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Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither ;
Care, mad to see a man sae happy, E'en drown'd himself amang the nappy, As bees flee hame wi’ lades o' treasure, The minutes wing'd their way wi' pleasure : Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious, O'er a' the ills o' life victorious !
But pleasures are like poppies spread, You seize the flow?r, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last; The rattling show'rs rose on the blast ; The speedy gleams the darkness swallow'd ; Loud, deep, and lang, the thunder bellow'd : That night, a child might understand, The Deil had business on his hand.
Weel mounted on his grey mare, Meg, A better never lifted leg, Tam skelpit on thro' dub and mire, Despising wind, and rain, and fire ; Whiles holding fast his gude blue bonnet; Whiles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet; Whiles glow'ring round wi' prudent cares, Left bogles' catch him unawares: Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh, Whare ghaists and houlets nightly cry.
By this time he was cross the ford, Whare in the snaw the chapman smoor’d; And past the birks and meikle stane, Whare drunken Charlie brak's neck-bane
i And thro' the whins, and by the cairn, Whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn; And near the thorn, aboon the well, Whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel.
Before him Doon pours all his floods;
Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
Warlocks and witches in a dance; Nae cotillion brent new frae France, But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels, Put life and mettle in their heels, A winnock-bunker in the east, There fat auld Nick, in shape o' beast; A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large, To gie them music was his charge : He screw'd the pipes and gart them fkirl, Till roof and rafters a' did dirl. Coffins stood round, like open presses, That shaw'd the dead in their last dresses ; And by some devilish cantrip flight, Each in its cauld hand held a light.By which heroic Tam was able To note upon the haly table, A murderer's banes in gibbet airns ; Twa span-lang, wee, unchristen'd bairns ; A thief, new-cutted frae a rape, Wi' his last gasp his gab did gape ;