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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,
Subscripsi huic,

Mossgiel, February 22, 1786.


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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!



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!



When fevers burn, or ague freezes,
Rheumatics gnaw, or cholic squeezes;
Our neighbours' sympathy may ease us,
Wi' pitying moan;

But thee-thou hell o' a' diseases,

Aye mocks our groan!

Adown my beard the slavers trickle!
I kick the wee stools o'er the mickle,
As round the fire the giglets keckle,
To see me loup;

While, raving mad, I wish a heckle
Were in their doup.

Of a' the numerous human dools,
Ill hairsts, daft bargains, cutty-stools,
Or worthy friends raked i' the mools,
Sad sight to see!

The tricks o' knaves, or fash o' fools,
Thou bear'st the gree.

Where'er that place be priests ca' hell,
Whence a' the tones o' misery yell,
And ranked plagues their numbers tell,
In dreadfu' raw,

Thou, Toothache, surely bear'st the bell
Amang them a'!

O thou grim mischief-making chiel,
That gars the notes of discord squeel,
Till daft mankind aft dance a reel

In gore a shoe-thick,

Gie a' the faes o' Scotland's weal

A towmond's toothache!



OH, once I loved a bonnie lass,
Ay, and I love her still;

And whilst that virtue warms my breast
I'll love my handsome Nell. ·

As bonnie lasses I ha'e seen,
And mony full as braw;
But for a modest, gracefu' mien,
The like I never saw.

A bonnie lass, I will confess,

Is pleasant to the ee,

But without some better qualities

She's no a lass for me.

But Nelly's looks are blithe and sweet;

And, what is best of a',

Her reputation is complete,
And fair without a flaw.

She dresses aye sae clean and neat,
Baith decent and genteel;

And then there's something in her gait
Gars ony dress look weel.

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