet, how wae to part, 

That day she gaed awa ! 
The powers aboon can only ken, 

To whom the heart is seen, 
That nane can be so dear to me 

As my sweet lovely Jean. 

Tlne— " De'd tuk the Wars:' 

Sleep'st thou, or wak'st thou, fairest creature ? 

Rosy morn now lifts his eye, 
Numbering ilka bud which Nature 

Waters wi' the tears o' joy : 

Now thro' the leafy woods. 

And by the reeking floods, 
Wild Nature's tenants freely, gladly stray ; 

The lintMdiite in his bower 

Chants o'er the breathing flower; 

The lav'rock to the sky 

Ascends wi' sangs o' joy. 
While the sun and thou arise to bless the day. 

Phoebus, gilding the brow o' morning, 

Banishes ilk darksome shade, 
Nature gladdening and adorning; 

Such to me my lovely maid. 

"WTien absent frae my fair. 

The murky shades o' care 
With starless gloom o'ercast my sulh^n sky: 

But when, in beauty's light. 

She meets my ravish'd sight, 

When thro' my very heart 

Her beaming glories dart — 
'Tis then I wake to life, to light, and j'oy. 


Scenes of woe and scenes of pleasure. 
Scenes that former thoughts renew, 

Scenes of woe and scenes of pleasure, 
Now a sad and last adieu! 

Bonny Doon, sae sweet at gloamm'. 
Fare thee weel before I gang! 

Bonny Doon, where early roaming. 
First I weav'd the rustic sang! 


Bowers, adieu, wliare love, decoying, 
First enthrall'd this heart o' mine, 

There the safest sweets enjoying. 

Sweets that mem'ry ne'er shall tynel 

Friends, so near my bosom ever. 
Ye hae render'd moments dear; 

But, alas ! when forc'd to sever, 
Then the stroke, how severe ! 

Friends ! that parting tear reserve it, 
Tho' 'tis doubly dear to me ! 

Could I think I did deserve it, 
How much happier would I be ! 

Scenes of woe and scenes of pleasure. 
Scenes that former thoughts renew, 

Scenes of woe and scenes of pleasure. 
Now a sad and last adieu! 


Tune — '■'■Dainty Davie.''* 

There was a lad was born in Kyle, 
But what'n a day o' what'n a style, 
I doubt it's hardly worth the while 
To be sae nice wi' Robin. 

Our monai'ch's hindmost year but ane 
Was five and twenty days begun, 
'Twas then a blast o' Janwar win' 
Blew hansel in on Robin. 

The gossip keekit in his loof; 
Quo' scho wha lives will see the proof, 
This waly boy will be nae coof, 
I think we'll ca' him Robin. 


He'll hae misfortunes great and snia', 
But aye a heart aboon them a' ; 
He'll be a credit to us a', 
We'll a' be proud o' Robin. 

But sure as three times three mak nine, 
I see by ilka score and line, 
This chap will dearly like our kin', 
So leeze me on thee, Eobin. 


Robin was a rovin' boy, 

Rantin' rovin', rantin' rovin'; 
Robin was a rovin' boy, 

Rantin' rovin' Robin. 

Tune — '■^ I am a man unmarried." 

O ONCE I lov'd a bonnie lass. 

Ay, and I love her stiU; 
And whilst that virtue warms my breast 

I'll love my handsome Nell. 

Fal lal de ral, &c. 

As bonnie lasses I hae seen. 

And monie fuU as braw ; 
But for a modest, gracefu' mien, 

Tlie like I never saw. 

A bonnie lass, I will confess. 

Is pleasant to the ee ; 
But without some better qualities, 

She's no the lass for me. 

But Nelly's looks are blithe and sweet, 

And what is best of a', 
Her reputation is complete, 

And fair without a flaw. 


She dresses aye sae clean and neat, 

Both decent and genteel ; 
And then there's something in her gait 

Gars onie dress look weel. 

A gaudy dress and gentle air 
May slightly touch the heart ; 

But it's innocence and modesty 
That polishes the dart. 

'Tis this in Nelly pleases me, 
'Tis this enchants my soul! 

For absolutely in my breast 
She reigns without control 


Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes. 
Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise ; 
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream, 
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream. 

Thou stock-dove whose echo resounds thro' the glen. 
Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den, 
Thou green-crested lapwing, thy screaming forbear, 
I charge you disturb not my slumbering fair. 

How lofty, sweet Afton, thy neighbouring hills, 
Far mark'd with the courses of clear, winding rills ; 
There daily I wander as noon rises high. 
My flocks and my Mary's sweet cot in my eye. 

How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below. 
Where wild in the woodlands the primroses blow; 
There oft as mild ev'ning weeps over the lea. 
The sweet-scented birk shades my Mary and me. 

As ^atherin^ s^weet flow'rets 
She stems thy clear -wave. 

PHILLY. 293 

Thy crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides, 
And winds by the cot where my Mary resides ; 
How wanton thy waters her snowy feet lave, 
As gathering sweet flow'rets she stems thy clear wave. 

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes, 
Flow gently, sweet river, the tlieme of my lays ; 
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream, 
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream. 


Tune—" The Sow's Taiir 


Philly, happy be the day. 
When, roving through the gather'd hay, 
My youthfu' heart was stown away. 
And by thy charms, my Philly. 


Willy, aye I bless the grove 
AVhere first I own'd my maiden love, 
While thou didst pledge the powers above 
To be my ain dear Willy. 


As songsters of the early year 
Are ilka day mair sweet to hear. 
So ilka day to me mair dear 
And charming is my Philly. 

294 PHILLY. 


As on the brier the budding rose 
Still richer breathes and fairer blows, 
So in my tender bosom grows 
The love I bear my Willy. 


The milder sun and bluer sky, 
That crown my harvest cares wi' joy, 
Were ne'er sae welcome to my eye 
As is a sight o' Philly. 


The little swallow's wanton wing, 
Tho' wafting o'er the flowery spring, 
Did ne'er to me sic tidings bring 
As meeting o' my Willy. 


The bee that thro' the sunny hour 
Sips nectar in the opening flowei; 
Compar'd wi' my delight is poor. 
Upon the lips o' Philly. 


The woodbine in the dewy weet 
When evening shades in silence meet. 
Is nocht sae fragrant or sae sweet 
As is a kiss o' Willy. 


Let fortune's wheel at random rin, 
And fools may tyne, and knaves may win ; 
My thoughts are a' bound up in ane. 
And that's my ain dear Philly. 


What's a the joys that gowd can gie! 
I carena wealth a single file ; 
The lad I love's the lad for me, 
And that's my ain dear Willy. 



Tune — " An Gille duhh ciar dhubh."' 

Stay, my cbaimer, can you leave me? 

Cruel, cruel to deceive me! 

Well you know how much you grieve me; 

Cruel charmer, can you go? 

Cruel charmer, can you go? 

By my love so ill requited; 

By the faith you fondly plighted ; 

By the pangs of lovers slighted ; 

Do not, do not leave me so! 

Do not, do not leave me so! 



Tune " M'Gregor of Ruards Lament: 

Raving winds around her blowing, 
Yellow leaves the woodlands strewing. 
By a river hoarsely roaring, 
Isabella stray'd deploring: 
"Farewell, hours that late did measure 
Sunshine days of joy and pleasure ; 
Hail, thou gloomy night of sorrow. 
Cheerless night that knows no morrow 1 

"O'er the past too fondly wandering. 
On the hopeless future pondering; 
Chilly grief my life-blood freezes, 
Fell despair my fancy seizes. 
Life, thou soul of every blessing. 
Load to misery most distressing, 
O, how gladly I'd resign thee. 
And to dark oblivion join thee!" 


Tune—" The Lothian Lassie:' 

Last May a braw wooer cam clown the lang glen, 
And sair wi' his love he did deave me : 

I said there was naething I hated like men, 
The deuce gas wi'm to believe me, believe me, 
The deuce gae wi'm to believe me ! 

He spak o' the darts in my bonnie black een. 
And vow'd for my love he was dying,; 

I said he might die when he liked for Jean: 
May I be forgiven for lying, for lying, 
May I be forgiven for lying ! 

A weel-stocked mailen, himsel for the laird, 
And marriage aff-hand, were his proffers : 

1 never loot on that I kenn'd it, or card ; 

But thought I might hae waur offers, waur ofters. 
V)\\t thought T might hae waur offers. 



But what wad ye think ? in a fortnight or less, 

The deil tak his taste to gae near her ! 
He up the lang loan to my black cousin Bess, 

Guess ye how, the jad ! I could bear her, could bear hei, 

Guess ye how, the jad ! I could bear her. 

But a' the niest week as I fretted wi' care, 

I gaed to the tryste o' Dalgarnock, 
And wha but my fine fickle lover was there ! 

I glowr'd as I'd seen a warlock, a warlock, 

I glowr'd as I'd seen a warlock. 

But owre my left shouther I gae him a blink, 
Lest neebors might say I was saucy ; 

My wooer he caper'd as he'd been in drink. 
And vowed I was his dear lassie, dear lassie, 
And vowed I was his dear lassie. 

I spier'd for my cousin fu' couthy and sweet. 
Gin she had recover'd her hearin'. 

And how her new shoon fit her auld shachl't feet — 
But, Heavens ! how he fell a swearin', a swearin*. 
But, Heavens ! how he fell a swearin'. 


He begged, for gudesake ! I wad be his wife, 
Or else I wad kill him wi' sorrow: 

So e'en to preserve the poor body in life, 

I think I maun wed him to-morrow, to-morrow, 
I think I maun wed him to-morrow. 


Tune — •' Bonnie Jean.'" 

There was a lass, and she was fair, 
At kirk and market to be seen; 

When a' the fairest maids were met. 
The fairest maid was bonnie Jean, 

And aye she wrought her mammie's wark, 
And aye she sang sae merrily : 

The blithest bird upon the bush 
Had ne'er a lighter heart than she. 

But hawks will rob the tender joys 
That bless the little lintwhite's nest; 

And frost will blight the fairest flowers, 
And love will break the soundest rest. 

Young Robie was the brawest lad. 
The flower and pride of a' the glen ; 

And he had owsen, sheep, and kye, 
And wanton naigies nine or ten. 

He gaed wi' Jeanie to the tryste, 
He danc'd wi' Jeanie on the down ; 

And lang ere witless Jeanie wist. 

Her heart was tint, her peace was stown. 

As in the bosom o' the stream, 

The moon-beam dwells at de\vy e'en ; 

So trembling, pure, was tender love 
Within the breast o' bonnie Jean. 


And now she works her rnammie's wark. 
And a}'e she sighs wi' care and pain; 

Yet wistna what her ail might be, 
Or what wad mak her weel again. 

But didna Jeanie's heart loup light, 

And didna joy blink in her ee, 
As Robie tauld a tale o' love, 

Ae e'enin on the lily lea ? 

The sun was sinking in the west, 
The birds sang sweet in ilka grove; 

His cheek to hers he fondly prest, 
And whisper'd thus his tale o' love: 

Jeanie fair, I lo'e thee dear; 

canst thou think to fancy me? 
Or wilt thou leave thy mammie's cot, 

And learn to tent the farms wi' me? 

At barn or byre thou shaltna drudge, 

Or naething else to troiible thee; 
But stray amang the heather-bells. 

And tent the waving corn wi' me. 

Now what could artless Jeanie do ? 

She had nae will to say him na : 
At length she blush'd a sweet consent, 

And love was aye between them twa. 

Tune — '■'■John Anderson, my Jo." 

How cruel are the parents 

Who riches only prize. 
And to the wealthy booby 

Poor woman sacrifice. 
Meanwhile the hapless daughter 

Has but a choice of strife; 
To shun a tyrant father's hate, 

Becomes a wretched wife. 


The ravening hawk pursuing, 

The trembling dove thus flies, 
To shun impelling ruin 

Awhile her pinions tries ; 
Till of escape despairing, 

No shelter or retreat, 
She trusts the ruthless falconer, 

And drops beneath his feet. 


Tune—" The Collier's Dochterr 

Deluded swain, the pleasure 
The fickle Fair can give thee, 

Is but a fairy treasure. 

Thy hopes will soon deceive thee. 

The billows on the ocean. 
The breezes idly roaming, 

The clouds' uncertain motion. 
They are but types of woman. 

O ! art thou not ■ ashamed 

To doat upon a feature ? 
If man thou wouldst be named, 

Despise the silly creature. 

Go, find an honest fellow ; 

Good claret set before thee: 
Hold on till thou art mellow, 
And then to bed in glory. 


She is a winsome wee thine:, 
She is a handsome wee thing, 
She is a bonnie wee tiling. 
This sweet wee wife o' mine. 


I never saw a fairer, 

I never lo'ed a dearer. 

And niest my heart I'll wear her. 

For fear my jewel tine. 

leeze me on my wee thing, 
My bonnie blithesome wee thing; 
Sae lang's I hae my wee thing, 
I'll think my lot divine. 

Though warld's wrack we share o't, 
The warstle and the care o't; 
Wi' her I'll blithely bear it. 
And ne'er a word repine. 


There's braw braw lads on Yarrow braes. 
That wander through the blooming heather; 

But Yarrow braes nor Ettrick shaws 
Can match the lads o' Galla Water. 

But there is ane, a secret ane, 
Aboon them a' I lo'e him better; 

And I'll be his, and he'U be mine. 
The bonnie lad o' Galla Water. 

Although his daddie was nae laird, 
And though I hae nae meikle tocher; 

Yet rich in kindest, truest love, 

We'll tent our flocks by Galla Water. 

It ne'er was wealth, it ne'er was wealth, 
That coft contentment, peace, or pleasure; 

The bands and bliss o' mutual love, 
that's the chiefest warld's treasure! 



My Peggy's face, my Peggy's form, 
The frost of hermit age might warm ; 
My Peggy's worth, my Peggy's mind. 
Might charm the first of human kind. 
I love my Peggy's angel air, 
Her face so truly, heavenly fair, 
Her native grace so void of art ; 
But I adore my Peggy's heart. 

The lily's hue, the rose's dye, 
The kindling lustre of an eye ; 
Who but owns their magic sway. 
Who but knows they all decay ! 
The tender thrill, the pitying tear, 
The generous purpose, nobly dear, 
The gentle look that rage disarms, 
These are all immortal charms. 


The smiling spring comes in rejoicing. 

And surly winter grimly flies ; 
Now crystal clear are the falling waters, 

And bonnie blue are the sunny skies ; 
Fresh o'er the mountains breaks forth the morning, 

The ev'ning gilds the ocean's swell ; 
All creatures joy in the sun's returning. 

And I rejoice in my bonnie Bell. 

The flowery spring leads sunny summer. 

And yellow autumn presses near, 
Then in his turn comes gloomy winter. 

Till smiling spring again appear. 
Thus seasons dancing, life advancing, 

Old Time and Nature their changes tell. 
But never ranging, still uncliangiug, 

I adore my bonnie Bell. 


Tune—" Onagh's Water-fair 

Sae flaxen were her ringlets, 

Her eyebrows of a darker hue, 
bewitchingly o'erarching 

Twa laughing een o' bonnie blue. 
Her smiling, sae wyling, 

Wad make a wretch forget his woe ; 
What pleasure, what treasure, 

Unto these rosy lips to grow ! 
Such was my Chloris' bonnie face, 

When first her bonnie face I saw. 
And aye my Chloris' dearest charm, 

She says she lo'es me best of a'. 

Like harmony her motion ; 

Her pretty ancle is a spy 
Betraying fair proportion, 

Wad make a saint forget the sky; 
Sae warming, sae charming, 

Her faultless form and gracefu' air; 
Ilk feature — auld Nature 

Declar'd that she could do nae mair: 
Her's are the willing chains o' love, 

By conquering beauty's sovereign law; 
And aye my Chloris' dearest charm, 

She says she lo'es me best of a'. 

Let others love the city. 

And gaudy show at sunny noon; 
Gie me the lonely valley. 

The dewy eve, and rising moon 
Fair beaming, and streaming, 

Hr^j silver light the boughs amang; 
Wliile falling, recalling. 

The amorous thrush concludes his sang; 
There, dearest Chloris, wilt thou rove 

By wimpling burn and leafy shaw, 
And hear my vows o' truth and love. 

And say thou lo'es me best of a' ? 


Tune — " Green Grow the Jiashes"' 

Theee's nought but care on ev'ry iian*, 
In ev'ry hour that passes, ; 

What signifies the life o' man, 
An' 'twere na for the lasses, 0. 

The warly race may riches chase, 
An' riches still may fly them, ; 

An' tho' at last they catch them fast, 
Their hearts can ne'er enjoy them, 0. 

But gie me a canny hour at e'en, 
My arms about my dearie, ; 

An' warly cares, an' warly men, 
May a' gae tapsalteerie, ! 

For you sae douce, ye sneer at this, 
Ye're nought but senseless asses, ; 

The wisest man the warl' saw. 
He dearly lov'd the lasses, 0. 

Auld Nature swears, the lovely dears 
Her noblest work she classes, ; 

Her prentice han' she tried on man, 
An' then she made the lasses, O. 


Green grow the rashes, O ! 

Green grow the rashes, O ! 
The sweetest hours that e'er I spend.„ 

Are spent amang the lasses, ! 



Tune — '^ Katherine Ogie." 

Ye flowery banks o' bonnie Doon, 
How can ye blume sae fair ! 

How can ye chant, ye little birds. 
And I sae fii' o' care. 

Tliou'll break my heart, thou bonnie bird. 

That sings upon the bovgh ; 

Thou minds me o' the happy days, 

AMien mv fause luve was true. 


Thou'll break my heart, thou bonnie bird. 
That sings beside thy mate; 

For sae I sat, and sae I sang, 
And wistna o' my fate. 

Aft hae I rov'd by bonnie Doon. 

To see the woodbine twine, 
And ilka bird sang o' its love, 

And sae did I o' mine. 

Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose 

Frae aff its thorny tree ; 
But my fause luver staw the rose, 

And left the thorn wi' me. 

Tune—" The Cqledonian Hunt's Delight:'' 

Ye banks and braes o' bonnie Doon, 

How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair! 
How can ye chant, ye little birds. 

And I sae weary fu' o' care ! 
Thou'lt break my heart, thou warbling bird. 

That wantons thro' the flowering thorn: 
Thou minds me o' departed joys, 

Departed — never to return. 

Aft hae I rov'd by bonnie Doon, 

To see the rose and woodbine twine ; 
And ilka bird sang o' its luve, 

And fondly sae did I o' mine. 
Wi' lightsome heart I pu'd a rose, 

Fu' sweet upon its thorny tree: 
But my fause luver stole my rose, 

And ah! he left the thorn wi' me. 


Tune — " Wishatv's Favourite.'''' 

0, MY luve's like a red, red rose, 
That's newly sprung in June: 

0, my luve's like the melodie 
That's sweetly play'd in tune. 

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass, 

So deep in luve am I : 
And I will luve thee still, my dear, 

Till a' the seas gang dry. 

Till a' the seas gang dry, my dear, 
And the rocks melt wi' the sun: 

I will luve thee still, my dear, 
While the sands o' liie shall run. 

And fare thee weel, my only luve. 
And fare thee weel awhile ! 

And I will come again, my luve, 
Tho' it were ten thousand mile. 

Tune — " Mcpherson's LamenC 

Farewell, ye dungeons dark and strong. 

The wretch's destinie : 
M'Pherson's time will not be long 

On yonder gallows tree. 

Oh, what is death but parting breath? 

On monie a bloody plain 
I've dar'd his face, and in this place 

I scorn him yet again! 


Untie these bauds from off my hands. 
And bring to me my sword ! 

And there's no a man in all Scotland, 
But I'll brave him at a word. 

I've liv'd a life o' stiirt and strife; 

I die by treacherie : 
It burns my heart I must depart 

And not avenged be. 

Now farewell light, thou sunshine bright, 

And all beneath the sky ! 
May coward shame distain his name. 

The wretch that dares not die ! 


Sae rantingly, sae wantonly, 
Sae dauntingly gaed he ; 

He play'd a spring and danc'd it round, 
Below the sallows tree. 


Tune — "27ns is no my ain House." 

I SEE a form, I see a face, 
Ye weel may wi' the fairest place: 
It wants, to me, the witching grace. 
The kind love that's in her ee. 

She's bonnie, blooming, straight, and tall, 
And lang has had my heart in thrall. 
And aye it charms my very saul, 
The kind love that's in her ee. 

A thief sae pawkie is my Jean, 
To steal a blink by a' unseen ; 
But gleg as light are lovers' een. 
When kind love is in the ee. 


It may escape the courtly sparks, 
It may escape the learned clerks ; 
But weel the watching lover marks 
The kind love that's in her ee. 


tliis is no my ain lassie, 

Fair tho' the lassie be ; 
weel ken I my ain lassie. 

Kind love is in her ee. 


Ae fond kiss, and then we sever! 
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever ! 
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee, 
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee. 
"Who shall say that fortune grieves him. 
While the star of hope she leaves him ? 
Me, nae cheerfu' twinkle lights me. 
Dark despair around benights me. 

I'll ne'er blame my partial fancy, 
Naething coidd resist my Nancy; 
But to see her, was to love her; 
Love but her, and love for ever. 
Had we never lov'd sae kindly. 
Had we never lov'd sae blindly. 
Never met — or never parted, 
We had ne'er been broken-hearted. 

Fare thee weel, thou first and fairest! 
Fare thee weel, thou best and dearest! 
Thine be ilka joy and treasure. 
Peace, enjoyment, love, and pleasure. 
Ae fond kiss, and then we sever; 
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever ! 
Deep in heart-wrung tears I'll pledge thee, 
Warring sighs and groans I'll wage thee. 


Tune—" The Quaker's Wife." 

Thine am I, my faithful fair. 
Thine, my lovely Nancy ; 

Ev'ry pulse along my veins, 
Ev'ry roving fancy. 

To thy bosom lay my heart. 
There to throb and languish: 

Tho' despair had wrung its core. 
That would heal its anguish. 

Take away these rosy lips, 
Eich with balmy treasure ! 

Turn away thine eyes of love, 
Lest I die with pleasure ! 

What is life when wanting love? 

Night without a morning! 
Love's the cloudless summer sun, 

Nature gay adorning. 

Tune — '■'■ Liggeram Cosh.^^ 

Blithe hae I been on yon hill. 

As the lambs before me ; 
Careless ilka thought and free. 

As the breeze flew o'er me: 
Now nae langer sport and play. 

Mirth or sang, can please me: 
Leslie is sae fair and coy, 

Care and anguish seize me. 


Heavy, heavy is tlie task, 

Hopeless love declaring: 
Trembling, I dow nocht but glowr, 

Sighing, dumb, despairing ! 
If she winna ease the thraws 

In my bosom swelling. 
Underneath the grass-green sod 

Soon maun be my dwelling. 


Tune— "(?aZ/a Water." 

Altho' my bed were in yon muir, 
Amang the heather, in my plaidie, 

Yet happy, happy would I be. 

Had I my dear Montgomerie's Peggy. 

When o'er the hill beat surly storms. 
And winter nights were dark and rainy; 

I'd seek some dell, and in my arms 
I'd shelter dear Montgomerie's Peggy. 

Were I a baron proud and high. 

And horse and servants waiting ready, 

Then a' 'twad gie o' joy to me. 

The sharin't wi' Montgomerie's Peggy. 
* » # « * 


The lovely lass o' Inverness, 

Nae joy nor pleasure can she see; 

For e'en and morn she cries, alas ! 
And aye the saut tear bbus her ee; 


Drumossir iiiuir, Drumossie day, 
A waefii' day it was to me ; 

For there I lost my father dear, 
My lather dear, and brethren three. 

Their winding-sheet the bluidy clay, 

Their graves are growing green to see ; 
And by them lies the dearest lad 

That ever blest a woman's ee ! 
Now wae to thee, thou cruel lord, 

A bluidy man I trow thou be ; 
Tor monie a heart thou hast made sair, 

That ne'er did wranu' to thine or thee. 

Tune — " The Death of the Linnet:' 

But lately seen in gladsome green 

The W'oods rejoic'd the day, 
Thro' gentle showers the laughing flowers 

In double pride were gay; 
But now our joys are fled. 

On winter blasts awa ! 
Yet maiden INIay, in rich array. 

Again shall bring them a'. 

But my wh'te pow, nae kindly thowe 

Shall melt the snaws of age ; 
My trunk of eild, but buss or bield, 

Sinks in time's wintry rage. 
Oh, age has weary days, 

And nights o' sleepless pain ! 
Thou golden time o' youthfu' prime. 

Why com'st thou not again ? 


The wind blew hollow frae the hills. 

By fits the sun's departing beam 
Look'd on the fading yellow woods 

That wav'd o'er Lugar's winding stream; 
Beneath a craigy steep, a Bard, 

Laden with years and meikle pain. 
In loud lament bewail'd his lord, 

"Whom death had all untimely taen. 
2 K 


He lean'd him on au ancient aik, 

Whose trunk was mould'ring down with years j 
His locks were bleached white wi' time. 

His hoary cheek was wet wi' tears; 
And as l:o touch'd his trembling harp, 

And as he tun'd his doleful sang, 
The winds, lamenting thro' their caves, 

To echo bore the notes alang. 

"Ye scatter'd birds that faintly sing. 

The reliques of the vernal quire ! 
Ye woods that shed on a' the winds 

The honours of the aged year! 
A few short months, and glad and gay, 

Again ye'U charm the ear and ee; 
But nocht in all revolving time 

Can gladness bring again to me. 

" I am a bending aghd tree, 

That long has stood the wind and rainj 
But now has come a cruel blast. 

And my last hold of earth is gane: 
Nae leaf o' mine shall greet the spring, 

Nae simmer sun exalt my bloom; 
But I maun lie before the storm. 

And ithers plant them in my room. 

"I've seen sae mony changefu' years. 

On earth I am a stranger grown; 
I wander in the ways of men. 

Alike unknowing and unknown : 
Unheard, unpitied, unreliev'd, 

I bear alane my lade o' care. 
For silent, low, on beds of dust, 

Lie a' that would mv sorrows share. 

"And last (the sum of a' my griefs), 
My noble master lies in clay ! 

The flow'r amang our barons bold. 

His country's pride, his country's stay: 


In weary being now I pine. 

For a' the life of life is dead, 
And hope has left my aged ken. 

On forward wing for ever fled. 

** Awake thy last sad voice, my harp! 

The voice of woe and wild despair ! 
Awake, resound thy latest lay, 

Then sleep in silence evermair ! 
And thou my last, best, only friend, 

That fillest an untimely tomb. 
Accept this tribute from the Bard 

Thou brought from fortune's mirkest doom. 

"In Poverty's low barren vale, 

Thick mists, obscure, involv'd me round; 
Though oft I turn'd the wistful eye, 

No ray of fame was to be found : 
Tliou found'st me, like che morning sun 

That melts the fogs in limpid air; 
The friendless Bard, and rustic song. 

Became alike thy fostering care. 

*'0! why has worth so short a date? 

While villains ripen grey with time! 
Must thou, the noble, gen'rous, great, 

FaU in bold manhood's hardy prime? 
Why did I live to see that day? 

A day to me so full of woe ? 
O ! had I met the mortal shaft 

Which laid my benefactor low! 

"The bridegroom may forget the bride 

Was made his wedded wife yestreen; 
The monarch may forget the crown 

That on his head an hour has been ; 
The mother may forget the child 

That smiles sae sweetly on her knee; 
But I'll remember thee, Glencairn, 

And a' that thou hast done for me!" 


Tune—" The blathrie o'ty 

I GAED a waefu' gate yestreen, 

A gate, I leaf, I'll dearly rue; 
I gat my death frae twa sweet een, 

Twa lovely een o' bonnie blue. 
'Twas not her golden ringlets bright. 

Her lips like roses wat \vi' dew, 
Her heaving bosom lily-white ; 

It was her een sae bonnie blue. 

She talk'd, she smil'd, my heart she wyl'd, 

She charm'd my soul I wistna how ; 
And aye the stound, the deadly wound, 

Cam frae her een sae bonnie blue. 
But spare to speak, and spare to speed ; 

She'll aiblins listen to my vow : 
Should she refuse, I'll lay my dead 

To her twa een sae boimie blue. 


Tune — " CcC the yoioes to the hwwes.''^ 

Hark ! the mavis' evening sang, 
Sounding Clouden's woods amang, 
Then a faulding let us gang, 
My bonnie dearie. 

"We'll gae down by Clouden side, 
Through tlie hazels spreading wide, 
O'er the waves that sweetly glide 
To the moon sae clearly. 

u/i'ja*^ »- ' -■' .i:- ■ 

We'll ^ae down by Clouden side. 
Througb the hazels spreading wide 


Yonder Clouden's silent towers, 
Where at moonshine midnight hours. 
O'er the dewy-bending flowers, 
Fairies dance sae cheery. 

Ghaist nor bogb shalt thou fear; 
Thou'rt to love and heaven sae dear, 
Nocht of ill may come thee near, 
My bonuie dearie. 

Fair and lovely as thou art. 
Thou hast stown my very heart; 
I can die — but canna part — 
j\Iy bonnie dearie. 

While waters wimple to the sea; 
While day blinks in the lift sae hie; 
Till clay-cauld death shall blin' my ee, 
■ Ye shall be my dearie. 


Ca' the yowes to the knowes, 
Ca' them where the heather grows,. 
Ca' them where the burnie rows, 
My bonnie dearie. 


Here's a health to them that's awa. 

Here's a health to them that's awa; 

And wha winna wish good luck to our cause, 

May never guid luck be their fa' '. 

It's guid to be merry and wise. 

It's guid to be honest and true, 

It's guid to support Caledonia's cause. 

And bide by the buff and the blue. 


Here's a health to them that's awa, 

Here's a health to them that's awa ; 

Here's a health to Charlie, the chief o' the clan, 

Altho' that his band be but sma'. 

May liberty meet wi' success ! 

May prudence protect her frae evil ! 

May tyrants and tyranny tine in the mist. 

And wander their way to the devil! 

Here's a health to them that's awa, 

Here's a health to them that's awa ; 

Here's a health to Tammie, the Norland laddie, 

That lives at the lug o' the law ! 

Here's freedom to him that wad read, 

Here's freedom to him that wad write! 

There's nane ever fear'd that the truth should be heard, 

But they wham the truth wad indite. 

Here's a health to them that's awa, 

Here's a health to them that's awa, 

Here's chieftain M'Leod, a chieftain worth gowd, 

Tho' bred amang mountains o' snaw ! 

Here's a health to them that's awa, 

Here's a health to them that's awa; 

And wha winna wish guid luck to our cause, 

May never good luck be their fa'! 

Tune—" Blue Bonnets." 

Powers celestial, whose protection 

Ever guards the virtuous fair, 
"While in distant climes 1 wander. 

Let my Mary be your care : 
Let her form sae fair and faultless, 

Fair and faultless as your own ; 
Let my Mary's kindred spirit 

Draw your choicest influence down. 


Make the gales you waft around her 

Soft and peaceful as her breast ; 
Breathing in the breeze that fans her, 

Soothe her bosom into rest : 
Guardian angels, protect her. 

When in distant lands I roam; 
To realms unknown while fate exiles me^ 

Make her bosom still my home. 

Tone—" Deil tak the Wars." 

Mark yonder pomp of costly fashion. 

Round the wealthy, titled bride : 
But when compar'd with real passion, 

Poor is all that princely pride. 

What are the showy treasures ? 

What are the noisy pleasures ? 
The gay, gaudy glare of vanity and art : 

The polish'd jewel's blaze 

May draw the wond'ring gaze, 

And courtly grandeur bright 

The fancy may delight. 
But never, never, can come near the heart. 

But did you see my dearest Chloris, 

In simplicity's array ; 
Lovely as yonder sweet opening flower i^ 

Shrinking from the gaze of day. 

then, the heart alarming, 

And all resistless charming. 
In love's delightful fetters she chains the willing soul! 

Ambition would disown 

The world's imperial crown ; 

Even Avarice would deny 

His worshipp'd deity, 
And feel thro' every vein love's raptures roll 



Thou, the first, the greatest friend 

Of all the human race! 
Whose strong right hand has ever been 

Their stay and dwelling-place ! 

Before the mountains heav'd their heads 

Beneath thy forming hand ; 
Before this ponderous globe itseK 

Arose at thy command ; 

That pow'r which rais'd and still upholds 

This universal frame, 
From countless, unbeginning time 

Was ever still the same. 

Those mighty periods of years 

Which seem to us so vast, 
Appear no more before thy sight 

Than yesterday that's past. 

Thou giv'st the word : Thy creature, man^ 

Is to existence brought ; 
Again thou say'st, "Ye sons of men, 

Eeturn ye into nought I" 

DELIA. 321 

Thou layest them, with all their cares. 

In everlasting sleep ; 
As with a flood thou tak'st them off 

With overwhelming sweep. 

They flourish like the morning flow'r. 

In beauty's pride array'd ; 
But long ere night, cut down, it lies 

All wither'd and decay'd. 



1 AIR the face of orient day, 
Fair the tints of op'ning rose; 

But fairer still my Delia dawns, 
More lovely far her beauty blows. 

Sweet the lark's wdld-warbled lay, 
Sweet the tinkling rill to hear; 

But, Delia, more delightful still 
Steal thine accents on mine ear. 

The flower-enamoured busy bee 
The rosy banquet loves to sip ; 

Sweet the streamlet's limpid lapse 
To the sun-brown'd Arab's lip. 

But, Delia, on thy balmy lips 
Let me, no vagrant insect, rove! 

let me steal one liquid kiss. 

For oh ' my soul is parched with love. 



Is there, for honest poverty, 

That hangs his head, and a' that? 
The coward-slave, we pass him by. 
We dare be poor for a' that ! 
For a' that, and a' that, 

Our toils obscnre, and a' that ; 
The rank is but the guinea stamp; 
The man's the gowd for a' that. 

"VVliat tho' on hamely fare we dine, 

Wear hodden grey, and a' that; 
Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine, 
A man's a man for a' that. 
For a' that, and a' that. 

Their tinsel show, and a' that; 
The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor. 
Is kino; o' men for a' that. 

Ye see yon birkie ca'd a lord, 

Wha struts, and stares, and a' that; 
Tho' hundreds worship at his word, 
He's but a coof for a' that: 
For a' that, and a' that. 

His riband, star, and a' that, 
The man of independent mind, 
He looks and laughs at a' that. 

A prince can mak a belted knight, 

A marquis, duke, and a' that; 
But an honest man's aboon his might, 
Guid faith he maunna fa' that: 
For a' that, and a' that. 

Their dignities, and a' that; 
The pith o' sense, and pride o' worth. 
Are higher rank than a' that. 


Then let us pray that come it may, 

As come it will for a' that ; 
That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth. 
May bear the gree, and a' that. 
For a' that, and a' that, 

It's coming yet for a' that, 
That man to man, the warld o'er, 
ShaU brothers be for a' that. 


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 kiue. 
And ae bonnie lassie, his darling and mine. 

She's fresh as the morning, the fairest in May; 
She's sweet as the ev'ning amang the new hay; 
As bHthe and as artless as the lamb on the lea, 
And dear to my heart as the light to my ee. 

But oh ! she's an heiress, auld Robin's a laird, 

And my daddie has nought but a cot-house and yard; 

A wooer like me maunna hope to come speed. 

The wounds I must hide that wiU soon be my dead. 

The day comes to me, but delight brings me nane; 
The night comes to me, but my rest it is gane: 
I wander my lane, like a night- troubled ghaist. 
And I sigh as my heart it wad burst in my breast. 

had she but been of a lower degree, 

1 then might hae hop'd she wad smil'd upon me; 
how past describing wad then been my bliss, 
As now my distraction no words can express! 


Tune — " Fll ccC nae rnau- at yon town." 

I'll aye ca' in by yon town, 

And by yon garden green again ; 

I'll aye ca' in by yon town, 
And see my bonnie Jean again. 

There's nane saU ken, there's nane sail guess, 
What brings me back the gate again, 

But she, my fairest faithfu' lass, 
And stowlins we sail meet again. 

She'U wander by the aiken tree 

When trystin-time draws near again ; 

And when her lovely form I see, 
O haith, she's doubly dear again! 


I dheam'd I lay where flowers were springing 

Gaily in the sunny beam; 
List'ning to the wild birds singing, 

By a falling, crystal stream: 
Straight the sky grew black and daring; 

Thro' the woods the whirlwinds rave; 
Trees with aged arms were warring 

O'er the swelling, drumlie wave. 
Such was my life's deceitful morning, 

Such the pleasures I enjoy'd ; 
But lang or noon, loud tempests storming 

A' my flowery bliss destroy'd. 
Tho' fickle fortune has deceived me. 

She promis'd fair, and performed but ill; 
Of monie a joy and hope bereav'd me, 

I bear a heart shall support me stiQ. 


Tune — " Oran an Aoig." 

Scene. — A field of battle. Time of the day — Evening. The wounded and dying of the 
victorious army are supposed to join in the following song. 

Farewell, thou fair day, thou green earth, and ye skies. 

Now gay with the bright setting sun ! 
Farewell, loves and friendships, ye dear tender ties, 

Our race of existence is run ! 


Thou grim King of terrors, thou life's gloomy foe. 

Go, frighten the coward and slave ! 
Go, teach them to tremble, fell tyrant ! but know. 

No terrors hast thou for the brave! 

Thou strik'st the dull peasant — he sinks in the dark. 

Nor saves e'en the wreck of a name : 
Thou strik'st the young hero — a glorious mark ! 

He falls in the blaze of his fame! 

In the field of proud honour — our swords in our hands. 

Our king and our country to save — 
While victory shines on life's last ebbing sands, 

1 who would not rest with the brave ? 

Tune — ^'■Neil Cow's Lamentation for Abercairny.'' 

Where, braving angry winter's storms, 

The lofty Ochils rise. 
Far in their shade my Peggy's charms 

First blest my wondering eyes. 
As one who, by some savage stream, 

A lonely gem surveys, 
Astonish'd doubly, marks its beam 

With art's most polish'd blaze. 

Blest be the wild, sequester'd shade, 

And blest the day and hour. 
Where Peggy's charms I first survey'd, 

AVhen first I felt their pow'r! 
The tyrant death with grim control 

May seize my fleeting breath ; 
But tearing Peggy from my soul 

Must be a stronger death. 


Tune — " The King of France, he rude a race." 

Amang the trees where humming bees 

At buds and flowers were hinging, 0, 
Auld Caledon drew out her drone, 

And to her pipe was singing, ; 
'Twas pibroch, sang, strathspey, or reels, 

She dirl'd them aff fu' clearly, 0, 
When there cam a yell o' foreign squeels. 

That dang her tapsalteerie, O. 

Their capon craws and queer ha ha's. 

They made our lugs grow eerie, ; 
The hungry bike did scrape and pike 

Till we were wae and weary, 0. 
But a royal [^haist wha ance was cas'd 

A prisoner aughteen year awa. 
He fir'd a fiddler in the north 

That dang them tapsalteerie, 0. 



Tune — " The Cameronian Rant." 

"0 CAM ye here the fight to shun. 
Or herd the sheep wi' me, man? 
Or were you at the Sherra-muir, 
And did the battle see, man?" 
I saw the battle, sair and teugh, 
And reeking-red ran monie a sheugh, 
My heart, for fear, gae sough for sough. 
To hear the thuds, and see the cluds, 
0' clans frae woods, in tartan duds, 
Wha glaum'd at kingdoms three, man. 


The red-coat lads, \vi' black cockades, 
To meet them M^erena slaw, man ; 

They rush'd and push'd, and blude outgush'd. 
And monie a bouk did fa', man : 

And great Argyle led on his files, 

I wat they glanced twenty miles : 

Tliey hack'd and hash'd, while broad-swords clash "d 

And thro' they dash'd, and hew'd and smash'd, 
Till fey men died awa, man. 

But had you seen the philibegs, 

And skyrin tartan trews, man, 
"VMien in the teeth they dar'd our whigs. 

And Covenant true blues, man; 
In lines extended lang and large. 
When bayonets oppos'd the targe, 
And thousands hasten'd to the charge, 
Wi' Highland wrath they frae the sheath 
Drew blades o' death, till, out of breath, 

They fled like frighted doos, man. 

" how deil, Tam, can that be true ? 

The chase gaed frae the north, man: 
I saw mysel, they did pursue 

The horsemen back to Forth, man; 
And at Dumblane, in my ain sight. 
They took the brig wi' a' their might, 
And straught to Stirling wing'd their flight; 
But, cursed lot! the gates were shut, 
And monie a huntit, poor red-coat. 

For fear amaist did swarf, man." 

My sister Kate cam up the gate 

Wi' crowdie unto me, man ; 
She swore she saw some rebels run 

Frae Perth unto Dundee, man : 
Their left-hand general had nae skill. 
The Angus lads had nae guid-will. 
That day, their neebors' blood to spill; 
For fear, by foes, that they should lose 
Their cogs o' brose; all crying woes. 

And so it goes, you see, man. 


They've lost some gallant gentlemen 

Amang the Highland clans, man; 
I fear my loiii Panmure is slain. 

Or fallen in whiggish hands, man : 
Now wad ye sing this double fight. 
Some fell for wrang, and some for right; 
But monie bade the world guid-night ; 
Then ye may tell, how pell and mell, 
By red claymores, and muskets' knell, 
Wi' dying yell, the tories fell, 

And whigs straught afl" did flee, man. 


Tune — " Greggijs Pipes.''* 

My lord a hunting he is gane. 

But hounds or hawks wi' him are nane. 

By Colin's cottage lies his game. 

If Colin's Jenny be at hame. 

My lady's white, my lady's red. 
And kith and kin o' Cassillis' blude, 
But her ten-pund lands o' tocher guid, 
Were a' the charms his lordship lo'ed. 

Out o'er yon muir, out o'er yon moss, 
Where gor-cocks thro' the heather pass, 
There wons auld Colin's bonnie lass, 
A lily in a wilderness! 

Sae sweetly move her genty limbs. 

Like music notes o' lover's hymns: 

The diamond dew in her een sae blue. 

Where laughing love sae wanton swims. 
2 T 

330 JESSY. 

IVfy lady's dink, my lady's drest, 
The flower and fancy o' the west; 
But the lassie that a man lo'es best, 
that's the lass to make him blest. 


^ly lady's gown there's gairs upon't 
And gowden flowers sae rare upon't; 
But Jenny's jimps and jirkinet, 
My lord thinks meikle mair upon't. 

Tune — " Here's a health to them that's awa, Hiney.^ 

Although thou maun never be mine, 

Although even hope is denied : 
'Tis sweeter for thee despairing, 

Than aught in the world beside — Jessy! 

I mourn through the gay, gaudy day, 
As, hopeless, I muse on thy charms: 

But welcome the dream o' sweet slumber. 
For then I am lock't in thy arms — Jessy! 

I guess by the dear angel smile, 

I guess by the love-rolling ee ; 
But why urge the tender confession, 

'Gainst fortune's fell cruel decree — Jessy I 


Here's a health to ane I loe dear! 

Here's a health to ane I loe dear! 
Thou art sweet as the smile when fond lovers meet, 

And soft as their parting tear — Jessy! 



'^NK — '' There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame^ 

Now in her green mantle blithe nature arrays, 
And listens the lambkins that bleat o'er the braes, 
While birds warble welcomes in ilka green shaw ; 
Bat to me it's delightless — my Nannie's awa. 

The snaw-drap and primrose our woodlands adorn, 
And violets bathe in the weet o' the morn: 
They pain my sad bosom, sae sweetly they blaw. 
They mind me o' Nannie — and Nannie's awa. 

Thou laverock that springs frae the dews o' the lawn, 
The shepherd to warn o' the grey-breaking dawn, 
And thou, mellow mavis, that hails the night-fa', 
Gie over for pity — my Nannie's awa. 

Come, autumn, sae pensive, in yellow and grey, 
And soothe me wi' tidins o' nature's decay ; 
The dark, dreary winter, and wild-driving snaw. 
Alone can delight me — now Nannie's awa. 

Tune — " / had a Horse, I had nae mair.^* 

When first I cam to Stewart Kyle, 

My mind it was nae steady. 
Where'er I gaed, where'er I rade, 

A mistress still I had aye : 

But when I cam roun' by Mauchline town, 

Not dreadin' onie body. 
My heart was caught, before I thought. 

And by a Mauchline lady. 


Tune—" The Birks of Aherfeldyr 

Now simmer blinks on flowery braes, 
And o'er the crystal streamlet plays, 
Come let us spend the lightsome days 
In the birks of Aberfeldy. 

TO MARY, 333 

While o'er their heads the hazels hing. 
The little birdies blithely sing, 
Or lightly flit on wanton wing 
In the birks of Aberfeldy. 

The braes ascend like lofty wa's, 
The foaming stream deep-roaring fa's, 
O'er-hung wi' fragrant spreading shaws, 
The birks of Aberfeldy. 

The hoary cliffs are crowned wi' flowers, 
White o'er the linns the burnie pours. 
And rising, weets wi' misty showers 
The birks of Aberfeldy. 

Let fortune's gifts at random flee, 
They ne'er shall draw a wish frae me, 
Supremely blest wi' love and thee, 
In the birks of Aberfeldy. 


Bonnie lassie, will ye go, 

Will ye go, will ye go, 
Bonnie lassie, will ye go. 

To the birks of Aberfeldy? 


Tone — " Could aught of Song. '^ 

Could aught of song declare my pains, 
Could artful numbers move thee. 

The muse should tell, in labour'd strains, 
O Mary, how I love thee ! 

They who but feign a wounded heart 
May teach the lyre to languish ; 

But what avails the pride of art, 

When wastes the soul with aneruish? 


Then let the sudden bursting sigh 
The heart-felt pang discover; 

And in the keen, yet tender eye, 
read th' imploring lover ! 

For well I know thy gentle mind 
Disdains art's gay disguising; 

Beyond what fancy e'er refin'd, 
The voice of nature prizing. 


She's fair and fause that causes my smart, 

I lo'ed her meikle and lang ; 
She's broken her vow, she's broken my heart 

And I may e'en gae hang. 
A coof cam in wi' rowth o' gear, 
And I hae tint my dearest dear ; 
But woman is but warld's gear, 

Sae let the bonnie lass gang. 

Wliae'er ye be that woman love, 

To this be never blind, 
Nae ferlie 'tis tho' fickle she prove, 

A woman has't by kind : 
O woman lovely, woman fair ! 
An angel form's faun to thy share, 
'Twad been o'er meikle to gien thee mair, 

I mean an angel mind. 


First when IMaggy was my care, 
Heav'n, I thought, was in her air ; 
Now we're married— spier nae mair- 
Wliistle o'er the lave o't. 


Meg was meek, and Meg was mild, 
Bonnie Meg was nature's child — 
Wiser men than me's beguil'd; 
Whistle o'er the lave o't. 

How we live, my Meg and me. 
How we love, and how we 'gree, 
I carena by how few may see; 
Whistle o'er the lave o't. 

Wha I wish were maggot's meat, 
Dish'd up in her winding sheet, 
I could write — but Meg maun see't— 
Whistle o'er the lave o't. 




Here awa, there awa, wandering Willie, 
Here awa, there awa, baud awa hame; 

Come to my bosom, my ain only dearie. 

Tell me thou bring' st me my WiUie the same. 

Winter winds blew loud and cauld at our parting, 
Fears for my Willie brought tears in my ee ; 

Welcome now simmer, and welcome my Willie, 
The simmer to nature, my WiUie to me ! 

Rest, ye wild storms, in the cave of your slumbers; 

How your dread howling a lover alarms ! 
Wauken, ye breezes, row gently, ye billows, 

And waft my dear laddie ance mair to my arms. 

But oh, if he's faithless and minds na liis Nannie, 
Flow still between us, thou wide roaring main ; 

May I never see it, may I never trow it, 
But, dying, believe that my Willie's my ain. 



Tune — " Yere welcome, Charlie Stewart." 

The flower it blaws, it fades, it fa's, 

And art can ne'er renew it; 
But worth and truth eternal youth 

Will gie to Polly Stewart. 

:May he, whase arms shall fauld thy charms. 

Possess a leal and true heart; 
To him be given to ken the heaven 

He grasps in Polly Stewart. 


lovely Polly Stewart, 

charming Polly Stewart, 
There's ne'er a flower that blooms in May, 

That's half so fair as thou art. 


O May, thy morn was ne'er sae sweet, 
As the mirk niglit o' December; 

For sparkling was the rosy wine. 
And private was the chamber: 

And dear was she I darena name, 
But I will aye remember. 
And dear, &c. 


And here's to them, that, like oursel. 
Can push about the jorum ; 

And here's to them that wish us weel. 
May a' that's guid watch o'er them; 

And here's to them we darena tell, 
The dearest o' the quorum. 
And here's to, &c. 


Tune — ^^ Logan Water.'''' 

Logan, sweetly didst thou glide, 
That day I was my Willie's bride; 
And years sinsyne hae o'er us run. 
Like Logan in the simmer sun. 
But now thy flow'ry banks appear 
Like drumlie winter, dark and drear. 
While my dear lad maun face his faes, 
Far, far frae me and Logan braes. 


Again the merry month o' May 

Has made our hills and valleys gay ; 

The birds rejoice in leafy bowers, 

The bees hum round the breathing flowers: 

Blithe morning lifts his rosy eye, 

And ev'ning's tears are tears of joy: 

My soul, delightless, a' surveys. 

While Willie's far frae Logan braes. 

Within yon milk-white hawthorn bush, 
Amang her nestlings, sits the thrush; 
Her faithfu' mate will share her toil, 
Or wi' his song her cares beguile: 
But I, wi' my sweet nurslings here, 
Nae mate to help, nae mate to cheer. 
Pass widow'd nights and joyless days, 
While Willie's far frae Logan braes. 

O wae upon you, men o' state, 
That brethren rouse to deadly hate ! 
As ye mak monie a fond heart mourn, 
Sae may it on your heads return ! 
How can your flinty hearts enjoy. 
The widow's tears, the orphan's cry ? 
But soon may peace bring happy days. 
And Willie hame to Logan braes ! 


Tune — " There are few guid fellows when Jamie's awa." 

By yon castle wa', at the close o' the day, 
1 heard a man sing, though his head it was grey: 
And as he was singing, the tears fast down came — 
There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame. 


The church is in ruins, the state is in jars, 
Delusions, oppressions, and murderous wars ; 
We darena weel say't, but we ken wha's to blame — 
There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame. 

My seven braw sons for Jamie drew sword, 
And now I greet round their green beds in the yerd; 
It brak the sweet heart o' my faithfu' auld dame — 
There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame. 

Now life is a burden that bows me down, 
Sin' I tint my bairns, and he tint his crown ; 
But till my last moment my words are the same— 
There'll never be peace till Jamie comes hame ! 


