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Lines Written on a Banknote.1
WAE worth thy power, thou cursed leaf,
Fell source o' a' my woe and grief;
For lack o' thee I've lost my lass,
For lack o' thee I scrimp my glass:
I see the children of affliction
Unaided, through thy curst restriction:
I've seen the oppressor's cruel smile
Amid his hapless victim's spoil;
And for thy potence vainly wished,
To crush the villain in the dust:

For lack o' thee, I leave this much-lov'd shore,
Never, perhaps, to greet old Scotland more.


R. B.

Stanzas on Naething.

Extempore Epistle to Gavin Hamilton, Esq.2

To you, sir, this summons I've sent,

Pray, whip till the pownie is freathinga;
But if you demand what I want,

I honestly answer you—naething.

Ne'er scorn a poor Poet like me,

For idly just living and breathing,

While people of every degree

Are busy employed about-naething.

Poor Centum-per-centum may fast,


And grumble his hurdies their claithing,
He'll find, when the balance is cast,

He's gane to the devil for-naething.

⚫ foaming.

1 Burns was now skulking in Kyle, as John Knox sometimes did, under fear of legal proceedings by the Armour

b haunches.

family. The note is of 1780 (Mother. well.

2 The accustomed elegy on emigration and possible drowning.

The courtier cringes and bows,
Ambition has likewise its plaything;
A coronet beams on his brows;
And what is a coronet-naething.

Some quarrel the Presbyter gown,
Some quarrel Episcopal graithing*;
But every good fellow will own
Their quarrel is a' about-naething.

The lover may sparkle and glow,
Approaching his bonie bit gay thing:
But marriage will soon let him know
He's gotten a buskit up naething.

The Poet may jingle and rhyme,

In hopes of a laureate wreathing,
And when he has wasted his time,
He's kindly rewarded wi'-naething.

The thundering bully may rage,

And swagger and swear like a heathen;

But collar him fast, I'll engage,

You'll find that his courage is-naething.

Last night wi' a feminine whig-
A poet she couldna put faith in ;
But soon we grew lovingly big,

I taught her, her terrors were naething.

Her whigship was wonderful pleased,
But charmingly tickled wi' ae thing,
Her fingers I lovingly squeezed,

And kissed her, and promised her-naething.

The priest anathèmas may threat—
Predicament, sir, that we're baith in;
But when honour's reveillé is beat,
The holy artillery's naething.

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And now I must mount on the wave-
My voyage perhaps there is death in ;
But what is a watery grave?

The drowning a Poet is naething.

And now, as grim death's in my thought,
To you, sir, I make this bequeathing;

My service as long as ye've ought,

And my friendship, by God, when ye've naething.

The Farewell.1

The valiant, in himself, what can he suffer?
Or what does he regard his single woes?
But when, alas! he multiplies himself,

To dearer selves, to the lov'd tender fair,

To those whose bliss, whose beings hang upon him,
To helpless children, then, Oh then, he feels
The point of misery festering in his heart,

And weakly weeps his fortunes like a coward:
Such, such am I ?-undone !

THOMSON'S Edward and Eleanora.

FAREWELL, Old Scotia's bleak domains,
Far dearer than the torrid plains,
Where rich ananas blow!
Farewell, a mother's blessing dear!
A brother's sigh! a sister's tear!
My Jean's heart-rending throe!
Farewell, my Bess! tho' thou'rt bereft
Of my paternal care,

A faithful brother I have left,
My part in him thou'lt share!
Adieu, too, to you too,

My Smith, my bosom frien';
When kindly you mind me,
O then befriend my Jean!

1 "He traversed the cart,

And oft said good bye, but seemed
loth to depart.'

Mrs Burns (Miss Armour) bore twins on Sept. 3, 1786. The father of the

lady was reconciled to Burns when he became successful. Highland Mary seems to be out of sight and out of mind.

What bursting anguish tears my heart;
From thee, my Jeany, must I part!

Thou, weeping, answ'rest-"No!"
Alas! misfortune stares my face,
And points to ruin and disgrace,
I for thy sake must go!
Thee, Hamilton, and Aiken dear,
A grateful, warm adieu :
I, with a much-indebted tear,
Shall still remember you!

All hail then, the gale then,

Wafts me from thee, dear shore!

It rustles, and whistles

I'll never see thee more!

The Calf.1

To the Rev. JAMES STEVEN, on his text, MALACHI, ch. iv. vers. 2. "And ye shall go forth, and grow up, as CALVES of the stall."

RIGHT, sir! your text I'll prove it true,

Tho' heretics may laugh;

For instance, there's yoursel just now,
God knows, an unco calf.

And should some patron be so kind,
As bless you wi' a kirk,

I doubt na, sir, but then we'll find,
Ye're still as great a stirk.

But, if the lover's raptur'd hour,
Shall ever be your lot,
Forbid it, ev'ry heavenly Power,
You e'er should be a stot!

· exceeding.

1 Written as a compendium of a sermon, for Gavin Hamilton, Sept. 3, 1786, the birthday of the twins.

A MS. copy gives a few slight variations.

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Tho' when some kind connubial dear
Your but-and-ben adorns,

The like has been that you may wear
A noble head of horns.

And, in your lug, most reverend James,
To hear you roar and rowt,a

Few men o' sense will doubt your
To rank amang the nowt.


And when ye're number'd wi' the dead,
Below a grassy hillock,

With justice they may mark your head—
"Here lies a famous bullock !"

Nature's Law-A Poem.1

Humbly inscribed to Gavin Hamilton, Esq.
"Great Nature spoke: observant man obey'd."-POPE
LET other heroes boast their scars,
The marks of sturt° and strife:

And other poets sing of wars,
The plagues of human life:
Shame fa' the fun, wi' sword and gun
To slap mankind like lumber!
I sing his name, and nobler fame,
Wha multiplies our number.

Great Nature spoke, with air benign,
66 Go on, ye human race;
This lower world I you resign ;
Be fruitful and increase.

The liquid fire of strong desire

I've pour'd it in each bosom ;

Here, on this hand, does Mankind stand,
And there is Beauty's blossom."

⚫ low.

b cattle.

• dissension.

1 An affecting celebration of the twins aforesaid.

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