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Ye've nought to do but mark and tell

Your neibours' fauts and folly!
Whase life is like a weel-gauni mill,

Supplied wi' store o' water;
The heapet happer's ebbing still,
An' still the clap? plays clatter,-

2 Hear me, ye venerable core,3

As counsel for poor mortals
That frequent pass doucet Wisdom's door

For glaiket5 Folly's portals:
I, for their thoughtless, careless sakes,

Would here proponer defences-
Their donsie7 tricks, their black mistakes,

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. .


Wee, sleekit,1 cowrin, tim 'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty

Wi' bickering2 brattle!3
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee

Wi' murd'rin pattle! 4

Ye see your state wi' theirs compar'd,

And shudder at the niffer ;8
But cast a moment's fair regard,

What makes the mighty differ 29
Discount what scant occasion gave,

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
Has broken nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion

Which makes thee startle At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,

An’ fellow-mortal!

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;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimeno icker? in a thraves

'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,
Till, quite transmugrified, 10 they're grown

Debauchery and Drinking:
O would they stay to calculate

Th’eternal consequences;
Or—your more dreaded hell to state-

Damnation of expenses! ....

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big10 a new ane,

O' foggageli green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin,

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-
To thole3 the winter's sleety dribble

The vera tapmost, tow 'rin height
An' cranreucht cauld !

O' Miss's bonnet.

But, Nousie, thou art no thy lanej
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best laid schemes o' mice an’ men

Gang aft a-gley,6
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,

For promis'd joy.

My sooth!22 right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump an' grey as ony grozet23
O for some rank, mercurial rozet, 24

Or fell, red smeddum,25
l'd gie you sic a hearty dose o't,

Wad dress your droddum.26

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me;
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e

On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho’ I canna see,

I guess an' fear!

I wad na been surpris’d to spy
You on an auld wife's flainen toy;27
Or aiblins some bit duddie28 boy,

On's wyliecoat;29
But Miss's fine Lunardi !30 fye!

How daur ye do't?


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!
Ha! whaur ye gaun, ye crowlin7 ferlie ?8
Your impudence protects you sairly;9

Thae winks an' finger-ends, I dread,
I canna say but ye strunt10 rarely,

Are notice takin!
Owre gauze and lace;
Tho', faith! I fear ye dine but sparely

On sic a place.

Owad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!

It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
Ye ugly, creepin, blastit 11 wonner,12

An' foolish notion:
Detested, shunn'd by saunt an' sinner, What airs in dress an’ gait wad lea'e us,
How daur ye set your fit13 upon her-

An' er 'n devotion!
Sae fine a lady?
Gae somewhere else and seek your dinner
On some poor body.



APRIL, 1786

Swith!14 in some beggar's haffeti, squattle; 16
There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle.17
Wi' ither kindred, jumping cattle,

In shoals and nations;
Whaur horn18 nor bane19 ne'er daur unsettle

Your thick plantations.

Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flow'r,
Thou's met me in an evil hour;
For I maun31 crush amang the stoure32

Thy slender stem:
To spare thee now is past my pow'r,

Thou bonie gem.

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20 hold
21 ribbon-ends
22 truth
23 gooseberry
24 rosin
25 powder
26 back

27 flannel cap
28 ragged
29 flannel vest
30 A bonnet named for

an aeronaut.
31 must
32 flying dust

Alas! it's no thy neibor sweet,
The bonie lark, companion meet,
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet

Wi’spreckl'd breast,
When upward-springing, blythe, to greet

The purpling east.

Ev’n thou who mourn'st the Daisy's fate,
That fate is thine—no distant date;
Stern Ruin's plough-share drives elate,

Full on thy bloom,
Till crush'd beneath the furrow's weight

Shall be thy doom!


Cauld blew the bitter-biting north
Upon thy early, humble birth;
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth

Amid the storm,
Scarce rear'd above the parent-earth

Thy tender form.

The flaunting flow'rs our gardens yield,
High shelt'ring woods an’ wa’si maun shield;
But thou, beneath the random bield2

O'clod or stane,
Adorns the histie3 stibble field

Unseen, alane.

