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Now hear our prayer, accept our song,
And fight thy chosen's battle:
We seek but little, Lord, from thee,
Thou kens we get as little.

Sketch in Verse.

Inscribed to the Right Hon. C. J. Fox.1

How Wisdom and Folly meet, mix, and unite,
How Virtue and Vice blend their black and their white,
How Genius, th' illustrious father of fiction,
Confounds rule and law, reconciles contradiction,
I sing: If these mortals, the critics, should bustle,
I care not, not I-let the critics go whistle.

But now for a Patron whose name and whose glory,
At once may illustrate and honour my story.

Thou first of our orators, first of our wits;
Yet whose parts and acquirements seem just lucky hits;
With knowledge so vast, and with judgment so strong,
No man with the half of 'em e'er could go wrong;
With passions so potent, and fancies so bright,
No man with the half of 'em e'er could go right;
A sorry, poor, misbegot son of the Muses,

For using thy name, offers fifty excuses.

Good L-d, what is Man! for as simple he looks,
Do but try to develop his hooks and his crooks;

With his depths and his shallows, his good and his evil,
All in all he's a problem must puzzle the devil.

On his one ruling passion Sir Pope hugely labours, That, like th' old Hebrew walking-switch, eats up its neighbours :

Probably intended for The Star, a London evening paper, to which, or to

whose Editor, Burns had written a lettor of loyal sentiment. (Nov. 8, 1788.)


Mankind are his show-box-a friend, would you know him?
Pull the string, Ruling passion the picture will show him,
What pity, in rearing so beauteous a system,

One trifling particular, Truth, should have miss'd him;
For, spite of his fine theoretic positions,

Mankind is a science defies definitions.

Some sort all our qualities each to its tribe,
And think human nature they truly describe;

Have you found this, or t'other? There's more in the wind;
As by one drunken fellow his comrades you'll find.
But such is the flaw, or the depth of the plan,

In the make of that wonderful creature called Man,
No two virtues, whatever relation they claim.
Nor even two different shades of the same,
Though like as was ever twin brother to brother,
Possessing the one shall imply you've the other.

But truce with abstraction, and truce with a Muse
Whose rhymes you'll perhaps, Sir, ne'er deign to peruse:
Will you leave your justings, your jars, and your quarrels,
Contending with Billy for proud-nodding laurels ?
My much-honour'd Patron, believe your poor poet,
Your courage, much more than your prudence, you show it:
In vain with Squire Billy for laurels you struggle;
He'll have them by fair trade, if not, he will smuggle:
Not cabinets even of kings would conceal 'em,
He'd up the back stairs, and by G- he would steal 'em,
Then feats like Squire Billy's you ne'er can achieve 'em ;
It is not, out-do him--the task is, out-thieve him !1

The Wounded Hare.2

INHUMAN man! curse on thy barb'rous art, And blasted be thy murder-aiming eye; May never pity soothe thee with a sigh, Nor ever pleasure glad thy cruel heart! 1 These twelve lines first appeared in the Aldine edition of 1839; the rest was printed by Currie.

2 Burns explains the occasion in a

letter to Alex. Cunningham. (May 4, 1789).

Dr Gregory severely criticised the poem in its original form.

Go live, poor wand'rer of the wood and field!
The bitter little that of life remains :

No more the thickening brakes and verdant plains
To thee a home, or food, or pastime yield.

Seek, mangled wretch, some place of wonted rest,
No more of rest, but now thy dying bed!
The sheltering rushes whistling o'er thy head,
The cold earth with thy bloody bosom prest.1

Perhaps a mother's anguish adds its woe;
The playful pair crowd fondly by thy side;
Ah! helpless nurslings, who will now provide
That life a mother only can bestow !2

Oft as by winding Nith I, musing, wait

The sober eve, or hail the cheerful dawn,
I'll miss thee sporting o'er the dewy lawn,

And curse the ruffian's arm, and mourn thy hapless fate.

Delia, an Ode.

"To the Editor of The Star.-Mr Printer-If the productions of a simple ploughman can merit a place in the same paper with Sylvester Otway, and the other favourites of the Muses who illuminate the Star with the lustre of genius, your insertion of the enclosed trifle will be succeeded by future communications from-Yours, &c., R. BURNS.

Ellisland, near Dumfries, 18th May, 1789."

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Sweet the lark's wild warbled lay,
Sweet the tinkling rill to hear;
But, Delia, more delightful still,
Steal thine accents on mine ear.

The flower-enamour'd busy bee
The rosy banquet loves to sip;
Sweet the streamlet's limpid lapse
To the sun-brown'd Arab's lip.

But, Delia, on thy balmy lips

Let me, no vagrant insect, rove;
O let me steal one liquid kiss,

For, Oh! my soul is parch'd with love.

The Gard'ner wi' his Paidle.1

Tune-"The Gardener's March."

WHEN rosy May comes in wi' flowers,
To deck her gay, green-spreading bowers,
Then busy, busy are his hours,

The Gard'ner wi' his paidle."

The crystal waters gently fa',

The merry bards are lovers a',

The scented breezes round him blaw—
The Gard❜ner wi' his paidle.

When purple morning starts the hare

To steal upon her early fare;

Then thro' the dews he maun repair-
The Gard'ner wi' his paidle.

When day, expiring in the west,
The curtain draws o' Nature's rest,
He flies to her arms he lo'es the best,
The Gard'ner wi' his paidle.

⚫ nail-bag.

1 Words for music.

On a Bank of Flowers.1

On a bank of flowers on a summer day,
For summer lightly drest,
The youthful, blooming Nelly lay,
With love and sleep opprest;
When Willie, wand'ring thro' the wood,
Who for her favour oft had sued;
He gaz'd, he wish'd,

He fear'd, he blush'd,

And trembled where he stood.

Her closed eyes, like weapons sheath'd,
Were seal'd in soft repose;

Her lip, still as she fragrant breath'd,
It richer dyed the rose;
The springing lilies, sweetly prest,
Wild-wanton kissed her rival breast;
He gaz'd, he wish'd,
He fear'd, he blush'd,
His bosom ill at rest.

Her robes light-waving in the breeze,
Her tender limbs embrace;
Her lovely form, her native ease,
All harmony and grace;
Tumultuous tides his pulses roll,
A faltering, ardent kiss he stole ;
He gaz'd, he wish'd,
He fear'd, he blush'd,

And sigh'd his very soul.

As flies the partridge from the brake,
On fear-inspired wings,

So Nelly starting, half-awake,
Away affrighted springs;

1 A modification of an old song.

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