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Is there a bard of rustic song,

Who, noteless, steals the crowds among,
That weekly this aréa throng,

Oh, pass not by!

But, with a frater-feeling strong,
Here heave a sigh.

Is there a man, whose judgment clear,
Can others teach the course to steer,
Yet runs himself life's mad career,
Wild as the wave;

Here pause and, through the starting tear Survey this grave.

The poor inhabitant below,

Was quick to learn, and wise to know,
And keenly felt the friendly glow,

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Soars fancy's flights beyond the pole,
Or darkling grubs this earthly hole,
In low pursuit ;

Know, prudent, cautious self-control

Is wisdom's root.


In dedicating his Poems to Gavin Hamilton, Burns took the opportunity not merely to characterize that generous-natured man, but to throw out a few parting sarcasins at orthodoxy and her partisans. This poem, however, was not placed at the front of the volume, though included in its pages.

EXPECT na, sir, in this narration,


A fleechin, fleth'rin dedication, wheedling-flattering
To roose you up, and ca' you guid,
And sprung o' great and noble bluid,
Because ye're surnamed like his Grace;
Perhaps related to the race;

Then when I'm tired, and sae are ye,
Wi' monie a fulsome, sinfu' lie,
Set up a face, how I stop short,
For fear your modesty be hurt.

This may do

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maun do, sir, wi' them wha Maun please the great folk for a wamefou; belly-full For me! sae laigh I needna bow, For, L be thankit, I can plough; And when I downa yoke a naig, Then, L- be thankit, I can beg;


1 The Duke of Hamilton.



Sae I shall say, and that's nae flatterin',
It's just sic poet, and sic patron.

The Poet, some guid angel help him,
Or else, I fear, some ill ane skelp him,
He may do weel for a' he's done yet,
But only he's no just begun yet.

The Patron (sir, ye maun forgie me,
I winna lie, come what will o' me),
On every hand it will allowed be,
He's just nae better than he should be.

I readily and freely grant,

He downa see a poor man want;
What's no his ain he winna tak it,

What ance he says he winna break it;
Ought he can lend he'll no refus't
Till aft his gudeness is abused;
And rascals whiles that do him wrang,
Even that, he does na mind it lang:
As master, landlord, husband, father,
He does na fail his part in either.

But then nae thanks to him for a' that,
Nae godly symptom ye can ca' that;
It's naething but a milder feature
Of our poor sinfu', córrupt nature:
Ye'll get the best o' moral works,
'Mang black Gentoos and pagan Turks,



Or hunters wild on Ponotaxi,

Wha never heard of orthodoxy.

That he's the poor man's friend in need,
The gentleman in word and deed,

It's no through terror of d—tion ;
It's just a carnal inclination.

Morality, thou deadly bane,

Thy tens o' thousands thou hast slain!
Vain is his hope whose stay and trust is
In moral mercy, truth, and justice!

No stretch a point to catch a plack;
Abuse a brother to his back;
Steal through a winnock frae a w-
But point the rake that taks the door;
Be to the poor like ony whunstane,
And haud their noses to the grunstane;
Ply every art o' legal thieving;
No matter stick to sound believing!


Learn three-mile prayers, and half-mile graces,
Wi' weel-spread looves, and lang wry faces; palms
Grunt up a solemn, lengthened groan,
And d- a' parties but your own;
I'll warrant, then, ye're nae deceiver
A steady, sturdy, stanch believer.

Oh ye wha leave the springs o' Calvin,

For gumlie dubs of your ain delvin'! muddy ponds

Ye sons of heresy and error,

Ye'll some day squeel in quaking terror!
When Vengeance draws the sword in wrath,
And in the fire throws the sheath;
When Ruin, with his sweeping besom,

Just frets, till Heaven commission gies him:
While o'er the harp pale Misery moans,
And strikes the ever-deepening tones,
Still louder shrieks, and heavier groans!

Your pardon, sir, for this digression,
I maist forgot my dedication;
But when divinity comes 'cross me,
My readers still are sure to lose me.

So, sir, ye see 'twas nae daft vapour,
But I maturely thought it proper,
When a' my works I did review,
To dedicate them, sir, to you:
Because (ye need na tak it ill)

I thought them something like yoursel'.

Then patronise them wi' your favour,
And your petitioner shall ever

I had amaist said, ever pray,
But that's a word I need na say:

For prayin' I hae little skill o't;


I'm baith dead sweer, and wretched ill o't; unwilling But I'se repeat each poor man's prayer

That kens or hears about you, sir :

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