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Burns's Poetical Works.


The Death and Dying Words of


AN UNCO MOURNFU TALE. (1) As Mailie, and her lambs thegither, Were ae day nibbling on the tether, Upon her cloot she coost a hitch, There, groaning, dying, she did lie,

20 arsled in the ditch: When Hughoc he cam doytin by. Wi' glowering een and lifted han's, Poor Hughoc like a statue stands; He saw her days were near-hand ended, But, waes my heart! he could na mend it. He gaped wide but naething spakAt length poor Mailie silence brak,

“Oh thou, whose lamentable face
Appears to mourn my woefu' case !
My dying words attentive hear,
And bear them to my master dear.

"Tell him, if e'er again he keep
As muckle gear as buy a sheep,
Oh bid him never tie them mair
Wi' wicked strings o’ hemp or hair!
But ca’ them out to park or hill,
And let them wander at their will;
So may his flock increase, and grow
To scores o' lambs, and packs o'woo'.!

“Tell him he was a master kin',
And aye was guid to me and mine;
And now my dying charge I gie him
My helpless lambs I trust them wi' him.

“Oh bid him save their harmless lives Frae dogs, and tods, and butchers' knives! But gie them guid cow-milk their fill, Till they be fit to fend themsel; And tent them duly, e'en and morn, Wi' teats o' hay, and ripps on corn,

“And may they never learn the gaets Of other vile wanrestfu' pets To slink through slaps, and reave and steal At stacks o' peas, or stocks o’ kail. So may they, like their great forbears, For many a year come through the shears: So wives will gie them bits o' bread, And bairns greet for them when they're dead.

"My poor toop-lamb, my son and heir,
Oh, bid him breed him up wi' care;
And if he live to be a beast,
To pit some havins in his breast !

“And warn him, what I winna name,
To stay content wi' yowes at hame;
And no to rin and wear his cloots,
Like ither menseless, graceless brutes.

And neist my yowie, silly thing,
Gude keep thee frae a tether string;
Oh, may thou ne'er forgather up
Wi' ony blastit, moorland toop,
But aye keep mind to moop and mell
Wi' sheep o' credit like thysel.

“And now, my bairns, wi' my last breath
I lea'e my blessin' wi' you baith:
And when you think upo’your mither,
Mind to be kin' to ane anither,

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'Now, honest Hughoc, dinna fail To tell my master a' my tale; And bid him burn this cursed tether, And, for thy pains, thou's get my blether." This said, poor Mailie turn'd her head, And clos'd her een amang the dead.

Epistle ta Danie.

January, 1784. WHILE winds frae aff Ben Lomond blaw, And bar the doors with driving snaw,

And hing us owre the ingle,
I set me down to pass the time,
And spin a verse or twa o'rhyme,

In hamely westlin jingle.
While frosty winds blaw in the drift,

Ben to the chimla lug,
I grudge a wee the great folk's gift,
That live sa bien and snug :
I tent less, and want less

Their roomy fire-side;
But hanker and canker

To see their cursed pride.

Paar Hailir's Elegy.
LAMENT in rhyme, lament in prose,
Wi' saut tears trickling down your nose;
Our bardie's fate is at a close,

Past a' remead;
The last sad cape-stane of his woes

Poor Mailie's dead!
It's no the loss o' warl's gear,
That could sae bitter draw the tear,
Or mak our bardie, dowie, wear

The mourning weed :
He's lost a friend and neibor dear,

In Mailie dead. Thro' a' the toun she trotted by him; A lang half-mile she could descry him; Wi' kindly bleat, when she did spy him,

She ran wi' speed:
A friend mair faithfu' ne'er cam nigh him

Than Mailie dead.
I wat she was a sheep o' sense,
And could behave hersel' wi' mense :
I'll say't she never brak a fence,

Thro' thievish greed.
Our bardie, lanely, keeps the spence

Sin' Mailie's dead. Or, if he wanders up the howe, Her living image in her yowe, Comes bleating to him, owre the knowe,

For bits o' bread;
And down the briny pearls rowe

For Mailie dead.
She was nae get o' moorland tips,
Wi' tawted ket, and hairy hips,
For her forbears were brought in ships

Frae yont the Tweed :
A bonnier fleesh ne'er cross'd the clips

Than Mailie dead.
Wae worth the man wha first did shape
That vile, wanchancie thing--a rape!
It maks guid fellows girn and gape, ,

Wi' chokin' dread;
And Robin's bonnet wave wi' crape

For Mailie dead.
Oh, a'


bards on bonnie Doon! And wha on Ayr your chanters tune! Come, join, the melancholious croon

O' Robin's reed ! His heart will never get aboon

His Mailie's dead!

