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Extempore in the Court of Session.1



He clenched his pamphlets in his fist,
He quoted and he hinted,
Till, in a declamation-mist,

His argument he tinta it:
He gaped for't, he grapèd for't,

He fand it was awa, man;

But what his common sense came short,
He ekèd out wi' law, man.


Collected, Harry stood awee,b

Then open'd out his arm, man;
His Lordship sat wi' ruefu' e'e,

And ey'd the gathering storm, man:

Like wind-driven hail it did assail,
Or torrents owre a lin, man:

The BENCH sae wise lift up their eyes,
Half-wauken'd wi' the din, man.

Inscription for the Headstone of Fergusson the Poet.2

No sculptured marble here, nor pompous lay,
'No storied urn nor animated bust;

This simple stone directs pale Scotia's way,
pour her sorrows o'er the Poet's dust.


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She mourns, sweet tuneful youth, thy hapless fate;
Tho' all the powers of song thy fancy fired,
Yet Luxury and Wealth lay by in state,

And, thankless, starv'd what they so much admired.

This tribute, with a tear, now gives

A brother Bard-he can no more bestow :
But dear to fame thy Song immortal lives,
A nobler monumeut than Art can shew.

Inscribed under Fergusson's Portrait.1

CURSE on ungrateful man, that can be pleased,
And yet can starve the author of the pleasure.
O thou, my elder brother in misfortune,
By far my elder brother in the Muses,
With tears I pity thy unhappy fate!
Why is the Bard unpitied by the world,
Yet has so keen a relish of its pleasures?

Epistle to Mrs Scott,2

Gudewife of Wauchope-House, Roxburghshire.

I MIND it weel in early date,
When I was beardless, young, and blate,*
An' first could thresh the barn,
Or haud a yokin' at the pleugh;
An' tho' forfoughten sair eneugh,
Yet unco proud to learn:

⚫ bashful.

b take a turn.

1 For the third time, Burns repeats his moral.

2 Mrs Scott, in some very fair Scotch verses, had promised to give the poet a plaid. Her own verses were pub

• exhausted.

lished in 1801, after her death. Her home was in Liddesdale.

Currie printed only the first three verses of the poem in 1800: it was then dropped in his later editions, and first given entire in Clark's edition (1881).


When first amang the yellow corn
A man I reckon'd was,
An' wi' the lavea ilk merry morn
Could rank my rig and lass,
Still shearing, and clearing
The tither stooked raw,
Wi' claivers, an' haivers,b
Wearing the day awa.

E'en then, a wish, (I mind its pow'r,)
A wish that to my latest hour
Shall strongly heave my breast,
That I for poor auld Scotland's sake
Some usefu' plan or book could make,
Or sing a sang at least.

The rough burr-thistle, spreading wide
Amang the bearded bear,


I turn'd the weeder-clips1 aside,
An' spar'd the symbol dear:
No nation, no station,

My envy e'er could raise;
A Scot still, butd blot still,
I knew nae higher praise.

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I fired, inspired,

At every kindling keek,
But bashing, and dashing,
I feared aye to speak.1

Health to the sex! ilk guid chiel says:
Wi' merry dance in winter days,
An' we to share in common;
The gust o' joy, the balm of woe,
The saul o' life, the heaven below,
Is rapture-giving woman.

Ye surly sumphs, b who hate the name,
Be mindfu' o' your mither;

She, honest woman, may think shame
That ye're connected with her :
Ye're wae men, ye're nae men
That slight the lovely dears;
To shame ye, disclaim ye,
Ilk honest birkied swears.

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Verses intended to be written below a
Noble Earl's Picture.1

WHOSE is that noble, dauntless brow?
And whose that eye of fire?

And whose that generous princely mien,
E'en rooted foes admire?

Stranger! to justly show that brow,
And mark that eye of fire,

Would take His hand, whose vernal tints
His other works admire.2

Bright as a cloudless summer sun,
With stately port he moves;
His guardian Seraph eyes with awe
The noble Ward he loves.

Among the illustrious Scottish sons
That chief thou may'st discern,
Mark Scotia's fond-returning eye,-
It dwells upon Glencairn.


Spoken by Mr Woods on his benefit-night,
Monday, 16th April 1787.8

WHEN, by a generous Public's kind acclaim, That dearest meed is granted-honest fame; When here your favour is the actor's lot, Nor even the man in private life forgot; 1 The Nobleman is James, Fourteenth Earl of Glencairn. Creech had been his tutor, and, through his introduction, Creech became Burns's publisher. For a long pedigree of the social links between Burns and the west country Peer see Chambers, vol. ii. 10. Burns considered Lord Glencairn's intellect so admirable, that it was an argument in itself for the

immortality of the soul. Through Lord Glencairn's interest the Caledonian Hunt subscribed for 100 copies of Burns's new edition.

2 Cunningham altered this to "inspire," which has no authority and little meaning.

3 Woods; an actor, had been a friend of Fergusson's.

"Here Douglas forms wild Shak

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