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And say,

Your critic-folk may cock their nose,

· How can you e'er propose,

• • You wha ken hardly verse frae prose,

• To mak a sang ? But, by your leaves, my learned foes,




What's a' your jargon o' your schools, Your Latin names for horns an' stools; If honest nature made you fools,

What sairs your grammars? Ye'd better taen up spades and shools,

Or knappin-hammers.

A set o’ dull conceited hashes, Confuse their brains in college classes ! They gang in stirks, and come out asses,

Plain truth to speak; An' syne they think to climb Parnassus

By dint o' Greek:

Gie me ae spark o’ Nature's fire,
That’s a' the learning I desire;
Then tho’I drudge thro' dub an' mire

At pleugh or cart,
My muse, tho' hamely in attire,

May touch the heart.

O for

O for a spunk o' Allan's glee,
Or Fergusson's, the bauld and slee,
Or bright Lapraik's, my friend to be,

If I can' hit it!
That would be lear eneugh for me,

If I could get it.

Now, Sir, if ye hae friends enow,
Tho' real friends, I b'lieve are few,
Yet, if your catalogue be fou,

I’se no insist,
But gif ye want ae friend that's true,

I'm on your list.

I winna blaw about mysel;
As ill I like my fauts to tell;
But friends an’ folks that wish me well,

They sometimes roose me; Tho' I maun own, as monie still

As far abuse me.

There's ae wee faut they whyles lay to me,
I like he lasses-Gude forgie me!
For monie a plack they wheedle frae me,

At dance or fair ;
May be some ither thing they gie me

They weel can spare.


But Mauchline race, or Mauchline fair, I should be proud to meet you there; We’se gie ae night's discharge to care,

If we forgather, An' hae a swap o' rhymin.ware

Wi' ane anither.

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The four-gill chap, we’se gar him clatter,
An' kirsen him wi' reekin water ;
Syne we'll sit down an' tak our whitter,

To cheer our heart;
An' faith we'se be acquainted better

Before we part.

Awa ye selfish warly race,
Wha think that havins, sense, an' grace,
Ev'n love an’ friendship, should give place

To catch-the-plack!
I dinna like to see your face,

Nor hear your crack.

But ye

whom social pleasure charms, Whose hearts the tide of kindness warms, Who hold your being on the terms,

Each aid the others,' Come to my bowl, come to my arms,

My friends, my brothers !


But, to conclude my lang epistle, As my auld pen's worn to the grissle ; Twa lines frae you wad gar me fissle,

Who am, most fervent, While I can either sing, or whissle,

Your friend and servant.




April 21st, 1785.

While new-ca'd kye rout at the stake,
An' pownies reek in pleugh or braik,
This hour on e'enin's edge I take,

To own I'm debtor
To honest-hearted auld Lapraik

For his kind letter.




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