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VI. With awe-struck thought, and pitying tears,
I view that noble, stately dome, Where Scotia's kings of other years,
Fam'd heroes, had their royal home: Alas, how chang'd the times to come!
Their royal name low in the dust! Their hapless race wild-wand'ring roam !
Tho' rigid law cries out, 'twas just!
Whose ancestors, in days of yore,
Old Scotia's bloody lion bore : Ey'n I, who sing in rustic lore,
Haply my sires have left their shed, And fac'd grim danger's loudest roar,
Bold-following where your fathers led !
VIII. Edina! Scotia's darling seat!
All hail thy palaces and tow'rs, Where once beneath a monarch's feet
Sat legislation's sov'reign pow'rs ! From marking wildly-scatter'd flow'rs,
As on the banks of Ayr I stray'd, And singing, lone, the ling‘ring hours,
I shelter in thy honour'd shade.
EPISTLE TO J. LAPRAIK,
AN OLD SCOTTISH BARD,
April 1st, 1785.
While briers an' woodbines budding green, An' paitricks scraichin loud at e'en,
An' morning poussie whiddin seen,
Inspire my musė, This freedom in an unknoron frien'
I pray excuse.
On fasten-een we had a rockin,
Ye need na doubt;
At sang about.
There was ae sang, amang the rest, Aboon them a' it pleas'd me best, That some kind husband had addrest
To some sweet wife : It thirl'd the heart-strings thro' the breast;
A' to the life.
I've scarce heard ought describes sae weel What gen'rous, manly bosoms feel; Thought I, “ Can this be Pope, or Steele,
Or Beattie's wark?" They tald me 'twas an odd kind chiel
It pat me fidgin-lain to heart,
He had ingine,
It was sae fine.
That set him to a pint of ale,
Or witty catches,
He had few matches.
I gat, an' swoor an aith,
At some dyke-back,
To hear your crack.
But, first an' foremost, I should tell,
Tho' rude an' rough,
Does weel eneugh.
I am nae poet, in a sense,
Yet, what the matter?
I jingle at her.
Your critic-folk may cock their nose, And say, “ How can you
propose, You wha ken hardly verse frae prose,
To make a sang
793 But, by your leaves, my learned foes,
Ye're maybe wrang.
What sairs your grammars ? Ye'd better taen up spades and shools,
A set o' dull, conceited hashes Confuse their brains in college classes ! They gang in stirks, and come out asses,
Plain truth to speak ; An' syne chey think to climb Parnassus
By dint o Greek!
Gie me ae spark of nature's fire,
At pleugh or cart,
May touch the heart.
O for a spunk o' Allan's glee,
If I can hit it!
If I could get it.
Now, sir, if ye hae friends enow,
I'se no insist,
I'm on your list.
I winna blaw about mysel ;
They sometimes roose me ; Tho' I maun own, as monie still
As far abuse me.
There's ae wee faut they whiles lay to me, I like the lasses-Gude forgie me! For monie a plack they wheedle frae me,
At dance or fair ; Maybe some ither thing they gie me
They weel can spare.
But Mauchline race, or Mauchline fair, I should be proud to meet you there; We'de gie ae night's discharge to care,
If we forgather, An' hae a swap o' rhymin-ware
Wi' ane anither.
The four-gill chap, we'se gar him clatter, An' kirsen him wi' reekin water ; Syne we'll sit down an' tak our whitter,
To cheer our heart; An' faith, we'se be acquainted better
Before we part.
Awa, ye selfish warly race, Wha think that havins, sense,
grace, Ev'n love an' friendship, should give place
To catch-the-plack ! I dinna like to see your face,
Nor hear your crack.
But ye whom social pleasure charms, Whose hearts the tide of kindness warms, Who hold your being on the terms,
“ Each aid the others,” Come to my bowl, come to my arms,
My friends, my brothers !
But, to conclude my lang epistle, As my auld pen's worn to the grissle ; Twa lines frae you wad gar me fissle,
Who am, most fervent, While I can either sing or whissle,
Your friend and servant.
TO THE SAME.
April 21st, 1785.
While new-ca'd kye rout at the stake, An' pownies reek in pleugh or braik, This hour on e'enin's edge I take,
To own I'm debtor
For his kind letter.