Go fetch to me a pint of wine, 

And fill it in a silver tassie; 
That I may drink before I go, 

A service to my bonnie lassie. 
The boat rocks at the pier o' Leith, 

Fu' loud the wind blaws frae the ferry j 
The ship rides by the Berwick-law, 

And I maun leave my bonnie Mary. 

The trumpets sound, the banners fly. 

The glittering spears are ranked ready; 
The shouts o' war are heard afar, 

The battle closes thick and bloody; 
But it's no the roar o' sea or shore 

Wad make me langer wish to tarry ; 
Nor shout o' war that's heard afar — 

It's leaving thee, my bonnie Mary. 



Tune — -The Highland Watches Farewell."' 

My heart is sair, I darena tell, 

My heart is sair for somebody ; 
J could wake a winter night, 
For the sake o' somebody! 
Oh-hon ! for somebody ! 
Oh-hey ! for somebody ! 
I could range the world around, 
For the sake o' somebody. 

Ye powers that smile on virtuous love, 

O sweetly smile on somebody ! 
Frae ilka danger keep him free, 
And send me safe my somebody. 
Oh-hon ! for somebody ! 
Oh-hey ! for somebody ! 
I wad do — what wad I not? 
For tlie sake o' somebody .' 


Tune — ''Roslin Castle.'' 

The gloomy night is gath'ring fast, 
Loud roars the wild inconstant blast. 
Yon nuirky cloud is foul with rain, 
I see it driving o'er the plain. 
The hunter now has left the moor. 
The scatter'd coveys meet secure, 
While here I wander, prest with care. 
Along the lonely banks of A}t. 

^; . :.\ 

'Tis not the surging biilow's roar, 
'Ti3 not that I'atal deadly shore. 


The Autumn mourns her rip'ning com 
By early Winter's ravage torn ; 
Across her placid, azure sky, 
She sees the scowling tempest fly : 
Chill runs my blood to hear it rave, 
I. think upon the stormy wave. 
Where many a danger I must dare, 
Far from the bonnie banks of Ayr. 

'Tis not the surging billow's roar, 
'Tis not that fatal, deadly shore ; 
Though death in ev'ry shape appear, 
The wretched have no more to fear! 
But round my heart the ties are bound, 
That heart transpierc'd with many a wound : 
These bleed afresh, those ties I tear. 
To leave the bonnie banks of Ayr. 

Farewell, old Coila's hills and dales. 
Her heathy moors and winding vales ; 
The scenes where wretched fancy roves. 
Pursuing past, unhappy loves ! 
Farewell, my friends ! Farewell, my foes \ 
My peace with these, my love with those. 
The bursting tears my heart declare; 
Farewell, the bonnie banks of Ayr! 


Tune—" The Lads of Saltcoats." 

Bonnie wee thing, cannie wee thing. 

Lovely wee thing, wert thou mine, 
I wad wear thee in my bosom, 

Lest my jewel I should tine. 
WistfuUy I look and languish 

In that bonnie face o' thine ; 
And my heart it stounds wi' anguish, 

Lest my wee thing be na mine. 


Wit, and grace, and love, and beauty. 

In ae constellation shine ; 
To adore thee is my duty, 

Goddess o' this soul o' mine! 
Bonnie wee thing, cannie wee thing, 

Lovely wee thing, wert thou mine, 
I wad wear thee in my bosom, 

Lest my jewel I should tine. 

Tdnp: — " Jolui, come kiss me now." 

In simmer when the hay was mawn. 
And corn wav'd green in ilka field, 

While claver blooms white o'er the lea. 
And roses blaw in ilka bield ; 

Blithe Bessie in the milking shiel. 

Says, "I'll be wed, come o't what wiU;' 

Out spak a dame in wrinkled eild — 

" ' guid advisement comes nae ill. 

"It's ye have wooers monie a ane. 

And, lassie, ye're • but young, ye ken : 
Then wait a wee, and cannie wale 

A routine butt, a routine ben : 
There's Johnnie o' the Buskie-glen, 

Eu' is his barn, fu' is his byre ; 
Tak this frae me, my bonnie hen. 

It's plenty beets the lover's fire." 

"For Johnnie o' the Buskie-glen 

I dinna care a single flie ; 
He lo'es sae weel his craps and kye. 

He has nae love to spare for me : 
But blithe's the blink o' Eobie's ee. 

And weel I wat he lo'es me dear: 
Ae blink o' him I w^adna gie 

Eor Buskie-glen and a' his gear." 


•• thoughtless lassie, life's a faught ! 

The canniest gate, the strife is sair; 
But aye fu' han't is fechtin best, 

A hungry care's an unco care : 
But some will spend, and some will spare. 

An' wilfu' folk maun hae their will; 
Syne as ye brew, my maiden fair, 

Keep mind that ye maun xlrink the yilL" 

"0, gear will buy me rigs o' land. 

And gear will buy me sheep and kye; 
But the tender heart o' leesome love 

The gowd and silver canna buy : 
We may be poor — Robie and I — 

Light is the burden love lays on ; 
Content and love brings peace and joy. 

What mair hae queens upon a throne ?" 


The De'il cam fiddling thro' the town, 
And danc'd awa wi' the Exciseman; 

And ilka wife cry'd, ''Auld Mahoun, 

We wish you luck o' your prize, man. ' 

"There's threesome reels, and foursome reels. 
There's hornpipes and strathspeys, man ; 

But the ae best dance e'er cam to our Ian', 
Was — the Deil's awa wi' the Exciseman." 


*' We'll mak our maut, and brew our drink, 
We'll dance, and sing, and rejoice, man ; 

And monie thanks to the muckle black De'il 
Tliat danc'd awa wi' the Exciseman. 


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, the wooing o't ; 

Meg was deaf as Ailsa Craig, 

Ha, lia, the wooing o't. 


Duncan sigh'd baith out and in, 
Grat his een baith bleer't and bhn', 
Spak o' lowpin o'er a linn ; 

Ha, ha, the wooing o't. 

Time and chance are but a tide, 

Ha, ha, the wooing o't ; 

Slighted love is sair to bide, 

Ha, ha, the wooing o't. 

Shall I, Hke a fool, quoth he, 

For a haughty hizzie die ? 

She may gae to — France for me! 

Ha, ha, the wooing o't. 

How it comes let doctors teU, 

Ha, ha, the wooing o't, 
Meg grew sick — as he grew well. 

Ha, ha, the wooing o't. 
Something in her bosom wrings, 
For relief a sigh she brings ; 
And 0, her een, they spak sic things ! 

Ha, ha, the wooing o't. 

Duncan was a lad o' grace, 

Ha, ha, the wooing o't; 
Maggie's was a piteous case, 

Ha, ha, the wooing o't. 
Duncan couldna be her death, 
Swelling pity smoor'd his wrath ; 
Now they're crouse and cantie baith ! 

Ha, ha, the wooing o't. 




Tune — ^'^ Balinamona Oro." 

AWA wi' your witchcraft o' beauty's alarms, 
The slender bit beauty you grasp in your arms: 
0, gie me the lass that has acres o' charms, 
0' gie me the lass wi' the weel-stockit farms. 

Your beauty's a flower in the morning that blows. 
And withers the faster, the faster it grows ; 
But the rapturous charm o' the bonnie green knowes, 
Ilk spring they're new deckit wi' bonnie white yowes. 

And e'en when this beauty your bosom has bless'd. 
The brightest o' beauty may cloy, when possess'd; 
But the sweet yellow darlings wi' Geordie impress' d. 
The langer ye hae them — ^the mair they're cares-s'd 


Then hey for a lass wi' g, tocheP;. 
Then hey for a lass wi' a tocher, 
Then hey for a lass wi' a tocher ; 
The nice yellow guineas for me. 

Tune—" The Weaver and his Shuttle, 0." 

My father was a farmer upon the Carrick border, 0, 

And carefully he bred me in decency and order, 0; 

•le bade me act a manly part, though I had ne'er a farthing, 0; 

P'or without an honest manly heart, no man was worth recrarding, 0. 


Then out into the world my course I did determine, 0, 
Tho' to be rich was not my wish, yet to be great was charming, 0; 
My talents they were not the worst, nor yet my education, ; 
Eesolv'd was I, at least to try, to mend my situation, 0. 

In many a way, and vain essay, I courted fortune's favour, O ; 
Some cause unseen still stept between, to frustrate each endeavour, : 
Sometimes by foes I was o'erpower'd, sometimes by friends forsaken, 0, 
And when my hope was at the top, I still was worst mistaken, O. 

Then sore harass'd, and tir'd at last, with fortune's vain delusion, 0, 
I dropt my schemes, like idle dreams, and came to this conclusion, ; 
The past was bad, and the future hid; its good or ill untried, 0; 
But the present hour was in my pow'r, and so I would enjoy it, 0. 

No help, nor hope, nor view had I, nor person to befriend me, 0; 
So I must toil, and sweat and broil, and labour to sustain me, 0: 
To plough and sow, to reap and mow, my father bred me early, 0; 
For one, he said, to labour bred, was a match for fortime fairly, 0. 

Thus all obscure, unknown, and poor, thro' life I'm doom'd to wander, 0, 
Till down my weary bones I lay in everlasting slumber, O. 
No view nor care, but shun whate'er might breed me pain or sorrow, 0; 
I live to-day as well's I may, regardless of to-morrow, 0. 

But cheerful still, I am as well as a monarch in a palace, 0, 

Tho' fortune's frown still hunts me down, with aU her wonted malice, 0; 

I make indeed my daily bread, but ne'er can mak it farther, O ; 

But as daily bread is all I need, I do not much regard her, 0. 

When sometimes by my labour I earn a little money, 0, 
Some unforeseen misfortune comes generally upon me, ; 
Mischance, mistake, or by neglect, or my good-natur'd folly, 0; 
But come what will, I've sworn it still, I'll ne'er be melancholy, 0. 

All you who follow wealth and power with unremitting ardour, 0, 
The more in this you look for bliss, you leave your view the farther, 0; 
Had you the wealth Potosi boasts, or nations to adore you, 0, 
A cheerful honest-hearted clown I will prefer before you, 0. 



Tune — ^^ Robin Adair.'' 

Had I a cave on some wild, distant shore, 
Where the winds howl to the waves' dashing roar. 

There would I weep my woes, 

There seek my lost repose, 

Till grief my eyes should close. 
Ne'er to wake more. 

Falsest of womankind, canst thou declare 
All thy fond plighted vows — fleeting as air? 

To thy new lover hie. 

Laugh o'er thy perjury. 

Then in thy bosom try 
What peace is there ! 


Ye gallants bright, I red you right. 

Beware o' bonnie Ann : 
Her comely face sae fu' o' grace. 

Your heart she will trepan. 
Her een sae bright, like stars by night, 

Her skin is like the swan ; 
Sae j imply lac'd her genty waist. 

That sweetly ye might span. 

Youth, grace, and love attendant move. 

And pleasure leads the van ; 
In a' their charms, and conquering arms. 

They wait on bonnie Ann. 
The captive bands may chain the hands. 

But love enslaves the man : 
Ye gallants braw, I red you a'. 

Beware o' bonnie Ann. 


Tune—" The Shepherd's Wife."" 

A KOSE-BUD "by my early walk, 
Adown a corn-inclosed bawk, 
Sae gently bent its thorny stalk, 
All on a dewy morning. 

Ere twice the shades o' dawn are fled, 
In a' its crimson glory spread, 
And drooping rich the dewy head, 
It scents the early morning. 

Within the bush, her covert nest 
A little linnet fondly prest ; 
The dew sat chilly on her breast 
Sae early in the morning. 


She soon shall see her tender brood. 
The pride, the pleasure o' the wood, 
Amang the fresh green leaves bedewed, 
Awake the early morning. 

So thou, dear bird, young Jeanie fair! 
On trembling string or vocal air. 
Shall sM^eetly pay the tender care 
That tents thy early morning. 

So thou, sweet rose-bud, young and gay. 
Shall beauteous blaze upon the day. 
And bless the parent's evening ray 
That watched thy early morning. 

Tone — " Laggan Burn.'''' 

Here's to thy health, my bonnie lass, 
Gude night, and joy be wi' thee ; 

I'll come nae mair to thy bower door, 
To teU thee that I lo'e thee. 

dinna think, my pretty pink, 
But I can live without thee; 

1 vow and swear I dinna care 
How lang ye look about ye. 

Thou'rt aye sae free informing me 

Thou hast nae mind to marry; 
I'll be as free informing thee 

Nae time hae I to tarry. 
I ken thy friends try ilka means, 

Frae wedlock to delay thee ; 
Depending on some higher chance — 

But fortune may betray thee. 


I ken they scorn my low estate, 

But that does never grieve me ; 
But I'm as free as any he, 

Sma' siller wiU relieve me. 
I count my health my greatest wealth, 

Sae lang as I'U enjoy it: 
rU fear nae scant, I'll bode nae want, 

As lang's I get employment. 

But far aff fowls hae feathers fair. 

And aye until ye try them, 
Tho' they seem fair, still have a care; 

They may prove waur than I am. 
But at twal at night, when the moon shines bright. 

My dear, I'll come and see thee; 
For the man that lo'es his mistress weel 

Nae travel makes him weary. 


Tune—" The Posie:' 

LUVE will venture in where it daurna weel be seen; 
luve wiU venture in where wisdom ance has been; 
But I wiU down yon river rove, amang the woods sae green, 
And a' to pu' a posie to my ain dear May. 

The primrose I wiU pu', the firstling o' the year. 
And I wiU pu' the pink, the emblem o' my dear; 
For she's the pink o' womankind, and blooms without a peer; 
And a' to be a posie to my ain dear May. 

I'll pu' the budding rose, when Phcebus peeps in view. 
For it's like a baumy kiss o' her sweet bonnie mou' ; 
The hyacinth's for constancy, wi' its unchanging blue; 
And a' to be a posie to my ain dear May. 


The lily it is pure, and the lily it is fair. 
And in her lovely bosom I'll place the lily there; 
The daisy's for simplicity and unaffected air; 
And a' to be a posie to my ain dear ^May. 

The hawthorn I will pu', wi' its locks o' siller grey, 
Where, like an aged man, it stands at break o' day; 
But the songster's nest within the bush I winna tak away; 
And a' to be a posie to my ain dear May. 

The woodbine I will pu' when the e'ening star is near, 
And the diamond draps o' dew shall be her een sae clear; 
The violet's for modesty, which weel she fa's to wear; 
And a' to be a posie to my ain dear May. 

I'll tie the posie round wi' the silken band o' luve. 
And I'll place it in her breast, and I'U swear by a' above, 
That to my latest draught o' life the band shall ne'er remove 
And this will be a posie to my ain dear May. 

Tune — ^^ Last time I cam o'er the muir." 

Young Peggy blooms our bonniest lass. 

Her blush is like the morning. 
The rosy dawn, the springing grass. 

With early gems adorning : 
Her eyes outshine the radiant beams 

That gild the passing shower. 
And glitter o'er the crystal streams. 

And cheer each fresh'ning flower. 

Her lips more than the cherries bright, 
A richer dye has grac'd them ; 

They charm th' admiring gazer's sight. 
And sweetly tempt to taste them: 


How pleasant the banks of the clear-winding Devon, 
With ^reen-spreadm^ bushes, and flowers blooming fair. 


Her smile is as the ev'ning mild, 

When feather'd pairs are courting, 
And little lambkins wanton wild, 

In playful bands disporting. 

Were Fortune lovely Peggy's foe, 

Such sweetness would relent her, 
As blooming Spring unbends the brow 

Of surly, savage Winter. 
Detraction's eye no aim can gain 

Her winning powers to lessen ; 
And fretful envy grins in vain, 

The poison'd tooth to fasten. 

Ye Pow'rs of Honour, Love, and TrutV 

From ev'ry ill defend her ; 
Inspire the highly favour'd youth 

The destinies intend her; 
Still fan the sweet connubial flame 

Responsive in each bosom ; 
And bless the dear parental name 

With many a filial blossom. 



How pleasant the banks of the clear-winding Devon, 
With green-spreading bushes, and flowers blooming fair ! 

But the bonniest flower on the banks of the Devon 
Was once a sweet bud on the braes of the Ayr. 

Mild be the sun on this sweet blushing flower. 

In the gay rosy morn as it bathes in the dew ! 

And gentle the fall of the soft vernal shower, 

That steals on the evening each leaf to renew. 

2 Y 


spare the dear blossom, ye orient breezes, 
With chiU hoary wing as ye usher the dawni 

And far be thou distant, thou reptile that seizes 
The verdure and pride of the garden and lawn I 

Let Bourbon exult in his gay gilded lilies, 

And England triumphant display her proud rose, 

A fairer than either adorns the green valleys 
Where Devon, sweet Devon, meandering flows. 


Tune — ^^ RotMemurchus' Rant.'' 

Now nature deeds the flowery lea, 
And a' is young and sweet like thee ; 
wilt thou share its joys wi' me, 
And say thou'lt be my dearie, ? 

And when the welcome simmer-shower 
Has cheer'd ilk drooping little flower, 
We'U to the breathing woodbine bower 
At sultry noon, my dearie, 0. 

When Cynthia lights, wi' silver ray. 
The weary shearer's hameward way, 
Thro' yellow waving fields we'll stray, 
And talk o' love, my dearie, 0. 

And when the howling wintry blast 
Disturbs my lassie's midnight rest ; 
Enclasped to my faithfu' breast, 
I'll comfort thee, my dearie, 0. 



Lassie wi' the lint-white locks, 
Bonnie lassie, artless lassie, 

Wilt thou wi' me tent the flocks ? 
Wilt thou be my dearie, 0? 


Tune — " My love is lost to me.'" 

O, WERE I on Parnassus' hill, 
Or had of Helicon my fill! 
That I might catch poetic skill, 

To sing how dear I love thee. 
But Nith maun be my Muse's weU, 
My Muse maun be thy bonnie sel' ; 
On Corsincon I'll glowr and spell. 

And write how dear I love thee. 

Then come, sweet Muse, inspire my lay! 
For a' the lee-lang simmer's day, 
I couldna sing, I couldna say, 

How much, dear love, I love thee. 
I see thee dancing o'er the green, 
Thy waist sae jimp, thy limbs sae clean. 
Thy tempting looks, thy roguish een — 

By heaven and earth I love thee ! 

By night, by day, a-field, at hame. 

The thoughts o' thee my breast inflame; 

And aye I muse and sing thy name — 

I only live to love thee. 
Tho' I were doom'd to wander on, 
Beyond the sea, beyond the sun, 
Till my last weary sand was run ; 

TiU then — and then — I'd love thee. 

im\\K f/li/j}^/^ K^/w/a ^t 


Tune — " Rothiemurchus' Rant.^^ 

Full well thou know'st I love thee, dear! 
Couldst thou to malice lend an ear? 
0, did not love exclaim, "Forbear, 
Nor use a faithful lover so?" 

Then come, thou fairest of the fair, 
Those wonted smiles, 0, let me share; 
And hy thy beauteous self I swear, 

No love but thine my heart shall know. 



Fairest maid on Devon banks, 
Crystal Devon, winding Devon, 

Wilt thou lay that frown aside. 

And smile as thou were wont to do? 


Tune — " Let me in this ae night." 

Lassie, art thou sleeping yet? 
Or art thou wakin', I would wit? 
For love has bound me hand and foot, 
And I would fain be in, jo. 

Thou hear'st the winter wind and weet, 
Nae star blinks through the driving sleet; 
Tak pity on my weary feet. 

And shield me frae the rain, jo. 

The bitter blast that round me blaws 
Unheeded howls, unheeded fa's; 
The cauldness o' thy heart's the cause 
Of a' my grief and pain, jo. 


let me in this ae night, 

This ae, ae, ae night; 
For pity's sake, this ae night, 

rise and let me in, jo ! 


TELL na me o' wind and rain. 
Upbraid na me wi' cauld disdain; 
Gae back the gait ye cam again — 
I winna let you in, jo! 


The snellest blast, at mirkest hours, 
That round the pathless wand'rer pours. 
Is nocht to what poor she endures. 
That's trusted faithless man, jo. 

The sweetest flower that deck'd the mead, 
Now trodden like the vilest weed ; 
Let simple maid the lesson read, 
The weird may be her ain, jo. 

The bird that charm'd his summer-day, 
Is now the cruel fowler's prey ; 
Let witless, trusting woman say 
How aft her fate's the same, jo! 


I tell you now this ae night, 

This ae, ae, ae night. 
And ance for a' this ae night, 

I winna let you in, jo ! 


Tune — 'TAe Auld Wife ayont the fire. 

Where Cart rins rowin' to the sea. 
By monie a flower and spreading tree, 
There lives a lad, the lad for me. 
He is a gallant weaver. 

0, I had wooers aught or nine, 
They gied me rings and ribbons fine ; 
And I was fear'd my heart would tine> 
And T gied it to the weaver. 


My daddie sign'd my tocher-band, 
To gie the lad that has the land; 
But to my heart I'll add my hand. 
And gie it to the weaver. 

AVhile birds rejoice in leafy bowers. 
While bees rejoice in opening flowers, 
While corn grows green in simmer showers, 
I'll love my gallant weaver. 

Tune — " Coming through the Rye.'" 

Coming through the rye, poor body. 

Coming through the rye, 
She draiglet a' her petticoatie, 

Coming through the rye. 
Jenny's a' wat, poor body, 

Jenny's seldom dry; 
She draiglet a' her petticoatie. 

Coming through the rye. 

Gin a body meet a body 

Coming through the rye; 
Gin a body kiss a body 

Need a body cry? 

Gin a body meet a body 
Coming through the glen; 

Gin a body kiss a body — 
Need the warld ken? 


Jenny's a' wat, poor body; 

Jenny's seldom dry; 
She draiglet a' her petticoatie, 

Coming through the rye. 

■^■'iP^A'ju'f^ •^^'_■'L; 


Tune — " Craigiebw-n Woody 

Sweet fa's the eve on Craigiebum. 

And blytlie awakes the morrow, 
But a' the pride o' spring's return 

Can yield me nocht but sorrow. 

I see the flowers and spreading trees, 
I hear the wild birds singing ; 

But what a weary wiglit can please, 
And care his bosom wrintrinti? 


Fain, fain would I my griefs impart. 

Yet darena for your anger; 
But secret love will break my heart, 

If I conceal it langer. 

If thou refuse to pity me. 

If thou shalt love anither, 
When yon green leaves fa' frae the tree, 

Around my grave they'll wither. 


The heather was blooming, the meadows were mawn. 
Our lads gaed a hunting, ae day at the dawn. 
O'er moors and o'er mosses and monie a glen. 
At length they discover'd a bonnie moor-hen. 

Sweet brushing the dew from the brown heather bells. 
Her colours betray'd her on yon mossy fells; 
Her plumage outlustred the pride o' the spring. 
And ! as she wantoned gay on the wing. 

Auld Phoebus liimsel', as he peep'd o'er the hill, 

In spite at her plumage he tried his skiU : 

He levell'd his rays where she bask'd on the brae— 

His rays were outshone, and but mark'd where she lay. 

They hunted the vaUey, they hunted the hill, 
The best of our lads wi' the best o' their skill; 
But still as the fairest she sat in their sight. 
Then, whirr! she was over, a mile at a flight. 


I red you beware at tlie hunting, young men; 
I red you beware at the hunting, young men; 
Tak some on the wing, and some as they spring, 
But cannily steal on a bonnie moor-hen. 


Tune — " Caledonian Hunt's Delight'" 

There was once a day, but old Time then was young, 

That brave Caledonia, the chief of her line, 
From some of your northern deities sprung : 

(Who knows not that brave Caledonia's divine ?) 
From Tweed to the Orcades was her domain, 

To hunt, or to pasture, or do what she would : 
Her heavenly relations there fixed her reign. 

And pledg'd her their godheads to warrant it good. 

A lambkin in peace, but a lion in war, 

The pride of . her kindred the heroine grew ; 
Her grandsire, old Odin, triumphantly swore, 

"Whoe'er shall provoke thee, th' encounter shall rue!" 
With tillage or pasture at times she would sport, 

To feed her fair flocks by her green rustling corn: 
But chiefly the woods were her fav'rite resort. 

Her darling amusement the hounds and the horn. 

Long quiet she reign'd ; till thitherward steers 

A flight of bold eagles from Adria's strand ; 
Repeated, successive, for many long years. 

They darken'd the air, and they plunder'd the land. 
Their pounces were murder, and terror their cry. 

They conquer'd and ruin'd a world beside ; 
She took to her hills, and her arrows let fly — 

The daring invaders they fled or they died. 

The fell Harpy-raven took wing from the north. 

The scourge of the seas, and the dread of the shore ; 
The wild Scandinavian boar issued forth 

To wanton in carnage, and wallow in gore : 
O'er countries and kingdoms their fury prevail'd, 

No arts could appease them, no arms could repel; 
But brave Caledonia in vain they assail'd. 

As Largs well can witness, and Luncartie tell. 


The Cameleon-savage distiirb'd her repose, 

With tumult, disquiet, rebellion, and strife; 
Provok'd beyond bearing, at last she arose. 

And robb'd him at once of his hopes and his life? 
The Anglian lion, the terror of France, 

Oft prowling, ensanguin'd the Tweed's silver flood; 
But, taught by the bright Caledonian lance, 

He learned to fear in his own native wood. 

Thus bold, independent, unconquer'd, and free. 

Her bright course of glory for ever shall run: 
For brave Caledonia immortal must be ; 

I'll prove it from Euclid as clear as the sun: 
Rectangle-triangle, the figure we'U choose, 

The upright is Chance, and old Time is the base; 
But brave Caledonia's the hypotenuse ; 

Then ergo, she'll match them, and match them always 


RAGING fortune's withering blast 
Has laid my leaf full low, O ! 

raging fortune's withering blast 
Has laid my leaf full low, ! 

My stem was fair, my bud was green, 
My blossoms sweet did blow, O. 

The dew fell fresh, the sun rose mild, 
And made my branches grow, 0. 

But luckless fortune's northern storms 
Laid a' my blossoms low, 0. 

But luckless fortune's northern storms 
Laid a' my blossoms low, 0. 


Tune— "/lye WauJcin, 0." 

Can I cease to care, 

Can I cease to languish, 

While my darling fair 

Is on the couch of anguish? 

Every hope is fled, 

Every fear is terror; 
Slumber e'en I dread, 

Every dream is horror. 

Hear me, Pow'rs divine ! 

Oh, in pity hear me ! 
Take aught else of mine. 

But my Chloris spare me ! 


Long, long the night, 

Heavy comes the morrow. 
While my soul's delight 

Is on her bed of sorrow. 


TuNK — " Nancy's to the greenwood gane." 

Farewell, thou stream that winding flows 
Around Eliza's dwelling ! 

Mem'ry ! spare the cruel throes 
Within my bosom swelling : 

Condemn'd to drag a hopeless chain. 

And yet in secret languish, 
To feel a lire in ev'ry vein. 

Nor dare disclose my anguish. 

Love's veriest wretch, unseen, unknown, 
I fain my griefs would cover : 

The bursting sigh, th' unweeting groan^ 
Betray the hapless lover. 

1 know thou doom'st me to despair, 
Nor wilt nor canst relieve me; 

But oh, Eliza, hear one prayer, 
For pity's sake forgive me! 

The music of thy voice I heard, 

Nor wist while it enslav'd me; 
I saw thine eyes, yet nothing fear'd^ 

Till fears no more had sav'd me: 
Th' unwary sailor thus aghast, 

The wheeling torrent viewing, 
*Mid circling horrors sinks at last 

In overwhelming ruin. 



Jockey's ta'en the parting kiss, 
O'er the mountains he is gane; 

And with him is a' my bliss, 

Nought but griefs with me remain. 

Spare my luve, ye winds that blaw, 
Plashy sleets and beating rain ! 

Spare my luve, thou feathery snaw. 
Drifting o'er the frozen plain! 

When the shades of evening creep 
O'er the day's fair, gladsome ee, 

Sound and safely may he sleep, 
Sweetly blithe his waukening bel 

He will think on her he loves, 
Eondly he'll repeat her name; 

For where'er he distant roves. 
Jockey's heart is still at hame. 


I DO confess thou art sae fair, 
I wad been o'er the lugs in luve, 

Had I not found the slightest prayer 

That lips could speak thy heart could muve. 

1 do confess thee sweet, but find 
Thou art sae thriftless o' thy sweets. 

Thy favours are the silly wind 
That kisses ilka thing it meets. 


See yonder rose-bud rich in dew, 

Amang its native briers sae coy. 
How soon it tines its scent and hue 

When pu'd and worn a common toyt; 

Sic "fate ere lang shall thee betide; 

Tho' thou may gaily bloom a while, 
Yet soon thou shalt be thrown aside, 

Like ony common weed and vile. 


LEAVE novels, ye :Mauchline belles, 
Ye're safer at your spinning wheel; 

Such witching books are baited hooks 
For rakish rooks, like Eob :\lossgiel. 

Your fine Tom Jones and Grandisons, 
They make your youthful fancies reel. 

They heat your brains, and fire your veins, 
And then you're prey for Eob MossgieL 

Beware a tongue that's smootlily hung, 
A heart that warmly seems to feel; 

That feeling heart but acts a part, 
'Tis rakish art in Eob Mossgiel. 

The frank address, the soft caress, 

Are worse than poisoned darts of steel, 

The frank address, and pohtesse, 
Are aU finesse in Eob Mossgiel. 


N A E B D Y. 

I hae a penny to spend, 
There — thanks to naebodyj 

I hae naething to lend, 
I'll borrow frae naebody. 

I am naebody's lord, 

I'll be a slave to naebody; 
I hae a guid braid sword, 

I'll tak dunts frae naebody. 

m be merry and free, 
I'U be sad for naebody; 

If naebody care for me, 
I'll care for naebody. 


There was a bonnie lass, and a bonnie, bonnie lass. 
And she lo'ed her bonnie laddie dear; 

Till war's loud alarms tore her laddie frae her arms, 
Wi' monie a sigh and a tear. 

Over sea, over shore, where the cannons loudly roar, 

He still was a stranger to fear : 
And nocht could him queU, or his bosom assail. 

But the bonnie lass he lo'ed sae dear. 


Wae is my heart, and the tear's in my ee; 
Lang, lang, joy's been a stranger to me ; 
Forstken and friendless my burden I bear, 
And the sweet voice o' pity ne'er sounds in my ear. 

Love, thou hast pleasures, and deep hae I loved ; 
Love, thou hast sorrows, and sair hae I proved : 
But this bruised heart that now bleeds in my breast, 
I can feel its throbbings will soon be at rest. 

if I were where happy I hae been, 
Down by yon stream and yon bonnie castle green 
For there he is wand'ring and musing on me, 
Wha wad soon dry the tear frae Phillis's ee. 
3 A 



I GAED up to Dunse, 

To warp a wab o' plaiden; 

At his daddie's yett, 

Wha met me but Eobin ? 

Wasna Eobin bauld, 
Thougli I was a cotter. 

Played me sic a trick, 

And me the eUer's dochter ? 

Eobin promised me 

A' my winter vittle ; 
Nae haet he had but three 

Goose feathers and a whittle. 


Eobin shure in hairst, 
I shure wi' him ; 

Ne'er a lieuk had I, 
Yet I staxjk by him. 

TunE—" Sevejdh of November ." 

The day returns, my bosom burns. 

The blissful day we twa did meet; 
Tho' winter wild in tempest toil'd. 

Ne'er summer sun was half sae sweet. 
Than a' the pride that loads the tide, 

And crosses o'er the sultry line ; 
Than kingly robes, than crowns and globes, 

Heaven gave me more — it made thee mine ! 


Wliile day and night can bring delight. 

Or nature aught of pleasure give ; 
While joys above my mind can move. 

For thee, and thee alone, I live ! 
When that grim foe of life below 

Comes in between to make us part ; 
The iron hand that breaks our band, 

It breaks my bliss — it breaks my heart. 


Tune — " Bonnie Dundee.'''' 

In Mauchline there dwells six proper young belles. 
The pride of the place and its neighbourhood a'; 

Their carriage and dress, a stranger would guess. 
In Lon'on or Paris they'd gotten it a': 

Miss Miller is fine, Miss Markland's divine, 

Miss Smith she has wit, and Miss Betty is braw 

There's beauty and fortune to get wi' Miss Morton, 
But Armour's the jewel for me o' them a'. 


Wha is that at my bower door? 

O wha is it but Findlay ; 
Then gae your gate, ye'se no be here ! 

Indeed maun I, quo' Findlay. 
AVhat mak ye sae like a thief? 

come and see, quo' Findlay ; 
Before the morn ye'll work mischief; 

Indeed will I, quo' Findlay. 


Gif I rise and let you in; 

Let me in, quo' Findlay ; 
Ye'll keep me waukin wi' your din; 

Indeed will I, quo' Findlay. 
In my bower if ye should stay; 

Let me stay, quo' Findlay ; 
I fear ye'll bide till break o' day; 

Indeed will I, quo' Findlay. 

Here this night if ye remain; 

I'll remain, quo' Findlay; 
I dread ye'll learn the gate again; 

Indeed will I, quo' Findlay. 
What may pass within this bower — 

Let it pass, quo' Findlay; 
Ye maun conceal till your last hourj 

Indeed will I, quo' Findlay. 



As I came in by our gate end, 

As day was waxin' weary, 
wha came tripping down the street, 

But bonnie Peg, my dearie! 

Her air sae sweet, and shape complete, 
Wi' nae proportion wanting, 

Tlie Queen of Love did never move 
Wi' motion mair enchanting. 

Wi' linked hands, we took the sands 

Adown yon winding river; 
And, oh! that hour and broomy bower. 

Can I forget it ever? 

Tune — " / had a horse." 

POORTITH caukl and restless love, 
Ye wreck my peace between ye; 

Yet poortith a' I could forgive, 
An 't werena for my Jeanie. 

This warld's wealth when I think on, 
Its pride, and a' the lave o't; 

Fie, fie on silly coward man 

That he should be the slave o't! 

Her een sae bonnie blue betray 
How she repays my passion; 

But prudence is her o'erword, aye 
She talks of rank and fashion. 


wha can prudence think upon, 
And sic a lassie by him ? 

wha can prudence think upon, 
And sae in love as I am ? 

How blest the humble cotter's fate! 

He woos his simple dearie ; 
The silly bogles, wealth and state, 

Can never make them eerie. 


O why should fate sic pleasure have, 
Life's dearest bands untwining? 

Or why sae sweet a flower as love. 
Depend on fortune's shining? 

Tune—" Fee him, Father" 

Thou hast left me ever, Jamie, 

Thou hast left me ever; 
Thou hast left me ever, Jamie, 

Thou liast left me ever. 
Aften hast thou vow'd that death 

Only should us sever ; 
Now thou'st left thy lass for aye — 

I maun see thee never, Jamie, 
I'll see thee never! 

Thou hast me forsaken, Jamie, 

Thou hast me forsaken ; 
Thou hast me forsaken, Jamie, 

Thou hast me forsaken. 
Thou canst love anither jo, 

While my heart is breaking; 
Soon my weary een 111 close — 

Never mair to waken, Jamie, 
Ne'er mair to waken! 



Thickest night, o'erhang my dwelling! 

Howling tempests, o'er me rave ! 
Turbid torrents, wintry swelling. 

Still surround my lonely cave! 

Crystal streamlets gently flowing, 
Busy haunts of base mankind, 

Western breezes softly blowing, 
Suit not my distracted mind. 

In the cause of right engag'd, 
Wrongs injurious to redress, 

Honour's war we strongly wag'd. 
But the heavens denied success. 

Euin's wheel has driven o'er us. 
Not a hope that dare attend ; 

The wide world is all before us — 
But a world without a friend! 



Once fondly lov'd, and still remember'd dear, 
Sweet early object of my youthful vows, 

Accept this mark of friendship, warm, sincere — 
Friendship ! 'tis all cold duty now allows. 

And when you read the simple, artless rhymes, 
One friendly sigh for him — he asks no more — 

Who distant burns in flaming, torrid climes. 
Or haply lies beneath th' Atlantic roar. 


Tune— "r/^e Sutor's Dod/frr." 

Wilt thou be my dearie ? 

When sorrow wrings thy gentle heart. 

Wilt thou let me cheer thee ? 

By the treasure of my soul, 

That's the love I bear thee! 

I swear and vow that only thou 

Shalt ever be my dearie — 

Only thou, I swear and vow, 

Shalt ever be mv dearie. 


Lassie, say thou lo'es me ; 
Or if thou wilt na be my ain, 
Say na thou'lt refuse me: 
If it winna, canna be, 
Thou for thine may choose me. 
Let me, lassie, quickly die, 
Trusting that thou lo'es me — 
Lassie, let me quickly die. 
Trusting that thou lo'es me. 


Tune — " The Moudiewort." 

They snool me sair, and hand me down, 
An' gar me look like bluntie, Tani! 

But three short years will soon wheel roun'. 
And then comes ane-and-twenty, Tarn! 

A gleib o' Ian', a claut o' gear, 
Was left me by my auntie, Tam ; 

At kith or kin I needna spier. 
An' I saw ane-and-twenty, Tam. 

They'll hae me wed a wealthy coof, 
Tho' I mysel' hae plenty, Tam ; 

But hear'st thou, laddie — there's my loof— 
I'm thine at ane-and-t-sventy, Tam! 


An' 0, for ane-and-twenty, Tam! 

An' hey, sweet ane-and-twenty, Tami 
I'll learn my kin a rattlin' sang, 

An' I saw ane-and-twenty, Tam. 
3 B 


Tune—"/ ivish my love was in a viire.^'' 

BONNIE was yon rosy brier, 

That blooms sae far frae haunt o' man; 
And bonnie she, and ah, how dear! 

It shaded frae the e'enin sun. 

Yon rosebuds in the morning dew, 

How pure amang the leaves sae green; 

But purer was the lover's vow 

They witness'd in their shade yestreen. 

All in its rude and prickly bower, 

That crimson rose, how sweet and fair! 

But love is far a sweeter flower 
Amid life's thorny path o' care. 

The pathless wild and wimpling burn, 
Wi' Chloris in my arms, be mine; 

And I the world nor wish, nor scorn. 
Its joys and griefs alike resign. 



Tune— "il/o;Y<^." 

Streams that glide in orient plains, 
Never bound by winter's chains! 
Glowing here on golden sands. 
There commix'd with foulest stains 
From tyranny's empurpled bands : 
These, their richly-gleaming waves, 
I leave to tyrants and their slaves ; 
Give me the stream tliat sweetly lav6S 
The banks by Castle Gordon. 


Spicy forests, ever gay, 
Shading I'rom the burning ray 
Hapless wretches sold to toil, 
Or the ruthless native's way, 
Bent on slaughter, blood, and spoil: 
Woods that ever verdant wave, 
I leave the tyrant and the slave ; 
Give me the groves that lofty brave 
The storms, by Castle Gordon. 

Wildly here without control, 
Nature reigns and rules the whole; 
In that sober, pensive mood, 
Dearest to the feeling soul. 
She plants the forest, pours the flood; 
Life's poor day I'll musing rave. 
And find at night a sheltering cave, 
Where waters flow and wild woods wave. 
By bonnie Castle Gordon. 

Tune — " Owre the hills anifar awaJ" 

O HOW can I be blithe and glad, 
Or how can I gang brisk and braw, 

When the bonnie lad that I lo'e best 
Is owre the hills and far awa? 

It's no the frosty winter wind, 

It's no the driving drift and snaw; 

But aye the tear comes in my e'e, 
To think on him that's far awa. 

My father pat me frae his door. 

My friends they hae disown'd me a': 

But I hae ane will tak my part. 
The bonnie lad that's far awa. 

380 CA' THE EWES. 

A pair o' gloves he gae to me, 

And silken snoods he gae me twaj 

And I will wear them for his sake. 
The bonnie lad that's far awa. 

The weary winter soon will pass, 

And spring will cleed the birken-shaw; 

And my sweet babie will be born, 
And he'll come hame that's far awa. 


Ca' the ewes to the knowes, 
Ca' them whare the heather grows, 
Ca' them whare the burnie rowes, 
My bonnie dearie! 

As I gaed down the water side. 
There I met my shepherd lad. 
He row'd me sweetly in his plaid, 
And he ca'd me his dearie. 

Will ye gang down the water side, 
And see the waves sae sweetly glide, 
Beneath the hazels spreading wide? 
The moon it shines fu' clearly. 

I was bred up at nae sic school, 
My shepherd lad, to play the fool. 
And a' the day to sit in dool, 
And naebody to see me. 

Ye sail get gowns and ribbons meet, 
Cauf-leather shoon npon your feet, 
And in my arms ye'se lie and sleep. 
And ye sail be my dearie. 

As I ^aed down the water-side, 
There I met my shepherd lad, 
He row'd me sweetly in his plaid. 
An' he ca'd me his dearie. 


If ye'U but stand to wliat ye've said, 
I'se gang wi' you, my shepherd lad. 
And ye may rowe me in your plaid, 
And I sail be your dearie. 

While waters wimple to the sea. 
While day blinks in the lift sae hie, 
Till clay-cauld death sail blin' my e'e. 
Ye sail be my dearie. 


When Nature her great master-piece design' d, 
And fram'd her last, best work, the human mind, 
Her eye intent on all the mazy plan. 
She form'd of various parts the various man. 

Then first she calls the useful many forth ; 
Plain plodding industry, and sober worth: 
Thence peasants, farmers, native sons of earth. 
And merchandise' whole genus take their birth; 
Each prudent cit a warm existence finds, 
And all mechanics' many-apron'd kinds. 
Some other rarer sorts are wanted yet. 
The lead and buoy are needful to the net : 
The caput mortuum of gross desires 
Makes a material for mere knights and squires ; 
The martial phosphorus is taught to flow, 
She kneads the lumpish philosophic dough, 
Then marks th' unyielding mass with grave designs. 
Law, physics, politics, and deep divines : 
Last, she sublimes th' Aurora of the poles. 
The flashing elements of female souls. 

The order'd system fair before her stood, 
Nature, well-pleas'd, pronounc'd it very good. 
But ere she gave creating labour o'er, 
Half-jest, she try'd one curious labour more ; 
Some spumy, fiery, ignis fatuus matter, 
Such as the slightest breath of air might scatter. 


With arch alacrity and conscious glee 
(Nature may have her whim as well as we, 
Her Hogarth-art perhaps she meant to show it) 
She forms the thing, and christens it — a Poet. 
Creature, tho' oft the prey of care and sorrow, 
When blest to-day, unmindful of to-morrow ; 
A being form'd t' amuse his graver friends, 
Admir'd and prais'd — and there the homage ends: 
A mortal quite unfit for Fortune's strife. 
Yet oft the sport of all the ills of life ; 
Prone to enjoy each pleasure riches give. 
Yet haply wanting wherewithal to live ; 
Longing to wipe each tear, to heal each groan, 
Yet frequent all unheeded in his own. 

But honest Nature is not quite a Turk, 
She laugh'd at first, then felt for her poor work. 
Pitying the propless climber of mankind, 
She cast about a standard tree to find ; 
And, to support his helpless woodbine state, 
Attach'd him to the generous truly great, 
A title, and the only one I claim, 
To lay strong hold for help on bounteous Graham. 

Pity the tuneful muses' hapless train. 
Weak, timid landsmen on life's stormy main! 
Their hearts no selfish, stern, absorbent stuff, 
That never gives — tho' humbly takes enough; 
The little fate allows, they share as soon, 
Unlike sage, proverb'd wisdom's hardwrung boon. 
The world were blest did bliss on them depend, 
Ah, that "the friendly e'er should want a friend!'* 
Let prudence number o'er each sturdy son. 
Who life and wisdom at one race begun, 
Who feel by reason, and who give by rule, 
(Instinct's a brute, and sentiment a fool !) 
Who make poor "will do" wait upon "I should" — 
We own they're prudent, but who feels they're good ? 
Ye wise ones, hence ! ye hurt the social eye ! 
God's image rudely etch'd on base alloy ! 
But come, ye who the godlike pleasure know. 
Heaven's attribute distinguished — to bestow ! 


Whose arms of love would grasp the human race : 

Come, thou who giv'st with all a courtier's grace; 

Erieud of my life, true patron of my rhymes ! 

Prop of my dearest hopes for future times 

Why shrinks my soul half-blushing, half-afraid, 

Backward, abash'd to ask thy friendly aid ? 

I know my need, I know thy giving hand, 

I crave thy friendship at thy kind command ; 

But there are such who court the tuneful nine — 

Heavens ! should the branded character be mine ! 

Whose verse in manhood's pride sublimely flows, 

Yet vilest reptiles in their begging prose. 

Mark, how their lofty independent spirit 

Soars on the spurning wing of injur'd merit ! 

Seek not the proofs in private life to find ; 

Pity the best of words should be but wind ! 

So, to heaven's gates the lark's shrill song ascends. 

But grovelling on the earth the carol ends. 

In all the clam'rous cry of starving want, 

They dun benevolence with shameless front; 

Obhge them, patronize their tinsel lays, 

They persecute you all your future days ! 

Ere my poor soul such deep damnation stain. 

My horny fist assume the plough again ; 

The piebald jacket let me patch once more ; 

On eighteen-pence a week I've liv'd before. 

Tho', thanks to Heaven, I dare even that last shift, 

I trust, meantime, my boon is in thy gift ; 

That, plac'd by thee upon the wish'd-for height, 

Where, man and nature fairer in her sight. 

My muse may imp her wing for some sublimer flight 


Tune — " Guidwife count the lawin." 

Gane is the day, and mirk's the night. 
But we'U ne'er stray for faute o' light, 
For ale and brandy's stars and moon, 
And bluid-red wine's the risin' sun. 


Tliere's wealth and ease for gentlemen. 
And semple-folk maun fecht and fen'. 
But here we're a' in ae accord, 
For ilka man that's drunk's a lord. 

IVIy coggie is a haly pool, 

That heals the wound's o' care and dool; 

And pleasure is a wanton trout. 

An' ye drink it a' ye'U find him out. 


Then, guidwife, count the lawin, 

The lawin, the lawin. 
Then, guidwife, count the lawin, 

And bring a coggie mair. 


Tune — " N'eil Gow's Lameni." 

There's a youth in this city, it were a great pity 

That he from our lasses should wander awa; 
For he's bonnie and braw, weel-favour'd witha', 

And his hair has a natural buckle and a'. 
His coat is the hue of his bonnet sae blue ; 

His fecket is white as the new-driven snaw ; 
His hose they are blae, and his shoon like the slae, 

And his clear siller buckles they dazzle us a'. 

For beauty and fortune the laddie's been courtin ; 

Weel-featur'd, weel-tocher'd, weel-mounted and braw ; 
But chiefly the siller, that gars him gang till her. 

The pennie's the jewel that beautifies a'. 
There's Meg wi' the mailin, that fain wad a haen him, 

And Susy whase daddy was laird o' the ha' ; 
There's lang-tocher'd Nancy maist fetters his fancy — 

But the laddie's dear sel' he lo'es dearest of a'. 



Sing on, sweet tlirush, upon the leafless bough; 

Sing on, sweet bird, I listen to thy strain; 

See aged Winter, 'mid his surly reign, 
At thy blithe carol clears his furrow'd brow. 

So in lone Poverty's dominion drear 

Sits meek Content with light unanxious heart. 
Welcomes the rapid moments, bids them part. 

Nor asks if they bring aught to hope or tear. 



T thank thee, Author of this opening day ! 

Thou whose bright sun now gilds the orient skies! 

Riches denied, thy boon was purer joys, 
What wealth could never give nor take away ! 

Yet come, thou child of poverty and care, 

The mite high Heaven bestowed, that mite with thee I'll share. 


Tune — '■'■Let me in this ae night." 

Forlorn, my love, no comfort near. 
Far, far from thee I wander here; 
Far, far from thee, the fate severe 
At which I most repine, love. 

Around me scowls a wintry sky. 
That blasts each bud of hope and joy; 
And shelter, shade, nor home have I, 
Save in those arms of thine, love. 

Cold, alter'd friendship's cruel part, 
To poison fortune's ruthless dart — 
Let me not break thy faithful heart. 
And say that fate is mine, love. 

But dreary tho' the moments fleet, 
O let me think we yet shall meet! 
That only ray of solace sweet 
Can on thy Chloris shine, love. 


wert thou, love, but near me, 
But near, near, near me ; 
How kindly thou wouldst cheer me. 
And mingle sighs with mine, love. 


Tone — " Willie brew'd a peck o' maut." 

O, Willie brew'd a peck o' maut, 
And Rob and Allan cam to pree ; 

Three blither hearts, that lee-lang night. 
Ye wadna find in Christendie. 

Here are we met, three merry boys, 
Three merry boys, I trow, are we ; 

And monie a night we've merry been, 
And monie mae we hope to be I 

It is the moon, I ken her horn. 
That's blinkin' in the lift sae hie; 

She shines sae bright to wile us hame, 
But, by my sooth, she'U wait a wee! 

Wlia first shaU rise to gang awa, 
A cuckold, coward loun is he ! 

Wha first beside his chair shall fa'. 
He is the king amang us three ! 


We are na fou, we're nae that fou, 
But just a drappie in our ee ; 

The cock may craw, the day may daw, 
And aye we'll taste the barley bree. 


The bairns gat out wi' an unco shout, 
The deuks dang o'er my daddie, ! 

The fient ma care, quo' the feirie auld wife,. 
He was but a paidlin' body, 01 


He paidles out, and he paidles in, 
An' he paidles late and early, ; 

This seven lang years I hae lien by his side. 
An' he is but a fusionless carlie, 0. 

hand your tongue, my feirie auld wife, 

baud your tongue now, Nansie, ; 
I've seen the day, and sae hae ye, 

Ye wadna been sae donsie, O: 
I've seen the day ye butter'd my brose, 

And cuddl'd me late and early, O ; 
But downa do's come o'er me now, 

And, oh, I find it sairly, O! 


Tune — " Lumps o' pudding.''' 

Contented \vi' little, and cantie wd' mair, 

Whene'er I forgather wi' sorrow and care, 

I gie them a skelp as they're creepin' alang, 

Wi' a cog o' gude swats, and an auld Scottish sang. 

I whyles claw the elbow o' troublesome thought ; 
But Man is a soger, and Life is a faught : 
My mirth and gude humour are coin in my pouch, 
And my Freedom's my lairdship nae monarch dare touclt 

A towmond o' trouble, should that be my fa', 
A night o' gude fellowship sowthers it a' ; 
When at the blithe end of our journey at last, 
Wha the deil ever thinks o' the road he has past ? 

