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Ye've nought to do but mark and tell
Your neibours' fauts and folly!
Supplied wi' store o' water;
2 Hear me, ye venerable core,3
As counsel for poor mortals
For glaiket5 Folly's portals:
Would here proponer defences-
Their failings and mischances.
Who made the heart, 'tis He alone
Decidedly can try ns; He knows each chord, its various tone,
Each spring, its various bias: Then at the balance let's be mute,
We never can adjust it; What's done we partly may compute,
But know not what's resisted. .
TO A MOUSE
Wi' bickering2 brattle!3
Wi' murd'rin pattle! 4
Ye see your state wi' theirs compar'd,
And shudder at the niffer ;8
What makes the mighty differ 29
That purity ye pride in; And (what's aft mair than a' the lave)
Your better art o' hidin.
I'm truly sorry man's dominion
Which makes thee startle At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
Think, when your castigated pulse
Gies now and then a wallop, What ragings must his veins convulse
That still eternal gallop! . Wi' wind and tide, fair i' your tail,
Right on ye scud your sea-way; But in the teeth o' baith to sail,
It makes an unco lee-way.
I doubt na, whyles, 5 but thou may thieve;
'S a sma' request; I'll get a blessin wi’ the lave, 9
An' never miss 't!
See Social Life and Glee sit down,
All joyous and unthinking,
Debauchery and Drinking:
Damnation of expenses! ....
Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
O' foggageli green!
Baith snell12 an' keen!
Then gently scan your brother man,
Still gentler sister woman; Tho' they may gang a kennin11 wrang,
To step aside is human; One point must still be greatly dark,
The moving Why they do it; And just as lamely can ye mark,
How far perhaps they rue it. 1 well-going
5 Thou saw the fields laid bare and waste, An' weary winter comin fast, An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell, Till crash! the cruel coulter13 past
Out thro’ thy cell. 1 sleek
7 mischievous 2 clapper
8 exchange 3 corps, company
9 difference 4 grave
10 transformed 5 giddy
11 a little 6 propose
8 twenty-four sheayes. 2 hastening
9 rest 3 scamper
10 build 4 plough-sta scraper
11 herbage 5 sometimes
12 sharp 6 occasional
13 plough 17 ear of corn
That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble
Now haud20 you there, ye're out o' sight, Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
| Below the fatt’rels,21 smg and tight; Now thou's turn'al out, for a'thy trouble, Na, faith ye yet! ye'll no be right Buti house or hald,2
Till ye've got on it-
The vera tapmost, tow 'rin height
O' Miss's bonnet.
But, Nousie, thou art no thy lanej
Gang aft a-gley,6
For promis'd joy.
My sooth!22 right bauld ye set your nose out,
Or fell, red smeddum,25
Wad dress your droddum.26
Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me;
On prospects drear!
I guess an' fear!
I wad na been surpris’d to spy
How daur ye do't?
TO A LOUSE
O Jenny, dinna toss your head, ON SEEING ONE ON A LADY'S BONNET AT CHURCH | An’ set your beauties a’ abread! 1
Ye little ken what cursed speed
The blastie's makin!
Thae winks an' finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin!
Owad some Power the giftie gie us
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion:
An' er 'n devotion!
TO A MOUNTAIN DAISY
ON TURNING ONE DOWN WITH THE PLOUGH, IN
Swith!14 in some beggar's haffeti, squattle; 16
In shoals and nations;
Your thick plantations.
Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow'r,
Thy slender stem:
Thou bonie gem.
27 flannel cap
Alas! it's no thy neibor sweet,
The purpling east.
Ev’n thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate,
Full on thy bloom,
Shall be thy doom!
Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Amid the storm,
Thy tender form.
O'clod or stane,
10 Gathering her brows like gathering storm, Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.
This truth fande honest Tam o' Shanter,
O Tam! had 'st thou but been sae wise,
Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet,17
Such is the fate of simple bard,
Of prudent lore,
And whelm him o'er!
Such fate to suffering Worth is giv'n,
To mis ’ry's brink;
He ruin'd sink!
How mony lengthen 'd', sage advices, 35 | Lest bogles catch him unawares.
Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh,
Where ghaists and houletsi nightly cry.
By this time he was cross the ford,
Whare in the snaw the chapman smoor 'd;2 90 Wi’reamin swatsi that drank divinely; 40 And past the birks3 and meiklet stane, And at his elbow, Souter2 Johnie,
Whare drucken Charlie brak's neck-bane; His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony:
And thro' the whins,5 and by the cairn,6 Tam lo’ed him like a vera brither;
Whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn; They had been fou for weeks thegither. . And near the thorn, aboon the well, The night drave on wi' sangs and clatter; 45 | Whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel. And ay the ale was growing better:
Before him Doon pours all his floods; The landlady and Tam grew gracious,
The doubling storm roars thro’ the woods, Wi' secret favours, sweet and precious:
The lightnings flash from pole to pole, The souter tauld his queerest stories;
Near and more near the thunders roll; 106 The landlord's laugh was ready chorus; When, glimmering thro’ the groaning trees, The storm without might rair and rustle, Kirk-Alloway seem'd in a bleeze, 7 Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.
Thro’ilka bores the beams were glancing,
And loud resounded mirth and dancing.
Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
105 As bees flee hame wi' lades o' treasure, What dangers thou canst make us scorn! The minutes wing’l their way wi' pleasure; Wi' tippenny,' we fear nae evil; Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious, | Wi’ usquabae, 10 we'll face the devil! O'er a' the ills o’ life victorious!