It's hardly in a body's power
To keep, at times, frae being sour,

To see how things are shar'd;
How best o'chiels are whiles in want,
While coofs on countless thousands rant,

And ken na how to wair't ;
But Davie, lad, ne'er fash your head,

Tho' we hae little gear,
We're fit to win our daily bread,
As lan's we're hale and fier :

Mair spier na, no fear na" (3),

Auld age ne'er mind a feg, ,
The last o't, the warst o't.

Is only but to beg. (4)

To lie in kilns and barns at e'en
When banes are craz'd, and bluid is thin,

Is, doubtless, great distress!
Yet then content could make us blest;
Ev’n then, sometimes we'd snatch a taste

Of truest happiness.
The honest heart that's free frae a'

Intended fraud or guile,
However fortune kick the ba',
Has aye some cause to smile:
And mind still, you'll find still,

A comfort this nae sma';
Na mair then, we'll care then,

Nae farther we can fa'.

What though, like commoners of air,
We wander out we know not where,

But either house or hal'?
Yet nature's charms, the hills and woods,
The sweeping vales, and foaming floods,

Are free alike to all.
In days when daisies deck the ground,

And blackbirds whistle clear,
With honest joy our hearts will bound

To see the coming year :


On braes when we please, then,

Oh, all ye pow'rs who rule above !
We'll sit and sowth a tune;

Oh, Thou, whose very self art love!
Syne rhyme till’t, we'll time tillit,

Thou know'st my words sincere!
And sing’t when we hae dune. The life-blood streaming thro' my heart,
It's no in titles nor in rank;

Or my more dear immortal part, It's no in wealth like Lon'on bank,

Is not more fondly dear! To purchase peace and rest;

When heart-corroding care and grief It's no in makin' muckle mair;

Deprive my soul of rest, It's no in books; it's n10 in lear,

Her dear idea brings relief To mak us truly blest;

And solace to my breast, If happiness hae not her seat

Thou Being, all-seeing, And centre in the breast,

Oh hear my fervent pray'r!

Still take her, and make her
We may be wise, or rich, or great,
But never can be blest:

Thy most peculiar care !
Nae treasures nor pleasures

All hail, ye tender feelings dear!
Could make us happy lang;

The smile of love, the friendly tear,
The heart aye's the part aye

The sympathetic glow!
That makes us right or wrang.

Long since, this world's thorny ways

Ilart number'd out my weary days,
Think ye, that sic as you and I,
Wha drudge and drive through wet and dry, Fate still has blest me with a friend,

llad it not been for you!
Wi' never-ceasing toil;
Think ye, are we less blest than they,

In every care and ill ; Wha scarcely tent us in their way,

And oft a more endearing band,

A tie more tender still.
As hardly worth their while ?
Alas! how aft, in hanghty mood,

It lighters, it brightens

The tenebrific scene,
God's creatures they oppress!

To meet with, and greet with
Or else neglecting a’ that's guid,
They riot in excess!

My Davie or my Jean!
Baith careless and fearless

Oh, how that name inspires my style !
Of either heaven or hell!

The words come skelpin', rank and tile,
Esteeming and deeming

Amaist before I ken!
It's a' an idle tale!

The ready measure rins as fine

s Phæbus and the famous Nine Then let us cheerfu' acquiesce; Nor make our scanty pleasures less,

Were glowrin' owre my pen.

My spaviet Pegasus will limp,
By pining at our state;
And, eren should misfortunes come,

Till ance he's fairly het;
I, here wha sit, liae met wi' some,

And then he'll hilch, and stilt, and jimp,

And rin an unico fit: An’s thankfu' for them yet,

But lest then, the beast then They gie the wit of age to youth;

Should rue this hasty ride, They let us ken oursel;

I'll light now, and diglit now,
They make us see the naked truth,

His sweaty, wizen'd hide.
The real guid and ill.
Though losses and crosses

Be lessons right serere,
There's wit there, ye'll get there,

Storrss fu the Dril. (6)
Ye'll find nae other where.

Oh Prince! Oh chief of many throned pow'rs,

That led th' embattled seraphim to war. But tent me, Davie, ace o' hearts !

MILTON. (To say aught less wad wrang the cartes, And flatt'ry I detest)

On thou! whatever title suit thee, This life has joys for you and I;

Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie, And joys that riches ne'er could buy :

Wha in yon cavem grim and sootie, And joys the very best.

Closed under hatches, There's a' the pleasures o' the heart,

Spairges about the brunstane cootie, The lover and the frien';

To scaud poor wretches!
Ye hae your Meg (5), your dearest part, Hear me, auld Hangie, for a wee,
And I my darling Jean!

And let poor damned bodies be;
It warms me, it charms me,

I'm sure sma' pleasure it can gie,
To mention but her name:

Een to a deil
It heats me, it beets me,

To skelp and scaud poor dogs like me.
And sets me a' ou flame!

And hear us squeel!

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