Blind Chance, let her snapper and stoyte on her way, 
Be't to me, be't frae me, e'en let the jaud gae : 
Come ease, or come travail ; come pleasure or pain ; 
My warst word is — "Welcome, and welcome again ;"■ 

M A E Y ^I E I S K 

Tv-b^K—'' Bide ije 7jet" 

O Mary, at thy window be, 

It is the wish'd, the trysted hour! 
Those smiles and glances let me see, 

That make the miser's treasure poor; 
How blithely wad I bide the stoure, 

A weaiy slave frae sun to sun ; 
Could I the rich reward secure. 

The lovely Mary Morison. 


Yestreen, when to the trembling string 

The dance gaed thro' the lighted ha', 
To thee my fancy took its wing, 

I sat, but neither heard or saw : 
Tho' this was fair, and that was braw. 

And yon the toast of a' the town, 
I sigh'd, and said amang them a', 

'Ye are na Mary Morison.' 

Mary, canst thou wreck his peace, 

Wha for thy sake wad gladly die ? 
Or canst thou break that heart of his, 

Whase only faute is loving thee? 
If love for love thou wilt na gie, 

At least be pity to me shown ! 
A thought ungentle canna be 

The thought o' Maiy Morison. 

Tune — " Tibbie Fowler in the glen." 

Willie Wastle dwalt on Tweed, 

The spot they ca'd it Linkumdoddie, 
Willie was a wabster guid, 

Cou'd stown a clue wi' onie bodie ; 
He had a wife was dour and din, 

O, tinkler Madgie was her mither; 
Sic a wife as Willie had, 

I wadna gie a button for her. 

She has an ee, she has but ane, 
The cat has twa the very colour: 

Five rusty teeth, forbye a stump, 

A clapper tongue wad deave a miller ; 


A whiskin beard about her mou, 

Her nose and chin they threaten ither ; 

Sic a wife as Willie had, 

I wadna gie a button for her. 

She's bow-hough'd, she's hein-shinn'd, 

Ae limpin leg a hand-breed shorter; 
She's twisted right, she's twisted left, 

To balance fair in ilka quarter: 
She has a hump upon her breast, 

The twin o' that upon her shouther: 
Sic a wife as Willie had, 

I wadna gie a button for her. 

Auld baudrans by the ingle sits. 

An' wi' her loof her face a-washin ; 
But Willie's wife is nae sae trig. 

She dights her grunzie wi' a hushion ; 
Her walie nieves like midden-creels. 

Her face wad fyle the Logan Water; 
Sic a wife as Willie had, 

I wadna gie a button for her. 

. Tune — " Humours of Glen." 

Their groves o' sweet myrtle let foreign lands reckon, 
Where bright-beaming summers exalt their perfume; 

Ear dearer to me yon lone glen o' green breckan, 
Wi' the burn stealing under the lang yellow broom. 

Far dearer to me are yon humble broom bowers, 
Where the blue-bell and gowan lurk lowly unseen : 

For there, lighty tripping amang the wild flowers, 
A-listening the linnet, aft wanders my Jean. 


Tho' ricli is the breeze in their gay sunny valleys, 
And cauld Caledonia's blast on the wave ; 

Their sweet-scented woodlands that skirt the proud palace, 
AVhat are they ? The haunt of the tyrant and slave : 

The slave's spicy forests and gold-bubbling fountains, 

The brave Caledonian views wi' disdain ; 
He wanders as free as the winds of his mountains, 

Save love's willing fetters, the chains o' his Jean. 

Tune — " The Deuks dang o'er my Daddy'' 

Nae gentle dames, tho' e'er sae fail. 

Shall ever be my Muse's care ; 

Their titles a' are empty show ; 

Gie me my Highland lassie, '0. 
Within the glen sae bushy, 0, 
Aboon the plain sae rushy, '0, 
I set me down wi' right goodwill, 
To sing my Highland lassie, O. 

Oh, were yon hills and valleys mine. 
Yon palace and yon gardens fine ' 
The world then the love should know 
I bear my Highland lassie, 0. 

But fickle fortune frowns on me, 
And I maun cross the raging sea ; 
But while my crimson currents How 
I'll love my Highland lassie, 0. 

Altho' through foreign climes I range, 
I know her heart will never change. 
For her bosom burns with honour's glow, 
Mv faithful Highland lassie, 0. 

Cauld blaws the wind frae east to west. 

The drift is drivin| sairly ; 
So loud and shrills I hear the blast, 

I'm. sure its winter fairly 


For her I'll dare the billows' roar, 
For her I'll trace a distant shore, 
That Indian wealth may lustre throw 
Around my Highland lassie, O. 

She has my heart, she has my hand. 
By sacred truth and honour's band ! 
Till the mortal stroke shall lay me low, 
I'm thine, my Highland lassie, O. 

Fareweel the glen sae bushy, 0! 

Fareweel the plain sae rushy, 0! 

To other lands I now must go. 

To sing my Highland lassie. O! 

Tune — " Cold blows the wind.''^ 

Cauld blaws the wind frae east to west, 

The drift is duiving sairly ; 
Sae loud and shrill I hear the blast, 

I'm sure it's winter fairly. 

The birds sit chittering in the thorn, 
A' day they fare but sparely; 

And lang's the night frae e'en to morn— 
I'm sure it's winter fairly. 


Up in the morning's no for me, 

Up in the morning early ; 
When a' the hills are covered wi' snaw, 

I'm sure it's winter fairly. 
3 ]> 



Irish Air — " Coolun.^ 

The lazy mist hangs from the brow of the hill, 
Concealing the course of the dark- winding rill ; 
How languid the scenes, late so sprightly, appear, 
As autumn to winter resigns the pale year ! 
The forests are leafless, the meadows are brown, 
And all the gay foppery of summer is flown: 
Apart let me wander, apart let me muse, 
How quick time is flying, how keen fate pursues; 

How long I have lived, but how much lived in vain; 
How little of life's scanty span may remain ; 
What aspects old Time, in his progress, has worn; 
What ties cruel fate in my bosom has torn. 
How foolish, or worse, till our summit is gain'd ! 
And downward, how weaken'd, how darken'd, how pain'd 
This life's not worth having with all it can give ; 
Tor something beyond it poor man, sure, must live. 



Oh, open the door, some pity to show. 

Oh, open the door to me, Oh ! 
Tho' thou hast been false, I'll ever prove true, 

Oh, open the door to me, Oh ! 

Cauld is the blast upon my pale cheek. 
But caulder thy love for me, Oh ! 

The frost that freezes the life at my heart. 
Is noaght to my pains frae thee, Oh ! 


The wan moon is setting behind the white wave. 

And time is setting with me, Oh I 
False friends, false love, farewell! for mair 

I'll ne'er trouble them, nor thee. Oh! 

She has open'd the door, she has opened it wide; 

She sees his pale corse on the plain. Oh ! 
My true love! she cried, and sank down by his side. 

Never to rise again. Oh! 


Tune — " Laddie, lie near me." 

*TWAS na her bonnie blue e'e was my ruin; 
Fair tho' she be, that was ne'er my undoing; 
'Twas the dear smile when naebody did mind us, 
'Twas the bewitching, sweet, stown glance o' kindness. 

Sair do I fear that to hope is denied me, 
Sair do I fear that despair maun abide me; 
But the' fell fortune should fate us to sever, 
Queen shall she be in my bosom for ever! 


Wee Willie Gray, and his leather wallet; 

Peel a willow- wand, to be him boots and jacket; 

The rose upon the brier will be him trews and doublet, 

The rose upon the brier will be him trews and doublet 1 

Wee Willie Gray, and his leather wallet; 

Twice a lily flower will be him sark and cravat; 

Feathers of a flee wad feather up his bonnet, 

Feathers of a flee wad feather up his bonnet. 


Tune— "i/2ss Forbes' Farewell to Banff." 

The Catrine woods were yellow seen, 

The flowers decay'd on Catrine lee, 
Nae lav'rock sang on hillock green. 

But nature sickon'd on the e'e. 
Thro' faded groves Maria sang, 

Hersel in beauty's bloom the whyle, 
And aye the wild-wood echoes rang, 

Fareweel the braes o' Ballochmyle. 


Low ill your wintry beds, ye flowers. 

Again ye' 11 flourish fresh and fair ; 
Ye birdies dumb, in with'ring bowers, 

Again ye'll charm the vocal air. 
But here, alas ! for me nae iiKcir 

Shall birdie charm, or floweret smile ; 
Fareweel the bonnie banks of Ayr, 

•b'areweel, fareweel, sweet Ballochmjle. 


Tune—'" The bonnie bracket lassie.^ 

Turn again, thou fair Eliza, 

Ae kind blink before we part, 
Eue on thy despairing lover ! 

Canst thou break his faithfu' heart? 
Turn again, thou fair Eliza; 

If to love thy heart denies, 
For pity hide the cruel sentence 

Under friendship's kind disguise. 

Thee, dear maid, hae I offended ? 

The offence is loving thee; 
Canst thou wreck his peace for ever, 

Wha for thine wad gladly die ? 
While the life beats in my bosom. 

Thou shalt mix in ilka throe: 
Turn again, thou lovely maiden, 

Ae sweet smile on me bestow. 

Not the bee upon the blossom, 

In the pride o' sinny noon ; 
Not the little sporting fairy, 

All beneath the simmer moon ; 
Not the poet in the moment 

Fancy lightens in his ee. 
Kens the pleasure, feels the rapture. 

That thy presence gies to me. 



Tune — " I'he Caldonian Hunt's Delight.'* 

Why, why tell thy lover, 
Bliss he never must enjoy ? 

Why, why undeceive him, 

And give all his hopes the lie? 

O why, while fancy, raptur'd, slumbers, 
Chloris, Chloris, all the theme ! 

Why, why wouldst thou, cruel, 
Wake thy lover from his dream? 

Tone—" Morag.'' 

WHA is she that lo'es me. 
And has my heart a-keeping? 

sweet is she that lo'es me. 
As dews o' simmer weeping. 
In tears the rose-buds steeping! 

If thou shalt meet a lassie, 
In grace and beauty charming, 

That e'en thy chosen lassie, 

Erewhile thy breast sae warming. 
Had ne'er sic powers alarming; 

If thou hadst heard her talking, 
And thy attentions plighted 

That ilka body talking. 

But her, by thee is slighted. 
And thou art all delighted; 


If thou hast met this fair one; 

When frae her thou hast parted. 
If every other fair one, 

But her, thou hast deserted, 

And thou art broken-hearted ; 


that's the lassie o' my heart, 

My lassie ever dearer; 
that's the queen o' womankindi 

And ne'er a ane to peer her. 


Anna, thy charms my bosom fire. 
And waste my soul with care ; 

But ah! how bootless to admire, 
When fated to despair. 

Yet in thy presence, lovely fair. 
To hope may be forgiven ; 

For sure, 'twere impious to despair 
So much in sight of heaven. 


Her flowing locks, the raven's wing, 
Adown her neck and bosom hing; 

How sweet unto that breast to cling, 
And round that neck entwine herl 

Her lips are roses wet wi' dew ! 

0, what a feast her bonnie mou! 
Her cheeks a mair celestial hue, 

A crimson still diviner! 


Tune—" Miss Forbes' Farewell to Banff:' 

Thou lingering star, with less'ning ray. 

That lov'st to greet the early morn. 
Again thou iisher'st in the day 

My jVIary from my soul was torn. 
O Mary ! dear departed shade ! 

Where is thy place of blissful rest? 
Seest thou thy lover lowly laid ? 

Hearst thou the groans that rend his breast "i 


That sacred hour can I forget? 

Can I forget the hallow'd grove, 
Where by the winding Ayr we met, 

To live one day of parting love? 
Eternity will not efface 

Those records dear of transports past, 
Thy image at our last embrace ; 

Ah ! little thought we 'twas our last 

Ayr, gurgling, kiss'd his pebbled shore, 

O'erhung with wild woods, thick'ning greenj 
The fragrant birch and hawthorn hoar 

Twin'd am'rous round the raptur'd scene. 
The flowers sprang wanton to be prest. 

The birds sang love on ev'ry spray, 
Till too, too soon, the glowing west 

Proclaim'd the speed of winged day. 

Still o'er these scenes my mem'ry wakes. 

And fondly broods with miser care! 
Time but the impression deeper makes, 

As streams their channels deeper wear. 
My Mary, dear departed shade ! 

Where is thy place of blissful rest ? 
Seest thou thy lover lowly laid ? 

Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast? 


" Blockheads with reason wicked wits abhor, 
But Fool with Fool is barbarous civil war." 


O a' ye pious godly flocks, 

Weel fed on pastures orthodox, 

Wha now will keep you frae the fox, 

Or worrying tykes? 
Or wha will tent the waifs and crocks, 
About the dykes? 
3 E 


The twa best herds in a' the wast, 
That e'er gae gospel horn a blast, 
These five and twenty summers pas'j, 

dool to tell! 
Hae had a bitter black out-cast, 

Atween themseL 

0, Moodie, man, and wordy Russel, 
How could you raise so vile a bustle: 
Ye'll see how New-light herds will whistle, 

And think it fine ! 
The Lord's cause ne'er gat sic a twistle. 

Sin' I hae min'. 

O, sirs, whae'er wad hae expeckit, 

Your duty ye wad sae negleckit. 

Ye wha were ne'er by lairds respeckit, 

To wear the plaid. 
But by the brutes themselves eleckit 

To be their guide. 

Wliat flock wi' Hoodie's flock could rank, 
Sae hale and hearty every shank! 
Nae poison* d soor Arminian stank 

He let them taste, 
Frae Calvin's well, aye clear, they drank: 

Oh, sic a feast! 

The thummart, wil'-cat, brock, and tod, 
AVeel kenn'd his voice thro' a' the wood. 
He smell'd their ilka hole and road, 

Baith out and in, 
And weel he lik'd to shed their bluid, 

And sell their skin. 

What herd like Russel tell'd his tale, 
His voice was heard thro' muir and dale. 
He kenn'd the Lord's sheep, ilka tail. 

O'er a' the height, 
And saw gin they were sick or hale. 

At the first sight 


He fine a mangy slieep could scrub, 

Or nobly lling the gospel club, 

And New-light herds could nicely drub, 

Or pay their skin, 
Could shake them owre the burning dub, 

Or heave them in. 

Sic twa — O ! do I live to see't. 
Sic famous twa should disagreet. 
An' names like "villain," "hypocrite," 

Ilk ither gi'en, 
While New-light herds wi' laughin' spite, 

Say, "neither's liein!" 

A' ye wha tent the gospel fauld, 
There's Duncan deep, and Peebles shaul, 
But chiefly thou, apostle Auld, 

We trust in thee. 
That thou wilt work them, het and cauld, 

Till they agree. 

Consider, sirs, how we're beset. 
There's scarce a new herd that we tret 
But comes frae 'mang that cursed set 

I winna name ; 
I hope frae heaven to see them yet 

In fiery flame. 

Dalrymple has been lang our fae, 
M'Gill has wrought us meikle wae. 
And that cursed rascal ca'd M'Quhey, 

And baith the Shaws, 
That aft hae made us black and blae, 

Wi' vengefu' paws. 

Auld Wodrow lang has hatch'd mischief, 
We thought aye death wad bring relief. 
But he has gotten, to our grief, 

Ane to succeed him, 
A chiel wha'll soundly buff our beef; 

I meikle dread hini. 


And monie a ane that I could tell, 
Wha fain would openly rebel, 
Forby turn-coats amang oursel ; 

There's Smith for ane, 
I doubt he's but a grey-nick quill, 

And that ye'll fin'. 

! a' ye flocks, owre a' the hills, 
By mosses, meadows, moors, and fells, 
Come join your counsels and your skills, 

To cowe the lairds, 
And get the brutes the power themsels 

To choose their herds. 

Then Orthodoxy yet may prance. 
And Learning in a woody dance, 
And that fell cur ca'd Common Sense, 

That bites sae sair. 
Be banish'd owre the seas to France; 

Let him bark there. 

Then Shaw's and D'rymple's eloquence, 
M'Gill's close nervous excellence, 
M'Quhey's pathetic manly sense. 

And guid M'Math, 
Wi' Smith, wha thro' the heart can glance. 

May a' pack aff. 


Here lies a rose, a budding rose. 

Blasted before its bloom ; 
Whose innocence did sweets disclose 

Beyond that flower's perfume. 
To those who for her loss are grieved, 

This consolation's given — 
She's from a world of woe relieved, 

And blooms a rose in heaven. 



Tune— "ilfora^." 

Loud blaw the frosty breezes, 
The snaws the mountains cover; 

Like winter on me seizes, 

Since my young Highland Eover 
Far wanders nations over. 

Where'er he go, where'er he stray. 
May Heaven be his warden ; 

Return him safe to fair Strathspey, 
And bonnie Castle Gordon. 


The trees now naked groaning, 
Shall soon wi' leaves be hinging, 

The birdies, dowie moaning. 
Shall a be blithely singing, 
And every flower be springing. 

Sae I'll rejoice the lee-lang day. 
When by his mighty warden 

My youth's return'd to fair Strathspey, 
And bonnie Castle Gordon. 

Tune — "^m?J meudial mo mhealladh." 

As I was a wand'ring ae midsummer e'enin', 

The pipers and youngsters were making their game; 

Amang them I spied my faithless fause lover. 
Which bled a' the wounds o' my dolour again. 

Weel, since he has left me, may pleasure gae wi' him; 

I may be distress'd, but I winna complain : 
I flatter my fancy I may get anither, 

My heart it shall never be broken for ane. 

I couldna get sleeping till dawin' for greetin', 

The tears trickled down like the hail and the rain ; 

Had I na got greetin', my heart wad a broken, 
For, oh! love forsaken's a tormenting pain. 

Although he has left me for greed o' the siller, 
I dinna envy him the gains he can win; 

I rather wad bear a' the lade o' my sorrow 
Than ever hae acted sae faithless to him. 

Weel, since he has left me, may pleasure gae wi' him; 

I may be distress'd, but I winna complain: 
I flatter my fancy T may get anithor, 

My heart it shall never be broken for ane. 


Ton e — " Kiiliecran kie. ' ' 

WHA will to Saint Stephen's house. 

To do our errands there, man ? 
wha will to Saint Stephen's house, 

0' th' merry lads of Ayr, man ? 
Or will we send a man o' law? 

Or will we send a sodger? 
Or him wha led o'er Scotland a* 

The meikle Ursa-Major? 

Come, will ye court a noble lord, 

Or buy a score o' lairds, man? 
For worth and honour pawn their word, 

Their vote shall be Glencaird's, man? 
Ane gies them coin, ane gies them wine, 

Anither gies them clatter ; 
Anbank, wha guess'd the ladies' taste, 

He gies a Fete Champetre. 

When Love and Beauty heard the news, 

The gay green woods amang, man ; 
Where gathering flowers and busking bowers, 

They heard the blackbird's sang, man; 
A vow, they seal'd it with a kiss 

Sir Politics to fetter, 
As their's alone, the patent-bliss, 

To hold a Fete Champetre. 

Then mounted Mirth on gleesome wing, 

O'er hill and dale she flew, man; 
Ilk wimpling burn, ilk crystal spring, 

Ilk glen and shaw she knew, man : 
She summon'd every social sprite. 

That sports by wood or water, 
On th' bonnie banks of Ayr to meet, 

And keep this Fete Champetre. 


Cauld Boreas, wi' his boisterous crew, 

Were bound to stakes like kye, man; 
And Cynthia's car, o' silver fu', 

Clamb up the starry sky, man: 
Reflected beams dwell in the streams, 

Or down the current shatter ; 
The western breeze steals through the trees, 

To view this Fete Champetre. 

How many a robe sae gaily floats! 

What sparkling jewels glance, manl 
To Harmony's enchanting notes, 

As moves the mazy dance, man! 
The echoing wood, the winding flood. 

Like Paradise did glitter, 
When angels met, at Adam's yett. 

To hold their Fete Champetre. 

When Politics came there to mix, 

And make his ether-stane, man! 
He circled round the magic ground, 

But entrance found he nane, man: 
He blush'd for shame, he quat his name, 

Forswore it, every letter, 
Wi' humble prayer to join and siiare 

This festive Fete Champetre. 



Out over the Forth I look to the north. 

But what is the north and its Highlands to me? 

The south nor the east gie ease to my breast. 
The far foreign land, or the wild rolling sea. 

But I look to the west, when I gae to rest. 

That happy my dreams and my slumbers may be> 

For far in the west lives he I lo'e best, , 
The lad that is dear to my babie and me. 


Tune — " 3Iy Jo, Janet" 

O WHISTLE, and I'll come to you, my lad; 
O whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad: 
Tho' father and mither and a' sliould gae mad, 
whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad. 

But warily tent, when ye come to court me. 
And come na unless the back-yett be a-jee ; 
Syne up the back-stile, and let naebody see, 
And come as ye werena comin' to me. 


At kirk, or art market, whene'er ye meet me, 
Gang by me as tho' that ye car'd na a flie ; 
But steal me a blink o' your bonnie black ee, 
Yet look as ye werena lookin' at ine. 

Aye vow and protest that ye care na for me, 
And whiles ye may lightly my beauty a wee. 
But court na anither, tho' jokin' ye be, 
For fear that she wyle your fancy frae me. 


O whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad ; 
O whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad : 
Tho' father and mither and a' should gae mad, 
whistle, and I'll come to you, my lad. 


With Pegasus upon a day, 

Apollo weary flying. 
Through frosty hills the journey lay. 

On foot the way was plying. 

Poor slip-shod giddy Pegasus 

Was but a sorry walker ; 
To Vulcan then Apollo goes, 

To get a frosty calker. 

Obliging Vulcan fell to work. 
Threw by his coat and bonnet, 

And did Sol's business in a crack; 
Sol paid him with a sonnet. 

Ye Vulcan's sons of Wanlockhead, 

Pity my sad disaster ; 
My Pegasus is poorly shod — 

I'll pay you like my master. 




In this strange land, this uncouth clime, 

A land unknown to prose or rhyme ; 

Where words ne'er crost the Muse's heckles. 

Nor limpit in poetic shackles ; 

A land that prose did never view it, 

Except when drunk he stacher't thro' it; 

Here, ambusli'd by the chimla cheek, 

Hid in an atmosphere of reek, 

1 hear a wheel thrum i' the neuk, 

I hear it — for in vain I leuk. 

The red peat gleams, a fiery kernel, 

Enhusked by a fog infernal : 

Here, for my wonted rhyming raptures, 

I sit and count my sins by chapters ; 

For life and spunk, like ither Christians, 

I'm dwindled down to mere existence, 

Wi' nae converse but Gallowa' bodies, 

Wi' nae kenn'd face but Jenny Geddes. 

Jenny, my Pegasean pride ! 

Dowie she saunters down Nithside, 

And aye a westlin leuk she throws, 

While tears hap o'er her auld brown nose ! 

"Was it for this, wi' canny care. 

Thou bure the Bard through many a shire ? 

At howes or hillocks never stumbled. 

And late or early never grumbled ? 

O, had I power like inclination, 

I'd heeze thee up a constellation. 

To canter with the Sagittare, 

Or loup the ecliptic like a bar. 

Or turn the pole like any arrow, 

Or, when auld Phoebus bids good-morrow, 

Down the zodiac urge the race, 

And cast dirt on his lordship's face :' 

For I could lay my bread and kail 

He'd ne'er cast saut upo' thy tail. 


Wi' a this care and a' this grief, 
An' sma', sma' prospect of relief, 
And nought but peat reek i' my head, 
How can I write what ye can read ? 
Tarbolton, twenty-fourth o' June, 
Ye'll find me in a better tune ; 
But till we meet and weet our whistle, 
Tak this excuse for nae epistle. 

Egbert Burns. 


Tune — 'TAe weary Fund o' Toiv.'" 

I bought my wife a stane o' lint 
As gude as e'er did gTOW ; 

And a' that she has made o' that, 
Is ae poor pund o' tow. 

There sat a bottle in a bole. 

Beyond the ingle low, 
And aye she took the tither souk 

To drouk the stowrie tow. 

Quoth I, For shame, ye dirty dame, 
Gae spin your tap o' tow ! 

She took the rock, and wi' a knock 
She brak it o'er my pow. 

At last her feet— I sang to see't — 
Gaed foremost o'er the knowe; 

And or I wad anither jad, 
ril wallop in a tow 


The weary pund, the weary pund. 
The weary pund o' tow ! 

I think my wife will end her life 
Before she spin her tow. 


Down by the iDurn -where scented birks 
Wi' dew are hanging clear, my jo. 


When o'er the hill the eastern star 

Tells bughtin-time is near, my jo; 
And owsen frae the furrow'd field 

Return sae dowf and wearie, : 
Down by the burn, where scented birks 

Wi' dew are hanging clear, my jo, 
I'll meet thee on the lea-rig, 

My ain kind dearie, O. 

In mirkest glen, at midnight hour, 

I'd rove, and ne'er be eerie, 0, 
If thro'' that glen 1 gaed to thee, 

My ain kind dearie, 0. 
Altho' the night were ne'er sae wild, 

And I were ne'er sae wearie, 0, 
I'd meet thee on the lea-rig. 

My ain kind dearie, 0. 

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 ; 
Gie me the hour o' gloamin grey. 

It maks my heart sae cheery, O, 
To meet thee on the lea-rig, 

My ain kind dearie, 0. 



Tune — " Lord Breadalbane's March," 

O MERRY hae I been teethin' a heckle, 

And merry hae I been shapin' a spoon; 
O merry hae I been cloutiu' a kettle, 

And kissin' my Katie when a' was done. 
a' the lang day I ca' at my hammer, 

An' a' the lang day I whistle and sin;]; ; 
A' the lang night I cuddle my kimmer, 

An' a' the lang night as happy's a king. 

Bitter in dool I lickit my winnins, 

O' marrying Bess, to gie her a slave. 
Bless'd be the hour she cool'd in her linnens. 

And blythe be the bird that sings on her grave. 
Come to my arms, my Katie, my Katie, 

An' come to my arms, and kiss me again! 
Drunken or sober, here's to thee, Katie! 

And bless'd be the day I did it again. 

Tune — " Kenmure's on and awa, Willie:' 

O Kenmure's on and awa, Willie! 

Kenmure's on and awa ! 
And Kenmure's lord's the bravest lord 

That ever Galloway saw. 

Success to Kenmure's band, Willie! 

Success to Kenmure's band ; 
There's no a heart that fears a Whig 

That rides by Kenmure's hand. 

Here's Kenmure's health in wine, Willie! 

Here's Kenmure's health in wine; 
There ne'er was a coward o' Kenmure's blude. 

Nor yet o' Gordon's line. 

■ EVAN BANKS. 415 

Keumure's lads are men, Willie! 

Kenmure's lads are men ; 
Their hearts and swords are metal true— 

And that their faes shall ken. 

They'll live or die wi' fame, Willie! 

They'll live or die wi' fame ; 
But soon, wi' sounding victorie, 

May Kenmure's lord come hame. 

Here's him that's far awa, Willie ! 

Here's him that's far awa ; 
And here's the flower that I love beslr— 

The rose that's like the snawl 


Tdne — ^'■Savourna Delish.'" 

Slow spreads the gloom my soul desires, 
llie sun from India's shore retires: 
To Evan banks with temp'rate ray, 
Home of my youth, he leads the day. 

Oh banks to me for ever dear! 
Oh stream, whose murmurs still I hear I 
All, all my hopes of bliss reside 
Where Evan mingles with the Clyde. 

And she, in simple beauty drest, 
Whose image lives within my breast; 
Who, trembling, heard my parting sigh, 
And long pursued me with her eye : 

Does she, with heart unchang'd as mine. 
Oft in the vocal bowers recline? 
Or where yon grot o'erhangs the tide, 
Muse while the Evan seeks the Clyde? 


Ye lofty banks that Evan bound, 
Ye lavish woods that wave around, 
A.nd o'er the stream your shadows throw. 
Which sweetly winds so far below ; 

What secret charm to mem'ry brings 
All that on Evan's border springs ! 
Sweet banks ! ye bloom by Mary's side : 
Blest stream ! she views thee haste to Clyde. 

Can all the wealth of India's coast 
Atone for years in absence lost ! 
Return, ye moments of delight, 
With richer treasures bless my sight! 

Swift from this desert let me part, 

And fly to meet a kindred heart ! 

No more may aught my steps divide 

From that dear stream which flows to Clyde. 


MEIKLE thinks my luve o' my beauty, 

And meikle thinks my luve o' my kin; 
But little thinks my luve I ken brawlie 

My tocher's the jewel has charms for him. 
It's a' for the apple he'll nourish the tree ; 

It's a' for the honey he'll cherish the bee ; 
My laddie's sae meikle in luve wi' the siller, 

He canna hae luve to spare for me. 

Your proffer o' luve's an airl-penny, 

My tocher's the bargain ye wad buy ; 
But an ye be crafty, I am cunnin', 

Sae ye wi' anither your fortune maun try. 
Ye're like to the tinnner o' yon rotten wood, 

Ye're like to the bark o' yon rotten ti-ee. 
Ye'll slip frae me like a knotless tliroad, 

And ye'll crack your credit wi' mae nor me. 


Ance mair I hail thee, thou gloomy December! 

Ance mair I hail thee wi' sorrow and care: 
Sad was the parting thou makes me remember. 

Parting wi' Nancy, oh ! ne'er to meet mair. 
Fond lovers' parting is sweet, painful pleasure, 

Hope beaming mild on the soft parting hour; 
But the dire feeling, oh, farewell for ever, 

Is anguish unmingled and agony pure ! 

"Wild as the winter now tearing the forest. 

Till the last leaf o' the summer is flown, 
Such is the tempest has shaken my bosom. 

Since my last hope and last comfort is gone I 
Still as I hail thee, thou gloomy December, 

Still shall I hail thee wi' sorrow and care ; 
For sad was the parting thou makes me remembei; 

Parting wi' Nancy, oh, ne'er to meet mair) 




Still anxious to secure your partial favour, 

And not less anxious, sure, this night, than ever, 

A Prologue, Epilogue, or some such matter 

'Twould vamp my biU, said I, if nothing better; 

So sought a Poet, roosted near the skies, 

Told him I came to feast my curious eyes ; 

Said, nothing like his works was ever printed; 

And last, my Prologue-business slily hinted. 

" Ma'am, let me tell you," quoth my man of rhymes, 

" I know your bent — these are no laughing times : 

Can you — but, Miss, I own I have my fears — 

Dissolve in pause and sentimental tears ? 

With laden sighs, and solemn-rounded sentence, 

Eouse from his sluggish slumbers fell Repentance? 

Paint Vengeance as lie takes his horrid stand, 

"Waving on high the desolating brand. 

Calling the storms to bear him o'er a guilty land?" 

I could no more — askance the creature eyeing. 
D'ye think, said I, this face was made for crying? 
I'll laugh, that's poz — nay, more, the world shall know i( ; 
And so, your servant, gloomy Master Poet! 

Firm as my creed, Sirs, 'tis my fixed belief, 
That Misery's another word for Grief; 
I also think — so may I be a bride! 
That so much laughter, so much life enjoy'd. 

Thou man of crazy care and ceaseless sigh, 
Still under bleak Misfortune's blasting eye; 
Doom'd to that sorest task of man alive — 
To make three guineas do the work of five: 
Laugh in INTisfortune's face — the beldam witch 1 
Say, you'll be merry, tho' you can't be rich. 


Thou other man of care, the wretch in love, 
Who long with jiltish arts and airs hast strove; 
Who, as the boughs all temptingly project, 
Measur'st in desperate thought — a rope — thy neck— 
Or, where the beetling cliff o'erhangs the deep, 
Peerest to meditate the healing leap : 
Wouldst thou be cur'd, thou silly, moping elf? 
Laugh at her follies — laugh e'en at thyself; 
Learn to despise those frowns now so terrific, 
And love a kinder — that's your grand specific. 

To sum up all, be merry, I advise ; 
And as we're merry, may we still be wise. 

Tune — ^^ Killiecrankie.^ 


He clench'd his pamphlets in his fist. 

He quoted and he hinted, 
Till in a declamation-mist, 

His argument he tint it : 
He gaped for't, he graiped for't, 

He fand it was awa, man ; 
But what his common sense came short, 

He eked out wi' law, man. 


Collected Harry stood awee, 

Then open'd out his arm, man : 
His lordship sat wi' ruefu' e'e, 

And ey'd the gathering storm, man : 
Like wind-driv'n hail it did assail, 

Or torrents owre a linn, man ; 
The Bench sae wise lift up their eyes, 

Half-wauken'd wi' the din, man. 



Tttne — " When she cam ben she bobbiC* 

O SAW ye my dear, my Phely? 
O saw ye my dear, my Phely ? 
She's down i' the grove, she's wi' a new love. 
She winna come hame to her Willy. 

What says she, my dearest, my Phely? 
What says she, my dearest, my Phely? 
She lets thee to wit that she has thee forgot 
And for ever disowns thee, her Willy. 

O had I ne'er seen thee, my Phely ! 
had I ne'er seen thee, my Phely ! 
As light as the air, and fause as thou's fair, 
Thou's broken the heart o' thy Willy. 



Instead of a song, boys, I'll give you a toast — 
Here's the memory of those on the twelfth that we lost! 
That we lost, did I say? nay, by heav'n, that we found! 
For their fame it shall last while the world goes round. 
The next in succession, I'U give you — the King! 
Whoe'er would betray him, on high may he swing; 
And here's the grand fabric, our free Constitution, 
As built on the base of the great Revolution ; 
And longer with politics not to be cramm'd, 
Be anarchy curs'd, and be tyranny damn'd ; 
And who would to Liberty e'er prove disloyal, 
May his son be a hangman, and he his first triall 


TvtfK—^^ Bottom of the Punch Bowl. 

LEEZE me on my spinnin wheel, 
leeze me on my rock and reel; 
Frae tap to tae that deeds me bien, 
And haps me fiel and warm at e'en I 
I'll set me down and sing and spin, 
While laigh descends the simmer sun. 
Blest wi' content, and milk and meal — 
leeze me on my spinnin wheel. 

On ilka hand the burnies trot. 
And meet below my theekit cot; 
The scented birk and hawthorn white 
Across the pool their arms unite, 
Alike to screen the birdie's nest, 
And little fishes' caller rest : 
The sun blinks kindly in the biel', 
Where blithe I turn my spinnin wheeL 


On lofty aiks tlie cushats wail, 
And echo cons the doolfu' tale ; 
The lintwhites in the hazel braes, 
Delighted, rival ither's lays : 
The craik amang the claver hay, 
The paitrick whirrin o'er the ley, 
The swallow jinkin round my shiel. 
Amuse me at my spinnin wheel, 

Wi' sma' to sell, and less to buy, 

Aboon distress, below envy, 

wha wad leave this humble state, 

For a' the pride of a' the great ? 

Amid their flarin, idle toys, 

Amid their cumbrous, dinsome joys. 

Can they the peace and pleasure feel 

Of Bessy at her spinnin wheel? 


No song nor dance I bring from yon great city 

That queens it o'er our taste — the more's the pity; 

Tho', by the by, abroad why will you roam ? 

Good sense and taste are natives here at home: 

But not for panegyric I appear, 

I come to wish you all a good new-year! 

Old Father Time deputes me here before ye. 

Not for to preach, but tell his simple story: 

The sage grave ancient cough'd, and bade me say, 

"You're one year older this important day." 

If wiser too — he hinted some suggestion. 

But 'twould be rude, you know, to ask the question: 

And with a would-be-roguish leer and wink, 

He bade me on you press this one word, "think!" 

Ye sprightly youths, quite flushed with hope and spirit, 
Who think to storm the world by dint of merit, 
To you the dotard has a deal to say, 
In his sly, dry, sententious, proverb way; 



He bids you mind, amid your thoughtless rattle, 

That the first blow is ever half the battle ; 

That the' some by the skirt may try to snatch him. 

Yet by the forelock is the hold to catch him; 

That whether doing, suffering, or forbearing, 

You may do miracles by persevering. 

Last, tho' not least in love, ye youthful fair. 
Angelic forms, high Heaven's peculiar care ! 
To you old Bald-pate smooths his wrinkled brow. 
And humbly begs you'll mind the important — now! 
To crown your happiness he asks your leave. 
And offers bliss to give and to receive. 

For our sincere, tho' haply weak endeavours, 
With grateful pride we own your many favours; 
And howsoe'er our tongues may ill reveal it, 
Believe our glowing bosoms truly feel it. 

Tune — " Carron Side.''^ 

Irae the friends and land I love. 

Driven by Fortune's felly spite, 
Frae my best belov'd I rove, 

Never mair to taste delight. 
Never mair maun hope to find 

Ease frae toil, relief frae care, 
When remembrance wrecks the mind, 

Pleasures but unveil despair. 

Brightest climes shall mirk appear, 

Desert ilka blooming shore , 
Till the Fates, nae mair severe. 

Friendship, love, and peace restore ; 
Till revenge, wi' laurell'd head 

Bring our banish'd hame again ; 
And ilka loyal, bonnie lad 

Cross the seas and win his ain. 


Tune — '■^John Anderson my Jo." 

One night as I did wander. 

When corn begins to shoot, . 
I sat me down to ponder, 

Upon an aiild tree root: 

Auld Ayr ran by before me, 
And bicker'd to the seas, 

A cushat crooded o'er me 
That echo'd thro' the braes. 


As I was walking np the street, 
A barefit maid I chanced to meet; 

But the road was very hard 
For that fair maiden's tender feet. 

It were mair meet that those fine feet 
Were weel laced up in silken shoon, 

And 'twere more fit that she should sit 
Within yon chariot gilt aboon. 

Her yellow hair, beyond compare, 

Comes trinkling down her swan-white neck. 
And her two eyes, like stars in skies. 

Would keep a sinking ship frae wreck. 


Mally's meek, Mally's sweet, 
Mally's modest and discreet, 

Mally's rare, Mally's fair, 
Mally's every way complete. 


Thou whom chance may hither lead, 
Be thou clad in russet weed, 
Be thou deck'd in silken stole, 
Grave these counsels on thy soul. 

Life is but a day at most, 
Sprung from night, in darkness lost 
Hope not sunshine ev'ry hour. 
Fear not clouds will always lour. 

As Youth and Love, with sprightly dance. 
Beneath thy morning star advance, 


Pleasure with lier syren air 
May delude the thoughtless pair; 
Let Prudence bless Enjoyment's cup. 
Then raptur'd sip, and sip it up. 

As thy day grows warm and high, 
Life's meridian flaming nigh. 
Dost thou spurn the humble vale? 
Life's proud summits wouldst thou scale? 
Check thy climbing step, elate, 
Evils lurk in felon wait: 
Dangers, eagle-pinioned, bold. 
Soar around each cliffy hold. 
While cheerful Peace, with linnet song, 
Chants the lowly dells among. 

As the shades of ev'ning close, 
Beck'ning thee to long repose; 
As life itself becomes disease. 
Seek the chimney-nook of ease. 
There ruminate with sober thought, 
On all thou'st seen, and heard, and wTOUghtj 
And teach the sportive younkers round. 
Saws of experience, sage and sound. 
Say, man's true, genuine estimate. 
The grand criterion of his fate. 
Is not — art thou high or low? 
Did thy fortune ebb or flow? 
Did many talents gild thy span? 
Or frugal Nature grudge thee one ? 
Tell them, and press it on their mind. 
As thou thyself must shortly find, 
The smile or frown of awful Heav'n 
To virtue or to vice is giv'n. 
Say, to be just, and kind, and wise. 
There solid self-enjoyment lies ; 
That foolish, selfish, faitliless ways, 
Lead to be wretched, vile, and base. 

Thus resign'd and quiet, creep 
To the bed of lasting sleep; 


Sleep, whence thou shalt ne'er awake, 
Night, where dawn shall never break, 
Till future life, future no more, 
To light and joy the good restore, 
To light and joy unknown before. 

Stranger, go ! Heaven be thy guide : 
Quoth the Bedesman of Nith-side. 



When trees did bud, and fields were green. 

And broom bloom'd fair to see; 
When Mary was complete fifteen. 

And love laugh'd in her e'e ; 
Blithe Davie's blinks her heart did move, 

To speak her mind thus free, 
Gang down the burn, my Davie, love, 

And I shall follow thee. 

Now Davie did each lad surpass, 

That dwelt on yon burn side. 
And ]\Iary was the bonniest lass, 

Just meet to be a bride ; 
Her cheeks were rosy, red, and white, 

Her een were bonnie blue ; 
Her lock > were like Aurora bright. 

Her lips like dropping dew. 

As down the burn they took their way 

And thro' the flow'ry dale ; 
His cheeks to hers he aft did lay, 

And love was aye the tale. 
With " Mary, when shall we return, 

Sic pleasure to renew ? " 
Quoth IVIary, " Love, I like the burn. 

And aye shall follow you." 




GOUDIE ! terror o' the Whigs, 
Dread o' black coats and rev'reud wigs, 
Sour Bigotry, on her last legs, 

Girnin' looks back, 
Wishin' the ten Egyptian plagues 

Wad seize you quick. 

Poor gapin', glowrin' Superstition, 

Waes me ! she's in a sad condition ; 

Fy! bring Black Jock, her state physician, 

To see her water ; 
Alas ! there's ground o' great suspicion 

She'll ne'er get better. 

Auld Orthodoxy lang did grapple. 
But now she's got an unco ripple; 
Haste, gie her name up i' the chapel, 

Nigh unto death ; 
See how she fetches at the thrapple, 

An' gasps for breath. 

Enthusiasm's past redemption, 

Gaen in a galloping consumption 

Not a' the quacks, with a' their gumption, 

Will ever mend her, 
Her feeble pulse gies strong presumption 

Death soon will end her. 

'Tis you and Taylor are the chief 
Wha are to blame for this mischief; 
But gin the Lord's ain focks gat leave, 

A toom tar-barrel 
An' twa red peats wad send relief, 

An' end the quarrel. 

Tune — " Andro and his cuttie gun." 

By Ochtertyre grows the aik, 

On Yarrow banks the birken shaw; 

But Phemie was a bonnier lass 
Than braes o' Yarrow ever saw. 

Her looks were like a flower in May, 
Her smile was like a simmer mornj 

She tripped by the banks of Earne 
As light's a bird upon a thorn. 


Her bonnie face it was as meek 
As oiiie lamb upon a lee ; 

The evening sun was ne'er sae sweet 
As was the blink o' Phemie's ee. 

The Highland hills I've wander'd wide,, 
And o'er the Lowlands I hae been ; 

But Phemie was the blithest lass 
That ever trod the dewy green. 


Blithe, blithe and merry was she. 
Blithe was she but and ben: 

Blithe by the banks of Earne, 
And blithe in Glenturit glen. 


Tune — ^'■Miss Muir.^ 

HOW shall I, unskilfu', try 

The poet's occupation, 
The tunefu' powers, in happy hours. 

That whisper inspiration? 
Even they maun dare an effort mair 

Than aught they ever gave us. 
Or they rehearse, in equal verse, 

The charms o' lovely Da vies. 
Each eye it cheers, wlien she appears, 

Like Phoebus in the morning. 
When past the shower, and ev'ry flower 

The garden is adorning. 
As the wretch looks o'er Siberia's shore. 

When winter-bound the wave is ; ■>' 

Sae droops our heart when we maun part 

Frae charming lovely Davies. 



Her smile's a gift, frae boon the lift, 

That maks us mair than princes; 
A scepter'd hand, a king's command, 

Is in her darting glances: 
The man in arms 'gainst female charms, 

Even he her willing slave is ; 
He hugs his chain, and owns the reign 

Of conquering, lovely Davies. 
My Muse to dream of such a theme, 

Her feeble powers surrender; 
The eagle's gaze alone surveys 

The sun's meridian splendour: 
I wad in vain essay the strain. 

The deed too daring brave is; 
I'll drap the lyre, and mute admire 
The charms o' lovely Davies. 


Tune — " The Cordwainers' March.'" 

O LAY thy loof in mine, lass. 
In mine, lass, in mine, lass, 
And swear on thy white hand, lass, 
That thou wilt be my ain. 

A slave to love's unbounded sway, 
He aft has wrought me meikle wae; 
But now he is my deadly fae, 
Unless thou be my ain. 

There's mony a lass has broke my rest. 
That for a blink I hae lo'ed best ; 
But thou art queen within my breast. 
For ever to remain. 

O lay thy loof in mine, lass, 
In mine, lass, in mine, lass. 
And swear on thy white hand, lass. 
That thou wilt be my ain. 



Tu^E—" Johnnie 3'PGilL" 

O WILT thou go wi' me, sweet Tibbie Dunbar? 

wilt tliou go wi' me, sweet Tibbie Dun oar f 
Wilt thou ride on a horse, or be drawn in a car, 
Or walk by my side, sweet Tibbie Dunbar? 

1 carena thy daddie, his lands and his money, 
1 carena thy kin, sae high and sae lordly: 
But sav thou wilt hae me for better for waur, 
And come in thy coatie, sweet Tibbie Dunbar. 

Tune — " T/ie Maid's Complaint.'' 

It is na, Jean, thy bonnie face. 

Nor shape, that I admire, 
Altho' thy beauty and thy grace 

Might weel awake desire. 
Something in ilka part o' thee, 

To praise, to love, I find ; 
But dear as is thy form to me, 

Still dearer is thy mind. 

Nae mair ungenerous wish I hae, 

Nor stronger in my breast, 
Than if I canna male thee sae, 

At least to see thee blest. 
Content am I, if Heaven shall give 

But happiness to thee ; 
Aud as wi' thee I'd wish to live. 

For thee I'd bear to die. 

Xpne — " The bonnie lass in yon town." 

WAT ye wha's in yon town 

Ye see the e'enin sun upon? 
The fairest dame's in yon town, 

That e'enin sun is shining on. 

Now haply down yon gay green shaw, 
She wanders by yon spreading tree: 

How blest, ye flow'rs that round her blaw. 
Ye catch the dances o' her ee! 
3 1 


How blest, ye birds that round her sing. 
And welcome in the blooming year. 

And doubly welcome be the spring, 
The season to my Lucy dear! 

The sun blinks blithe on yon town, 
And on yon bonnie braes of Ayr; 

But my delight in yon town, 
And dearest bliss, is Lucy fair. 

Without my love, not a' the charms 
0' Paradise could yield me joy ; 

But gie me Lucy in my arms, 

And welcome Lapland's dreary sky. 

My cave wad be a lover's bower, 
Tho' raging winter rent the air; 

And she a lovely little flower, 

That I wad tent and shelter there. 

sweet is she in yon town, 

• Yon sinkin sun's gane down upon; 
A fairer than's in yon town 

His setting beam ne'er shone upon. 

If angry fate is sworn my foe, 

And suffering I am doom'd to bear; 

1 careless quit aU else below. 

But spare me, spare me Lucy dear. 

For while life's dearest blood is warm, 
Ae thought frae her shall ne'er depart, 

And she— as fairest is her form, 
She has the truest, kindest heart. 



The noble Maxwells and their powers 

Are coming o'er the border, 
And they'll gae big Terreagle's towers. 

An' set them a' in order, 
And they declare Terreagle's fair. 

For their abode they choose it ; 
There's no a heart in a' the land, 

But's lighter at the news o't. 

Tho' stars in skies may disappear. 

And angry tempests gather; 
The happy hour may soon be near 

That brings us pleasant weather: 
The weary night o' care and grief 

May hae a joyful morrow: 
So dawning day has brought relief— 

Tareweel our night o' sorrow ! 



When rosy May comes in wi' flowers. 
To deck her gay green-spreading bowers. 
Then busy, busy, are his hours. 
The gard'ner wi' his paidle. 

The crystal waters gently fa'. 
The merry birds are lovers a'. 
The scented breezes round him blaw. 
The gard'ner wi' his paidle. 

When purple morning starts the hare. 
To steal upon her early fare. 
Then thro' the dews he maun repair. 
The gard'ner wi' his paidle. 


Wlien day, expiring in the west, 
The curtain draws of Nature's rest. 
He flies to her arms he loes best. 
The gard'ner wi' his paidle. 



Whoe'er he be that sojourns here, 

1 pity much his case, 
Unless he come to wait upon 

The Lord their God — his Grace. 

There's naething here but Highland pride^ 
And Highland scab and hunger j 

If Providence has sent me here, 
'Twas surely in an anger. 



My blessings on you, sonsy wife ; 

I ne'er was here before ; 
You've gi'en us walth for horn and knife, 

Nae heart could wish for more. 
Heaven keep you free frae care and strife. 

Till far ayont fourscore ; 
And while I toddle on thro' life, 

I'll ne'er gang by your door. 

Sweet closes the evening on Craigie-burn wood, 
And blithely awakens the morrow 



Tune — " Craigie-bum Wood.''^ 

Sweet closes the evening on Craigie-burn wood, 

And blithely awakens the morrow; 
But the pride of the spring in the Craigie-burn wood 

Can yield to me nothing but sorrow. 

I see the spreading leaves and flowers, 

I hear the wild birds singing; 
But pleasure they hae nane for me, 

While care my heart is wringing. 

I canna tell, I maunna tell, 

I darena for your anger; 
But secret love will break my heart 

If I conceal it langer. 

I see thee graeefu', straight and tall, 

I see thee sweet and bonnie, 
But oh ! what will my torments be, 

If thou refuse thy Johnnie ! 

To see thee in anither's arms, 

In love to lie and languish, 
'Twad be my dead, that will be seen, 

My heart wad burst wi' anguish. 

But, Jeanie, say thou wilt be mine. 

Say thou lo'es nane before me; 
An' a' my days o' life to come, 

I'll gratefully adore thee. 


Beyond thee, dearie, beyond thee, dearie. 
And, 0, to be lying beyond thee, 

sweetly, soundly, weel may he sleep. 
That's laid in the bed beyond thee. 




Mossgaville;, May 3, 178& 

1 HOLD it. Sir, my bounden duty, 
To warn you how that Master Tootie, 

Alias, Laird M'Gaun, 
Was here to lure the lad away 
'Bout whom ye spak the tither day. 

An' wad hae don't aff' han': 
But lest he learn the callan tricks, 

As faith I meikle doubt him, 
like scrapin' out auld Crummie's nicks, 
An' tellin' lies about them ; 
As lieve then I'd have then, 

Your clerkship he should sail. 
If sae be ye may be 
Not fitted otherwhere. 

Altho' I say't, he's gleg enough. 
An' 'bout a house that's rude and rough. 
The boy might learn to swear; 
But then wi' you he'll be sae tauglit. 
An' get sic fair example straught, 

I hae na onie fear. 
Ye'll catechise him every quirk. 

An' shore him weel wi' hell; 
An' gar him follow to the kirk 

— Aye when ye gang yoursel'. 
If ye then, maun be then 

Frae hame this comin' Friday, 
Then please. Sir, to lea'e. Sir, 
The orders wi' your lady. 

