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See, up he's got the word o' God,
An' meek an' mim has view'd it,
While Common-sense has taen the road,
An' aff, an' up the Cowgate

Fast, fast that day.

Wee Miller' neist the guard relieves,

An' Orthodoxy raibles,

Tho' in his heart he weel believes,
An' thinks it auld wives' fables:
But faith! the birkie wants a manse,

So, cannilie he hums them;
Altho' his carnal wit an' sense

Like hafflins-wise o'ercomes him

At times that day.

Now, butt an' ben, the change-house fills,
Wi' yill-caup commentators;
Here's cryin out for bakes and gills,

An' there the pint-stowp clatters;
While thick an' thrang, an' loud an' lang,

Wi' logic an' wi' scripture,
They raise a din, that in the end

Is like to breed a rupture

O' wrath that day.

Leeze me on drink! it gies us mair
Than either school or college;
It kindles wit, it waukens lear,
It pangs us fou o' knowledge:
Be't whisky-gill or penny wheep,
Or ony stronger potion,

It never fails, on drinkin deep,
To kittle up our notion,

By night or day.

The lads an' lasses, blythely bent

To mind baith saul an' body,
Sit round the table, weel content,
An' steer about the toddy:

6 A street so called which faces the tent in Mauchline.-R. B. 7 Rev. Alex. Miller, afterward of Kilmaurs.

On this ane's dress, an' that ahe's leuk,

They're makin observations;

While some are cozie i' the neuk,

An' forming assignations

To meet some day.

But now the Lord's ain trumpet touts,

Till a' the hills are rairin,

And echoes back return the shouts;
Black Russell is na sparin:

His piercin words, like Highlan' swords,
Divide the joints an' marrow;
His talk o' Hell, whare devils dwell,

Our vera "sauls does harrow"

Wi' fright that day!

A vast, unbottom'd, boundless pit,
Fill'd fou o' lowin brunstane,
Whase raging flame, an' scorching heat,
Wad melt the hardest whun-stane!
The half-asleep start up wi' fear,
An' think they hear it roarin;
When presently it does appear,
'Twas but some neibor snorin
Asleep that day.

"Twad be owre lang a tale to tell,
How mony stories past;
An' how they crouded to the yill,
When they were a' dismist;

How drink gaed round, in cogs an' caups,
Amang the furms an' benches;

An' cheese an' bread, frae women's laps, Was dealt about in lunches

An' dawds that day.

In comes a gawsie, gash guidwife,

An' sits down by the fire,

Syne draws her kebbuck an' her knife;

The lasses they are shyer:

The auld guidmen, about the grace,
Frae side to side they bother;
Till some ane by his bonnet lays,
An' gies them't like a tether,
Fu' lang that day.

Waesucks! for him that gets nae lass,
Or lasses that hae naething!
Sma' need has he to say a grace,
Or melvie his braw claithing!
O wives, be mindfu' ance yoursel'
How bonie lads ye wanted;
An' dinna for a kebbuck-heel

Let lasses be affronted

On sic a day!

Now Clinkumbell, wi' rattlin tow,
Begins to jow an' croon;

Some swagger hame the best they dow,

Some wait the afternoon.

At slaps the billies halt a blink,

Till lasses strip their shoon:

Wi' faith an' hope, an' love an' drink,

They're a' in famous tune

For crack that day.

How mony hearts this day converts

O' sinners and o' lasses!

Their hearts o' stane, gin night, are gane
As saft as ony flesh is:

There's some are fou o' love divine;

There's some are fou o' brandy;

An' mony jobs that day begin,

May end in houghmagandie
Some ither day.


GUID speed and furder to you, Johnie,
Guid health, hale han's, an' weather bonie;

Now, when ye're nickin down fu' cannie
The staff o' bread,

May ye ne'er want a stoup o' bran'y
To clear your head.

May Boreas never thresh your rigs,
Nor kick your rickles aff their legs,
Sendin the stuff o'er muirs an' haggs
Like drivin wrack;

But may the tapmost grain that wags
Come to the sack.

I'm bizzie, too, an' skelpin at it,
But bitter, daudin showers hae wat it;
Sae my auld stumpie pen I gat it
Wi' muckle wark,

An' took my jocteleg an whatt it,
Like ony clark.

It's now twa month that I'm your debtor, For your braw, nameless, dateless letter, Abusin me for harsh ill-nature

On holy men,

While deil a hair yoursel' ye're better,
But mair profane.

But let the kirk-folk ring their bells,
Let's sing about our noble sel's:
We'll cry nae jads frae heathen hills
To help, or roose us;

But browster wives an' whisky stills,
They are the muses.

Your friendship, Sir, I winna quat it,

An' if ye mak' objections at it,

Then hand in neive some day we'll knot it, An' witness take,

An' when wi' usquabae we've wat it

It winna break.

But if the beast an' branks be spar'd
Till kye be gaun without the herd,
And a' the vittel in the yard,

An' theekit right,

I mean your ingle-side to guard
Ae winter night.

Then muse-inspirin' aqua-vitæ

Shall make us baith sae blythe and witty,
Till ye forget ye're auld an' gatty,
An' be as canty

As ye were nine years less than thretty—
Sweet ane an' twenty!

But stooks are cowpit wi' the blast,
And now the sinn keeks in the west,
Then I maun rin amang the rest,

An' quat my chanter;

Sae I subscribe mysel' in haste,

Yours, Rab the Ranter.

Sept. 13, 1785.


INCLOSING A COPY OF "HOLY Willie's prayer," which he HAD REQUESTED, SEPT. 17, 1785

WHILE at the stook the shearers cow'r

To shun the bitter blaudin' show'r,

Or in gulravage rinnin scowr

To pass the time,

To you I dedicate the hour

In idle rhyme.

My musie, tir'd wi' mony a sonnet
On gown, an' ban', an' douse black bonnet,
Is grown right eerie now she's done it,

Lest they should blame her,

An' rouse their holy thunder on it

And anathem her.

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