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For thus the royal mandate ran, When first the human race began; "The social, friendly, honest man,

Whate'er he be

"Tis be fulfils great Nature's plan,

And none but he."

O mandate glorious and divine!

The followers o' the ragged Nine,

Poor, thoughtless devils! yet may shine

In glorious light,

While sordid sons o' Mammon's line

Are dark as night!

Tho' here they scrape, an' squeeze, an' growl,
Their worthless nievefu' of a soul

May in some future carcase howl,

The forest's fright;

Or in some day-detesting owl

May shun the light.

Then may Lapraik and Burns arise,
To reach their native, kindred skies,
And sing their pleasures, hopes an' joys,
In some mild sphere;

Still closer knit in friendship's ties,

Each passing year!

I GAT your letter, winsome Willie ;
Wi' gratefu' heart I thank you brawlie;
Tho' I maun say't, I wad be silly,
And unco vain,

Should I believe, my coaxin' billie

Your flatterin strain.


poets' future


The great


But I'se believe ye kindly meant it:
I sud be laith to think ye hinted
Ironic satire, sidelins sklented

On my poor


Tho' in sic phraisin terms ye've penn'd it,
I scarce excuse ye.

My senses wad be in a creel,
Should I but dare a hope to speel
Wi' Allan, or wi' Gilbertfield,

The braes o' fame;

Or Fergusson, the writer-chiel,

A deathless name.

(O Fergusson! thy glorious parts
Ill suited law's dry, musty arts!
My curse upon your whunstane hearts,
Ye E'nbrugh gentry!

The tithe o' what ye waste at cartes

Wad stow'd his pantry!)

Yet when a tale comes i' my head,
Or lassies gie my heart a screed—
As whiles they're like to be my


(O sad disease!)

I kittle up my rustic reed;

It gies me ease.

Auld Coila now may fidge fu' fain,

She's gotten poets o' her ain;

Chiels wha their chanters winna hain,

But tune their lays,

Till echoes a' resound again

Her weel-sung praise.

Nae poet thought her worth his while,
To set her name in measur'd style;
She lay like some unkenn'd-of-isle

Beside New Holland,

Or whare wild-meeting oceans boil
Besouth Magellan.

Ramsay an' famous Fergusson
Gied Forth an' Tay a lift aboon;
Yarrow an' Tweed, to monie a tune,

Ówre Scotland rings;

While Irwin, Lugar, Ayr, an' Doon
Naebody sings.

Th' Illissus, Tiber, Thames, an' Seine,
Glide sweet in monie a tunefu' line:
But, Willie, set your fit to mine,

An' cock your crest;

We'll gar our streams an' burnies shine
Up wi' the best!

We'll sing auld Coila's plains an' fells,
Her moors red-brown wi' heather bells,
Her banks an' braes, her dens and dells,
Whare glorious Wallace

Aft bure the gree, as story tells,

Frae Suthron billies.

At Wallace' name, what Scottish blood
But boils up in a spring-tide flood!
Oft have our fearless fathers strode

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breeds the Poet

O sweet are Coila's haughs an' woods,
When lintwhites chant amang the buds,
And jinkin hares, in amorous whids,
Their loves enjoy ;

While thro' the braes the cushat croods
With wailfu' cry!

Ev'n winter bleak has charms to me,
When winds rave thro' the naked tree;
Or frosts on hills of Ochiltree

Are hoary gray;

Or blinding drifts wild-furious flee,
Dark'ning the day!

O Nature! a' thy shews and forms
To feeling, pensive hearts hae charms!
Whether the summer kindly warms,
Wi' life an' light;

Or winter howls, in gusty storms,
The lang, dark night!

The muse, nae poet ever fand her,
Till by himsel he learn'd to wander,
Adown some trottin burn's meander,
An' no think lang:

O sweet to stray, an' pensive ponder
A heart-felt sang!

The war'ly race may drudge an' drive,
Hog-shouther, jundie, stretch, an' strive
Let me fair Nature's face descrive;
And I, wi' pleasure,

Shall let the busy, grumbling hive

Bum owre their treasure.

Fareweel," my rhyme-composing" brither!
We've been ower lang unkenn'd to ither!
Now let us lay our heads thegither,

In things fraternal:

May envy wallop in a tether,

Black fiend, infernal!

While Highlandmen hate tolls and taxes;
While moorlan' herds like guid, fat braxies;
While terra firma, on her axis,

Diurnal turns;

Count on a friend, in faith an' practice,
In Robert Burns.


My memory's no worth a preen;
I had amaist forgotten clean,

You bade me write you what they mean
By this new-light,'

'Bout which our herds sae aft hae been
Maist like to fight.

In days when mankind were but callans
At grammar, logic, an' sic talents,
They took nae pains their speech to balance,
Or rules to gie;

But spak their thoughts in plain, braid lallans,
Like you or me.

In thae auld times, they thought the moon,
Just like a sark, or pair o' shoon,
Wore by degrees, till her last roon

Gaed past their viewin;

An' shortly after she was done

They gat a new ane.




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