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Their gun's a burthen on their shouther ;
They downa bide? the stink o' pouther;
Their bauldest thought's a hank’ring swither?

To stan' or rin,
Till skelp—a shot-they're aff, a' throu'ther,3

To save their skin.
But bring a Scotsman fra his hill,
Clap in his cheek a Highland gill,
Say, such is royal George's will,

And there's the foe;
He has nae thought but how to kill

Twa at a blow.
Nae cauld, saint-hearted doubtings tease him ;
Death comes—wi' fearless eye he sees him ;
Wi' bluidy han' a welcome gies him ;

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

In faint huzzas !

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THE AULD FARMER'S NEW-YEAR MORNING SALUTATION

TO HIS AULD MARE MAGGIE,

ON GIVING HER THE ACCUSTOMED RIP OF CORN TO HANSEL IN

THE NEW YEAR.

A GUID New-Year I wish thee, Maggie !
Hae, there's a rip' to thy auld baggie:
Though thou's howe-backit now and knaggie,8

I've seen the day

1 They cannot stand.
2 Uncertainty.
3 Pell mell.

4 Eyes may shut.
5 Smoke.
6 Lose.

7 A handful of corn in the stalk. 8 Bent-backed and ridged.

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Thou could hae gaen like ony staggie

Out-owre the lay."
Though now thou's dowie, stiff, and crazy,
And thy auld hide's as white's a daisy,
I've seen thee dappl't, sleek, and glazie,

A bonny 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, and swank,5
And set weel down a shapely shank,

As e'er tread yird; 6
And could hae flown out-owre a stank,?

Like ony bird.
It's now some nine-and-twenty year,
Sin' thou was my guid father's meer :
He gied me thee, o'tocher 8 clear,

And fifty mark ;
Though it was sma', 'twas weel-won gear,

And thou was stark.'
When first I gaed to woo my Jenny,
Ye then was trottin' wi' your minnie :10
Though ye was trickie, slee, and funnie,

Ye ne'er was donsie ; 11
But hamely, towie, quiet, and cannie,12

And unco sonsie. 13
That day ye pranced wi' muckle pride
When ye bure hame my bonny bride :
And sweet and gracefu' she did ride,

Wi' maiden air !
Kyle-Stewart * I could hae braggèd 14 wide,

For sic a pair.
Though now ye dow but hoyte and hoble, 15
And wintle like a saumont-coble, 16
That day ye was a jinker 17 noble,

For heels and win'!
And ran them till they a' did wauble, 18

Far, far, behin'!
When thou and I were young and skeigh, 19
And stable-meals at fairs were dreigh,20

i Grass-field.

6 Earth.

11 Mischievous. 2 Low-spirited.

7 Ditch.

12 Good-natured. 3 Shining.

8 Dowry.

13 Engaging. 4 Excite.

9 Strong.

14 Challenged. 5 Stately, strong, active. 10 Mother. 15 Can but limp and totter.

17 Runner. 16 Twist about like the lumbering boat used in salmon fishing.

19 Mettlesome.

20 Lengthy. 18 Stagger-being done-up.

* The district between the Ayr and the Doon,

1

How thou would prance, and snore and skreigh,

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

And ca't thee mad.
When thou was corn't, and I was mellow,
We took the road aye like a swallow :
At Brooses” thou had ne'er a fellow,

For pith and speed ;
But every tail thou pay't them hollow,

Whare'er thou gaed.
The sma' droop-rumpl’t, hunter cattle,
Might aiblins waur't thee for a brattle ; 4
But sax Scotch miles thou try't their mettle,

And gar't them whaizle 5
Nae whup nor spur, but just a wattle 6

O'saugh or hazle.
Thou was a noble fittie-lan',?
As e'er in tug or tow was drawn !
Aft thee and I, in aught hours' gaun,

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

For days thegither. Thou never braindg't, and fech't, and fliskit,8 But thy auld tail thou wad hae whiskit,9 And spread abreed thy well-fill'd brisket, 10

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

And slypet owre.*
When frosts lay lang, and snaws were deep,
And threaten'd labour back to keep,
I gied thy cog`l a wee bit heap

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

For that, or simmer.
In cart or car inou never reestit ;12
The steyest 13 brae thou wad hae faced it;
Thou never lap, and sten't, and breastit, 14

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

Thou snoov't awa'.