The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's noddle,
Fair play, he car'il na deils a bodille, 11 110 But pleasures are like poppies spread,
But Maggie stood, right sair astonish'd, You seize the flow ’r, its bloom is shed;
Till, by the heel and hand admonish ’d,
She ventur'd forward on the light;
And, wow! Tam saw an unco12 sight!
Warlocks and witches in a dance;
115 Or like the rainbow's lovely form
65 | Nae cotillon brent13 new frae France, Evanishing amid the storm.
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels14 Nae man can tether time or tide:
Put life and mettle in their heels. The hour approaches Tam maun ride;
A winnock-bunker15 in the east, That hour, o' night's black arch the key-stane, | There sat Auld Nick, in shape o' beast; 120 That dreary hour he mounts his beast in; 70 | A towzie tyke,16 black, grim, and large, And sic a night he taks the road in,
To gie them music was his charge; As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.
He screw'd the pipes and gart them skir1,17
Till roof and rafters a' did dirl.18 The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last;
Coffins stood round, like open presses, 125 The rattling show'rs rose on the blast;
That shaw'd the dead in their last dresses; The speedy gleams the darkness swallow'd; 75 | And by some
And by some devilish cantraip19 sleight Loud, deep, and lang the thunder bellow'd:
Each in its cauld hand held a light, That night, a child might understand,
By which heroic Tam was able The Deil had business on his hand.
To note upon the haly table
A murderer's banes in gibbet-airns; Weel-mounted on his grey mare, Meg,
Twa span-lang, wee, unchristened bairns; A better never lifted leg,
A thief, new-cutted frae the rape,20
11 a small coin 2 smothered
12 strange Whiles holding fast his gude blue bonnet,
13 bright (new) Whiles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet, A great
14 All Scottish dances. 5 furze
15 window-seat Whiles glow'rin round wi’ prudent cares, 85
6 heap of stones
16 shaggy cur 7 blaze
17 made them shriek frothing ales 4 hurried 8 chink
18 rattle shoemaker 5 puddle 9 two-penny ale
19 magic Supply "that."
Wi' his last gasp his gabi did gape;
| Ah! little ken 'd thy reverend grannie, 175 Five tomahawks, wi' blude red-rusted: 135 That sark she cofti for her wee Nannie, Five scymitars, wi' murder crusted;
Wi’ twa pund Scotsř ('twas a' her riches), A garter, which a babe had strangled:
| Wad ever grac'd a dance of witches! A knife, a father's throat had mangled, Whom his ain son o'life bereft,
But here my Muse her wing maun cow'r, The grey hairs' yet stack to the heft;
140 Sic flights are far beyond her pow'r; 180 Wi' mair o' horrible and awfu',
| To sing how Nannie lap and flang Which ev’n to name wad be unlawfu'.
(A souple jade she was and strang),
And thought his very een” enrich'd:
| Till first ae caper, synes anither, The dancers quick and quicker flew;
Tam tinto his reason a' thegither,
190 Till ilka carlin4 swats and reekit, 6
And scarcely had he Maggie rallied, And coost7 her duddies to the wark,9
When out the hellish legion sallied. And linket10 at it in her sark! 11
As bees bizz out wi' angry fyke,7
When plundering herds assail their byke;8
195 A' plump and strapping in their teens!
When, pop! she starts before their nose; Their sarks, instead o' creeshiel3 flannen,
As cager runs the market-crowd, Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linen!*
When "Catch the thief!” resounds aloud; Thir14 breeks o' mine, my only pair,
155 That ance were plush, o' gude blue hair,
So Maggie runs, the witches follow,
Wi' mony an eldritch10 skriech and hollo. 200 I wad hae gien them aff my hurdies, 15 For ae blink o' the bonie burdies! 16
Ah, Tam! Ah, Tam! thou 'll get thy fairin! 11 But wither'd beldams, auld and. droll,
In hell they'll roast thee like a herrin! Rigwoodie17 hags wad spean18 a foal,
In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin! Lowping19 an' fiinging on a crummock,20 Kate soon will be a woefu’ woman! I wonder didna turn thy stomach.
Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg,
And win the key-stane of the brig;12 But Tam ken 'd what was what fu' brawlie:21 There, at them thou thy tail may toss, There was ae winsome wench and walie22 A running stream they dare na cross. That night enlisted in the core23
165 But ere the key-stane she could make, (Lang after ken 'd on Carrick shore:
The fient13 a tail she had to shake! For mony a beast to dead she shot,
For Nannie, far before the rest, And perish'd mony a bonie boat,
Ilard upon noble Maggie prest, And shook baith meikle corn and bear,24
And fiew at Tam wi' furious ettle;14 And kept the country-side in fear); 170 But little wist she Maggie's mettleHer cutty sark, o' Paisley harn,25
Ae spring brought aff her master hale,
mister hale, 215 That while a lassie she had worn,
But left behind her ain grey tail: In longitude tho’ sorely scanty,
The carlin claught her by the rump, It was her best, and she was vauntie.26
And left poor Maggie scarce a stump.
Now, wha this tale o' truth shall read, 2 stared
Ilk man, and mother's son, take heed: 220 3 joined hands
17 bony 4 old woman
is that would wean (by Whene'er to drink you are inclin’d, 5 sweated
Or cutty-sarks run in your mind, 6 steamed
19 leaping 7 cast off
20 staff 8 clothes 21 well 1 bought
8 hive 9 work
9 the hare's 10 tripped
10 ghostly 11 smock
12 hridge 13 greasy
13 devil 14 these
14 intent * Very fine linen, woven in à reed of 1700 divi † A pound Scots is one shilling, eight pencesions, or 46 to the inch.
about forty cents.