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TO J. S.
Friendship! mysterious cement of the soul!
DEAR S ****, the paukie thief,
Owre human hearts;
Against your arts.
For me, I swear by sun an' moon, And ev'ry star that blinks aboon, Ye've cost me twenty pair o' shoon
Just gaun to see you; And ev'ry ither pair that's done,
Mair taen I'm wi' you.
That auld capricious carlin, Nature, To mak amends for scrimpit stature, She's turn'd you aff, a human creature
On her first plan, And in her freaks, on ev'ry feature,
She's wrote, the Mar.
Just now I've taen the fit o' rhyme, My barmie noddle's working prime My fancie yerkit up sublime
Wi' hasty summon : Hae ye a leisure-moment's time
To hear what's comin?
Some rhyme, a neebor's name to lash ; Some rlıyme (vain thought) for needfu' cash ; Some rhyme to court the countra clash,
An' raise a din; For me, an aim I never fash;
I rhyme for fun.
The star that rules my luckless lot,
But in requit,
O' countra wit.
This while my notion's taen a sklent,
Something cries, . Hoolie! 'I red you, honest man, tak tent!
• Ye'll shaw your folly.
• There's ither poets, much your betters, • Far seen in Greek, deep men o’ letters, • Hae thought they had ensur'd their debtors,
* A' future ages; "Now moths deform in shapeless tetters,
• Their unknown pages.'
Then fareweel hopes o' laurel-boughs,
Are whistling thrang,
My rustic sang
I'll wander on, with tentless heed How never-balting moments speed, Till fate sball snap the brittle thread;
Then, all unknown, I'll lay me with the’ inglorious dead,
Forgot and gone!
But why o’death begin a tale ?
Heave care o'er side!
Let's tak the tide.
This life, sae far's I understand,
That, wielded right,
Dance by fu’ light.
The magic wand then let us wield; For ance that five-an’-forty's speeld, See crazy, weary, joyless eild,
Wi' wrinkl’d face, Comes hostin, hirplin owre the field,
Wi' creepin pace.
When ance life's day draws near the gloamin, Then fareweel vacant careless roamin; An' fareweel chearfu' tankards foamin,
An' social noise ; An' farewell, dear deluding woman,
The joy of joys!
O Life! how pleasant in thy morning, Young Fancy's rays the hills adorning! Cold-pausing Caution's lesson scorning,
We frisk away, Like school-boys, at the expected warning,
To joy and play.
We wander there, we wander here, We eye the rose upon the brier, Unmindful that the thorn is near,
Among the leaves ; And though the puny wound appear,
Short while it grieves.
Some, lucky, find a flow'ry spot, For which they never toil'd nor swat ; They drink the sweet, and eat the fat,
But care or pain; And, haply, eye the barren hut
With high disdain.
With steady aim, some fortune chase ; Keen Hope does every sinew brace ; Thro’ fair, thro’ foul, they urge the race,
And seize the prey : Then canie, in some cozie place,
They close the day.
And others, like your humble servan', Poor wights! nae rules nor roads observin; To right or left, eternal swervin,
They ziz-zag on; Till curst with age, obscure an’ starvin,
They aften groan.
Alas! what bitter toil an' straining-
E'en let her gang!
Let's sing our sang.
My pen I here Aling to the door, And kneel, “Ye Pow'rs!' and warm implore, • Tho' I should wander terra o'er,
• In all her climes, Grant me but this, I ask no more,
* Ay rowth o' rhymes.
Gie dreeping roasts to countra lairds, 'Till icicles hang frae their beards ; Gie fine braw claes to fine life.guards,
And maids of honour; * And yill an' whisky gie to cairds,
• Until they sconner.
A title, Dempster merits it; • A garter gie to Willie Pitt ; Gie wealth to some be-ledger'd cit,
In cent. per cent. *But give me real, sterling wit,
. And I'm content.
While ye are pleas'd to keep me hale, • I'll sit down o'er my scanty meal, • Be't water-brose, or muslin-kail,
• Wi' cheerfu' face, • As lang's the muses dinna fail
• To say the grąco.'