1 Aside.
2 Wedding races.

3 Sloping-backed.

5 Wheeze. 4 Might perhaps have beaten thee in a short run. 6 A switch. 7 The near horse of the hindmost pair in the plough.

9 Shaken. 8 Never pulled by fits or starts, or fretted. 10 Breast. 11 Corn measure.

12 Stopped. 13 Steepest. 14 Never leaped, reared, or started forward. * This is a magnificent description. Till hard knolls would open with a crackling sound, the earth falling gently over in the wake of the resistless ploughshare.

My pleugh is now thy bairn-time a';1
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 and twa,

The vera warst.
Mony a sair dargwe twa hae wrought,
And wi' the weary warl fought!
And 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 l'll Alit thy tether

To some hain'd rig, 5
Whare ye may nobly rax 6

Wi' sma' fatigue.

your leather,

THE TWA DOGS:

A TALE,

GILBERT BURNS says, -- "The tale of 'The Twa Dogs' was composed after the resolution of publishing was nearly taken. Robert had a dog, which he called Luath, that was a great favourite. The dog had been killed by the wanton cruelty of some person, the night before my father's death. Robert said to me that he should like to confer such immortality as he could bestow on his old friend Luath, and that he had a great mind to introduce something into the book under the title of 'Stanzas to the Memory of a Quadruped Friend:' but this plan was given up for the poem as it now stands. Cæsar was merely the creature of the poet's imagination, created for the purpose of holding chat with his favourite Luath.” The factor who stood for his portrait here was the same of whom he writes to Dr. Moore in 1787 :-"My indignation yet boils at the scoundrel factor's insolent threatening letters, which used to set us all in tears.

'Twas in that place o' Scotland's isle,
That bears the name o' auld King Coil,?
Upon a bonny day in June,
When wearing through the afternoon,
Twa dogs that werena thrang8 at hame
Forgather'd ance upon a time.
The first I'll name, they ca'd him Cæsar,
Was keepit for his honour's pleasure ;

1 My plough team are all thy children.

2 Day's labour. 3 A measure of corn.

4 Totter.

5 Saved ridge of grass. 6 Stretch.

7 The middle district of Ayrshire.

8 Busy.

3

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—nae pride had he;
But wad hae spent an hour caressin',
Even wi' a tinkler-gypsy's messan :
At kirk or market, mill or smiddie,
Nae tawted 4 tyke, though e'er sae duddie,5
But he wad stan't, as glad to see him,
And stroan't 6 on stanes and hillocks wi' him.
The tither was a ploughman's collie,
A rhyming, ranting, roving billie,
Wha for his friend and comrade had him,
And in his freaks had Luath ca'd him,
After some dog in Highland sang,
Was made lang syne-Lord knows how lang.
He was a gash? and faithfu' tyke,
As ever lap a sheugh 8 or dyke.
His honest, sonsie, baws'nt face, o
Aye gat him friends in ilka place.
His breast was white, his touzie 10 back
Weel clad wi' coat o'glossy black ;
His gaucie 11 tail, wi' upward curl,
Hung o'er his hurdies 11 wi' a swirl.
Nae doubt but they were fain o'ither,
And unco pack and thick 14 thegither;
Wi' social nose whyles snuff'd and snowkit, 15
Whyles mice and moudieworts they howkit ; 10
Whyles scour'd awa' in lang excursion,
And worried ither in diversion;
Until wi' daffin'17

weary grown,
Upon a knowe 18 they sat them down,
And there began a lang digression
About the lords o' the creation.

13

CÆSAR

I've often wonder'd, honest Luath,
What sort o' life poor dogs like you have ;

1 Ears.

2 A petty oath="the devil a bit o'." 3 Cur. 5 Ragged.

7 Knowing. 4 Matted and dirty. 6 Pissed.

8 Ditch.

10 Shaggy: 9 His honest, comely, white-marked face. 11 Bushy.

13 Fond of each other, 15 Scented.

14 Very close and friendly. 16 Sometimes for mice and moles they scraped, 11 Sporting.

18 Knoll. * Cuchullin's dog in Ossian's "Fingal.” –B.

19 Hips.

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