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ON HEARING A THRUSH SING IN A MORNING WALK IN JANUARY, WRITTEN 25TH JANUARY, 1793,

THE BIRTH-DAY OF THE AUTHOR, R. B. AGED 34.

SURING on, sweet Thrush, upon the leafless

bough; Sing on, sweet bird, I listen to thy

strain : See aged Winter, ʼmid his surly reign, At thy blithe carol clears his furrow'd brow.

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ET

So in lone Poverty's dominion drear

Sits meek Content with light unanxious heart,

Welcomes the rapid moments, bids them part, Nor asks if they bring aught to hope or fear.

I thank Thee, Author of this opening day!

Thou whose bright sun now gilds the orient skies !

Riches denied, Thy boon was purer joys, 11 What wealth could never give nor take away !

Yet come, thou child of poverty and care ;
The mite high Heav'n bestow'd, that mite with

thee I'll share.

* Collated with a MS. on which Burns has written, “To Mr. Syme, from the Author.” It does not occur in the edition of 1793 or 1794.

POEM, ADDRESSED TO MR. MITCHELL,

COLLECTOR OF EXCISE, DUMFRIES, 1796.

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VaR wa DIN CAD.

YO RIEND of the Poet, tried and leal, 1 9 Wha, wanting thee, might beg or steal; Alake, alake, the meikle Deil

Wi' a' his witches Are at it, skelpin! jig and reel,

In my poor pouches.

I modestly fu' fain wad hint it,
That one pound one, I sairly want it:
If wi' the hizzie down ye sent it,

It would be kind;
And while my heart wi' life-blood dunted,

I'd bear't in mind.

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So may the auld year gang out moaning
To see the new come laden, groaning,
Wi' double plenty o'er the loanin

To thee and thine ;
Domestic peace and comforts crowning

The hale design.

POSTSCRIPT.

YE've heard this while how I've been licket,
And by fell death was nearly nicket :
Grim loun! he gat me by the fecket,

And sair me sheuk;

But by guid luck I lap a wicket,

And turn'd a neuk.

But by that health, I've got a share o't,
And by that life, I'm promis'd mair o't, *
My heal and weal I'll take a care o't

A tentier way:
Then fareweel folly, hide and hair o't,

For ance and aye.

30

SENT TO A GENTLEMAN WHOM HE

HAD OFFENDED.

XHE friend whom wild from wisdom's way
D The fumes of wine infuriate send;

(Not moony madness more astray ;)

Who but deplores that hapless friend?

Mine was th' insensate frenzied part,

Ah why should I such scenes outlive? Scenes so abhorrent to my heart !

'Tis thine to pity and forgive.

* The Poet's hopes, alas! were not realized. He died soon after these lines were written.

† Allan Cunningham says the excess, which the Poet laments, occurred at the table of Mrs. Riddel, and that under the influence of wine, he had spoken of “ thrones” and “dominations” and “epauletted puppies,” in terms which gave offence.

POEM ON LIFE, ADDRESSED TO COLONEL

DE PEYSTER,* DUMFRIES, 1796.
YOY honour'd Colonel, deep I feel
B Your interest in the Poet's weal;
Ah! now sma' heart hae I to speel

The steep Parnassus,
Surrounded thus by bolus pill,

And potion glasses.

O what a canty warld were it,
Would pain, and care, and sickness spare it ;
And fortune favour worth and merit,

As they deserve:
(And aye a rowth, roast beef and claret;

Syne wha wad starve ?)

10

Dame Life, tho’ fiction out may trick her,
And in paste gems and fripp'ry deck her;
Oh! flick'ring, feeble, and unsicker

I've found her still,
Aye wav'ring like the willow wicker,

'Tween good and ill.

Then that curst carmagnole, auld Satan,
Watches, like baudrans by a rattan,

20

• Colonel De Peyster had distinguished himself in the American war, and afterwards commanded the volunteers of Dumfries, to which corps Burns belonged. These verses were written in the Poet's last illness.

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Ah Nick! ah Nick ! it isna fair,
First shewing us the tempting ware,
Bright wines and bonie lasses rare,

To put us daft;
Syne weave, unseen, thy spider snare

O’hell's damn'd waft.

Poor man, the flie, aft bizzies by,
And aft as chance he comes thee nigh,
Thy auld damn'd elbow yeuks with joy,

And hellish pleasure ;
Already in thy fancy's eye,

Thy sicker treasure.

Soon heels-o'er-gowdy! in he gangs,
And like a sheep-head on a tangs,
Thy girning laugh enjoys his pangs

And murd'ring wrestle,
As, dangling in the wind, he hangs

A gibbet's tassel.

40

But lest you think I am uncivil,
To plague you with this draunting drivel,
Abjuring a' intentions evil,

I quat my pen:
The Lord preserve us frae the Devil !

Amen! amen!

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