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It pat me fidgin-fain to hear't, And sae about him there I spier't, 'Then a' that kent bim round declar'd

He had ingine, That pane excell'd it, few

cam near't, It was sae fine.

That set him to a pint of ale,
An' either douce or merry tale,
Of rhymes an' sangs he'd inade himsel,

Or witty catches,
"Tween Inverness and Tiviotdale,

He had few matches.

Then up I gat, an' swore an aith,
Though I should pawn my pleugh and graith
Or die a cadger-pownie's


At some dyke-back,
A pint an' gill I'd gie them baith

To hear your crack.
But first an' foremost, I should tell.
Amaist as soon as I could spell,
I to the crambo-jingle fell,

'Tho' rude an' rough, Yet crooning to a body's sel,

Does weel enough.
I am nae Poet, in a sense,
But just a Rhymer, like, by chance,
An' hae to learning nae pretence,

Yet what tha matter?
Whene'er my Muse does on me glance;

I jingle at her.
Your critic-folk inay cock their nose,
And say, “How can you e'er propose,

You wha ken hardly verse frae prose,

To mak a sang?But, by your leaves, my learned foes,

Ye're may be wrang. What's a' your jargon o' your schools, Your Latin names for horns an' stools, If honest Nature made you fools,

What sairs your grammars? Ye'd better taen up spades and shools,

Or knappin-hammers.
A set o' dull, conceited hashes,
Confuse their brains in college classes!
'They gang in stirks, and come out asses,

Plain truth to speak :
An' syne they think to climb Parnassus

By dint o' Greek!
Gje me ae spark o' Nature's fire,
That's a' the learning I desire;
Then tho' I drudge thro' dub an' mire

At pleugh or cart,
My Muse, tho' hamely in attire,

May touch the heart.
O for a spunk o' Allan's glee,
Or Fergusson's, the bauld and slee,
Or bright Larpraik's, my friend to be,

If I can hit it!
That would be lear enough for me,

If I could get it!
Now, sir, if ye hae friends enow,
Tho' real friends, I b’lieve are few,
Yet, if your catalogue be fou,

I’se no insiste

But gif ye want a friend that's true,

I'm on your list.
I winna blaw about mysel;
As ill I like my fauts to tell;
But friends, and folk that wish me well,

They sometimes roose me,
Tho' I maun own, as monie still

As far abuse me.

There's ae wee faut they whyles lay to me, I like the lasses–Gude forgie me! For monie a plack they wheedle frae me

At dance or fair;
Maybe some ither thing they gie me,

They weel can spare.
But Mauchline race, or Mauchline fair,
I should be proud to meet you there;
We'se gie ae night's discharge to care,

If we forgather,
An' hae a swap o' rhymin-ware

Wi' ane anither. The four-gill chap, we'se gar him clatter, An' kirsen him wi' reekin water; Syoe we'll sit down an' tak our whitter,

To cheer our heart; An' faith, we'se be acquainted better

Before we part.

Awa, ye selfish, warly race, Wha think that havins, sense an! grace, Ev'n love an' friendship should give place

To catch-the-plack ! I dinna like to see your face,

Nor hear your crack,

But ye whom social pleasure charms, Whose hearts the tide of kindness warms, Who hold your being on the terms,

" Each aid the others!” Come to my bowl, come to my arms,

My friends, my brothers! But, to conclude my lang epistle, As my auld pen's worn to the grissle ; Twa lines frae you wad gar me fissle,

Who am, most fervent, While I can either sing or whissle,

Your friend and servant:


April 21, 1785.

WHILE new-ca'd kye rout at the stake,
An' pownies reek in pleugh or braik,
This hour on e'enin's edge I take,

To own I'm debtor
To hopest-hearted, auld Lapraik,

For his kind letter.

Forjesket sair, with weary legs, Rattlin the corn out-owre the rigs, Or dealing thro' amang the naigs

Their ten-hours bite, My awkart Muse sair pleads and begs.

I would na write.

The tapetless ramfeezld hizzie, She's saft at best, and something lazy, Quo' she, “ Ye ken, we've been sae busy,

This month an' mair,
That trouth my head is grown right dizzie,

And something sair."
Her dowff excuses pat me mad:
"Conscience,” says I, “ye thowless jad!
I'll write, an' that a hearty blaud,

That vera night;
So dinna ye affront your trade,

But rhyme it right. "Shall bauld Lapraik, the king o' hearts, Tho' mankind were a pack of cartes, Roose you sae weel for your deserts,

In terms sae friendly,
Yet ye'll neglect to show your parts,

And thank him kindly!":
Sac I gat paper in a blink,
An' down gaed stumpie in the ink:
Quoth I, “Before I sleep a wink,

I vow I'll close it;
An' if you winna mak it clink,

By Jove I'll prose it!" Sae I've begun to scrawl, but whether In rhyme or prose, or baith thegither, Or some hotch-potch that's rightly neither,

Let time mak proof; But I shall scribble down some blether

Just clean aff-loof, My worthy friend, ne'er grudge an' carp, Thos fortune use you hard an' sharp;

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