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They loiter, lounging, lank, an' lazy ;
Tho' deil haet ails them, yet uneasy:
Their days insipid, dull, an' tasteless ;
Their nights unquiet, lang, an' restless :
An' e'en their sports, their balls an' races,
Their galloping thro’ public places,
There's sic parade, sic pomp, an'art,
The joy can scarcely reach the heart.
The men cast out in party matches,
Then sowther a’ in deep debauches ;
Ae night they're mad wi' drink an’ wh-ring,
Niest day their life is past enduring.
The Ladies arm-in-arm in clusters,
As great and gracious a' as sisters;
But hear their absent thoughts o' ither,
They're a' run deils an' jads thegither.
Whyles, o'er the wee bit cup an' platie,
They sip the scandal potion pretty ;
Or lee-lang nights, wi' crabbit leuks
Pore owre the devil's pictur'd beuks;
Stake on a chance a farmer's stackyard,
An' cheat like onie unhang'd blackguard.
There's some exception, man an' woman; But this is Gentry's life in common.
By this, the sun was out o' sight,
An' darker gloaming brought the night:
The bum-clock humm'd wi' lazy drone;
The kye stood rowtin i' the loan;
When up they gat, and shook their lugs,
Rejoiced they werena men but dogs ;
An' each took aff his several
way, Resolv'd to meet some ither day.
Gie him strong drink, until he wink,
That's sinking in despair;
An' liquor guid to fire his bluid,
That's prest wi' grief an' care;
There let him bouse, an' deep carouse,
Wi' bumpers flowing o'er,
Till he forgets his loves or debts,
An' minds his griefs no more.
Proverbs, xxxj. 6, 7.
Let other Poets raise a fracas 'Bout vines, an' wines, an' drunken Bacchus, An'crabbit names an' stories wrack us,
An' grate our lug, I sing the juice Scots bear can mak us,
In glass or jug.
O thou, my Muse! guid auld Scotch Drink, Whether thro' wimpling worms thou jink, Or, richly brown, ream o'er the brink,
In glorious faem, Inspire me, till I lisp and wink,
To sing thy name!
Let husky Wheat the haughs adorn,
An' Aits set up their awnie horn,
An' Pease and Beans at e'en or morn,
Perfume the plain,
Leeze' me on thee, John Barleycorn,
Thou king o' grain !
On thee aft Scotland chows her cood,
In souple scones, the wale o’ food!
Or tumblin in the boiling flood
Wi' kail an' beef;
But when thou pours thy strong heart's blood,
There thou shines chief.
Food fills the wame, an' keeps us livin;
Tho' life's a gift no worth receivin,
When heavy dragg'd wi' pine an' grievin;
But, oil'd by thee,
The wheels o' life gae down-hill, scrievin,
Wi' rattlin glee.
Thou clears the head o'doited Lear;
Thou cheers the heart o' drooping Care;
Thou strings the nerves o’ Labour sair,
At's weary toil:
Thou even brightens dark Despair
Wi' gloomy smile.
Aft, clad in massy silver weed,
Wi' Gentles thou erects thy head;
Yet humbly kind in time o' need,
The poor man's wine,
His wee drap parritch, or his bread,
Thou kitchens fine.
Thou art the life o' public haunts;
But thee, what were our fairs and rants?
Ev'n godly meetings o' the saunts,
By thee inspir'd,
When gaping they besiege the tents,
Are doubly fir'd.
That merry night we get the corn in,
O sweetly then thou reams the horn in!
Or reekin on a New-year morning
In cog or bicker,
An' just a wee drap sp'ritual burn in,
An' gusty sucker!
When Vulcan gies his bellows breath,
An' ploughmen gather wi' their graith,
O rare! to see thee fizz an' freath
I'th' lugget caup!
Then Burnewin comes on like death
At ev'ry chaup.
Nae mercy, then, for airn or steel;
The brawnie, bainie, ploughman chiel,
Brings hard owrehip, wi' sturdy wheel,
The strong forehammer, Till block an' studdie ring an' reel
Wi' dinsome clamour.
When skirlin weanies see the light,
Thou maks the gossips clatter bright,
How fumblin cuifs their dearies slight;
Wae worth the name! Nae howdie gets a social night,
Or plack frae them.
When neebors anger at a plea,
An' just as wud as wud can be,
How easy can the barley-bree
Cement the quarrel!
It's aye the cheapest lawyer's fee,
To taste the barrel.
Alake! that e'er my Muse has reason
To wyte her countrymen wi' treason!
But monie daily weet their weason
Wi' liquors nice,
An' hardly, in a winter's season,
E’er spier her price.
Wae worth that brandy, burning trash! Fell source o' monie a pain an' brash! Twins monie a poor, doylt, drunken hash,
O’ half his days; An' sends, beside, auld Scotland's cash
To her warst faes.
Ye Scots, wha wish auld Scotland weel!
Ye chief, to you my tale I tell,
Poor plackless devils like mysel !
It sets you ill,
Wi' bitter, dearthfu' wines to mell,
Or foreign gill.
May gravels round his blather wrench,
An' gouts torment him inch by inch,
Wha twists his gruntle wi' a glunch
Out-owre a glass o' whisky punch
Wi' honest men.
O Whisky! saul o'plays an' pranks!
Accept a Bardie's humble thanks!
When wanting thee, what tuneless cranks
Are my poor verses ! Thou comes
they rattle i’ their ranks
At ither's a-s!