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But yet the folk, afraid of fate,
Where once the man of cornel-wood
Through many a year of bad and good
Had kept his place, set up alone
Great Jove himself, cut in white stone,
But thickly overlaid with gold.
“Which,” saith my tale, “ you may behold
Unto this day, although indeed
Some lord or other, being in need,
Took every ounce of gold away."
this tale in some past day Being writ, I warrant all is
gone, Both gold and weather-beaten stone.
HEN chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neebors neebors meet,
As market-days are wearing late,
An' folk begin to tak the gate;
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
An' getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps, and stiles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Whare sits our sulky sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.
This truth fand honest Tam O'Shanter, As he frae Ayr ae night did canter (Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses, For honest men and bonnie lasses).
O Tam! hadst thou but been sae wise, As ta’en thy ain wife Kate's advice! She tauld thee weel thou wast a skellum, t
A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum;
That frae November till October,
Ae market-day thou was nae sober;
That ilka melder, f wi’ the miller,
Thou sat as lang as thou had siller ;
That every naig was ca’d a shoe on,
The smith and thee gat rvaring fou on;
That at the Lord's house, ev'n on Sunday,
Thou drank wi' Kirkton † Jean till Monday.
She prophesied that, late or soon,
Thou would be found deep drowned in Doon;
Or catched wi' warlocks i’ the mirk,
By Alloway's auld haunted kirk.
Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet, $
To think how mony counsels sweet,
How mony lengthened, sage advices,
The husband frae the wife despises !
But to our tale: Ae market night,
Tam had got planted unco right;
Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely,
Wi’reaming swats,|| that drank divinely;
And at his elbow, Souter Johnny,
His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony;
Tain lo’ed him like a vera brither;
They had been fou for weeks thegither.
* Idle talker.
† Every time that corn was sent to be ground.
| Kirkton is the distinctive name of a village in which the parish kirk stands.
s Makes me weep. || Frothing ale.
The night drave on wi' sangs and clatter;
And ay the ale was growing better :
The landlady and Tam grew gracious,
Wi’ favors, secret, sweet, and precious :
The souter * tauld his queerest stories ;
The landlord's laugh was ready chorus:
The storm without might rair and rustle,
Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.
Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
E’en drowned himself amang the nappy!
As bees flee hame wi’ lades o' treasure,
The minutes winged their way wi' pleasure:
Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,
O'er a' the ills o' life victorious!
But pleasures are like poppies spread, You seize the flower, its bloom is shed; Or like the snow falls in the river, A moment white, — then melts forever; Or like the borealis race, That flit ere you can point their place; Or like the rainbow's lovely form Evanishing amid the storm. Nae man can tether time or tide; The hour approaches Tam maun ride ; That hour, o’night's black arch the key-stane, That dreary hour he mounts his beast in; And sic a night he taks the road in, As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.
The wind blew as 't wad blawn its last;
The rattling showers rose on the blast;
The speedy gleams the darkness swallowed;
Loud, deep, and lang the thunder bellowed;
That night, a child might understand,
The Deil had business on his hand.
Weel mounted on his gray mare, Meg,
A better never lifted leg,
Tam skelpit * on through dub and mire,
Despising wind and rain and fire;
Whiles holding fast his gude blue bonnet;
Whiles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet ;
Whiles glow'ring round wi' prudent cares,
Lest bogles catch him unawares;
Kirk Alloway was drawing nigh,
Whare ghaists and houlets nightly cry.
By this time he was 'cross the ford, Whare in the snaw the chapman smoored ; † And past the birks & and meikle stane, Whare drunken Charlie brak 's neck-bane; And through the whins, and by the cairn, Whare hunters fand the murdered bairn; And near the thorn, aboon the well, Whare Mungo's mither hanged hersel. Before him Doon pours all his floods ; The doubling storm roars through the woods ; The lightnings flash from pole to pole ; Near and more near the thunders roll: When, glimmering through the groaning trees,
* Went at a smart pace. * Birches.