My word of honour I ha'e gi'en, 
In Paisley John's, that night at e'en. 
To meet the warld's worm: 

THE FARE^\^LL. 439 

To try to get the twa to gree, 
An' name the airles an' the fee, 
In legal mode an' form. 
I ken he weel a snick can draw, 

When simple bodies let him; 
An' if a devil be at a', 

In faith he's sure to get him. 
To phraise you an' praise you, 
Ye ken your Laureat scorns : 
The pray'r still you share stiU 
Of grateful Minstrel BuKNS. 



"The valiant, in Iiimseif, what can he saffer, 
Or what does he regard his single woes? 
But when, alas! he multiplies himself, 
To dearer selves, to the lov'd tender fair. 
To those whose bliss, whose beings hang upon him. 
To helpless children! then, then! he feels 
The point of misery fest'ring in liis heart, 
And weakly weeps his fortune like a coward : 
Such, such am I! undone!" 


Farewell old Scotia's bleak domains. 
Far dearer than the torrid plains, 

Where rich ananas blow ! 
Farewell, a mother's blessing dear! 
A brother's sigh ! a sister's tear ! 
My Jean's heart-rending throe ! 
Farewell my Bess! tho' thou'rt bereft 

Of my parental care; 
A faithful brother I have left. 
My part in him thou'lt share ! 
Adieu too, to you too, 

My Smith, my bosom frien'; 
When kindly you mind me, 
then befriend my Jeanl 


Wlien bursting anguish tears my heart 
From thee, my Jeanie, must 1 part : 

Thou, weeping, answ'rest, " No !" 
Alas ! misfortune stares my face, 
And jHjints to ruin and disgrace ; 

I I'or tliy sake must go ! 
Thee Hamilton, and Aiken dear, 

A grateful warm adieu ! 
I, with a much-indebted tear, 
Shall still remember you ! 
All-hail then, the gale then. 

Wafts me from thee, dear shore 
It rustles, and whistles, 
m never see thee morel 


Blest be jM'Murdo to his latest day. 
No envious cloud o'ercast his evening ray; 
No wrinkle furrowed by the hand of care, 
Nor ever sorrow add one silver hair! 
Oh, may no son the father's honour stain, 
Nor ever daughter give the mother pain! 



The Solemn League and Covenant 

Cost Scotland blood, cost Scotland tears! 

But it seal'd Freedom's sacred cause — 
If thou'rt a slave, indulge thy sneers. 

Tdne — " Captain 0' Kean^ 

The small birds rejoice in the green leaves returning; 

The murmuring streamlet winds clear thro' the vale; 
The hawthorn trees blow in the dcAvs of the morning. 

And M-ild scatter'd cowslips bedeck the green dale: 

But what can give pleasure, or what can seem fair, 
While the lingering moments are number'd by care? 

No flowers gaily springing, nor birds sweetly singing. 
Can soothe the sad bosorn of joyless despair. 

The deed that I dar'd could it merit their malice, 
A king or a father to place on his throne ? 

His right are these hills, and his right are these valleys. 
Where the wild beasts find shelter, but I can find nona 

3 K 


But 'tis not my sufferings thus wretched, forlorn, 
My brave gallant friends, 'tis your ruin I mourn; 

Your deeds proved so loyal in hot bloody trial, 
Alas ! can I make you no sweeter return ? 


Hail, thairm-inspirin', rattlin' Willie ! 
Though fortune's road be rough an' hilly 
To every fiddling, rhyming billie, 

We never heed, 
But take it like the unback'd filly. 

Proud o' her speed. 

When idly goavan whyles we saunter, 
Yirr, fancy barks, awa' we canter 
Uphill, down brae, till some mishanter. 

Some black bog-hole. 
Arrests us, then the scathe an' banter 

We're forced to thole. 

Hale be your heart! Hale be your fiddle! 
Lang may your elbuck jink and diddle, 
To cheer you through the weary widdle 

0' this wild warl', 
Until you on a crummock driddle, 

A gray-hair'd carl. 

Come wealth, come poortith, late or soon, 
He ven sc-^s-d your heart-strings aye in tune, 
And screv/ your temper-pins aboon, 

A fifth or raair, 
The melancholious, lazv croon. 

O' cankrie care. 


May still your life from day to day 

Nae " lente largo " in the play, 

But "allegretto forte" gay 

Harmonious flow 

A sweeping, kindling, bauld strathspey- 
Encore ! Bravo ! 

A blessing on the cheery gang 
Wha dearly like a jig or sang, 
An' never think o' right an' wrang 

By square an' rule, 
But as the clegs o' feeling stang 

Ai'e wise or fool. 

My hand-waled curse keep hard in chase 
The harpy, hoodock, purse-proud race, 
Wha count on poortith as disgrace — 

Their tuneless hearts I 
May fire-side discords jar a base 

To a' their parts ! 

But come, your hand, my careless brither, 
I' th' ither warl' if there's anither — 
An' that there is I've little swither 

About the matter — 
We cheek for chow shall jog thegither, 

I'se ne'er bid better. 

We've faults and failings — granted clearly, 

We're frail backsliding mortals merely, 

Eve's bonnie squad priests wyte them sheerly 

For our grand fa' ; 
But still, but stiU, I like them dearly — 

God bless them a' ! 

Ochon I for poor Castalian drinkers, 
When they fa' foul o' earthly j inkers. 
The witching, cursed, delicious blinkers 

Hae put me hyte, 
And gart me weet my waukrife winkers, 

Wi' girnau spite. 


But by yon moon ! — and that's high swearm'— 
An' every star within my liearin' ! 
An' by her een wha was a clear ane 

I'll ne'er forget ! 
I hope to gie the jads a clearin' 

In fair play yet. 

My loss I mourn, but not repent it, 
I'll seek my pursie whare I tint it, 
Ance to the Indies I were wonted, 

Some cantrip hour. 
By some sweet elf I'U yet be dinted, 

Then " vive I'amour !" 

"Faites mes baisemains respectueuses," 
To sentimental sister Susie, 
An' honest Lucky ; no to roose you. 

Ye may be proud, 
That sic a couple fate allows you, 

To grace your blood. 

Nae mair at present can I measure. 

An' trowth, my rhymin' ware's nae treasure; 

But when in Ayr, some half hour's leisure, 

Be't light, be't dark. 
Sir Bard will do himself the pleasure 

To call at Park. 

LJoBEKT Burns. 


As I was a-wand'ring ae morning in spring, 

I heard a young ploughman sae sweetly to sing; 

And as he was singin', thir words he did say. 

There's nae life like the ploughman's in the montli o' sweet May. 

The lav'rock in the morning she'll rise frae her nest, 
And mount to the air wi' the dew on her breast. 
And wi' the merry ploughman she'll whistle and sing, 
And at night she'll return to her nest back again. 

\ 0. 


0, wert thou in the cauld blast 

On yonder lea, on yonder lea. 
My plaid ie to the angry airt, 

I'd shelter thee, I'd shelter thee: 
Or did misfortune's bitter storms 

Around thee blaw, around thee blaw. 
Thy bield should be my bosom, 

To share it a', to share it a'. 

Or were I in the wildest waste, 

Sae bleak and bare, sae bleak and bare. 
The desert were a paradise, 

If thou wert there, if thou wert there? 
Or were I monarch o' the globe, 

AV thee to reign, wi' thee to reign, 
The brightest jewel in my crown 

Wad be my queen, wad be my queen. 



Oh ! I am come to the low countrie, 

Och-ou, och-ou, och-rie ! 
Without a penny in my purse, 

To buy a meal to me. 

It was nae sae in the Highland hills, 

Och-on, ocli-on, och-rie ! 
Nae woman in the countrie wide 

Sae happy was as me. 

For then I liad a score o' kye, 

Och-on, och-on, och-rie ! 
Feeding on yon hills so high, 

And giving milk to me. 

And there I had three score o' yowes, 

Och-on, och-on, och-rie ! 
Skipping on yon bonnie knowes. 

And casting woo to me. 

I was tlie happiest of the clan. 

Sair, sair may I repine ; 
For Donald was the brawest lad, 

And Donald he was mine. 

Till Charlie Stuart cam a^ last, 

Sae far to set us free ; 
My Donald's arm was wanted then. 

For Scotland and for me. 

Their waefu' fate what need I teU, 
Eight to the wrang did yield : 

My Donald and his country fell 
Upon Culloden's field. 

Oh ! I am come to the low countrie, 

Och-on, och-on, och-rie ! 
Nae woman in the world wide, 

Sae wretched now as me. 

Then let me ran^e t-y C'assilhs' banks 
Wi' her, the lassie dear to me 



Now bank an' brae are claith'd in green, 

An' scatter'd cowslips sweetly spring, 
By Girvan's fairy-haunted stream 

The birdies flit on wanton wing. 
To Cassillis' banks, when e'ening fa's. 

There wi' my Mary let me flee. 
There catch her ilka glance o' love. 

The bonnie blink o' Mary's ee ! 

The chield wha boasts o' warld's wealth, 

Is aften laird o' meikle care; 
But Mary she is a' my ain. 

Ah, fortune canna gie me mair ! 
Then let me range by Cassillis' banks 

Wi' her, the lassie dear to me. 
And catch her ilka glance o' love. 

The bonnie blink o' Mary's eel 


Young Jockey was the blithest lad 

In a' our town or here awa; 
Fu' blithe he whistled at the gaud, 

Eu' lightly danc'd he in the ha'! 
He roos'd my een sae bonnie blue, 

He roos'd my waist sae genty sma' ; 
An' aye my heart came to my mou', 

When ne'er a body heard or saw. 

My Jockey toils upon the plain, 

Thro' wind and weet, thro' frost and snaw; 
And o'er the lea I look fu' fain 

When Jockey's owsen hameward ca*. 
An' aye the night comes round again, 

When in his arms he takes me a'; 
An' aye he vows he'll be my ain 

As lang's he has a breath to draw 


O Prince! Chief of many throned Pow'rs, 
That led th' embattled Seraphim to war. — 


THOU ! wliatever title suit thee, 
Auld Hornie, Satan,. Nick, or Clootie, 
NVha in yon cavern grim an' sootie, 

Clos'd under hatches, 
Spairges about the hrunstane cootie, 

To scaud poor wretches^ 


Hear me, auld Hangie, for a wee, 
An' let poor damned bodies be ; 
I'm sure sma' pleasure it can gie, 

Ev'n to a deil. 
To skelp an' scaud poor dogs like me. 

An' hear us squeel! 

Great is thy pow'r, an' great thy fame; 
Far kenn'd an', noted is thy name; 
An' tho' yon lowin heugh's thy hame. 

Thou travels far; 
An' faith ! thou's neither lag nor lame, 

Nor blate nor scaur. 

Whyles, ranging like a roarin lion 
For prey, a' holes an' corners try in ; 
Whyles on the strong-wing'd tempest flyin, 

Tirlin the kirks; 
Whyles, in the human bosom pryin, 

Unseen thou lurks. 

I've heard my reverend grannie say, 
In lanely glens ye like to stray; 
Or where auld, ruin'd castles, gray, 

Nod to the moon, 
Ye fright the nightly Avand'rer's way, 

Wi' eldritch croon. 

WTien twilight did my grannie summon 
To say her pray'rs, douce, honest woman r 
Aft yont the dyke she's heard you bummin, 

Wi' eerie drone; 
Or, rustlin, thro' the boortrees comin, 

Wi' heavy groan. 

Ae dreary, windy, winter night, 

Tlie stars shot down wi' sklentin light, 

Wi' you, mysel, I gat a fright, 

Ayont the loch ; 

Ye, like a rash-buss, stood in sight, 

Wi' wa\'ing sugh 
3l ' 



The cudgel in my neive did shake, 
Each bristl'd hair stood hke a stake. 
When \vi' an eldritch, stoor quaick, quaick, 

Amang the springs, 
Awa ye squatter'd, like a drake, 

On whistling uings. 

Let warlocks grim, an' wither' d hags. 
Tell how wi' you on ragweed nags, 
They skim the muirs, an' dizzy crags, 

Wi' wicked speed; 
And in kirk-yards renew their leagues, 

Owre howkit dead. 

Thence, countra wives, wi' toil an' pain, 
May plunge an' plunge the kirn in vain; 
For, Oh ! the yellow treasure's taen 

By witching skill; 
An' dawtit, twal-pint Hawkie's gaen 

As yell's the bill. 

When thowes dissolve the snawy hoord. 
An float the jinglin icy-boord, 
Then water-kelpies haunt the foord 

By your direction. 
An' nighted trav'llers are allur'd 

To their destruction. 

An' aft your moss-traversing spunkies 
Decoy tlie wight that late an' drunk is: 
The bleezin, curst, mischievous monkies 

Delude his eyes. 
Till in some miry slough he sunk is. 

Ne'er mair to rise. 

AAHien Masons' mystic word an' grip. 
In storms an' tempests raise you up, 
Some cock or cat your rage maun stop, 

Or, strange to tell ! 
The youngest Brother ye wad whip 

Aff strnught to hell. 


Lang syne, in Eden's bonnie yard, 
When youthtV lovers first were pair'd, 
An' all the soul of love they shar'd, 

The raptur'd hour. 
Sweet on the fragrant, flow'ry swaird, 

lu shady bow'r: 

Then you, ye auld, snick-drawing dog! 

Ye came to Paradise incog. 

An' play'd on man a cursed brogue, 

(Black be your fa' !) 

An' gied the infant warld a shog, 

'Maist ruin'd a'. 

D'ye mind that day when in a bizz, 
Wi' reekit duds an' reestit gizz, 
Ye did present your smoutie phiz 

'Mang better folk. 
An' sklented on the man of Uz 

Your spitefu' joke? 

An' how ye gat him i' your thrall, 
An' brak him out o' house an' hal'. 
While scabs an' blotches did him gall, 

Wi' bitter claw. 
An' lows'd his ill-tongu'd, wicked scawl. 

Was warst ava? 

But a' your doings to rehearse. 
Your wily snares an' fechtin fierce. 
Sin' that day Michael did you pierce, 

Down to this time. 
Wad ding a' Lallan tongue, or Erse, 

In prose or rhyme. 

An' now, auld Cloots, I ken ye're thinkin, 

A certain Bardie's rantin, drinkin, 

Some luckless hour will send him linkin 

To your black pit ; 
But, faith i he'll turn a corner jinkin, 

An' cheat you yet. 


Bvit, fare you weel, auld Nickie-ben! 
wad ye tak a thought an' men'! 
Ye aiblins might — I dinna ken — 

Still hae a stake : 
I'm wae to think upo' yon den, 

Ev'n for your sake! 

Tune — " O'er the Water to Charlie:' 

Come boat me o'er, come row me o'er. 
Come boat me o'er to Charlie; 

I'U gie John Ross another bawbee. 
To boat me o'er to Charlie. 

I lo'e weel my Charlie's name, 
Tho' some there be abhor him: 

But 0, to see auld Nick gaun hame. 
And Charlie's faes before him! 

I swear and vow by moon and stars, 
And sun that shines so early, 

If I had twenty thousand lives, 
I'd die as aft for Charlie. 


We'll o'er the water and o'er the sea. 

We'll o'er the water to Charlie ; 
Come weal, come woe, we'll gather and go^ 

And live or die wi' Charlie. 


Tune — " 21ie Hopeless Lover." 

Now spring has clad the groves in green. 

And strew'd the lea wi' flowers ; 
The furrow'd waving corn is seen 

Eejoice in fostering showers ; 
"While ilka thing in nature join 

Their sorrows to forego, 
O why thus all alone are mine 

The weary steps of woe ! 

The trout within yon wimpling burn 

Glides swift, a silver dart. 
And safe beneath the sliady thorn 

Defies the angler's art : 
My life was once that careless stream, 

That wanton trout was I ; 
But love, wi' unrelenting beam, 

Has scorch'd my foimtain dry. 


The little flow'ret's peaceful lot, 

In yonder cliff that grows — 
"Which, save the linnet's flight, I wot, 

Nae ruder visit knows — 
Was mine ; till love has o'er me past. 

And blighted a' my bloom, 
And now beneath the withering blast 

My youth and joy consume. 

The waken'd lav'rock warbling springs. 

And climbs the early sky, 
Winnowing blithe her dewy wings 

In morning's rosy eye ; 
As little reckt I sorrow's power. 

Until the flowery snare 
0' witching love, in luckless hour, 

Made me the thrall o' care. 

had my fate been Greenland snows 

Or Afric's burning zone, 
Wi' man and nature leagu'd my foes. 

So Peggy ne'er I'd known ! 
The wretch whase doom is, "Hope nae mair! 

What tongue his woes can tell ! 
Within whase bosom, save despair, 

Nae kinder spirits dwell. 



O, COULD I give thee India's wealth. 

As I this trifle send ! 
Because thy joy in both would be 

To share them with a friend. 

But golden sands did never grace 

The Heliconian stream ; 
Then take what gold could never buy- 

An honest Bard's esteem. 





Fair Empress of the Poet's soul, 

And Queen of Poetesses ; 
Clarinda, take this little boon. 

This humble pair of glasses ; 

And fill them high with generous juice. 
As generous as your mind ; 

And pledge me in the generous toast 
" The whole of human kind ! " 

"To those who love us!" — second fill;. 

But not to those whom we love. 
Lest we love those who love not us ! 

A third — '•' To thee and me, love !" 


Tune — ^^ Bonnie Dundee^ 

WEAR did ye get that haver-meal bannock ? 
silly blind body, dinna ye see ? 

1 gat it frae a brisk young sodger laddie, 
Between Saint Johnston and bonnie Dundee. 

gin I saw the laddie that gae me't ! 

Aft has he doudled me up on his knee ; 
May Heaven protect my bonnie Scots laddie, 

And send him safe hame to his babie and me ! 

My blessin's upon thy sweet wee lippie, 

My blessin's upon thy bonnie e'e-brie ! 
Thy smiles are sae like my blithe sodger laddie, 

Thou's aye the dearer and dearer to me ! 
But I'll big a bower on yon bonnie banks. 

Where Tay rins wimplin' by sae clear; 
And I'll deed thee in the tartan sae fine. 

And mak thee a man like thy daddie dear. 


On a bank of flowers, in a summer day. 

For summer lightly drest, 
The youthful blooming Nelly lay, 

With love and sleep opprest; 

When Willie, wand'ring thro' the wood, 
Wlio for her favour oft had sued ; 
He gaz'd, he wish'd, he fear'd, he blush d. 
And trembled where he stood. 

Her closed eyes, like weapons sheath'd, 

Were seal'd in soft repose ; 
Her lips, still as she fragrant breath'd, 

It richer dy'd the rose. 


The springing lilies sweetly prest, 
Wild-wanton, kiss'd her rival breast; 
He gaz'd, he wish'd, he fear'd, he blush'd, 
His bosom ill at rest. 

Her robes, light waving in the breeze. 

Her tender hmbs embrace ; 
Her lovely form, her native ease. 

All harmony and grace! 

Tumultuous tides his pulses roll, 
A faltering ardent kiss he stole ; 
He gaz'd, he wish'd, he fear'd, he blush'd. 
And sigh'd his very soul. 

As flies the partridge from the brake 

On fear-inspired wings ; 
So Nelly, starting, half awake, 

Away affrighted springs : 

But Willie follow'd— as he should ; 
He overtook her in the wood : 
He vow'd, he pray'd, he found the maid 
Forgiving all, and good. 



Searching auld wives' barrels, 

Och, hon ! the day ! 
That clarty barm should stain my laurels; 

But — what'U ye sa}' ? 
These movin' things, ca'd wives and weans, 

Wad move the very hearts o' stanes! 
3 M 



Tune — "/'m oiore young to marry yet." 

I AM my mammie's ae bairn, 
Wi' unco folk I weary, Sir; 

And lying in a man's bed, 

I'm lley'd wad nuik me eerie, Sir. 

Hallowmas is come and gane, 

The nights are lang in winter. Sir, 

And you an' I in ae bed, 

In trouth I darena venture. Sir. 

Fu' loud and shrill the frosty wind 
Blaws thro' the leafless timmer. Sir; 

But if ye come this gate again, 
I'll aulder be gin sinmier, Sir. 


I'm owre young to marry yet, 
I'm owre young to marry yet; 

I'm owre young — 'twad be a sin 
To tak me frae my mammie yet. 

Tdne — "Dimcan Davbonr 

There was a lass, they ca'd her Meg, 

And she held o'er the moors to spin; 
There was a lad that follow'd her. 

They ca'd him Duncan Davison. 
The moor was dreigh, and Meg was skeigh. 

Her favour Duncan couldna win ; 
For wi' the rock she wad him knock, 

And aye she shook the temper-pin 


As o'er the moor they lightly foor, 

A burn was clear, a glen was green, 
Upon the banks they eased their shanks, 

And aye she set the wheel between : 
But Duncan swore a haly aith, 

That Meg should be a bride the morn; 
Then Meg took up her spinnin graith, 

And flung them a' out o'er the burn. 

We'll big a house— a wee, wee house. 

And we will live like king and queen, 
Sae blithe and merry we will be 

When ye set by the wheel at e'en. 
A man may drink and no be drunk; 

A man may fight and no be slain; 
A man may kiss a bonnie lass, 

And aye be welcome back again. 

Tune — " To daunton me." 

The blude red rose at Yule may blaw, 
The simmer lilies bloom in snaw, 
The frost may freeze the deepest sea; 
But an auld man shall never daunton me. 

For a' his meal and a' his maut, 
For a' his fresh beef and his saut. 
For a' his gold and white monie, 
An auld man shall never daunton me. 

His gear may buy him kye and yowes. 
His gear may buy him glens and knowes; 
But me he shall not buy nor fee, 
For an auld man shall never dauuton me. 


He hirples twa-fauld as he dow, 
Wi' his teethless gab and his auld held pow. 
And the rain rains down frae his red bleer'd ee- 
That auld man shall never daunton me. 


To daunton me, and me sae young, 
Wi' his fause heart and flatt'ring tongue. 
That is the thing you ne'er shall see ; 
For an auld man shall never daunton me. 

Tune — " If thou'lt play me fair play." 

The bonniest lad that e'er I saw, 

Bonnie laddie, Highland laddie, 
"Wore a plaid and was fu' braw, 

Bonnie Highland laddie. 
On his head a bonnet blue, 

Bonnie laddie, Highland laddie, 
His royal heart was firm and true, 

Bonnie Highland laddie. 

Trumpets sound and cannons roar, 

Bonnie lassie. Lowland lassie, 
And a' the hills wi' echoes roar, 

Bonnie Lowland lassie. 
Glory, honour, now invite, 

Bonnie lassie. Lowland lassie, 
For Freedom and my king to fight, 

Bonnie Lowland lassie. 

The sun a backward course shall take, 
Bonnie laddie, Highland laddie, 

Ere aught thy manly courage shake ; 
Bonnie Highland laddie. 

^on wild mossy mountains sac lefty and wide. 
That nurse in their Iriosom the youth o' the Clyde 


Go, for yoursel procure renown, 

Bonnie laddie, Highland laddie, 
And for your lawful king his crown, 

Bonnie Highland laddie ! 


Yon wild mossy mountains sae lofty and wide. 
That nurse in their bosom the youth o' the Clyde, 
Where the grouse lead their coveys thro' the heather to feed. 
And the shepherd tents his flocks as he pipes on his reed: 

Where the grouse, &c. 

Not Gowrie's rich vaUey, nor Forth's sunny shores, 
To me hae the charms o' yon wild mossy moors. 
For there, by a lanely, sequester'd, clear stream, 
Eesides a sweet lassie, my thought and my dream. 

Amang thae wild mountains shall still be my path, 
Ilk stream foaming down its ain green narrow strath j 
For there wi' my lassie the day lang I rove. 
While o'er us, unheeded, fly the swift hours o' love. 

She is not the fairest, altho' she is fair; 
0' nice education but sma' is her share; 
Her parentage humble as humble can be ; 
But I lo'e the dear lassie because she lo'es me. 

To beauty what man but maun yield him a prize. 
In her armour of glances, and blushes, and sighs? 
And when wit and refinement hae polish'd her darts. 
They dazzle our een, as they fly to our hearts. 

But kindness, sweet kindness, in the fond sparkling ee. 
Has lustre outshining the diamond to me ; 
And the heart beating love, as I'm clasp'd in her arms, 
0, these are my lassie's all-conquering charms ! 


Tune — '■^ Banks of Banna.'' 

Yestreen I had a pint o' ^vine, 

A place where body saw na; 
Yestreen lay on this breast o' mine 

The gowden locks of Anna. 
The hungry Jew in wilderness 

Eejoicing o'er his manna, 
Was naething to my hiniiy bliss 

Upon the lips of Anna. 

Ye monarchs, tak the east and west, 

Frae Indus to Savannah! 
Gie me within my straining grasp 

The melting form of Anna. 
There I'll despise imperial charms, 

An Empress or Sultana, 
While dying raptures in her arms, 

I give and take with Anna! 

Awa, thou flaunting god o' day! 

Awa, thou pale Diana ! 
Ilk star gae hide thy twinkling ray 

When I'm to meet my Anna. 
Come, in thy raven plumage, night. 

Sun, moon, and stars withdrawn a'j 
And bring an angel pen to write 

My transports wi' my Anna. 


Here's a bottle and an honest friend I 

What wad ye w4sh for mair, man ? 
Wha kens, oefore his life may end. 

What his share may be o' care, man? 
Then catch the moments as they fly. 

And use them as ye ought, man : 
Believe me, happiness is shy, 

And comes not aye when sought, man. 



Talk not to me of savages 

From Afric's burning sun, 
No savage e'er could rend my heart, 

As, Jessy, thou hast done. 
But Jessy's lovely hand in mine, 

A mutual faith to plight, 
Not even to view the heavenly choil 

"Would be so blest a sight. 


Fill me with the rosy wine. 
Call a toast— a toast divine; 
Give the poet's darling flame, 
Lovely Jessy be the name; 
Then thou mayest freely boast, 
Thou hast given a peerless toast. 


Say, Sages, what's the charm on earth 
Can turn death's dart aside? 

It is not purity and worth. 
Else Jessy had not died. 


But rarely seen since Nature's birth. 

The natives of the sky. 
Yet still one seraph's left on earth, 

For Jessy did not die. 


My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here : 
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer ; 
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe, 
My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go. 

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North, 
The birthplace of valour, the country of worth ; 
AVlierever I wander, wherever I rove. 
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love. 

Farewell to the mountains high cover'd with snowj 
Farewell to the straths and green valleys below ; 
Farewell to the forests and wild-hanging woods ; 
Farewell to the torrents and loud-pouring floods. 

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here: 
My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the deer; 
Chasing the wild deer, and following the roe, 
My heart's in the Highlands wherever I go. 




LocHLEA, loth January, 1783. 

Dear Sir, 

As I have an opportunity of sending you a letter without putting you to that 
expense which any production of mine would but ill repay, I embrace it with pleasure, 
to tell you that I have not forgotten, nor ever will forget, the many obligations I lie 
under to your kindness and friendship. 

I do not doubt, Sir, but you will wish to know what has been the result of all the 
pains of an indulgent father and a masterly teacher, and I wish I could gratify your 
curiosity with such a recital as you would be pleased with ; but that is what I am 
afraid will not be the case. I have, indeed, kept pretty clear of vicious habits, and in 
this respect, I hope my conduct will not disgrace the education I have gotten ; but as 
a man of the world, I am most miserably deficient. One would have thought, that 
bred as I have been under a father who has figured pretty well as U7i homme des 
affaires, I might have been what the world calls a pushing active fellow ; but to tell 
you the truth. Sir, there is hardly anything more my reverse. I seem to be one 
sent into the world to see and observe ; and I very easily compound with the knave 
who tricks me of my money, if there be anything original about him, which shows 
me human nature in a different light from anything I have seen before. In short, 
the joy of my heart is "to study men, their manners, and their ways;" and for this 
darling object I cheerfully sacrifice every other consideration. I am quite indolent 
about those great concerns that set the bustling busy sons of care agog; and if I have 
to answer for the present hour, I am very easy with regard to anything further. 
Even the last worthy shift of the unfortunate and the wretched does not much 
terrify me : I know that even then, my talent for what country-folks call " a sensible 
crack," when once it is sanctified by a hoary head, would procure me so much esteem 
— that even then I would learn to be happy. However, I am under no apprehen- 
sions about that; for though indolent, yet, so far as an extremely delicate constitution 
permits, I am not lazy ; and in many things, especially in tavern-matters, I am a 
strict economist — not indeed for the sake of the money, but one of the principal parts 
in my composition is a kind of pride of stomach, and I scorn to fear the face of any 
man living : above everything, I abhor, as hell, the idea of sneaking in a corner to 



avoid a dun — possibly some pitiful, sordid wretch, whom in my heart I despise and 
detest. 'Tis this, and this alone, that endc^ars economy to me. In the matter of" books, 
indeed, I am very profuse. My favourite authors are of the sentimental kind, such 
as Shenstone, particularly his "Elegies;" Thomson; "Man of Feeling," a book I 
prize next to the Bible; "Man of the World;" Sterne, especially his "Sentimental 
Journey;" M'Pherson's " Ossian," &e. These are the glorious models after which I 
endeavour to form my conduct; and 'tis incongruous, 'tis absurd, to suppose that the 
man, Avhose mind glows with the sentiments lighted up at their sacred flame — the man 
whose heart distends with benevolence to all the human race — he " who cun soar 
above this little scene of things," can he descend to mind the paltry concerns about 
which the terrajfilial race fret, and fume, and vex themselves? O how the glorious 
triumph swells my heart! I forget that I am a poor insignificant devil, unnoticed 
and unknown, stalking up and down fairs and markets, when I happen to be in them, 
reading a p;ige or two of mankind, and " catching the manners living as they rise," 
whilst the men of business jostle me on every side as an idle encumbrance in their 
way. But I dare say I have by this time tired your patience ; so I shall conclude 
with begging you to give Mrs. Murdoch — not my compliments, for that is a mere 
common-place story, but my warmest, kindest wishes for her welfare ; and accept of 
the same for yourself from, dear Sir, yours, &c. 



Aykshike, 1786. 


I WAS with Wilson my printer t'other day, and settled all our by-gone matters 
between us. After I had paid him all demands, I made him the offer of the second 
edition on the hazard of being paid out of the first and readiest; Avhich he declines. 
By his account, the paper of a thousand copies would cost about twenty-seven 
pounds, and the printing about fifteen or sixteen. He offers to agree to this for the 
printing, if I will advance for the pnper; but this, you know, is out of my power: 
so farewell hopes of a second edition till I grow richer 1 an epocha which, I think, 
will arrive at the payment of the British national debt. 

There is scarcely anything hurts me so much, in being disappointed of my second 
edition, as not having it in my power to show my gratitude to Mr. Ballantyne, by 
publishing my poem of "The Brigs of Ayr." I would detest myself as a v,-retch if I 
thought I were capable, in a very long life, of forgetting the honest, Avarm, and tender 
delicacy with which lie enters into my interests. I am sometimes pleased with ni) self 
in my grateful sensations ; but I believe, on the whole, I have very little merit in it, 
as my gratitude is not a virtue, the consequence of reflection, but sheerly the instinc- 
tive emotion of a heart too inattentive to allow worldly ma.xims and views to settle 
into sellish habits. 


I have been feeling all the various rotations and movements within respecting the 
excise. Tliere are many things plead strongly against it, the uncertainty of getting 
soon into business, the consi^quences of my follies, which may perhaps make ii 
impracticable for me to stay at home; and besides, I have for some time been pining 
under secret wretchedness, from causes which you pretty well know — the pang of 
disappointment, the sting of pride, with some wandering stabs of remorse, wliich 
never fail to settle on my vitals hke vultures, when attention is not called away by 
the calls of society or the vagaries of the Muse. Even in the hour of social mirth, 
my gaiety is the madness of an intoxicated criminal under the hands of the execu- 
tioner. All these reasons urge me to go abroad ; and to all these reasons I have only 
one answer — the feelings of a father. This, in the present mood I am in, overbalances 
everything that can be laid in the scale against it. 

You may perhaps think it an extravagant fancy, but it is a sentiment which strikes 
home to my very soul. Though sceptical in some points of our current belief, yet. I 
think, I have every evidence for the reality of a life beyond the stinted bourn of our 
present existence; if so, then how should I, in the presence of that tremendous Being 
the Author of existence, how should I meet the reproaches of those who stand to me 
in the dear relation of children, whom I deserted in the smiling innocency of helpless 
infancy? O thou great unknown Power! thou Almighty God! who hast lighted up 
reason in my breast, and blessed me with immortality ! 1 have frequently wandered 
from that order and regularity necessary for the perfection of thy works, yet thou hast 
never left me nor forsaken me. 

Since I wrote the foregoing sheet, I have seen something of the storm of mischief 
thickening over my folly-devoted head. Should you, my friends, my benefactors, be 
successful in your applications for me, jjerhaps it may not be in my power in that 
way to reap the fruit of your friendly eflTojts. What I have written in the preceding 
pages is the settled tone of my present resolution ; but should inimical circumstances 
forbid me closing with your kind offer, or, enjoying it, only threaten to entail further 
misery — 

To tell the truth, I have little reason for complaint, as the world in general has 
been kind to me, fully up to my deserts. I was, for some time past, fast getting 
into the pining distrustful snarl of the misanthrope. I saw myself alone, unfit for 
the struggle of life, shrirdcing at every rising cloud in the chance-directed atmos- 
phere of fortune, while, all defenceless, I looked about in vain for a cover. It never 
occurred to me, at least never with the force it deserved, that this world is a busy 
scene, and man a creature destined for a progressive struggle; and that, however I 
might possess a warm heart and inoffensive maimers (which last, by the by, was 
rather more than I could well boast), still, mpvf than these passive qualities, there 
was something to be done. When all my scliool-fellows and youthful compeer's (those 
misguided few excepted, who joined, to use a Gentoo phrase, the "hallachoi-es" of the 
human race) were striking off, with eager hope and earnest intention, some one or 
other of the many paths of busy life, I was standing "idle in the market-place," or 


only left the chace of the butterfly from flower to flower, to hunt fancy from whim 
to whim. 

You see, Sir, that if to know one's errors were a probabiHty of mending them, I 
stand a fair chance; but, according to the reverend "Westminster divines, though 
conviction must precede conversion, it is very far from always implying it. 



Ayrshikk, 178t> 

I AM truly sorry I was not at home yesterday, when I was so much honoured 
with your order for my copies, and incomparably more by the handsome compliments 
you are pleased to pay my poetic abilities. I am fully persuaded, that there is not 
any class of mankind so feelingly alive to the titillations of applause as the sons of 
Parnassus; nor is it easy to conceive how the heart of the poor bard dances with 
r;ipture, when those, whose character in life gives them a right to be polite judges, 
honour him with their approbation. Had you been thoroughly acquainted with me 
Madam, you could not have touched my darling heart-chord more sweetly than 
by noticing my attempts to celebrate your illustrious ancestor, the Saviour of his 
Country — 

"Great patriot-hero! ill-requited chief!" 

The first book I met with in my early years, which I perused with pleasure, was 
"The Life of Hannibal;" the next was "The History of Sir William Wallace." For 
several of my earlier years I had few other authors ; and many a solitary hour have 
i stole out, alter the laborious vocations of the day, to shed a tear over their glorious 
but unfortunate stories. In those boyish days, I remember in particular being struck 
with that part of Wallace's story where these lines occur — 

•° Syne to the Leglen wood, when it was late, 
To make a silent and a safe retreat." 

I chose a fine summer Sunday, the only day my line of life allowed, and walked 
half-a-dozen of miles to pay my respects to the Leglen wood, with as much devout 
enlliusiasm as ever pilgrim did to Loretto ; and as I explored every den and dell 
where I could suppose my heroic countryman to have lodged, I recollect (for even 
then 1 wiis a rhymer) that my heart glowed with a wish to be able to make a song on 
him in some measure equal to his merits. 




Edinburgh, 15th January, 1787. 


Yours of the 9tli current, which I am this moment honoured with, is a deep 
reproach to me for ungrateful neglect. I will tell you the real truth, for I am miser- 
ably awkward at a fib; I wished to have written to Dr. Moore before I wrote to you ; 
but though, every day since I received yours of December 30th, the idea, the wish to 
write to him, has constantly pressed on my thoughts, yet I could not for my soul set 
about it. I know his fame and character, and I am one of " the sons of little men." 
To write him a mere matter-of-fact affair, like a merchant's order, would be disgracing 
the little character I have; and to Avrite the author of "The View of Society and 
Manners" a letter of sentiment — I declare every artery runs cold at the thought. I 
shall try, however, to write to him to-morrow or next day. His kind interposition in 
my behalf I have already experienced, as a gentleman waited on me the other day, on 
the part of Lord Eglinton, with ten guineas, by way of subscription for two copies of 
my next edition. 

The word you object to in the mention I have made of my glorious countryman 
and your immortal ancestor, is indeed borrowed from Thomson ; but it does not 
strike me as an improper epithet. I distrusted my own judgment on your finding 
fault with it, and applied for the opinion of some of the literati here, who honour me 
with their critical strictures, and they all allow it to be proper. The song you ask I 
cannot recollect, and I have not a copy of it. I have not composed anything on the 
great Wallace, except what you have seen in print, and the inclosed, which I will 
print in this edition. You will see I have mentioned some others of the name. 
When I composed my "Vision" long ago, I attempted a description of Kyle, of 
which the additional stanzas are a part as it originally stood. My heart glows with 
a wish to be able to do justice to the merits of the Saviour of his Country, which, 
sooner or later, I shall at least attempt. 

You are afraid I shall grow intoxicated with my prosperity as a poet. Alas ! 
Madam, I know myself and the world too well. I do not mean any airs of affected 
modesty ; I am willing to believe that ray abilities deserved some notice ; but in a 
most enlightened, informed age and nation, when poetry is and has been the study of 
men of the first natural genius, aided with all the powers of polite learning, polite 
books, and polite company — to be dragged forth to the full glare of learned and polite 
observation, with all my imperfections of awkward rusticity and crude unpolished 
ideas on my head — I assure you, Madam, I do not dissemble when I tell you, I 
tremble for the consequences. The novelty of a poet in my obscure situation, without 
any of those advantages which are reckoned necessary for that character, at least at 
this time of day, has raised a partial tide of public notice, which has borne me to a 
height, where I am absolutely, feelingly, certain my abilities are inadequate to support 
me ; and too surely do I see that time, when the same tide will leave me, and recede 
perhaps as far below the mark of truth. I do not say this in the ridiculous affecta- 
tion of self-abasement and modesty, I have studied myself, and know what ground 


I occupy ; and however a friend or the world may differ from me in that particular, 
I stand for my own opinion, in silent resolve, with all the tenaciousness of property. 
I mention this to you, once for all, to disburden my mind, and I do not wish to hear 
or say more about it. — But 

"When proud fortune's ebbing tide recedes," 

you will bear me witness, that when my bubble of fame was at the highest, I stood, 
unintoxicated, with the inebriating cup in my hand, looking forward with rueful 
rf-solve to the hastening time when the blow of Calumny should dash it to the 
ground, with all the eagerness of vengeful triumph. 

Your patronising me, and interesting yourself in my fame and character as a poet, 
I rejoice in; it exalts me in my own idea; and whether you can or cannot aid me in 
my subscription is a trifle. Has a paltry subscription-bill any charms to the heart of 
a bard, compared with the patronage of the descendant of the immortal Wallace? 

Sir, 1787. 

Mrs. Dunlop has been so kind as to send me extracts of letters she has had 
from you, where you do the rustic Bard the honour of noticing him and his works. 
Those who have felt the anxieties and solicitude of authorship, can only know what 
pleasure it gives to be noticed in such a manner by judges of the first character. 
Your criticisms. Sir, I receive with reverence ; only I am sorry they mostly came 
too late ; a peccant passage or two that I would certainly have altered, were gone 
to the press. 

The hope to be admired for ages is, in by far the greater part of those even Avho 
Avere authors of repute, an unsubstantial dream. For my part, my first ambition 
was, and still my strongest wish is, to please my compeers, the rustic inmates of the 
hamlet, while ever-changing language and manners shall allow me to be relished and 
understood. I am very willing to admit that I have some poetical abilities ; and as 
lew, if any writers, either moral or political, are intimately acquainted with the classes 
of mankind among whom I have chiefly mingled, I may have seen nien and manners 
in a different pliasis from what is common, which may assist originality of thought. 
Still I know very well the novelty of my character has by far the greatest share in 
the learned and polite notice I have lately had ; and in a language where Pope and 
Churchill have raised the laugh, and Shenslone and Gray drawn the tear — where 
Thomson and Beattie have painted the landscape, and Lyttleton and Collins described 
the heart — I am not vain enough to hope for distinguished poetic fame. 




Edinburgh, oih February, 1787. 
Reverend and Dear Sir, 

When I look at the date of your kind letter, my heart reproaches me severely 
Avith ingratitude in neglecting so long to answer it, I will not trouble you with any 
account, by way of apology, of my hurried life and distracted attention : do me the 
justice to believe, that my delay by no means proceeded from want of respect. I 
ieel, and ever shall feel for you, the mingled sentiments of esteem for a friend, and 
reverence for a father. 

I thank you, Sir, with all my soul, for your friendly hints ; though I do not need 
them so much as my friends are apt to imagine. You are dazzled with newspaper 
accounts and distant reports ; but, in reality, I have no great temptation to be intoxi- 
cated, with the cup of prosperity.. Novelty may attract the attention of mankind a 
uhile ; to it I owe my present eclat ; but I see the time not far distant, when the 
popular tide, which has borne me to a height of which I am perhaps unworthy, shall 
recede with silent celerity, and leave me a barren waste of sand, to descend at my 
leisure to my former station. I do not say this in the affectation of modesty; I see 
the consequence is unavoidable, and am prepared for it. I had been at a good deal 
of pains to form a just, impartial estimate of my intellectual powers before 1 came 
^lere ; I have not, added, since I came to Edinburgh, anything to the account ; and 
i trust I shall take every atom of it back to my shades, the coverts of my unnoticed, 
early years. 

In Dr. Blacklock, whom I see very often, I have found, what I would have ex- 
pected in our friend, a clear head and an excellent heart. 

By far the most agreeable hours I spend in Edinburgh must be placed to the 
account of Miss Lowrie and her piano-forte. I cannot help repeating to you and Mrs. 
Lowrie a compliment that Mr. Mackenzie, the celebrated "Man of Feeling," paid to 
Miss Lowrie, the other night, at the concert. I had come in at the interlude, and 
sat down by him, till I saw Miss Lowrie in a seat not very far distant, and went up to 
pay my respects to her. On my return to Mr. Mackenzie, he asked me who she was; 
I lold him 'twas the daughter of a revei'end friend of mine in the west country. He 
returned, There was something very striking, to his idea, in her appearance. On my 
d(^>il ing to know what it was, he was pleased to say, " She has a great deal of the 
elegance of a well-brcd lady about her, with all the sweet simplicity of a country 

My compliments to all the happy inmates of Saint Margarets. 

I am, dear Sir, 

Yours most gratefully, 




Edinburgh, 15^^ Febt-nary, 1787, 


Pardon my seeming neglect in delaying so long to acknowledge the honour 
you have done me, in your kind notice of me, January 23rd. Not many months ago, 
I knew no other employment than following the plough, nor could boast of anything 
higher tlian a distant acquaintance with a country clergyman. Mere greatness never 
embarrasses me. I have nothing to ask from the great, and I do not fear their judg- 
ment ; but genius, polished by learning, and at its proper point of elevation in the 
eye of the world, this of late I frequently meet with, and tremble at its approach. I 
scorn the affectation of seeming modesty to cover self-conceit. That I have some 
merit, I do not deny ; but I see with frequent wringings of heart, that the novelty of 
my character, and the honest national prejudice of my countrymen, have borne me to 
a height altogether untenable to my abilities. 

For the honour Miss W. has done me, please, Sir, return her, in my name, my 
most grateful thanks. I have more than once thought of paying her in kind, but 
have hitherto quitted the idea in hopeless despondency. I had never before heard 
of her ; but the other day I got her poems, which for several reasons, some belonging 
to the head, and others the offspring of the heart, gave me a great deal of pleasure. 
I have little pretensions to critic lore ; there are, I think, two characteristic features 
in her poetry — the unfettered wild flight of native genius, and the querulous sombre 
tenderness of time-settled sorrow. 

I only know what pleases me, often without being able to tell why. 


Edinbckgh, 1787. 

My LoKD, 

1 WANTED to purchase a profile of your Lordship, which I was told was to be 
got in town ; but I am truly sorry to see, that a blundering painter has spoiled a 
"human face divine." The inclosed stanzas I intended to have written below a 
picture or profile of your Lordship, could I have been so happy as to procure one 
with anything of a likeness. 

As I will soon return to my shades, I wanted to have something like a material 
object for my gratitude; I wanted to haTe it in my power to say to a friend, There 
is my noble patron, my generous benefactor. Allow me, my Lord, to publish these 
verses. I conjure your Lordship, by the honest throe of gratitude, by the generous 
wish of benevolence, by all the powers and feelings wJiich compose the magnanimous 
mind, do not deny me this petition. I owe much to j'our Lordship ; and, what has 
not in some other instances always been the case with me, the weight of the obligation 
is a pleasing load. I trust I have a heart as independent as your Lordship's, than 
which I can say nothing more; and I would not be beholden to favours that would 


crucify my feelings. Your dignified character in life, and manner of supporting that 
character, are flattering to my pride ; and I would be jealous of the purity of my 
grateful attachment where I was under the patronage of one of the much- favoured 
sons of fortune. 

Almost every poet has celebrated his patrons, particularly when they were names 
dear to fame, and illustrious in their country ; allow me, then, my Lord, if you think 
the verses have intrinsic merit, to tell the world how much I have the honour to be, 

Your Lordship's highly indebted, 

And ever grateful humble servant. 

My Lord, 

The honour your Lordship has done me by your notice and advice in yours of 
the 1st instant, I shall ever gratefully remember : 

" Praise from thy lips 'tis mine with joy to boast, 
They best can give it who deserve it most 

Your Lordship touches the darling chord of my heart, when you advise me to 
fire my Muse at Scottish story and Scottish scenes. I wish for nothing more than to 
make a leisurely pilgrimage through my native country; to sit and muse on those 
once hard-contended fields, where Caledonia, rejoicing, saw her bloody lion borne 
through broken ranks to victory and fame ; and, catching the inspiration, to pour the 
deathless names in song. But, my Lord, in the midst of these enthusiastic reveries, a 
long-visaged, dry, moral-looking phantom strides across my imagination, and pro- 
nounces these emphatic words : — 

*' 'I, Wisdom, dwell with Prudence.' Friend, I do not come to open the ill-closed 
■wounds of your follies and misfortunes merely to give you pain ; I wish through these 
wounds to iniprint a lasting lesson on your heart. I will not mention how many of 
my .salutary advices you have despised : I have given you line upon line, and precept 
upon precept ; and while I was chalking out to you the straight way to wealth and 
character, with audacious eiFrontery you have zig-zagged across the path, contemning 
me to my face; you know the consequences. It is not yet three months since home 
was so hot for you, that you Avere on the wing for the western shore of the Atlantic, 
not to make a fortune, but to hide your misfortune. 

" Now that your dear-loved Scotia puts it in your power to return to the situation 
of your forefathers, Avill you follow these Will-o'-Wisp meteors of fancy and whim, 
till they bring you once more to the brink of ruin ? I grant that the utmost ground 
you can occupy is but half a step from the veriest poverty ; but still it is half a step 
from it. If all that I can urge be ineffectual, let her, who seldom calls to you in 
vain, let the call of Pride prevail with you. You know how you feel at the iron gripe 
of oppression: you know how you bear the galling sneer of contumelious greatness. 



I hold you out the conveniences, the comforts of life, independence and character, on 
the one hand ; I tender you servility, dependence, and wretchedness, on the other — I 
will not insult your understanding by bidding you make a choice." 

This, my Lord, is unanswerable. I must return to my humble station, and woo my 
rustic muse in mv wonted w.'iy at the ploughtail. Still, my Lord, while the drops of 
life warm my heart, gratitude to that dear loved country in which I boast my birth, 
i.'nd gratitude to those her distinguished sons who have honoured me so much with 
rht'ir patronage and approbation, shall, while stealing through my humble shades, ever 
distend my bosom, and at times, as now, draw forth the swelling tear. 


Edinburgh, March 22, 1787. 

I READ your letter with watery eyes. A little, very little while ago, I had 
scarcely a friend but the stubborn pride of my own bosom ; now I am distinguished, 
patronized, befriended by you. Your friendly advices, I will not give them the cold 
name of criticisms, I receive with reverence. I have made some small alterations in 
n-hat I before had printed. I have the advice of some very judicious friends among 
ihe literati here, but with them I sometimes find it necessary to claim the privilege of 
ihinking for myself. The noble Earl of Glencairn, to whom I owe more than to any 
man, does me the honour of giving nie his strictures; his hints, with respect to 
imi)ropriHty or indelicacy, 1 follow implicitly. 

You kindly interest yourself in my future views and prospects: there I can give 
you no light ; it is all 

" Dark as was chaos, ere the infant sun 
W:is roll'd together, or had try'd his beams 
Athwart the gluom profound." 

The appellation of a Scottish Bard is by far my highest pride; to continue to 
deserve it, is my most exalted ambition. Scottish scenes and Scottish story are the 
themes I could wish to sing. I have no dearer aim than to have it in my power, 
unplagued with the routine of business, for which, heaven knows! I am unfit enough, 
to make leisurely pilgrimages through Caledonia ; to sit on the fields of her battles ; 
to wander on the romantic banks of her rivers ; and to muse by the stately towers or 
venerable ruins, once the honoured abodes of her heroes. 

But these are all Utopian thoughts; 1 have dallied long enough with life; 'tis 
time to be in earnest. I have a fond, an aged mother to care for ; and some other 
bosom ties perhaps equally tender. 

Where the individual only suffers by tine consequences of his own thoughtle-ssness, 
indolence, or tolly, he may be excusable; nay, shining abilities, and some of the 
nobler virtues, may half-sanctify a heedless ch.iracter: but where God and nature 
have intrusted the welfare of others to his care, where the trust is sacred and the 


ties are clear, that man must be far gone in selfishness, or strangely lost to reflection, 
whom these connections will not rouse to exertion. 

I guess that I shall clear between two* and three hundred pounds by my authorship: 
with that sum I intend, so far as I may be said to have any intention, to return to my 
old acquaintance, the plough ; and, if I can meet with a lease by which I can live, to 
commence farmer. I do not intend to give up poetry: being bred to labour secures 
me independence; and the muses are my chief, sometimes have been my only employ- 
ment. If my practice second my resolution, I shall have principally at heart the serious 
business of life; but while following my plough, or bnilding up my shocks, I shall 
cast a leisure glance to that dear, that only feature of my character, which gave me 
the notice of my country, and the patronage of a Wallace. 

