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May claw his lug, and straik his beard,
And hoast?

up some palaver.
My bonny maid, before ye wed

Sic clumsy-witted hammers, 3
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 deil a hair I roose 5 him.
May powers aboon unite you soon,

And fructify your amours, —
And every year come in mair dear

To you and Willie Chalmers.

TAM SAMSON'S ELEGY.* "No poet," says Cunningham, ever emblazoned fact with fiction more happily than Burns: the hero of this poem was a respectable old nursery-seedsman in Kilmarnock greatly addicted to sporting, and one of the poet's earliest friends, who loved curling on the ice in winter, and shooting on the moors in the season. When no longer able to march over hill and hag in quest of

'Paitricks, terls, moor-pouts, and plivers,' he loved to lie on the lang settle, and listen to the deeds of others on field and flood ; and when a good tale was told, he would cry, 'Hech, man! three at a shot; that was famous !' Some one having informed Tam, in his old age, that Burns had written a poem-'a gay queer ane'-concerning him, he sent for the bard, and, in something like wrath, requested to hear it: he smiled grimly at the relation of his exploits, and then cried out, 'I'm no dead yet, Robin - I'm worth ten dead fowk: wherefore should ye say that I am dead?' Burns took the hint, retired to the window for a minute or so, and, coming back, recited the ‘Per Contra,'

Go, Fame, and canter like a filly,'
with which Tam was so much delighted that he rose unconsciously, rubbed his
hands, and exclaimed, “That'll do-ha! ha!-that'll do!' He survived the
poet, and the epitaph' is inscribed on his grave-stone in the churchyard of
Kilmarnock."

“ An honest man's the noblest work of God.”—Pope.
Has auld Kilmarnock seen the deil ?
Or great Mackinlay+ thrawn his heel ?
Or Robinson # again grown weel,

To preach and read ?
“Na, waur than a'l” cries ilka chiel,

“Tam Samson's dead !

1 Ear.
2 Cough.

3 Blockheads.

5 Flatter. 4 Run.

6 Twisted. * When this worthy old sportsman went out last muirfowl season, he supposed it was to be, in Ossian's phrase," the last of his fields;" and expressed an ardent wish to die and be buried in the muirs. On this hint the author composed his elegy and epitaph.-B.

+ A certain preacher, a great favourite with the million. Vide “The Ordination," stanza 11.-B.

Another preacher, an equal favourite with the few, who was at that time ailing. For him, see also “The Ordination,” stanza IX.-B.

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Kilmarnock lang may grunt and grane,
And sigh, and sob, and greet her lane,
And cleed? her bairns, man, wife, and wean,

In mourning weed ;
To Death, she's dearly paid the kane 3-

Tam Samson's dead !
The brethren o' the mystic level
May hing their head in waefu' bevel,
While by their nose the tears will revel,

Like ony bead;
Death's gien the lodge an unco devel 4_

Tam Samson's dead !
When Winter muffles up his cloak,
And binds the mire up like a rock ;
When to the lochs the curlers flock

Wi' gleesome speed,
Wha will they station at the cock ? -

Tam Samson's dead !
He wis 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 salmon sail,
And trouts be-dropp'd wi' crimson hail,
And eels weel kenn'd for souple tail,

And geds5 for greed,
Since dark in Death's fish-creel we wail

Tam Samson dead !
Rejoice, ye birring paitricks a';
Ye cootie? moorcocks, crousely : craw ;
Ye maukins,' cock your fud fu' braw,

Withouten dread;
Your mortal fae is now awa', -

Tam Samson's dead !
That waefu' morn be ever mourn'd
Saw him in shootin' graith adorn'd,
While pointers round impatient burn’d,

Frae couples freed ;
But, och ! he gaed and ne'er return'd !

