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What's a' your jargon o' your schools,
Your Latin names for horns an' stools ;
If honest nature made you fools,
What sairs ? your grammais?
Ye'd better taen up spades and shools,
Or knappin 2-hammers.
A set o' dull, conceited hashes 3,
Confuse their brains in college classes !
They gang in stirks", and come out asses,
Plain truth to speak ;
An' syne they think to climb Parnassus
By dint o' Greek !
Gie me ae spark o' Nature's fire,
That 's a' the learning I desire ;
Then tho' I drudge thro’ dub 6 an' mira
At pleugh or cart,
My Muse, though hamely in attire,
May touch the heart.
O for a spunk? o' Allan's glee,
Or Fergusson's, the bauld and slee,
Or bright Lapraik's, my friend to be,
If I can hit it !
That would be lear® eneugh for me,
If I could get it.
TI A MOUSE, ON TURNING HER UP IN HER NEST,
WITH THE PLOUGH, NOVEMBER, 1785.
Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
0, what a panic's in thy breastie !
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickerin brattle o!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee,
Wi murdoring pattle !
* year-old cow or bullock. • then. spark.
"huriy. w hand-stick for clearing the plough. VOL. III.
I ’n 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 !
I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve ;
What then ? poor beastie, thou maun live !
A daimen-icker' in a thrave
'S a sma' request :
I'll get a blessing wi' the lave,
And rever miss 't!
Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin !
Its silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big? a new one,
O' foggage green !
An' bleak December's winds ensuin,
Baith snell 3 an' keen !
Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ wasta,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozic here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till, crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.
That wee bit heap o' leaves an’stibble
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble !
Now thou 's turn'd out, for* a' thy trouble,
But 4 house or hald 5,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch' cauld !
· An ear of corn now and then ; a thrave is twenty-four sheaven.
without. 5 holding.
• endare "Sorr-frost.
But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane',
In proving foresight may be vain :
The best-laid schemes o mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief and pain,
For promised joy.
Still thou art blest, compared 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!
THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT.
Inscribed to R. Aiken, Esq.
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile,
The short but simple antials of the Poor. ---Gray.
My loved, my honoured, much respected friend !
No mercenary bard his homage pays;
With honest pride, I scorn each selfish end,
My dearest meed, a friend's esteem and praise :
To you I sing, in simple Scottish lays,
The lowly train in life's sequestered scene ;
The native feelings strong, the guileless ways;
What Aiken in a cottage would have been ;
Ah! though his worth unknown, far happier there I weer
November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh';
The shortning winter-day is near a close ;
The miry beasts retreating frae the pleugh ;
The black’ning trains o craws to their repose ;
3 whistling sound
The toil.worn Cotter frae his labour goes,-
This night his weekly moil is at an end,
Collects his spades, his mattocks, and his hoes,
Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend,
And weary, o'er the moor, his course does hameward bend
At length his lonely cot appears in view,
Beneath the shelter of an aged tree ;
Th' expectant wee-things, toddlin, stacher' thro',
To meet their Dad, wi' flichterin? noise an' glee.
His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonı ily,
His clean hearth-stane, his thristie wifie's smile,
The lisping infant prattling on his knee,
Does a' his weary carking cares beguile,
An' makes him quite forget his labour an' his toil.
Belyves, the elder bairns come drapping in,
At service out, amang the farmers roun'*;
Some ca’ the pleugh, some herd, some tenties rin
A cannie errand to a neebor town :
Their eldest hope, their Jenny, woman grown,
In youthfu’ bloom, love sparkling in her e'e,
Comes hame, perhaps, to show a braw new gown,
Or deposite her sair-won penny-fee,
To help her parents dear, if they in hardship be.
Wi' joy unfeigned brothers and sisters meet,
An each for other's welfare kindly spiers 6 :
The social hours, swift-winged, unnoticed fleet;
Each tells the uncos' that he sees or hears ;
The parents, partial, eye their hopeful years,
s by and by. . Although the ‘Cotter,' in the Saturday Night, is an exact copy of my father in his manners, his family devotions, and exhortations, yet the other parts of the description do not apply to our family. None of us ever were .At service out amang the neebors roun'. Instead of our depositing our •sair won penny-fee' with our parents, my father laboured hard, and lived with the most rigid econoiny, that he might be able to keep bis children af home.-Gilbert Burns to Dr. Currie, Oct. 24, 1800. 5 attentively.
Anticipation forward points the view.
The mother, wi' her needle an' her sheers,
Gars? auld claes look amaist as weel's the new ,
The father mixes a wi' admonition due.
Their master's an' their mistress's command,
The younkers a’ are warned to obey ;
And mind their labours wi’ an eydenthand,
And ne'er, tho' out o’ sight, to jauko or play :
* And, oh! be sure to fear the Lord alway,
And mind your duty, duly, morn and night!
Lest in temptation's path ye gang astray,
Implore His counsel and assisting might :
They never sought in vain that sought the Lord aright !'
But, hark! a rap comes gently to the door ;
Jenny, wha kens the meaning o' the same,
Tells how a neibor lad came o'er the moor,
To do some errands, and convoy her hame.
The wily mother sees the conscious, flame
Sparkle in Jenny's e'e, and flush her cheek ;
Wi' heart-struck anxious care, inquires his name,
While Jenny haffiins 4 is afraid to speak;
Weel pleased the mother hears, it 's nae wild worthless rake
Wi' kindly welcome Jenny brings him ben ;
A strappan youth ; he takes the mother's eye ;
Blythe Jenny sees the visit 's no ill ta’en ;
The father cracks 6 of horses, pleughs, and kye.
The youngster's artless heart o’erflows wi' joy,
But, blate? and laithfu'“, scarce can weel behave;
The mother, wi' a woman's wiles, can spy
What makes the youth sae bashfu' an' sae grave;
Weel pleased to think her bairn 's respected like tbe lave.
O happy love! where love like this is found !
O heart-felt raptures ! bliss beyond compare !
I've paced much this weary, mortal round,
And sage experience bids me this declare-