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But by thy honest turf I'll wait,
Thou man of worth,
And weep the ae best fellow's fate
E'er lay in earth!
Stop, passenger!-my story's brief,
I tell nae common tale o' grief —
If thou uncommon merit hast,
Yet spurned at Fortune's door, man,
A look of pity hither cast
For Matthew was a poor man.
If thou a noble sodger art,
That passest by this grave, man, There moulders here a gallant heartFor Matthew was a brave man.
If thou on men, their works and ways,
Here lies wha weel had won thy praise-
If thou at Friendship's sacred ca'
For Matthew was a kind man.
If thou art stanch without a stain,
Like the unchanging blue, man, This was a kinsman o' thy ain
For Matthew was a true man.
If thou hast wit, and fun, and fire,
And ne'er guid wine did fear, man, This was thy billie, dam, and sire
For Matthew was a queer man.
If ony whiggish whingin' sot,
To blame poor Matthew dare, man,
May dool and sorrow be his lot!
TAM O' SHANTER.
"Of brownyis and of bogilis full is this buke."
According to the recital of Gilbert Burns, Tam o' Shanter originated thus: "When my father feued his little property near Alloway Kirk, the wall of the church-yard had gone to ruin, and cattle had free liberty of pasture in it. My father and two or three neighbours joined in an application to the town-council of Ayr, who were superiors of the adjoining land,
for liberty to rebuild it, and raised by subscription a sum for enclosing this ancient cemetery with a wall: hence he came to consider it as his burial-place, and we learned that reverence for it people generally have for the burial-place of their ancestors. My brother was living in Ellisland, when Captain Grose, on his peregrinations through Scotland, stayed some time at Carse House in the neighbourhood, with Captain Robert Riddel of Glenriddel, a particular friend of my brother's. The antiquary and the poet were unco pack and thick thegither.' Robert requested of Captain Grose, when he should come to Ayrshire, that he would make a drawing of Alloway Kirk, as it was the burial-place of his father, where he himself had a sort of claim to lay down his bones when they should be no longer serviceable to him; and added, by way of encouragement, that it was the scene of many a good story of witches and apparitions, of which he knew the captain was very fond. The captain agreed to the request, provided the poet would furnish a witch-story, to be printed along with it. Tam o' Shanter was produced on this occasion, and was first published in Grose's Antiquities of Scotland."
"The poem," says Mr. Lockhart, "was the work of one day."
WHEN chapman billies leave the street, fellows
The mosses, waters, slaps,1 and stiles,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter,
O Tam! hadst thou but been sae wise,
A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum; 2
Ae market-day thou was na sober;
Thou sat as lang as thou had siller;
1 Break in a wall.
2 An idle-talking fellow.
3" The quantity of meal ground at the mill at one time.” Dr. Jamieson.
4 In Scotland, the village where a parish-church is situated is usually called the Kirkton. A certain Jean Kennedy, who kept a reputable public-house in the village of Kirkoswald, is here alluded to.
She prophesied that, late or soon,
Thou would be found deep drowned in Doon,
Or catched wi' warlocks in the mirk,
By Alloway's auld haunted kirk.
Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet, makes- weep
But to our tale:- Ae market-night,
Wi' reaming swats, that drank divinely; foaming ale
And at his elbow, Souter Johnny,
His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony;
The night drave on wi' sangs and clatter,
Care, mad to see a man sae happy,