« PreviousContinue »
Ye godly councils wha hae blest this town;
Ye godly brethren o' the sacred gown,
Wha meekly gae your hurdies to the smiters;
And (what would now be strange) ye godly writers;—
douce folk I've born aboon the broo,
Were ye but here, what would ye say or do!
How would your spirits groan in deep vexation
To see each melancholy alteration ;
And, agonising, curse the time and place
When ye begat the base, degenerate race!
Nae langer reverend men, their country's glory,
In plain braid Scots hold forth a plain braid story!
Nae langer thrifty citizens and douce,
Meet owre a pint, or in the council-house ;
But staumrel, corky-headed, graceless gentry,
The herryment and ruin of the country;
Men three parts made by tailors and by barbers,
Wha waste your weel-hain'd gear on damn'd new brigs
and harbours !
Now haud you there! for faith ye've said enough, And muckle mair than ye can mak to through ; That's aye a string auld doited gray-beards harp on, A topic for their peevishness to carp on. As for your priesthood, I shall say but little, Corbies and clergy are a shot right kittle :
But, under favour o' your langer beard,
Abuse o magistrates might weel be spared :
To liken them to your auld-warld squad,
I must needs say comparisons are odd.
In Ayr, wag-wits nae mair can hae a handle
To mouth “a citizen," a term o' scandal ;
Nae mair the council waddles down the street,
In all the pomp of ignorant conceit;
No difference but bulkiest or tallest,
With comfortable dulness in for ballast ;
Nor shoals nor currents need a pilot's caution,
For regularly slow, they only witness motion ;
Men wha grew wise priggin' owre hops and raisins,
Or gather'd liberal views in bonds and seisins;
If haply Knowledge, on a random tramp,
Had shored them wi' a glimmer of his lamp,
And would to Common Sense for once betray'd them,
Plain, dull Stupidity stept kindly in to aid them.
What further clishmaclaver might been said, What bloody wars, if sprites had blood to shed, No man can tell; but all before their sight, A fairy train appear'd in order bright : Adown the glittering stream they featly danced ; Bright to the moon their various dresses glanced : They footed o'er the watery glass so neat, The infant ice scarce bent beneath their feet ;
While arts of minstrelsy among them rung,
And soul-ennobling bards heroic ditties sung.
Oh, had M.Lachlan, thairm-inspiring sage,
Been there to hear this heavenly band engage,
When through his dear strathspeys they bore with
Or when they struck old Scotia's melting airs,
The lover's raptured joys or bleeding cares;
How would his Highland lug been nobler fired,
And even his matchless hand with finer touch inspir'd!
No guess could tell what instrument appear'd,
But all the soul of Music's self was heard ;
Harmonious concert rung in every part,
While simple melody pour'd moving on the heart.
The Genius of the stream in front appears, A venerable chief advanced in years ; His hoary head with water-lilies crown'd, His manly leg with garter-tangle bound. Next came the loveliest pair in all the ring, Sweet Female Beauty hand in hand with Spring; Then, crown'd with flowery hay, came Rural Joy, And Summer, with his fervid-beaming eye: All-cheering Plenty, with her flowing horn, Led yellow Autumn, wreathed with nodding corn ; Then Winter's time-bleach'd locks did hoary show, By Hospitality with cloudless brow.
Next follow'd Courage, with his martial stride,
From where the Feal wild-woody coverts hide ;
Benevolence, with mild, benignant air,
A female form came from the towers of Stair :
Learning and Worth in equal measures trode
From simple Catrine, their long-loved abode :
Last, white-robed Peace, crowned with a hazel wreath,
To rustic Agriculture did bequeath
The broken iron instruments of death ;
At sight of whom our sprites forgat their kindling
WRITTEN WITH A PENCIL OVER THE CHINVEYPIECE IN THE
PARLOUR OF THE INN AT KENMORE, TAYMOUTH.
ADMIRING Nature in her wildest grace,
These northern scenes with weary feet I trace ;
O'er many a winding dale and painful steep,
The abodes of covey'd grouse and timid sheep,
My savage journey, curious, I pursue, ,
Till famed Breadalbane opens to my view,—
The meeting cliffs each deep-sunk glen divides,
The woods, wild scatter'd, clothe their ample sides,
The outstretching lake, embosom'd 'mong the hills,
The eye with wonder and amazement fills :
The Tay, meandering sweet in infant pride ;
The palace, rising on its verdant side ;
The lawns, wood-fringed in Nature's native taste;
The hillocks, dropt in Nature's careless haste ;
The arches, striding o'er the new-born stream ;
The village, glittering in the noontide beam-
Poetic ardours in my bosom swell,
Lone wandering by the hermit's mossy cell: