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Till, quite transmugrified, they're grown
Debauchery and drinking:
The eternal consequences :
Damnation of expenses !
Tied up in godly laces,
Suppose a change o' cases ;
A treacherous inclination-
Ye're aiblins 2 nae temptation.
Still gentler sister woman;
To step aside is human :
The moving why they do it:
How far perhaps they rue it.
Decidedly can try us;.
Each spring—its various bias :
We never can adjust it ;
But know not what's resisted.
IN ANSWER TO A MANDATE BY THE SURVEYOR OF TAXES.
Mr. CHAMBERS says:-"The 'Inventory' was written in answer to a mandate sent by Mr. Aiken of Ayr, the surveyor of windows, carriages, &c., for the district, to each farmer, ordering him to send a signed list of his horses, servants, wheel-carriages, &c., and to state whether he was a married man or a bachelor, and also the number of his children. The poem is chiefly remarkable for the information it gives concerning the farm, the household, and the habits of Burns."
Sir, as your mandate did request,
Imprimis, then, for carriage cattle,
3 A little bit.
As ever drew afore a pettle.
Wheel-carriages I hae but few,
For men, I've three mischievous boys, Run-deils for rantin' and for noise ; A gaudsman ane, a thrasher t’other ; Wee Davoc hauds the nowte in fother.10 I rule them, as I ought, discreetly, And aften labour them completely ; And aye on Sundays duly, nightly, I on the question targell them tightly, Till, faith, wee Davoc's turn'd sae gleg, 12 Though scarcely langer than my leg, He'll screed you aff Effectual Calling + As fast as ony in the dwalling.
I've nane in female servan’ station, (Lord, keep me aye frae a' temptation !)
1 A plough spade.
8 Choice. 2 The foremost horse 5 A trick.
9 Nearly. on the left-hand in 6 The hindmost horse 10 Keeps the cattle in the plough.
on the right-hand in fodder. 3 The hindmost horse the plough.
11 Task. on the left-hand in 7 A colt,
12 So sharp. the plough. * Kilmarnock. † The answer to a leading question in the Shorter Catechism.
I hae nae wife, and that my bliss is,
And now, remember, Mr. Aiken,
This list wi' my ain hand I've wrote it,
TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY,
WEE, modest, crimson-tipped flower,
Thy slender stem :
Thou bonny gem.
4 Dust. i Comely.
% Tramp. * An illegitimate child born to the poet by a female servant of his mother's.
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet,
Wi' speckled breast,
The purpling east.
Amid the storm,
Thy tender form. The flaunting flowers our gardens yield, High sheltering woods and wa's maun shield; But thou, beneath the random bield ?
O'clod or stane, Adorns the histies stibble-field,
Unseen, alane. There, in thy scanty mantle clad, Thy snawie bosom sun-ward spread, Thou lifts thy unassuming head
In humble guise ;
And low thou lies!
And guileless trust,
Low i' the dust.
Of prudent lore,
And whelm him o'er !
To misery's brink,
He, ruin'd, sink !
Full on thy bloom,
Shall be thy doom !
LAMENT, OCCASIONED BY THE UNFORTUNATE ISSUE OF A FRIEND'S AMOUR. AFTER speaking of the uproar raised against him by the appearance of “Holy Willie's Prayer," when "the unco guid," the over righteous, were endeavouring to devise some means of prosecuting their daring assailant, his unfortunate worldly circumstances gave some of them an opportunity which he supposed they would not be slow to follow up of laying him by the heels in prison. He says :-“Unluckily for me, my wanderings led me on another side, within point-blank shot of their heaviest metal. This is the unfortunate story that gave rise to my printed poem “The Lament.'. This was a most melancholy affair, which I cannot yet bear to reflect on, and had very nearly given me one or two of the principal qualifications for a place among those who have lost the chart, and mistaken the reckoning of rationality. I had been for some days skulking from covert to covert, under all the terrors of a jail; as some illadvised people had uncoupled the merciless pack of the law at my heels. I had taken the last farewell of my few friends; my chest was on the road to Greenock; I had composed the last song I should ever measure in Caledonia, *The Gloomy Night is Gathering Fast," when a letter from Dr. Blacklock to a friend of mine overthrew all my schemes, by opening new prospects to my poetic ambition.'
“It is scarcely necessary," Gilbert Burns says, “to mention that “The Lament' was composed on that unfortunate passage in his matrimonial history which have mentioned in my letter to Mrs. Dunlop, (alluding to his connexion with Jean Armour). After the first distraction of his feelings had subsided, that connexion could no longer be concealed. Robert durst not engage with a family in his poor unsettled state, but was anxious to shield his partner by every means in his power, from the consequences of their imprudence. It was agreed, therefore, between them, that they should make a legal acknowledgment of an irregular and private marriage; that he should go to Jamaica to push his fortune; and that she should remain with her father till it might please Providence to put the means of supporting a family in his power."
“Alas ! how oft does goodness wound itself,
And sweet affection prove the spring of woe!”-HOME.
While care-untroubled mortals sleep!
wail and weep!
Beneath thy wan, unwarming beam ;
How life and love are all a dream.
I joyless view thy rays adorn
The faintly-marked distant hill :
Reflected in the gurgling rill :
Thou busy power, remembrance, cease !
For ever bar returning peace !
My sad, love-iorn lamentings claim ;
No fabled tortures, quaint and tame :
The oft-attested Powers above;