Thus, honoured Madam, I have given you the Bard, his situation, and his views, 
native as they are in his own bosom. 


Lawn-Market, Edinburgh, 3rd May, 1787. 
Reverend and much-respected Sir, 

I leave Edinburgh to-morrow morning, but could not go without troubling 
you with half a line, sincerely to thank you for the kindness, patronage, and friendship 
you have shown me. I often felt the embarrassment of my singular situation ; drawn 
forth from the veriest shades of life to the glare of remark; and honoured by 
the notice of those illustrious names of my country, whose woiks, while they ara 
applauded to the end of time, will ever instruct and mend the heart. Plowever the 
meteor-like novelty of my a]ipearance in the world might attract notice, and honour 
me with the acquaintance of the permanent lights of genius and literature, those who 
are truly benefactors of the immortal nature of man ; I knew very well, that my 
utmost merit was far unequal to the task of preserving that character when once the 
novelty was over. I have made up my mind, that abuse, or almost even neglect, will 
not surprise me in my quarters. 

I have sent you a proof impression of Beugo's work for me, done on Indian paper, 
as a trifling but sincere testimony with what heart-warm gratitude, I am, &c. 


Edinburgh, 17 th Sept., 1787. 

My Dear Brother, 

I ARRIVED here safe yesterday evening, after a tour of twenty-two days, and 
travelling nearly six hundred miles, windings included. My farthest stretch was 
about ten miles beyond Inverness. I went through the heart of the Highlands, by 
Crieff, Taymouth, the famous seat of the Lord Breadalbane ; down the Tay, among 


cascades and Druidical circles of stones, to Dunkold, a seat of the Duke of Athole ; 
thence across Tay, and up one of his tributary streams to Blair of Athole, another of 
the Duke's seats, where I had the honour of 'spending nearly two days with his Grace 
and family ; thence many miles thro' a wild country, among cliffs gray with eternal 
snows, and gloomy savage glens, till I crossed Spey, and went down the stream through 
Strathspey, so famous in Scottish music, Badenoch, &c., till I reached Grant Castle, 
where I spent half a day with Sir James Grant and family; and then crossed the 
country for Fort George, but called by the way at Cawdor, the ancient seat of 
Macbeth (there I saw the identical bed in which, tradition says. King Duncan was 
murdered); lastly, from Fort George to Inverness, 

I returned by the coast, through Nairn, Forres, and so on, to Aberdeen ; thence 
to Stonehive, where James Burness, from Montrose, met me by appointment. I spent 
two days among our relations, and found our aunts, Jean and Isabel, still alive, and 
hale old women. John Caird, though born the same year with our father, walks as 
vigorously as I can; they have had several letters from his son in New York. William 
Brand is likewise a stout old fellow ; but further particulars I delay till I see you, 
which will be in two or three weeks. The rest of my stages are not worth rehearsing ; 
v/arm as I was from Ossian's country, where I had seen his very grave, what cared I 
for fishing towns or fertile carses? 1 slept at the famous Brodie of Brodie's one night, 
and dined at Gordon Castle next day with the Duke, Duchess, and family. I am 
thinking to cause my old mare to meet me, by means of John Ronald, at Glasgow ; 
but you shall hear further from me before I leave Edinburgh. My duty and many 
compliments from the north, to my mother, and my brotherly compliments to the 
rest. I have been trying for a berth for William, but am not likely to be successful. 
— Farewell ! 


Mt Lord, 

I KNOW your Lordship will disapprove of my ideas in a request I am going 
to make to you ; but I have weighed, long and seriously weighed, my situation, my 
hopes, and turn of mind, and am fully fixed to my scheme, if I can possibly effectuate 
it. I wish to get into the Excise. I am told that your Lordship's interest will easily 
procure me the grant from the Commissioners ; and your Lordship's patronage and 
goodness, which have already rescued me from obscurity, wretchedness, and exile, 
embolden me to ask that interest. You have likewise put it in my power to save the 
little tie of home that sheltered an aged mother, two brothers, and three sisters, from 
destruction. There, my Lord, you have bound me over to the highest gratitude. 

My brother's farm is but a wretched lease, but I think he will probably weather 
out the remaining seven years of it ; and after the assistance which I have given, and 
will give him, to keep the family together, 1 think, by my guess, I shall have rather 
better than two hundred pounds, and instead of seeking what is almost impossible at 
present to find, a farm that I can certainly live by with so small a stock, I shall lodge 


this sum in a banking-house, a sacred deposit, excepting only the calls of uncommon 
distress or necessitous old age ; . . . . 

These, my Lord, are my views. I have resolved from the maturest deliberation ; 
and now I am fixed, I shall leave no stone unturned to carry my resolve into execu- 
tion. Your Lordship's patronage is the strength of my hopes ; nor have I yet applied 
to any body else. Indeed my heart sinks within me at the idea of applying to any 
other of the Great who have honoured me with their countenance. I am ill qualified 
to dog tho heels of greatness with the impertinence of solicitation, and tremble nearly 
as much at the thought of the cold promise, as the cold denial; but to your Lordship 
I have not only the honour, the comfort, but the pleasure, of being 

Your Lordship's much obliged 

' And deeply indebted humble servant. 


December^ 1787. 

Mr. M'Kenzie, in Mauchline, my very warm and worthy friend, has informed 
me how much you are pleased to interest yourself in my fate as a man, and (what to 
me is incomparably dearer) my fame as a poet. I have, Sir, in one or two instances, 
been patronized by those of your character in life, when I was introduced to their 
notice by . ... friends to them, and honoured acquaintance to me; but 
you are the first gentleman in the country whose benevolence and goodness of heart 
have interested him for me, unsolicited and unknown. I am not master enough of 
the etiquette of these matters to know, nor did I stay to inquire, whether formal duty 
bade, or cold propriety disallowed, my thanking you in this manner; as I am con- 
viiict^d, from the light in which you kindly view me, that you will do me the justice 
to believe this letter is not the manoeuvre of the needy sharping author, fastening on 
I hose in upper life who honour him with a little notice of him or his works. Indeed, 
the situation of poets is generally such, to a proverb, as may in some measure palliate 
I hat prostitution of heart and talents they have at times been guilty of. I do not 
ihink prodigality is, by any means, a necessary concomitant of a poetic turn; but I 
lielieve a careless indolent inattention to economy is almost inseparable from it; then 
there must be, in the heart of every bard of Nature's making, a certain modest 
sensibility, mixed with a kind of pride, that will ever keep him out of the way of 
tiiose wind falls of fortune, which frequently light on hardy impudence and foot- 
licking servility. It is not easy to imagine a more helpless state than his, whose 
poetic fancy unfits him for the v/orld, and whose character as a scholar gives him 
some pretensions to the politesse of life — yet is as poor as I am. 

For my part, I thank Heaven my star had been kinder ; learning never elevated 
my ideas above the peasant's shade, and I have an independent fortune at the plough- 


I was surprised to hear that any one, who pretended in the least to the manners 
of the gentleman, should be so foolish, or worse, as to stoop to traduce the morals of 
such a one as I am; and so inhumanly cruel, too, as to meddle with that late most 
unfortunate, unhappy part of my story. With a tear of gratitude, I thank you. Sir, 
for ihe warmth with which you interposed in behalf of my conduct. I am, I acknow- 
ledge, too frequently the sport of whim, caprice, and passion — but reverence to God, 
nnd integrity to my fellow-creatures, I hope I shall ever preserve. I have no return. 
Sir, to make you for your goodness but one — a return which, I am persuaded, will not 
be unacceptable — the honest, warm wishes of a grateful heart for your happiness, and 
every one of that lovely flock who stand to you in a filial relation. If ever calumny 
aim the poisoned shaft at them, may friendship be by to ward the blow ! 

My dear Hill, 

I SHALL say nothing at all to your mad present ; you have long and often been 
of important service to me, and I suppose you mean to go on conferring obligations, 
until I shall not be able to lift up my face before you. In the mean time, as Sir 
Eoger de Coverley, because it happened to be a cold day in which he made his will, 
ordered his servants great-coats for mourning ; so, because I have been this week 
plagued with an indigestion, I have sent you by the carrier a fine old ewe-milk cheese. 

Indigestion is the devil : nay, 'tis the devil and all. It besets a man in every one 
of his senses. I lose my appetite at the sight of successful knavery, and sicken to 
loathing at the noise and nonsense of self-important folly. When the hollow-hearted 
wretch takes me by the hand, the feeling spoils my dinner; the proud man's wine 
so offends my palate, that it chokes me in the gullet ; and the pulvilised, feathered, 
pert coxcomb, is so disgustful in my nostril, that my stomach turns. 

If ever you have any of these disagreeable sensations, let me prescribe for you 
patience and a bit of my cheese. I know that you are no niggard of your good things 
among your friends, and some of them are in much need of a slice. There in my eye 
is our friend Smellie ; a man positively of the first abilities and greatest strength of 
mind, as well as one of the best hearts and keenest wits that I have ever met with ; 
when you see him, as, alas ! he too is smarting at the pinch of distressful circum- 
stances, aggravated by the sneer of contumelious greatness — a bit of my cheese alone 
will not cure him ; but if you add a tankard of brown stout, and superadd a magnum 
of right Oporto, you will see his sorrows vanish like the morning mist before the 
summer sun. 

Candlish, the earliest friend, except my only brother, that I have on earth, and 
one of the worthiest fellows that ever any man called by the name of friend, if a 
luncheon of my cheese would help to rid him of some of his supei-abundant modesty, 
you would do well to give it him. 

David, with his Covrant, comes too across my recollection, and I beg you will help 
him largely from the said ewe-milk cheese, to enable him to digest those bedaubing 


paragraphs -with which he is eternally larding the lean characters of certain great men 
in a certain great town. I grant you the periods are very well turned; so a fresh egjr 
is a very good thing; but when thrown at a man in a pillory, it does not at all 
improve his figure, not to mention the irreparable loss of the egg. 

My facetious friend Dunbar I would wish also to be a partaker: not to digest his 
spleen, for that he laughs off, but to digest his last night's wine at the last field-day of 
the Crochallan corps. 

Amon"- our common friends, I must not forget one of the dearest of them, 
Cunningham. The brutality, insolence, and selfishness of a world unworthy of" 
having such a fellow as he is in it, I know sticks in his stoniiich ; and if you 
can help him to anything that will make him a little easier on that score, it will be 
very obliging. 

As to honest John Somerville, he is such a contented happy man, that I know not 
what can annoy him, except perhaps he may not have got the better of a parcel of 
modest anecdotes which a certain poet gave him one night at supper, the last time the 
said poet was in town. 

Though I have mentioned so many men of law, 1 shall have nothing to do with 
them professedly. The faculty are beyond my prescription. As to their clients, th'at 
is another thing : God knows they have much to digest ! 

The clergy I pass by; their profundity of erudition and their liberality of senti- 
ment, their total want of pride and their detestation of hypocrisy, are so proverbially 
notorious, as to place them far, far, above either my praise cr censure. 

I was going to mention a man of worth whom I have the honour to call friend, the 
Laird of Craigdarroch ; but I have spoken to the landlord of the King's Anns inn 
here, to have at the next county-meeting a large ewe-milk cheese on the table for the 
benefit of the Dumfriesshire whigs, to enable them to digest the Duke of Queens- 
berry's late political conduct. 

I have just this moment an opportunity of a private hand to Edinburgh, as .erhaps 
you would not digest double postage. 



When I had the honour of being introduced to you at Athole Hou9 , I did not 
think so soon of asking a favour of you. When Lear, in Shakspeare, asKS old Kent 
why he wished to be in his service, he answers, " Because you have that in your face 
which I could like to call master." For some such reason. Sir, do I now solicit your 
patronage. You know, I dare say, of an application I lately made to your Boaid to 
be admitted an officer of E.x'cise. I have, according to form, been e.xaniined by a 
supervisor, and to-day I gave in his certificate, with a request for an order for instruc- 
tions. In this affair, if I succeed, I am afraid I shall but too much need a patronizing 
friend. Propriety of conduct as a man, and fidelity and attention as an officer, I dare 


engage for; but with anything like business, except manual labour, I am totally 
unacquainted. .... 

I had intended to have closed my late appearance on the stage of life in the 
character of a country-farmer ; but after discharging some filial and fraternal claims, 
I find I could only fight for existence in that miserable manner which I have lived to 
see throw a venerable parent into the jaws of a jail: whence death, the poor man's 
last and often best friend, rescued him. 

I know, Sir, that to need your goodness is to have a claim on it : may I therefore 
beg your patronage to forward me in this affair, till I be appointed to a division, 
where, by the help of rigid economy, I will try to support that independence so dear 
to my soul, but which has been too often so distant from my situatioa. 


8th November, 1788. 


NOTWITHSTANDIKG the opprobrious epithets with which some of our philo- 
sophers and gloomy sectaries have branded our nature — the principle of universal 
selfishness, the proneness to all evil, they have given us; still the detestation in which 
inhumanity to the distressed, or insolence to the fallen, are held by all mankind, 
shows that they are not natives of the human heart. Even the unhappy partner of 
our kind who is undone — the bitter consequence of his follies or his crimes — who but 
sympathizes with the miseries of this ruined profligate brother? we forgot the 
injuries, and feel for the man. 

I went last Wednesday to my parish church, most cordially to join in grateful 
acknowledgments to the Author of all good, for the consequent blessings of the 
glorious Revolution. To that auspicious event we owe no less than our liberties, civil 
and religious ; to it we are likewise indebted for the present Royal Family, the ruling 
features of whose administration have ever been mildness to the subject, and tender- 
ness of his rights. 

Bred and educated in Revolution principles, the principles of reason and common 
sense, it could not be any silly political prejudice which made my heart revolt at the 
harsh, abusive manner in which the reverend gentleman mentioned the House of 
Stuart, and which, I am afraid, was too much the language of the day. We may 
rejoice sufficiently in our deliverance from past evils, without cruelly raking up the 
ashes of those whose misfortune it was, perhaps as much as their crime, to be the 
authors of those evils ; and we may bless God for all his goodness to us as a nation, 
without at the same time cursing a few ruined powerless exiles, who only harboured 
ideas and made attempts that most of us would have done had we been in their 

" The bloody and tyrannical House of Stuart," may be said with propriety and 
justice, when compared with the present Royal Family and the sentiments of our 
days; but is there no allowance to be made for the manners of the times? Were 


the royal contemporaries of the Stuarts more attentive to their subjects' rights? 
Might not the epithets of " bloody and tyrannical " be, with at least equal justice, 
applied to the House of Tudor, of York, or any other of their predecessors ? 

The simple state of the case, Sir, seems to be this : — At that period the science of 
government, the knowledge of the true relation between king and subject, was, like 
other sciences and other knowledge, just in its infancy, emerging from dark ages of 
ignorance and barbarity. 

The Stuarts only contended for prerogatives which they knew their predecessors 
enjoyed, and which they saw their contemporaries enjoying; but these prerogatives 
were inimical to the happiness of a nation and the rights of subjects. 

In this contest between prince and people, the consequence of that light of science 
ivhich had lately dawned over Europe, the monarch of France, for example, was 
victorious over the struggling liberties of his people ; with us, luckily, the monarch 
failed, and his imwarrantable pretensions fell a sacrifice to our rights and happiness. 
Whether it was owing to the wisdom of leading individuals, or to the justling of 
parties, I cannot pretend to determine ; but likewise, happily for us, the kingly power 
was shifted into another branch of the family, who, as they owed the throne solely to 
the call of a free people, could claim nothing inconsistent with the covenanted terms 
which placed them there. 

The Stuarts have been condemned and laughed at for the folly and impractica- 
bility of their attempts in 1715 and 1745. That they failed, I bless God; but cannot 
ioin in the ridicule against them. Who does not know that the abilities or defects of 
headers and commanders are often hidden, until put to the touchstone of exigency ; 
and that there is a caprice of fortune, and omnipotence in particular accidents and 
conjunctures of circumstances, which exalt us as heroes, or brand us as madmen, just 
as they are for or against us. 

Man, Mr. Publisher, is a strange, weak, inconsistent being. Who would believe. 
Sir, that in this our Augustan age of liberality and refinement — while we seem so 
justly sensible and jealous of our rights and liberties, and animated with such indigna- 
tion against the very memory of those who would have subverted them— that a certain 
people under our national protection should complain, not against our monarch and a 
few favourite advisers, but against our whole legislative body, for similar oppression, 
and almost in the very same terms as our forefathers did of the House of Stuart ! I 
will not, I cannot enter into the merits of the cause; but I dare say the American 
Congress, in 1776, will be allowed to be as able and as enlightened as the English Con- 
vention was in ] 688 ; and that their posterity will celebrate the centenary of their 
deliverance from us, as duly and sincerely as we do ours from the oppressive measures 
of the wrong-headed House of Stuart. 

To conclude, Sir, let every man who has a tear for the many miseries incident to 
humanity, feel for a family illustrious as any in Europe, and unfortunate beyond 
historic precedent ; and let every Briton, and particularly every Scotsman, who ever 
looked with reverential pity on the dotage of a parent, cast a veil over the fatal 
mistakes of the kings of his forefathers. 



Ellisland, \1th December^ 1788. 

My dear, honoured Friend. 

Yours, dated Edinburgh, which I have just read, makes me very unhappy. 
" Almost blind, and wholly deaf," are melancholy news of human nature ; but when 
told of a much-loved and honoured friend, they carry misery in the sound. Goodness 
on your part, and gratitude on mine, begjin a tie which has gradually and strongly 
entwisted itself among the dearest cords of my bosom ; and I tremble at the omens of 
your late and present ailing habits and shattered health. You miscalculate matters 
widely, when you forbid my waiting on you, lest it should hurt my worldly concerns. 
My small scale of farming is exceedingly more simple and easy than what you have 
lately seen at Moreliam Mains. But be that as it may, the heart of the man, and the 
fancy of the poet, are the two grand considerations for which I live. If miry ridges 
and dirty dunghills are to engross the best part of the functions of my soul immortal, 
I had better been a rook or a magpie at once, and then I should not have been 
plagued with any ideas superior to breaking of clods, and picking up grubs ; not to 
mention barn-door cocks or mallards, creatures with which I could almost exchange 
lives at any time. If you continue so deaf, I am afraid a visit will be no great pleasure 
to either of us; but if I hear you are got so well again as to be able to relish conver- 
sation, look you to it, Madam, for I will make my threatenings good. I am to be at 
the New-year-day fair of Ayr ; and, by all that is sacred in the word Friend, I will 
come and see you. .... 

Your meeting, which you so well describe, with your old school-fellow and friend, 
was truly interesting. Out upon the ways of the world! They spoil these "social 
offsprings of the heart." Two veterans of the "men of the world" would have met 
with little more heart-workings than two old hacks worn out on the road. Apropos. 
is not the Scotch phrase, " Auld lang syne," exceedingly expressive? There is an old 
song and tune which has often thrilled through my soul. You know I am an enthu- 
siast in old Scotch songs ; I shall give you the verses on the other sheet, as I suppose 
Mr. Kerr will save you the postage. 

Light be the turf on the breast of the Heaven-inspired poet who composed this 
glorious fragment ! There is more of the fire of native genius in it than half a dozen 
of modern English Bacchanalians. Now I am on my hobby-horse, I cannot help 
inserting two other old stanzas which please me mightily. 



December, 1788. 


I understand my very worthy neighbour, Mr. Riddel, has informed you that 
I have made you the subject of some verses. There is something so provoking in the 


idea of being the burden of a ballad, that I do not think Job or Moses, though such 
patterns of patience and meekness, could have resisted the curiosity to know what 
that ballad was ; so my worthy friend has done me a mischief, which, I dare say, 
he never intended; and reduced me to the unfortunate alternative of leaving your 
curiosity ungratified, or else disgusting you with foolish verses, the unfinished pro- 
duction of a random moment, and never meant to have met your ear. I have heard 
or read somewhere of a gentleman, who had some genius, much eccentricity, and very 
considerable dexterity with his pencil. In the accidental group of life into which one 
is thrown, wherever this gentleman met with a character in a more than ordinary 
degree congenial to his heart, he used to steal a sketch of the face, merely, as he said, 
as a nota bene to point out the agreeable recollection to his memory. What this 
gentleman's pencil was to him, is my muse to me ; arid the verses I do myself the 
honour to send you are a vieinento exactly of the same kind that he indulged in. 

It may be more owing to the fastidiousness of my caprice than the delicacy of my 
taste ; but I am so often tired, disgusted, and hurt, with the insipidity, affectation, 
and pride of mankind, that when I meet with a person " after my own heart," I 
positively feel what an orthodox protestant would call a species of idolatry, which 
acts on my fancy like inspiration ; and I can no more desist rhyming on the impulse, 
than an Eolian harp can refuse its tones to the streaming air. A distich or two 
would be the consequence, though the object which hit my fancy were gray-bearded 
age ; but where my theme is youth and beauty, a young lady whose personal cliarms, 
wit, and sentiment, are equally striking and unaffected, by heavens ! though I had 
lived threescore years a married man, and threescore years before I was a married 
man, my imagination would hallow the very idea ; and I am truly sorry that the 
inclosed stanzas have done such poor justice to such a subject. 

T O M R S. D U N L O P. 

El, I.ISLAND, New-year-day Rforning. 

Tins, dear Madam, is a morning of wishes ; and would to God tliat I came 
Tinder the apostle James's description ! — " The prayer of a righteous man availeth 
much." In that case. Madam, you should welcome in a year full of blessings; every- 
thing that obstructs or disturbs tranquillity and seh'-enjoyment should be removed, 
and every pleasure that frail humanity can taste should be yours. I own myself so 
little a Presbyterian, that I approve of set times and seasons of more than ordinary 
acts of devotion, for breaking in on that habituated routine of life and thought which 
is so apt to reduce our existence to a kind of instinct, or even sometimes, and with 
some minds, to a state very little superior to mere machinery. 

This day, the first Sunday of May, a breezy blue-skyed noon some time about the 
beginning, and a hoary morning and calm sunny day about the end, of autumn — these, 
time out of mind, have been with me a kind of holiday. 

I believe I owe this to that glorious paper in the Spectator, "The VisioH of 


Mirza ;" a piece that struck my j'oung fancy before I was capable of fixing an idea 
to a word of three sylLables: " On the fifth day of the moon, wliich, according to the 
custom of my forefathers, I always 'keep holy,' after having washed myself and offered 
up my morning devotions, I ascended the high hill of Bagdat in order to pass the rest 
of the day in meditation and prayer." 

We know nothing, or next to nothing, of the substance or structure of our souls, 
so cannot account for those seeming caprices in them, that one should be particulai-ly 
pleased Avith this thing, or struck with that, which on minds of a different cast makes 
no extraordinary impression. I have some favourite flowers in spring, among which 
are the mountain daisy, the harebell, the foxglove, the wild-brier rose, the budding 
birch, and the hoary hawthorn, that I view and hang over with particular delight. I 
never heard the loud solitary whistle of the curlew in a summer noon, or the wild 
mixing cadence of a troop of gray plovers in an autumnal morning, without feeling an 
elevation of soul like the enthusiasm of devotion or poetry. Tell me, my dear friend^ 
to what can this be owing ? Are we a piece of machinery, which, like the Eolian 
harp, passive, takes the impression of the passing accident? Or do these workings 
argue something within us above the trodden clod ? I own myself partial to suck 
proofs of those awful and important realities — a God that made all things — man's- 
immaterial and immortal nature — and a world of weal or woe beyond death and 
the grave. 


Ellisland, ith May, 1789 

Mt dear Sir, 

Your duty-free favour of the 26th April I received two days ago. I will not 
say I perused it with pleasure (that is the cold compliment of ceremony) ; I perused 
it. Sir, with delicious satisfaction — in short, it is such a letter, that not you nor your 
friend, but the legislature, by express proviso in their postage-laws, should frank. A 
letter informed with the soul of friendship is such an honour to human nature, that 
they should order it free ingress and egress to and from their bags and mails, as an 
encouragement and mark of distinction to supereminent virtue. 

I have just put the last hand to a little poem which I think will be something to 
your taste. One morning lately, as I was out pretty early in the fields sowing some 
grass seeds, I heard the burst of a shot from a neighbouring plantation, and presently 
a poor, little, wounded hare came crippling by me. You will guess my indignation at 
the inhuman fellow who could shoot a hare at this season, when they all of them have 
young ones. Indeed there is something in that business of destroying, for our sport, 
individuals in the animal creation that do not injure us materially, which I could 
never reconcile to my ideas of virtue. 

Let me know how you like my poem. I am doubtful whether it would not be an 
improvement to keep out the last stanza but one altogether. 


Cruikshank is a glorious production of the Author of man. You, he, and the 
noble colonel of the Crochallan Fencibles are to me 

" Dear as the ruddy drops which warm my breast." 

I have a good mind to make verses on you all, to the tune of *' Three guid fellows 
ayout the glen." 


ith June, 1789. 

Dear Sir, 

Though I am not without my fears respecting my fate at that grand universal 
inquest of right and wrong commonly called "The Last Day," yet I trust there is one 
sin, which that archvagabond Satan, who I understand is to be king's evidence, 
cannot throw in my teeth, I mean ingratitude. There is a certain pretty large quan- 
tum of kindness for which I remain, and from inability, I fear, must still remain, your 
■debtor ; but though unable to repay the debt, I assure you, Sir, I shall ever warmly 
remember the obligation. It gives me the sincerest pleasure to hear, by my old 
acquaintance Mr. Kennedy, that you are, in immortal Allan's language, '* Hale, and 
weel, and living;" and that your charming family are well, and promising to be an 
amiable and respectable addition to the company of pei'formers whom the great 
Manager of the drama of man is bringing into action for the succeeding age. 

With respect to my welfare, a subject in which you once warmly and effectively 
interested yourself, I am here in my old way — holding my plough, marking the growth 
of my corn, or the health of my dairy ; and at times sauntering by the delightful 
windings of the Nith, on the margin of which I have built my humble domicile, 
pniying for seasonable weather, or holding an intrigue with the Muses, the only 
gipsies with whom I have now any intercourse. As I am entered into the holy state 
of matrimony, I trust my face is turned completely Zion-ward ; and as it is a rule 
with all honest fellows to repeat no grievances, I hope that the-little poetic licenses of 
former days will of course fall under the oblivious influence of some good-natured 
statute of celestial proscription, Li my family devotion, which, like a good presby- 
terian, I occasionally give to my household folks, I am extremely fond of the psalm, 
"Let not the errors of my youth," &c., and that other, " Lo, children are God's heri- 
tage," &c. ; in which last Mrs. Burns, who, by the by, has a glorious " wood-note 
wild" at either old song or psalmody, joins me with the pathos of Handel's Messiah. 


9th December, 1789. 


I HAVE a good while had a wish to trouble you with a letter, and had certainly 
done it long ere now — but for a humiliating something that throws cold water on the 


TiCsclution, as if one should say, "You have found Mr. Graham a very powerful anJ 
kind friend indeed ; and that interest he is so kindly taking in your concerns, you 
ought by everything in your power to keep alive and cherish." Now though, since 
God has thought proper to make one powerful and another helpless, the connection 
oi oo.iger and obliged is all fair, and though my being under your patronage is to 
me highly honourable ; yet, Sir, allow me to flatter myself, that as a poet and an 
honest man you first interested yourself in my welfare, and principally as such stilly 
you permit me to approach you. 

I have found the excise business go on a great deal smoother with me than I 
expected, owing a good deal to the generous friendship of Mr. Mitchell, my collector, 
and the kind assistance of Mr. Findlater, my supervisor. I dare to be honest, and I 
fear no labour. Nor do I find my hurried life greatly inimical to my correspondence 
with tlie Muses. Their visits to me, indeed, and I believe to most of their acquain- 
tance, like the visits of good angels, are short and far between; but I meet them now 
and tht^n as I jog through the hills of Nithsdale, just as I used to do on tlie banks of 
Ayr. I take the liberty to inclose a few bagatelles, all of them the productions of my 
leisure thoughts in my excise rides. 

If you know or have ever seen Captain Grose, the antiquarian, you will enter into 
any humour that is in the verses on him. Perhaps you have seen them before, as I 
sent them to a London newspaper. Though I dare say you have none of the solenm- 
league-aiid-covenant fire, which shone so conspicuous in Lord George Gordon and 
the Kilmarnock weavers, yet I think you must have heard of Dr. M'Ciill, one of the 
clfigvnien of Ayr, and his heretical book. God help him, poor man! Though he is 
one of the worthiest, as well as one of the ablest of the whole priesthood of the Kiik 
of Scotland, in every sense of that ambiguous term, yet the poor Doctor and his 
numerous family are in imminent danger of being thrown out to the mercy of the 
wuuer winds. The inclosed ballad on that business is, I confess, too local; but I 
laughed myself at some conceits in it, thoMgh I am convinced in my conscience that 
there are a good many heavy stanzas in it too. 

The election ballad, as you will see, alludes to the present canvass in our string 
of boroughs. I do not believe there will be such a hard-run mutch in the whole 
general election. 

I am too little a Tnan to have any political attachments; I am deeply indebted to,, 
and have the warmest veneration for, individuals of both parties; but a man who- 
has it in his power to be the father of a country, and who .... is a character 
that one cantiot sj)eak of with ])atifnce. 

Sir James Johnstone does " what man can do ;" but yet I doubt his fate. 


I''i.i,isLAND, \oth Deceviber, 1789. 

Many thanks, dear Madam, for your shcetf'iil of rlnmes. Though at present 
I am below the veriest prose, yet from you t-vcryi hing ])leasps. I am groaning under 


the miseries of a diseased nervous system; a system, the state of which is most conducive 
to our happiness, or the most productive of our misery. For now near three weeks I 
have been so ill with a nervous headache, that I have been obliged to give up for a time 
my excise-books, being scarcely able to lift my head, much less to ride once a week 
over ten muir parishes. What is man? To-day in the luxuriance of health, exulting 
in the enjoyment of existence ; in a few days, perhaps in a few hours, loaded with 
conscious painful being, counting the tardy pace of the lingering moments by the 
repercussions of anguish, and refusing or denied a comforter. Day follows night, and 
night comes after day, only to curse him with life which gives him no pleasure ; and 
yet the awful dark termination of that life is a something at which he recoils : — 

" Tell us, ye dead ; will none of you in pity 

Disclose the secret 

What 'tis you are, and we must shortly be? 

'tis no matter: 

A little time will make us learn'd as you are." 

Can it be possible, that when I resign this frail feverish being, I shall still find 
myself in conscious existence ! When the last gasp of agony has announced that I am 
no more to those that knew me, and the few who loved me; when the cold, stiffened, 
unconscious, ghastly corse is resigned into the earth, to be the prey of unsightly 
reptiles, and to become in time a trodden clod, shall I be yet warm in life, seemg and 
seen, enjoying and enjoyed? Ye venerable sages and holy flamens, is there probability 
in your conjectures, truth in your stories, of another world beyond death? or are they 
all alike, baseless visions and fabricated fables? If there is another life, it must be only 
for the just, the benevolent, the amiable, and the humane. What a flattering idea, 
then, is a world to come! Would to God I as firmly believed it, as I ardently wish it. 
There I should meet an aged parent, now at rest from the many buffetings of an evil 
world, against which he so long and so bravely struggled. There should I meet the 
friend, the disinterested friend, of my early life; the man who rejoiced to see me, 
liecause he loved me and could serve me. . . . Muir! thy weaknesses were the 
aberrations of human nature, but thy heart glowed with everything generous, manly, 
iiid noble; and if ever emanation from the All-good Being animated a human form, it 
is thine ! There should I, with speechless agony of rapture, again recognize my lost, 
iny ever dear Mary I whose bosom was fraught with truth, honour, constancy, and 
love : — 

My Mary, dear departed shade ! 

Where is thy place of heavenly rest? 
Seest tliou thy lover lowly laid ? 

Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast ? 

Jesus Christ, thou amiablest of characters ! I trust thou art no impostor, and that 
tliy revelation of blissful scenes of existence beyond death and the grave, is not one of 
the many impositions which, time after time, have been palmed on credulous mankind. 
I trust that in thee " shall all the families of the earth be blessed," by being yet con- 
nected together in a better world, where every tie that bound heart to heart in this 
state of existence shall be, far beyond our present conceptions, more endearing. 

I am a good deal inclined to think with those who mamtain, that what are called 


nervous affections, are in fact diseases of the mind. I cannot reason, I cannot think; 
and but to you I would not venture to write anything above an order to a cobler. 
You have felt too much of the ills of life not to sympathize with a diseased wretch, 
who has impaired more than half of any faculties he possessed. Your goodness will 
excuse this distracted scrawl, which the writer dare scarcely read, and which he would 
throw into the fire were he able to write anything better, or indeed anything at all. 

Rumour told me something of a son of yours who was returned from the East or 
West Indies. If you have gotten news of James or Anthony, it was cruel in you not 
to let me know; as I promise you, on the sincerity of a man who is weary of one world 
and anxious about another, that scarcely anything could give me so much pleasure, 
as to hear of any good thing befalling my honoured friend. 

If you have a minute's leisure, take up your pen in pity to le pauvre miserable, R. B. 




It is true, Sir, you are a gentleman of rank and fortune, and I am a poor devil: 
you are a feather in the cap of society, and I am a very hobnail in his shoes : yet I 
have the honour to belong to the same family with you, and on that score I now address 
you. You will perhaps suspect that I am going to claim affinity with the ancient and 
honourable house of Kilpatrick : No, no, Sir ; I cannot indeed be properly said to 
belong to any house, or even any province or kingdom, as my mother, who for many 
years was spouse to a marching regiment, gave me into this bad world aboard the 
packet boat, somewhere between Donaghadee and Port-Patrick. By our common 
family, I mean, Sir, the family of the Muses. I am a tiddler and a poet; and you, I 
am told, play an exquisite violin, and have a standard taste in the Belles Lettres. The 
other day, a brother catgut gave me a charming Scottish air of your composition. If 
I was pleased with the tune, I was in raptures with the title you have given it ; and, 
taking up the idea, I have spun it into the three stanzas inclosed. Will you allow 
me, Sir, to present you them, as the dearest offering that a misbegotten son of poverty 
and rhyme has to give ? I have a longing to take you by the hand and unburden my 
heart, by saying — "Sir, I honour you as a man who supports the dignity of human 
nature, amid an age when frivolity and avarice have, between them, debased us below 
the brutes that perLsh ! But, alas. Sir ! to me you are unapproachable. It is true, 
the Muses baptized me in Castalian streams, but the thoughtless gipsies forgot to give 
me a Name. As the sex have served many a good fellow, the Nine have given me a 
great deal of jdeasure; but, bewitching jades 1 they have beggared me. Would they 
but spare me a little of their cast linen, were it only to put it in my power to say 
that I have a shirt on my back I But the idle wenclies, like Solomon's lilies, "they 
toil not, neither do they spin;" so 1 must e'en continue to tie my remnant of a cravat, 
like the hangman's rope, round my naked throat, and coax my galligaskins to keep 
together their many-coloured fragments. As to the aifair of shoes, I have given that 


up. My pilgrimages in my ballad trade from town to town, and on your stony-hearte ' 
turnpikes too, are what not even the hide of Job's Behemoth could bear. The coat 
on my back is no more : I shall not speak evil of the dead. It would be equally 
unhandsome and ungrateful to find fault with my old surtout, which so kindly supplies 
and conceals the want of that coat. My hat indeed is a great favourite ; and though 
I got it literally for an old song, I would not exchange it for the best beaver in Britain. 
I was during several years a kind of factotum-servant to a country clergyman, where 
I picked up a good many scraps of learning, particularly in some branches of the 
mathematics. Whenever I feel inclined to rest myself on my way, I take my seat 
under a hedge, laying my poetic wallet on my one side, and my fiddle-case on the 
other, and placing my hat between my legs, I can, by means of its brim, or rather 
brims, go through the whole doctrine of the Conic Sections. 

However, Sir, don't let me mislead you, as if I would interest your pity. Fortune 
has so much forsaken me, that she has taught me to live without her ; and, amid all 
my rags and poverty, I am as independent, and much more happy, than a monarch of 
the world. According to the hackneyed metaphor, I value the several actors in the 
great drama of life simply as they act their parts. I can look on a worthless fellow of 
a duke with unqualified contempt, and can regard an honest scavenger with sincere 
respect. As you, Sir, go through your role with such distinguished merit, permit me 
to make one in the chorus of universal applause, and assure you that, with the highest 


I have the honour to be, &c. 


Ellisland, 25th January, 1790. 

It has been owing to unremitting hurry of business that I have not written to 
you. Madam, long ere now. .My health is greatly better, and I now begin once more 
to share in satisfaction and enjoyment with the rest of my fellow-creatures. 

Many thanks, my much-esteemed friend, for your kind letters; but why will you 
make me run the risk of being contemptible and mercenary in my own eyes? When 
I pique myself on my independent spirit, I hope it is neither poetic license nor poetic 
rant ; and I am so flattered with the honour you have done me, in making me your 
compeer in friendship and friendly correspondence, that 1 cannot without pain and a 
degree of mortification be reminded of the real inequality between our situations. 

Most sincerely do I rejoice with you, dear Madam, in the good news of Anthony. 
Not only your anxiety about his fate, but my own esteem for such a noble, warm- 
hearted, manly young fellow, in the little I had of his acquaintance, has interested me 
deeply in his fortunes. 

Falconer, the unfortunate author of the " Shipwreck," which you so much admire, 
is no more. After witnessing the dreadful catastrophe he so feelingly describes in his 
poem, and after weathering many hard gales of fortune, he went to the bottom with 


the Aurora frigate! I forget what part of Scotland had the honour of giving liim 
birth, but he was the son of obscurity and misfortune. He was one of those daring 
adventurous spirits which Scotland, beyond any other country, is remarkable for pro- 
iliicing. Little does the fond mother think, as she hangs delighted over the sweet 
little leech at her bosom, where the poor fellow may hereafter wander, and what may 
be his fate. I remember a stanza in an old Scottish ballad, which, notwithstanding its 
rude simplicity, speaks feelingly to the heart : — 

" Little did my mother think, 
That day she cradled me, 
What land I was to travel in, 
Or what death I should die!" 

Old Scottish songs are, you know, a favourite study and pursuit of mine; and now 
[ am on that subject, allow me to give you two stiinzas of another old simple ballad, 
wliich I am sure will please you. The catastrophe of the piece is a poor ruined female 
lameuiing her fate. She concludes with this pathetic wish :^ 

" that my father had ne'er on me smil'd ; 
that my mother had ne'er to me sung; 
that my cradle had never been rock'd ; 
But that I had died when I was young ! 

" that the grave it were my bed ; 

My blankets were my winding sheet ; 
The clocks and the worms my bedfellows a'; 
And sae sound as I should sleep!" 

1 do not remenibe.r, in all my reading, to have met with anything more truly the 
language of misery than the exclamation in the last line. Misery is like love ; to speak 
its language truly, the author must have felt it. 

1 am every diiy expecting the doctor to give your little godson the small-pox. 
Tlicv are rife in the country, and I tremble for his fate. By the way, I cannot help 
congratulating you on his looks and spirit. Every person who sees him acknowledges 
liim to be the finest, handsomest child he has ever seen. I am myself delighted with 
I lie manly swell of his little chest, and a certain miniature dignity in the carriage of 
Ills licad, and the glance of his fine black eye, which promise the undaunted gallantry 
of an independent mind. 

I thought to have sent you some rhymes, but time forbids. I promise you poetry 
until you are tired of it, next time I have the honour of assuring you how truly 
I am, &c. 


Ei.MST.AXi), 0^^ Apr!!, 1790. 

I HAVF, just now, my ever honoured friend, enjoyed a very high luxwy, in 
reading a p:iper ol the "Lounger." ^'uu know my national prejudices. I had often 


r?ad and admired the "Spectator," "Adventurer," " Rambler," and " Worlrl ; " but 
still with a certain regret that they were so thoroughly and entirely English. Alas t 
have I often said to myself, what are all the boasted advantages which my country 
reaps from the union, that can counterbalance the annihilation of her independence, 
and even her very name ! I often repeat that couplet of my favourite poet Gold- 
smith — • 

" States, of native liberty possess'd, 
Tho' very poor, may yet be verj' bless'd." 

Nothing can reconcile me to the common terms, "English ambassador," "English 
court," &c. ; and I am out of all patience to see that equivocal character Hastings, 
impeached by " the Commons of England." Tell me, my friend, is this weak preju- 
dice? I believe in my conscience such ideas as "My country, her independence, her 
honour, the illustrious names that mark the history of my native land," &c., I believe 
these, among your men of the world, men who in fjict guide for the most part and 
govern our world, are looked on as so many modifications of wrongheadedness. They 
know the use of bawling out such terms, to rouse or lead the rabble; but for their own 
private use, with almost all the able statesmen that ever existed, or now exist, whei^ 
they talk of right and wrong, they only mean proper and improper, and their measure 
of conduct is, not what they ought, but what they dare. For the truth of this I sh;ill 
not ransack the history of nations, but appeal to one of the ablest judges of men, and 
himself one of the ablest men that ever lived — the celebrated earl of Chesterfield. In 
fact, a man who could thoroughly control his vices whenever they interfered with his 
interests, and who could completely put on the appearance of every virtue as often as 
it suited his purposes, is, on the Stanhopian plan, the perfect man, a man to lead 
nations. But are great abilities, complete without a flaw, and polished without a 
blemish, the standard of human excellence? This is certainly the staunch opinion of 
men of the world ; but I call on honour, virtue, and worth, to give the Stygian doc- 
trine a loud negative ! However, this must be allowed, that if you abstract from 
man the idea of an existence beyond the grave, then the true measure of human 
conduct is proper and improper. Virtue and vice, as dispositions of the heart, are in 
that case of scarcely the same import and value to the world at large, as harmony and 
discord in the modifications of sound ; and a delicate sense of honour, like a' nice ear 
for music, though it may sometimes give the possessor an ecstacy unknown to the 
coarser organs of the herd, yet, considering the harsh gratings and inharmonic jars in 
this ill-tuned state of being, it is odds but the individual would be as happy, and 
certainly would be as much respected by the true judges of society, as it would then 
stand, without either a good ear or a good heart. 

You must know I have just met with the " Mirror" and "Lounger" for the first 
time, and I am quite in raptures with them ; I should be glad to have your opinion 
of some of the papers. The one I have just read, ''Lounger," No. 61, has cost me 
more honest tears than anything I have read for a long time. Mackenzie has been 
called the Addison of the Scots; and, in my opinion, Addison Avould not be hurt at 
the comparison. If he has not Addison's exquisite humour, he as certainly outdoes 
him in the tender and pathetic. His "Man cf Feeling" (but I am not counsel- 


learned in the laws of criticism), I estimate as the first performance in its kind I ever 
!5aw. ii'rom what book, moral or even pious, will the susceptible young mind receive 
mipressions more congenial to humanity and kindness, generosity and benevolence ; 
in short, more of all that ennobles the soul to herself, or endears her to others — than 
from the simple affecting tale of poor Harley ? 

Still, with all my admiration of Mackenzie's writings, I do not know if they are 
the fittest reading for a young man who is about to set out, as the phrase is, to make 
his way into life. Do not you think, Madam, that among the few fiivoured of Heaven 
in the structure of their minds (for such there certainly are), there may be a purity, a 
tenderness, a dignity, an elegance of soul, which are of no use, nay, in some degree 
absolutely disqualifying for the truly important business of making a man's way into 

life. If I am not much mistaken, my gallant young friend, A is very much 

under these disqualifications ; and for the young females of a family I could mention, 
well may they excite parental solicitude ; for I, a common acquaintance, or, as my 
vanity will have it, an humble friend, have often trembled for a turn of mind which 
may render them eminently happy — or peculiarly miserable. 

I have been manufacturing some verses lately; but as I have got the most hurried 
season of excise business over, I hope to have more leisure to transcribe anything 
that may show how much I have the honour to be, Madam, yours, &c. 


Edinburgh, Vlth March, 1791. 
Dear Sir, 

Mr. Hill yesterday put into my hands a sheet of Grose's " Antiquities," con- 
taining a poem of yours, entitled "Tarn o' Shanter," a tale. The very high pleasure I 
have receiv.-d from the perusal of this admirable piece, I feel, demands the warmest 
acknowledgments. Hill tells me he is to send off a packet for you this day; I 
cannot resist, therefore, putting on paper what I must have told you in person, had I 
met with you after the recent perusal of your tale, which is, that I feel I owe you a 
debt, which, if undischarged, would reproach me with ingratitude. I have seldom in 
my life tasted of higher enjoyment from any work of genius, than I have received from 
this composition ; and I am much mistaken if this poem alone, had you never written 
another syllable, would not have been sufficient to have transmitted your name down 
to posterity with high reputation. In the introductory part, where you paint the 
character of your hero, and exhibit him at the alehouse ingle, with his tippling cronies, 
you have delineated nature with a humour and naivete that would do honour to 
Matthew Prior; but Avhen you describe the infernal orgies of the witches' sabbath, and 
the hellish scenery in which they are exhibited, you display a power of imagination 


that Shakspeare himself could not have exceeded. I know not that I have ever met 
with a picture of more horrible fancy than the following : 

" Coffins stood round like open presses, 
'i'hat shaw'd the dead in their last dresses; 
And by some devilish cantrip slight, 
Each in his cauld hand held a light." 

But when I came to the succeeding lines, my blood ran cold within me : — 

" A knife, a father's throat had mangled, 
Whom his ain son of life bereft ; 
The gray hairs yet stack to the heft." 

And here, after the two following lines, " Wi' mair o' horrible and awfu'," &c., the 
descriptive part might perhaps have been better closed than the four lines which 
succeed, which, though good in themselves, yet, as they derive all their merit from 
the satire they contain, are here rather misplaced among the circumstances of pure 
horror. The initiation of the young witch is most happily described; the effect of her 
charms exhibited in tlie dance on Satan himself — the apostrophe, "Ah! little thought 
thy reverend grannie!" — the transport of Tarn, who forgets his situation, and enters 
completely into the spirit of the scene — are all features of high merit in this excellent 
composition. The only fault that it possesses, is, that the winding np, or conclusion 
of the story, is not commensurate to the interest which is excited by the descriptive 
and characteristic painting of the preceding parts. The preparation is fine, but the 
result is not adequate. But for this, perhaps, you have a good apology — you stick to 
the popular tale. 

And now that I have got out my mind, and feel a little relieved of the weight of 
that debt I owed you, let me end this desultory scroll by an advice. You have proved 
your talent for a species of composition in which but a very few of our own poets have 
succeeded : go on — write more tales in the same style — you will eclipse Prior and La 
Fontaine; for with equal wit, equal power of numbers, and equal naivete of expression, 
you have a bolder and more vigorous imagination. ) 

I am, dear Sir, with much esteem, yours, &c. 


Nothing less than the unfortunate accident I have met Avith could have pre- 
vented my grateful acknowledgments for your letter. • His own favourite poem, and 
that an essay in a walk of the Muses entirely new to him, Avhere consequently his hopes 
and fears were on the most anxious alarm for his success in the attempt : to have that 
poem so much applauded by one of the first judges, was the most delicious vibration 
that ever thrilled along the heart-strings of a poor poet. However, Providence, to 
keep up the proper proportion of evil with the good, which it seems is necessary in this 
sublunary state, thought proper to check my exultation by a very serious misfortune. 


A day or two after I received your letter, my horse came down with me and broke my 
i-jgiif vtfih. As irtiis is the first service my arm has done me since its disaster, I find 
myself unable to do more, than just, in general terms, to thank you for this additional 
instance of your patronage and friendship. As to the faults you detected in the piece, 
they are truly there: one of them, the hit at the lawyer and priest, I shall cut out: as 
to the falling off in the catastrophe, for the reason you justly adduce, it cannot easily 
be remedied. Your approbation, Sir, has given me such additional s.pirits to persevere 
in this species of poetic composition, that I am already revolving two or three stories 
in my fancy. If I can bring these floating ideas to bear any kind of embodied form, it 
will give me an additional opportunity of assuring you, how much I have the honour 
to be, &c. 


Et.lisland, llth April, 1791. 

I AM once more able, my honoured friend, to return you, with my own hand, 
thanks for the many instances of your friendship, and particularly for your kind anxiety 
in this last disaster that my evil genius had in store for me. However, life is chequered 
— joy and sorrow — for on Saturday morning last Mrs. Burns made me a present of a 
fine boy, rather stouter, but not so handsome, as your godson was at his time of life. 
Indeed I look on your little name-sake to be my chef d'amvre in that species of 
manufacture, as I look on "Tam o' Shanter" to be my standard performance in the 
poetical line. 'Tis true, both the one and the other discover a spice of roguish 
waggery, that might, perhaps, be as well spared; but then they also show, in my 
opinion, a force of genius and a finishing polish that I despair of ever excelling Mrs. 
Burns is getting stout again, and laid as lustily about her to-day at breakfast, as a 
reaper from the corn-ridge. That is the peculiar privilege and blessing of our hale 
sprightly damsels, that are bred among the hay and heather. We cannot hope for 
tliat highly polished mind, that charming delicacy of soul, which is found among the 
female world in the more elevated stations of life, and which is certainly by far the 
most bewitching charm in the famous cestus of Venus. It is, indeed, such an inesti- 
mable treasure, tliat where it can be had in its native heavenly purity, unstained by 
some one or other of the many shades of affectation, and unalloyed by some one or 
otlier of the many species of caprice, I declare to heaven, I should think it cheaply 
purchased at the expense of every other earthly good ! But as this angelic creature 
is, I am afraid, extremely rare in any station and rank of life, and totally denied to 
such an humble one as mine, we meaner mortals must put up with the next rank oi 
female excellence. As fine a figure and face we can produce as any rank of life what- 
ever; rustic, native grace; unaffected modesty and unsullied purity; Nature's mother- 
wit, and the rudiments of taste ; a simplicity of soul, unsuspicious of, because 
unacquainted with, the crooked ways of a selfish, interested, disingenuous world ; and 
the dearest charm of all the rest, a yielding sweetness of disposition, and a generous 


•warmth of heart, grateful for love on our part, and ardently glowing with a more than 
equal return — these, with a healthy frame, a sound vigorous constitution, which your 
higher ranks can scarcely ever hope to enjoy, are the charms of lovely woman in my 
humble walk of life. 

