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'Till fled each hope that once his bosoin fir'd,
So by some hedge, the gen'rous steed deceas'd, For half-starv'd snarling curs a dainty feast; By toil and famine wore to skin and bone, Lies senseless of each tugging bitch's son.
O dulness! portion of the truly blest! Calm shelter'd haven of eternal rest! Thy sons ne'er madden in the fierce extremes Of fortune's polar frost, or torrid beams. If mantling high she fills the golden cup, With sober selfish ease they sip it up: Conscious the bounteous meed they well deserve, They only wonder “some folks” do not starve, The grave sage hern thus easy picks his frog, And thinks the mallard a sad worthless dog. When disappointment snaps the clue of hope, And thro’ disastrous night they darkling grope, With deaf endurance sluggishly they bear, And just conclude that “ fools are fortune's care." So, heavy, passive to the tempest's shocks, Strong on the sign-post stands the stupid ox.
Not so the idle muses' mad-cap train, Not such the workings of their moon-struck brain ; In equanimity they never dwell, By turns in soaring heav'n, or vaulted hell.
I dread thee, fate, relentless and severe,
Thro' a long life his hopes and wishes crown;
energy to life; and soothe his latest breath, With many a filial tear circling the bed of death!
The wind blew hollow frae the hills,
By fits the sun's departing beam Look'd on the fading yellow woods
That war'd o'er Lugar's winding stream: Beneath a craigy steep, a bard,
Laden with years and meikle pain, In loud lament bewail'd his lord,
Whom death had all untimely ta'en.
He lean'd him on an ancient aik,
Whose trunk was mould'ring down with years ; HP locks were bleached white with time,
His hoary cheek was wet wi' tears ;
And as he tun'd his doleful sang,
To echo bore the notes alang.
** Ye scatter'd birds that faintly sing,
The reliques of the vernal quire !
The honours of the aged year!
Again ye'll charm the ear and e'e;
Can gladness bring again to me.
"I am a bending aged tree,
That long has stood the wind and rain; But now has come a cruel blast,
And my last hald of earth is gane :
Nae leaf o' mine shall greet the spring,
Nae simmer sun exalt my bloom ; But I maun lie before the storm,
And ithers plant them in my room.
“I've seen sae mony changefu' years,
On earth I am a stranger grown; I wander in the ways of men,
Alike unknowing and unknown: Unheard, unpitied, unreliev'd,
I bear alane my lade o' care, For silent, low, on beds of dust,
Lie a' that would my sorrows share.
“ And last, (the sum of a' my griefs')
My noble master lies in clay ; The flow'r amang our barons bold,
His country's pride, his country's stay: In weary being now I pine,
For a' the life of life is dead, And hope has left my aged ken,
On forward wing for ever fled.
“Awake thy last sad voice, my harp!
The voice of woe and wild despair ! Awake, resound thy latest lay,
Then sleep in silence evermair! And thou, my last, best, only friend,
That fillest an untimely tomb, Accept this tribute from the bard
Thou brought from fortune's mirkest gloom.
“ In poverty's low barren vale,
Thick mists, obscure, involv'd me round; Though oft I turn'd the wistful eye,
Nae ray of fame was to be found : Thou found'st me, like the morning sun
That melts the fogs in limpid air, The friendless bard and rustic song,
Became alike thy fostering care,
"O! why has worth so short a date?
While villains ripen gray with time! Must thou, the noble, gen'rous, great,
Fall in bold manhood's hardy prime! Why did I live to see that day,
A day to me so full of woe? O! had I met the mortal shaft
Which laid my benefactor low!
“ The bridegroom may forget the bride
Was made his wedded wife yestreen ; The monarch may forget the crown
That on his head an hour has been ; The mother may forget the child
That smiles sae sweetly on her knee; But I'll remember thee, Glencairn,
And a’ that thou hast done for me !"
Sent to sir John Whiteford, of Whiteford, bart.
with the foregoing poem.
Thou, who thy honour as thy God rever'st,
TAM O' SHANTER.
Of brownyis and of bogylis full is this buke.
When chapman billies leave the street,
This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter,.
O Tam! hadst thou but been sae wise As taen thy ain wife Kate's advice! She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum, A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum ; That frae November 'till October, Ae market-day thou was nae sober ; That ilka melder, wi' the miller, Thou sat as long as thou had siller ; That ev'ry naig was ca'd a shoe on, The smith and thee gat roaring fou on ; That at the L-d's house, ev'n on Sunday, Thou drank wi' Kirton Jean 'till Monday. She prophesy'd that late or soon, Thou would be found deep drown'd in Deon ; Or catch'd wi' warlocks in the mirk, By Alloway's auld haunted kirk,