페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Health to the sex, ilk guid chiel says, Wi' merry dance in winter days,

An' we to share in common : The gust o’joy, the balm of woe, The saul o' life, the heav'n below,

Is rapture-giving woman. Ye surly sumphs, who hate the name

Be mindfu' o' your mither :
She, honest woman, may think shame
That ye're connected with her,
Ye're wae men, ye're nae men

That slight the lovely dears ;
To shame

ye,
disclaim

ye,
Ilk honest birkie swears.

For you, no bred to barn and byre,
Wha sweetly tune the Scottish lyre,
Thanks to you

for
your

line : The marled plaid ye kindly spare, By me should gratefully be ware ;

'Twad please me to the nine. I'd be mair vauntie o' my hap,

Douce hingin' owre my curple,
Than ony ermine ever lap,
Or proud imperial purple.
Fareweel then, lang heal then,

An' plenty be your fa'
May losses and crosses

Ne'er at your hallan ca'.

This beautiful little poem is now given entire.-"Oh! that he, the prevailing Poet,” says Wilson, speaking of the aspirations of his youth, “could have seen this light breaking in upon the darkness that did too long and too deeply overshadow his living lot! Some glorious glimpses of it his prophetic soul did seem

-witness “The Vision,' or that somewhat humbler but yet high strain—in which, bethinking him of the undefined aspirations of his boyish genius that had bestirred itself in the darkness, as if the touch of an angel's hand were to awaken a sleeper in his cell-he said to himself :

• Even then a wish, I mind its power,
A wish that to my latest hour,

Shall strongly heave my breast,
That I for poor auld Scotland's sake,
Some usefu' plan, or beuk could make,

Or sing a sang at least.' “ Such hopes were in him, in his bright and shining youth,' surrounded as it was with toil and trouble, that could not bend down the brow of Burns from its natural upright inclination to the sky: and such hopes, let us doubt it not, were with him in his dark and faded prime, when life's lamp burned low indeed, and he was willing at last, early as it was, to shut his eyes on this dearly beloved, but sorely distracting world.”

The lady to whom the Epistle is addressed, was a painter and poetess : her sketches with the pencil were very beautiful; of her skill in verse, the reader may judge from her letter to the bard :

“My cantie, witty, rhyming ploughman,

I hafflins doubt it is na' true, man,
That ye between the stilts was bred,
Wi' ploughmen schooled, wi' ploughmen fed ;
I doubt it sair, ye've drawn your knowledge
Either frae grammar-school or college,
Guid troth your saul an' body baith
War better fed I'd gie my aith,
Than theirs who sup sour milk an' parritch,
An' bummil through the single Carritch.

[blocks in formation]

Whaever heard the ploughman speak,
Could tell gif Homer was a Greek?
He'd flee as soon upon a cudgel,
As get a single line of Virgil.
And then sae slee ye crack your jokes
O' Willie Pitt and Charlie Fox:
Our great men a' sae weel descrive,
An' how to gar the nation thrive,
Ane maist wad swear ye dwalt amang them,
And as ye saw them sae ye sang them.
But be ye ploughman, be ye peer,
Ye are a funny blade I swear;
An' though the cauld I ill can bide,
Yet twenty miles an' mair I'd ride
O'er moss an' moor, an' never grumble,
Though my auld yad should gie a stumble,
To crack a winter night wi' thee,
An' hear thy sangs an' sonnets slee.
O gif I kenned but where ye baide,
I'd send to you a marled plaid ;
'Twad haud your shouthers warm an' braw,
An' douce at kirk or market shaw;
Fra' south as weel as north my lad,

A' honest Scotsmen lo'e the maud."
Mrs. Scott of Wauchope was niece to Mrs. Cockburn,
authoress of a beautiful variation of “ The Flowers of
the Forest :” she has been long dead.

[ocr errors]

EPISTLE TO WILLIAM CREECH.

WRITTEN AT SELKIRK.

Auld chuckie Reekie's * sair distrest,
Down droops her ance weel-burnisht crest,
Nae joy her bonnie buskit nest

Can yield ava,
Her darling bird that she lo'es best,

Willie's awa!

O Willie was a witty wight,
And had o' things an unco slight ;
Auld Reekie ay he keepit tight.

An' trig an' braw :
But now they'll busk her like a fright,

Willie's awa!

The stiffest o' them a' he bow'd ;
The bauldest o' them a' he cow'd ;
They durst nae mair than he allow'd,

That was a law :
We've lost a birkie weel worth gowd,

Willie's awa!

* Edinburgh.

Now gawkies, tawpies, gowks, and fools,
Frae colleges and boarding-schools,
May sprout like simmer puddock-stools

In glen or shaw;
He wha could brush them down to mools,

Willie's awa!

The brethren o' the Commerce-Chaumer *
May mourn their loss wi' doolfu' clamour :
He was a dictionar and grammar

Amang them a';
I fear they'll now mak mony a stammer.

Willie's awa!

Nae mair we see his levee door
Philosophers and poets pour,
And toothy critics by the score,

In bloody raw !
The adjutant o'a' the core,

Willie's awa!

Now worthy Gregory's latin face,
Tytler's and Greenfield's modest grace ;
Mackenzie, Stewart, sic a brace

As Rome ne'er saw ;
They a' maun meet some ither place,

Willie's awa!

• The Chamber of Commerce at Edinburgh, of which Creech was Secretary.

+ Many literary gentlemen were accustomed to meet at Mr. Creech's house at breakfast.

« 이전계속 »