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That ye're connected with her,
That slight the lovely dears;
Ilk honest birkie swears.
Thanks to you for your line:
'Twad please me to the nine.
Douce hingin' owre my curple,
An' plenty be your fa’ :
Ne'er at your hallan ca'.
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.
The staff o'bread, May ye ne'er want a stoup o'brany
To clear your head.
May Boreas never thresh your rigs,
Like drivin’ wrack;
Come to the sack.
It's now twa month that I'm your debtor,
On holy men,
But mair profane.
But let the kirk-folk ring their bells,
To help, or roose us,
They are the Muses.
* A knife.
† Alehouse wives.
Your friendship, Sir, I winna quat it,
An' witness take,
It winna break.
But if the beast and branks be spar'd
Ae winter night.
An' be as canty
Sweet ane an' twenty !
But stooks are cowpet * wi' the blast,
An' quit my chanter;
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 ;
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.
To shun the bitter blaudin' show'r,
To pass the time,
In idle rhyme.
My musie, tir'd wi' monie a sonnet
Lest they shou'd blame her,
And anathem her.
I own 'twas rash, and rather hardy,
Wha, if they ken me,
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 raxin' conscience,
Waur nor their nonsense.
There's Gaun,* miska't waur than a beast,
Wha sae abus'd him;
What way they've us’d him ?
See him,t the poor man's friend in need,
By worthless skellums,
To cowe the blellums ?
O Pope, had I thy satire's darts
An' tell aloud
To cheat the crowd.
God knows, I'm no the thing I shou'd be,
* Gavin Hamilton, Esq.
of Burns introduced the two first lines of this stanza into his “ Dedication" to Mr. Hamilton.