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O sweet are Coila's haughs an' woods, When lintwhites chant amang the buds, And jinkin hares, in amorous whids,

Their loves enjoy, While thro' the braes the cushat croods

With wailfu' cry!

Ev'n winter bleak has charms to me When winds rave thro' the naked tree; Or frosts on hills of Ochiltree

Are hoary gray ; Or blinding drifts wild-furious flee,

Dark’ning the day!

O Nature! a' thy shows an' forms To feeling, pensive hearts hae charms ! Whether the summer kindly warms,

Wi' life an' light, Or winter howls, in gusty storms,

The lang, dark night!

The muse, nae poet ever fand her, 'Till by himsel he learn'd to wander, Adown some trotting burn's meander,

An' no think lang; O sweet, to stray an' pensive ponder

A heart-felt sang !

The warly race may drudge an' drive, Hog-shouther, jundie, stretch an' strive, Let me fair Nature's face descrive,

And I, wi' pleasure, Shall let the busy, grumbling hive

Bum owre their treasure.

Fareweel, “my rhyme-composing brither!" We've been owre lang unkenn'd to ither: Now let us lay our heads thegither,

In love fraternal : May Envy wallop in a tether,

Black fiend, infernal !

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While highlandmen hate tolls an' taxes ; While moorlan' herds like guid fat braxies ; While terra firma, on her axis

Diurnal turns, Count on.a friend, in faith an' practice,

In Robert Burns.


My memory's no worth a preen;
I had amaist forgotten clean,
Ye bade me write you what they mean

By this new-light*,
'Bout which our herds sae aft hae been

Maist like to fight.

In days when mankind were but callans At grammar, logic, an' sic talents, They took nae pains their speech to balance,

Or rules to gie, But spak their thoughts in plain, braid lallans,

Like you or me.

In thae auld times, they thought the moon, Just like a sark, or pair o' shoon, Wore by degrees, 'till her last roon

Gaed past their viewing, An' shortly after she was done,

They gat a new one.

This past for certain, undisputed ; It ne'er cam i' their heads to doubt it, · Till chiels gat up an' wad confute it,

An' ca'd it wrang; An' muckle din there was about it,

Baith loud an’ lang.

Some herds, weel learn'd upo' the beuk, Wad threap auld folk the thing misteuk; For 'twas the auld moon turn'd a neuk,

An' out o’ sight,

* See note, p. 41.

An', backlins-comin, to the leuk

She grew mair bright.

This was deny'd, it was affirm'd; The herds an' hissels were alarm'd: The rev'rend gray-beards rav'd an' storm'd,

That beardless laddies Should think they better were inform’d

Than their auld daddies.

Frae less to mair it gaed to sticks; Frae words an' aiths to clours an' nicks ; An' monie a fallow gat his licks,

Wi' hearty crunt; An' some, to learn them for their tricks,

Were hang'd an' brunt.

This game was play'd in monie lands, An' auld light caddies bure sic hands, That, faith, the youngsters took the sands

Wi' nimble shanks, Till lairds forbade, by strict commands,

Sic bluidy pranks.

But new-light herds gat sic a cowe, Folk thought them ruin'd stick-an-stowe, 'Till now amaist on ev'ry knowe

Ye'll find ane plac'd ; An' some, their new-light fair avow,

Just quite barefac'd.

Nae doubt the auld-light flocks are bleatin; Their zealous herds are vex'd an' sweatin; Mysel, I've even seen them greetin

Wi' girnin spite, To hear the moon sae sadly lie'd on

By word an' write.

But shortly they will cowe the louns ! Some auld-light herds in neebor towns Are mind't, in things they ca' balloons,

To tak a flight,

An' stay ae month amang the moons,

An' see them right.

Guid observation they will gie them ;
An' when the auld moon's gaun to lea'e them,
The hindmost shaird, they'll fetch it wi' them,

Just i’ their pouch,
An' when the new-light billies see them,

I think they'll crouch!

Sae, ye observe that a' this clatter
Is naething but a “moonshine matter;”.
But tho' dull prose-folk latin splatter

In logic tulzie,
I hope, we bardies ken some better

Than mind sic brulzie.

EPISTLE TO J. R******,


O rough, rude, ready-witted R******, The wale o cocks for fun and drinkin! There's monie godly folks are thinkin,

Your dreams an' tricks Will send you, Korah-like, a-sinkin,

Straught to auld Nick's.

Ye hae sae monie cracks an' cants, And in your wicked, drunken rants, Ye mak a devil o' the saunts,

An' fill them fou; And then their failings, flaws, an’ wants,

Are a' seen thro'.

Hypocrisy, in mercy spare it! That holy robe, 0 dinna tear it!

* A certain humorous dream of his was then making a noise in the country-side.

Spare't for their sakes wha aften wear it,

The lads in black;
But your curst wit, when it comes near it,

Rives't aff their back.

Think, wicked sinner, wha ye’re skaithing, It's just the blue-gown badge an' claithing O’ saunts; tak that, ye lea'e them naithing

To ken them by, Frae ony unregenerate heathen

Like you or I.

I've sent you here some rhyming ware,
A' that I bargain'd for an’ mair;
Sae, whan ye hae an hour to spare,

I will expect,
Yon sang*, ye'll sen't wi' cannie care,

And no neglect.

Tho’ faith, sma' heart hae I to sing! My muse dow scarcely spread her wing! I've play'd mysel a bonnie spring,

An' danc'd my fill! I'd better gaen an' sair'd the king

At Bunker's Hill.

'Twas ae night lately in my fun, I gaed a roving wi' the gun, An' brought a patrick to the grun,

A bonnie hen, And, as the twilight was begun,

Thought nane wad ken.

The poor wee thing was little hurt;
I straikit it a wee for sport,
Ne'er thinkin they wad fash me for't ;

But, deil-me-care !
Somebody tells the poacher-court

The hale affair.

* A song he had promised the author.

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