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But gie them guid cow-milk their fill,
“ An' may they never learn the gaets
“ My poor toop-lamb, my son an' heir,
“ An' niest my yowie, silly thing,
“ And now, my bairns, wi' my last breathe I lea'e my blessin wi' you baith: An' when you think upo' your mither, Mind to be kin' to ane anither.
Now, honest Hughoc, dinna fail To tell my master a' my tale ; An' bid him burn this cursed tether, An', for thy pains, thou’se get my blether."
This said, poor Mailie turn'd her head, An' clos'd her een amang the dead."
Lament in rhyme, lament in prose, Wi' saut tears trickling down your nose; Our bardie's fate is at a close,
Past a' remead; The last sad cape-stane of his woes;
Poor Mailie's dead!
It's no the loss o' warl's gear, That could sae bitter draw the tear, Or mak our bardie, dowie, wear
The mourning weed : He's lost a friend and neebor dear,
In Mailie dead.
Thro' a' the toun she trotted by him ; A lang half-mile she could descry him; Wi' kindly bleat, when she did spy him,
She ran wi' speed: A friend mair faithfu' ne'er cam nigh hijo,
Than Mailie dead.
I wat she was a sheep o' sense, An' could behave hersel wi' mense : I'll say't, she never brak a fence,
• Thro' thievish greeds. Our bardie, lanely, keeps the spence
Sin' Mailic's dead.
Or, if he wanders up the bowe,
For bits o' bread;
For Mailie dead.
She was nae get o' moorland tips, I to wted ket, an' hairy hips ;
For her forbears were brought in ships
Frae yont the Tweed : A bonier fleesh ne'er cross'd the clips
Than Mailie's dead.
Wae worth the man wha first did shape
Wi' chokin dread;
For Mailie dead.
0, a' ye bards on bonie 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.
TO J. S****.
Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul :
Dear S****, the sleest, paukie thief,
Owre human hearts;
Against your arts.
For me, I swear by sun and moon, And ev'ry star that blinks aboon, Ye've cost me twenty pair o' shoon
Just gaun to see you ; And ev'ry ither pair that's done,
Mair taen I'm wi' you,
That auld capricious carlin, nature, To mak amends for scrimpit stature, She's turn'd you off, a human creature
On her first plan, And in her freaks, on ev'ry feature,
She's wrote, the man.
Just now I've taen the fit o' rhyme, My barmie noddle's working prime, My fancy yerkit up sublime
Wi' hasty summon : Hae ye a leisure-luoment's time
To hear wbat's comin!
Some rhyme a neebor's name to lash;
An' raise a din;
I rhyme for fun.
The star that rules my luckless lot,
But in requit,
O countra wit.
This while my notion's taen a sklent, To try my fate in guid, black prent; But still the mair I'm that way bent,
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 ensur'd their debtors,
A' future ages; Now moths deform in shapeless tetters,
Their unknown pages."
Then farewel hupes 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'll lay me with th' inglorious dead,
Forgot and gone!
But why o' death begin a tale ? Just now we're living sound and hale, Then top and maintop croud the sail,
Heave care o'er side! And large, before enjoyment’s gale,
Let's tak the tide,
This life, sae far's I understand,
That, wielded right,
Dance by fu’ light.
The magic-wand then let us wield; For, ance that five-an’-forty's speeld, See crazy, weary, joyless eild,
Wi' wrinkld face, Comes hostin, hirplin owre the field,
Wi' creepin pace.
When ance life's day draws near the gloamin, Then fareweel vacant careless roamin; An' fareweel chearfu' tankards foamin,
An' social noise ; An' fareweel dear, deluding woman,
The joy of joys!