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And when the gentry's life I saw,
What way poor bodies lived 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 bonny silken purse
As lang's my tail, whare, through the steeks,
The yellow-letter'd Geordie keeks.3
Frae morn to e'en it's nought but toiling,
At baking, roasting, frying, boiling;
And though the gentry first are stechin,
Yet e'en the ha' folk fill their pechan5
Wi' sauce, ragouts, and siclike trashtrie,
That's little short o' downright wastrie.
Our whipper-in, wee, blastit wonner,
Poor worthless elf, it eats a dinner
Better than ony tenant man
His honour has in a' the lan' ;
And what poor cot-folk pit their painch in,
I own it's past my comprehension.

6

LUATH.

11

Trowth, Cæsar, whyles they're fasht? eneugh ;
A cotter howkin' in a sheugh,8
Wi' dirty stanes biggin' a dike,
Baring a quarry, and siclike;
Himsel, a wife, he thus sustains,
A smytrie o' wee duddie weans,
And nought but his han' darg 10 to keep
Them right and tight in thack and rape.
And when they meet wi' sair disasters,
Like loss o' health or want o' masters,
Ye maist wad think, a wee touch langer,
And they maun starve o'cauld and hunger :
But how it comes I never kenn'd yet,
They're maistly wonderfu' contented :
And buirdly chiels, and clever hizzies, 12
Are bred in sic a way as this is.

CÆSAR.

But then to see how ye're negleckit,
How huff'd, and cuffd, and disrespeckit !
Lord, man, our gentry care as little
For delvers, ditchers, and sic cattle ;

1 His corn rents and assessments.

2 Stitches. 3 Glances. 4 Stuffing.

5 Stomach. 6 Wonder, a contemptuous appellation.

7 Troubled. 8 Digging in a ditch.

9 A number of ragged children. 10 Day's work. 11 Under a roof-tree-literally, thatch and rope. 12 Stalwart men and clever women.

They gang as saucy by poor folk
As I wad by a stinkin' brock.
I've noticed, on our laird's court-day,
And mony a time my heart's been wae,
Poor tenant bodies, scant o'cash,
How they maun thole a factor's snash : 2
He'll stamp and threaten, curse and swear,
He'll apprehend them, poind their gear ;
While they maun stan', wi' aspect humble,
And hear it a', and fear and tremble !
I see how folk live that hae riches;
But surely poor folk maun be wretches !

LUATH.

They're no sae wretched's ane wad think;
Though constantly on poortith's brink :
They're sae accustom'd wi' the sight,
The view o't gies them little fright.
Then chance and fortune are sae guided,
They're aye in less gr mair provided ;
And though fatigued wi' close employment,
A blink o rest's a sweet enjoyment.
The dearest comfort o' their lives,
Their grushie" weans and faithfu' wives;
The prattling things are just their pride
That sweetens a' their fire-side ;
And whyles twalpennie worth o'nappy-5
Can mak the bodies unco happy;
They lay aside their private cares,
To mind 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',
And ferlie6 at the folk in Lon'on.
As bleak-faced Hallowmas returns,
They get the jovial ranting kirns,
When rural life o' every station
Unite in common recreation ;
Love blinks, Wit slaps, and social Mirth
Forgets there's Care upo' the earth.
That merry day the year begins
They bar the door on frosty win's;
The nappy reeks wi' mantling ream,
And sheds a heart-inspiring steam;
The luntin pipe and sneeshin mill8
Are handed round wi' right guid will ;

1 Badger:
2 Bear a factor's abuse.
3 Poverty.

4 Thriving

7 Harvest-homes.

8 The smoking pipe and 6 Wonder, or talk about. snuff-box,

5 Ale.

The cantiel auld folks crackin' crouse, 2
The young anes rantin' through 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
O'decent, honest, fawsontfolk,
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'-

CÆSAR.

