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WHEN chapman billies' leave the street,
And drouthy * neebors, 3 neebors meet,
As market-days are wearing late,
An' 4 folk begin to tak the gate ;
While we fit bousing at the nappy,
An' getting fou 7 and unco 8 happy,
We think na' on the lang "° Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps," and styles,
That lie between us and our hame,'%
Whare '3 sits our sulky sullen dame,

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Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

This truth fand' honest Tam O'Shanter,
As he frae? Ayr ae 3 night did canter,
(Auld 4 Ayr wham 5 ne'er a town surpasses,
For honest men and bonny“ laffes.)

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O Tam ! had'it thou but been fae 7 wise,
As ta'en thy ain & wife Kate's advice !
She tauld othee weel 10 thou was a skellum,'
A blethering," blustering, drunken blellum ;
That frae November till October,
Ae market-day thou was nae "3 sober;
That ilka 14 melder, wi' 15 the miller,
Thou fat as lang as thou had filler ; 16
That every naig


was ca'd
The smith and thee gat roaring fou on;
That at the Ld's house, even on Sunday,
Thou drank wi' Kirkton Jean till Monday.


a shoe on,

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She prophesy'd that, late or foon,
Thou would be found deep drown'd in Doon ;
Or catch'd wi' warlocks' in the mirk,
By Alloway's auld haunted kirk.3

Ah, gentle dames ! it gars me greet, 4
To think how monys counsels sweet,
How mony lengthen'd fage advices,
The husband frae the wife despises !

But to our tale: Ae market night,
Tam had got planted unco right;
Fast by an ingle, bleezing 7 finely,
Wi' reaming swats, that drank divinely;
And at his elbow, Souter " Johnny,
His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony;"
Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither;
They had been fou for weeks thegither."
The night drave 13 on wi' sangs and clatter; 4
And ay the ale was growing better :

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* Warlock, a wizard.

2 Mirk, dark. 3 Kirk, church.

* Gars me greet, makes me weep. 5 Mony, many

Ingle, fire. 7 Bleezing, burning.

Reaming fwats, a sort of liquor, . Souter, a shoemaker. 10 Crony, or cronie, an old acquaintance. 11 Vera brither, very brother. 12 Thegitber, together. 18 Drave, passed. 14 Sangs and clatter, songs and discourse.


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The landlady and Tam grew gracious,
Wi’ favours, secret, sweet, and precious :
The fouter tauld his queerest stories;
The landlord's laugh was ready chorus:
The storm without might rair' and rustle,
Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.

Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
E'en drown'd himself amang 2 the nappy,
As bees flee hame wi' lades 3 o'4 treasure,
The minutes wing'd their way wi' pleasure :
Kings may be bless’d, but Tam was glorious,
O'er a'5 the hills o’life victorious !

Bat pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flower, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white-then melts for ever;
Or like the borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the rainbow's lovely form,
Evanishing amid the storm.-
Nae man can tether time or tide;
The hour approaches Tam maun ride;
That hour, o' night's black arch the key-stane,
That dreary hour he mounts his beast in ;

i Rair, roar. 4 O', of.


Amang, among.

all. 6 Tether, tie.

3 Lades, loads. 7 Maun, muft.



And fic' a night he tacks * the road in,
As ne'er poor finner was abroad in.

The wind blew as 'twad blawn 3 its last;
The rattling lowers 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 4 had business on his hand.

Weels mounted on his grey mare, Meg,
A better never lifted leg,
Tam skelpito on through dub and mire,
Despising wind, and rain, and fire ;
Whiles 8 holding fast his gude' blue bonnet;
Whiles crooning o'er some auld Scots sonnet;
Whiles glow'ring ” round wi' prudent cares, ,
Left bogles

12 catch him unawares :
Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh,
Whare ghaists "3 and houlets 54 nightly cry.

By this time he was cross the ford,
Whare in the snaw '5 the chapman smoor'd ; 1S

* Sic, such.

? Tacks, takes. 3 As 'twad blawn, as if it would have blown. 4 Deil, the devil.. $ Weel, well.

Skelpit, galloped. i Dub, a pool.

8 Whiles, fometimes. Gude, gooil.

ro Crooning, humming. 11 Glow'ring, staring:

12 Bogles, bad spirits. 13 Gbaits, gholts.

14 Houlets, owls. 15 Snow, (now, 10 Smoor'd, Imother'd.


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