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I'll wander on, with tentless heed How never-halting moments speed, Till fate shall snap the brittle thread;

Then, all unknown, I'll lay me with th' inglorious dead,

Forgot and gone!

But why o' death begin a tale?
Just now we're living sound and hale,
Then top and maintop croud the sail,

Heave care o'er side!
And large, before enjoyment’s gale,

Let's tak the tide.

This life, sae far's I understand,
Is a' enchanted fairy land,
Where pleasure is the magic wand,

That, wielded right,
Maks hours like minutes, hand in hand,

Dance by fu’ light.

The magic-wand then let us wield; For, ance that five-an’-forty's speeld, See crazy, weary, joyless eild,

Wi' wrinki'd face, Comes hostin, hirplin owre the field,

Wi' creepin pace.


When ance life's day draws near the gloamin, Then fareweel vacant careless roamin; An' fareweel chearfu' tankards foamin,

An' social noise ; An' fareweel dear, deluding woman,

The joy of joys!

O Life! how pleasant in thy morning,
Young Fancy's rays the hills adorning!
Cold-pausing Caution's lesson scorning,

We frisk away,
Like school-boys, at th' expected warning,

To joy and play.

We wander there, we wander here, We eye the rose upon the brier, Unmindful that the thorn is near,

Among the leaves;
And tho' the


Short while it grieves.

Some, lucky, find a flow'ry spot, For which they never toil'd nor swat, They drink the sweet and eat the fat,

But care or pain; And, haply, eye the barren hut

With high disdain.

With steady aim, some Fortune chase;
Keen Hope does ev'ry sinew brace;
Thro' fair, thro' foul, they urge the race,

And seize the prey:
Then canie, in some cozie place,

They close the day.

And others, like your humble servan', Poor wights! nae rules nor roads observin; To right or left, eternal swervin,

They zig-gag on; 'Till curst with age, obscure an' starvin,

They aften groan.

Alas! what bitter toil an' strainingBut truce with peevish, poor complaining ! Is Fortune's fickle Luna waning ?

E'en let her gang! Beneath what light she has remaining,

Let's sing our sang.


My pen I here fling to the door, And kneel, · Ye Pow’rs ! and warm implore, • Tho' I should wander terra o'er,

• In all her climes, • Grant me but this, I ask no more,

Ay rowth o' rhymes.

• Gie

Gie dreeping roasts to countra lairds, « Till icicles hing frae their beards ; · Gie fine braw claes to fine life-guards,

• And maids of honour ; * And yill an' whiskey gie to cairds,

• Until they sconner.


A title, Dempster merits it; · A garter gie to Willie Pitt; · Gie wealth to some be-ledger'd cit,

• In cent. per cent. • But give me real, sterling wit,

" And I'm content.

• While ye are pleas’d to keep me hale, • I'll sit down o'er my scanty meal, · Be't water-brose, or muslin-kail,

• Wi' cheerfu' face, * As lang's the muses dinna fail

• To say the grace.

An anxious e'e I never throws
Behint my lug, or by my nose;
I jouk beneath misfortune's blows

As weel's I may ; Sworn foe to sorrow, care, and prose, ,

I rhyme away

O ye O ye douce folk, that live by rule, Grave, tideless-blooded, calm and cool, Compar'd wi' you-0 fool ! fool! fool!

How much unlike! Your hearts are just a standing pool,

Your lives, a dyke!

Nae hair-brain'd, sentimental traces
In your unletter'd, nameless faces !
In arioso trills and


Ye never stray, But gravissimo, solemn basses

Ye hum away.

Ye are sae grave, nae doubt ye're wise, Nae ferly tho' ye

do despise The hairum-scairum, ram-stam boys,

The rattlin squad: I see you upward cast your eyes

-Ye ken the road.

Whilst 1—but I shall baud me there Wi' you I'll scarce gang ony where Then, Jamie, I shall say nae mair,

But quat my sang, Content wi' you to mak a pair,

Whare'er I



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