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(What warm, poetic heart, but inly bleeds,
And execrates man's savage, ruthless deeds!)
Nae mair the flower in field or meadow springs,
Nae mair the grove with airy concert rings,
Except, perhaps, the robin's whistling glee,
Proud o' the height o' some bit half-lang tree:
The hoary morns precede the sunny days,
Mild, calm, serene, wide spreads the noontide blaze,
While thick the gossamer waves wanton in the rays.
'Twas in that season, when a simple bard, Unknown and poor, simplicity's reward, Ae night, within the ancient brugh of Ayr, By whim inspired, or haply prest wi' care, He left his bed, and took his wayward route, And down by Simpson's wheel'd the left about : (Whether impell'd by all-directing Fate, To witness what I after shall narrate; Or penitential pangs for former sins, Led him to rove by quondam Merran Dins; Or whether, rapt in meditation high, He wander'd out, he knew not where nor why.) The drowsy Dungeon clock had number'd two, And Wallace Tower had sworn the fact was true: The tide-swoln Firth, wi' sullen sounding roar, Through the still night dash'd hoarse along the shore.
All else was hush'd as Nature's closed ee:
The silent moon shone high o'er tower and tree :
The chilly frost, beneath the silver beam,
Crept, gently-crusting, o'er the glittering stream,
When, lo! on either hand the listening bard,
The clanging sugh of whistling wings is heard ;
Two dusky forms dart through the midnight air,
Swift as the gos drives on the wheeling hare;
Ane on the Auld Brig his airy shape uprears,
The ither flutters o'er the rising piers :
Our warlock rhymer instantly descried
The sprites that owre the Brigs of Ayr preside.
(That bards are second-sighted is nae joke,
And ken the lingo of the spiritual folk;
Fays, spunkies, kelpies, a', they can explain them,
And even the very deils they brawly ken them.)
Auld Brig appear'd o' ancient Pictish race,
The very wrinkles Gothic in his face:
He seem'd as he wi' Time had warstled lang,
Yet, teughly doure, he bade an unco bang.
New Brig was buskit in a braw new coat,
That he at Lon'on frae ane Adams got ;
In's hand five taper staves as smooth's a bead,
Wi' virls and whirlygigums at the head.
The Goth was stalking round with anxious search,
Spying the time-worn flaws in every arch ;-
It chanced his new-come neibor took his ee,
And e'en a vex'd and angry heart had he!
Wi thieveless sneer to see his modish mien,
He, down the water, gies him this guid e'en:
I doubt na, frien', ye'll think ye're nae sheepshank, Ance ye were streekit owre frae bank to bank! But gin ye be a brig as auld as me Though, faith, that date I doubt ye'll never seeThere 'll be, if that date come, I'll wad a boddle, Some fewer whigmaleeries in your noddle.
Auld Vandal, ye but show your little mense, Just much about it, wi' your scanty sense; Will your poor narrow footpath of a streetWhere twa wheelbarrows tremble when they meet Your ruin'd, formless bulk o'stane and lime, Compare wi' bonny brigs o' modern time? There's men o'taste would tak the Ducat Stream, Though they should cast the very sark and swim, Ere they would grate their feelings wi' the view O'sic an ugly Gothic hulk as you.
Conceited gowk! puff'd up wi' windy pride!
This mony a year I've stood the flood and tide;
And though wi' crazy eild I'm sair forfairn,
I'll be a brig when ye're a shapeless cairn!
As yet ye little ken about the matter,
But twa-three winters will inform ye better.
When heavy, dark, continued, a'-day rains,
Wi' deepening deluges o'erflow the plains ;
When from the hills where springs the brawling Coil,
Or stately Lugar's mossy fountains boil,
Or where the Greenock winds his moorland course,
Or haunted Garpal draws his feeble source,
Aroused by blustering winds and spotting thowes,
In mony a torrent down his snaw-broo rowes ;
While crashing ice, borne on the roaring spate,
Sweeps dams, and mills, and brigs, a' to the gate;
And from Glenbuck, down to the Ratton-key,
Auld Ayr is just one lengthen'd tumbling sea-
Then down ye'll hurl, deil nor ye never rise!
And dash the gumlie jaups up to the pouring skies.
A lesson sadly teaching, to your cost,
That Architecture's noble art is lost!
Fine Architecture, trowth, I needs must say o't, The Lord be thankit that we've tint the gate o't!
Gaunt, ghastly, ghaist-alluring edifices,
Hanging with threatening jut, like precipices ;
O'erarching, mouldy, gloom-inspiring coves,
Supporting roofs fantastic, stony groves;
Windows and doors, in nameless sculpture drest,
With order, symmetry, or taste unblest;
Forms like some bedlam statuary's dream,
The crazed creations of misguided whim ;
Forms might be worshipp'd on the bended knee,
And still the second dread command be free,
Their likeness is not found on earth, in air, or sea.
Mansions that would disgrace the building taste
Of any mason reptile, bird, or beast;
Fit only for a doited monkish race,
Or frosty maids forsworn the dear embrace ;
Or cuifs of later times wha held the notion
That sullen gloom was sterling true devotion ;
Fancies that our guid brugh denies protection !
And soon may they expire, unblest with resurrection!
O ye, my dear-remember'd ancient yealings, Were
but here to share my wounded feelings !
Ye worthy proveses, and mony a bailie,
Wha in the paths o' righteousness did toil aye;
Ye dainty deacons, and ye douce conveeners,
To whom our moderns are but causey-cleaners !