« PreviousContinue »
My heart has been sảe fain to see thero,
That I for joy hae barkit wi' them.
Still it's owre true that ye hae said,
Sic game is now owre aften play'd.
There's monie a creditable stock
O'decent, honest, fawsont folk,
Are riven out baith root and branch,
Some rascal's pridfu' greed to quench,
Wha thinks to knit nimsel' the faster
In favor wi' some gentle Master,
Wha, aiblins, thrang a-parliamentin,
For Britain's guid his saul indentin-
Haith, lad, ye little ken about it;
For Britain's guid! guid faith! I doubt it;
Say, rather, gaun as Premiers lead him,
An' saying aye or no's they bid him:
At operas an' plays parading;
Mortgaging, gambling, masquerading;
Or, may be, in a frolic daft,
To Hague or Calais takes a waft;
To make a tour, an' tak a whirl,
To learn bon ton an' see the worl'.
There, at Vienna or Versailles,
He rives his father's auld entrails;
Or by Madrid he takes the rout,
To thrum guitars, and fecht wi' nowt;
Or down Italian vista stariles,
Wh-re-hunting among groves o' myrtles:
Then bouses drumbly German water,
To mak himsel look fair and fatter,
An' clear the consequential sorrows,
Love-gifts of Carnival signoras.
For Britain's guid! for her destruction!
Wi' dissipation, feud, an' faction.
Hech man! dear sirs! is that the gate
They waste sae mony a braw estate!
Are we sae foughten an' harass'd
For gear to gang that gate at last!
O would they stay aback frae courts,
An' please themselves wi' countra sports,
It wad for every ane be better,
The Laird, the Tenant, an' the Cotter!
For thae frank, rantin, ramblin billies,
Fient haet o' them's ill-hearted fellows!
Except for breakin o' their timmer,
Or speakin lightly o' their limmer,
Or shootin o' a hare or moor-cock,
The ne'er a bit they're ill to poor folk.
But will you tell me, Master Cæsar,
Sure great folk's life's a life o' pleasure?
Nae cauld or hunger e'er can steer them,
The vera thought o't need na fear them.
CÆSAR. L-d, man, were ye but whyles whare I am, The gentles ye wad ne'er envy'em.
It's true, they need nae starve or sweat,
Thro' winter's cauld, or simmer's heat;
They've nae sair wark to craze their banęs,
An' All auld age wi' grips an' granés :
But human bodies are sic fools,
For a' their colleges and schools,
That when nae real ills perplex them,
They make enow themsels to vex them;
An'ay the less they hae to sturt them,
In like proportion less will hurt them.
A country-fellow at the pleugh,
His acres tillid, he's right eneugh;
A country girl at her wheel,
Her dizzen's done, she's unco weel:
But Gentlemen, and Ladies warşt,
Wi' ev'n down want o' wark are curst.
They loiter, lounging, lank, and lazy ;
Tho' deil haet ails them, yet uneasy ;
Their days insipid, dull, an' tasteless;
Their nights unquiet, lang, and restless :
An' e'en their sports, their balls, an' races,
Their galloping thro' public places.
There's sic parade, sic pomp, an' art,
The joy can scarcely reach the heart.
The men cast out in party matches,
Then sowther a' in deep debauches;
Ae night they're mad wi' drink an’ wh-ring,
Niest day their life is past enduring:
The ladies arm-in-arm in clusters,
As great and gracious a' as sisters;
But hear their absent thoughts o'ither,
They're a' run deils an' jades thegither.
Whyles, o'er the wee bit cup an' platie,
They sip the scandal potion pretty
Or lee-larg nights, wi' crabbit leuks
Pore owre the devil's pictur'd beuks ;
Stake on a chance a farmer's stackyard,
An' cheat like ony unhang'd blackguard.
There's some exception, man an’ woman ;
But this is gentry's life in common.
this, the sun was out o' sight,
ker gloaming brought the night.
The bum-clock humm'd wi' lazy drone;
The kye stood rowtin i’ the loan:
When up they gat, and shook their lugs,
Rejoic'd they were na men but dogs;
An each took'aff his several way,
Resolv'd to meet some ither day.
Inscribed to J. B*********, Esq. Ayr. The simple Bard, rough at the rustic plough, Learning his tuneful trade from ev'ry bough; The chanting linnet, or the mellow ihrush, Hailing the setting sun, sweet, in the green thorn
bush; The soaring lark, the perching red-breast shrill, Or deep-ton'd plovers, grey, wild-whistling oer the Shall he, nurst in the peasant's lowly shed, To hardy independence bravely bred, By early Poverty to hardship steeld, And train'd to arms in stern Misfortune's field; Shall he be guilty of their hireling crimes, The servile, mercenary Swiss of rhymes ? Or labor hard the panegyric close, With all the venal soul of dedicating prose ? No! though his artless strains he rudely sings, And throws his hand uncouthly o'er the strings, He glows with all the spirit of the Bard, Fame, honest fame, his great, his dear reward
Still, if some patron's gen'rous care he trace,
Skill'd in the secret, to bestow with grace;
When B********* befriends his humble name,
And hands the rustic stranger up to fame,
With heart-felt throes his grateful bosom swells,
The god-like bliss, to give, alone excels.
'Twas when the stacks get on their winter-hap, And thack and rape secure the toil-worn crap; Potatoe-bings are snugged up frae skaith Of coming Winter's biting, frosty breath ; The bees, rejoicing o'er their summer toils, Unnumbered buds, an' flowers' delicious spoils
, Seal'd up with frugal care in massive waxen piles, Are doom'd by man, that tyrant o'er the weak, The death o' devils smoor'd wi' brimstone reek : The thundering guns are heard on ev'ry side, The wounded coveys, reeling, scatter wide; The feather'd field-mates, bound by nature's tie, Sires, mothers, children, in one carnage lie: (What warm, poetic heart, but inly bleeds, And execrates man's savage, ruthless deeds!) Nae mair the flow'r in field or meadow springs; Nae mair the grove with airy concert rings, Except perhaps the Robin's
whistling glee, Proud o' the height o' some bit half-lang tree : The hoary morns precede the sunny days,[blaze, Mild, calm, seiene, wide spreads the noon-tide While thick the gossamour waves wanton in the
rays. ''Twas in that season, when a simple Bard, Unkņown and poor, simplicity's reward; Ae night, within the ancient hurgh of Ayr, Bu wħim inspir'd, or haply press'd wi' care ;