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“ We're owre like those who think it fit

To stuff their noddles fu' o' wit,
An' yet content in darkness sit,

Wha shun the light,
To let them see down to the pit

That lang dark night.
“ But farewell, Rab, I maun awa':

May He that made us keep us a'!
For that wad be a dreadfu' fa',

An' hurt us sair;
Lad, ye wad never mend ava,

Sae, Rab, tak' care."

No wonder that Burns said his success had produced a shoal of ill-spawned monsters in Scottish verse; the tailor was, however, one of the worst. I have heard it surmised that Burns wrote the monitory letter himself for the sake of the answer. To be able to write down to the level of the verses I have quoted—and they are the best—is a compliment to his genius, but not a just




WAE worth thy power, thou cursed leaf,
Fell source o' a' my woe and grief;
For lack o' thee I've lost my lass,
For lack oʻthee I scrimp my glass.
I see the children of affliction
Unaided, through thy cursed restriction.
I've seen the oppressor's cruel smile
Amid his hapless victim's spoil :
And for thy potence vainly wished,

To crush the villain in the dust.
For lack o' thee, I leave this much lov'd shore,
Never, perhaps, to greet old Scotland more.

R. B.


The Bank-ncte, on the back of which these characteristic lines were endorsed, came into the hands of James Gracie, banker in Dumfries : he knew the handwriting of the Poet, and preserved it as a curiosity. There is no

of the month or year, but it is dated from Kyle, and was probably written during the year 1786 : these lines point to that period :

“ For lack o' thee I've lost my lass,

For lack o' thee I scrimp my glass.
For lack o' thee, I leave this much lov'd shore,
Never, perhaps, to greet old Scotland more."


Thoughts, words, and deeds, the statute blames with reason;
But surely dreams were ne'er indicted treason."

[On reading, in the public papers, the “ Laureat's Ode,” with the other

parade of June 4, 1786, the author was no sooner dropt asleep, than he imagined himself transported to the birth-day levee; and in his dreaming fancy made the following “ Address."]

Guid-MORNIN' to your Majesty !

May Heaven augment your blisses,
On ev'ry new birth-day ye see,

A humble poet wishes !
My bardship here, at your levee,

On sic a day as this is,
Is sure an uncouth sight to see,
Amang thae birth-day dresses

Sae fine this day.

I see ye're complimented thrang,

By many a lord an' lady ;
“ God save the king !" 's a cuckoo sang

That's unco easy said ay ;
The poets, too, a venal gang,

Wi’ rhymes weel-turn’d and ready,
Wad gar you trow ye ne'er do wrang,
But ay unerring steady,

On sic a day.

For me! before a monarch's face,

Ev’n there I winna flatter ;
For neither pension, post, nor place,

Am I your humble debtor :
So, nae reflection on your grace,

Your kingship to bespatter; There's monie waur been o' the race, And aiblins ane been better

Than you this day.

'Tis very true, my sov'reign king,

My skill may weel be doubted : But facts are chiels that winna ding,

An' downa be disputed: Your royal nest, beneath your wing,

Is e'en right reft an' clouted, And now the third part of the string, An' less, will gang about it

Than did ae day.

Far be't frae me that I aspire

To blame your legislation,
Or say, ye wisdom want, or fire,

To rule this mighty nation !
But, faith! I muckle doubt, my sire,

Ye've trusted ministration
To chaps, wha, in a barn or byre,
Wad better fill'd their station

Than courts yon day.

And now ye've gien auld Britain peace,

Her broken shins to plaister; Your sair taxation does her fleece,

Till she has scarce a tester ;
For me, thank God, my life's a lease,

Nae bargain wearing faster,
Or, faith! I fear, that, wi' the geese,
I shortly boost to pasture

I’ the craft some day.

I'm no mistrusting Willie Pitt,

When taxes he enlarges, (An' Will's a true guid fallow's get,

A name not envy spairges,)
That he intends to pay your debt,

An' lessen a' your charges ;
But, G-d-sake ! let nae saving-fit
Abridge your bonie barges

An' boats this day.

Adieu, my Liege! may freedom geck

Beneath your high protection ;
An' may ye rax corruption's neck,

And gie her for dissection !
But since I'm here, I'll no neglect,

In loyal, true affection,
To pay your Queen, with due respect,
My fealty an' subjection

This great birth-day.

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