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When rural life, o' ev'ry station,
Unite in common recreation;
Love blinks, Wit slaps, an' social Mirth,
Forgets there's Care upo' the earth.
That merry day the year begins,
They bar the door on frosty winds;
The reeks wi' mantling ream,
An' sheds a heart-inspiring steam;
The luntin pipe, an' sneeshin mill,
Are handed round wi' right guid will;
The cantie auld folks crackin crouse,
The young anes rantin thro' the house,—
My heart has been sae fain to see them,
That I for joy hae barkit wi' them.
Still it's owre true that ye hae said,
is now owre aften play'd.
There's monie a creditable stock
O' decent, honest, fawsont fo'k,
Are riven out baith root and branch,
Some rascal's pridefu' greed to quench,
Wha thinks to knit himsel the faster
In favour wi some gentle master,
Wha' aiblins, thrang a parliamentin,
For Britain's guid his saul indentin-
Haith, lad, ye little ken about it;
For Britain's guid!-guid faith, I doubt it!
Say rather, gaun as Premiers lead him,
An' saying aye or no's they bid him:
At operas an' plays parading,
Mortgaging, gambling, masquerading;
Or may be, in a frolic daft,
To Hague or Calais takes a waft,
To make a tour, an' tak a whirl,
To learn bon ton an' see the worl.
There, at Vienna or Versailles,
He rives his father's auld entails;
Or by Madrid he takes the rout,
To thrum guitars, and fecht wi' nowt;
Or down Italian vista startles,
Wh-re-hunting among groves o' myrtles:
Then bouses drumly German water,
To mak himsel look fair and fatter,
An' clear the consequential sorrows,
Love-gifts of Carnival signoras.
For Britain's guid!—for her destruction! Wi' dissipation, feud, an' faction.
Hech man! dear sirs! is that the gate
They waste sae mony a braw estate!
Are we sae foughten an' harrass'd
gear to gang that gate at last!
O would they stay aback frae courts, An' please themselves wi' countra sports,
It wad for ev'ry ane be better,
The Laird, the Tenant, an' the Cotter!
For thae frank, rantin, ramblin billies,
Fient haet o' them's ill-hearted fellows;
Except for breaking o'er their timmer,
Or speakin lightly o' their timmer,
Or shootin o' a hare or moor-cock,
The ne'er a bit they're ill to poor folk.
But will ye tell me, Master Casar,
Sure great folk's life's a life o' pleasure!
Nae cauld or hunger e'er can steer them,
The vera thought o't need na fear them.
L-d, man, were ye but whyles whare I am, The gentles ye wad ne'er envy 'em.
It's true, they need na starve or sweat,
Thro' winter's cauld, or simmer's heat;
They've nae sair wark to craze their banes,
An' fill auld age wi' grips an'
But human bodies are sic fools,
For a' their colleges and schools,
That when nae real ills perplex them,
They mak enow themsels to vex them;
An' ay the less they hae to sturt them,
In like proportion less will hurt them:
A country fellow at the pleugh,
His acres till'd, he's right enough;
A country girl at her wheel,
Her dizzens done, she's unco weel:
But Gentlemen, an' Ladies warst,
Wi' ev'ndown want o' wark are curst.
They loiter, lounging, lank, an' lazy;
Tho' deil haet ails them, yet uneasy;
Their days insipid, dull, an' tasteless;
Their nights unquiet, lang, an' restless;
An' even their sports, their balls an' races,
Their galloping through public places.
There's sic parade, sic pomp, an' art,
The joy can scarcely reach the heart.
The men cast out in party matches,
Then sowther a' in deep debauches:
Ae night they're mad wi' drink an' wh-ring,
Niest day their life is past enduring.
The ladies arm-in-arm in clusters,
As great and gracious a' as sisters;
But hear their absent thoughts o' ither,
They're a' run deils an' jads thegither.
Whyles, o'er the wee bit cup an' platie,
They sip the scandal potion pretty;
Or lee-lang nights, wi' crabbit leuks
Pore owre the devil's pictur'd beuks;
Stake on a chance a farmer's stackyard,
An' cheat like onie unhang'd blackguard.
There's some exception, man an' woman ; But this is Gentry's life in common.
By this, the sun was out o' sight, An' darker gloaming brought the night: The bum-clock humm'd wi' lazy drone; The kye stood rowtin i' the loan; When up they gat, and shook their lugs, Rejoic'd they were na men but dogs; An' each took aff his several way, Resolv'd to meet some ither day.