Haith, lad, ye little ken about it;
For Britain's guid ! guid faith, I doubt it.
Say rather, gaun as Premiers lead him ;
And saying Ay or No's they bid him :
At operas and plays parading,
Mortgaging, gambling, masquerading ;
Or maybe, in a frolic

daft,
To Hague or Calais taks a wast, 5
To mak a tour, and tak a whirl,
To learn bon ton, and see the worl'.
There, at Vienna or Versailles,
He rives his father's auld entails ;-
Or by Madrid he takes the route,
To thrum guitars, and fecht wi' nowte ;?
Or down Italian vista startles,
Whore-hunting among groves o’ myrtles,
Then bouses drumly German water,
To mak himsel look fair and fatter,
And clear the consequential sorrows,
Love-gifts of Carnival signoras.
For Britain's guid !—for her destruction !
Wi' dissipation, feud, and faction !

6

LUATH.

IIech man ! dear sirs ! is that the gate
They waste sae mony a braw estate !
Are we sae foughten and harass'd
For gear to gang that gate at last!
Oh, would they stay aback fra courts,
And please themsels wi' country sports,
It wad for every ane be better,
The Laird, the Tenant, and the Cotter!

4 Perhaps.

i Cheerful.
2 Talking briskly.
3 Scemly.

5 A trip

6 Breaks the entail on his estate.
7 See bull-fights, nowte meaning cattle.

o

For thae frank, rantin', ramblin' billies,
Fient haet o' them's ill-hearted fellows;
Except for breakin' o' their timmer,
Or speakin' lightly o' their limmer, 1
Or shootin' o' a hare or moorcock,
The ne'er a bit they're ill to poor folk.
But will ye tell me, Master Cæsar,
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.

CÆSAR.

Lord, man, were ye but whyles whare I am,
The gentles ye wad ne'er envy 'em.
It's true they needna starve nor sweat,
Through winter's cauld, or simmer's heat ;
They've nae sair wark to craze their banes,
And fill auld age wi' grips and granes : 2
But human bodies are sic fools,
For a' their colleges and schools,
That when nae real ills perplex them,
They mak enow themsels to vex them ;
And
aye

the less they hae to sturt3 them,
In like proportion less will hurt them.
A country fellow at the pleugh,
His acres till’d, he's right eneugh;
A country girl at her wheel,
Her dizzens done, she's unco weel :
But Gentlemen, and Ladies warst,
Wi' evendown want o' wark are curst.
They loiter, lounging, lank, and lazy ;
Though deil haet* ails them, yet uneasy ;
Their days insipid, dull, and tasteless;
Their nights unquiet, lang, and restless ;
And e'en their sports, their balls and races,
Their galloping through public places,
There's sic parade, sic pomp and art,
The 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 and whoring,
Neist day their life is past enduring.
The Ladies arm-in-arm in clusters,
As great and gracious a' as sisters;
But hear their absent thoughts o'ither,
They're a' run deils and jads thegither.
Whyles, owre the wee bit cup and platie,
They sip the scandal potion pretty :

I Concubine.
2 Pains and groans.

3 Trouble.
4 Devil a thing

5 Solder, wind up.
6 A giddy girl.

Or lee-lang nights, wi' crabbit leuks,
Pore owre the devil's pictured beuks ;
Stake on a chance a farmer's stackyard,
And cheat like ony unhang'd blackguard.
There's some exception, man and woman ;
But this is Gentry's life in common.
By this, the sun was out oʻsight,
And darker gloaming brought the night :
The bum-clock? humm'd wi' lazy drone ;
The kye stood rowtin? i' the loan :
When up they gat, and shook their lugs,
Rejoiced they werena men, but dogs;
And each took aff his several way,
Resolved to meet some ither day.

TO A LOUSE,
ON SEEING ONE ON A LADY'S BONNET AT CHURCH.
HA! whare ye gaun, ye crowlin' ferlie !3
Your impudence protects you sairly :
I canna say but ye strunt* rarely,

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

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

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

On some poor body.
Swith, in some beggar's haffet squattle ;5
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle 6
Wi'ither kindred, jumping cattle,

In shoals and nations ;
Whare horn nor bane ne'er daur unsettle *

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

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

O' Miss's bonnet.
My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,

As plump and gray as ony grozet :8
1 Beetle.
4 Strut.

7 The ribbon-ends. 2 Lowing.

5 Swift crawl in some beggar's hair. 8 Gooseberry. 3 Crawling wonder. 6 Scramble.

* Where no comb ever unsettles the hair.

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