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That ye're connected with her,
Ye're wae men, ye're nae men,

That slight the lovely dears;
To shame ye, disclaim ye,

Ilk honest birkie swears.
For you, no bred to barn and byre,
Wha sweetly tune the Scottish lyre,

Thanks to you for your line:
The marbled plaid ye kindly spare,
By me should gratefully be ware ;

'Twad please me to the nine.
I'd be mair vauntie o'my hap,

Douce hingin' owre my curple,
Than ony ermine ever lap,
Or proud imperial purple.
Fareweel then, lang heal then,

An' plenty be your fa’ :
May losses and crosses

Ne'er at your hallan ca'.
March, 1787.

TO J. LAPRAIK.*

Sept. 13th, 1785. P O FUID speed an' furder to you, Johny, MC Guid health, hale han's and weather

bonie; Recall Now when ye’re nickan down fu' cany

* This is the third Epistle from Burns to Lapraik. Allan Cunningham says, it was published by Lapraik in the collection of his own poems, but it does not occur therein, nor in any edition of Burns' Works prepared by himself. Cromek, however, printed it among the Reliques of Burns, in 808.

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The staff o'bread, May ye ne'er want a stoup o'brany

To clear your head.

May Boreas never thresh your rigs,
Nor kick your rickles aff their legs,
Sendin' the stuff o'er muirs an' hags

Like drivin’ wrack;
But may the tapmast grain that wags

Come to the sack.

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It's now twa month that I'm your debtor,
For your braw, nameless, dateless letter,
Abusin' me for harsh ill-nature

On holy men,
While Deil a hair yoursel ye're better,

But mair profane.

But let the kirk-folk ring their bells,
Let's sing about our noble sels ;
We'll cry nae jads frae heathen hills

To help, or roose us,
But browster wivest an’ whiskie stills,

They are the Muses.

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* A knife.

† Alehouse wives.

Your friendship, Sir, I winna quat it,
An' if ye mak objections at it,
Then han’ in nieve some day we'll knot it,

An' witness take,
An' when wi’ Usquebae we've wat it

It winna break.

But if the beast and branks be spar'd
Till kye be gaun without the herd,
An'a'the vittel in the yard,

An’theekit right,
I mean your ingle-side to guard

Ae winter night.
Then muse-inspirin' aqua-vitæ
Shall make us baith sae blithe an’ witty,
Till ye forget ye're auld an'gatty,

An' be as canty
As ye were nine years less than thretty,

Sweet ane an' twenty !

But stooks are cowpet * wi' the blast,
An' now the sinn keeks in the west,
Then I maun rin amang the rest

An' quit my chanter;
Sae I subscribe mysel in haste,

Your's, Rab the Ranter.t * Tumbled over.

+ “ It is very probable,” says Cromek, " that the Poe thus named himself after the ‘Border Piper,' so spiritedly introduced into the popular song of 'Maggie Lauder.'”

“For I'm a piper to my trade,

My name is Rob the Ranter ;
The lasses loup as they were daft,

When I blaw up my chanter."

TO THE REV. JOHN MʻMATH,* ENCLOSING A COPY OF HOLY WILLIE'S PRAYER,

WHICH HE HAD REQUESTED.

Sept. 17th, 1785.
HILE at the stook the shearers cowr

To shun the bitter blaudin' show'r,
VA Or in gulravage rinnin scour

To pass the time,
To you I dedicate the hour

In idle rhyme.

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My musie, tir'd wi' monie a sonnet
On gown, an' ban', an' douse black bonnet,
Is grown right eerie now she's done it,

Lest they shou'd blame her,
An' rouse their holy thunder on it,

And anathem her.

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I own 'twas rash, and rather hardy,
That I, a simple countra bardie,
Shou'd meddle wi' a pack so sturdy,

Wha, if they ken me,
Can easy, wi' a single wordie,

Loose hell upon me.

* This Epistle, says Mr. Allan Cunningham, was addressed to a very worthy minister in the west of Scotland, who believed and preached the New Light. It was written as an envelope to “Holy Willie's Prayer,” of which Mr. M'Math had requested a copy.

But I gae mad at their grimaces,
Their sighin', cantin', grace-proud faces, 20
Their three-mile prayers, and hauf-mile graces,

Their raxin' conscience,
Whase greed, revenge, an' pride disgraces

Waur nor their nonsense.

There's Gaun,* miska't waur than a beast,
Wha has mair honour in his breast
Than monie scores as guid's the priest

Wha sae abus'd him;
An' may a bard no crack his jest

What way they've us’d him ?

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See him,t the poor man's friend in need,
The gentleman in word an' deed,
An' shall his fame an' honour bleed

By worthless skellums,
An' no a muse erect her head

To cowe the blellums ?

O Pope, had I thy satire's darts
To gie the rascals their deserts,
I'd rip their rotten, hollow hearts,

An' tell aloud
Their jugglin' hocus-pocus arts

To cheat the crowd.

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God knows, I'm no the thing I shou'd be,
Nor am I even the thing I could be,

* Gavin Hamilton, Esq.

of Burns introduced the two first lines of this stanza into his “ Dedication" to Mr. Hamilton.

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