“Of Brownyis and of Bogillis full is this Buke."

When chapmanı billies2 leave the street,
And drouthy3 neibors neibors meet,
As market-days are wearing late,
And folk begin to tak the gate;
While we sit bousin4 at the nappy,5
An' getting four and uncor happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps,8 and stiles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Whare sits our sulky, sullen dame,

10 Gathering her brows like gathering storm, Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

This truth fande honest Tam o' Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter:
(Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses, 15
For honest men and bonie lasses).

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O Tam! had 'st thou but been sae wise,
As taen thy ain wife Kate's advice!
She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum, 10
A bletherin,11 blusterin, drunken blellum ;12 20
That frae November till October,
Ae market-day thou was na sober;
That ilka melder13 wi’ the miller,
Thou sat as lang as thou had siller;
That ev'ry naig was ca'd14 a shoe on, 21
The smith and thee gat roarin fou on;
That at the Lord's house, ev'n on Sunday,
Thou drank wi' Kirkton Jean till Monday.
She prophesied that, late or soon,
Thou would be found, deep drown'

d a
Or catch'd wi' warlocks15 in the mirk, 16
By Alloway's auld, haunted kirk.

Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet,17
To think how mony counsels sweet,

Such is the fate of simple bard,
On life's rough ocean luckless starr'd!
Unskilful he to note the card+

Of prudent lore,
Till billows rage, and gales blow hard,

And whelm him o'er!


Such fate to suffering Worth is giv'n,
Who long with wants and woes has striv’n,
By human pride or cunning driv 'n

To mis ’ry's brink;
Till wrench'd of ev'ry stay but Heav'n,

He ruin'd sink!

1 pedlar
2 fellows
3 thirsty
4 drinking
5 ale
6 full
7 very
8 gates
9 found

10 rascal
11 idly-talking
12 babbler
13 e very grinding of

14 driven
15 wizards
16 dark
17 make me weep

1 walls
2 shelter

3 barren
4 compass-card


How mony lengthen 'd', sage advices, 35 | Lest bogles catch him unawares.
The husband frae the wife despises!

Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh,

Where ghaists and houletsi nightly cry.
But to our tale:Ae market night,
Tam had got planted unco right,

By this time he was cross the ford,
Fast by an ingle, bleezin finely,

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.
Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
E’en drown'd himsel amang the nappy:

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,
Or like the snow falls3 in the river,

She ventur'd forward on the light;
A moment white--then melts for ever;
Or like the borealis race,

And, wow! Tam saw an unco12 sight!
That flit ere you can point their place;

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
Tam skelpit4 on thro’ dubs and mire,
Despising wind, and rain, and fire;

1 owls

11 a small coin 2 smothered

12 strange Whiles holding fast his gude blue bonnet,

3 birches

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."

10 whiskey

20 rope

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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 how Tam stood, like one bewitch'd,

And thought his very een” enrich'd:
As Tammie glowr’d,2 amaz’d, and curious, | Even Satan glowr'd, and fidg'd3 fu' fain. 185
The mirth and fun grew fast and furious; And hotch 'di and blew wi' might and main:
The piper loud and louder blew,


| Till first ae caper, synes anither, The dancers quick and quicker flew;

Tam tinto his reason a' thegither,
They reel'd, they set, they cross'd, they And roars out, “Weel done, Cutty-sark!”
cleekit, 3
And in an instant all was dark:

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
Now, Tam, O Tam; had thae been queans,12

When plundering herds assail their byke;8
As open pussie 's mortal foes,

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.



1 mouth
15 hips

Now, wha this tale o' truth shall read, 2 stared

16 lasses

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

22 goodly
2 eyes

9 the hare's 10 tripped

23 company
3 fidgeted

10 ghostly 11 smock

24 barley
4 squirmed

11 reward
12 girls
25 short shirt, of Paisley 5 then

12 hridge 13 greasy

6 lost

13 devil 14 these

26 proud
7 fuss

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.

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