This is the greatest effort my broken arm has yet made. Do let me hear, by first 
post, how cher petit Monsieur comes on with his small-pox. May Almighty goodness 
preserve and restore him I 


It is impossible, Madam, that the generous warmth and angelic purity of your 
youthful mind, can have any idea of that moral disease under which I unhappily must 
rank as the chief of sinners; I mean a turpitude of the moral powers, that may be 
called a lethargy of conscience. In vain Remorse rears her horrent crest, and rouses 
all her snakes: beneath the deadly fixed eye and leaden hand of Indolence, theif 
wildest ire is charmed into the torpor of the bat, slumbering out the rigours of wintp' 
in the chink of a ruined wall. Nothing less. Madam, could have made me so lon^ 
neglect your obliging commands. Indeed I had one apology — the bagatelle was not 
worth presenting. Besides, so strongly am I interested in Miss D.'s fate and welfar*^ 
in the serious business of life, amid its chances and changes, that to make her the 
subject of a silly ballad is downright mockery of these ardent feelings; 'tis like an 
impertinent jest to a dying friend. 

Gracious Heaven ! why this disparity between our wishes and our powers ? Why 
is the most generous wish, to make others blessed, impotent and ineffectual as the idle 
breeze that crosses the pathless desert ? In my walks of life, I have met with a few 
people to whom how gladly would I have said — " Go, be happy ! I know that your 
hearts have been wounded by the scorn of the proud whom accident has placed above 
you — or worse still, in whose hands are, perhaps, placed many of the comforts of your 
life. But there ! ascend that rock, Independence, and look justly down on their little- 
ness of soul. Make the worthless tremble under your indignation, and the foolish 
sink before your contempt; and largely impart thai happiness to others, which, I am 
certain, will give yourselves so much pleasure to bestow." 

Why, dear Madam, must I wake from this delightful reverie, and find it all a 
dream ? Why, amid my generous enthusiasm, must I find myself poor and powerless, 
incapable of wiping one tear from the eye of pity, or of adding one comfort to the friend 
I love! Out upon the world! say I, that its affairs are administered so ill! They 
talk of reform. Good Heaven ! what a reform would I make among the sons, and 
even the daughters of men ! — Down, immediately, should go fools from the high places 
where misbegotten chance has perked them up, and through life should they skulk, 
ever haunted by their native insignificance, as the body marches accompanied by its 
shadow. As for a much more formidable class, the knaves, I am at a loss what to do 
with them : had I a world, there shovdd not be a knave in it. 


But the hand that could give, I would liberally fill ; and I would pour delight on 
the heart that could kindly forgive and generously love. 

Still the inequalities of life are, among meu, comparatively tolerable ; but there is 
a delicacy, a tenderness, accompanying every view in which we can place lovely 
-ifVoman, that are grated and shocked at the rude, capricious distinctions of fortune. 
Woman is the blood royal of life : let there be slight degrees of precedency among 
them — but let them be all sacred. Whether this last sentiment be right or wrong, I 
am not accountable } it is an original component feature of my mind. 


5th January, 1792. 

YoV see my hurried life, Madam : I can only command starts of time. How- 
ever, i am glad of one thing ; since I finished the other sheet, the political blast that 
threaiened my welfare is overblown. I have coi-responded with Commissioner Graham, 
for the board had made me the subject of their animadversions ; and now I have the 
pleasure of informing you that all is set to rights in that quarter. Now, as to these 

informers, may the devil be let loose to ; but hold ! I was praying most 

fervently in my last sheet, and I must not so soon fall a swearing in this. 

Alas 1 how little do the wantonly or idly officious think what mischief they do by 
their malicious insinuations, indirect impertinence, or thoughtless blabbings! What a 
difference there is in intrinsic worth, candour, benevolence, generosity, kindness — in 
all the charities and all the virtues — between one class of human beings and another ! 

For instance, the amiable circle I so lately mixed with in the hospitable hall of D , 

their generous hearts — their uncontaminated, dignified minds — their informed and 
polished imderstandings — what a contrast, when compared — if such comparing were 
not downright sacrilege — with the soul of the miscreant who can deliberately plot the 
destruction of an honest man that never oflTended him, and with a grin of satisfaction, 
see the unfortunate being, his faithful wife and prattling innocents, turned over to 
bfcggary and ruin ! 

Your cup, my dear ISLadam, arrived safe. I had two worthy fellows dining with 
me the other day, when I with great formality produced my whigmeleerie cup, and 
told them that it had been a family-piece among the descendants of Sir William 
Wallace. This roused such an enthusiasm, that they insisted on bumpering the punch 
round in it; and, by and by, never did your great ancestor lay a Southron more 
completely to rest, than for a time did your cup my two friends. Apropos ! this is 
the season of wishing. May God bless you, my dear friend 1 and bless me, the 
humblest and sincerest of your friends, by granting you yet many returns of the 
season ! May all good things attend you and yours wherever they are scattered over 
the earth 1 




August, 1793. 

Some rather unlooked-for accidents have prevented my doing myself the 
honour of a second visit to Arbigland, as I was so hospitably invited, and so positively 
meant to have done. However, I still hope to have that pleasure before the busy 
months of harvest begin. 

I inclose you two of my late pieces, as some kind of return for the pleasure I have 
received in perusing a certain MS. volume of poems in the possession of Captain 
Riddel. To repay one with an old song, is a proverb, whose force, you, Madam, I 
know, will not allow. What is said of illustrious descent is, I believe, equally true of 
a talent for poetry, none ever despised it who had pretensions to it. The fates and 
characters of the rhyming tribe often employ my thoughts when I am disposed to be 
melancholy. There is not, among all the martyrologies that ever were penned, so 
rueful a narrative as the lives of the poets. In the comparative view of wretches, the 
criterion is not what they are doomed to suffer, but how they are formed to bear. 
Take a being of our kind, give him a stronger imagination and a more delicate 
sensibility, which between them will ever engender a more ungovernable set of 
passions than are the usual lot of man ; implant in him an irresistible impulse to some 
idle vagary, such as arranging wild flowers in fantastical nosegays, tracing the grass- 
hopper to his haunt by his chirping song, watching the frisks of the little minnows in 
the sunny pool, or hunting after the intrigues of butterflies — in short, send him adrift 
after some pursuit which shall eternally mislead him from the paths of lucre, and yet 
curse him with a keener relish than any man living for the pleasures that lucre can 
purchase. Lastly, fill up the measure of his woes, by bestowing on him a spurning 
sense of his own dignity, and you have created a wight nearly as miserable as a poet. 
To you, Madam, I need not recount the fairy pleasures the Muse bestows to counter- 
balance this catalogue of evils. Bewitching poetry is like bewitching woman; she has 
in all ages been accused of misleading mankind from the counsels of wisdom and the 
paths of prudence, involving them in difficulties, baiting them with poverty, branding 
them with infamy, and plunging them in the whirling vortex of ruin ; yet where is 
the man but must own that all our happiness on earth is not worthy the name — that 
even the holy hermit's solitary prospect of paradisiacal bliss is but the glitter of a 
northern sun rising over a frozen region, compared with the many pleasures, the 
nameless raptures, that we owe to the lovely Queen of the heart of Man ! 


December, 179d. 

It is said that we take the greatest liberties with our greatest friends, and I 
pay myself a very high compliment in the manner in which I am going to apply the 


remark. I have owed you money longer tiian ever I owed to any man. Here is 
Ker's account, and here are six guineas; and now I don't owe a shilling to man — or 
woman either. But for these dirty dog's-eared little pages, I had done myself the 
honour to have waited on you long ago. Independent of the obligations your 
hospitality has laid me under, the consciousness of your superiority in the rank of man 
and gentleman, of itself was fully as much as I could ever make head against ; but to 
owe you money too, was more than I could face. 

I think I once mentioned something of a collection of Scots songs I have for some 
years been making : I send you a perusal of what I have got together. I could not 
conveniently spare them above five or six days, and five or six glances of them will 
probably more than suffice you. A very few of them are my own. When you are 
tired of them, please leave them with Mr. Clint of the King's Arms. There is not 
another copy of the collection in the world ; and I should be sorry that any unfortu- 
nate negligence should deprive me of what has cost me a good deal of pains. 


25th February, 1794. 

Canst thou minister to a mind diseased ? Canst thou speak peace and rest to 
a soul tossed on a sea of troubles, without one friendly star to guide her course, and 
dreading that the next surge may overwhelm her? Canst thou give to a frame, 
tremblingly alive to the tortures of suspense, the stability and hardihood of the rock 
that braves the blast? If thou canst not do the least of these, why wouldst thou 
disturb me in my miseries with thy inquiries after me ? 

For these two mouths I have not been able to lift a pen. My constitution and 
frame were ab origine blasted with a deep incurable taint of hypochondria, which 
poisons my existence. Of late a number of domestic vexations, and some pecuniary 
share in the ruin of these . . . times ; losses which, though trifling, were yet 
what I could ill bear — have so irritated me, that my feelings at times could only be 
envied by a reprobate spirit listening to the sentence that dooms it to perdition. 

Are you deep in the language of consolation ? I have exhausted in reflection 
every topic of comfort. A heart at ease would have been charmed with my sentiments 
and reasonings ; but as to myself, I was like Judas Iscariot preaching the Gospel : he 
might melt and mould the hearts of those around him, but his own kept its native 

Still there are two great pillars that bear us up amid the wreck of misfortune and 
misery. The one is composed of the different modifications of a certain noble, 
stubborn something in man, known by the names of courage, fortitude, magnanimity. 
The other is made up of those feelings and sentiments, which, however the sceptic 
may deny them, or the enthusiast disfigure them, are yet, I am convinced, original 
and component parts of the human soul: those senses of the mind, if I may be allowed 
the expression, which connect us with and link us to those awful obscure realities — an 
all-powerful and equally beneficent God ; and a world to come beyond death and the 


grave. The first gives the nerve of combat, while a ray of hope beams on the field : 
the last pours the balm of comfort into the wounds wliich time can never cure. 

I do not remember, my dear Cunningham, that you and I ever talked on the 
subject of religion at all. I know some who laugh at it as the trick of the crafty few 
to lead the undiscerning many; or, at most, as an uncertain obscurity, which mankind 
can never know anything of, and with which they are fools if they give themselves 
much to do. Nor would I quarrel with a man for his irreligion, any more than I 
would for his want of a musical ear. I would regret that he was shut out from what, 
to me and to others, were such superlative sources of enjoyment. It is in this point 
of view, and for this reason, that I will deeply imbue the mind of every child of mine 
with religion. If my son should happen to be a man of feeling, sentiment, and taste, 
I shall thus add largely to his enjoyments. Let me flatter myself, that this sweet 
little fellow who is just now running about my desk will be a man of a melting, 
ardent, glowing heart, and an imagination delighted with the painter, and rapt with 
the poet. Let me figure him wandering out in a sweet evening, to inhale the balmy 
gales, and enjoy the growing luxuriance of the spring ! himself the while in the 
blooming youth of life. He looks abroad on all nature, and through nature up to 
nature's God. His soul, by swift delighting degrees, is rapt above this sublunary 
sphere, until he can be silent no longer, and bursts out into the glorious enthusiasm 

of Thomson — 

"These, as they change, Almighty Father, these, 
Are but the varied God. The rolling year 
Is full of thee " — 

and so on, in all the spirit and ardour of that charming hymn. 

These are no ideal pleasures, they arc real djlights; and I ask what of the delights 
among the sons of men are superior, not to say equal, to thcin? And they have 
this precious, vast addition, that conscious Virtue stamps tlicm for her own ; and 
lays hold on them to bring herself into the presence of a witnessing, judging, and 
approving God. 

My dear Friend, 


I5th December, 1796. 

As I am in a complete Decemberish humour, gloomy, sullen, stupid, as even 
the deity of Dulness herself could wish, I shall not drawl out a heavy letter with a 
number of heavier apologies for my late silence. Only one I shall mention, because I 
know you will sympathize in it : these four months, a sweet little girl, my youngest 
child, has been so ill, that every day, a week or less, threatened to terminate her 
existence. There had much need be many pleasures annexed to the states of husband 
and father, for, God knows, they have many peculiar cares. I cannot describe to you 
the anxious, sleepless hours, these ties frequently give me. I see a train of helpless 
little folks, me and my exertions all their stay; and on what a brijife thread does the 


life of man hang ! If I am nipt off at the command of Fate, even in all the vigour of 
manhood as I am— such things happen every day — gracious God! Avliat would become 
of my little flock. 'Tis here that I envy your people of fortune ! A father on his 
deathbed, taking an everlasting leave of his children, has indeed woe enough ; but the 
man of competent fortune leaves his sons and daughters independency and friends, 
while I — but I shall run distracted if I think any longer on the subject! 

To leave talking of the matter so gravely, I shall sing with the old Scots ballad — 

" that I had ne'er been married, 
I would never had nae care ; 
Now I've gotten wife and bairns, 
They cry crowdie evermair I 

" Crowdie ance ! crowdie twice ! 
Crowdie three times in a day ! 
An ye crowdie ony mair, 

Ye'U crowdie a' my meal away." 


31 5^ January, 1798. 

These many months you have been two packets in my debt — what sin of 
ignorance I have committed against so valued a friend I am utterly at a loss to guess. 
Alas ! Madam ! ill can I afford, at this time, to be deprived of any of the small 
remnant of my pleasures. I have lately drunk deep of the cup of affliction. The 
autumn robbed me of my only daughter and darling child, and that at a distance too, 
and so rapidly, as to put it out of my power to pay the last duties to her. I had 
scarcely begun to recover from that shock, when I became myself the victim of a 
most severe rheumatic fever, and long the die spun doubtful ; until, after many weeks 
of a sick-bed, it seems to have turned up life, and I am beginning to crawl across my 
room, and once indeed, have been before my own door in the street. 

When pleasure fascinates the mental sight, 

Affliction purifies the visual ray, 
Religion hails the drear, the untried night, 

And shuts, for ever shuts, life's doubtful day. 


Bkow, Sea-Batiiing Quarters, Ith July, 1736. 
Mt dear Cunningham, 

I RECEIVED yours here this moment, and am indeed highly flattered with the 
approbation of the literary circle you mention ; a literary circle inferior to none in the 
two kingdoms. Alas ! my friend, I fear the voice of the Bard will soon be ?ieard 
among you no n|pre ! For these eight or ten months I have been ailing, sometimes 


bedfast, and sometimes not; but these last three months I have been tortured with 
an excruciating rheumatism, which has reduced me to nearly the last stage. You 
actually would not know me if you saw me. Pale, emaciated, and so feeble, as 
occasionally to need help from my chair ! my spirits fled ! fled ! but I can say no 
more on the subject — only the medical folks tell me, that my last and only chance is 
Dathing, and country quarters, and riding. The deuce of the matter is this, when an 
exciseman is off" duty, his salary is reduced to £35 instead of £50. What way, in the 
name of thrift, shall I maintain myself, and keep a horse in country quarters — with a 
wife and five children at home— on £35 ? I mention this, because I had intended to 
beg your utmost interest, and that of all the friends you can muster, to move our 
Commissioners of Excise to grant me the full salary — I dare say you know them all 
personally. If they do not grant it me, I must lay my account with an exit truly 
enpoete; if I die not of disease, I must perish with hunger, 

I have sent you one of the songs: the other my memory does not serve me with, 
and I have no copy here; but I shall be at home soon, when I will send it to you. 
Apropos to being at home, Mrs. Burns threatens in a week or two to add one more to 
my paternal charge, which, if of the right gender, I intend shall be introduced to the 
world by the respectable designation of "Alexander Cunningham Burns." My last 
was "James Glencairn," so you can have no objection to the company of nobility. 
Farewell I 

TO M R S. B U R N S. 

Brow, Thursday. 
Mt dearkst Love, 

I DELAYED writing until I coidd tell you what eflTect sea-bathing was likely to 
produce. It would be injustice to deny that it has eased my pains, and, I think, has 
strengthened me ; but my appetite is still extremely bad. No flesh nor fish can I 
swallow ; porridge and milk are the only thing I can taste. I am very happy to hear 
by Miss Jess Lewars that you are well. My very best and kindest compliments to 
her, and to all the children. I will see you on Sunday. Yoxxr affectionate husband, 

R. B. 


LOCHLEA, 1783. 

I VEKILY believe, my dear E., that the pure genuine feelings of love, are as 
rare in the world as the pure genuine principles of virtue and piety. This I hope 
will account for the uncommon style of all my letters to you. By uncommon, I mean 
their being written in such a serious manner, which, to tell you the truth, has made 
me often afraid lest, you should take me for some zealous bigot, who conversed with 


his mistress as he would converse with his minister. I don't know how it is, mv 
dear; for though, except your company, there is nothing on earth gives me so much 
pleasure as writing to you, yet it never gives me those giddy raptures so much talked 
of among lovers. I have often thought, that if a Avell-grounded aGfcction be not really 
a part of virtue, 'tis something extremely akin to it. Whenever the thought of my E. 
warms my heart, every feeling of humanity, every principle of j;;cncro3ity, kindles in 
my breast. It extinguishes every dirty spark of malico and envy, which r.rc but too 
apt to infest me. I grasp every creature in the arras of iinivcrcal benevolence, and 
equally participate in the pleasures of the happy, and sympathize Avith the miseries uf 
the unfortimate. I assure you, my dear, I often look up to the divine Disposer of 
events, with an eye of gratitude for the blessing which I hope he intends to bestow 
on me in bestowing you. I sincerely wish that he may bless my endeavours to make 
your life as comfortable and happy as possible, both in sweetening the rougher parts 
of my natural temper, and bettering the unkindly circumstances of my fortune. 
This, my dear, is a passion, at least in my view, worthy of a man, and I will add, 
worthy of a Christian. The sordid earth-worm may profess love to a woman's person, 
whilst in reality his affection is centered, in her pocket; and the slavish drudge may- 
go a wooing as he goes to the horse-market, to choose one who is stout and firm, and 
as we may say of an old horse, one who will he a good drudge and draw kindly. I 
disdain their dirty puny ideas. I would be heartily out of humour with myself, if I 
thought I were capable of having so poor a notion of the sex, which were designed to 
crown the pleasures of society. Poor devils! I don't envy them their happiness who 
have such notions. For my part, I propose quite other pleasures with my dear 
partner. R. B. 


LocHi.EA, 1783. 
My DEAR E., 

I no not remember, in the course of your acquaintance and mine, ever to have 
heard your opinion on the ordinary way of falling in love amongst people of our 
station of life. I do not mean the persons who proceed in the way of bargain, but 
those whose affection is really placed on the person. 

Though I be, as you know very well, but a very awkward lover myself, yet as I 
have some opportunities of observing the conduct of others who are much better 
skilled in the affair of courtship than I am, I often think it is owing to lucky chance, 
more than to good management, that there are not more unhappy marriages than 
usually are. 

It is natural for a young fellow to like the acquaintance of the females, and cus- 
tomary for him to keep them company when occasion serves. Some one of them is more 
agreeable to him than the rest; there is something, he knows not what, pleases him, he 
knows not how, in her company. This I take to be what is called love with the 
greatest part of us, and I must own, my dear E., it is a hard game such a one as you 


have to play when you meet with such a lover. You cannot admit but he is sincere, 
and yet though you use him ever so favourably, perhaps in a few months, or at far- 
thest a year or two, the same unaccountable fancy may make him as distractedly fond 
of another, whilst you are quite forgot. I am aware that perhaps the next time I have 
the pleasure of seeing you, you may bid me take my own lesson home, and tell me 
that perhaps the passion I have professed for you is perhaps one of those transient 
flashes I have been describing; but I hope, my dear E., you will do me the justice to 
believe me, when I assure you that the love I have for you is founded on the sacred 
principles of virtue and honour ; and by consequence, so long as you continue pos- 
sessed of those amiable qualities which first inspired my passion for you, so long must 
I continue to love you. Believe me, my dear, it is love like this alone which can 
render the married state happy. People may talk of flames and raptures as long as 
they please, and a warm fancy, with a flow of youthful spirits, may make them feel 
something like what they describe ; but sure I am, the nobler faculties of the mind, 
with kindred feelings of the heart, can only be the foundation of friendship ; and 
it has always been my opinion, that the married life was only friendship in a more 
exalted degree. 

If you will be so good as to grant my wishes, and it should please Providence to 
spare us to the latest periods of life, I can look forward and see that even then, though 
bent down with wrinkled age — even then, when all other worldly circumstances will 
be indifferent to me — I will regard my E. with the tenderest affection ; and for this 
plain reason, because she is still possessed of those noble qualites, improved to a much 
higher degree, which first inspired my. affection for her : — 

"0! happy state, when souls each other draw, 
When love is liberty, and nature law." 

I know, were I to speak in such a style to many a girl, Avho thinks herself pos- 
sessed of no small share of sense, she would think it ridiculous ; but the language of 
the heart is, my dear E., the only courtship I shall ever use to you. 

When I look over what I have written, I am sensible it is vastly different from the 
ordinary style of courtship ; but I shall make no apology — I know your good nature 
will excuse what your good sense may see amiss. R. B. 


LOCHLEA, 1783, 

My dear E., 

I HAVE often thought it a peculiarly imlncky circumstance in love, that 
though in every other situation in life telling the truth is not only the safest, but 
actually by far the easiest way of proceeding, a lover is never under greater difficulty 
in acting, or more puzzled for expression, than when his passion is sincere and his 
intentions are honourable. I do not think that it is very difficult for a person of 


ordinary capacity, to talk of love and fondness which are not felt, and to make vows 
of constancy and fidelity which are never intended to be performed, if he be villain 
enough to practise such detestable conduct ; but to a man whose heart glows with 
the principles of integrity and truth, and who sincerely loves a woman of amiable 
person, uncommon refinement of sentiment, and purity of manners — to such a one, in 
such circumstances, I can assure you, my dear, from my own feelings at this present 
moment, courtship is a task indeed. There is such a number of foreboding fears and 
distrustful anxieties crowd into my mind when I am in your company, or when I sit 
down to write to you, that what to speak or whatto write I am altogether at a loss. 

There is one rule which I have hitherto practised, and which I shall invariably 
keep with you, and that is, honestly to tell you the plain truth. There is something 
so mean and unmanly in the arts of dissimulation and falsehood, that I am surprised 
they can be used by any one in so noble, so generous a passion, as virtuous love No, 
my dear E., I shall never endeavour to gain your favour by such detestable practices. 
If you will be so good and so generous as to admit me for your partner, your com- 
panion, your bosom friend through life, there is nothing on this side of eternity shall 
give me greater transport; but I shall never think of purchasing your liand by any 
arts unworthy of a man, and I will add, of a Christian. There is one thing, my dear, 
which I earnestly request of you, and it is this ; that you would soon either put an 
end to my hopes by a peremptory refusal, or cure me of my fears by a generous consent. 

It would oblige me much if you would send me a line or two when convenient. 
I phall only add further, that if a behaviour regulated (though perhaps but very 
imperfectly) by the rules of honour and virtue, if a heart devoted to love and esteem 
you, and an earnest endeavour to promote your happiness; if these are qualities you 
would wish in a friend, in a husband ; I hope you shall ever find them in your real 
friend and sincere lover, R- B 


LOOHLEA, 1783. 

I OUGHT in good manners to have acknowledged the receipt of your letter 
before this time, but my heart was so shocked with the contents of it, that I can 
scarcely yet collect my thoughts so as to write you on the subject. I will not attempt 
to describe what I felt on receiving your letter. I read it over and over, again and 
again, and though it was in the politest language of refusal, still it was peremptory; 
"you were very sorry you could not make me a return, but you wish me," what without 
you I can never obtain, " you wish me all kind of happiness." It would be weak and 
unmanly to say, that without you I never can he happy ; but sure I am, that sharing 
life with you would have given it a relish that, wanting you, I can never taste. 

Your uncommon personal advantages, and your superior good sense, do not so 
much strike me ; these possibly, in a few instances, may be met with in others ; but 
that amiable goodness, that tender feminine softness, that endearing sweetness of dis- 
position, with all the charming offspring of a warm feeling heart — these I never again 


expect to meet with in such a degree in this world. All these charming qualities, 
heightened by an education much beyond anything I have ever met with in any 
woman I ever dared to approach, have made an impression on my heart that I do not 
think the world can ever efface. My imagination had fondly flattered itself with a 
wish, I dare not say it ever reached a hope, that possibly I might one day call you mine. 
I had formed the most delightful images, and my fancy fondly brooded over them; but 
now I am wretched for the loss of what I really had no riglit to expect. I must now 
think no more of you as a mistress; still, I presume to ask to be admitted as a friend. 
As such I wish to be allowed to wait on you, and as I expect to remove in a few days 
a little farther off, and you I suppose will perhaps soon leave this place, I wish to see 
you or hear from you soon; and if an expression should perhaps escape me rather too 
warm for friendship, I hope you will pardon it in, my dear Miss — (pardon me the 
dear expression for once). R. B. 


MossGiEL, August, 1784. 

We have been surprised with one of the most extraordinary phenomena in the 
moral world which, I dare say, has happened in the course of this half century. We 
have had a party of Presbytery relief, as they call themselves, for some time in this 
country. A pretty thriving society of them has been in the burgh of Irvine for 
some years past, till about two years ago a Mrs. Buchan, from Glasgow, came among 
them, and began to spread some fanatical notions of religion among them, and in a 
short time made many converts; and among others, their preacher, Mr. Wliyte, who 
upon that account has been suspended and formally deposed by his brethren. He 
continued, however, to preach in private to his party, and was supported, both he and 
their spiritual mother, as they affect to call old Buchan, by the contributions of the 
rest, several of whom were in good circumstances ; till in spring last the populace rose 
and mobbed Mrs. Buchan, and put her out of the town: on which all her followers 
voluntarily quitted the place likewise, and with such precipitation that many of them 
never shut their doors behind them. One left a washing on the green, another a cow 
bellowing at the crib without food, or any body to mind her, and after several stages, 
they are fixed at present in the neighbourhood of Dumfries. Their tenets are a strange 
jumble of enthusiastic jargon; among others, she pretends to give them the Holy 
Ghost by breathing on them, which she does with postures and practices that are 
scandalously indecent. They have likewise disposed of all their effects, and hold a 
community of goods, and live nearly an idle life, carrying on a great farce of pretended 
devotion in barns and woods, where they lodge and lie all altogether, and hold likewise 
a community of women, as it is another of their tenets that they can commit no moral 
sin. I am personally acquainted with most of them, and I can assure you the above 
mentioned are facts. 

This, my dear Sir, is one of the many instances of the folly of leaving the guidance 



of sound reason and common sense in matters of religion. Whenever we neglect or 

despise these sacred monitors, the whimsical notions of a perturbated brain are taken 

for the immediate influences of the Deity, and the wildest fanaticism and the most 

inconsistent absurdities will meet with abettors and converts. Nay, I have often 

thought, that the more out-of-the-way and ridiculous the fancies are, if once they are 

sanctified under the sacred name of religion, the unhappy mistaken votaries are the 

more firmly glued to them, 

R. B. 


My dear Countrywoman, 

I AM so impatient to show you that I am once more at peace with you, that I 
send you the book I mentioned directly, rather than wait the uncertain time of my 
seeing you. I am afraid I have mislaid or lost Collins' Poems, which I promised to 
Miss Irvin. If I can find them, I will forward them by you ; if not, you must apologize 
for me. 

I know you will laugh at it, Avhen I tell you that your piano and you together have 
played the deuce somehow about my heart. My breast has been widowed these many 
months, and I thought myself proof against the fascinating witchcraft ; but I am afraid 
you will "feelingly convince me what I am." I say, I am afraid, because I am not 
sure what is the matter with me. I have one miserable bad symptom ; Avhen you 
whisper, or look kindly to another, it gives me a draught of damnation. I have a 
kind of wayward wish to be with you ten minutes by yourself, though what I would 
say, Heaven above knows, ibr I am sure I know not. I have no formed design in all 
this, but just, in the nakedness of my heart, write you down a mere matter-of-fact 
story. You may perhaps give yourself airs of distance on this, and that will completely 
cure me ; but I wish you would not: just let us meet, if you please, in the old beaten 
way of friendship. 

I will not subscribe myself your humble servant, for that is a phrase, I think, at 
least fifty miles off from the heart ; but I will conclude, with sincerely wishing that the 
Great Protector of innocence may shield you from the barbed dart of calumny, and 

hand you by the covert snare of deceit. 

R. B. 


MossGiEL, 17th Feb., 1786. 
My DEAu Siu, 

I HAVE not time at present to upbraid you for your silence and neglect; I shall 
only say 1 received yours with great pleasure. I have inclosed you a piece of rhyming 


ware for your perusal. I have been very busy with the Muses since I saw you, and 
have composed, among several others, "The Ordination," a poem on Mr. Mackinlay's 
being called to Kilmarnock ; " Scotch Drink," a poem ; "The Cotter's Saturday Night;'' 
" An Address to the De'il," &c. I have likewise completed my poem on the " Dogs," 
but have not shown it to the world. My chief patron now is Mr. Aiken in Ayr, who 
is pleased to express great approbation of my works. Be so good as to send me 
Ferguson, by Connel, and I will remit you the money. I have no news to acquaint 
you with about Mauchline, they are just going on in the old way. I have some very 
important news with respect to myself, not the most agreeable, news that I am sure 
you cannot guess, but I shall give you the particulars another time. I am extremely 
happy with Smith ; he is the only friend I have now in Mauchline. I can scarcely 
forgive your long neglect of me, and I beg you will let me hear from you regularly by 
Connel. If you would act your part as a friend, I am sure neither good nor bad 
fortune should estrange or alter me. Excuse haste, as I got yours but yesterday. I 
am, my dear Sir, yours, 




September 26th, 1787. 

I SEND Charlotte the first number of the songs. I would not wait for the 
second number ; I hate delays in little marks of friendship, as I hate dissimulation in 
the language of the heart. I am determined to pay Charlotte a poetic compliment, if 
I could hit on some glorious old Scotch air, in number second. You will see a small 
attempt on a shred of paper in the book ; but though Dr. Blacklock commended it 
very highly, I am not just satisfied with it myself. I intend to make it a description 
of some kind ; the whining cant of love, except in real passion and by a masterly 
hand, is to me as insufferable as the preaching cant of old Father Smeaton, whig 
minister at Kilmaurs. Darts, flames, cupids, loves, graces, and all that farrago, are 
just a Mauchline medley— a senseless rabble. 

I got an excellent poetic epistle yesternight from the old venerable author of 
TuUochgorum, John of Badenyon, &c. I suppose you know he is a clergyman. It 
is by far the finest poetic compliment I ever got. 1 will send you a copy of it. 

I go on Thursday or Friday to Dumfries, to wait on Mr. Millar about his farms. 
Do tell that to Lady M'Kenzie, that she may give me credit for a httle wisdom. " I 
wisdom dwell with prudence." What a blessed fireside ! How happy should I be to 
pass a winter evening under their venerable roof! and smoke a pipe of tobacco, or 
drink water-gruel with them ! What solemn, lengthened, laughter -quashing gravity 
of phiz! What sage remarks on the good-for-nothing sons and daughters of indiscre- 
tion and folly ! And what frugal lessons, as we straitened the fireside circle, on the 
uses of the poker and tongs ! 


Miss N. is very well, and begs to be remembered in the old way to you. I used 
all my eloquence, all the persuasive flourishes of the hand, and heart-melting modula- 
tion of periods, in my power, to urge her out to Harvieston, but all in vain. My 
rhetoric seems quite to have lost its effect on the lovely half of mankind. I have seen 
the day — but that is " a tale of other years." In my conscience, I believe that my 
heart has been so oft on fire that it is absolutely vitrified. I look on the sex with 
something like the admiration with which I regard the starry sky in a frosty Decem- 
ber night. I admire the beavity of the Creator's workmanship ; I am charmed with 
the wild but graceful eccentricity of their motions, and — wish them good night. I 
mean this with respect to a certain passion do7it fai eu thonneur d'^re nn miserable 
esclave: as for friendship, you and Charlotte have given me pleasure, permanent 
pleasure, "which the world cannot give, nor take away," I hope; and which will 
outlast the heavens and the earth. R. B. 


I HAVK been at Dumfries, and at one visit more shall be decided about a farm 
in that country. I am rather hopeless in it ; but as my brother is an excellent 
farmer, and is, besides, an exceedingly prudent sober man (qualities which are only a 
younger brotlier's fortune in our family), I am determined, if my Dumfries business 
fail me, to return into partnership with him, and at our leisure take another farm in 
ihfi neighbourhood. 

I assure you, I look for high compliments from you and Charlotte on this very 
sage instance of my unfathomable, incomprehensible wisdom. Talking of Charlotte, 
I must tell her that I have to the best of my power paid her a poetic compliment, now- 
completed. The air is admirable ; true old Highland. It was the tune of a Gaelic 
song which an Inverness lady sung me when I was there ; and I was so charmed with 
it, that I begged her to write me a set of it from her singing; for it had never been 
set before. I am fixed that it shall go in Johnson's next number; so Charlotte and 
you need not spend your precious time in contradicting me. I won't say the poetry 
is firstrate, though I am convinced it is very well ; and what is not always the case 
with compliments to ladies, it is not only sincere, but just. R. B. 

T O T HE S A M E. 

Edinburgh, Nov. 21, 1787. 

L HAVE one vexatious fault to the kindly-welcome, well-filled sheet which I owe 
to your and Charlotte's goodness — it contains too much sense, sentiment, and good- 
spelling. It is impossible that even you two, whom, I declare to my God, I will give 


credit for any degree of excellence the sex are capable of attaining, it is impossible you 
can go on to correspond at that rate ; so, like those who, Shenstone says, retire because 
they have made a good speech, I shall, after a few letters, hear no more of you. I 
insist that you shall write whatever comes first — what you see, what you read, what 
you hear, what you admire, what you dislike; trifles, bagatelles, nonsense, or, to fill 
up a cornt'r, e'en put down a laugh at full length. Now none of your polite hints 
about flattery : I leave that to your lovers, if you have or shall have any ; though, 
thank Heaven, I have foimd at last two girls who can be luxuriantly happy in their 
own minds and with one another, Avithout that commonly necessary appendage to 
female bliss — a Lover. 

Charlotte and you are just two favourite resting-places for my soul, in her wander- 
ings through the weary thorny wilderness of this world. God knows I am ill-fitted 
for the struggle : I glory in being a Poet, and I want to be thought a wise man — I 
would fondly be generous, and I wish to be rich. After all, I am afraid I am a lost 
subject. " Some folk hae a hantle o' fauts, an' I'm but a ne'er-do-weel." 

Afternoon. — To close the melancholy reflections at the end of last sheet, I shall just 
add a piece of devotion, commonly known in Carrick by the title of the " Wabster'a 


" Some say we're thieves, and e'en sae are we, 
Some say we lie, and e'en sae do we ! 
Guid forgie us, an' I hope sae will he! 
Up and to your looms, lads." 

R. B, 


Edinburgh, Dec. \2th, 1787. 

T AM here under the care of a surgeon, with a bruised limb extended on a 
cushion; and the tints of my mind vying with the livid horror preceding a midnight 
thunder-storm. A drunken coachman was the caiise of the first, and incomparably 
the lightest evil; misfortune, bodily constitution, hell, and myself, have formed a 
"quadruple alliance" to guarantee the other. I got my fall on Saturday, and am 
getting slowly better. 

I have taken tooth and nail to the Bible, and am got through the five books of 
Moses, and half way in Joshua. It is really a glorious book. I sent for my book- 
binder to-day, and ordered him to get me an octavo Bible in sheets, the best paper 
and print in town, and bind it with all the elegance of his craft. 

I would give my best song to my worst enemy, I mean the merit of making it, to 
have you and Charlotte by me. You are angelic creatures, and would pour oil and 
wine into my wounded spirit. 

I inclose you a proof copy of the " Banks of the Devon," which present with my 

best wishes to Charlotte. The " Ochil Hills " you shall probably have next week for 

yourself. None of your fine speeches ! 

R. B. 



Edinburgh, Dec. 19/A, 1787. 

I BEGIN this letter in answer to yours of the 17th current, which is not yet cold 
since I read it. The atmosphere of my soul is vastly clearer than when I wrote you 
last. For the first time, yesterday I crossed the room on crutches. It would do your 
heart good to see my Bardship, not on my poetic, but on my oaken stilts; throwing 
my best leg Avith an air ! and with as much hilarity in my gait and countenance, as a 
May frog leaping across the newly harrowed ridge, enjoying the fragrance of the 
refreshed earth after the long-expected shower ! 

I can't say I am altogether at my ease when I see, any where in my path, that 
meagre, squalid, famine-faced spectre, poverty, attended, as he always is, by iron-fisted 
oppression and leering contempt ; but I have sturdily withstood his buffetings many a 
hard-laboured day already, and still my motto is — I dare ! My worst enemy is Moi- 
meme. I lie so miserably open to the inroads and incursions of a mischievous, light- 
armed, well-mounted banditti, under the banners of imagination, whim, caprice, and 
passion; and the heavy-armed veteran regulars of wisdom, prudence, and fore-thought 
move so very, very slow, that I am almost in a state of perpetual warfare, and, alas ! 
frequent defeat. There are just two creatures I would envy, a horse in his wild state 
traversing the forests of Asia,' or an oyster on some of the desert shores of Eurooe. 
The one has not a wish without enjoyment, the other has neither wish nor fear. 

R. B. 


Edinburgh, Sunday. 

To-morrow, my dear Madam, I leave Edinburgh. I have altered all my plans 

of future life. A farm, that I could live in, I could not find; and indeed, after the 

necessary support my brother and the rest of the ikmily required, I could not venture 

on farming in that style suitable to my feelings. You will condemn me for the next 

step I have taken. I have entered into the excise. I stay in the west about three 

weeks, and then return to Edinburgh for six weeks' instructions ; afterwards, for I get 

employ instantly, I go ou il plait a Dieu—et mon Rot. I have chosen this, my dear 

friend, after mature deliberation. The question is not, at what door of Fortune's 

palace shall we enter in; but what door does she open to us? 1 was not likely to get 

anything to do. I wanted un but, which is a dangerous, an unhappy situation. I got 

this without any hanging on, or mortifying solicitation ; it is immediate bread, and 

though poor in comparison of the last eighteen months of my existence, 'tis luxury 

in comparison of all my preceding life : besides, the Commissioners are some of them 

my acquaintances, and all of them my firm friends. 

Iv. 1>. 



Edinburgh, 3Qlh Dec., 1787. 

My dear Sir, 

1 HAVE met with few things in life which have given me more pleasure than 
fortune's kindness to you since those days in which we met in the vale of misery ; as I 
can honestly say, that I never knew a man who more truly deserved it, or to whom 
my heart more truly Avished it. I have been much indebted, since that time, to your 
story and sentiments for steeling my mind against evils, of which I have had a pretty 
decent share. My Will-o'-wisp fate you know. Do you recollect a Sunday we spent 
together in Eglinton woods? You told me, on my repeating some verses to you, that 
you wondered I could resist the temptation of sending verses of such merit to a maga- 
zine. It was from this remark I derived that idea of my own pieces, which encoiu'aged 
me to endeavour at the character of a poet. I am happy to hear that you will be two 
or three months at home. As soon as a bruised limb will permit me, I shall return to 
Ayrshire, and we shall meet, " and faith I hope we'll not sit dumb, nor yet cast out!" 
I have mvich to tell you of "men, their manners, and their ways" — perhaps a 
little of the other sex. Apropos, I beg to be remembered to Mrs. Brown. There, I 
doubt not, my dear friend, but you have found substantial happiness. I am impatient 
to see her as well as you. I expect to find you something of an altered, but not a 
different man ; the wild, bold, generous young fellow, composed into the steady affec- 
tionate husband and the fond careful parent. For me, I am just the same Will-o'-wisp 
being I used to be. About the first and fourth quarters of the moon, I generally set 
in for the trade-wind of wisdom; but about the full and change, I am the luckless 
victim of mad tornadoes, which blow me into chaos. Almighty Love still reigns and 
revels in my bosom ; and I am at this moment ready to hang myself for a young 
Edinburgh widow, who has wit and beauty more murderously fatal than the assassi- 
nating stiletto of the Sicilian banditti, or the poisoned arrow of the savage African. My 
Highland dirk, that used to hang beside my crutches, I have gravely removed into a 
neighbouring closet, the key of which I cannot command, in case of spring-tide 
paroxysms. You may guess of her wit by the following verses, which she sent me the 
other day : — 

" Talk not of Love, it gives me pain, 
For Love has been my foe ; 
He bound me with an iron chain, 
And plunged me deep in woe ! 
" But Friendship's pure and lasting joys, 
My heart was formed to prove, 
There welcome, win and we;ir the prize; 
But never talk of Love ! 
" Your friendship much can make me blest, 
why that bliss destroy ? 
Why urge the odious one request 
You know 1 must deny?" 

My best compliments to our friend Allan. Adieu. 




Edinburgh, March lith, 1788. 

I KNOW, my ever dear friend, that you will be pleased with the news when I 
tell you, I have at last taken a lease of a farm. Yesternight I completed a bargain 
with Mr. Miller, of Dalswinton, for tlie farm of EUisland, on the banks of the Nith, 
between five and six miles above Dumfries. I begin at Whitsunday to build a house, 
drive lime, &c., and heaven be my help ! for it will take a strong effort to bring my 
mind into the routine of business. I have discharged all the army of my former pur- 
suits, fancies, and pleasures; a motley host! and have literally and strictly retained 
only the ideas of a few friends, which I have incorporated into a life-guard. I trust 
in Dr. Johnson's observation, "Where much is attempted, something is done." Firm- 
ness, both in sufferance and exertion, is a character I would wish to be thought to 
possess ; and have always despised the whining yelp of complaint, and the cowardly> 
feeble resolve. 

Poor Miss K. is ailing a good deal this winter, and begged me to remember her to 
you the first time I wrote to you. Surely woman, amiable woman, is often made in 
vain ! Too delicately formed for the rougher pursuits of ambition ; too noble for the 
dirt of avarice, and even too gentle for the rage of pleasure ; formed indeed for, and 
highly susceptible of, enjoyment and rapture ; but that enjoyment, alas ! almost 
wholly at the mercy of the caprice, malevolence, stupidity, or wickedness of an animal 
at all times comparatively unfeeling, and often brutal. R. B. 


Mauchline, May 26th, 1788. 

My dear Friend, 

I AM two kind letters in your debt, but I have been from home, and horridly 
busy buying and preparing for my farming business; over and above the plague of my 
excise instructions, which this week will finish. 

As I flatter my wishes that I foresee many future years' correspondence between 
us, 'lis foolish to talk of excusing dull epistles : a dull letter may be a very kind one. 
I have the pleasure to tell you that I have been extremely fortunate in all my buyings 
and bargainings hitherto — Mrs. Burns not excepted ; which title I now avow to the 
world. I am truly pleased with this last affair. It has indeed added to my anxieties 
for futurity, but it has given a stability to my mind and my resolutions unknown be- 
fore ; and the poor girl has the most sacred enthusiasm of attachment to me, and has 
not a wish but to gratify my every idea of her deportment. I am interrupted. 
Farewell ! my dear Sir. K- B. 



Ellisland, June 14, 1788. 

This is now the third clay, my dearest Sir, that I liave sojourned in these 
regions ; and during these tliree days you have occupied more of my thoughts than 
in three weeks preceding. In Ayrshire I have several variations of friendship's com- 
pass; here it points invariably to the pole. My farm gives me a good many uncouth 
cares and anxieties, but I hate the language of complaint. Job, or some one of his 
friends, says well — " Why should a living man complain ? " 

I have been lately much mortified with contemplating an unlucky imperfection in 
the very framing and construction of my soul ; namely, a blundering inaccuracy of her 
olfactory organs, in hitting the scent of craft or design in my fellow-creatures. I do 
not mean any compliment to my ingenuovisness, or to hint that the defect is in conse- 
quence of the unsuspicious simplicity of conscious truth and honour : I take it to be, 
in some way or other, an imperfection in the mental sight, or, metaphor apart, some 
modification of dulness. In two or three small instances lately, I have been most 
shamefully out. 

I have all along hitherto, in the warfare of life, been bred to arms among the 
light-horse — the piquet-guards of fancy, a kind of Hussars and Highlanders of the 
brain ; but I am firmly resolved to sell out of these giddy battalions, who have no 
ideas of a battle but fighting the foe, or of a siege but storming the town. Cost what 
it will, I am determined to buy in among the grave squadrons of heavy-armed 
thought, or the artillery corps of plodding contrivance. 

What books are you reading, or what is the subject of your thoughts, besides the 
great studies of your profession ? You said something about rehgion in your last. 
I don't exactly remember what it was, as the letter is in Ayrshire ; but I thought it 
not only prettily said, but nobly thought. Yoii will make a noble fellow if once you 
were married. I make no reservation of your being well-married. You have so 
much sense and knowledge of human nature, that though you may not realize per- 
haps the ideas of romance, yet you will never be ill-married. 

Were it not for the terrors of my ticklish situation respecting provision for a 
family of children, I am decidedly of opinion that the step I have taken is vastly for 
my happiness. As it is, I look to the excise scheme as a certainty of maintenance ; a 
maintenance, luxury to what either !Mrs. Burns or I were born to. Adieu, — R. B. 



Ellisland, September 9, 1788. 
Mt dear Sir, 

There is not in Edinburgh above the number of the graces whose letters 
would have given me so much pleasure as yours of the third instant, which only 
reached me yesternight. 


I am here on my farm, busy with my harvest ; but for all that most pleasurable 
part of life called social communication, I am here at the very elbow of existence. 
The only things that are to be found in this country in any degree of perfection, are 
stupidity and canting. Prose they only know in graces, prayers, &c., and the value 
of these they estimate as ihey do their plaiding webs — by the ell ! As for the Muses, 
they have as much an idea of a rhinoceros as of a poet. For my old, capricious, but 
good-natured hussy of a Muse — 

"By banks of Nith I sat and wept, 
When Coila I thought on ; 
In midst thereof I hung my harp, 
Tlie willow trees upon." 

I am generally about half my time in Ayrshire with my " darling Jean," and then 
I at lucid intervals throw m}' horny fist across my bq-cobwebbed lyre, much in the 
same manner as an old wife throws her hand across the spokes of her spinning wheeL 

I will send you " The Fortunate Shepherdess " as soon as I return to Ayrshire, for 
there I keep it with other precious treasure. I shall send it by a careful hand, as I 
would not for anything it should be mislaid or lost. I do not wish to serve you from 
any benevolence, or other grave Christian virtue; 'tis purely a selfish gratification of 
my own feelings whenever I think of you. 

If your better functions would give you leisure to write me, I should be extremely 
happy ; that is to say, if you neither keep nor look for a regular correspondence. I 
hate the idea of being obliged to write a letter. I sometimes write a friend twice 
a week, at other times once a quarter. 

I am exceedingly pleased with your fancy, in making the author you mention 
place a map of Iceland, instead of his portrait, before his works; 'twas a glorious idea. 

Could you conveniently do me one thing — Whenever you finish any head, I should 
like to have a proof copy of it. I might tell you a long story about your fine genius; 
but as what every body knows cannot have escaped you, I shall not say one syllable 
about it. E. B. 


Ellisland, June 8, 1789. 
My dear Friend, 

I AM perfectly ashamed of myself when I look at the date of your last. It is 
not that I forget the friend of my heart and the companion of my peregrinations; 
but I have been condemned to drudgery beyond sufferance, though not, thank God, 
beyond redemption. I have had a collection of poems by a lady put into my hands, 
to prepare them for the press ; which horrid task, with sowing my corn with my own 
hand, a parcel of masons, wrights, plasterers, <5cc., to attend to, roaming on business 
through Ayrshire — all this was against me, and the very first dreadful article was of 
itself too much for me. 


I'dth.—I have not had a moment to spare from incessant toil since the 8th. Life, 
my dear Sir, is a serious matter. You know by experience that a man's individual 
self is a good deal; but believe me, a wife and family of children, whenever you have 
the honour to be a husband and a father, will show you that your present most anxious 
hours of solicitude are spent on trifles. The welfare of those who are very dear to us, 
whose only support, hope, and stay we are— this, to a generous mind, is another sort of 
more important object of care than any concerns whatever which centre merely in the 
individual. On the other hand, let no young unmarried rakehelly dog among you, 
make a song of his pretended liberty and freedom from care. If the relations we stand 
in to king, country, kindred, and friends, be anything but the visionary fancies of 
dreaming metaphysicians ; if religion, virtue, magnanimity, generosity, humanity, and 
justice, be aught but empty sounds ; then the man who may be said to live only for 
others, for the beloved, honourable female whose tender faithful embrace endears 
life, and for the helpless little innocents who are to be the men and women, the 
worshippers of his God, the subjects of his king, and the support, nay, the very vital 
existence of his country, in the ensuing age — compare such a man with any fellow 
whatever, who, Avhether he bustle and push in business among labourers, clerks, 
statesmen ; or whether he roar or rant, and drink and sing in taverns — a fellow over 
whose grave no one will breathe a single heigh-ho, except from the cobweb tie of 
what is called good fellowship — who has no view nor aim but what terminates in 
himself — if there be any grovelling earth-born wretch of our species, a renegade to 
common sense, who would fain believe that the noble creature, man, is no better than 
a sort of fungus, generated out of nothing, nobody knows how, and soon dissipating in 
nothing, nobody knows where; such a stupid beast, such a crawling reptile, might 
balance the foregoing unexaggerated comparison, but no one else would have the 

Forgive me, my dear Sir, for this long silence. To make you amends, I shall send 
you soon, and more encouraging still, without any postage, one or two rhymes of my 
later manufacture. 


Ellisland, November 1, 1789. 

Mr DEAR Friend, 

I HAD written you long ere now, could I have guessed where to find you ; for 
f am sure you have more good sense than to waste the precious days of vacation time 
in the dirt of business and Edinburgh. Wherever you are, God bless you, and lead 
you not into temptation, but deliver you from evil! 

I do not know if I have informed you, that I am now appointed to an excise 
division, in the middle of which my house and farm lie. In this I was extremely 
lucky. Without ever having been an expectant, as they call their journeyman 
excisemen, I was directly planted down, to all intents and purposes, an officer of 
excise; there to flourish and bi'ing forth fruits — worthy of repentance. 


I know not how the Avord exciseman, or still more opprobrious, ganger, will sound 
in your ears. I too have seen the day when my auditory nerves would have felt 
very delicately on this subject; but a wife and children are things which have a 
wonderful effect in blunting these kinds of sensations. Fifty pounds a-year for life, and 
a provision for widows and orphans, you will allow, is no bad settlement for a poet. 
For the ignominy of the profession, I have the encouragement which I once heard a 
recruiting serjeant give to a numerous, if not a respectable audience, in the streets of 
Kilmarnock — " Gentlemen, for your further and better encouragement, I can assure 
you that our regiment is the most blackguard corps under the crown, and consequently, 
with us an honest fellow has the surest chance for preferment." 

