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"NO CHURCHMAN AM I"
Song "No Churchman am I."1
Tune—“Prepare, my dear Brethren, to the tavern let's fly.”
No churchman am I for to rail and to write,
The peer I don't envy, I give him his bow;
Here passes the squire on his brother-his horse;
The wife of my bosom, alas! she did die;
I once was persuaded a venture to make;
"Life's cares they are comforts"—a maxim laid down By the Bard, what d'ye call him, that wore the black gown; And faith I agree with th' old prig to a hair,
For a big-belly'd bottle's a heav'n of a care.
1 Written on a hint from an old song with a similar refrain. "A Club of good fellows," whereof Burns was part, was formed at Tarbolton, for purposes
of convivial discussion, before Burns went to Irvine. He therefore calls his admired Young "an old prig."
A STANZA ADDED IN A MASON LODGE.
Then fill up a bumper and make it o'erflow,
My Father was a Farmer.1
Tune-"The weaver and his shuttle, O."
My father was a farmer upon the Carrick border, O,
He bade me act a manly part, though I had ne'er a farthing, O; For without an honest manly heart, no man was worth regarding, O.
Then out into the world my course I did determine, O; Tho' to be rich was not my wish, yet to be great was charming, O;
My talents they were not the worst, nor yet my education, 0: Resolv'd was I at least to try to mend my situation, O.
In many a way, and vain essay, I courted Fortune's favour, O; Some cause unseen still stept between, to frustrate each endeavour, O;
Sometimes by foes I was o'erpower'd, sometimes by friends forsaken, O;
And when my hope was at the top, I still was worst mistaken, O.
Then sore harass'd, and tir'd at last, with Fortune's vain delusion, O,
I dropt my schemes, like idle dreams, and came to this conclusion, O;
1 Here we have the festal, not the moral side of life at Tarbolton or at Irvine, a melancholy reaction from melancholy.
The omission of the final "O" of each line by Scott Douglas rather
destroys the force of the poet's de-
MY FATHER WAS A FARMER
The past was bad, and the future hid, its good or ill untried, O; But the present hour was in my pow'r, and so I would enjoy it, Ó.
No help, nor hope, nor view had I, nor person to befriend me, O; So I must toil, and sweat, and moil, and labour to sustain me, 0;
To plough and sow, to reap and mow, my father bred me early, O;
For one, he said, to labour bred, was a match for Fortune fairly, O.
Thus all obscure, unknown, and poor, thro' life I'm doom'd to wander, O,
Till down my weary bones I lay in everlasting slumber, 0: No view nor care, but shun whate'er might breed me pain or sorrow, O;
I live to-day as well's I may, regardless of to-morrow, 0.
But cheerful still, I am as well as a monarch in his palace, O, Tho' Fortune's frown still hunts me down, with all her wonted malice, 0:
I make indeed my daily bread, but ne'er can make it farther, O: But as daily bread is all I need, I do not much regard her, O.
When sometimes by my labour, I earn a little money, O, Some unforeseen misfortune comes gen'rally upon me, O; Mischance, mistake, or by neglect, or my goodnatur'd folly, 0: But come what will, I've sworn it still, I'll ne'er be melancholy, O.
All you who follow wealth and power with unremitting ardour, O,
The more in this you look for bliss, you leave your view the farther, O:
Had you the wealth Potosi boasts, or nations to adore you, O, A cheerful honest-hearted clown I will prefer before you, O.
John Barleycorn: A Ballad.1
THERE was three kings into the east,
They took a plough and plough'd him down,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath
John Barleycorn was dead.
But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,
And show'rs began to fall;
And sore surpris'd them all.
The sultry suns of Summer came,
The sober Autumn enter'd mild,
His bending joints and drooping head
His colour sicken'd more and more,
And then his enemies began
To show their deadly rage.
Based on the famous old song, which, in itself, resembles the spirit of the Dionysus myth. Probably written after the return from Irvine to Lochlea.
First printed in the Edinburgh edition, 1787. The chief variations in the Common-place Book are in the first lines of verses 3, 4, 5, and 7 :
But the Springtime it came on, &c.
In each case the printed text is a great improvement.
They've taen a weapon, long and sharp,
They laid him down upon his back,
They filled up a darksome pit
They laid him out upon the floor,
They wasted, o'er a scorching flame,
But a miller us'd him worst of all,
For he crush'd him between two stones.
And they hae taen his very heart's blood,
John Barleycorn was a hero bold,
For if you do but taste his blood,
"Twill make your courage rise.
Twill make a man forget his woe; "Twill heighten all his joy;
"Twill make the widow's heart to sing, Tho' the tear were in her eye.