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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 :
I vow I'll close it;
An' if ye winna mak it clink,
By Jove, I'll prose it.
But I shall scribble down some blether
My worthy friend, ne'er grudge an' carp,
Wi' gleesome touch!
She's gien me monie a jirt an' fleg,
But, by the L-d,
I'll laugh, an' sing,
though I should beg
Now comes the sax and twentieth simmer
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.
In some bit brugh to represent
A Bailie's name?
Or i'st the paughty feudal Thane,
But lordly stalks,
While caps an' bonnets aff are taen,
As by he walks? ̈
'O Thou wha gies us each guid gift!
Thro' Scotland wide;
Wi' cit nor lairds I wadna shift,
In a' their pride !'
Were this the charter of our state,
On pain o' hell be rich an' great,' Damnation then would be our fate,
But, thanks to Heav'n, that's no the gate
We learn our creed.
For thus the royal mandate ran,
Whate'er he be,
'Tis he fulfils great Nature's plan,
An' none but he !'
O mandate, glorious and divine!
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,
Still closer knit in friendship's ties
Each passing year.
TO W. S*****N.
IGAT your letter, winsome Willie;
Wi' gratefu' heart I thank you brawlie;
An' unco vain,
Should I believe, my coaxen billie,
Your flatterin strain.
But I'se believe ye kindly meant it,
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,
The braes o' fame;
Or Ferguson! the writer-chiel,
A deathless name.
O Ferguson! thy glorious parts,
The tythe o' what ye waste at cartes
Wad stow'd his pantry!
Yet when a tale comes i' my head,
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
Or whare wild-meeting oceans boil
Ramsay an' famous Ferguson
Owre Scotland rings,
While Irwin, Lugar, Ayr, an' Doon,
Nae body sings.
Th' Ilissus, Tiber, Thames, an' Seine,
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,
Aft bure the gree, as story tells,
Frae southron billies..
At Wallace' name what Scotish blood
By Wallace side,
Still pressing onward, red-wat shod,
Or glorious died!
O sweet are Coila's haughs an' woods,
Their loves enjoy,
While thro' the braes the cushat croods
With wailfu' cry!
Ev'n winter bleak has charms to me,
Are hoary gray:
Or blinding drifts wild-furious flee,
Dark'ning the day!
O Nature! a' thy shews an' forms
Wi' life an' light,
Or winter howls, in gusty storms,
The lang dark night!
The muse nae poet ever fand her,
An' no think lang;
O sweet to stray an' pensive ponder
A heart-felt sang!
The warly race may drudge an' drive,
And I, wi' pleasure,
Shall let the busy grumbling hive
Bum owre their treasure.
Fareweel, my rhyme-composing brither!'
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: