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EPISTLE TO DAVIE,

A BROTHER POET.

[David Sillar, one of the club at Tarbolton, and author of a volume

of poems in the Scottish dialect.]

January,

1.

While winds frae aff Ben-Lomond blaw,
And bar the doors wi' driving snaw,

And hing us owre the ingle,
I set me down to pass the time,
And spin a verse or twa o'rhyme,

In hamely, westlin jingle.
While frosty winds blaw in the drift,

Ben to the chimla lug,
I grudge a wee the great folks' gift,
That live sae bien an'

snug:
I tent less, and want less

Their roomy fire-side;
But hanker and canker,

To see their cursed pride.

II.

It's hardly in a body's pow'r,
To keep, at times, frae being sour,

To see how things are shar’d;
How best o'chiels are whiles in want,
While coofs on countless thousands rant,

And kenna how to wair't:
But, Davie, lad, ne'er fash your head,

Tho' we hae little gear,
We're fit to win our daily bread,
As lang's we're hale and fier:
• Mair spierna, nor fearna ",'

Auld age ne'er mind a feg,
The last o't, the warst o't,

Is only for to beg.

III.

To lie in kilns and barns at e'en,
When banes are craz'd, and bluid is thin,

Is, doubtless, great distress!
Yet then content could mak us blest;
Ev’n then, sometimes, we'd snatch a taste

Of truest happiness.
The honest heart that's free frae a'

Intended fraud or guile,
However fortune kick the ba';
Has aye some cause to smile:
And mind still, you'll find still,

A comfort this no sma’;
Nae mair then, we'll care then,

Nae farther can we fa'.

1 Ramsay.

IV.

What tho', like commoners of air,
We wander out, we know not where,

But either house or hall ?
Yet nature's charms, the hills and woods,
The sweeping vales, and foaming floods, ::

Are free alike to all.
In days when daisies deck the ground, spil

And blackbirds whistle clear,
With honest joy our hearts will bound,
To see the coming year:
On braes when we please, then,

We'll sit an' sowth a tune;
Syne rhyme till’t, we'll time till’t,

And sing't when we hae done.

V.

It's no in titles nor in rank;
It's no in wealth like Lon'on bank,

To purchase peace and rest;
It's no in making muckle mair:
It's no in books; it's no in lear,

To make us truly blest:
If happiness hae not her seat

And centre in the breast,
We may be wise, or rich, or great,
But never can be blest:
Nae treasures, nor pleasures,

Could mak us happy lang ;
The heart aye's the part aye,

That maks us right or wrang.

VI.

Think ye, that sic as you and I,
Wha drudge and drive thro' wet and dry,

Wi' never-ceasing toil;
Think ye, are we less blest than they,
Wha scarcely tent us in their way,

As hardly worth their while?
Alas! how aft in haughty mood,

God's creatures they oppress!
Or else, neglecting a' that's guid,
They riot in excess !
Baith careless, and fearless

Of either heav'n or hell!
Esteeming, and deeming

It's a' an idle tale!

VII.

Then let us cheerfu' acquiesce;
Nor mak our scanty pleasures less,

By pining at our state;
And, even should misfortunes come,
I, here wha sit, hae met wi' some,

An's thankfu' for them yet.
They gie the wit of age to youth;

They let us ken oursel;
They mak us see the naked truth,
The real guid and ill.
Tho' losses, and crosses,

Be lessons right severe,
There's wit there, ye'll get there,

Ye'll find nae other where.

VIII.

But tent me, Davie, ace o' hearts !
(To say ought less wad wrang the cartes,

And flatt'ry I detest)
This life has joys for you and I;
And joys that riches ne'er could buy;
And joys the very

best.
There's a' the pleasures o' the heart,

The lover an' the frien';
Ye hae your Meg, your dearest part,
And I my darling Jean!
It warms me, it charms me,

To mention but her name:
It heats me, it beets me,

And sets me a' on flame!

IX.

O all ye pow'rs who rule above; 0 Thou, whose very self art love !

Thou know'st my words sincere!
The life-blood streaming thro' my heart,
Or my more dear immortal part,

Is not more fondly dear!
When heart-corroding care and grief

Deprive my soul of rest,
Her dear idea brings relief
And solace to my breast.
Thou Being, All-seeing,

O hear my fervent pray’r;
Still take her, and make her

Thy most peculiar care !

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