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Trig her house, and oh! to busk aye
Ilk sweet bairn was a' her pride! But at this time News and Whisky
Sprang nae up at ilk road-side. Luckless was the hour when Willie,
Hame returning frae the fair, O'er-took Tam, a neighbour billie,
Sax miles frae their hame and mair; Simmer's heat had lost its fury;
Calmly smil'd the sober e'en; Lasses on the bleachfield hurry
Skelping bure-foot o'er the green; Labour
rang with laugh and clatter,
Glinted saft the setting sun.
Marked the hale, but could nae bide;
Baith wished for their ain fire-side: On they travelled, warm and drouthy,
Cracking o'er the news in town; The mair they crack'd, the mair ilk youthy
Prayed for drink to wash news down. Fortune, wha but seldom listens
To poor merit's modest prayer, And on fools heaps needless blessins,
Harkened to our drowthy pair. In a howm, whase bonnie burnie
Whimperin rowed its crystal flood, Near the road, whar trav’llers turn aye,
Neat and bield a cot-house stood;
White the wa's, wi' roof new theekit,
Window-broads just painted red; Lown ’mang trees and braes it reekit,
Haflins seen and haflins hid;
Up the gavel-end thick spreading
Crap the clasping ivy green,
Rais'd a' round a cozey screen;
Join'd the burnie's rambling line;Here it was, that Howe, the widow,
This same day set up her sign. Brattling down the brae, and near its
Bottom, Will first mary'ling sees “ Porter, Ale, and British Spirits,"
Painted bright between twa trees.
Wha can this new-comer be?”
Let's in, Will, and syne we'll see.”
Think of ought but reaming jugs; Till three times in humming liquor
Ilk lad deeply laid his lugs. Slockened now, refreshed and talking,
In cam Meg (weel skilled to please) “ Sirs ! ye're surely tyr'd wi' walking;
Ye maun taste my bread and cheese." “ Thanks," quo' Will ;-" I canna tarry,
Pick-mirk night is setting in,
I maun to the road and rin,"
“ Hoot !" quo' Tam, " what's a' the hurry?
Hame's now scarce a mile o' gateCome! sit down-Jean winna wearie:
Lord! I'm sure it's no sae late!
Will, o'ercome wi' Tam's oration,
Baith fell to, and ate their fill“ Tam!” quo' Will, “ in mere discretion
We maun hae the widow's gill.” After ae gill cam anither
Meg sat cracking 'tween them twa, Bang! cam in Mat Smith and's brither,
Geordie Brown and Sandie Shaw.
Neighbours wha ne'er thought to meet here,
Now sat down wi double glee, Ilka gill grew sweet and sweeter!
Will gat hame 'tween twa and three. Jean, poor thing! had lang been greetin';
Will, next morning, blamed Tam Lowes, But ere lang, a weekly meetin'
Was set up at Maggie Howe's.
Maist things hae a sma' beginning,
But wha kens how things will end? Weekly clubs are nae great sinning,
If fouk hae enough to spend. But nae man o’sober thinking
E'er will say that things can thrive, If there's spent on weekly drinking,
What keeps wife and weans alive. II.
Drink maun aye hae conversation,
Ilka social soul allows;
Wha can speak without the News ?
Deeply skill'd in courtly drugs;
Just to set fouk by the lugs.-
On some things that should be clear,
Clubbed and got the Gazetteer.*
Swith! by post the papers fled!
Every time the news are read.
Things are no ga'en right," quo' Tam;
Twice a week's no worth a d-n.”
To mak a' things “square and even;"
To drink sax nights out o’ seven.
Gathering a' the news that fell;
Had some battles wi' himsell.
Bare ilk firm resolve awa';
Rave his very heart in twa. * The Edinburgh Gazetteer, a violent opposition papers published in
Weel he saw her smothered sorrow !
Weel he saw her bleaching check ! Marked the smile she strave to borrow,
When, poor thing, she could nae speak ! Jean, at first, took little heed o'
Weekly clubs ’mang three or four, Thought, kind soul ! that will had need o'
Heartsome hours whan wark was owre.
But whan now that nightly meetings
Sat and drank frae sax till twa; Whan she faund that hard-earned gettings
Now on drink ware thrown awa;
Saw her Will, wha ance sae cheerie
Raise ilk morning wi' the lark, Now grown mauchless, dowf and sweer aye
To look near his farm or wark;
Saw him tyne his manly spirit,
Healthy bloom, and sprightly ee; And o' love and hame grown wearit,
Nightly frae his family flee;Wha could blame her heart's complaining ?
Wha condemn her sorrows meek? Or the tears that now ilk e'ening
Bleached her lately crimsoned cheek ! Will, wha lang had rued and swithered,
(Aye ashamed of past disgrace) Marked the roses as they withered
Fast on Jeanie's lovely face! Marked,-and felt wi' inward racking
A' the wyte lay on himsell, — Swore next night he'd mak a breaking,
D-d the club and News to hell!