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PUBLISHED IN THE SCOT'S MAGAZINE.
My blessin' on you, T. M. C.,
Like you there are nae mony mae :
For mony a year, wi' eager een,
I've glowr'd owr Scotia’s Magazine ;
And oft, like zealots at a sermon,
Discoverin' beauties whar there were none;
But never a' my life, till now,
Have I met sic a chiel' as you ;
Sae sly, sae shrewd, sae queer a creature,
Sae weel aquaint wi simple nature,
Sae gay, sae easy, an' sae ranty,
Sae cappernaity, an' sae canty:
For when I sing your sangs sae gay,
To lasses at the bught or hay,
They blush, an' smurtlin, own they like them,
The thoughts they thought afore sae strikes
Whether 'tis from a similarity
Of feelings, hitting to a rarity ;
Or if in verse you soar away,
Far, far beyond my simple lay,
An' into nature tak’ a stretch,
Whilk I wad fain, but canna reach ;
Or if ae planet held the sway
When we were born I canna say ;
But frae sic causes, or some other,
I feel a wish to ca' you brother.
Then, Billy, set your foot to mine,
Let baith our buoyant brains combine
To raise our country's Magazine
Aboon the times that yet ha'e been.
Then tak’ some pains to double rhyme,
Gar line wi' line keep equal time,
An' then, though critics back should fling us,
The de'ils shall dadd in vain to ding us.
Though Pegasus may be denied,
By lofty bards sae occupied,
Wi' joy we'll mount our cuddy asses,
An' scour like fire around Parnassus,
An' gather flowers of ilka hue,
To bind auld Scotland's honest brow
The upstarts new shall a' be snubbit,
And Ruddiman he sadly rubbit.
How could ye leave our hoary hill ?
Our ruggit rocks and rattling rills ?
Our woodlands wild, an’ waters mony?
Our lasses chaste, an' sweet, an' bonny ?
The warrior's nurse, the poet's theme!
The seat of innocence an'-hame ?
We've sic a short time here to fare, 'Tis little matter how or where; An' I wad chuse at least eleven 'Fore London, for the road to heaven.
I neither ken your name nor bearin';* Only I ken ye are a queer ane,
for insight, wealth, or knowledge, Ye've ta'en the desk, or musty college ; To turn a pedant or translator, And slight the genuine school of nature. Sweet dame ! she met me single handed; Yet studying her, my mind expanded To bounds are neither rack'd nor narrow, On Ettrick banks an' braes of Yarrow.
An' though your life should glide away In pleasure's dear an' devious way, Regret will sometimes pierce the heart, An' leave a dour an' deadly smart, An' when death comes, I'm wae for thee Nae real friend to close your ee ! Or owr a son or brother's bier To shed the sad regretfu' tear ! But just let down, wi' strings an' pullies, To sleep wi' w-es, an' bucks, an' bullies;
* The gentleman, to whom this epistle was address. ed, is Mr. Thomas Mouncey Cunninghame, from Dumfries-shire, the author of many ingenious essays in the Scots Magazine ; but, at the writing of this, the author knew nothing of him.
An' when the summons reach the dead anes,
To rise in droves frae 'mang the headstanes,
Poor Tam may gang an' stand alane,
Of fellow faces he'll see nane,
But a' the croud gaun throu'ther, throu'ther,
Wi' ruefu' looks out owr ilk shouther.
O leave that lake of louns an'lechery,
Of folly, falsehood, tricks, and treachery ;
Though oft a thriving place for low wits,
1-d, it's a dangerous place for poets !
If life's a blessing-'tween twa brothers,
The poor enjoy't as lang as others.
If health surpasses sumptuous fare,
Of that they ha'e their ample share.
What wad ye ha'e then? Dinna wrang us,
Come back an' live an' die amang us.
I lang to sing a sonnet wi' thee.
An' bonny Bessy sighs to see thee :
0! when she's sic a kind an' bonny ane,
Come-wed, an' turn a Cameronian.
While round our coast the ocean rows;
While on the Grampians heather grows;
While goud and gear the miser heaps up,
An' ill-will between cadgers keeps up;
While simple ease improves the feature,
An' best becomes the cheek o' nature;
As sterns the sky, and spots the leopard-
THE ETTRICK STIEPHERD.
Come, my auld, towzy, trusty friend;
What gars ye look sae douth an' wae ? D'ye think my favour's at an end,
Because thy head is turnin' gray?
Although thy feet begin to fail,
Their best were spent in serving me; An' can I grudge thy wee bit meal,
Some comfort in thy age to gi'e ?
For mony a day, frae sun to sun,
We've toil'd an' helpit ane anither; An' mony a thousand mile thou'st run' To keep my thraward flocks the gither