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The wounded coveys, reeling, scatter wide; The feathered field-mates, bound by Nature's tie,

Sires, mothers, children, in one carnage lie;
(What warm, poetic heart, but inly bleeds,
And execrates man's savage, ruthless deeds
Nae mair the flower in field or meadow springs;
Nae mair the grove with airy concert rings,
Except, perhaps, the robin's whistling glee,
Proud o' the height o' some bit half-lang tree;
The hoary morns precede the sunny days,
Mild, calm, serene, wide spreads the noontide

While thick the gossamour waves wanton in the rays.

'Twas in that season, when a simple Bard,
Unknown and poor, Simplicity's reward,
Ae night, within the ancient brugh of Ayr, burgh
By whim inspired, or haply prest wi' care,
He left his bed, and took his wayward route,
And down by Simpson's1 wheeled the left-about:
(Whether impelled by all-directing Fate,
To witness what I after shall narrate; 2

Or whether, rapt in meditation high,

He wandered out he knew not where or why.)

1 A noted tavern at the Auld Brig end. B.


2 In a MS. copy, here occur two lines omitted in print:

"Or penitential pangs for former sins

Led him to rove by quondam Merran Din's."

The drowsy Dungeon-clock 1 had numbered two, And Wallace Tower2 had sworn the fact was


The tide-swoln Firth, with sullen sounding roar, Through the still night dashed hoarse along the shore.

All else was hushed as Nature's closed e'e;
The silent moon shone high o'er tower and tree;
The chilly frost, beneath the silver beam,
Crept, gently-crusting, o'er the glittering


When lo! on either hand the listening Bard, The clanging sugh of whistling wings is rustle

heard ;

Two dusky forms dart through the midnight air, Swift as the gos 3 drives on the wheeling hare.


Ane on the Auld Brig his airy shape uprears,
The ither flutters o'er the rising piers:
Our warlock Rhymer instantly descried
The Sprites that owre the Brigs of Ayr preside.
(That Bards are second-sighted is nae joke,
And ken the lingo of the sp'ritual folk;
Fays, Spunkies, Kelpies, a', they can explain

1 A clock in a steeple connected with the old jail of Ayr. This steeple and its clock were removed some years ago.

2 The clock in the Wallace Tower —an anomalous piece of antique masonry, surmounted by a spire, which stood in the High Street of Ayr. It was removed some years ago, and replaced by a more elegant tower, which bears its name. 3 The gos-hawk, or falcon. — B.

And even the very deils they brawly ken well know


Auld Brig appeared of ancient Pictish race,
The very wrinkles Gothic in his face:

He seemed as he wi' Time had warstl'd wrestled


Yet, teughly doure, he bade toughly stout — endured an unco bang.

a severe stroke

New Brig was buskit in a braw new coat


That he at Lon'on, frae ane Adams, got;
In's hand five taper staves as smooth's a bead,
Wi' virls and whirlygigums at the head.
The Goth was stalking round with anxious

Spying the time-worn flaws in every arch;
It chanced his new-come neebor took his e'e,
And e'en a vexed and angry heart had he!
Wi' thieveless sneer to see his modish mien, cold, dry
He, down the water, gies him this guid-e'en:


I doubt na, frien' ye'll think ye're nae sheep


small affair

Ance ye were streekit o'er frae bank to stretched


But gin ye be a brig as auld as me


Though, faith, that day I doubt ye'll never see — There'll be, if that date come, I'll wad a


bet a


Some fewer whigmaleeries in your noddle. crotchets

1 Rings and useless ornaments.


Auld Vandal, ye but shew your little



Just much about it wi' your scanty sense.
Will your poor, narrow footpath of a street-
Whare twa wheel-barrows tremble when they


Your ruined, formless bulk o' stane and lime, Compare wi' bonny brigs o' modern time? There's men o' taste would tak the Ducat


Though they should cast the very sark

and swim,


Ere they would grate their feelings wi' the view Of sic an ugly Gothic hulk as you.

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As yet ye little ken about the matter,
But twa-three winters will inform ye better.
When heavy, dark, continued, a'-day rains,
Wi' deepening deluges o'erflow the plains;

1 A noted ford just above the Auld Brig. — B.

When from the hills where springs the brawling Coil,

Or stately Lugar's mossy fountains boil,

Or where the Greenock winds his moorland


Or haunted Garpal1 draws his feeble source, Aroused by blustering winds and spotting



In monie a torrent down his snaw-broo rowes; 2 While crashing ice, borne on the roaring



Sweeps dams, and mills, and brigs, a' to the



gate; And from Glenbuck down to the Ratton-key' Auld Ayr is just one lengthened tumbling sea Then down ye'll hurl, deil nor ye never rise! And dash the gumlie jaups up to the muddy waves pouring skies:

A lesson sadly teaching, to your cost,

That Architecture's noble art is lost!


Fine Architecture, trowth, I needs must say't o't!

1 The banks of Garpal Water is one of the few places in the west of Scotland where those fancy-scaring beings, known by the name of ghaists, still continue pertinaciously to inhabit.-B.

2 (Snow-broth) melting snow-rolls.

8 The source of the river Ayr. — B.

* A small landing-place above the large key. — B.

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