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To common sense they now appeal,
What wives an' wabsters see an' feel.
But, hark ye, friend, I charge you strictly,
Peruse them, an' return them quickly,
For now I'm grown sae cursed douse,
I pray an' ponder butt the house,
My shins, my lane, I there sit roastin',
Perusing Bunyan, Brown, an' Boston ;
Till by an' by, if I haud on,
I'll grunt a real Gospel-groan:
Already I begin to try it,
To cast my een up like a pyet,
When by the gun she tumbles o'er,
Flutt'ring an' gaspin in her gore :
Sae shortly you shall see me bright,
A burning an'a shining light.
My heart-warm love to guid auld Glen,
The ace an' wale of honest men :
When bending down wi' auld grey hairs,
Beneath the load of years and cares,
May He who made him still support him,
An' views beyond the grave comfort him.
His worthy fam’ly far and near,
God bless them a' wi' grace and gear !
My auld school-fellow, Preacher Willie, The manly tar, my mason Billie, An’ Auchenbay, I wish him joy ; If he's a parent, lass or boy, May he be dad, and Meg the mither Just five-and-forty years thegither ! An' no forgetting wabster Charlie, I'm tauld he offers very fairly. An' Lord, remember singing Sannock, Wi' hale-breeks, saxpence, an'a bannock.
An' next, my auld acquaintance, Nancy,
Since she is fitted to her fancy;
An' her kind stars hae airted till her
A good chiel wi' a pickle siller.
My kindest, best respects I sen' it,
To cousin Kate an' sister Janet ;
Tell them frae me, wi' chiels be cautious,
For, faith, they'll aiblins fin' them fashous :
To grant a heart is fairly civil,
But to grant a maidenhead's the devil.
An' lastly, Jamie, for yoursel,
May guardian angels tak a spell,
An' steer you seven miles south o' hell :
But first, before you see heav'n's glory,
May ye get monie a merry story,
Monie a laugh, and monie a drink,
An' aye enough o' neefu' clink.
Now fare ye weel, an' joy be wi' you,
For my sake this I beg it o' you,
Assist poor Simson a' ye can,
Ye'll fin' him just an honest man ;
Sae I conclude and quat my chanter,
Your's, saint or sinner,
ROB THE RANTER.
EPISTLE FROM ESOPUS TO MARIA.
FROM those drear solitudes and frowzy cells,
Where infamy with sad repentance dwells ;
Where turnkeys make the jealous portal fast,
And deal from iron hands the spare repast ;
Where truant 'prentices, yet young in sin,
Blush at the curious stranger peeping in;
Where strumpets, relics of the drunken roar,
Resolve to drink, nay, half to whore, no more ;
Where tiny thieves not destin'd yet to swing,
Beat hemp for others, riper for the string :
From these dire scenes my wretched lines I date,
To tell Maria her Esopus' fate.
'Alas! I feel I am no actor here!'
'Tis real hangmen, real scourges bear !
Prepare, Maria, for a horrid tale
Will turn thy very rouge to deadly pale ;
Will make thy hair, tho' erst from gipsy poll'd,
By barber woven, and by barber sold,
Though twisted smooth with Harry's nicest care,
Like hoary bristles to erect and stare.
The hero of the mimic scene, no more
I start in Hamlet, in Othello roar ;
Or haughty Chieftain, ʼmid the din of arms,
In Highland bonnet woo Malvina's charms ;
While sans culottes stoop up the mountain high,
And steal from me Maria's prying eye.
Bless'd Highland bonnet! Once my proudest dress,
Now prouder still, Maria's temples press.
I see her wave thy towering plumes afar,
And call each coxcomb to the wordy war.
I see her face the first of Ireland's sons,
And even out-Irish his Hibernian bronze ;
The crafty colonel leaves the tartan'd lines,
For other wars, where he a hero shines :
The hopeful youth, in Scottish senate bred,
Who owns a Bushby's heart without the head,
Comes ʼmid a string of coxcombs to display,
That veni, vidi, vici, is his way ;
The shrinking bard adown an alley skulks,
And dreads a meeting worse than Woolwich hulks ;
Though there, his heresies in church and state
Might well award him Muir and Palmer's fate :
Still she undaunted reels and rattles on,
And dares the public like a noontide sun.
(What scandal called Maria’s jaunty stagger,
The ricket reeling of a crooked swagger?
Whose spleen e’en worse than Burns's venom when
He dips in gall unmix'd his eager pen,
And pours his vengeance in the burning line,
Who christen'd thus Maria's lyre divine ;
The idiot strum of vanity bemused,
And even th' abuse of poesy abused ;
Who call’d her verse a parish workhouse, made
For motley, foundling fancies, stolen or stray'd ?)
A workhouse ! ah, that sound awakes my woes,
And pillows on the thorn my
In durance vile here must I wake and weep,
And all my frowzy couch in sorrow steep;
That straw where many a rogue has lain of yore,
And vermin'd gipsies litter'd heretofore..
Why, Lonsdale, thus thy wrath on vagrants pour,
Must earth no rascal, save thyself, endure ?
Must thou alone in guilt immortal swell,
And make a vast monopoly of hell ?
Thou know'st, the virtues cannot hate thee worse,
The vices also, must they club their curse?
Or must no tiny sin to others fall,
Because thy guilt's supreme enough for all ?
Maria, send me too thy griefs and cares ;
In all of thee sure thy Esopus shares.
As thou at all mankind the flag unfurls,
Who on my fair-one satire's vengeance hurls ?
Who calls thee pert, affected, vain coquette,
A wit in folly, and a fool in wit?
Who says that fool alone is not thy due,
And quotes thy treacheries to prove it true ?
Our force united on thy foes we'll turn,
And dare the war with all of woman born:
For who can write and speak as thou and I ?
My periods that decyphering defy,
And thy still matchless tongue that conquers all
EARTH'D up here lies an imp o' hell,
Planted by Satan's dibble-
Poor silly wretch, he's damn'd himsel
To save the Lord the trouble.
FAREWELL, dear Friend ! may guid luck hit you,
And, mang her favourites admit you !
If e'er Detraction shore to smit you,
May nane believe him !
And ony De'il that thinks to get you,
Good Lord deceive him.