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Faites mes baissemains respectueuse,
To sentimental sister Susie,
An' honest Lucky; no to roose you,
Ye may be proud,
That sic a couple fate allows ye
To grace your blood.
Nae mair at present can I measure,
An' trowth my rhymin' ware's nae treasure ;
But when in Ayr, some half hour's leisure,
Be't light, be't dark,
Sir Bard will do himself the pleasure
To call at Park.
ROBERT BURNS. Mossgiel, 30th October, 1786.
EPITAPH ON THE POET'S DAUGHTER.
HERE lies a rose, a budding rose,
Blasted before its bloom ;
Whose innocence did sweets disclose
Beyond that flower's perfume.
To those who for her loss are grieved,
This consolation's given-
She's from a world of woe relieved,
And blooms a rose in Heaven.
EPITAPH ON GABRIEL RICHARDSON.
HERE Brewer Gabriel's fire's extinct,
And empty all his barrels :
He's blest—if, as he brew'd, he drink
In upright honest morals.
HERE Stuarts once in glory reign’d,
And laws for Scotland's weal ordain'd;
But now unroof'd their palace stands,
Their sceptre's sway'd by other hands;
The injured Stuart line is gone,
A race outlandish fills their throne.
An idiot race to honour lost,
Who know them best, despise them most.
ON BEING TOLD THAT THE ABOVE VERSES
WOULD AFFECT HIS PROSPECTS.
RASH mortal, and slanderous poet, thy name
Shall no longer appear in the records of fame ;
Dost not know that old Mansfield, who writes like
the Bible, Says the more 'tis a truth, sir, the more 'tis a libel ?
LIKE Esop's lion, Burns says, sore I feel
All others scorn--but damn that ass's heel.
In this strange land, this uncouth clime,
A land unknown to prose or rhyme ;
Where words ne'er crost the Muse's heckles,
Nor limpit in poetic shackles;
A land that prose did never view it,
Except when drunk he stacher't through it;
Here, ambush'd by the chimla cheek,
Hid in an atmosphere of reek,
I hear a wheel thrum i' the neuk,
I hear it-for in vain I leuk.-
The red peat gleams, a fiery kernel,
Enhusked by a fog infernal :
Here, for my wonted rhyming raptures,
I sit and count my sins by chapters ;
For life and spunk like ither Christians,
I'm dwindled down to mere existence,
Wi' nae converse but Gallowa' bodies,
Wi’ nae kend face but Jenny Geddes.
Jenny, my Pegasean pride!
Dowie she saunters down Nithside,
And ay a westlin leuk she throws,
While tears hap o'er her auld brown nose !
Was it for this, wi' canny care,
Thou bure the Bard through many a shire ?
At howes or hillocks never stumbled,
And late or early never grumbled ?-
O, had I power like inclination,
I'd heeze thee up a constellation,
To canter with the Sagitarre,
Or loup the ecliptic like a bar ;
Or turn the pole like any arrow ;
Or, when auld Phoebus bids good-morrow,
Down the zodiac urge the race,
And cast dirt on his godship’s face;
For I could lay my bread and kail
He'd ne'er cast saut upo' thy tail.—
Wi' a' this care and a' this grief,
And sma', sma' prospect of relief,
And nought but peat reek i’ my head,
How can I write what ye can read ?-
Tarbolton, twenty-fourth o' June,
Ye'll find me in a better tune ;
But till we meet and weet our whistle,
Tak this excuse for nae epistle.
TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE HIGHLAND SOCIETY.
LONG life, my Lord, an' health be yours,
Unskaith'd by hunger'd Highland boors ;
Lord grant nae duddie desperate beggar,
Wi' dirk, claymore, or rusty trigger,
May twin auld Scotland o' a life
She likesmas lambkins like a knife.
Faith, you and Applecross were right
To keep the Highland hounds in sight,
I doubt na’! they wad bid nae better
Than let them ance out owre the water
Than up amang thae lakes and seas
They'll mak’ what rules and laws they please ;
Some daring Hancocke, or a Franklin,
May set their Highland bluid a ranklin';
Some Washington again may head them,
Or some Montgomery fearless lead them,
Till God knows what may be effected
When by such heads and hearts directed-
Poor dunghill sons of dirt and mire
May to Patrician rights aspire !
Nae sage North, now,
To watch and premier o'er the pack vile,
An' whare will ye get Howes and Clintons
To bring them to a right repentance,
To cowe the rebel generation,
An' save the honour o' the nation ?
They an' be d-
-d! what right hae they
To meat or sleep, or light o' day!
Far less to riches, pow'r, or freedom,
But what your lordship likes to gie them ?
But hear, my lord ! Glengarry, hear!
Your hand's owre light on them, I fear;
Your factors, grieves, trustees, and bailies,
I canna' say but they do gaylies ;
They lay aside a' tender mercies,
An' tirl the hallions to the birses;
Yet while they're only poind't and herriet,
They'll keep their stubborn Highland spirit ;
But smash them ! crash them a' to spails !
An' rot the dyvors i’ the jails !
The young dogs, swinge them to the labour !
Let wark an' hunger mak’ them sober !
The hizzies, if they're aughtlins fawsont,
Let them in Drury-lane be lesson’d!
An' if the wives an' dirty brats
E’en thigger at your doors an' yetts
Flaffan wi' duds an' grey wi' beas',