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I wad na been surprised to spy
You on an auld wife's flainen toy,
Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,
But Miss's fine Lunardi-fie!
How daur ye do't!
Oh, Jenny, dinna toss your head,
An' set your beauties a' abread!
Ye little ken what cursèd speed
The blastie's makin'!
Thae winks and finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin'!
Oh, wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursel's as others see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
And foolish notion :
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
And e'en Devotion!
IN ANSWER TO A MANDATE BY THE SURVEYOR OF
TAXES, REQUIRING A RETURN FOR
THE ASSESSED TAXES.
SIR, as your mandate did request,
I send you here a faithfu' list
O'gudes and gear, and a' my graith,
To which I'm clear to gie my aith.
Imprimis, then, for carriage cattle,
I hae four brutes o' gallant mettle,
As ever drew afore a pettle.
My han'-afore's a guid auld has been,
And wight and wilfu'a' his days been.
My han'-ahin 's a weel-gaun filly,
That aft has borne me hame frae Killie,
And your auld burrough mony a time,
In days when riding was nae crime-
But ance, when in my wooing pride,
I, like a blockhead boost to ride,
The wilfu' creature sae I pat to,
(Lord, pardon a' my sins, and that too !)
I played my fillie sic a shavie,
She's a' bedeviled wi' the spavie.
My furr-ahin's a worthy beast,
As e'er in tug or tow was traced.
The fourth's a Highland Donald hastie,
A damned red-wud Kilburnie blastie!
Forbye a cowte, o'cowte 's the wale,
As ever ran afore a tail;
If he be spared to be a beast,
He'll draw me fifteen pun' at least.
Wheel-carriages I hae but few,
Three carts, and twa are feckly new;
An auld wheelbarrow, mair for token
Ae leg and baith the trams are broken;
I made a poker o' the spin'le,
And my auld mither brunt the trin'le.
For men, I've three mischievous boys,
Run-deils for rantin' and for noise;
A gaudsman ane, a thrasher t 'other;
Wee Davoc hauds the nowte in fother.
I rule them, as I ought, discreetly,
And aften labour them completely;
And aye on Sundays duly, nightly,
I on the question targe them tightly,
Till, faith, wee Davoc 's turned sae gleg,
Though scarcely langer than my leg,
He'll screed you aff Effectual Calling
As fast as ony in the dwalling.
I've nane in female servan' station,
(Lord, keep me aye frae a' temptation!)
I hae nae wife, and that my bliss is,
And ye hae laid nae tax on misses;
And then, if kirk folks dinna clutch me,
I ken the devils darena touch me.
Wi' weans I'm mair than weel contented,
Heaven sent me ane mair than I wanted,
My sonsie, smirking, dear-bought Bess,
She stares the daddy in her face,
Enough of aught you like but grace;
But her, my bonnie sweet wee lady,
I've paid enough for her already,
And gin ye tax her or her mither,
B' the Lord! ye’se get them a' thegither.
And now, remember, Mr. Aiken,
Nae kind of license out I'm takin';
Frae this time forth I do declare,
I'se ne'er ride horse nor hizzie mair;
Through dirt and dub for life I'll paidle,
Ere I sae dear pay for a saddle;
My travel a' on foot I'll shank it,
I've sturdy bearers, Gude be thankit!
The kirk and you may tak you that,
It puts but little in your pat;
Sae dinna put me in your buke,
Nor for my ten white shillings luke.
This list wi' my ain hand I've wrote it,
The day and date as under noted;
Then know all ye whom it concerns,
ROBERT BURNS. Mossgiel, February 22, 1786.
TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY,
ON TURNING ONE DOWN WITH THE PLOUGH
IN APRIL, 1786.
Wee, modest, crimson-tippèd flower,
Thou's met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure
Thy slender stem;
To spare thee now is past my power,
Thou bonnie gem.
Alas! it's no thy neebor sweet,
The bonnie lark, companion meet!
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet!
Wi' spreckled breast,
When upward-springing, blithe, to greet
The purpling east.
Cauld blew the bitter biting north
Upon thy early, humble birth,
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth
Amid the storm,
Scarce reared above the parent earth
Thy tender form. The flaunting flowers our gardens yield, High shelt'ring woods and wa's maun shield; But thou beneath the random bield
O'clod or stane, Adorns the histie stibble-field,
Unseen, alane. There, in thy scanty mantle clad, Thy snawy bosom sunward spread, Thou lifts thy unassuming head
In humble guise; But now the share uptears thy bed,
And low thou lies!
Such is the fate of artless maid,
Sweet flow'ret of the rural shade!
By love's simplicity betrayed,
And guileless trust,
Till she, like thee, all soiled, is laid
Low i' the dust.
Such is the fate of simple bard,
On life's rough ocean luckless starred!
Unskilful he to note the card
Of prudent lore,
Till billows rage, and gales blow hard,
And whelm him o'er!
Such fate to suffering worth is given,
Who long with wants and woes has striven,
By human pride or cunning driven
To mis’ry's brink,
Till wrenched of every stay but Heaven,
He, ruined, sink!
E'en thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate,
That fate is thine-no distant date;
Stern Ruin's ploughshare drives, elate,
Full on thy bloom, Till crushed beneath the furrow's weight,
Shall be thy doom!
ADDRESS TO THE TOOTHACHE. WRITTEN WHEN THE AUTHOR WAS GRIEVOUSLY
TORMENTED BY THAT DISORDER.
My curse upon thy venomed stang,
That shoots my tortured gums alang ;
And through my lugs gi’es mony a twang,
Wi' gnawing vengeance;
Tearing my nerves wi' bitter pang,
Like racking engines !