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Hae I a wish? it's a' for thee; s,
I ken thy wish is me to please ; Our moments pass so smooth away, !", That numbers on us look and gaze:
Weel pleased they see our happy days,
when weary cares arise,
I'll lay me there, and take my rest,
And if that aught disturb my dear, ,
And beg her not to drop a tear :
United still her heart and mine;
That's twined till death shall them disjoin.
The great and merited success of Burns inspired many of the rustics of Scotland with a belief, that as they equalled him in condition and in education, they also equalled him in genius. Volume followed volume, and it was long before the contempt or the neglect of mankind succeeded in silencing their idle strains. Among them came forward John Lapraik, portioner of Dalfram, near Muirkirk, in Ayrshire, the correspondent of Burns, and to whom the youthful poet, ambitious of distinction, had addressed several of his most exquisite poetic epistles. But of all the verses with which Lapraik courted public notice, time has left us nothing, save the present song. It obtained the early admiration of Burns; and had it wanted such patronage, the poetical compliment which he paid it would have secured it from forgetfulness.
Lapraik, in a moment when he forgot whether he was rich or poor, became security for some persons concerned in a ruinous speculation called the Ayr Bank, and was compelled to sell his little estate on which his name had been sheltered for many centuries. His securities were larger than the produce of his ground covered, and he found his way into the jail of Ayr when he was sixty years old. In this uncomfortable abode, his son told me, he composed this song: it is reconcilable with the account which he gave to Burns, that he made it one day when his wife had been mourning over their misfortunes.
MY GODDESS, WOMAN.
Of mighty Nature's handy-works,
The common or uncommon,
Can be compared to woman.
From dawing to the gloamin;
Are a' to please thee, woman.
The sailor spreads the daring sail,
Through billows chafed and foaming,
To please thee, lovely woman.
In distant climates roaming;
Before thee, conquering woman.
The monarch leaves his golden throne,
With other men in common,
A subject to thee, woman.
Barbarian, Greek, or Roman,
Without my goddess, woman?
This very clever song has failed to find public favour : the ladies, on whom it lavishes such praise, have treated it with coldness and neglect. It first appeared in Johnson's Musical Museum: the author's name is John Learmont, and he was a gardener at Dalkeith. He was one of those lesser spirits whom the success of Burns called into the world for a little space. He seems to have had some of the right stuff about him for a lyric poet. This song is very happily imagined, but the execution is unequal.
THE WAYWARD WIFE.
Alas! my son, you little know
Your hopes are high, your wisdom small,
Stay Solway's tide, rule Criffel's wind,
love she'll mock and scorn, Weep when you sing, sing when you mourn; Her nimble tongue and fearless hand Are ensigns of her high command.
When I, like you, was young and free,
you, my boast was bold and vain, That men alone were born to reign.
Great Hercules and Sampson too
Stout gates of brass, and well-built walls,
This clever song was written by Miss Jenny Grahame of Dumfries, a maiden lady of lively wit, fascinating manners, and in her youth one of the most accomplished dancers in the district. She composed many other verses, but the present song alone escaped from her hand into popularity. In the Orlando Furioso of Sir John Harrington we meet with the proverbial line,
The black oxe has not trod on their toe;
and in the north of England it still continues to be applied in the manner of the song.