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The creature grain'd an eldrich laugh,
Tak ye nae fear:
In twa-three year.
That Hornbook's skill
By drap an' pill. “ An honest wabster to his trade, Whase wife's twa nieves were scarce wee bred, Gat tippence-worth to mend her head
When it was sair;
But ne'er spak mair.
An' pays him well.
Was laird himsel.
The soaring lark, the perching red-breast shrill,
'Twas when the stacks get on their winter-nap, And thack and rape secure the toil-won crap; Potato-bings are snugged up frae skaith Of coming winter's biting, frosty breath ;
. The gravedigger
The bees, rejoicing o'er their summer toils,
Ance ye were streekit o'er frae bank to bank ;
But gin ye be a brig as auld as me, The thundering guns are heard on every side,
Though faith that day, I doubt, ye'll never see, The wounded coveys, reeling, scatter wide;
There'll be, if that date come, I'll wad a boddle, The feather'd field-mates, bound by nature's tie,
Some fewer whigmeleeries in your noddle.
Auld Vandal, ye but show your little mense, Nae mair the flower in field or meadow springs;
Just much about it wi' your scanty sense ; Nae mair the grove with airy concert rings,
Will your poor, narrow footpath of a street, Except, perhaps, the robin's whistling glee,
Where twa wheelbarrows tremble when they meet, Proud o' the height o' some bit half-lang tree :
Your ruin'd, formless bulk o'stane an' lime, The hoary morns precede the sunny days,
Compare wi' bonnie brigs o' modern time?
There's men o'taste would tak the Ducat-stream,* Mild, calm, serene, wide spreads the noontide blaze,
Though they should cast the very sark an' swim, While thick the gossamer waves wanton in the rays. Of sic an ugly Gothic hulk as you.
Ere they would grate their feelings wi' the view 'Twas in that season, when a simple bard, Unknown and poor, simplicity's reward : Ae night, within the ancient brugh of Ayr, By whim inspired, or haply prest wi’ care ;
Conceited gowk ! puff'd up wi' windy pride! He left his bed, and took his wayward route,
This monie a year I've stood the flood an' tide ; And down by Simpson's* wheel'd the left about :
And though wi' crazy eild I'm sair forfairn, (Whether impell’d by all-directing fate,
I'll be a brig when ye’re a shapeless cairn ! To witness what I after shall narrate;
As yet ye little ken about the matter, Or whether, rapt in meditation high,
But twa-three winters will inform you better, He wander'd out, he knew not where nor why ;)
When heavy, dark, continued, a’-day rains, The drowsy dungeon-clockt had number'd two,
Wi’ deepening deluges o’erflow the plains ; And Wallace towerf had sworn the fact was true :
When from the hills where springs the brawling Coil, The tide-swoln Firth with sullen sounding roar,
Or stately Lugar's mossy fountains boil,
Or where the Greenock winds his moorland course, Through the still night dash'd hoarse along the shore: All else was hush'd as nature's closed e'e ;
Or haunted Garpalt draws his feeble source, The silent moon shone high o'er tower and tree :
Aroused by blustering winds an’ spotting thowes, The chilly frost, beneath the silver beam,
In mony a torrent down his sna-broo rowes ; Crept, gently crusting, o'er the glittering stream.
While crashing ice, borne on the roaring speat, When, lo ! on either hand the listening bard,
Sweeps dams, an' mills, an' brigs, a' to the gate ; The clanging sugh of whistling wings is heard;
And from Glenbuck, down to the Rotton-key, $ Two dusky forms dart through the midnight air,
Auld Ayr is just one lengthen'd, tumbling sea ; Swift as the gost drives on the wheeling hare;
Then down ye hurl, deil nor ye never rise ! Ane on th’auld brig his airy shape uprears,
And dash the gumlie jaups up to the pouring skies : The ither flutters o'er the rising piers :
A lesson sadly teaching, to your cost,
That architecture's noble art is lost!
Fine architecture! trowth, I needs must say't o't, Fays, spunkies, kelpies, a’, they can explain them, The L-d be thankit that we've tint the gate o't! And e'en the very deils they brawly ken them.)
Gaunt, ghastly, ghaist-alluring edifices, Auld Brig appeard of ancient Pictish race,
Hanging with threatening jut, like precipices, The vera wrinkles Gothic in his face :
O’er arching, mouldy, gloom-inspiring coves, He seem'd as he wi' time had warstled lang,
Supporting roofs fantastic, stony groves : Yet teughly doure, he bade an unco bang.