Tam Samson's dead !
In vain auld age his body batters ;
In vain the gout his ankles fetters;

1 Weep by herself.
2 Clothe.
3 Rent paid in kind.

4 Blow.
5 Pikes.
6 Whirring partridges.

7 Feather-legged.
8 Gleefully.
9 Hares.

In vain the burns cam' down like waters,

An acre braid ! Now every auld wife, greetin', clatters,

Tam Samson's dead! Owre mony a weary hag he limpit, And aye the tither shot he thumpit, Till coward Death behind him jumpit,

Wi' deadly feide ; 2 Now he proclaims, wi' tout o' trumpet,

Tam Samson's dead ! When at his heart he felt the dagger, He reeld his wonted bottle-swagger, But yet he drew the mortal trigger

Wi' weel-aim'd heed ; “Lord, five !” he cried, and owre did stagger

Tam Samson's dead !
Ilk hoary hunter mourn'd a brother ;
Ilk sportsman youth bemoan'd a father :
Yon auld gray stane, amang the heather,

Marks out his head,
Whare Burns has wrote, in rhyming blether,

Tam Samson's dead !
There low he lies, in lasting rest;
Perhaps upon his mouldering breast
Some spitefu' moorfowl bigs her nest,

To hatch and breed ; Alas ! nae mair he'll them molest!

Tam Samson's dead ! When August winds the heather wave, And sportsmen wander by yon grave, Three volleys let his memory crave

O'pouther and lead, Till Echo answer frae her cave

Tam Samson's dead! Heaven rest his saul, whare'er he be ! Is the wish o' mony mae than me; He had twa fauts, or maybe three,

Yet what remead ? Ae social honest man want we

Tam Samson's dead !

EPITAPH.
Tam 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.

1 Moss.

2 Feud.

PER CONTRA.
Go, Fame, and canter like a filly,
Through a' the streets and neuks o' Killie, *
Tell every social, honest billie

To cease his grievin',
For yet, unskaithed by Death's gleg gullie,

Tam Samson's leevin'!

1

A PRAYER,
LEFT BY THE AUTHOR AT A REVEREND FRIEND'S HOUSE, IN THE ROOM

WHERE HE SLEPT.
“The first time," says Gilbert Burns, "Robert heard the spinnet played upon
was while on a visit at the house of Dr. Lawrie, then minister of the parish of
Loudon, a few miles from Mossgiel, and with whom he was on terms of inti-
macy. Dr. Lawrie had several daughters-one of them played ; the father and
the mother led down the dance ; the rest of the sisters, the brother, the poet,
and the other guests mixed in it. It was a delightful family-scene for our
poet, then lately introduced to the world. His mind was roused to a poetic
enthusiasm, and the stanzas were left in the room where he slept."

O Thou dread Power, who reign'st above !

I know Thou wilt me hear,
When for this scene of peace and love

I make my prayer sincere.
The hoary sire—the mortal stroke,

Long, long, be pleased to spare !
To bless his filial little flock,

And show what good men are.
She, who her lovely offspring eyes

With tender hopes and fears,
Oh, 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 every hand-

Guide Thou their steps alway!
When soon or late they reach that coast,

O’er life's rough ocean driven,
May they rejoice, no wanderer lost,

A family in heaven !

1 Sharp knife. * Killie is a phrase the country-folks dometimes use for the name of a certain town in the west [Kilmarnock]. – B.

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THE BRIGS OF AYR.

INSCRIBED TO JOHN BALLANTYNE, ESQ., AYR. The following was written while the new bridge across the Ayr was being built. His friend Mr. Ballantyne being at that time chief magistrate, the poem was very appropriately dedicated to him.

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 redbreast shrill,
Or deep-toned 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 steeld,
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 generous 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 heart-felt throes his grateful bosom swells,
The godlike 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 snuggèd up frae skaith
O'coming Winter's biting, frosty breath ;
The bees, rejoicing o'er their summer toils,
Unnumber'd buds and flowers' delicious spoils
Seal'd up with frugal care in massive waxen piles,
Are doom'd by man, that tyrant o'er the weak,
The death o' devils, smoord 4 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 !)
Nae mair the flower in field or meadow springs,
Nae mair the grove with airy concert rings
Except, perhaps, the robin's whistling glee,

1

1 Covering.

2 Thatch.

3 Heaps.

4 Smothered.

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