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While highlandmen hate tolls an' taxes ; While moorlan' herds like guid fat braxies ; While terra firma, on her axis

Diurnal turns, Count on a friend, in faith an' practice,

In Robert Burns.


MY memory's no worth a preen;
I had amaist forgotten clean,
Ye bade me write you what they mean

By this new-light,
'Bout which our herds sae aft hae been

Maist like to fight.


* See note, p. 67.

In days when mankind were but callans At

grammar, logic, an' sic talents, They took nae pains their speech to balance,

Or rules to gie, But spak their thoughts in plain, braid lallans,

Like you or me.

In thae auld times, they thought the moon, Just like a sark, or pair o' shoon, Wore by degrees, till her last roon,

Gaed past their viewing, An' shortly after she was done,

They gat a new one.

This past for certain, undisputed; It ne'er cam' i' their heads to doubt it, Till chiels gat up an' wad confute it,

An' ca'd it wrang; An' muckle din there was about it,

Baith loud and lang.


Some herds, weel learn'd upo' the beuk, Wad threap auld folk the thing misteuk; For 'twas the auld moon turn'd a neuk,

An' out o' sight,
An' backlins-comin, to the leuk,


mair bright.

This was deny’d, it was affirm'd;
The herds an' hissels were alarm’d:
The rey’rend gray-beards rav'd an' storm'd,

That beardless laddies
Should think they better were inform’d

Than their auld daddies.


Frae less to mair it gaed to sticks; Frae words an' aiths to clours an' nicks; An' monie a fallow gat his licks,

Wi' hearty crunt; An' some, to learn them for their tricks,

Were hang'd an brunt.

This game was play'd in monie lands, An' auld-light caddies bure sic hands, That faith, the youngsters took the sands,

Wi' nimble shanks, Till lairds forbade, by strict commands,

Sic bluidy pranks.

But new-light herds gat sic a cowe, , Folk thought them ruin'd stick-an-stowe, Till now amaist on ev'ry knowe,

Ye'll find ane plac'd; An' some, their new-light fair avow,

Just quite barefac’d.


Nae doubt the auld-light flocks are bleatin; Their zealous herds are vex'd an' sweatin; Mysel, I've even seen them greetin

Wi' girnin spite, To hear the moon sae sadly lie'd on

By word an' write.

But shortly they will cowe the louns ! Some auld-light herds in neebor towns Are mind't, in things they ca' balloons,

To tak a flight, An' stay ae month amang


An' see them right.

Guid observation they will gie them; An' when the auld moon's gaun to lea’e them, The hindmost shaird, they'll fetch it wi' thein,

Just i' their pouch, An' when the new-light billies see them,

I think they'll crouch!


Sae, ye observe that a' this clatter

Is nothing but a'moonshine matter;'
But tho' dull prose-folk Latin splatter

In logic tulzie,
I hope, we bardies ken some better

Than mind sic brulzie.



J. R ******


O ROUGH, rude, ready-witted R******,
The wale o' cocks for fun and drinkin!
There's monie godly folks are thinkin,

Your dreams* an' tricks
Will send you, Korah-like, a-sinkin,

, Straught to auld Nick's.


* A certain humorous dream of his was then making a noise in the country-side.

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