Windows and doors, in nameless sculpture drest, New Brig was buskit in a braw new coat,
With order, symmetry, or taste unblest; That he, at Lon'on, frae ane Adams got :
Forms like some bedlam statuary's dream, In's hand five taper staves as smooth's a bead,
The crazed creations of misguided whim; Wi' virls and whirlygigums at the head.
Forms might be worshipp'd on the bended knee, The Goth was stalking round with anxious search, And still the second dread command be free; Spying the time-worn flaws in every arch;
Their likeness is not found on earth, in air, or sea. It chanced his new-come neebor took his e'e, And e'en a vex'd and angry heart had he!
* A noted ford, just above the auld brig. Wi' thieveless sneer to see his modish mien,
† The banks of Garpal Water is one of the few places
in the west of Scotland, where those fancy-scaring beings, He, down the water, gies him this guideen
known by the name of ghaists, still continue pertina
ciously to inbabit. * A noted tavern at the auld brig end.
| The source of the river Ayr. # The two steeples. The gos-hawk, or falcon. A small landing place above the large kev.
Mansions that would disgrace the building taste O had M.Lauchlan,* thairm-inspiring sage,
Been there to hear this heavenly band engage, Fit only for a doited monkish race,
When through his dear strathspeys they bore with Or frosty maids forsworn the dear embrace,
highland rage ; Or cuiss of later times, wha held the notion Or when they struck old Scotia's melting airs, That sullen gloom was sterling, true devotion; The lover's raptured joys or bleeding cares ; Fancies that our guid brugh denies protection, How would his highland lug been nobler fired, And soon may they expire, unblest with resurrec- And e'en his matchless hand with finer touch intion!
No guess could tell what instrument appear'd, O ye, my dear-remember'd, ancient yealings, But all the soul of music's self was heard ; Were ye but here to share my wounded feelings ! Harmonious concert rung in every part, Ye worthy proveses, an' mony a bailie,
While simple melody pour’d moving on the heart. Wha in the paths o’righteousness did toil aye;
The genius of the stream in front appears, Ye dainty deacons, and ye douce conveners,
A venerable chief advanced in years ; To whom our moderns are but causey-cleaners ;
His hoary head with water-lilies crown'd, Ye godly councils wha hae blest this town,
His manly leg with garter tangle bound. Ye godly brethren of the sacred gown,
Next came the loveliest pair in all the ring, Wha meekly gie your hurdies to the smiters; And (what would now be strange) ye godly writers: Then, crown'd with flowery hay, came rural joy,
Sweet female beauty hand in hand with spring ; A’ye douce folk I've borne aboon the broo,
And summer, with his fervid-beaming eye : Were ye but here, what would ye say or do?
All-cheering plenty, with her flowing horn, How would your spirits groan in deep vexation,
Led yellow autumn wreathed with nodding corn ; To see each melancholy alteration ;
Then winter's time-bleach'd locks did hoary show, And, agonizing, curse the time and place
By hospitality with cloudless brow. When ye begat the base, degenerate race!
Next follow'd courage with his martial stride, Nae langer reverend men, their country's glory,
From where the feal wild-woody coverts hide ; In plain braid Scots hold forth a plain braid story;
Benevolence, with mild, benignant air, Nae langer thrifty citizens, an' douce,
A female form, came from the towers of Stair : Meet owre a pint, or in the council-house ;
Learning and worth in equal measures trode But staumrel, corky-headed, graceless gentry,
From simple Catrine, their long-loved abode : The herryment and ruin of the country;
Last, white-robed peace, crownd with a hazel Men, three parts made by tailors and by barbers,
wreath, Wha waste your well-hain'd gear on d-d new
To rustic agriculture did bequeath brigs and harbours !
The broken iron instruments of death,
At sight of whom our sprites forgat their kindling Now haud you there! for faith ye’ve said enough,
THE DEATH AND DYING WORDS OF POOR
THE AUTHOR'S ONLY PET YOWE.
AN UNCO MOURNFU' TALE.
As Mailie an' her lambs thegither
Were ae day nibbling on the tether, In all the pomp of ignorant conceit;
Upon her cloot she coost a hitch, Men wha grew wise priggin owre hops an’ raisins, An' owre she warsl'd in the ditch. Or gather'd liberal views in bonds and seisins. There, groaning, dying, she did lie, If haply knowledge, on a random tramp,
When Hughoct he cam doytin by. Had shored them with a glimmer of his lamp,
Wi'glowrin een, and listed hans, Andwould to common sense for once betray'd them,
Poor Hughoc like a statue stans; Plain, dull stupidity stept kindly in to aid them.
He saw her days were near-hand ended,
But, waes my heart ! could na mend it !
