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Till, quite transmugrified, they're grown

Debauchery and drinking:
Oh would they stay to calculate

The eternal consequences :
Or your more dreaded hell to state,

Damnation of expenses !
Ye high, exalted, virtuous dames,

Tied up in godly laces,
Before ye gie poor frailty names,

Suppose a change o' cases ;
A dear-loved lad, convenience snug,

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 ;
Though they may gang a kennin’3 wrang,

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;
What's done we partly may compute,

But know not what's resisted.



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,
I send you here a faithfu’ list
O'guids and gear, and a' my graith,
To which I'm clear to gie my aith.

Imprimis, then, for carriage cattle,
I hae four brutes o' gallant mettle,

1 Ear.

2 Perhaps.

3 A little bit.





As ever drew afore a pettle.
My han’-afore's? a guid auld has-been,
And wight and wilfu' a' his days been.
My han’-ahin's3 a weel-gaun filly,
That aft has borne me hame frae Killie, *
And your auld burro' mony a time,
In days when riding was nae crime-
But ance, when in my wooing pride,
I, like a blockhead boost“ to ride,
The wilfu' creature sae I pat to,

(Lord, pardon a' my sins, and that too !)
I play'd my filly sic a shavie, 5
She's a' bedevild wi' the spavie.
My fur-ahin's 6 a worthy beast,
As e'er in tug or tow was traced.
The fourth's a Highland Donald hastie,
A damn'd red-wud Kilburnie blastie!
Forbye a cowte, o' cowtes the wale, 8
As ever ran afore a tail :
If he be spared to be a beast,
He'll draw me fifteen pun' at least.

Wheel-carriages I hae but few,
Three carts, and twa are feckly new;
An auld wheelbarrow, 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,
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,
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.
4 Must needs.

8 Choice.
2 The foremost horse
6 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 ye hae laid nae tax on misses ;
And then, if kirk folks dinna clutch me,
I ken the devils darena touch me.
Wi' weans I'm mair than weel contented,
Heaven sent me ane mair than I wanted.
My sonsie, smirking, dear-bought Bess,
She stares the daddy in her face,
Enough of ought you like but grace ;
But her, my bonny sweet wee lady,
I've paid enough for her already,
And gin ye tax her or her mither,
B' the Lord ! ye’se get them a' thegither.

And now, remember, Mr. Aiken,
Nae kind of licence out I'm takin';
Frae this time forth I do declare,
I'se ne'er ride horse nor hizzie mair;
Through dirt and dub for life I'll paidle, 2
Ere I sae dear pay for a saddle;
My travel a' on foot I'll shank 3' it,
I've sturdy bearers, Gude be thankit.
The kirk and you may

It puts but little in your pat;
Sae dinna put me in your buke,
Nor for my ten white shillings luke.

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 huic,

MOSSGIEL, February 22, 1786.

you that,

TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY, ON TURNING ONE DOWN WITH THE PLOUGH IN APRIL 1786. MR. CHAMBERS says : -"The Mountain Daisy' was composed, as the poet has related, at the plough. The field where he crushed the 'Wee, modest, crimson-tippèd flower' lies next to that in which he turned up the nest of the mouse, and both are on the farm of Mossgiel, and still shown to anxious inquirers by the neighbouring peasantry.”

WEE, modest, crimson-tipped flower,
Thou's met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure4

Thy slender stem :
To spare thee now is past my power,

Thou bonny gem.
Alas! it's no thy neibor sweet,
The bonny lark, companion meet,

5 Walk.

4 Dust. i Comely.

2 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,
When upward springing, blithe, to greet

The purpling east.
Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Upon thy early, humble, birth;
Yet cheerfully thou glinted 1 forth

Amid the storm,
Scarce rear'd ahove the parent earth

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 ;
But now the share uptears thy bed,

And low thou lies!
Such is the fate of artless maid,
Sweet floweret of the 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 !
Such fate to suffering worth is given,
Who long with wants and woes has striven,
By human pride or cunning driven

To misery's brink,
Till, wrench'd of every stay but Heaven,

He, ruin'd, sink !
Even thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate,
That fate is thine—no distant date;
Stern Ruin's ploughshare drives, elate,

Full on thy bloom,
Till, crush'd beneath the furrow's weight,

Shall be thy doom /

1 Peeped.

2 Shelter.


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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 I 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,
O Thou pale orb, that silent shines,

While care-untroubled mortals sleep!
Thou seest a wretch that inly pines,

And wanders here to wail and weep !
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,

Reflected in the gurgling rill :
My fondly-fluttering heart, be still !

Thou busy power, remembrance, cease !
Ah! must the agonising 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 Powers above;

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