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So dinna ye affront your trade,

But rhyme it right.

Shall bauld Lapraik, the king o' hearts, Tho' mankind were a pack o' cartes,

Roose ye sae weel for your deserts,

In terms sae friendly;

Yet ye'll neglect to shaw your parts,

An' thank him kindly!'

Sae I gat paper in a blink,

An' down gaed stumpie in the ink :
Quoth I, Before I sleep a wink,

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I vow I'll close it;

An' if ye 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,
Tho' fortune use you hard an' sharp :
Come, kittle up your moorland harp,

Wi' gleesome touch!
Ne'er mind how Fortune waft an' warp:
She's but a b-tch.

She's gien me monie a jirt an' fleg,
Sin I could striddle owre a rig;

But, by the L-d,

I'll laugh, an' sing,

though I should beg
Wi'lyart pow,
an' shake my leg,
As lang's I dow!

Now comes the sax and twentieth simmer
I've seen the bud upo' the timmer,

Still persecuted by the limmer

Frae year to year;

I, Rob, am here.

But yet, despite he kittle kimmer,

Do ye envy the city gent,

Behint a kist to lie an' sklent,

Or purse-proud, big wi' cent. per cent.
An' muckle wame,

In some bit brugh to represent

A Bailie's name?

Or i'st the paughty feudal Thane,
Wi' ruffled sark, an' glancing cane,
Wha thinks himsel nae sheep-shang bane,

But lordly stalks,

While caps an' bonnets aff are taen,

As by he walks? ̈

'O Thou wha gies us each guid gift!
Gie me o' wit an' sense a lift,
Then turn me, if Thou please, adrift,

Thro' Scotland wide;

Wi' cit nor lairds I wadna shift,

In a' their pride !'

Were this the charter of our state,

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On pain o' hell be rich an' great,' Damnation then would be our fate,

Beyond remead:

But, thanks to Heav'n, that's no the gate

We learn our creed.

For thus the royal mandate ran,
When first the human race began,
The social, friendly, honest man,

Whate'er he be,

'Tis he fulfils great Nature's plan,

An' none but he !'

O mandate, glorious and divine!
The followers o' the ragged Nine,
Poor thoughtless devils! yet may shine

In glorious light,

While sordid sons of Mammon's line

Are dark as night.

Tho' here they scrape, an' squeeze, an' growl, Their worthless nievefu' of a soul

May in some future carcass howl,

The forest's fright;

Or in some day-detesting owl

May shun the light.

Then may Lapraik and Burns arise,
To reach their native kindred skies,
And sing their pleasures, hopes, an' joys,
In some mild sp here,

Still closer knit in friendship's ties

Each passing year.

TO W. S*****N.


May, 1785.

IGAT your letter, winsome Willie;

Wi' gratefu' heart I thank you brawlie;
Tho' I maun say't, I wad be silly,

An' unco vain,

Should I believe, my coaxen billie,

Your flatterin strain.

But I'se believe ye kindly meant it,
I sud be laith to think ye hinted
Ironic satire, sidelens sklented

On my poor musie :

Tho' in sic phrasin terms ye've penn'd it,

I scarce excuse ye.

My senses wad be in a creel,
Should I but dare a hope to speel,
Wi' Allen, or wi' Gilbertfield,

The braes o' fame;

Or Ferguson! the writer-chiel,

A deathless name.

O Ferguson! thy glorious parts,
Ill suited law's dry musty arts!
My curse upon your whunstane hearts,
Ye Enbrugh gentry!

The tythe o' what ye waste at cartes

Wad stow'd his pantry!

Yet when a tale comes i' my head,
Or lasses gie my heart a screed,

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As whiles they're like to be my deed,

(O sad disease!)

A kittle up my rustic reed:

It gies me ease.

Auld Coila now may fidge fu' fai,

She's gotten poets o' her ain,

Chiels wha their chanters winna hain,

But tune their lays

Till echoes a' resound again

Her weel-sung praise.

Nae poet thought it worth his while
To set her name in measur'd stile;
She lay like some unkenn'd-of isle

Beside New-Holland,

Or whare wild-meeting oceans boil

Besouth Magellan.

Ramsay an' famous Ferguson
Gied Forth an' Tay a lift aboon ;
Yarrow an' Tweed to monie a tune,

Owre Scotland rings,

While Irwin, Lugar, Ayr, an' Doon,

Nae body sings.

Th' Ilissus, Tiber, Thames, an' Seine,
Glide sweet in monie a tuneful line!
But, Willie, set your fit to mine,

We'll gar our streams an' burnie's shine

An' cock your crest,

Up wi' the best.

We'll sing auld Coila's

plains an' fells,

Her banks an' braes,

Her moors red-brown wi' heather bells,

her dens and dells,
Where glorious Wallace

Aft bure the gree, as story tells,

Frae southron billies..

At Wallace' name what Scotish blood
But boils up in a spring-tide flood!
Oft have our fearless fathers strode

By Wallace side,

Still pressing onward, red-wat shod,

Or glorious died!

O sweet are Coila's haughs an' woods,
When lintwhites chant among the buds,
And jinkin hares, in amorous whids,

Their loves enjoy,

While thro' the braes the cushat croods

With wailfu' cry!

Ev'n winter bleak has charms to me,
When winds rave thro' the naked tree;
Or frosts on hills of Ochiltree

Are hoary gray:

Or blinding drifts wild-furious flee,

Dark'ning the day!

O Nature! a' thy shews an' forms
To feeling pensive hearts hae charms!
Whether the summer kindly warms

Wi' life an' light,

Or winter howls, in gusty storms,

The lang dark night!

The muse nae poet ever fand her,
Till by himsel he learn'd to wander,
Adown some trotting burn's meander,

An' no think lang;

O sweet to stray an' pensive ponder

A heart-felt sang!

The warly race may drudge an' drive,
Hog-shouther, jundie, stretch, an' strive,
Let me fair nature's face descrive,

And I, wi' pleasure,

Shall let the busy grumbling hive

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Bum owre their treasure.

Fareweel, my rhyme-composing brither!'
We've been owre lang unken'd to ither:
Now let us lay our heads thegither,

In love fraternal:

Black fiend, infernal!

May envy wallop in a tether,

While Highlandmen hate tolls an' taxes; While moorlan' herds like guid fat braxies:

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