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That when I looked to my dart,

It was sae blunt,

Fient haet o't wad hae pierc'd the heart
Of a kail-runt.

"I drew my scythe in sic a fury,
I near-hand cowpit wi' my hurry,
But yet the bauld Apothecary

Withstood the shock;

I might as weel hae tried a quarry
O' hard whin rock.

"Ev'n them he canna get attended, Altho' their face he ne'er had kend it, Just—in a kail-blade, an' send it,

As soon's he smells 't,

Baith their disease, and what will mend it, At once he tells 't.

"And then, a' doctor's saws an' whittles,
Of a' dimensions, shapes, an' mettles,
A' kind o' boxes, mugs, an' bottles,
He's sure to hae;

Their Latin names as fast he rattles
As A B C.

"Calces o' fossils, earths, and trees; True sal-marinum o' the seas; The farina of beans an' pease,

He has't in plenty;

Aqua-fontis, what you please,

He can content ye.

"Forbye some new, uncommon weapons,
Urinus spiritus of capons;

Or mite-horn shavings, filings, scrapings,
Distill'd per se;

Sal-alkali o' midge-tail clippings,

And mony mae."


for Johnie Ged's Hole now,"
... "if that thae news be true!
calf-ward whare gowans grew,
Sae white and bonie,

- Soubt they'll rive it wi' the plew;
They'll ruin Johnie!"

reature grain'd an eldritch laugh,
"Ye needna yoke the pleugh,
-ards will soon be till'd eneugh,
Tak ye nae fear:

be trench'd wi' mony a sheugh,
In twa-three year.

kid ane, a fair strae-death,
blood or want of breath,
I'm free to tak my aith,
That Hornbook's skill

sa score i' their last claith,
By drap an' pill.

est wabster to his trade,

wife's twa nieves were scarce weel-bred pence-worth to mend her head,

When it was sair;

he wife slade cannie to her bed,

But ne'er spak mair.

* country laird had ta'en the batts,
Or some curmurring in his guts,
His only son for Hornbook sets,
An' pays him well:

The lad, for twa guid gimmer-pets,
Was laird himsel'.

“A bonie lass-ye kend her name—

Some ill-brewn drink had hov'd her wame;
She trusts hersel', to hide the shame,
In Hornbook's care;

Horn sent her aff to her lang hame,
To hide it there.

5 The grave-digger.-R. B.

"That's just a swatch o' Hornbook's way;
Thus goes he on from day to day,
Thus does he poison, kill, an' slay,

An's weel paid for't;

Yet stops me o' my lawfu' prey,

Wi' his damn'd dirt:

"But, hark! I'll tell you of a plot,
Tho' dinna ye be speakin o't;
I'll nail the self-conceited sot,

As dead's a herrin;

Neist time we meet, I'll wad a groat,
He gets his fairin!”

But just as he began to tell,

The auld kirk-hammer strak the bell
Some wee short hour ayont the twal',
Which rais'd us baith:

I took the way that pleas'd mysel',
And sae did Death.

APRIL 1, 1785

WHILE briers an' woodbines budding green,
An' paitricks scraichin loud at e'en,

An' morning poussie whiddin seen,

Inspire my muse,

This freedom, in an unknown frien',
I pray excuse.

On Fasten-e'en we had a rockin,

To ca' the crack and weave our stockin;
And there was muckle fun and jokin,
Ye need na doubt;

At length we had a hearty yokin

At sang about.

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That some kind husband had addrest

To some sweet wife;

It thirl'd the heart-strings thro' the breast, A' to the life.

I've scarce heard ought describ'd sae weel,
What gen'rous, manly bosoms feel;
Thought I "Can this be Pope, or Steele,
Or Beattie's wark?"

They tauld me 'twas an odd kind chiel
About Muirkirk.

It pat me fidgin-fain to hear't,
An' sae about him there I speir't;

Then a' that kent him round declar'd
He had ingine;

That nane excell'd it, few cam near't,
It was sae fine:

That, set him to a pint of ale,

An' either douce or merry tale,

Or rhymes an' sangs he'd made himsel,

Or witty catches

"Tween Inverness an' Teviotdale,

He had few matches.

Then up I gat, an' swoor an aith,

Tho' I should pawn my pleugh an' graith,

Or die a cadger pownie's death,

At some dyke-back,

A pint an' gill I'd gie them baith,

To hear your crack.

But, first an' foremost, I should tell,

Amaist as soon as I could spell,

I to the crambo-jingle fell;

Tho' rude an' rough

Yet crooning to a body's sel'

Does weel eneugh.

I am nae poet, in a sense;

But just a rhymer like by chance,

An' hae to learning nae pretence;

Yet, what the matter?

Whene'er my muse does on me glance,
I jingle at her.

Your critic-folk may cock their nose,
And say, "How can you e'er propose,
You wha ken hardly verse frae prose,
To mak a sang?"

But, by your leaves, my learnèd foes,
Ye're maybe wrang.

What's a' your jargon o' your schools-
Your Latin names for horns an' stools?

If honest Nature made you fools,

What sairs your grammars?

Ye'd better taen up spades and shools,

Or knappin-hammers.

A set o' dull, conceited hashes

Confuse their brains in college classes!
They gang in stirks, and come out asses,
Plain truth to speak;

An' syne they think to climb Parnassus

By dint o' Greek!

Gie me ae spark o' nature's fire,

That's a' the learning I desire;

Then tho' I drudge thro' dub an' mire

At pleugh or cart,

My muse, tho' hamely in attire,

May touch the heart.

O for a spunk o' Allan's glee,
Or Fergusson's, the bauld an' slee,

Or bright Lapraik's, my friend to be,
If I can hit it!

That would be lear eneugh for me,

If I could get it.

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