« PreviousContinue »
TO MR. M·ADAM,
Sir, o'er a gill I gat your card,
I trow it made me proud ;
I lap and cry'd fu' loud.
Now deil-ma-care about their jaw,
The senseless, gawky million : I'll cock my nose aboon them a'
I'm roos'd by Craigen-Gillan !
'Twas noble, Sir ; 'twas like yoursel,
To grant your high protection :
ls ay a blest infection.
Tho' by his * banes who in a tub
Match'd Macedonian Sandy! On
my ain legs thro’ dirt and dub, I independent stand ay.
And when those legs to gude, warm kail,
Wi' welcome canna bear me ; A lee dyke-side, a sybow-tail,
And barley-scone shall cheer me.
Heaven spare you lang to kiss the breath
O’ many flow'ry simmers !
I'm tald they're loosome kimmers !
And God bless young Dunaskin's laird,
The blossom of our gentry!
A credit to his country.
Burns, when asked to dinner, answered in rhyme; if desired to say grace at a meal, he measured it out at once: he made returns to tax collectors in verse, and sometimes, when he wished to have a shoe put on his horse, he made the request in song.
Instances will be given, in all these cases, in the course of these volumes. The present poem is a hasty, unpremeditated effusion : In the commencement of his poetic career, Burns, received an obliging letter from the laird of Craigen-Gillan, to whom his friend Woodburn was factor; and took up a sheet of paper, as he “sat owre a gill," and thanked him in verse. The Bard, amid his joy, forgets not that he is independent; and, in asserting his independence, he remembers that old age will come, and perhaps povertybut then “a lee dyke-side and barley scone” would cheer one who had been accustomed to simple fare."
ANSWER TO A POETICAL EPISTLE
SENT TO THE AUTHOR BY A TAILOR.
What ails ye now, ye lousie b-h,
Your bodkin's bauld, I didna suffer ha'f sae much
Frae Daddie Auld.
What tho' at times when I grow crouse,
? Gae mind your seam, ye prick the louse,
An' jag the flae.
King David o' poetic brief,
An' bluidy rants,
the chief O’lang-syne saunts.
And maybe, Tam, for a' my cants,
An' unco slip yet,
At Davie's hip get.
But fegs, the Session says
Clean heels owre body, And sairly thole their mither's ban
Afore the howdy.
This leads me on, to tell for sport,
Cried three times— Robin !
Ye 're blamed for jobbin'."
Wi' pinch I pat a Sunday's face on,
I scorn'd to lee;
Fell foul o' me.
A tailor in the neighbourhood of Mauchline took it upon him, it seems, to lecture Burns in verse upon his loose conversation and behaviour. The Poet answered in a strain which must have made the other, as Hamil
Strangely fidge end fike.”
It is, however, too free and unceremonious towards the conclusion, and I have been compelled to omit no less than five verses, in which the Poet gives a description of his interview with the kirk-session, and relates some of the conversation that ensued.
The knight of the thimble acquits himself in verse nearly as well as other rhymers who have not the advantage of being poets. He commences by saying he hears that Burns is about to go over the sea, and that the lasses whom he loves so much are in tears ; he intimates his concern for the peril of the Poet's soul, put in jeopardy, as he avers, by profane swearing, and by his attachment to the dames of Kyle :
“ Fu' weel ye ken yell gang to hell.
Gin ye persist in doing ill-
After ye're dead.
“ O Rab' lay by thae foolish tricks,
An' steer nae mair the foolish sex,
An' that ye'll see;
I'm wae for thee."
Our monitor now remembers that he has himself committed, like Burns, the three-fold sin of rhyme, loose speech, and light behavicur ; and passes from the singular to the plural with much complacency :