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Your pardon, sir, for this digression,
I maist forgat my dedication;
But when divinity comes across me,
My readers still are sure to lose me.
So, sir, you see 'twas nae daft vapour,
But I'maturely thought it proper,
Wben a' my works I did review,
To dedicate them, sir, to You;
Because (yė needna tak it ill,)
I thought them something like yoursel.
Then patronize them wi' your favour,
An' your petitioner shall ever-
I bad amaist said, ever pray,
But that's a word I needna say :
For prayiu I hae little skill o't;
I'm baith dead-sweer, and wretched ill o't;
But I'sè repeat each poor man's pray’r,
That kens or hears about you, sir-
May ne'er misfortune's growling bark
Howl thro' tne dwellin o' the Clerk !
May ne'er his gen'rous honest heart,
For that same gen'rous spirit smart.
May K******'s far honour'd name
Lang beat his hymeneal flame,
Till H*******'s at least a dizen,
Are frae their nuptial labours risen:
Five bonnie lasses ruund their table,
And seven braw fellows, stout an' able
To serve their king and country weel,
By word, or pen, or pointed steel !
May health an' peace, with mutual rays,
Shine on the evening o' his clays;
Till his wee curlie John's ier-oe,
When ebbing life nae mair shall flow,
The last, sad, mournful rites bestow.'
I will not wiod a lang conclusion,
Wi' complimentary effusion,
But whilst your wishes and endeavours
Are blest with fortune's smiles and favours,
I am, dear sir, with zeal most fervent,
Your inucb-indebted humble servant.
But if (which pow'rs above prevent !)
That iron-hearted carl, ca'd Want,
Attended in his grim advances,
By sad mistakes, and black mischances,
While hopes, and joys, and pleasures fly him,
Make you as poor a dog as I am,
Your humble servant then no more;
For who would humbly serve the poor !
But by a poor man's hopes in Heav'n!
While recollection's pow'r is giv'n,
If, in the vale of humble life,
The victim sad of fortune's strife,
1, through the tender gushing tear,
Should recognize iny master dear,
If friendless, low, we met together,
Then, sir, yeur hand, my friend and brother!
TO A LOUSE,
ON SEEING ONE ON A LADY'S BONNET AT CHURCH.
Ha! whare ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie?
Your impudence protects you sairly:
I canna say but ye strunt rarely
Owre gauze and lace;
Tho' faith, I fear, ye dine but sparely
Oo sic a place.
Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
Detested, shuno'd by saunt an’ sinner,
How dare ye set your fit upon her,
Sae fine a lady!
Gae somewhere else an' seek your dinner,
On some poor body.
Swith in some beggar's haffet squattle:
The:e ye may creep, an' sprawl, an’sprattle
Wi'ither kindred, jumpio cattle,
In shoals an' nations ;
Whare horn or bane ne'er dare unsettle
Your thick plantations.
But, first an' foremost, I should tell,
Amaist as soon as I could spell,
I to the crambo-jingle fell,
Tho'rude an' rough,
Yet crooning to a body's sel,
Does weel enough.
I am nae poet, in a sense,
But just a rhymer, like, by chance,
An' hae to learning nae pretence,
Yet, what the matter,
Whene'er my Muse does on me glance,
I jingle at her. Your critic folk may cock their pose,
• How can you e'er propose, You wha ken hardly verse frae prose,
To mak a sang ?'
But, by your leaves, my learned foes,
Ye may be wrang.
What's a' your jargon o' your schools,
Your Latin names for horns an' stools;
If honest nature made you fools,
Whatsairs your grammars, Ye'd better taen up spades an' shools,
A set o dull conceited hashes,
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 an' mire
At pleugh or cart,
Ny Muse, tho’hamely in attire,
May touch the heart.
O for a spuuk o' Allan's glee !
Or Ferguson's, the bauld an' slee,
Or bright Lapraik's, iny friend to be,
If I can hit it!
That would be lear enough for me,
If I could get it.
Now, Sir, if ye hae friends epow,
Tho' real friends I b'lieve are few,
Yet, if your catalogue be fu',
I'se no insist;
But, gif ye want ae friend tha:'s true,
I'm on your list.
I winna blaw about mysel;
As ill I like my fauts to tell :
But friends an' folks that wish me well,
They sometimes roose me : Tho' I maun own, as monie still
As sair abuse me.
There's ae wee faut they whiles lay to me,
I like the lasses—Guid forgie me!
For monie a plack they wheedle frae me,
At dance or fair;
May be some ither thing they gie me,
They weel can spare,
But Mauchline race, or Mauchline fair,
I should be proud to meet you there ;
We’se gie ae night's discharge to care,
If we forgather,
An' bae a swap o'rhymin-ware,
Wi' ape anither.
The four-gill chap, we'se gar him clatter,
An' kirsen him wi' reekin water;
Syne we'll sit down an' tak our whitter,
To cheer our heart;
An' faith, we'se be acquainted better
Before we part.
Awa, ye selfish warly race,
Wha think that havios, sense, an' grace,
Ev’n love an’ friendship, should give place
I diana like to see your face,
Nor hear your crack,
But ye whom social pleasure charms,
Whose hearts the tide of kindness warms,
Who hold your being on the terms,
• Each aid the others;' Come to my bowl, come to my arms,
My friends, my brothers! But, to conclude my lang epistle, As my auld pen's worn to the grissel, Twa lines frae you wad gar me fissle,
Who am, most fervent, While I can either sing or whissle,
Your friend and servant.
EPISTLE TO THE SAME.
April 21st, 1785. WHILE new-ca'd kye rout at the stake; An' pownies reek in pleugh or braik, This hour on e'epin's edge I take,
To own I'm debtor
To honest-hearted auld Lapraik,
For his kind letter.
Forjeskit sair, with weary legs,
Rattlin the corn out-owre the rigs,
Or dealing thro' amang the naigs
Their ten hours bite,
My awkart muse guir
pleads and begs
I would na write.
The tapetless ramfeezled hizzie,
She's saft at best, and something lazy,
Quo'she, • Ye ken, we've been sae busy,
Tbis month an' mair,
That trouth my head is grown right dizzie,
An' something sair.'
Her dowff excuses pat me mad;
• Conscience, (says 1) ye thowless jad!
I'll writę, an' that a hearty hlaud,
This vera night;