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Inscribed to J. B****, Esq. AYR,
HE fimple Bard, rough at the rustic plough,
Learning his tuneful trade from ev'ry bough ;
The chanting linnet, or the mellow thrush,
Hailing the setting fun, sweet in the green thorn
The foaring lark, the perching red-breait forill,
Or deep-ton'd plovers, grey, wild-whistling o'er the
Shall he, nurst in the Peasant's lowly shed,
To hardy independence bravely bred,
By early poverty to hardship steeld,
And traind to arms in stern Misfortune's field,
Shall he be guilty of their hireling crimes,
The servile, mercenary Swiss of rhymes ?
Or labour hard the panegyric close,
With all the venal soul of dedicating Profe?
No! though his artless strains he rudely fings,
And throws his hands uncouthly o'er the strings,
He glows with all the spirit of the Bard,
Fame, honest Fame, his great, his dear reward.
Still, if some Patron's gen'rous care he trace,
Skill'd in the secret, to bestow with grace;
When B******** befriends his humble name,
And hands the ruflic Stranger up to fame,
With heart-felt throws his grateful bosom swells,
The godlike bliss, to give, alone excels.
'Twas when the stacks get on their winter hap,
And thack and rape secure the toil-won crap;
Potatoe-bings are fnugged up frae skaith
Of coming Winter's biting, frosty breath ;
The bees rejoicing o'er their summer-toils
Unnumber'd buds and flow's delicious spoils,
Seal'd up with frugal care in massive, waxen piles,
Are doom'd by man, that tyrant o'er the weak,
The death o’devils, smoor'd wi' brimstone reek :
The thundering guns are heard on every fide,
The wounded coveys, reeling, scatter wide ;
The feather'd field-mates, bound by Nature's tie,
Sires, mothers, children, in one carnage lie;
(What warm, poetic heart but inly bleeds,
And execrates man's favage, ruthless deeds!)
Nae mair the flow'r in field or meadow springs ;
Nae mair the grove with airy concert rings.
· Except perhaps the Robin's whistling glee,
Proud o'the height o' some bit half-lang tree :
The hoary morns precede the sunny days,
Mild, calm, ferene, wide-spreads the noon-tide blaze
While thick the goffamour waves wanton in the
'Twas in that season, when a simple bard Unknown and pens, fimplicity's reward, Ae night, within the ancient brugh of Ayr, By whim inspir’d, or haply prest wi' care, He left his bed, and took his wayward rout, And down by Simpson's * wheel'd the left about: (Whether impell’d by all-directing Fate, To witness what I after shall narrate; Or whether wrapt in meditation high, He wander'd out he knew not where nor why) The drowsy Dungeon-clock t had number'd two, And Wallace-tow'r t had sworn the fact was true : 'I he tide-swoln Firth, with sullen sounding roar Through the still night dash d hoarse along the shore : All else was hulh'd as Nature's closed e'e; The filent moon shone high o'er tow'r and tree : The chilly frost, beneath the silver beam, Crept, gently-crusting, o'er the glittering fream.
* A noted tavern at the Auld Brig end.
When, lo! on either hand the liftning Bard,
The clanging fougl of whistling wings is heard;
Two dulky forms dart thro' the midnight air,
Swift as the Gos * drives on the wheeling hare;
Ane on th' Auld Brig his airy shape uprears,
The ither flutters o'er the rising piers :
Our Warlock Rhymer instantly descry'd
The Sprites that o'er the Brigs of Ayr preside :
(That Bards are second-lighted is nae joke,
And ken the lingo of the fp ritual folk ;
Fays, Spunkies, Kelpies, a', they can explain them,
And ev'n the vera deils they brawly ken them.)
Auld Brig appeard of ancient Pietih race,
The vera wrinkles Gothic in his face :
He seem'd as he wi' time had wraAl'd lang,
Yet, teughly doure, he bade an unco bang.
New Brig was buskit in a braw, new coat,
That, he at Lon'on, frae ane Adams got ;
In’s hand five taper staves as smooth's a bead,
Wi’ virls and whirligigums at the head.
The Goth was stalking round with anxious search,
Spying the time-worn-flaws in every arch;
It chanc'd his new-come neebor took his e'e,
And e'en a vex'd and angry heart had he!
Wi' thieveless sneer to see his modish mien,
He, down the water, gies him this guideen
* The gos-hawk, or falcon.
A U L D BRI G. I doubt na, frien,' ye'll think ye're nae sheep-shank, · Ance ye were streekit owre frae bank to bank! But gin ye be a Brig as auld as me, Tho' faith, that date, I doubt, ye ll never see ; There'll be, if that day come, I'll wad a boddle, Some fewer whigmeleeries in your noddle.
NEW BR I G. Auld Vandal, ye but shew your little mense, Jutt much about it wi' your scanty sense ; Will your poor narrow foot-path of a street, Where twa wheel-barrows tremble when they meet ; Your ruin'd, formless bulk o'stane and lime, Compare wi' bonic Brigs o' modern time? There's men o' tafte would tak the Ducat-stream * Tho' they should cast the vera fark an' swim, L'er they would grate their feelings with the view Of fic an ugly Gothic hulk as jyou.
A U L D B R I G.
Conceited gowk! puff d up wi' windy pride!
This mony a year I've stood the flood an' tide;
And tho' wi' crazy eild I'm fair forfairn,
I'll be a Brig when ye're a shapeless cairn!
As yet ye
little ken about the matter, But twa-three winters will inform
* A noted ford just above the Auld Brig.