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Like wind-driven hail, it did assail,


Or torrents owre a linn, man;
The Bench sae wise lift up their eyes,
Half-wauken'd wi' the din, man.


Monday, 16th April, 1787.

Amongst the men whom Burns had met and liked at the Canongate Kilwinning Lodge, was Joseph Woods, a respectable member of the Edinburgh corps dramatique, and the more likely to be endeared to the Ayrshire poet, that he had been an intimate friend of poor Fergusson.

WHEN by a generous Public's kind acclaim,
That dearest meed is granted - honest Fame;
When here your favour is the actor's lot,
Nor even the man in private life forgot;
What breast so dead to heavenly Virtue's glow,
But heaves impassioned with the grateful throe?

Poor is the task to please a barbarous throng,

It needs no Siddons' powers in Southern's


But here an ancient nation famed afar,

For genius, learning high, as great in warHail, CALEDONIA, name for ever dear! Before whose sons I'm honoured to appear! Where every science- every nobler art

That can inform the mind, or mend the heart, Is known; as grateful nations oft have found Far as the rude barbarian marks the bound. Philosophy, no idle pedant dream,

Here holds her search by heaven-taught Reason's beam;

Here History paints with elegance and force
The tide of Empire's fluctuating course;
Here Douglas forms wild Shakspeare into plan,
And Harley1 rouses all the god in man.
When well-formed taste and sparkling wit unite
With manly lore, or female beauty bright
(Beauty, where faultless symmetry and grace,
Can only charm us in the second place)
Witness my heart, how oft with panting fear,
As on this night, I've met these judges here !
But still the hope Experience taught to live,
Equal to judge you're candid to forgive.
No hundred-headed Riot here we meet,
With Decency and Law beneath his feet;
Nor Insolence assumes fair Freedom's name;
Like CALEDONIANS, you applaud or blame.

Oh thou dread Power! whose empire-giving hand

1 The Man of Feeling, written by Mr. Mackenzie.

Has oft been stretched to shield the honoured


Strong may she glow with all her ancient fire!
May every son be worthy of his sire!
Firm may she rise with generous disdain
At Tyranny's or direr Pleasure's chain!
Still self-dependent in her native shore,

Bold may she brave grim Danger's loudest


Till Fate the curtain drops on worlds to be no more!


“The enclosed I have just wrote, nearly extempore, in a solitary inn at Selkirk, after a miserably wet day's riding." - Burns to William Creech, 13th May,


AULD chuckie 1 Reekie's 2 sair distrest,

Down droops her ance weel-burnished crest,

Nae joy her bonny buskit nest

Can yield ava,

Her darling bird that she lo'es best

Willie's awa'!


at all

1 Literally, a hen; secondarily, a familiar term of address: "Gin ony sour-mou'd girning bucky

Ca' me conceited keckling chucky." — RAMSAY.

2 Literally, smoky; a familiar sobriquet for Edinburgh, not at all unsuitable.

Oh Willie was a witty wight,
And had o' things an unco slight;
Auld Reekie aye he keepit tight,

And trig and braw:



But now they'll busk her like a fright -
Willie's awa'!

The stiffest o' them a' he bowed;
The bauldest o' them a' he cowed;

They durst nae mair than he allowed,
That was a law:

We've lost a birkie weel worth gowd- fellow-gold
Willie's awa'!

Now gawkies, tawpies, gowks, and fools,
Frae colleges and boarding-schools,

May sprout like simmer puddock-stools toad-stools
In glen or shaw;

He wha could brush them down to


Willie's awa'!


the dust

The brethren o' the Commerce-Chaumer 2
May mourn their loss wi' doolfu' clamour;
He was a dictionar and grammar

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1 Gawky, a simpleton; tawpy, usually applied to a foolish, sluttish woman; gowk, literally, the cuckoo; secondarily, a fool.

2 The Chamber of Commerce at Edinburgh, of which Creech was secretary.

I fear they'll now mak monie a stammer
Willie's awa'!

Nae mair we see his levee door 1
Philosophers and poets pour,
And toothy critics by the score,
In bloody raw!

The adjutant o' a' the core
Willie's awa'!

Now worthy Gregory's Latin face,
Tytler's and Greenfield's modest grace,
Mackenzie, Stewart, sic a brace

As Rome ne'er saw;

They a' maun meet some ither place —
Willie's awa'!

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Poor Burns e'en Scotch drink canna quicken; He cheeps like some bewildered chicken, chirps

1 Creech, who, besides being a clever and well-educated man, enjoyed high reputation as a teller of quaint stories, lived on familiar terms with many of the literary men of his day. His house, in one of the elevated floors of a tenement in the High Street, accessible from a wretched alley called Craig's Close, was frequented in the mornings by company of that kind, to such an extent that the meeting used to be called Creech's Levee. Burns here enumerates as attending it, Dr. James Gregory, author of the Conspectus Medicinæ; Alexander Fraser Tytler, afterwards Lord Woodhouselee; Dr. William Greenfield, professor of rhetoric in the Edinburgh University; Henry Mackenzie, author of The Man of Feeling; and Dugald Stewart, professor of moral philosophy.

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