“O thou, whase lamentable face A fairy train appear'd in order bright :
Appears to mourn my woefu' case ! Adown the glittering stream they featly danced,
My dying words attentive hear,
An' bear them to my master dear.
* A well known performer of Scottish music on the While arts of minstrelsy among them rung,
violin And soul-ennobling bards heroic ditties sung.
+ A peekor herd-callan.
Or, if he wanders up the howe, Her living image in her yowe, Comes bleating to him, owre the knowe,
For bits o' bread;
For Mailie dead.
Frae yont the Tweed, A bonnier fleesh ne'er cross'd the clips
Than Mailie dead.
“ My poor toop-lamb, my son an' heir, 0, bid him breed him up wi' care! An', if he live to be a beast, To some havins in his breast! An' warn him, what I winna name, To stay content wi' yoves at hame; An' no to rin an' wear his cloots, Like ither menseless, griceless brutes.
“ An, niest my yowie, silly thing, Gude keep thee frae a tether string! 0, may thou ne'er forgather up Wi' only blastit, moorland toop; But aye keep mind to moop an' mell, Wi' sheep o' credit like thysel !
Wae worth the man wha first did shape That vile, wanchancie thingma rape! It maks guid fellows girn an'gape,
Wi' chokin dread; An' Robin's bonnet wave wi' crape,
For Mailie dead.
0, a' ye bards on bonnie Doon! An' wha on Ayr your chanters tune! Come, join the melancholious croon
O' Robin's reed! His heart will never get aboon !
His Mailie dead.
“ And now, my bairns, wi' my last breath, I lea'e my blessin wi' you baith: An' when you think upo' your mither, Mind to be kin' to ane anither.
That auld, capricious carlin, Nature, To mak amends for scrimpit stature, She's turn'd you aff, a human creature
On her first plan, And in her freaks, on every feature,
She's wrote, the Man. Just now I've ta’en the fit rhyme, My barmie noddle's working prime, My fancy yerkit up sublime
Wi' hasty summon: Hae ye a leisure-moment's time
To hear what's comin?
The magic-wand then let us wield; For ance that five-an-forty's speeld, See crazy, weary, joyless eild,
Wi wrinkled face, Comes hostin, hirpiin uwre the field,
Wi' crepin pace. When ance life's dry draws near the gloamin, Then fareweel vacant careless roamin; An' fareweel cheerfu' tankards foamin,
An' social noise ;
The joy of joys!
We frisk away,
To joy and play.
Among the leaves; And though the puny wound appear,
Short while it grieves
Some rhyme, a neebor's name to lash; Some rhyme (vain thought !) for needfu' cash: Some rhyme to court the kintra clash,
An' raise a din;
I rhyme for fun.
But in requit,
This while my notion's ta’en a sklent,
Something cries, “ Hoolie !" I red you, honest man, tak tent!
Ye'll shaw your folly.
“ There's ither poets, much your betters, Far seen in Greek, deep men o' letters, Hae thought they had ensured their debtors,
A’ future ages; Now moths deform in shapeless tetters,
Their unknown pages.”
Then fareweel hopes o' laurel-boughs, To garland my poetic brows ! Henceforth I'll rove where busy ploughs
Are whistling thrang, An' teach the lanely heights an' howes
My rustic sang. I'll wander on, with tentless heed How never-halting moments speed, Till fate shall snap the brittle thread,
Then, all unknown, I'II lay me with the inglorious dead,
Forgot and gone!
Heave care o’er side! And large, before enjoyment's gale,
Let's tak the tide.
With steady aim, some fortune chase; Keen hope does every sinew brace ; Through fair, through foul, they urge the race,
And seize the prey : Then cannie, in some cozie place,
They close the day. And others, like your humble servan', Poor wights ! nae rules nor roads observin ; To right or left, eternal swervin,
They zig-zag on; Till curst with age, obscure an' starvin,
They aften groan. Alas! what bitter toil an’ strainingBut truce with peevish, poor complaining ! Is fortune's fickle Luna waning?
E’en let her gang! Beneath what light she has remaining,
Let's sing our sang.
My pen I here fling to the door, And kneel, “ Ye Powers !” and warm implore, “ Though I should wander terra o'er,
In all her climes, Grant me but this, I ask no more,
Aye rowth o'rhymes.
This life, sae far’s I understand,
That wielded right, Maks bours, like minutes, hand in hand,
Dance by fu’ light.
“ Gie dreeping roasts to kintra lajrds, Till icicles hing frae their beards ; Gie fine braw claes to fine life-guards,
And maids of honour And yill an' whisky gie to cairds,
Until they sconner.