You need not doubt that I find several very unpleasant and disagreeable circum- 
stances in my business; but I am tired with, and disgusted at, the language of com- 
plaint against the evils of life. Human existence in the most favourable situations 
does not abound with pleasures, and has its inconveniencies and ills. Capricious 
foolish man mistakes these inconveniencies and ills, as if they were the peculiar 
property of his particular situation; and hence that eternal fickleness, that love of 
change, which has ruined, and daily does ruin, many a fine fellow as well as many 
a blockhead ; and is almost, without exception, a constant source of disappointment 
and misery. 

I long to hear from you how you go on — not so much in business as in life. you pretty well satisfied with your own exertions, and tolerably at ease in your 
internal reflections? 'Tis much to be a great character as a lawyer, but beyond 
comparison more to be a great character as a man. That you may be both the one 
and the other is the earnest wish, and that you will be both is the firm persuasion of, 
my dear Sir, &c. R B. 


Ellisland, 4th November, 1789. 

I HAVE been so hurried, my ever dear friend, that though I got both your 
letters, I have not been able to command an hour to answer them as I wished ; and 
even now, you are to look on this as merely confessing debt and craving days. Few 
things could have given me so much pleasure, as the news that you were once more 
safe and sound on terra firma, and happy in that place where happiness is alone to be 
found, in the fireside circle. May the benevolent Director of all things peculiarly 
bless you, in all those endearing connections consequent on the tender and venerable 
names of husband and father ! I have indeed been extremely lucky in getting an 
additional income of £50 a year, while, at the same time, the appointment will not 
cost me above £10 or £12 per annum of expenses more than I must inevitably have 
incurred. The worst circumstance is, that the excise division which I have got is so 
extensive, no less than ten parishes to ride over ; and it abounds, besides, with so 
much business, that I can scarcely steal a spare moment. However, labour endears 


rest, and both together are absolutely necessary for the proper enjoyment of human 
existence. I cannot meet you anywhere. No less than im order from the Board of 
Excise at Edinburgh is necessary, before I can have so much time as to meet you in 
Ayrshire. But do you come and see me. We must have a social day, and perhaps 
lengthen it out with half the night, before you go again to sea. You are the earliest 
friend I now have on earth, my brothers excepted; and is not that an endearing 
circumstance ? When you and I first met, we were at a green period of human life. 
The twig would easily take a bent, but would as easily return to its former state. 
You and I not only took a mutual bent, but by the melancholy though strong 
influence of being both of the family of the unfortunate, we were intertwined with 
one another in our growth towards advanced age; and blasted be the sacrilegious 
hand that shall attempt to undo the union ! You and I must have one bumper to 
my favourite toast — " May the companions of our youth be the friends of our old 
age!" Come and see me one year; I shall see you at Port-Glasgow the next; and 
if we can contrive to have a gossiping between our two bed-fellows, it will be so 
much additional pleasure. Mrs. Burns joins me in kind compliments to- you and Mrs. 
Brown. Adieu ! I am ever, my dear Sir, yours, K. B. 

TO MR. W. N I C L. 

Ellisland, Feb. ^th, 1790. 
My dear Sir, 

That poor mare of yours is dead. 1 would freely have given her price to have 
saved her"« she has vexed me beyond description. Indebted as I was to your goodness, 
beyond what I can ever repay, I eagerly grasped at your offer to have the mare with 
me. That I might at least show my readiness in wishing to be grateful, I took every 
care of her in my power. She was never crossed for riding above half a score of times 
by me, or in my keeping. I drew her in the plough, one of three, for one poor week. 
1 refused fifty-five shillings for her, which was the highest bode I could squeeze for 
her. I fed her up, and had her in fine order for Dumfries fair ; when, four or five days 
before the fair, she was seized Avith an unaccountable disorder in the sinews, or some- 
where in the bones of the neck, with a weakness or total want of power in her fillets; 
and in short, the whole vertebras of her spine seemed to be diseased and unhinged, 
and in eight and forty hours, in spite of the two best farriers in the country, she died. 
The farriers said that she had been quite strained in the fillets, beyond cure, before 
you had bought her, and that the poor devil, though she might keep a little flesli, had 
been jaded and quite worn out with fatigue and oppression. While she was with me, 
she was under my own eye ; and I assure you, my much valued friend, everything 
was done for her that could be done, and the accident has vexed me to the heart. In 
fact, I could not pluck up spirits to write you, on account of the unfortunate business. 
There is little new in this country. Our theatrical company, of which you must 
have heard, leave us in u week. Their merit and character are indeed very grp,'>t, 


both on the stage and in private life ; not a worthless creature among them ; and their 
encoiiragement has been accordingly. Their usual run is from eighteen to twenty-five 
pounds a night; seldom less than the one, and the house will hold no more than the 
other. There have been repeated instances of sending away six, and eight, and ten 
pounds in a night, for want of room. A new theatre is to be built by subscription ; 
the first stone is to be laid on Friday first to come. Three hundred guineas have been 
raised by thirty subscribers, and thirty more might have been got if wanted. The 
manager, Mr. Sutherland, was introduced to me by a friend from Ayr ; and a worthier 
or cleverer fellow I have rarely met with. Some of our clergy have slipt in by stealth 
now and then ; but they have got up a farce of their own. You must have heard how 
the Rev. Mr. Lawson of Kirkmahoe, seconded by the Rev. Mr. Kirkpatrick of Dun- 
score, and the rest of that faction, have accused in formal process the unfortunate and 
Rev. Mr. Heron of Kirkgunzeon, that in ordaining Mr. Nelson to the cure of souls in 
Kirkbean, he, the said Heron, feloniously and treasonably bound the said Nelson to the 
Confession of Faith, "so far as it was agreeable to reason and the word of God!" 

Mrs. B. begs to be remembered most gratefully to you. Little Bobby and Frank 
are charmingly well and healthy. I am jaded to death with fatigue. For these two 
or three months, on an average, I have not ridden less than two hundred miles per 
week. I have done little in the poetic way. I have given Mr. Sutherland two pro- 
logues, one of which was delivered last week. I have likewise strung four or five 
barbarous stanzas, to the tune of " Chevy Chase," by way of elegy on your poor unfor- 
tunate mare. The name she got here was Peg Nicolson. 


Peg Nicolson was a good bay mare, 

As ever trod on airn ; 
But now she's floating down the Nith, 

And past the mouth o' Cairn. 

Peg Nicolson was a good bay mare, 

And rode through thick and thin ; 
But now bhc's floating down the Nith, 

And wanting even the skin. 

peg Nicolson was a good bay mare, 

And ance she bore a priest ; 
But now she's floating down the Nith, 

For Solway fish a feast. 

Peg Nicolson was a good bay mare, 

And the priest he rode her sair, 
And much oppressed and bruis'd she was 

— As priest -rid cattle are. 

My best compliments to Mrs. Nicol, and little Neddy, and all the family. I hope 

Ned is a good scholar, and will come out to gather nuts and apples with me next 


R. B. 



Ellisland, Oct. 15th, 1790. 
Dear Sir, 

Allow me to introduce to your acquaintance the bearer, Mr. William Duncan, 
a friend of mine, whom I have long known and long loved. His father, whose only 
son he is, has a decent little property in Ayrshire, and has bred the young man to the 
law, in Avhich department he comes up an adventurer to your good town. I shall give 
you my friend's character in two words. As to his head, he has talents enough, and 
more than enough, for common life ; as to his heart, when nature had kneaded the 
kindly clay that composes it, she said, "I can no more." 

You, my good Sir, were born under kinder stars ; but your fraternal sympathy, I 
well know, can enter into the feelings of the young man, who goes into life with the 
laudable ambition to do something, and to be something among his fellow-creatures ; 
but whom the consciousness of friendless obscurity presses to the earth, and wounds 
to the soul! Even the fairest of his virtues are against him. That independent spirit 
and that ingenuous modesty, qualities inseparable from a noble mind, are, with the 
million, circumstances not a little disqualifying. What pleasure is in the power* of the 
fortunate and the happy, by their notice and patronage, to brighten the countenance 
and glad the heart of such depressed youth ! I am not so angry with mankind for 
their deaf economy of the purse. The goods of this world cannot be divided, without 
being lessened ; but why be a niggard of that which bestows bliss on a fellow-creature, 
yet takes nothing from our own means of enjoyment? We wrap ourselves up in the 
cloak of our own better fortune, and turn away our eyes, lest the wants and woes of 
our brother mortals should disturb the selfish apathy of our souls ! 

I am the worst hand in the world at asking a favour. That indirect address, that 
insinuating implication, which, without any positive request, plainly expresses your 
wish, is a talent not to be acquired at a plough-tail. Tell me then, for you can, in 
what periphrasis of language, in what circumvolution of phrase, I shall envelope, yet 
not conceal, this plain story. " My dear Mr. Tait, my fHend Mr. Duncan, whom I 
have the pleasure of introducing to you, is a young lad of your own profession, and a 
gentleman of much modesty and great worth. Perhaps it may be in your power to 
assist him in the, to him, important consideration of getting a place; but at all events 
your notice and acquaintance will be a very great acquisition to him, and I dare pledge 
myself that he will never disgrace your favour." 

You may possibly be surprised. Sir, at such a letter from me. 'Tis, I own, in the 
usual way of calculating these matters, more than our acquaintance entitles me to ; 
but my answer is short : of all the men at your time of life, whom I knew in Edin- 
burgh, yovi are the most accessible on the side on which I have assailed you. You 
are very much altered indeed from what you were when I knew you, if generosity 
point the path you will not tread, or humanity call to you in vain. 

As to myself, a being to whose interest I believe you are still a well-wisher, I am 
here breathing at all times, thinking sometimes, and rhyming now and then. Every 
situation has its share of the cares and pains of life, and my situation, I am persuaded, 
has a full ordinary allowance of its pleasures and enjoyments. 


My best compliments to your father and Miss Tait. If you have an opportunity, 

please remember me, in the solemn league and covenant of friendship, to Mrs. Lewis 

Hay. I am a wretch for not writing her ; but I am so hackneyed with self-accusation 

in that way, that my conscience lies in my bosom with scarcely the sensibility of an 

oyster in its shell. Where is Lady Mackenzie? wherever she is, God bless her! I 

likewise beg leave to trouble you with compliments to Mr. William Hamilton, Mrs. 

Hamilton and family, and Mrs. Chalmers, when you are in that country. Should you 

meet with Miss Nimmo, please remember me kindly to her. 

R. B. 



Ellisland, ^farck I9tk, 1791. 

My dear Sir, 

* I HAVE taken the liberty to frank this letter to you, as it incloses an idle poem 
of mine, which I send you; and, God knows, you may perhaps pay dear enough for it 
if you read it through. Not that this is my own opinion; but an author, by the time 
he has composed and corrected his works, has quite pored away all his powers of 
critical discrimination. 

I can easily guess, from my own heart, what you have felt on a late most melan- 
choly event. God knows what I have suffered at the loss of my best friend, my first, 
my dearest patron and benefactor, the man to whom I owe all that I am and have ! I 
am gone into mourning for him, and with more sincerity of grief than I fear some will, 
•who, by nature's ties, ought to feel on the occasion. 

I will be exceedingly obliged to you indeed, to let me know the news of the noble 
family, how the poor mother and the two sisters support their loss. I had a packet of 
poetic bagatelles ready to send to Lady Betty, when I saw the fatal tidings in the 
newspaper. I see by the same channel, that the honoured remains of my noble patron 
are designed to be brought to the family burial-place. Dare I trouble you to let me 
know privately before the day of interment, that I may cross the country, and steal 
among the crowd, to pay a tear to the last sight of my ever-revered benefactor? It 
will oblige me beyond expression 


SiE, ''''■ 

I BELIEVE, among all our Scots literati, you have not met with Professor 

Dugald Stewart, who fills the moral philosophy chair in the university of Edinburgh. 

To say that he is a man of the first parts, and what is more, a man of the first worth, 


to a gentleman of your general acquaintance, and who so much enjoys the luxury of 
unincumbered freedom and undisturbed privacy, is not perhaps recommendation 
enough. But when I inform you that Mr. Stewart's principal characteristic is your 
favourite feature, that sterling independence of mind which, though every man's right, 
so few men have the courage to claim, and fewer still the magnanimity to support ; 
when I tell you, that, unseduced by splendour and undisgusted by wretchedness, he 
appreciates the merits of the various actors in the great drama of life merely as they 
perform their parts — in short, he is a man after your own heart, and I comply with 
his earnest request, in letting you know that he wishes above all things to meet with 
you. His house, Catrine, is within less than a mile of Sorn Castle, which you proposed 
visiting ; or if you could transmit him the inclosed, he would with the greatest pleasure 
meet you anywhere in the neighbourhood. I write to Ayrshire to inform Mr. Stewart 
that I have acquitted myself of my promise. Should your time and spirits permit 
your meeting with Mr. Stewart, 'tis well ; if not, I hope you will forgive this liberty, 
and I have at least an opportunity of assuring you, with what truth and respect I am, 
Sir, your great admirer and very humble servant, 

R. B. 


December, 1792 


I HAVE been surprised, confounded, and distracted by Mr. Mitchell, the col- 
lector, telling me that he has received an order from your board to inquire into my 
political conduct, and blaming me as a person disaffected to government. Sir, you are 
a husband — and a father. You know what you would feel, to see the much-loved 
wife of your bosom, and your helpless prattling little ones, turned adrift into the world, 
degraded and disgraced from a situation in which they had been respectable and 
respected, and left almost without the necessary support of a miserable existence. 
Alas, Sir! must I think that such, soon, will be my lot! and from the dark insinuations 
of hellish groundless envy too ! I believe. Sir, I may aver it, and in the sight of 
Omniscience, that I would not tell a deliberate falsehood, no, not though even worse 
horrors, if worse can be, than those I have mentioned hung over my head; and I say 
that the allegation, whatever villain has made it, is a lie ! To the British constitution, 
on revolution principles, next after my God, I am most devoutly attached ! You, Sir, 
have been much and generously my friend. Heaven knows how warmly I have felt 
the obligation, and how gratefully I have thanked you. Fortune, Sir, has made you 
powerful, and me impotent ; has given you patronage, and me dependence. I would 
not, for my single self, call on your humanity ; were such my insular imconnected 
situation, I would despise the tear that now swells in my eye — I could brave misfortune, 
I could face ruin; for at the worst, "Death's thousand doors stand open ;" but, good 
God ! the tender concerns that I have mentioned, the claims and ties that I see at this 
moment, and feel around me, how they unnerve courage and witlier resolution ! To 



your patronage, as a man of some genius, you have allowed me a claim ; and youl 

esteem, as an honest man, I know is my due. To these, Sir, permit me to appeal ; by 

these may I adjure you to save me from that misery which threatens to overwhelm me, 

and which, with my latest breath I will say it, I have not deserved. 

R. B. 


Dumfries, 13th April, 1793. 


Degenerate as human nature is said to be, and in many instances worthless 
and unprincipled it is, still there are bright examples to the contrary — examples that, 
even in the eyes of superior beings, must shed a lustre on the name of man. 

Such an example have I now before me, when you. Sir, came forward to patronize 
and befriend a distant obscure stranger, merely because poverty had made him helpless, 
and his British hardihood of mind had provoked the arbitrary wantonness of power. 
My much esteemed friend, Mr. Riddel of Glenriddel, has just read me a paragraph of 
a letter he had from you. Accept, Sir, of the silent throb of gratitude— for words 
would but njock the emotions of my soul. 

You have been misinformed as to my final dismission from the excise ; I am still 
in the service. Indeed, but for the exertions of a gentleman who must be known to 
you, Mr. Graham of Fintry, a gentleman who has ever been my warm and generous 
friend, I had without so much as a hearing, or the slightest previous intimation, been 
turned adrift, with my helpless family, to ail the horrors of want. Had I had any 
other resource, probably I might have saved them the trouble of a dismission ; but 
the little money I gained by my publication is almost every guinea embarked to save 
from ruin an only brother, who, though one of the worthiest, is by no means one of 
the most fortunate of men. 

In my defence to their accusations, I said, that whatever might be my sentiments 
of republics, ancient or modern, as to Britain I abjured the idea — that a Constitution 
■which, in its original principles, experience had proved to be every way fitted for 
our happiness in society, it would be insanity to sacrifice to an untried visionary 
theory ; that in consideration of my being situated in a department, however humble, 
immediately in the hands of people in power, I had forborne taking any active part, 
either personally or as an author, in the present business of Reform ; but that, where 
I must declare my sentiments, I would say there existed a system of corruption 
between the executive power and the representative part of the legislature, which 
boded no good to our glorious Constitution, and which every patriotic Briton must 
wish to see amended. Some such sentiments as these I stated in a letter to my 
generous patron Mr. Graham, which he laid before the board at large ; where, it 
seems, my last remark gave great offence ; and one of our supervisors-general, a Mr. 
Corbet, was instructed to inquire on the spot, and to document me—" That my 


business was to act, not to think ; and that whatever might be men or measures, it 
was for me to be silent and obedient." 

Mr. Corbet was likewise my steady friend ; so, between Mr. Graham and him, I 
have been partly forgiven ; only, I understand that all hopes of my getting officially 
forward are blasted. 

Now, Sir, to the business in which I would more immediately interest you. The 
partiality of my countrymen has brought me forward as a man of genius, and has 
given me a character to support. In the poet I have avowed manly and independent 
sentiments, which I trust will be found in the man. Reasons, of no less weight than 
the support of a wife and family, have pointed out as the eligible, and, situated as I 
was, the only eligible line of life for me, my present occupation. Still my honest 
fame is my dearest concern ; and a thousand times have I trembled at the idea of 
those degrading epithets that malice or misrepresentation may affix to my name. I 
have often, in blasting anticipation, listened to some future hackney scribbler, with 
the heavy malice of savage stupidity, exulting in his hireling paragraphs — " Burns, 
notwithstanding the fanfaronade of independence to be found in his works, and after 
having been held forth to public view and to public estimation as a man of some 
genius, yet quite destitute of resources Avithin himself to support his borrowed dignity, 
he dwindled into a paltry exciseman, and slunk out the rest of his insignificant 
existence in the meanest of pursuits, and among the vilest of mankind." 

In your illustrious hands, Sir, permit me to lodge my disavowal and defiance of 
these slanderous falsehoods. Burns was a poor man from birth, and an exciseman by 
necessity : but — I will say it ! the sterling of his honest worth no poverty could 
debase ; and his independent British mind, oppression might bend, but could not 
subdue. Have not I, to me, a more precious stake in my country's welfare than the 
richest dukedom in it? I have a large family of children, and the prospect of many 
more. I have three sons, who, I see already, have brought into the world souls ill 
qualified to inhabit the bodies of slaves. Can I look tamely on, and see any machin- 
ation to wrest from them the birth-right of my boys, the little independent Britons, in 
whose veins runs my own blood ? — No I I will not ! should my heart's blood stream 
around my attempt to defend it. 

Does any man tell me, that my full efforts can be of no service; and that it does 
not belong to my humble station to meddle Avith the concern of a nation ? 

I can tell him, that it is on such individuals as I that a nation has to rest, both for 
the hand of support, and the eye of intelligence. The uninformed mob may swell a 
nation's bulk, and the titled, tinsel, courtly throng may be its feathered ornament; 
but the number of those who are elevated enough in life to reason and reflect, yet low 
enough to keep clear of the venal contagion of a court — these are a nation's strength. 

I know not how to apologize for the impertinent length of this epistle; but one 
small request I must ask of you further — When you have honoured this letter with 
a perusal, please to commit it to the flames. Burns, in whose behalf you have so 
generously interested yourself, I have here, in his native colours, drawn as he is ; but 
should any of the people, in whose hand is the very bread he eats, get the least know- 
ledge of the picture, it would ruin the poor Bard for ever. 

My poems having just come out in another edition, I beg leave to present you with 


a copy, as a small mark of that high esteem and ardent gratitude, with which I have 
the honour to be, Sir, your deeply indebted, and ever devoted humble servant, 

E. B 


April 26, 1793. 

I AM sadly out of humour, my dear Ainslie, and that is the reason why I take 
up the pen to you: 'tis the nearest way (^prohatum est) to recover my spirits again. 

I received your last and was much entertained with it; but I will not at this time, 
nor at any other time, answer it. Answer a letter? I never could answer a letter in 
my life ! I have written many a letter in return for letters I have received ; but then 
— they were original matter — spurt-away ! zig, here ; zag, there ; as if the devil, that 
my grannie (an old woman indeed !) often told me rode on Will-o'-wisp, or, in her 
more classic phrase, Spunkie, were looking over my elbow. Happy thought that 
idea has engendered in my head! Spunkie — thou shalt thenceforth be my symbol, 
signature, and tutelary genius ! Like thee — hap-step-and-lowp, here-awa-there-awa, 
higglety-pigglety, pell-mell, hither-and-yon, ramstam, happy-go-lucky, up-tails-a'-by- 
the-light-o'-the-moon — has been, is, and shall be my progress through the mosses and 
moors of this vile, bleak, barren wilderness of a life of ours. 

Come, then, my guardian spirit ; like thee, may I skip away, amusing myself by 

and at my own light; and if any opaque-souled lubber of mankind complain that my 

elfin, lambent, glimmerous wanderings have misled his stupid steps over precipices or 

into bogs, let the thick-headed blunderbuss recollect that he is not Spunkie; that 

Spunkie's wanderings could not copied be ; 

Amid these perils none durst walk but he. 

I have no doubt but scholarcraft may be caught as a Scotsman catches the itch — by 
friction. How else can you account for it that born blockheads, by mere dint of 
handling books, grow so wise, that even they themselves are equally convinced of, and 
surprised at, their own parts ? I once carried this philosophy to that degree, that in 
a knot of country folks who had a library amongst them, and who to the honour of 
their good sense made me factotum in the business ; one of our members, a little, 
wise-looking, squat, upright, jabbering body of a tailor, I advised him, instead of 
tvirning over the leaves, " to bind the book on his back." Johnnie took the hint; and 
as our meetings were every fourth Saturday, and prick-louse having a good Scots mile 
to walk in coming, and, of course, another in returning, bodkin was sure to lay his 
hands on some heavy quarto or ponderous folio ; with and under which, wrapt up in 
his grey plaid, he grew wise as he grew weary all the way home. He carried this so 
far, that an old musty Hebrew concordance, which we had in a present from a neigh- 
bouring priest, by mere dint of applying it, us doctors do a blistering plaster, between 
his shoulders. Stitch in a dozen pilgrimages acquired as much rational theology as the 
said priest had done by forty years' perusal of the pages. 

Tell me, and tell me truly, what you think of this theory. Yours, 





Permit me to present you with the inclosed song, as a small, though grateful 
tribute, for the honour of your acquaintance. I have in these verses attempted some 
faint sketches of your portrait, in the unembellished simple manner of descriptive 
truth. Flattery I leave to your lovers, whose exaggerating fancies may make lliem^ 
imagine you still nearer perfection than you really are. 

Poets, Madam, of all mankind, feel most forcibly the powers of beauty; as if they 
are really poets of Nature's making, their feelings must be finer, and their taste more 
delicate, than most of the world. In the cheerful bloom of spring, or the pensive 
mildness of autumn ; the grandeur of summer, or the hoary majesty of winter — the 
poet feels a charm unknown to the rest of his species. Even the sight of a fine flower, 
or the company of a fine woman (by far the finest part of God's works below), have 
sensations for the poetic heart that the herd of men are strangers to. On this last 
account, Madam, I am, as in many other things, indebted to Mr. Hamilton's kindness 
in introducing me to you. Your lovers may view you with a wish, I look on you 
with pleasure ; their hearts in your presence may glow with desire, mine rises 
with admiration. 

That the arrows of misfortune, however they should, as incident to humanity, 
glance a slight wound, may never reach your heart — that the snares of villany may 
never beset you in the road of life — that innocence may hand you by the path of 
honour to the dwelling of peace — is the sincere wish of him, who has the honour 
to be, &c., R. B. 


My Lady, 

The honour you have done your poor Poet, in writing him so very obliging a 
letter, and the pleasure the inclosed beautiful verses have given him, came very 
seasonably to his aid amid the cheerless gloom and sinking despondency of diseased 
nerves and December weather. As to forgetting the fiimily of Glencairn, Heaven if 
my witness with what sincerity I could use those old verses, which please me more, in 
their rude simplicity, than the most elegant lines I ever saw: — 

If thee, Jerusalem, I forget, 
Skill part from my right hand. 

My tongue to my mouth's roof let cleave, 

If I do thee forget, 
Jerusalem, and thee above 

My chief joy do not set. 

When I am tempted to do anything improper, I dare not, because I look on myself 
as accountable to your Ladyship and family. Now and then, when I have the honoui 
to be called to the tables of the great, if I happen to meet with any mortification from 


the stately stupidity of self-sufFicient squires, or the luxuriant insolence of upstart 
nabobs, I get above the creatures by calling to remembrance that I am patronized by 
tlie noble house of Glencairn ; and at gala-times, such as New-year's day, a christen- 
ing, or the kirn-night, when my punch bowl is brought from its dusty corner, and 
filled up in honour of the occasion, I begin with — "The Countess of Glencairn! " My 
good woman, with the enthusiasm of a grateful heart, next cries, "My Lord! " and so 
the toast goes on, until I end with "Lady Harriet's little angel!" whose epithalamium 
I have pledged myself to write. 

When I received your Ladyship's letter, I was just in the act of transcribing for 
you some verses I have lately composed, and meant to have sent them my tirst leisure 
hour, and acquainted you with my late change of life. I mentioned to my Lord my 
fears concerning my farm. Those fears were indeed too true; it is a bargain would 
have ruined me, but for the lucky circumstance of my having an excise commission. 

People may talk as they please of the ignominy of the excise — £50 a-year will 
support my wife and children, and keep me independent of the world ; and I would 
much rather have it said that my profession borrowed credit from me, than that I 
borrowed credit from my profession. Another advantage I have in this business, is 
the knowledge it gives me of the various shades of human character, consequently 
assisting me vastly in my poetic pursuits. I had the most ardent enthusiasm for the 
Muses when nobody knew me but myself, and that ardour is by no means cooled now 
that my Lord Glencairn's goodness has introduced me to all the world. Not that I 
am in haste for the press. I have no idea of publishing, else I certainly had consulted 
my generous noble patron; but after acting the part of an honest man, and supporting 
my fomily, my whole wishes and views are directed to poetic pursuits. I am aware 
that though I were to give performances to the world superior to my former works, 
still, if they were of the same kind with those, the comparative reception they would 
meet with would mortify me. I have turned my thoughts on the drama. I dc not 
mean the stately buskin of the tragic Muse. 

Does not your Ladyship think, that an Edinburgh theatre would be more amused 
with affectation, folly, and whim of true Scottish growth, than manners which by far 
the greatest part of the audience can only know at second hand ? — I have the honour 
to be, your Ladyship's ever devoted and grateful humble servant, 

My Lord, 

When you cast your eye on the name at the bottom of this letter, and on the 
title-page of the book I do myself the honour to send your Lordship, a more pleasur- 
able feeling than my vanity tells me that it must be a name not entirely unknown to 
you. The generous patronage of your late illustrious brother found me in the lowest 
obscurity : he introduced my rustic Muse to the partiality of my country, and to him 
I owe all. My sense of his goodness, and the anguish of my soul at losing my truly 


noble protector and friend, I have endeavoured to express in a poem to his memory 
•which I have now published. This edition is just from the press; and in my gratitude 
to the dead, and my respect for the living (fame belies you, my Lord, if you possess 
not the same dignity of man, which was your noble brother's characteristic feature), I 
had destined a copy for the Earl of Glencairu. I learned just now that you are in 
town — allow me to present it to you. 

I know, my Lord, such is the vile venal contagion which pervades the world of 
letters, that professions of respect from an author, particularly from a poet to a lord, 
are more than suspicious. I claim my by-past conduct, and my feelings at this 
moment, as exceptions to the too just conclusion. Exalted as are the honours of your 
Lordship's name, and unnoted as is the obscurity of mine, with the uprightness of an 
honest man I come before your Lordship, with an offering, however humble, 'tis all I 
have to give, of my grateful respect ; and to beg of you, my Lord, 'tis all I have to 
ask of you, that you will do me the honour to accept of it. I have the honour to 
be, &c., R B. 



Dumfries, 12tk January, 1794. 
My Lord, 

Will your Lordship allow me to present you Avith the inclosed little composi- 
tion of mine, as a small tribute of gratitude for that acquaintance with which you have 
been pleased to honour me. Lidependent of my enthusiasm as a Scotsman, I have 
rarely met with anything in history, which interests my feelings as a man equal with 
the story of Bannockburn. On the one hand, a cruel, but able usurper, leading on 
the finest army in Europe, to extinguish the last spark of freedom among a greatly- 
daring and greatly-injured people: on the other hand, the desperate relics of a gallant 
nation, devoting themselves to rescue their bleeding country, or perish with her. 

Liberty ! thou art a prize truly, and indeed invaluable — for never canst thou be 
too dearly bought! — I have the honour to be, &c., 

E. B. 



You will see, by your subscribers' list, that I have now been about nine months 
one of that number. 


I am sorry to inform you, that in that time seven or eight of your papers either 
have never been sent me, or else have never reached me. To be deprived of any one 
cumber of the first newspaper in Great Britain for information, abiUty, and indepen- 
dence, is what I can ill brook and bear; but to be deprived of that most admirable 
oration of the Marquis of Lansdowne, when he made the great, though inelFectual 
attempt (in the language of the poet, I fear too true), " to save a sinking state " — this 
was a loss which I neither can nor will forgive you. That paper, Gentlemen, never 
reached me, but I demand it of you. I am a Briten, and must be interested in the 
cause of Liberty ; I am a Man, and the Rights of human nature cannot be indifferent 
to me. However, do not let me mislead, you: I am not a man in that situation of life 
which, as your subscriber, can be of any conseqvience to you, in the eyes of those to 
whom situation of life alone is the criterion of man. I am but a plain tradesman, in 
this distant, obscure, country town ; but that humble domicile in which I shelter my 
wife and children, is the castellum of a Briton ; and that scanty hard-earned income 
which supports them is as truly my property, as the most magnificent fortune of the 
most puissant member of your House of Nobles. 

These, Gentlemen, are my sentiments, and to them I subscribe my name ; and 
were I a man of ability and consequence enough to address the public, with that 
name should they appear. I am, &c. R- B. 




The literary taste and liberal spirit of your good town, has so ably filled the 
various departments of your schools, as to make it a very great object for a parent to 
have his children educated in them. Still, to me, a stranger, with my large family 
and very stinted income, to give my young ones that education I wish, at the high 
school fees .which a stranger pays, will bear hard upon me. 

Some years ago, your good town did me the honour of making mean honorary 
burgess : will you allow me to request, that this mark of distinction may^i^xtend so 
far, as to put me on the footing of a real freeman of the town in the schools ? 

If you are so very kind as to grant my request, it will certainly be a constant 

incentive to me to strain every nerve where I can officially serve you ; and will, if 

possible, increase that grateful respect with which I have the honour to be, Gentlemen, 

your devoted, humble servant, 

^ ii. B. 



No. I. 

Saturday Evening. 

I CAN say with truth, Madam, that I never met with a person in my life 

whom I more anxiously wished to meet again than yourself. To-night I was to have 

had that very great pleasure ; I was intoxicated with the idea, but an unlucky fall 

from a coach has so bruised one of my knees, that I can't stir my leg ; so if I don't 

see you again, I shall not rest in my grave for chagrin. I was vexed to the soul I 

had not seen you sooner ; I determined to cultivate your friendship with the enthusiasm 

of rehgion ; but thus has Fortune ever served me. I cannot bear the idea of leaving 

Edinburgh without seeing you. I know not how to account for it— I am strangely 

taken with some people, nor am I often mistaken. You are a stranger to me ; but I 

am an odd being : some yet unnamed feelings, things, not principles, but better than 

whims, carry me farther than boasted reason ever did a philosopher. — Farewell ! every 

happiness be yours ! 


No. IL 

Friday Evening. 

I BEG your pardon, my dear " Clarinda," for the fragment scrawl I sent you 
yesterday. I really do not know what I wrote. A gentleman, for whose character, 
abilities, and critical knowledge I have the highest veneration, called in just as I had 
begun the second sentence, and I would not make the porter wait. I read to my 
much-respected friend several of my own bagatelles, and, among others, your lines, 
which I had copied out. He began some criticisms on them as on the other pieces, 
when 1 informed him they were the work of a young lady in this town, which, I 
assure you, made him stare. My learned friend seriously protested, that he did not 
believe any young woman in Edinburgh was capable of such lines; and if you know 
anything of Professor Gregory, you will neither doubt of his abilities nor his sincerity. 
I do love you, if possible, still better for having so fine a taste and turn for poesy. I 
have again gone wrong in my usual unguarded way, but you may erase the word, and 
put esteem, respect, or any other tame Dutch expression you please in its place. 
I believe there is no holding converse, or carrying on correspondence, with an amiable 


woman, much less :i glorioivsly amiable fine woman, without sonin mixture of that 

delicious passion, whose most devoted slave I have more than once had the honour of 

being. But why be hurt or offended on that account? Can no honest man have a 

prepossession for a fine Avoman, but he must run his head against an intrigue ? Take 

a little of the tender witchcraft of love, and add it to the generous, the honourable 

sentiments of manly friendship, and I know but one more delightful morsel, which few, 

few in any rank, ever taste. Such a composition is like adding cream to strawberries ; 

it not only gives the fruit a more elegant richness, but has a peculiar deliciousness 

of its own. 

You cannot imagine, Clarinda (I like the idea of Arcadian names in a commerce 

of this kind), how much store I have set by the hopes of your future friendship. I do 

not know if you have a just idea of my character, but I wish you to see me as I am. 

I am, as most people of my trade are, a strange Will-o'-Wisp being; the victim, too 

frequently, of much imprudence and many follies. My great constituent elements are 

pride and passion. The first I have endeavoured to humanize into integrity and 

honour ; the last makes me a devotee to the warmest degree of enthusiasm, in love, 

religion, or friendship — either of them, or all together, as I happen to be inspired. 

Tis true, I never saw you but once ; but how much acquaintance did I form with you 

in that once! Do not think I flatter you, or have a design upon you, Clarinda; I 

have too much pride for the one, and too little cold contrivance for the other ; but of 

all God's creatures I ever could approach in the beaten way of my acquaintance, 

you struck me with the deepest, the strongest, the most permanent impression. I say 

the most permanent, because I know myself well, and how far I can promise either on 

my prepossessions or powers. Why are you unhappy? And why are so many of 

our fellow-creatures, unworthy to belong to the same species with you, blest with all 

they can wish ? You have a hand all benevolent to give — Why were you denied the 

pleasure? You have a heart formed— gloriously formed— for all the most refined 

luxuries of love — Why was that heart ever wrung ? O Clarinda ! shall we not meet 

in a state, some yet unknown state of being, where the lavish hand of plenty shall 

minister to the highest wish of benevolence ; and where the chill north-wind of 

, prudence shall never blow over the flowery fields of enjoyment? If we do not, man 

■was made in vain ! I deserved most of the unhappy hours that have lingered over my 

head; they were the wages of my labour: but what unprovoked demon, malignant as 

hell, stole upon the confidence of unmistrusting busy Fate, and dashed your cup of life 

with undeserved sorrow? 


No. III. 

Monday Moiling. 

I AM, my lovely friend, much better this morning on the whole ; but I have a 
horrid languor on my spirits : — 

" Sick of the world, and all its joys, 
My soul in pining .sadness mourns; 
Dark scenes of woe my mind employs, 
The past and present in their turns." 


Clarinda, may I reckon on your friendship for life? I think I may^ Thou 
almighty Preserver of men ! thy friendship, which hitherto I have too much neglected, 
to secure it shall, all the future days and nights of my life, be my steady care ! The 
idea of my Clarinda follows — 

" Hide it, my heart, within that close disguise, 
Where, mix'd with God's, her lov'd idea hes." 

But I fear that inconstancy, the consequent imperfection of human weakness. 
Shall I meet with a friendship that defies years of absence, and the chances and 
changes of fortune? Perhaps "such things are;" one honest man I have great hopes 
from that way : but who, except a romance writer, wovild think on a love that could 
promise for life, in spite of distance, absence, chance, and change ; and that too, with 
slender hopes of fruition ? For my own part, I can say to myself in both requisitions, 
"Thou art the man ! " I dare, in cool resolve I dare, declare myself that friend, and 
that lover. If womankind is capable of such things, Clarinda is. I trust \that she is; 
and feel I shall be miserable if she is not. There is not one virtue which gives worth, 
or one sentiment which does honour to the sex, that she does not possess superior to 
any woman I ever saw : her exalted mind, aided a little perhaps by her situation, is, 
I think, capable of that nobly romantic love-enthusiasm. 

May I see you on Wednesday evening, my dear angel? The next Wednesday 
again will, I conjecture, be a hated day to us both. I tremble for censorious remark, 
for your sake ; but in extraordinary cases, may not usual and useful precaution be a 
little dispensed with? Three evenings, three swift-winged evenings, with pinions of 

down, are all the past ; I dare not calculate the future. I shall call at Miss 's 

to-morrow evening; 'twill be a farewell call. 

I have wrote out my last sheet of paper, so I am reduced to my last half- sheet. 
What a strange mysterious faculty is that thing called imagination ! We have no 
ideas almost at all of another world; but I have often amused myself with visionary 
schemes of what happiness might be enjoyed by small alterations — alterations that we 
can fully enter into, in this present state of existence. For instance, suppose you and 
I just as we are at present; the same reasoning powers, sentiments, and even desires; 
the same fond curiosity for knowledge and remarking observation in our minds ; and 
imagine our bodies free from pain, and the necessary supplies for the wants of nature 
at all times, and easily, within our reach : imagine further, that we were set free from 
the laws of gravitation, which bind us to this globe, and could at pleasure fly, without 
inconvenience, through all the yet unconjectured bounds of creation, what a life of 
bliss would we lead, in our natural pursuit of virtue and knowledge, and our mutual 
enjoyment of friendship and love! 

I see you laughing at my fairy fancies, and calling me a voluptuous Mahometan ; 
but I am certain I would be a happy creature, beyond any thing we call bliss here 
below; nay, it would be a paradise congenial to you too. Don't you see us, hand in 
hand, or rather, my arm about your lovely waist, making our remarks on Sirius, the 
nearest of the fixed stars; or surveying a comet, flaming innoxious by us, as we just 
now would mark the passing pomp of a travelling monarch ; or in a shady bower of 
Mercury or Venus, dedicating the hour to love, in mutual converse, relying honour, and 


revelling ^endearment, whilst the most exalted strains of poesy and harmony would be 
the ready spontaneous language of our souls? Devotion is the favourite employment 
of your heart ; so is it of mine : what incentives then to, and powers for, reverence, 
gratitude, faith, and hope, in all the fervours of adoration and praise to that Being, 
whose unsearchable wisdom, power, and goodness so pervaded, so inspired, every sense 
and feeling! — By this time, I dare say, you will be blessing the neglect of the maid that 
leaves me destitute of paper ! 


No. IV. 

You are right, my dear Clarinda: a friendly correspondence goes for nothing, 
.•xcept one write their undisguised sentiments. Yours please me for their intrinsic 
n)erit, as well as because they are yours, Avhich, I assure you, is to me a high recom- 
meiidation. Your religious sentiments, Madam, I revere. If you have, on some 
suspicious evidence from some lying oracle, learned that I despise or ridicule so 
sacredly important a matter as real religion, you have, my Clarinda, much misconstrued 
your friend. "I am not mad, most noble Festus!" Have you ever met a perfect 
character? Do we not sometimes rather exchange faults than get rid of them? For 
instance, I aw perhaps tired with, and shocked at a life too much the prey of giddy 
inconsistencies and thoughtless follies ; by degrees I grow sober, prudent, and statedly 
pious — I say statedly, because the most unaffected devotion is not at all inconsistent with 
my first character — I join the world in congratulating myself on the happy change. 
But let me pry more narrowly into this affair. Have I, at bottom, anything of a 
secret pride in these endowments and emendations? Have I nothing of a Presby- 
terian sourness, and hypocritical severity, when I survey my less regular neighbours? 
In a word, have I missed all those nameless and numberless modifications of indistinct 
selfishness, which are so near our own eyes that we can scarcely bring them within the 
sphere of our vision, and which the known spotless cambric of our character hides from 
the ordinary observer? 

My definition of worth is short: truth and humanity respecting our fellow-creatures; 
reverence and humility in the presence of that Being, my Creator and Preserver, and 
who, I have every reason to believe, will one day be my Judge. The first part of my 
definition is the creature of unbiassed instinct ; the last is the child of after reflection. 
Where I found these two essentials, I would gently note, and slightly mention, any 
attendant flaws — flaws, the marks, the consequences of human nature. 

I can easily enter into the sublime pleasures that your strong imagination and 
keen sensibility must derive from religion, particularly if a little in the shade of 
misfortune ; but I own I cannot, without a marked grudge, see Heaven totally engross 
so amiable, so charming a woman as my friend Clarinda ; and should be very well 
pleased at a circumstance that would put it in the power of somebody (happy some- 
body!) to divide her attention, with all the delicacy and tenderness of an earthly 


You will not easily persuade me that you have not a grammatical knowledge of the 
English language. — So far from being inaccurate, you are elegant beyond any woman 
of my acquamtance except one, whom I wish you knew. 

Your last verses to me have so delighted me, that I have got an excellent old Scots 
air that suits the measure, and you shall see them in print in the Scots Musical Museum, 
a work publishing by a friend of mine in this town. I want four stanzas ; you gave me 
but three, and one of them alluded to an expression in my former letter; so I have 
taken your two first verses, with a slight alteration in the second, and have added 
a third ; but you mtist help me to a fourth. Here they are : the latter half of tha 
first stanza would have been worthy of Sappho ; I am in raptures with it. 

Talk not of love, it gives me pain, 

For love has been my foe : 
He bound me with an iron chain, 

And sunk me deep in woe. 

But friendship's pure and lasting joys 

My heart was formed to prove : 
There, welcome, win and wear the prize, 

But never talk of love. 

Your friendship much can make me blest, 
vvhy that bliss destroy ! 
Why urge the odious one request, 
Yon know I must deny. 

The alteration in the second stanza is no improvement, but there was a sligiit 
inaccuracy in your rhyme. The third I only offer to your choice, and have left two 
words for yoiir determination. The air is " The Banks of Spey,/' and is most beautiful 

p^S. — What would you think of this for a fourth stanza? 

Your thought, if love must harbour there, 

Conceal it in that thought, 
Nor cause me from my tiosom tear 

The very fnend I sought 

No. V. 

Tuesday Night. 

I AM delighted, charming Clarinda, with your honest enthusiasm for religion. 
Those of either sex, but particularly the female, who are lukewarm in that most 
important of all things, " O my soul, come not thou into their secret I " I feel myself 
deeply interested in your good opinion, and will lay before you the outlines of my 
belief He, who is our Author and Preserver, and will one day be our Judge, must 
be (not for his sake in the way of duty, but from the native impulse of our hearts) 
the object of our reverential awe and grateful adoration. He is Ahnighty and 


All-bounteous, we are weak and dependent; hence prayer and every other sort of 
devotion. " lie is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to ever- 
lasting life ; " consequently it must be in every one's power to embrace his offer of 
" everlasting life;" otherwise he could not, in justice, condemn those who did not. A 
mind pervaded, actuated, and governed by purity, truth, and charity, though it does not 
mei-it heaven, yet is an absolutely necessary pre-requisite, without which heaven can 
neither be obtained nor enjoyed, and, by divine promise, such a mind shall never fail 
of attaining " everlasting life :" hence the impure, the deceiving, and the uncharitable 
extrude themselves from eternal bliss, by their unfitness for enjoying it. The Supreme 
Being has put the immediate administration of all this, for wise and good ends known 
to himself, into the hands of Jesus Christ, whose relation to him we cannot compre- 
hend, but whose relation to us is a Guide and Saviour ; and wdio, except for our own 
obstinacy and misconduct, will bring us all, through various ways, and by various 
means, to bliss at last. 

These are my tenets, my lovely friend ; and which, I think, cannot be well dis- 
puted. My creed is pretty nearly expressed in the last clause of Jamie Dean's grace, 
an honest weaver in Ayrshire — " Lord, grant that we may lead a gude life ! for a gude 
life maks a gude end, at least it helps weel!" Good night, my dearest Clarinda! 


No. VI. 

Thursday Morning. 
"Unlavish Wisdom never works in vain." 

I HAVE been tasking my reason, Clarinda, why a woman, who, for native genius, 
poignant wit, strength of mind, generous sincerity of soul, and the sweetest female 
tenderness, is without a peer, and whose personal charms have few, very, very few, 
parallels among her sex ; why, or how she should fall to the blessed lot of a poor 
hairum-scairum poet, whom fortune had kept for her particular use, to wreak her 
temper on whenever she was in ill humour. One time I conjectured, that as Fortune 
is the most capricious jade ever known, she may have taken, not a fit of remorse, but 
a paroxysm of whim, to raise the poor devil out of the mire, where he had so often 
and so conveniently served her as a stepping-stone, and given him the most glorious 
boon she ever had in her gift, merely for the maggot's sake, to see how his fool head 
and his fool heart will bear it. At other times I was vain enough to think that 
Nature, who has a great deal to say with Fortune, had given the coquettish goddess 
some such hint as, " Here is a paragon of female excellence, whose equal, in all my 
former compositions, I never was lucky enough to hit on, and despair of ever doing so 
again ; you have cast her rather in the shades of life ; there is a certain poet of my 
makino-; among your frolics it would not be amiss to attach him to this masterpiece 
of my hand, to give her that immortality among mankind, which no woman of any 
age ever more deserved, and which few rhymsters of this age are better able to confer." 



No. VII. 

"I AM distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan!" I have suffered, Clarinda, from 
your letter. My soul was in arms at the sad perusal ; I dreaded that I had acted 
wrong. If I have robbed you of a friend, God forgive me ! But, Clarinda, be com- 
forted : let us raise the tone of our feelings a little higher and bolder. A fellow-creature 
who leaves us, who spurns us without just cause, though once our bosom friend — 
up with a little honest pride— let them go ! How shall I comfort you, who am the 
cause of the injury? Can I wish that I had never seen you? that we had never met? 
No ! I never will. But have I thrown you friendless ? — there is almost distraction in 
that thought. 

Father of mercies ! against thee often have I sinned ; through thy grace I will 
endeavour to do so no more ! She who, |hou knowest, is dearer to me than myself, 
pour thou the balm of peace into her past wounds, and hedge her about with thy 
peculiar care, all her future days and nights ! Strengthen her tender noble mind, 
firmly to suffer, and magnanimously to bear ! Make me worthy of that friendship she 
honours me with. May my attachment to her be pure as devotion, and lasting as 
immortal life ! O Almighty Goodness, hear me ! Be to her at all times, particularly in 
the hour of distress or trial, a Friend and Comforter, a Guide and Guard. 

" How are thy servants blest, Lord, 
How sure is their defence ! 
Eternal Wisdom is their guide, 
Their help, Omnipotence ! " 

Forgive me, Clarinda, the injury I have done you! To-night I shall be with you; 
as indeed I shall be ill at ease till 1 see you. 


No. VIII. 

.MossGiEL, Itk March, 1788. 

Clarinda, I have been so stung with your reproach for unkindness, a sin so 
unlike me, a sin I detest more than a breach of the whole Decalogue, fifth, sixth, 
seventh, and ninth articles excepted, that I believe I shall not rest in my grave about 
it, if I die before I see you. You have often allowed me the head to judge, and the 
heart to feel, the influence of female excellence. Was it not blasphemy, then, against 
your own charms, and against my feelings, to suppose that a short fortnight could abate 
my passion ? You, my Love, may have your cares and anxieties to disturb you, but 
they are the usual recurrences of life ; your future views are fixed, and your mind in 
a settled routine. Could not you, my ever dearest Madam, make a little allowance for 
a man, after long absence, paying a short visit to a country full of friends, relations, 
and early intimates ? Cannot you guess, my Clarinda, what thoughts, what cares, 
what anxious forebodings, hopes, and fears, must crowd the breast of the man of keen 
sensibility, when no less is on the tapis than his aim, his employment, his very exist- 
ence, through future life ? 


Now that, not my apology, but my defence, is made, I feel my soul respire more 
easily. I know you will go along with me in my justification — would to Heaven you 
could in my adoption too ! I mean an adoption beneath the stars — an adoption where 
I might revel in the immediate beams of 

" She, the bright sun of all her sex." 


No. IX. 

Before you ask me why I have not written you, first let me be informed of how 
I shall write you? " In friendship," you s?^' ; and I have many a time taken up my 
pen to try an epistle of " Friendship " to yoft ; but it will not do ; 'tis like Jove grasp- 
ing a pop-gun, after having wielded his thunder. When I take up the pen, recollec- 
tion ruins me. Ah! my ever dearest Clarinda ! Clarinda! — what an host of memory's 
tenderest offspring crowd on my fancy at that sound ! But I must not in(?ulge that 
subject — you have forbid it. 

I am extremely happy to learn that your precious health is re-established, and that 
vou are once more fit to enjoy that satistkction in existence which health alone can 
give us. My old friend has indeed been kind to you. Tell him that I envy him the 
power of serving you. I had a letter from him a while ago, but it was so dry, so dis- 
tant, so like a card to one of his clients, that I could scarcely bear to read it, and have 
not yet answered it. He is a good, honest fellow, and can write a friendly letter, which 
would do equal honour to his head and his heart — as a whole sheaf of his letters I have 
by me will witness : and though Fame does not blow her trumpet at my approach now 
as she did then^ when he first honoured me with his friendship, yet I am as proud as 
ever; and when I am laid in my grave, I wish to be stretched at my full length, that 
I may occupy every inch of ground which I have a right to. 




' Is thought to be a night when witches, devils, and other miscliief-making beings, are all abroad oa 
their baneful midnight errands ; particularly those aerial people, the fairies, are said on that night to hold a 
grand anniversary. 

* Certain little, romantic, rocky, green hills, in the neighbourhood of the ancient seat of the Earls of 

^ A noted cavern near Colzean, or Colean-house, called the Cove of Colean ; which, as well as Cassilis 
Downans, is famed in country story for being a favourite haunt of fairies. 

* The famous family of that name, the ancestors of Robert the great deliverer of his country, were Earls 
of Garrick. 

' The first ceremony of Hallowe'en, is, pulling each a stock, or plant of kail. They must go out, hand 
in hand, with eyes shut, and pull the first they meet with : its being big or little, straight or crooked is 
prophetic of the size and shape of the grand object of all their spells — the husband or wife. If any "yird," or 
earth, stick to the root, that is tocher or fortune: and the taste of the "custoc," that is the heart of the stem 
is indicative of the natural temper and disposition. Lastly, the stems, or, to give them their ordinary appella- 
tion, the "runts," are placed somewhere above the head of the door; and the Christian names of the people 
whom chance brings into the house are, according to the priority of placing the "runts," the names in question. 

