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Let them in Drury Lane be lesson'd!
A DREAM. The friends of the poet tried hard to prevent the publication of this poem without success, judging rightly that it would injure his prospects with the Government. He introduces it as follows:
“ Thoughts, words, and deeds, the statute blames with reason;
But surely dreams were ne'er indicted treason. On reading in the public papers the Laureate's “Ode,”* with the other parade of June 4, 1786, the author was no sooner dropt asleep than he imagined himself transported to the birthday levee ; and in his dreaming fancy made the following ADDRESS.—Burns.
GUID-MORNIN' to your Majesty !
May Heaven augment your blisses,
A humble poet wishes !
On sic a day as this is,
4 A dog
6 Fire-place. 2 Gates.
5 The innermost cor 7 Coinplain. 3 Fluttering in rags and
gray with vermin. * Thomas Warton then filled this office. His ode for June 4, 1786, begins as follows:
" When Freedom nursed her native fire
In ancient Greece, and ruled the lyre,
The tinsel gifts of dattery tore,
And to the throne of virtuous kings,” &c. On these verses, the rhymes of the Ayrshire bard must be allowed to form an odd enough commentary-CHAMBERS.
Is sure an uncouth sight to see,
Sae fine this day.
By many a lord and lady; “God save the king” 's a cuckoo sang
That's unco easy said aye ; The poets, too, a venal gang,
Wi' rhymes weel-turn'd and ready, Wad gar ye trow ye ne'er do wrang, But aye unerring steady,
On sic a day.
Even there I winna flatter;
Am I your humble debtor :
Your kingship to bespatter ;
Than you this day. 'Tis
very true, my sovereign king,
And downa3 be disputed :
Is e'en right reft and clouted,4
Than did ae day.*
To blame your legislation,
To rule this mighty nation!
Ye've trusted ministration
Than courts yon day.
Her broken shins to plaister :
Till she has scarce a tester :
Nae bargain wearing faster, 1 Perhaps. 3 Dare not.
5 Fellows. Beat.
4 Broken and patched. * The poet alludes here to the great diminution of the king's territory by the disastrous issue of the American war.
Or, faith! I fear that wi' the geese,
l' the craft some day.
When taxes he enlarges,
A name not envy spairges,2)
And lessen a' your charges ;
And boats this day.
In loyal, true affection,
This great birthday.
While nobles strive to please ye,
A simple poet gies ye?
Still higher may they heeze ye
Frae care that day.
I tell your Highness fairly,
I'm tauld yere driving rarely;
And curse your folly sairly,
By night or day.
To mak a noble aiver ;?
6 A wicked colt. 2 Bespatters. 5 Raise.
7 Horse. 3 Lift her head.
A good fellow's begetting. This is not the only compliment Burns pays to the Earl of Chatham.
+ In allusion to an attempt to induce the lowering of the strength of the navy.
Family of children. $ The Right Hon. Charles James Fox,
So, ye may doucelya fill a throne,
For a' their clish-ma-claver;?
Few better were or braver :
For mony a day.
Nane sets the lawn-sleeve sweeter,
Wad been a dress completer •
That bears the keys o' Peter,
Some luckless day.
Ye've lately come athwart her ;
Weel rigg'd for Venus' barter ;
Your hymeneal charter,
Come full that day.
Ye royal lasses dainty,
And gie you lads a-plenty:
For kings are unco scant aye;
On ony day.
Ye're unco muckle dautit ;5
It may be bitter sautit : 6
That yet hae tarrow't8 at it;
Fu' clean that day.
7 Platter full. 2 Idle scandal.
5 Too much flattered. 8 Grumbled. 3 A wicked wag. 6 Salted.
9 They have scraped
out the dish. * King Henry V.-B. + Sir John Falstaff-vide Shakespeare.-B. 1 The Duke of York.
§ William IV., then Duke of Clarence. || Alluding to the newspaper account of the royal sailor's amour.
And we maun draw our tippence. Then in we go to see the show,
On every side they're gath'rin', Some carrying dails, some chairs and stools, And some are busy bleth'rin'?
Right loud that day.
And screen our country gentry,
Are blinkin' at the entry:
Wi' heaving breast and bare neck, And there a batch o' wabster lads, Blackguarding frae Kilmarnock,
For fun this day.
And some upo' their claes ;
Anither sighs and prays :
Wi' screw'd-up, grace-proud faces;
To chairs that day. Oh, happy is that man and blest !
Nae wonder that it pride him ! Whase ain dear lass, that he likes best,
Comes clinkin' down beside him !
He sweetly does compose him ;
Unkenn'd that day.
Is silent expectation :
Wi' tidings o' damnation.
'Mang sons o' God present him,
1 Planks, or boards, to
* The following notice of Racer Jess appeared in the newspapers of Febru. ary 1818:—"Died at Mauchline a few weeks since, Janet Gibson, consigned to immortality by Burns in his 'Holy Fair,' under the turf appellation of *Racer Jess.'' She was the daughter of Poosie Nansie,' who figures in 'The Jolly Beggars.',. She was remarkable for her pedestrian powers, and sometimes ran long distances for a wager.'
+ Moodie was the minister of Riccarton, and one of the heroes of “The Twa Herds."