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Forjesket sair, with weary legs, Rattlin the corn out-owre the rigs, Or dealing thro' amang the naigs
Their ten hours bite, My awkart muse sair pleads and begs,
I would na write.
The tapetless ramfeezl'd hizzie,
• This month an' mair, * That trouth my head is grown right dizzie,
* An' something sair.'
Her dowff excuses pat, me mad ; *Conscience,' says I, “ye thowless jad! * I'll write, an' that a hearty blaud,
. This vera night; “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 you 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,
• I vow I'll close it; • An' if ye winna mak it clink,
* By Jove I'll prose it!'
Sae I've begun to scrawl, but whether
Let time mak proof ; But I shall scribble down some blether
Just clean aff-loof.
My worthy friend, ne'er grudge an' carp, Tho' fortune use you hard an’ sharp ; Come, kittle up your moorland harp
Wi' gleesome touch! Ne'er mind how fortune waft an’ warp:
She's but a b-tch.
She's gien me monie a jirt an' fleg,
Wi' lyart pow,
As lang 's 1 dow!
Now comes the sax an' twentieth simmer I've seen the bud upo' the timmer, Still persecuted by the limmer
Frae year to year; But yet, despite the kittle kimmer,
I, Rob, am here.
Do ye envy the city Gent,
And muckle wame, In some bit brugh to represent
A Bailie's name?
Or is 't the paughty, feudal Thane,
But lordly stalks,
As by he walks ?
O Thou wha gies us each guid gift! Gie me o' wit an' sense a lift, “Then turn me, if Thou please, adrift,
• Thro' Scotland wide; Wi' cits 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,
Beyond remead; But, thanks to Heav'n! that's no the gate
We learn our creed,
For thus the royal mandate ran, When first the human race began, “The social, friendly, honest man,
Whate'er he be, 'Tis he fulfils great Nature's plan,
An' none but he!!!
O mandate glorious and divine !
In glorious light,
Are dark as night.
Tho'here they scrape, an' squeeze, an'growi, Their worthless nievefu' of a soul May in some future carcass bowl,
The forest's fright; Or in some day-detesting owl
May shun the light.
Then may Lapraik and Burns arise,
In some mild sphere,
Each passing year.
TO W. S*****N,
May, 1785 I GAT your letter, winsome Willie ; Wi' gratefu’ heart I thank you brawlie; Tho’I maun say't, I wad be silly,
An' unco vain, Should I believe, my coaxin billie,
Your flatterin strain.
But I'se believe ye kindly meant it, I sud be laith to think ye hinted Ironic satire, sidelins sklented
On my poor Musie; Tho’in sic phraisin terms ye’ve penn'd it,
I scarce excuse ye.
My senses wad be in a creel, Should I but dare a hope to speel, Wi' Allan or wi’ Gilbertfield,
The braes o' fame; Or Fergusson, the writer-chiel,
A deathless name.
(O Fergusson ! thy glorious parts Ill suited law's dry, musty arts ! My curse upon your whunstane hearts,
Ye Enbrugh Gentry! The tythe o' what ye waste at cartes,
Wad stow'd his pantry!)
Yet when à tale comes i' my head,
(0 sad disease !) I kittle up my rustic reed;
It gies me ease.
Auld Coila now may fidge fu' fain,
But tune their lays,
Her weel-sung praise.
Nae poet thought her worth his while,