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His piercin words, like Highlan' swords,
Divide the joints an' marrow;
His talk o' hell, whare devils dwell,
Our verra 'sauls does harrow'
Wi' fright that day!

A vast, unbottomed, boundless pit,
Filled fou o' lowin brunstane,
Whase ragin flame an' scorchin heat
Wad melt the hardest whun-stane!
The half-asleep start up wi' fear,

An' think they hear it roarin,
When presently it does appear
'Twas but some neebor snorin,
Asleep that day.

'Twad be owre lang a tale to tell
How monie stories passed,

An' how they crouded to the yill,
When they were a' dismissed;
How drink gaed round, in cogs an' caups,
Amang the furms an' benches,
An' cheese an' bread, frae women's laps,
Was dealt about in lunches

An' dawds that day.

In comes a gawsie, gash guidwife,
An' sits down by the fire,
Syne draws her kebbuck an' her knife;
The lasses they are shyer;
The auld guidmen about the grace
Frae side to side they bother,
Till some, ane by his bonnet lays
And gi'es them 't, like a tether,
Fu' lang that day.

Waesucks for him that gets nae lass,
Or lasses that hae naething!
Sma' need has he to say a grace,
Or melvie his braw claithing!

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O wives, be mindfu', ance yoursel
How bonie lads ye wanted,
An' dinna for a kebbuck-heel
Let lasses be affronted

On sic a day!
Now Clinkumbell, wi' rattlin tow,
Begins to jow an' croon;
Some swagger hame the best they dow,
Some wait the afternoon.

At slaps the billies halt a blink,
Till lasses strip their shoon;
Wi' faith an' hope, an' love an' drink,
They're a' in famous tune

For crack that day.

How monie hearts this day converts
O' sinners and o' lasses!

Their hearts o' stane, gin night, are gaen
As saft as onie flesh is.

There's some are fou o' love divine,
There's some are fou o' brandy;
An' monie jobs that day begin,
May end in houghmagandie
Some ither day.

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
Ower gauze and lace,

Tho', faith, I fear ye dine but sparely
On sic a place.

Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,
Detested, shunned by saunt an' sinner,
How daur ye set your fit upon her,
Sae fine a lady!

Gae somewhere else, and seek your dinner
On some poor body.

Swith! in some beggar's hauffet squattle;
There ye may creep and sprawl and sprattle
Wi' ither kindred jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations,

Whare horn nor bane ne'er daur unsettle
Your thick plantations.

Now haud you there! ye're out o' sight,
Below the fatt'rils, snug an' tight;
Na, faith ye yet! ye'll no be right
Till ye've got on it,

The vera tapmost, tow'ring height
O' Miss's bonnet.

My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump an' grey as onie grozet;
O for some rank, mercurial rozet
Or fell red smeddum!
I'd gie ye sic a hearty dose o't
Wad dress your droddum!

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O Jenny, dinna toss your head,
An' set your beauties a' abread!
Ye little ken what cursèd speed
The blastie's makin!

Thae winks an' finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin!

O wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae monie a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion;

What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
An' ev'n devotion!

FROM EPISTLE TO J. LAPRAIK

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 nose,
And say, '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're maybe wrang.

What's a' your jargon o' your schools,
Your Latin names for horns an' stools?
If honest Nature made you fools,
What sairs your grammers?

Ye'd better taen up spades and shools Or knappin-hammers.

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,

My Muse, tho' hamely in attire,

May touch the heart.

THE COTTER'S SATURDAY NIGHT

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 ween!

November chill blaws loud wi' angry sugh;

The shortening winter-day is near a close;
The miry beasts retreating frae the pleugh;

The blackening trains o' craws to their repose:
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 through
To meet their dad, wi' flichterin' noise and glee.
His wee bit ingle, blinkin bonilie,

His clean hearth-stane, his thrifty wifie's smile,
The lisping infant, prattling on his knee,
Does a' his weary kiaugh and care beguile,
And makes him quite forget his labour and his toil.

Belyve the elder bairns come drapping in,
At service out amang the farmers roun';
Some ca' the pleugh, some herd, some tentie 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 shew a braw new gown, Or deposite her sair-won penny-fee,

To help her parents dear if they in hardship be.

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