« PreviousContinue »
'Twas in that place o' Scotland's isle,
That bears the name o' Aulk King Coil,
Upon a bonie day in June,
When wearing thro' the afternoon,
Twa dogs that were na thrang at hame,
Forgather'd ance upon a time.
The first I'll name, they ca'd him Cæsar,
Was keepit for his Honor's pleasure;
His hair, his size, his mouth, his lugs,
Show'd he was nane o' Sootland's dogs ;
But whalpit some place far abroad,
Where sailors gang to fish for cod,
His locked, letter'd, braw brass collar, Show'd him the gentleman and scholar; But tho' he was o' high degree, The fient a pride nae pride had he; But wad hae spent an hour caressin', Ev'n wi' a tinkler-gypsey's messin: At kirk or market, mill or smiddie, Nae tauted tyke, tho' e'er sae duddie, But he wad stan't, as glad to see him, And stroan't on stanes an hillocks wi' him.
The tither was a ploughman's collie,
A rhyming, ranting, raving billie,
Wha for his friend an' comrade had him,
And in his freaks had Luath ca'd him,
After some dog in Highland sang,
Was made lang syne-Lord knows how lang.
He was a gash an' faithful tyke,
As ever lap a sheugh or dyke.
His honest, sonsie, baws'nt face,
Ay gat him friends in ilka place.
His breast was white, his touzie back
Weel clad wi' coat o' glossy black;
His gawcie tail, wi' upward curl,
Hung o'er his hurdies wi' a swirl.
Nae doubt but they were fain o'ither,
An' unco pack an' thick thegither;
Wi' social nose whyles snuff
d and snowkit,
Whyles mice and moudieworts they howkit;
Whyles scour'd awa in lang excursion,
An' worry'd ither in diversion;
Until wir daffin weary grown,
Upon a knotve they sat them down,
* Cuthullin's dog in Ossian's Fingal.
And there began a lang digression
About the Lord's o' the Creation.
I've aften wondered, honest Luath,
What sort o' life poor dogs like you have;
An' when the gentry's life I saw,
What way poor bodies liv'd ava.
Our Laird gets in his racked rents,
His coals, his kain, and a' his stents:
He rises when he likes himsel';
His flunkies answer at the bell;
He ca's his coach, he ca's his horse;
He draws a bonie silken purse
As lang's my tail, where, thro' the steeks,
The yellow letter'd Geordie keeks.
Frae morn to e'en it's nought but toiling,
At baking, roasting, frying, boiling ;
An' tho' the gentry first are stechin,
Yet e'en the ha' folk fill their pechin
Wi' sauce, ragouts, and sic like trashtrie,
That's little short o' downright wastrie.
Our Whipper-in, wee blastit wonner,
Poor worthless elf, it eats a dinner,
Better than ony tenant man
His Honor has in a' the lan':
An' what poor cot-folk pit their painch in,
I own it's past my comprehension.
Trowth, Cæsar, wlyles they're fasht enough i
A cotter howkin in a sheugh,
Wi' dirty stanes begin a dyke,
Roring a quarry, and sic like,
Himself, a wife, he thus sustains,
A smytrie o' wee duddie weans,
An' nought but his hand darg, to keep
Them right and tight in thack an' rape.
As when they meet with sair disasters,
Like loss o' health, or want o' masters,
Ye maist wad think, a wee touch langer,
An' they maun starve o'cauld and hunger :
But, how it comes, I never kenn'd yet,
They're maistly wonderfu' contented;
An' buirdly chiels, and clever hizzies,
Are bred in sic a way as this is.
But then to see how ye're negleckit,
How huff'd, and cuff'd, and disrespeckit!
L-d, man, our gentry care as little
For delvers, ditchers, an' sic cattle ;
They gang as saucy by poor folk,
As I wad by a stinking brock.
I've notic'd on our Laird's court-day,
An' mony a time my heart's been wae,
Poor tenant bodies, scant o'cash,
How they maun thole a factor's snash :
He'll stamp an' threaten, curse and swear,
He'll apprehend them, poind their gear;
While they maun stan', wi' aspect humble;
An' hear it a', an' fear an' tremble!
I see how folks live that lae riches;
But surely poor folk maun be wretches?
LUATH. They're nae sae wretched's ane wad think; ho' constantly on poortith's brink :
They're sae accustom'd wi' the sight,
The view o't gies them little fright.
Then chance an’ fortune are sae guided,
They're ay in less or mair provided;
An' tho' fatigu'd with close employment,
A blink o' rest's a sweet enjoyment.
The dearest comfort o' their lives, Their grushie weans an' faithfu' wives; The prattling things are just their pride, That sweetens 'a their fire-side.
Au' whyles twalpennie worth c' nappy Can make the bodies unco happy i They lay aside their private cares, To mind the kirk and state affairs : They'll talk o'patronage and priests, Wi' kindling fury in their breasta, Or tell what new taxation's comin', An' ferlie at the folk in Lon'on.
As bleak-faced Hallowmas returns,
They get the jovial, ranting kirns,
When rural life, o' every station,
Unite in common recreation:
Love blinks, Wit slaps, and social Mirth,
Forgets there's Care upo' the earth.
That merry day the year begins,
They bar the door on frosty winds;
The nappy reeks wi' mantling reain,
An' sheds a heart-inspiring steam;
The luntin pipe, an' sneeshin mill,
Are handed round wi' right gude will;
The cantie auld folks crackin crouse,
The young anes rantin thro' the house-