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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,a
Begins to jow an' croon b;1

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.

Third Epistle to J. Lapraik.2

GUID speed and furders to you, Johnie,
Guid health, hale han's an' weather bonie;
Now, when ye're nickin down fu' cannieh
The staff o' bread,
May ye ne'er want a stoup o' bran'y
To clear your head.

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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, daudind showers hae wat it;
Sae my auld stumpie pen I gat it
Wi' muckle wark,

An' took my joctelege 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 quath it,
An' if ye mak' objections at it,

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

An' when wi' usquabae1 we've wat it

It winna break.

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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 aquavitæ

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

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

But stooks are cowpite 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.

Epistle to the Rev. John M'Math,1

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a bridle.

WHILE at the stook the shearers cow'r
To shun the bitter blaudin' show'r,

Or in gulravage rinnin scowri

To pass the time,

To you I dedicate the hour

• overturned.

In idle rhyme.

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1 Mr M'Math, a clergyman of liberal opinions, "eventually took to hard drinking, and died in the Isle of Mull,

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My musie, tir'd wi' mony a sonnet

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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.

I own 'twas rash, an' rather hardy,
That I a simple, country bardie,
Should meddle wi' a pack sae sturdy,
Wha, if they ken me,

Can easy, wi' a single wordie,

Lowse hell upon me.

But I gae mad at their grimaces,
Their sighin, cantin, grace-proud faces,
Their three-mile prayers, an' half-mile graces,
Their raxind conscience,

Whase greed, revenge, an' pride disgraces
Waur nor their nonsense.

There's Gaw'n, misca'd waur than a beast,
Wha has mair honour in his breast
Than mony scores as guid's the priest
Wha sae abus'd him:

And may a bard no crack his jest

What way they've us'd him?

See him, the poor man's friend in need,
The gentleman in word an' deed-
An' shall his fame an' honour bleed
By worthless skellums,

An' not a muse erect her head


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I'd rip their rotten, hollow hearts,
An' tell aloud

Their jugglin hocus-pocus arts

To cheat the crowd.

God knows, I'm no the thing I should be,
Nor am I even the thing I could be,
But twenty times I rather would be
An atheist clean,

Than under gospel colours hid be
Just for a screen.

An honest man may like a glass,
An honest man may like a lass,
But mean revenge, an' malice fause
He'll still disdain,

An' then cry zeal for gospel laws,
Like some we ken.

They take religion in their mouth;
They talk o' mercy, grace, an' truth,
For what?-to gie their malice skouth
On some puir wight,

An' hunt him down, owre right and ruth,
To ruin straight.

All hail, Religion! maid divine!
Pardon a muse sae mean as mine,
Who in her rough imperfect line

Thus daurs to name thee;

To stigmatise false friends of thine
Can ne'er defame thee.

Tho' blotch't and foul wi' mony a stain,
An' far unworthy of thy train,

With trembling voice I tune my strain,
To join with those

Who boldly dare thy cause maintain
In spite of foes:

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