" When the corn is in a doubtful state, by being too green or wet, the stackbuilder, by means of old 
timber, &c., makes a large apartment in his stack with an opening in the side which is most exposed to the 
wind ; this he calls a fause-house. 

' Burning the nuts is a favourite charm. They name the lad and lass to each particular nut, as tliev 
lay them in the fire; and accordingly as they burn quietly together, or start from beside one another, tlic 
course and issue of the courtship will be. 

' Whoever would, with success, try this spell, must strictly observe these directions : Steal out, all alone, 
to the kiln, and, darkling, throw into the pot a clew of blue yarn ; wind it in a new clew off the old one ; and 
towards the latter end, something will hold the thread; demand, "Wlia bauds 'r'" i.e. who holds? an answer 
will be returned from tlie ki'n-p"t, by naming the Christian and surname of your future spouse. 


* Take a candle, and go alone to a looking-glass ; eat an apple before it ; and some traditions say, yon 
should comb your hair all the time; the face of your conjugal companion, to be, -will be seen in the glass, as 
if peeping over your shoulder. 

^" Steal out, nnperceived, and sow a handful of hemp-seed, harrowing it with anything you can conve- 
niently draw after you. Repeat, now and then, " Hemp-seed, I saw thee, hemp-seed, I saw thee ; and him (or 
her) that is to be my true-love, come after me and pu' thee." Look over your left shoulder, and you will see 
the appearance of the person invoked, in the attitude of pulling hemp. Some traditions say, "Come after me 
and shaw thee," that is, show thyself; in which case it simply appears. Others omit the harrowing, and say, 
"Come after me, and harrow thee." 

^1 This charm must likewise be performed unperceived and alone. You go to the barn, and open both 
doors, taking them off the hinges if possible ; for there is danger that the being about to appear may shut the 
doors, and do you some mischief. Then take that instrument, used in winnowing the com, which in our 
country dialect we call a " wecht," and go through all the attitudes of letting down corn against the wind. 
Repeat it three times ; and the third time an apparition will pass through the barn, in at the windy door and. 
out at the other,, having both the figure in question, and the aj)pearance or retinue marking the employment 
or station in life. 

^^ Take an opportunity of going, unnoticed, to a bean stack, and fathom it three times round. The last 
fathom of the last time you will catch in your arms the appearance of your future conjugal yoke-fellow. 

1' "Vou go out, one or more, for this is a social spell, to a south-running spring, or rivulet, where " three- 
lairds' lands meet," and dip your left shirt sleeve. Go to bed in sight of a fire, and hang your wet sleeve 
before it to dry. Lie awake ; and sometime near midnight, an apparition, having the exact figure of the 
grand object in question, will come and turn the sleeve, as if to dry the other side of it. 

14 Take three dishes ; put clean water in one, foul water in another, and leave the third empty. Blind- 
fold a person, and lead him to the hearth where the dishes are ranged; he (or she) dips the left hand; if by 
chance in the clean water, the future husband or wife will come to the bar of matrimony a maid ; if in the 
foul, a widow ; if in the empty dish, it foretells, with equal certainty, no marriage at all. It is repeated three 
times ; and every time the arrangement of the dishes is altered. 

" Sowens, with butter instead of milk to thera, is always the Hallowe'en supper. 


" The cli and gh have always the guttural sound. The sound of the English diphthong oo is commonly spelled im. 
The French u, a sound which often occurs in the Scottish language, is marked oo or in. The a, in genuine Scottish 
words, except when forming a diphtliong, or followed by an e mute after a single consonant, sounds generally like 
the broad English a in wall. The Scottish diphtliong ae always, and ea very often, sound like the French e masculine 
The Scottish diphthong ey sounds like the Latin ei." 

A', all. 

Aback, away, aloot, backward. 

Abeigh, at a shy distance. 

Aboon, above, up. 

Abread, abroad, in sight. 

Abreed, in breadth. 

Ae, one. 

Aff, off. 

AflF loof, off-hand, extempore. 

Afore, before. 

Aft, oft. 

Aften, often. 

Agee, on one side. 

Agley, wrong, awry. 

Aiblins, perhaps. 

Ain, own. 

Airles, earnest-money. 

Airn, iron, a mason's chisel, 

Airt, quarter of the heaven. 

Aith, an oath. 

Aits, oats. 

Aiver, an old horse. 

Aizle, a hot cinder. 

Alake, alas. 

Alane, alone. 

Akwart, awkward, athwart. 

Amaist, almost. 

Amang, among. 

An', and, if. 

Ance, once. 

Ane. one. 

Anent, overagainst, concerning. 

Anither, another. 

Ase, ashes of wood. 

A steer, abroad. 

A ttour, moreover, besides. 

Aught, possession, stock. 

Auld, old. 

Auld-farran', sagacious, prudent. 

Ava, at all. 

Auld shoon, old shoes, a discarded 

lover metaphorically. 
Aumos, gift to a beggar. 
Aumos-dish, receptacle for auraos. 
Awa, away, begone. 
Awfu', awful. 
Awn, the beard of barley. 
Awnie, bearded. 
Ayont, beyond. 


Ba', ball. 

Babie-clouts, child's first clothes. 
Backlins-comin', coming back. 
Back-yett, private gate. 
Baggie, the belly. 

Baide, endured, did stay. 

Bairn, a child. 

Bairn-time, a family of children. 

Baith, both. 

Ballets, Ballants, ballads. 

Ban, to swear. 

Bane, bone. 

Bang, to beat, to excel, to force. 

Bannock, fiat, round, soft cake. 

Bardie, diminutive of bard. 

Barefit, barefooted. 

Barley-bree, malt liquor. 

Barmie, like barm, yeasty. 

Batch, a crew, a gang. 

B.\tts, colic. 

Bauckie-bird, the bat. 

Baudrous, a cat. 

Bauld, bold. 

Baws'nt, having a white stripe down 

the face. 
Be, to let be. to cease. 
Bear, barley. 

Beastie, diminutive of beast. 
Beet, Beek, to add fuel to a fire; to 

Beets, boots. 
Beld, bald. 

Belyve, by and by, presently. 
Ben, into the spence or parlour. 
Benmost-bore, the innermost recess. 
Bethankit, grace after meat. 
Beuk, book 
Bicker, a kind of wooden dish, a 

short rapid race. 
Bickering, careering, hurrying. 
Biel or Bield, shelter. 
Bien, wealthy, plentiful. 
Big, to build. 
. Biggin, building, a house. 
Biggit, hiiilt. 
Bill, a bull. 

Billie, a brother, a young fellow. 
Bing, a heap of grain or potatoes. 
Birdie-cocks, young cocks. 
Birk, birch. 
Birkie, a clever fellow. 
Birnie, stubley, sharp-pointed. 
Birring, the noise of partridges when 

they rise. 
Birses, bristles. 
Bit, crisis, nick of time, place. 
Bizz, a bustle, to buzz. 
Blastie, a term of contempt, full of 

Blastit, blasted. 
Blate, bashful, sheepish. 
Blather, bladder. 
Blaud,a Hat piece of anything. 

Blaudin shower, a driving rain. 

Blaw, to blow, to boast. 

Bleerit, bleared. 

HIeeze, Bleezing, flame, blazing. 

Blellum, idle talking fellow. 

Blether, to talk idly. 

Blink, a smiling look, a gleam. 

Blinker, a term of contempt. 

Blinkin', smirking, looking lovingly. 

Blirt and Blearie, out-burst of grief 

Bluid, blood. 

Bobl^it, obeisance made by a lady. 

Bock, to vomit. 

Bodle, a copper coin. 

Bogie, a small morass. 

Bonnie, handsome, beautiful. 

Boord, a board. 

Boortree, the shrub elder 

Boost, behoved, must needs. 

Bore, a hole in a wall, a cranny. 

Boss, empty. 

Bousing, drinking. 

Bowk, body. 

Bow-kail, cabbage. 

Bowt, bended. 

Brackens, fern. 

Brae, a declivity. 

Braid, broad. 

Brak, broke, become insolvent. 

Brankie, gaudy. 

Branks, a wooden cHii) for horses. 

Brash, a .^iudden illness. 

Brats, coarse clothes, rags, &c. 

Brattle, a short race, hurry. 

Braw, fine, hand.some. 

Brawlys or Brawl ie, bravely. 

Braxies, diseased sheep. 

Breastie, diminutive of breast. 

Brechame, a horse collar. 

Bree, juice, liquid. 

Breef, a spell. 

Breeks, breeches. 

Brent, bright, clear. 

Brewin', brewing, gathering. 

Brig, a bridge. 

Brisket, the breast, the bosom. 

Blither, a brother. 

Brock, a badger. 

Brogue, a hum, a trick. 

Broo, broth, liquid, water. 

Broose, a race at weddings. 

Browst, a brewing of ale. 

Brugh, a burgh. 

Bruilsie, a broil, combustion. 

Brunstane, brimstone. 

Brunt, did burn, burnt. 

Briist, to hurst, burst. 

Buff, nonsense. 



Bnirdly, stout made, broad built. 

Bum-clock, the humming beetle. 

Bunimin, buzzing. 

Bummle, to blunder, a drone. 

Bumniler, a blunderer. 

Bunker, a window seat. 

Bure, did bear. 

Burn, Buruie, a water, a rivulet. 

Burn-the-wind, the blacksmith. 

Burr-thistle, the thistle of Scotland. 

Buskit, dressed. 

Busle, a bustle. 

But, Bot, without. 

But and Ben, the country kitchen 

and parlour. 
By himself, lunatic, beside himself. 
Byke, a wild-bee nest. 
Byre, a cow-house. 

Ca', to call, to name, to drive. 

Ca't, called, driven. 

Caddie, a public messenger 

Cadger, a carrier. 

Caff, chaff. 

Calrd, a strolling tinker. 

Cairn, a heap of stones. 

Callan, a lioy. 

Caller, fresh. 

Callet, a follower of a camp. 

Cannie, gentle, careful. 

Cannielie, gently. 

Cantie or Canty, cheerful, merry. 

Cantrip, a charm, a spell. 

Cap-stane, cope-stone. 

Car, a rustic cart. 

Carl, an old man. 

Carlin, an old woman. 

Carte-s, cards. 

Castock, the stalk of a cabbage. 

Caudron, a cauldron. 

Cauk and keel, chalk and red clay. 

Cauld, cold. 

Caup, a wooden cup. 

Cavie, a hen-coop. 

Chanter, drone of a bagpipe. 

Chap, a person, a fellow. 

Chaup, a stroke, a blow. 

Cheekit, cheeked. 

Cheep, a chirp, to chirp. 

Chiel, or Chenl, a young fellow. 

Chimla, or Chimlie, a fire-place. 

C'hirala-lng, the fire-side. 

Chirps, cries of a young bird. 

Chittering, shivering. 

Chockin, choking. 

Chow, to chew ; a quid of tobacco. 

Chuckle, a brood-hen. 

Chutlie, fat-faced. 

Clachan, a hamlet. 

Claise, or Claes, clothes. 

Claith, cloth. 

Claitliing, clothing. 

Clap-clack, clapper of a mill. 

Clarkit, wrote. 

Clartie, dirty, filthy. 

Cbish, an iiUe tale. 

Clatter, to tell idln stories. 

Claught, laid hold of. 

Claut, to clean, to scrape. 

Clavers, idle stories. 

Claw, to scratch. 

Cleckiu, a broi.d of chickens. 

Clced. to clothe. 

Cleek, hook, snatch. 

Clegs, gadflies. 

Clinkin, sitting down hastily. 

Clinkumbell, the church bjll. 

Clips, wool-shears. 

Clishniaclaver, idle conversation. 

Clock, to hatch, a beetle. 

CI ickin, hatching. 

Cloor, a bump, a blow. 

Clout, the hoof of 11 cow, &c. 

Clootie, a name for the devil. 

Cloutin, repairing with cloth. 

Cluds, clouds. 

Clunk, a hollow sound. 

t oa.^in, wheedling 

Coble, a fishiug-boat. 

Cod, a pillow. 

Coft, bought. 

Cog and Coggie, a wooden dish 

Coila, from Kyle, a district in Ayr- 
Collie, a country dog. 

Collie-shangie, a wordy quarrel 

Comniiiun, command. 

Convoyed, accompanied lovingly. 

Cood, the cud. 

Coof, a blockhead, a ninny. 

Coo.ser, a stallion. 

Coost, did cast. 

Coot, the ancle, a species of water- 

Cootie, a wooden dish, rough-legged. 

Corbies, carrion crows. 

Core, corps, party, clan. 

Corn't, fed with oats. 

Cosip, .snug, comfortable. 

Couthie, kind, loving. 

Cove, a cave 

Cowe, to terrify, to keep under. 

Cowp, to barter, to tumble over. 

Cowpit, tumbled. 

Cowrin, cowering. 

Cowte, a colt. 

Crabbit, crabbed, fretful. 

Crack, conversation, to converse. 

Crackin', cracked, conversing, con- 

Craft, or Croft, a field nearthe house. 

Craig, Craigie, neck, throat. 

Craiks, cries, the corn-rail. 

Crambo-clink, doggerel verses. 

Crank, inharmonious verse. 

Crankous, fretful, captious. 

Cranreuch, hoar-frost. 

Crap, a crop, to crop. 

Craw, a crow of a cock, a rook. 

Creel, a basket; In a creel, to be 

Creeshie, greasy. 

Crood, or Ci ond, to coo as a dove. 

Croon, a hollow moan, or hum. 

Crouchie, crook-backed. 

Crouse, cheerful, courageous. 

Crowdie, a composition of oatmeal, 
boiled water, and butter. 

Crowdie time, breakfast time. 

Crowlin, crawling. 

Crummie's nicks, marks on the 
horns of a cow. 

Crummock, C'rammet, a cow with 
crooked horns. 

Crump, Crumpin, hard and brittle. 

Crunt, a blow on the head. 

Cuddle, to clasp and caress. 

Cummock, a short staff. 

Cnrch, a covering for tlie head. 

Curchie, a curtsey. 

Curler, a player at the game of cur- 

Curlie, curled, natural linglets. 

Curling, a game on the ice. 

Curmurring, a runihliug noise. 

Curpia, the crupper, the rump. 

Curple, the rear. 

Cushat, the dove, or wood-pigeon. 

Cutty, short, a short spoon. 

Cutty stool, stool of repentance. 


Daddie, a father. 

Dallin, merriment, foolishness. 

Daft, merry, giddy, foolish. 

Dainien, rare, now and then. 

Dainty, pleasant, rare. 

Dandered, wandered. 

Darklins, darkling, without light. 

Daud, to thrash, to abuse. 

Daur, to dare. 

Daing, a day's labour. 

Uaunia, dare not. 

Davoc, diminutive of David. 

Dawd, a large piece. 

Dawin, dawning of the day. 

Dawtit, Dawtet, fondled, caressed. 

Dearies, diminutive of dears. 

Deartlifu', expen.sive. 

Deave, to deafen. 

Deil-ma-care, no matter. 

Deleerit, delirious. 

De-<crive, to describe, to perceive. 

Dight, to wipe, to winnow com. 

Dii'g, to worst, to e.xcel. 

Dink, neat, lady-like. 

Dinna, do not. 

Dirl, a slight tremulous stroke. 

Distain, stain. 

Dizzen, a dozen. 

Dochter, daughter. 

Doited, stupitied. silly. 

Dolt, stupitied, a fooL 

Donsie, unlucky, pettish. 

Doodle, to dandle. 

Dool, sorrow, to lament. 

Doos, doves, pigeons. 

Dorty, saucy, nice. 

Douce, .sober, prudent. 

Di'Ught, was or were able. 

Dour and din, sullen and sallow. 

Dow, am or are able, can 

Dowff,, wanting force. 

1 )owie, worn with grief, fatigue. 

Downa, cannot. 

Doylt, wearied, exhausted. 

Dozen, stupitied, to beuurab. 

Drab, an untidy female. 

I>rap, a drop, to drop. 

Draunting, drawling. 

I>reep. to ooze, to drop, 

Di-eigh, tedious, long about it. 

Diibble, drizzling, trickling. 

Drodduni, the breech. 

Drone, part of a bagpipe. 

Droukit, wet. 

Drouth, thirst, drought. 

Drucken, drunken. 

Drumly, muddy. 

Drum mock, meal and water mixed, 

Drunt, pet, sonr humonr. 
Dub, a hollow filled with water. 
Duildie, ragged. 
Duds, rags, clothes. 
Dung, Dang, worsted, pushed. 
Dunted, thrubhed, beaten. 
Dyvor, bankrupt. 

Ee, the eye, 

Eebree, the eyebrow. 

Eeu, the eyes; E'en, the evening. 

Eenin', the evening. 

Eerie, frighted, haunted. 

i;ild, old age, 

i'.lbuck, the elbow. 

Eldritch, frightful, elvish. 

Eu', end. 

Eubrugh, Edinburgh. 

Eiieucii, Aneuch, enough. 

Kttle, to try, attempt, aim. 

Eydent, diiigent. 

Fa', fall, lot, to fall. 

F.a' that, to enjoy, to try, to inherit. 

Fiiddom't, fathomed. 

Eaes, foes. 

Faeni, foam of the sea. 

Eaiket, forgiven or excused. 

Fainness, gladness. 

Fairin', a present from a fair. 

Fallow, fellow. 

Faud, did find. 

Fail, a cake of bread. 

Fash, trouble, to care for. 

Fasliecins. trnublesonie. 

F«s it, troubled. 



fasten een, Fasten's eva 

Faugh, fallow. 

Fansht, fight. 

Fauld, a fold for sheep. 

Faut, fault. 

Fawsont, decent, seemly. 

Feal, loval, steadfast. 

Fearfu',' fearful, frightful. 

Fei\r't, affrighted. 

Feat, neat, spruce, clever. 

Feclit, to figlit. 

Fechtin'. figl\ting. 

Feck and Fek, number, quantity. 

Feclcet, an under-waistcoat. 

Feckfii', large, biawny, stout. 

Feckless, puny, weak, silly. 

Feckly, mostly. 

H"eg, a fig 

Fegs, faith, an exclamation. 

I'eide, fend, enmity. 

Fell, keen, biting, level moor. 

Felly, relentless. 

Fend, Fen, to make a shift. 

Ferlie, to wonder, a wonder. 

Fetch, to pull by fits. 

Fetch't, pulled intermittently. 

Fey, strange, predestined. 

Fidge, to fidget, fidgeting. 

Fidgin-fain, tickled with pleasure. 

Fient, fiend, a petty oath. 

Fier, liealiliy, a friend. 

Fienie, bustle, activity. 

Fi-ssle, to make a rustling noise. 

Fit, foot. 

Fittie-lan, the nearer horse of the 

hindmost pair in the plough. 
Fizz, to make a hissing noise. 
Flaffen, the motion ot rags in the 

wind ; of wings. 
Klaiuen, flannel. 
Flang, threw with violence. 
Fl^ech, to supplicate flatteringly. 
Fleechln, supplicating. 
Fleesh, a fleece. 
Fleg, a random blow, a fight. 
Flether, to decoy by fair words. 
Flethrin, Flethers, flattering. 
Fley, to scare, to frighten. 
Flichter, to flutter as young birds 

Flinders, shreds, broken pieces. 
Flingin', kicking. 
Flisk, flisky, to fret at the yoke. 
Flisket, fretteil. cross. 
Flitter, to vibr.ite like the wings of 

small birds. 
P'littering, fluttering, vibrating. 
Flnnkie, a servant in livery. 
Flyte, flyting, scolding. 
Foord, a ford. 
Forbears, forefathers. 
Forbye, besides. 
Forfairn, distressed, jaded. 
Forgather, to meet. 
Forgie, to forgive. 
Forjesket, jaded with fatigue. 
Fou', full, drnnk. 
Foughten, Forfoughten, troubled, 

fatigued, harassed. 
Foul-thief, the arch-fiend. 
Fouth, plenty, enough. 
Frae, from. 
Freath, froth. 
Frien', friend. 
Fu', full. 

Fud, the tail of the hare. 
Fuff, to blow intermittently. 
Fu-han't. full-handed. 
Funnie, full of merriment. 
Fur-ahin, the hindmost horse on the 

right hand ploughing. 
Furder, lurther, succeed. 
Furm, a form, a bench. 
Fusionless, spiritless, without s*p. 
Fyke, trifling cares. 
Fyle, to soil, to dirty. 
Fylt, soiled, dirtied. 

Gab, the mouth, talk. 
Gaberlunzie, wallet-man, or tinker. 
Gae, to go; Gaed, went; Gane or 

Gaen, gone : Gaun, going. 
Gael or Gate, way, manner, road. 
Gang, to go, to walk. 
Gangrel, a wandering person. 
Gar, to make, to force to. 
Garten, a garter. 
Gash, wise, sagacious, talkative. 
Gatty, failing in body. 
Gaucy, jolly, large, plump. 
Gaud and Gad, a rod or goad. 
Gaudsman, one who drives the 

horses at the plough. 
Gaun ted, yawned, longed. 
Gawkie, a thoughtless person. 
Gaylies, Gylie, pretty well. 
Gear, richer, goods of any kind. 
Geek, to toss the head. 
Ged, a pike. 
Gentles, great folks. 
Genty, elegant. 
Geoidie, George, a guinea. 
Get and Gett, a child, a young one. 
Ghaist, Gliaistie, a ghost. 
Gie. togive; Gied.gave; Gien, given. 
Giftie, diminutive of gift. 
Gigleis, laughing maidens. 
Gimmer, an ewe two years old. 
Gin, if, against. 
Gipsey, a young girl. 
Girdle, a round iron plate on which 

oat-cake is fired. 
Girn, to grin, a snare. 
Gizz, a periwig, the face. 
Gliiikit, inattentive, foolish. 
Glaive, a sword. 
Glaizie, glittering, smooth. 
Glaumed, grasped, snatched at. 
Gled, a hawk. 
Gleg, sharp, ready. 
Gley. a squint, to squint. 
Gleyde, an old horse. 
Glib-gahbit, that speaks smoothly 

and readily. 
Glieb o' Ian', a portion. The ground 

belonging to a manse. 
Glint, Glintin', to peep. 
Glinted by, went brightly past. 
Gloamiu, the twilight. 
Glowr, to stare, to look. 
Glowrin, amazed, gazing. 
Glum, displeased. 
Goavan, walking as if blind. 
Gor-cocks, red-cock, or moor-cock. 
Oowan, the wild daisy. 
Gowd, gold. 

Gowff, the game of golf. 
Gowk, the cuckoo, a fool. 
Gowl, to howl. 
Graip, a pronged instrument for 

cleaning cowhouses. 
Graith, furniture, dress. 
Grane or Grain, a groan, to groan. 
Grannie, grandmother. 
Grape, to grope. 
Great, Grit, intimate, familiar. 
Gree, to agree; to Bear the gree, to 

be victor. 
Green-gratf, green grave. 
Greet, to shed tears. 
Gruesome, loathsomely, grim. 
Grifves, stewards. 
Grippit, seized. 
Groat, a fourpenny. 
Groset, a gooseberry. 
Gruniph, a grunt, to grunt. 
Grnmphie, a sow. 
G run', ground. 
Grunstone, a grindstone. 
Gruntle, the phiz, the snout. 
Grunzie, a protruding mouth. 
Grushie, thick, growthy. 
Gude, the Supreme Being. 
Guid, good. 

Guid-momin', good-morrow. 

Guid-e'en, good evening. 

Gnidfather and Guiduiotlier, father- 
in-law, and motticr-in-law. 

Guidman and Guidwife, the master 
and mistress of the house. 

Gully or Gullie, a large knife. 

Gumlie, muddy. 

Gumption, discernment, talent. 

Gusty, Gustl'u', tasteful. 

Gut-scraper, a fiddler. 

Gutcher, grandsire. 


Ha', hall. 

Ha' Bible, the family Bible. 

Haddin', home, a possession. 

Hae, to have, to accept. 

Haen, had (the participle of hae). 

Haet, Fient haet, a petty oath, 

Haffet, the side of the head. 

Hattiins, one half, not fully grown. 

Hag, where peats are dug. 

Haggis, a kind of pudding. 

Hain, to spare, to save. 
Hairst, harvest. 

Haith, a petty oath. 

Haivers, nonsense. 

Hale, or Haill, whole, healthy. 

Hall, or hald an abiding place. 

Hallan, partition-wall. 

Hallowniass, Hallow-eve, Slst Oc- 

Haly, holy. 

Hame, home. 

Han's bresd, hand's breadth. 

Hanks, a quantity of thread. 

Hansel, the first of anything. 

Hap, an outer garment, plaid. 

Happer, the hopper of a mill. 

Happing, hopping 

Hap-step-an'-loup, hop, step, and 

Harigals, heart, liver, and lights of 
an animal. 

Harkit, hearkened. 

Harn, coarse linen. 

Hash, a clumsy fellow, to abuse. 

Hastit, hastened. 

Hand, to hold. 

1 laughs, level land, valleys. 

Hauii, to drag, to pull. 

Haver-meal, oatmeal. 

Haveril, a half-witted person. 

Havins, good manners, decorum. 

llawkie, a cow. 

Heapit, heaped. 

Hearse, hoarse. 

Hech, oh strange! 

Heckle, to dress flax. 

Heeze, to elevate, to raise, to lift 

Hellim, the rudder or helm. 

Herd, to tend flocks. 

Herrin', a herring. 

llerry, to plunder, to rob. 

Hersel, Hirsel, a flock of sheep. 

Het, hot, heated. 

Heugh, a crag, a ravine. 

Hilch, to halt. 

Hiney, honey. 

Hing, to hang. 

Hirpli^ to walk lamely. 

Histie, dry, chapt, barren. 

Hitcht, a loop, made a knot. 

Hizzie, hussy, a young girl. 

Hoddin-gray, coarse woollen MOtb. 

Hoggie, a two-year-old sheep. 

Hoo(iie-craw, a blood crow, corbie. 

Houl, outer skin or case. 

Hoolie, slowly, leisurely. 

Hoord, a hoard, to hoard. 

Horn, a drinking cup. 

Hornie, a name of the devIL 

Host, or Hoast, to cough. 

llotch'd, turned topsy-turvy. 

Howlet, an owl. 



Ilonsie, dirniniitive of house. 
Hove, Hoved, to heave, to swell. 
Howdie, a midwife. 
Howe, hollow, a dell. 
Howebackit, sunk in the back. 
Howff, a hoiiiie of resort. 
Howk, to dig. 
Hoy, Hoy't, to urge, urged. 
Hoyse, a pull upwards. 
Hoyte, to amble crazily. 
Hughoc, for Hugh. 
Hums and hankers, mumbles. 
Hunkers, on the hams. 
Hurcheon, a hedgehog. 
Hurdies, tlie buttocks. 
Hushion, a cushion. 


Icker, an ear of corn, 
leroe, a great-grandchild. 
Ilk, or Ilka, each, every. 
lU-deedie, mischievous. 
lU-willie, ill-natured, malicious. 
Ingine, genius, ingenuity. 
Ingle, fire, fireplace. 
iDgle-low, light from the fire. 
I rede ye, I advise ye, I warn ye. 
I'se, I shall or will. 
Ither, other, one another. 

Jad, jade. 

Jauk, to dally, to trifle. 
Jauner, talking to no purpose. 
Jaup, to bespatter. 
Jaw, coarse raillery, to pour out. 
Jimp, slender in the waist. 
Jink, to dodge, to turn a corner. 
Jlnker, a gay sprightly girl. 
Jirt, to squirt. 
Jocteleg, a kind of knife. 
Jouk, to stoop, to bow the head. 
Jow, to jow, to swing, or oscillate. 
Jundie, to jostle, a push. 

Kae, a daw. 

Kail, Colewort, a kind of broth. 

Kailrunt, the stem of colewort. 

Kain, fowls, &c., paid as rent. 

Kebars, rafters. 

Kebbuck, a cheese. 

Keckle, to cackle as a hen. 

Keek, a keek, to peep 

Ki;lpies, a sort of mischievous wator- 

Ken, to know; Ken'dor Ken't^knew. 
Kennin, a small matter. 
Kiaught. carking, anxiety. 
Kilt, to truss up the clothes. 
Kimmer, a young girl, a gossip. 
Kin, kindred. 

King's-hood, a part of the entrails. 
Kintra, Kintrie, country. 
Kirn, the harvest supper, a churn. 
Kirsen, to christen, to baptize. 
Kist, chest, coffin. 
Kitchen, anything that eats with 

bread, to serve for soup, gravy. 
Kittle, to tickle, ticklish. 
Kittling, a young cat. 
Knaggie, like knags, knotty. 
Knap, to strike or break. 
Knurl, a dwarf. 
Knurlin, crooked, knotty. 
Knowe, a hillock, a knoll. 
Kuittle, to cuddle; Kuitlin,cuddling, 

Kye, cows. 

Kyle, a district in Ayrshire. 
Kyte, the belly. 
Kythe, to show one's self 

Labour, thrash. 

Laddie, diminutive of lad. 

Laigh, low. 

Lairing, sinking in snow or mud. 

Laith, loath, impure. 

Laithfu', bashful, sheepish. 

Lallands, Lowlands. 

Lanibie, diminutive of lamb. 

Lammas moon, harvest moon. 

Lampit, a shell-fish, a limpet. 

Lan', land, estate. 

Lan'-afore, foremost horse in the 

Lan'-ahin, hindmost horse in the 

Lane, lone ; My lane, alone. 
Lanely, lonely. 
Lang, long; To think lang. to long. 

to weary. 
Lap, did leap. 

Late and air, late and early. 
Lave, the rest, the remainder. 
Laverock, the lark. 
Lawlan', lowland. 
Leal, loyal, true, faithful. 
Lear, learning, lore. 
Lee-lang, live-long. 
Leesome luve, gladsome love. 
Leeze me, I am proud of thee. 
Leister, a three-pronged dart for 

striking fish. 
Leugh, did laugh. 
Leiik, a look, to look. 
Lick, Licket, beat, thrashed. 
Lift, sky, firmament. 
Lightly, snperingly, to sneer at. 
Lilt, a ballad, a tune, to sing. 
Link, to trip along. 
Linn, a waterfall, a cascade. 
Lint, fla.x. 

Lint-white, a linnet, flaxen. 
Loan, the place of milking. 
Loaning, lane. 
Loof, the palm of the hand. 
Loot, did let. 

Loun, a fellow, a ragamuffin. 
Loup, leap, startled with pain. 
Louper-like,Lan-louper, asuspicious 

Lowe, a flame. 
Lowin', flaming. 
Lowse, to loose. 
Lug, the ear. 

Luggie. a small wooden dish. 
Luni, the chimney. 
Lunch, a large piece of cheese. 
Lunt, to smoke. 
Lyart, of a mixed colour, gray. 


Mae and Mair, more. 

Maggot's-meat, food for the worms. 

Mahoun, Satan. 

Mailen, a farm. 

Maist, most, almost. 

Maistly, mostly. 

Mak'jtomake; Makin', making. 

Mally, Molly, Mary. 

Mang, among. 

Manse, the minister's house. 

Manteele, a mantle. 

Mark, Merk, a Scottish coin. 

Marled, party-coloured. 

Mask, to infuse. 

Maskin-pat. teapot. 

Maukin, a hare. 

Maun, Mauna, must, must not. 

Maut, malt. 

Mavis, the thrush. 

Maw, to mow. 

Mawin, mowing. 

Meere, a mare. 

Melder, corn sent to the mill to be 

Mell, to meddle, a mallet. 
Melvie, to soil with meal 
Men', to mend. 

Mense, good manners, decorum. 
Menseless, ill-bred, rude, impudent. 

Merle, the blackbird. 

Messin, a small dog. 

Middin, a dungliill. 

Mini, prim, aflectedly meek. 

Mini mou'd, gentle mouthed. 

Min', to remember. 

Minawae, minuet. 

Minnie, mother, dam. 

Mirk, dark. 

II isca', to abuse, to call names. 

Mishanter, accident. 

M i^leard, mischievous, unmanneily 

Misteuk, mistook. 

M ither, mother. 

Mi.xtie-maxtie, confusedly mixed. 

Mony, or Monie, many. 

Mools, earlh. 

Moop, to nibble as a sheep. 

Moorlan, of or belonging to moors. 

Morn, the next day, to-morrow. 

Mou, the mouth. 

Moudiewort, a mole. 

Mousie, diminu-ive of mouse. 

Muckle, or Mickle, great, big. 

Miislin-kail, thin poor broth. 

Mutchkin, an English pint. 

Mysel, myself. 


Na, no, not, nor. 

Nae, or Na, no, not any. 

Naething, or Naithing, nothing. 

Naig, a horse, a nag. 

Nane, none. 

Nappy, ale, to be tipsy. 

Negleckit, neglected. 

Neebour, a neighbour. 

Neiik. nook, cirner. 

Nick, to cut, to cheat. 

Niest, next. 

Nieve, Nief, the fist. 

Nievefu', handful. 

N lifer, to exchange, to barter. 

Nigger, a negro. 

Nine-tailed-cat, a hangman's whip. 

Nit, a nut. 

Nocht, nothing. 

Norland, from the north. 

Notic't, noticed. 

Nowte, black cattle. 


O', of. 

O'ergang, overbearing, to tread. 

O'erlay, an upper cravat. 

Ony, or Onie, any. 

Orra, superfluous. 

O't, of it. 

Ourie, drooping, shivering. 

Oiirsel, Oursels, ourselves. 

Outlers, outliers; cattle unhousad. 

Ont-owre, over, across. 

Ower, Owre, over. 

Owsen, oxen. 

Oxter, the arm-pit. 

Pack, intimate, familiar; twelre 

stone of wool. 
Paidle. to walk in water. 
Painch. paunch. 
Paitrick, a partridge. 
Pang, to cram. 
Parle, courtship. 
Parishen, parish. 
Parritch, oatmeal pudding 
Pat, did put, a pot. 
Pattle, or Pettle. a small spade t^' 

clean the pliaujh. 
Panghty, proud, haughty. 
Pauky. cunning, sly. 
Pay't, paid, beat. 
Peat-reek, the smoke of turf. 
Pech, to breathe short, to pant. 
Pechan, the crop, the stomach. 


Pechin, respiring with difficulty. 

Pennie, riclies. 

Pet, a favourite. 

Pettle, to cherish. 

Philaheg. the kilt. 

Phraise, fair speeches, flattery. 

Phraisin, flattering. 

Piiiroch, a martial air. 

Pickle, a small qiiantity. 

Pine, pain, uneasiness. 

Pint-st'.op, a two-quart measure. 

Plack. an old Scotch coin. 

Plackies8. without money. 

Plaidie, diminutive of plaid. 

Platie, diminutive of plate. 

Plevv, or Pleugh, a plough. 

Pliskie, a. trick. 

Plumrose, a primrose. 

Pock, a meal-bag. 

Poind, to arrest. 

Poortlth, poverty. 

Posie, a nosejray, a garland. 

Pouk, to pluck. 

Poussie, a hare or cat. 

Font, a poult, a chick. 

Pou't, did pull. 

Poutherey, fiery, active. 

Pouthery, like powder. 

Pow, the head, the sl<ull. 

Pownie, a little liorse, a pony. 

Powther, or Pouther, gunpowder. 

Preen, a pin. 

Prent, printing, print. 

Prie, to taste ; Prie'd, tasted. 

Prief, proof. 

Prig, to cheapen, to dispute, 

Primsie, demure, precise. 

Propone, to lay down, to propose- 

Pii', Pu'd, to pull, pulled. 

Pund, pouiul, pound weight. 

Pyet, a magpie. 

Pyle, a single grain. 

Qu.ak, quack, the cry of a duck. 
Qiiakin, quaking. 
Quat, quit. 

Quech, a drinking cup. 
Quej', a young cow. 
• Quines, queans. 


Ragweed, herb-ragwort. 

Eaible, to ravel, nonsense. 

Rair, to roar. 

Raize, to madden, to inflame. 

Ramfeezled, overpowered. 

Rampin', raging. 

Kamstam, thoughtless, forward. 

Randie, a scolding sturdy beggar. 

Rantin', joyous, noisy. 

Raploch, a coarse cloth. 

Rarely, excellently, very well. 

Rash, a rush. 

Ration, a rat. 

Raucle, rash, stout, fearless. 

Kaught, reached. 

Raw, a row. 

Rax, to stretch. 

Ream, cream, to cream. 

Reamin', brimful, frothing. 

Reave, take by force. 

Rebute, to repulse, rebuke. 

Reck, to heed, care. 

Rede, counsel, to counsel. 

Red-wud, stark mad. 

Rei'k, smoke, to smoke. 

Reekit, smoked, smoky. 

Reestit, stood restive. 

Restiicked. restricted. 

Rew, to repent. 

Rickles, shocks of com, stooks 

Rig, a ridge. 

Riggin, file ridge of a house. 

Rin, to run, to melt. 

Rink, a term in curling on ice. 

Rip, a handful of unthreshed com. 

Ripplin-kanie, for dressing flax. 

Roke, distaff. 

Room, the selvage of cloth. 

Roose, to praise, to commend. 

Roun', round. 

Roiipet, hoarse, as with a cold. 

Row, to roll, to wrap. 

Rowte, to low, to bellow. 

Rowth plenty. 

Rowtiu', liiwing. 

Rozet, ro.<in. 

Rumble-giiuiption, common-sense. 

Rung, a cudgel 

Runkied, wrinkled. 

Runt, the stem of cabbage. 

Ryke, leach. 

Sae, so. 
Saft, soft. 

Sail-, to serve, a sore. 
Sairly, sorely. 
Sair't, served. 
Sark, a shirt. 
Sarkit, provided in shirts. 
Saugh, willow. 

Saugli-woodies, ropes made of wil- 
Saul, soul. 
Saumont, salmon. 
Saunt, saint ; Sauntet, to vanish. 
Saut, salt. 
Saw, to sow. 
Sawin', sowing. 
Sax, six. 
Scaud, to scald. 
Scauld, to scold. 
Scaur, apt to be scared. 
Scawl, a scold. 
Scone, a kind of bread. 
Scraich Mud Screigh, to scream. 
Scrned, to tear, a ivnt. 
Scrip ve, to write quickly. 
Scrimp, scant, to pinch. 
Scroggie, bushy. 
Scunner, a loathing, to loath. 
Seizin', seizing. 
Sel", self. 
Sell't, did sell. 
Sen', to send. 

Settlin, settling, quieted down. 
Shachlet, ill-shaped. 
Shank-it, walk it ; Shanks, legs. 
Shaver, a humorous wag. 
Shavie, to do an ill turn. 
Shaw, to sliow. 
Sheugh, a ditch, a trench. 
Shiel,Shealing,asliepherd's cottage. 
Shog, a shock, a shove. 
Shool, a shovel. 
Shoon, shoes, soon. 
Shore, to offer, to threaten. 
Shouther, the shoulder. 
Sic. such. 

Sicker, sure, steady. 
S;(h lins, slanting, sideways. 
Silken-snood, a fillet of silk. 
Siller, silver, money. 
Simmer, summer. 
Sinsyne, since then. 
Skaith, to damage, injury. 
Skeigh, proud, saucy, shy. 
Skellum, a noisy reckless fellow. 
Skeip, to strike, to slap. 
Skelpin, striking, walking rapidly. 
Skirl, to cry, to shriek shrilly. 
Skirling, shrieking, crying. 
Sklent, slant, to run aslant. 
Skouth, vent, free action. 
Skreigh, a scream, to scream. 
Skyte. to slide rapidly, a blow. 
Slae, sloe. 
Slade, did slide. 

Slap, a gate, a breach in a fence. 
Slee, Sleest, sly, slyest. 
Sleekit, sleek, sly. 
Sliddery, slippery. 

Slip-shod, smooth shod. 

Sloken, quench, slake. 

Sma', small. 

Smeddum, mettle, sagacity. 

Smiildy, smithy. 

Smoor, to smother. 

Sniytrie, a numt'rous collection of 

small individuals. 
Snapper, a mistake, a blunder. 
Snaw, snow, to snow. 
Snaw-broo, melted snow. 
Snawie, snowy. 
Sneck, the latchet of a door. 
Sneck-drawing, cunning, contriving. 
Sned, to lop, to cut otf. 
Sued besoms, to cut brooms. 
!:^neeshin, snuff. 
Sneeshin-mill, a .snuff-box. 
Snell and Snelly, bitter, biting. 
Snirt, Snirtle, concealed laughter. 
Snoove, to sneak. 
Sodger, soldier. 
Sonsie, good-looking. 
Soom, to swim. 
Souk, to suck. 
Souple, flexible, swept. 
Souther, to solder. 
Sowens, a dish made from oatmeal 

Sowp, a spoonful, a small quantity. 
Spae, to prophesy, to divine. 
Spails, chips, splinters. 
Spairge, to soil, as with mire. 
Spates, sudden floods. 
Spaul, a limb. 

Spaviet, having the spavin. 
Speel, to climb. 
Spier, to ask, to inquire. 
Splatter, to splutter, a splutter. 
Spleughan, a tobacco pouch. 
Splore, a frolic, noise, riot. 
Sprachled, scrambled. 
Sprattle, to scranihle. 
Sprecklcd, spotted, speckled. 
Spring, a quick air iu music. 
Sprot, a rush-like plant. 
Spunk, fire, mettle, wit, spark. 
Spunkie, fiery; will o' the wisp. 
Spurtle, a stick used in makicg 

oatmeal porrid^ 
Squad, a crew or party. 
Squatter, to flutter in water. 
Squeel, a scream, to scream. 
Stacher, to stagger, to reel 
Stack, a rick of corn or peats. 
Staggie, a stag. 
Staig, a two-year-old horse. 
Stalwart, stately, strong. 
Stane, a stone. 
Stang, sting, stung. 
Stank, a pool of stagnant water. 
Stap, stop, stave, to step. 
Stark, stout, potent, quite. 
Startle, to run madly. 
Staukin, stalking. 
Staw, did steal, to surfeit. 
Stech, to cram the belly. 
Steek, to shut, a stitch. 
Steer, to molest, to stir. 
Steeve, firm, composed. 
Stell, a still. 

Stents, tribute, dues of any kind. 
Stey, steep. 
Stihble, stubble. 
Stibblerig, the reaper in harvest 

who takes the lead. 
Stick-an'-stow, totally, altogether. 
Stilt, Stilts, a crutch, to halt. 
Stirk, a cow a year old. 
Stock, a plant of cabbage. 
Stook, a shock of corn. 
Stot, a young bull or ox. 
Stound, a pang of the heart. 
Stoup, or Stowp, a jug or vessel 

with a handle for holding liquids. 
Stow ins, by stealth. 
Stowre, dust in motion. 
Stown, stolen. 



Stoyte, to walk unsteadily. 

Stiae, straw ; To die a fair strae 

death, to die in bed. 
Strake, did strike. 
Straik, to stroke. 
Strappen, tall, liandsomc. 
Stratli, low alluvial land. 
Straiight, straight. 
Stravagin, wandering about. 
Streek, stretclied, to stieich. 
Stroiip, the spout. 
Studdie, the anvil. 
Stnmpie, diminutive of stump. 
Struiit, to be in ill humour, to walk 

Stnrt, trouble; to molest. 
Sturtin, troubled. 
Stynie, a ulimmer. 
Sucker, sugar. 
Sumph, a stupid fellow. 
Suthron, Southern. 
Swaird, sward. 
SwalI'd, swelled. 
Swank, stately, jolly, tall. 
Swap, an exchange, to barter. 
Swat, did sweat. 
Swatch, a sample. 
Swats, drink, good ale. 
Sweer, lazy, averse. 
Swinge, to beat, to whip 
Swinke, to labour hard. 
Swirl, a curl, an eddying blast 
Swirlie, knaijgy, full of knots. 
Swither, to hesitate. 
Sybow, a thick-necked onion. 
Syne, since, then. 

Tackets, broad-headed nails for the 
soles of shoes. 

Tae, a toe; Three taed, having 
three prongs. 

Tairge, to e.xamine. 

Tak, to take ; Takin, taking. 

Tangle, sea-weed. 

Tap, the top. 

Tapeiless, heedless, foolish. 

Tarry-breeks, a sailor. 

Tassie, a small rojlpsure for liquor. 

Taupie, a foolisli young person. 

Tauted, matted together. 

Teat, a small quantity. 

Tent, a field pulpit; to take heed. 

Tentie, heedful, cautious. 

Tentless, heedless, careless. 

Teiigh, tough. 

Tha k, thatch. 

Thack an' Kape, clothing and neces- 

Thae, these. 

Thairnis, small guts, fiddle-strings. 

Tliaukit, thanked. 

Theekif, tliatched. 

Tliegither, together. 

Themsel', themselves. 

Thick, intimate, familiar. 

Thir, these. 

Thirl, to thrill. 

Thirled, thrilled, vibrated. 

Thole, to suffer, to endure. 

Thiiwe, a thaw, to thaw. 

Thowless, slack, lazy. 

Thrang, throng, busy, a crowd. 

Thrapple, throat, windpipe. 

Thraw, to twist, to contradict. 

Thrawin', twisting, Ac. 

Thrawn, twisted, stubborn. 

Threap, to maintain dogmatically. 

Threshin', threshing. 

Threteen, thirteen. 

Thristle, thistle. 

Throu'ther, pell mell, confusedly. 

Thrum, sound of a spinning-wheel. 

Thud, a blow, to strike. 

Thumniart, fiiimnrt, polecat. 

Thumpit, thninped. 

Till't, to it. 

Timmer, timber. 

Tine, to lose; Tint, lost. 

Tinkler, a tinker. 

Tip, a ram. 

Tippence, twopence, money. 

Tirl, to make a slight noise. 

Tither, the other. 

Tittle, to whisper, to prate idly. 

Tittlin, v.hispering. 

Tocher, marriage-portion. 

Tod, a fox. 

Toddle, to totter like a child. 

Too- fa', lean to. 

Toom, empty. 

Toop, a ram. 

Toss, a toast. 

Toun, a hamlet, a farmhouse. 

Tout, the blast of a horn. 

Touzle, to handle roughly. 

Tow, a rope. 

Towmond, a twelvemonth. 

Towzie, rough, shaggy. 

Toyte, to totter like old age. 

Trams, the shafts of a cart. 

Transmugrified, metamorphosed. 

Trashtrie, trash, rubbish. 

Trickle, full of tricks. 

Trig, spruce, neat. 

Trimly, cleverly, excellently. 

Trindle, the wheel of a barrow. 

Trinktin, trickling. 

Troggin', goods to dispose of. 

Trow, to believe, to trust to. 

Trowth, truth, a petty oath. 

Trysts, appointments. 

Tug, rawhide; to pull. 

Tulzie, a quan-el, to quarrel. 

Twa, two ; 'I'wa-fald, twofold. 

Twa three, a few. 

'Twad, it would. 

Twal, twelve. 

Twin, to part. 

Twistle, twisting. 

Tyke, a dog. 

Tysday, Tuesday. 


Unco, strange, uncouth. 
Uncos, news. 
Unfanld, unfold. 
Unkenn'd, unknown. 
Unsicker, uncertain, wavering. 
Unskaithed, undamaged, unhurt. 
Upo', upon. 

Vap'rin, vapouring. 
Vanntie, joyous, vain. 
Vera, very. 

Virl. a ring round a stick. 
Vogie, vain, proud. 


Wa', wall ; Wa's, walls. 
Wabster, a weaver. 
Wad. would, to bet. 
Wadna, would not. 
Wadset, a mortgage. 
Wae, «oe; Waefu", sorrowfuL 
Wa' flower, wall flower. 
Wae's me! Alas! 
Waft, woof. 
Wail", to expend, wire. 
Wall', choice, to choose, 
Walie, ample, large, jolly. 
Wame, the belly. 
Wamefii', a bellyful. 
Waiirest, restless, 
Wark, work, 
Warld's-worm, a miser. 
Warle, or Warld, world. 
Warlock, a wizard, 
Waily, worldly. 

Warran', a warrant, to warrant. 

Warsle, wrestle. 

Warsl'd or Warst'led, struggled. 

Wastrie, prodigality. 

Wat, wet ; I wat — I wot — I know. 

Water-brose, brose made of meal 
and water simply. 

Wattle, a twig, a wand. 

Wauble, to swing, to reel. 

Waukin, watching, waking. 

Waukit, thickened as fullers do 

Waukrife, not apt to sleep. 

Waur,, to worst. 

Waur't, worsted. 

Wean, a child. 

Wea.son, weasand, windpipe. 

Wee, little. 

Weeder-clips, for removing weeds. 

Weel, well; Weill'are, welfare. 

Weet, rain, to wet. 

We'se, we shall. 

Wha, who. 

Whaizle, to wheeze. 

Whalpit, whelped. 

Whang, a leathern thong, a piece of 
cheese, bread, &c. 

Whare, where. 

Whase, Wlia's, — who is. 

What reck, nevertheless. 

Wheep, an instant ; to jerk. 

Whid, the motion of a hare. 

Whiddin, running as a hare. 

AVhigiualeeries, whims, fancies. 

Whilk, which. 

Whingin', crying, complaining. 

Whisht, be silent. 

Whisk, Whisket, to sweep. 

Whissle, a whistle, to whistle. 

Whittle, a knife. 

Whnnstane, a whinstone. 

Wi', with 

Widdie, a rope of willows. 

Widdifu', twisted like a withy. 

Wiel, a small whirlpool. 

Wifie, Wifikie, a diminutive or en- 
dearing name for wife. 

Wight, stout, enduiing. 

Wimple, to meander. 

Wimplin', waving, meandering. 

Win', to wind, to winnow. 

Win, wind ; to earn. 

WInna, wJl not. 

Winnock, a window. 

AVinsonie, hearty, gay. 

Wintle, a staggering motion. 

Wiss, to wish. 

Withouten, without. 

Wizened, hide-bound, dried. 

Wonner, a w onder. 

Woo', wool. 

Woo, to court, to make love to. 

Wordy, worthy. 

Worset, worsted. 

Wrack, to tease, to vex. 

AVraith, a spirit, a ^iliost. 

Wrang, wrong, to wrong. 

AVreeth, a drifted heup of snow. 

Wud, wild, mad. 

Wunible, a wimble. 

Wyliecoat, a flannel vest. 

Wyte, blame, to blame. 

Y • 

Yell, barren, that gives no milk. 

Verk. to lash, to jerk, a blow. 

Yestreen, yesternight. 

Yett, a gate 

Yill, ale. 

Yird. Virdi-d, earth, buried. 

Yin-, lively, a snail. 

Yokin', yoking. 

Yont. Ayoiit, beyond. 

Yowe, an e»e. 

Yowie, diminutive of yowft. 

Yule, Christmas. 





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