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When goavan, as if led wi'
And stumpin' on his ploughman shanks,
I sidling sheltered in a nook,
Like some portentous omen ;
I watched the symptoms o' the great,
The fient a pride, nae pride had he,
Then from his lordship I shall learn
One rank as weel's anither ;
For he but meets a brother.1
1 Lord Daer was a young nobleman of the greatest promise. He had just returned from France, where he cultivated the society of some of those men who afterwards figured in the Revolution (particularly Condorcet), and had contracted their sentiments. -"The foregoing verses were really extempore, but a little corrected since."— B.
EPISTLE TO MAJOR LOGAN.
In the course of his visits to Ayr, Burns had formed an acquaintance with Major William Logan, a retired military officer, noted for his wit, his violin-playing, and his convivial habits, who lived a cheerful bachelorlife with his mother and an unmarried sister. Burns had visited Logan at his villa of Park, near Ayr, had enjoyed his fiddle and his waggery, and run over-so to speak the whole gamut of his congenial heart. He had also been much pleased with the manners of the old lady and her daughter. On the 30th of October, he is found addressing the major in an epistle expressed in merry but careless verse.
HAIL, thairm-inspirin', rattlin' Willie!
Though Fortune's road be rough and hilly
To every fiddling, rhyming billie,
We never heed,
But take it like the unbacked filly,
Proud o' her speed.
When idly goavan whyles we
Yirr, fancy barks, awa' we canter
Uphill, down brae, till some mischanter, accident
Some black bog-hole,
Arrests us, then the scaith and banter
We're forced to thole.
Hale be your heart!-hale be your fiddle!
To cheer you through the weary widdle struggle O' this wild warl',
Until you on a crummock driddle
A gray-haired carle.
Come wealth, come poortith, late or soon, poverty Heaven send your heart-strings aye in tune, And screw your temper-pins aboon,
A fifth or mair,
The melancholious, lazy croon,
O' cankrie care.
May still your life from day to day
But "allegretto forte" gay
A sweeping, kindling, bauld Strathspey—
A blessing on the cheery gang
And never think o' right and wrang
But as the clegs o' feeling stang,
Are wise or fool.
My hand-waled curse keep hard in chase chosen The harpy, hoodock, purse-proud race, miserly
Wha count on poortith as disgrace!
Their tuneless hearts
May fireside discords jar a base
But come, your hand, my careless brither,
About the matter
We cheek for chow shall jog thegither;
We've faults and failings granted clearly,
For our grand fa' ;
But still, but still I like them dearly
God bless them a'!
Ochon for poor Castalian drinkers,
When they fa' foul o' earthly jinkers, sprightly girls The witching cursed delicious blinkers
Hae put me hyte,
And gart me weet my waukrife
Wi' girnin' spite.
But by yon moon! and that's high swearin'
And every star within my hearin'!
And by her een wha was a dear ane!
I hope to gie the jads a clearin'
My loss I mourn, but not repent it,
By some sweet elf I'll yet be dinted,
Faites mes baise-mains respectueuses,
To sentimental sister Susie,
And honest Lucky; no to roose you,
Ye may be proud,
That sic a couple Fate allows ye
Nae mair at present can I measure,
And trowth, my rhymin' ware's nae treasure; But when in Ayr, some half-hour's leisure, Be't light, be't dark,
Sir Bard will do himself the pleasure
To call at Park.
MOSSIGEL, 30th October, 1786.