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I'll no say men are villains a';

The real, harden'd wicked,
Wha hae nae check but human law,

Are to a few restricked ; But, och! mankind are unco weak,

An' little to be trusted ; If self the wavering balance shake,

It's rarely right adjusted!


Yet they wha fa' in fortune's strife,

Their fate we should na censure, For still th' important end of life,

They equally may answer ;
A man may hae an honest heart,

Tho'poortith hourly stare him; A man may tak a neebor's part, Yet hae nae cash to



Ay free, aff han’ your story tell,

When wi' a bosom crony ;
But still keep something to yoursel

Ye scarcely tell to ony.
Conceal yoursel as weel's

Frae critical dissection ;
But keek thro' ev'ry other man,

Wi’ sharpen'd, sly inspection.

ye can


The sacred lowe o' weel-plac'd love,

Luxuriantly indulge it;
But never tempt th' illicit rove,

Tho' naething should divulge it :
I waive the quantum o' the sin,

The hazard of concealing;
But, och! it hardens a' within,

And petrifies the feeling!


To catch dame Fortune's golden smile,
Assiduous wait

And gather gear by ev'ry wile

That's justified by honour;
Not for to hide it in a hedge,

Nor for a train-attendant;
But for the glorious privilege

Of being independent.

The fear o' hell's a hangman's whip

To haud the wretch in order ;
But where


honour grip,
Let that ay be your border:
Its slightest touches, instant pause-

Debar a' side pretences ;
And resolutely keep its laws,

Uncaring consequences.

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The great Creator to revere

Must sure become the creature;
But still the preaching cant forbear,

And ev'n the rigid feature:
Yet ne'er with wits profane to range,

Be complaisance extended ;
An Atheist laugh 's a poor exchange

For Deity offended!

When ranting round in pleasure's ring,

Religion may be blinded ;
Or if she gie a random sting,

It may be little minded;
But when on life we're tempest-driv'n,

A conscience but a canker-
A correspondence fix'd wi' Heav'n

Is sure a noble anchor!

XI. Adieu, dear, amiable youth !

Your heart can ne'er be wanting ! May prudence, fortitude, and truth

Erect your brow undaunting! In ploughman phrase, “ God send you speed," Still daily to grow

wiser : And may you better reck the rede

Than ever did th' adviser!

When Burns saw that " misfortune's cauld nor west" was ready to burst upon him, and that labouring on his farm was not likely to avert it, he wooed the muse with redoubled ardour-perhaps from a feeling that the exertions of his genius, and not of his hands, would save him. During the latter half of the year 1785 and the spring and summer part of 1786, he produced a vast body of poems—one of them is “ The Epistle to Andrew Aiken,” son to Robert Aiken, writer, in Ayr, to whom “ The Cotter's Saturday Night” is inscribed. A coldness seems to have arisen between Burns and Robert Aiken : the former imagined that his friend, in his capacity of lawyer, had made himself more busy than necessary in the affair of the marriage contract between him and Jean Armour. Be that as it may, the name of Aiken all at once disappears from the Poet's correspondence.

The Epistle seems to have been addressed to one every way worthy of such a strain : young Aiken entered into the service of his country, and rose to distinction and affluence. He obtained some notice, too, the other year, at the dinner celebrating the birth-day of the Ayrshire Ploughman, and that of the Ettrick Shepherd; nature having, it seems, out of a wondrous love for the 25th of January, produced both Poets on that day of the yearand produced them both in storms: the hail and the whirlwind were abroad when Burns was born; and Ettrick rose in flood as Ettrick never rose before, when Hogg appeared.



HA! whare ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie!
Your impudence protects you sairly:
I canna say but ye strunt rarely,


and lace ; Tho' faith, I fear, ye dine but sparely

On sic a place.

Ye ugly, creepin', blastit wonner,
Detested, shunn'd, by saunt an’ sinner,
How dare you set your


upon her,

Sae fine a lady! Gae somewhere else, and seek your

dinner On some poor body.

Swith, in some beggar's haffet 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.

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