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Old Loda,1 still rueing the arm of Fingal,

The god of the bottle sends down from his hall-
"This Whistle's your challenge, to Scotland get o'er,
And drink them to hell, Sir! or ne'er see me more!"

Old poets have sung, and old chronicles tell,
What champions ventur'd, what champions fell:
The son of great Loda was conqueror still,
And blew on the Whistle their requiem shrill.

Till Robert, the lord of the Cairn and the Scaur,
Unmatch'd at the bottle, unconquer'd in war,
He drank his poor god-ship as deep as the sea;
No tide of the Baltic e'er drunker than he.

Thus Robert, victorious, the trophy has gain'd;
Which now in his house has for ages remain'd;
Till three noble chieftains, and all of his blood,
The jovial contest again have renew'd.

Three joyous good fellows, with hearts clear of flaw
Craigdarroch, so famous for wit, worth, and law;
And trusty Glenriddel, so skill'd in old coins;
And gallant Sir Robert, deep-read in old wines.

Craigdarroch began, with a tongue smooth as oil,
Desiring Glenriddel to yield up the spoil;

Or else he would muster the heads of the clan,
And once more, in claret, try which was the man.

"By the gods of the ancients!" Glenriddel replies,
"Before I surrender so glorious a prize,
I'll conjure the ghost of the great Rorie More,2
And bumper his horn with him twenty times o'er."

Sir Robert, a soldier, no speech would pretend,
But he ne'er turn'd his back on his foe, or his friend;
Said, "Toss down the Whistle, the prize of the field,"
And, knee-deep in claret, he'd die ere he'd yield.

1 See Ossian's "Caric-thura "—R. B.

2See Johnson's "Tour in the Hebrides. -R. B.


To the board of Glenriddel our heroes repair,
So noted for drowning of sorrow and care;

But, for wine and for welcome, not more known to fame,
Than the sense, wit, and taste, of a sweet lovely dame.

A bard was selected to witness the fray,
And tell future ages the feats of the day;
A Bard who detested all sadness and spleen,
And wish'd that Parnassus a vineyard had been.

The dinner being over, the claret they ply,
And ev'ry new cork is a new spring of joy;

In the bands of old friendship and kindred so set,
And the bands grew the tighter the more they were wet.

Gay Pleasures ran riot as bumpers ran o'er:
Bright Phoebus ne'er witness'd so joyous a core,
And vow'd that to leave them he was quite forlorn,
Till Cynthia hinted he'd see them next morn.

Six bottles a-piece had well wore out the night,
When gallant Sir Robert, to finish the fight,
Turn'd o'er in one bumper a bottle of red,
And swore 'twas the way that their ancestor did.

Then worthy Glenriddel, so cautious and sage,
No longer the warfare ungodly would wage;
A high Ruling Elder to wallow in wine;
He left the foul business to folks less divine.

The gallant Sir Robert fought hard to the end;
But who can with Fate and quart bumpers contend!
Though Fate said, a hero should perish in light;
So uprose bright Phoebus-and down fell the knight.

Next uprose our Bard, like a prophet in drink :-
Craigdarroch, thou'lt soar when creation shall sink!
But if thou would flourish immortal in rhyme,
Come-one bottle more-and have at the sublime!

"Thy line, that have struggled for freedom with Bruce,
Shall heroes and patriots ever produce:

So thine be the laurel, and mine be the bay;
The field thou hast won, by yon bright god of day!"

To Mary in Heaven.1

THOU ling'ring star, with less'ning ray,
That lov'st to greet the early morn,
Again thou usher'st in the day

My Mary from my soul was torn.

O Mary! dear departed shade!

Where is thy place of blissful rest?

See'st thou thy lover lowly laid ?

Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast?

That sacred hour can I forget,

Can I forget the hallow'd grove,

Where, by the winding Ayr, we met,
To live one day of parting love!

Eternity can not efface

Those records dear of transports past,

Thy image at our last embrace,

Ah! little thought we 'twas our last!

Ayr, gurgling, kiss'd his pebbled shore,
O'erhung with wild-woods, thickening green;
The fragrant birch and hawthorn hoar,
'Twin'd amorous round the raptur'd scene:
The flowers sprang wanton to be prest,
The birds sang love on every spray;
Till too, too soon, the glowing west,
Proclaim'd the speed of wingèd day.

1 Lockhart's anecdote about Burns's nocturnal wanderings while he composed this celebrated poem is too familiar for citation. Chambers puts it to the test of the Almanack, and

infers that October, not September (as Mrs Burns is reported to have said), was the month in which the verses were written. This helps his chronology as to the date of Mary's death.


Still o'er these scenes my mem'ry wakes,
And fondly broods with miser-care;
Time but th' impression stronger makes,
As streams their channels deeper wear,
My Mary! dear departed shade!

Where is thy place of blissful rest?
See'st thou thy lover lowly laid?

Hear'st thou the groans that rend his breast?

Epistle to Dr Blacklock.1

ELLISLAND, 21st Oct., 1789.

Wow, but your letter made me vauntie ! a
And are ye hale, and weel and cantie ? b
I ken'd it still, your wee bit jauntie
Wad bring ye to:

Lord send you aye as weel's I want ye!
And then ye'll do.

The ill-thief blaw the Heron 2 south!
And never drink be near his drouth!
He tauld myself by word o' mouth,
He'd tak my letter;
I lippen'd to the chiel in trouth,


And bade nae better.

But aiblins, honest Master Heron
Had, at the time, some dainty fair one
To wareh his theologic care on,

And holy study;

And tired o' sauls to waste his lear on,
E'en tried the body.

But what d'ye think, my trusty fere,1
I'm turn'd a gauger-Peace be here!

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Parnassian queans, I fear, I fear,

Ye'll now disdain me!

And then my fifty pounds a year
Will little gain me.

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Ye glaikit, gleesome, dainty damies,
Wha, by Castalia's wimplin streamies,
Lowp, sing, and lave your pretty limbies,
Ye ken, ye ken,

That strang necessity supreme is

’Mang sons o men.

I hae a wife and twa wee laddies;
They maun hae brose and brats o' duddies;"
Ye ken yoursels my heart right proud is

I need na vaunt

But I'll snedd besoms, thraw saugh woodies,
Before they want.

Lord help me thro' this warld o' care!
I'm weary sick o't late and air!

Not but I hae a richer share

Than mony ithers;

But why should ae man better fare,
And a' men brithers?

Come, Firm Resolve, take thou the van,
Thou stalk o' carl-hemp' in man!
And let us mind, faint heart ne'er wan
A lady fair:

Wha does the utmost that he can,
Will whiles do mair.

But to conclude my silly rhyme
(I'm scant o' verse and scant o' time),
To make a happy fireside clime

To weans and wife,

That's the true pathos and sublime

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Of human life.

• twist willow withes.

• bits of clothes. 'male hemp.

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