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on the violin but a pleasant man, and not a little of a wit. The Bard refers happily to his musical skill:
Come wealth, come poortith, late or soon,
A fifth or mair,
The melancholious lazie croon
O' cankrie care."
The unfortunate termination of his courtship with Jean Armour was often present to his mind: he alludes to it in the verse beginning with
"But by yon moon !-and that's high swearin,'
and contemplated his voyage to the West in the succeeding stanza. Some of the lines as well as the sentiments will remind the reader of the verses "On a Scotch Bard gone to the West Indies."
To David Auld of Ayr, I am indebted for a copy of this poem from the original in his possession. To him, as well as to the talents of my friend Thom, the admirers of Burns owe much. From the chisel of the latter came those clever personations of Tam O'Shanter and Souter Johnny, which attracted so much notice wherever they were exhibited-and to the love of the former for his native district, the little world of Ayrshire owes the continuance of those rustic statues on the banks of the Doon. They have found a not unsuitable sanctuary, and that, too, in the midst of the scene made immortal by the Bard.
THE BRIGS OF AYR,
INSCRIBED TO J. BALLANTYNE, ESQ., AYR.
THE simple Bard, rough at the rustic plough,
The soaring lark, the perching red-breast shrill,
Shall he, nurst in the peasant's lowly shed,
To hardy independence bravely bred,
By early poverty to hardship steel'd,
And train'd to arms in stern misfortune's field-
With all the venal soul of dedicating prose?
He glows with all the spirit of the Bard,
"Twas when the stacks get on their winter-hap, And thack and rape secure the toil-won crap; Potatoe-bings are snugged up frae skaith Of coming Winter's biting, frosty breath; The bees, rejoicing o'er their summer toils, Unnumber'd buds an' flow'rs' 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,
Mild, calm, serene, wide-spreads the noon-tide blaze,
Ae night, within the ancient brugh of Ayr,
To witness what I after shall narrate;
Or whether, rapt in meditation high,
He wander'd out he knew not where nor why)
When, lo! on either hand the list'ning Bard,
* A noted tavern at the Auld Brig end.
The two steeples.
The gos-hawk, or falcon.
Ane on th' Auld Brig his airy shape uprears,
Fays, Spunkies, Kelpies, a', they can explain them,
He seem'd as he wi' Time had warstl'd lang,
The Goth was stalking round with anxious search,
I doubt na', frien', ye'll think ye're nae sheep
Ance ye were streekit o'er frae bank to bank!