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of a theory of the earth, furnish me with a notable practical specimen of the characteristic manners of our booksellers here; and as I have set down nought in malice, I hope they will be flattered with this view of their general portraits, and I doubt not but they will readily recognise themselves.


Edinburgh, Feb. 12, 1802.

THE TWA BOTTLES, BY HECTOR M'NIELL, ESQ. A Dialogue on a late Parliamentary Decision.

Strong Ale.

HEH! neighbour, but you're wond'rous crouse!
Ye're gaen, I see, to yon change-house:

What's a' the news that's steering?

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Has ony thing come late frae France,
That maks ye stend sae, loup and dance?
Excuse me, sir, for speering.NA


France! deil than France was in a low!
There's little wit in that fool pow,

That wadna try to trick her;

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Has owre lang join'd wi' browsts o' thine,..
To stap our good Scots liquor.

Strong Ale.

Aye, man! it sets you weel, I trow!
To crook your ill scrap'd, ill far'd mou,
And gab sae to your betters.

I fain wad ken what turn o' late
Has set a-field this blether-skate,

I thought fast bound in fetters?


Ask my dumb doup! if lugs ye've nane, Gae read, the news will gar ye grane! They've plaid a bonny plisky!

Our PARLIAMENT (God bless them a'!) Has gi'en, at last, proud chiels a fa', And hoiz'd up honest whisky!

Strong Ale.

I'm sorry for❜t, wi' a' my heart!
Not on my ain, but country's part,
And good folk's consolation!

Gin a' be true that now ye tell,
Poortith and vice may strike the knell
O' death and consternation!


Ha ha! I kent 'twad mak' ye wae!
But, birkie! tend to what I say;

Ye'd better leave off preaching

Hearts that are happy ken few fears, De'il haet ye'll get but taunts and jeers For a' your thankless teaching.

Strong Ale.

Alas! for ance ye've spoke owre true! When madness reigns, calm thought adieu! Yet hark ye, friend, ere parting;

Though for a day fools mount in air, When mirk night comes, in dumb despair, Sa't tears will then be starting.


Tears! tears for what?

Strong Ale-For follies past;

For ruin hurl'd in thriftless waste ;
For uproar and confusion.

For friends and kindred scattered wide;
For bairns, pale shivering at their side,
To prove the mad delusion.


The picture's waefu', we confess;

But for the cause, the learn'd may guess,

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Weel, weel, ye ken! tho' laith to speak,
If a' shame hadna fled your cheek,
Your blushing face wad tell it.

Weel, weel ye ken! five years and mair
Can hardly yet the skaith repair
O' a' your midnight keeping.

The wounds that bled are scarce skinn'd o'er, The wretch that mourn'd frae door to door, Is hardly yet done weeping.


Pugh! what the sorrow was't I did?
I took the folk aft by the head;

Did ye ne'er do the same now

Drunk, ay is drunk, what maks the sin?
Is't whisky think ye, ale, or gin,

That brings the skaith or shame now?

Strong Ale.

When drunk wi' ale, fools dose to rest ;
Painfu' niest morn wi' unrack'd breast,...

They taste health's recreation;
But drunk wi' you, ilk brain, red wood,
Scatters wi' rage and boiling blood,
Destruction round the nation.

Madd'ning wi' you, the sage turns fool;
Mild woman sinks frae virtue's school,
And laughs at a' decorum ;

Affection flees the parent's heart!
And misery sees the double dart

O' slight and want before him!

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Poison'd by thee wi' knawing pain,
The stomach tries its powers in vain,

To save the stem that's dowin;

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Fast, fast the blooming blossoms fly!
While drink, drink, drink, is a' the cry,
To quench the flame that's lowin!

Tutor❜d by thee, infernal guide!

Vice spreads his crime-stain'd banners wide
To mar ilk sweet affection!

Dark rapine prowls in midnight death;
And urged by want, the murderer bleeds
By justice' stern correction.

These are thy blessings! reptile vile !
Wha' dares wi' taunt, and jeer, and smile,
To vent your senseless gabble!

Upstarted now, forsooth, and crouse!
Fit comrade for yon black change-house,
And a' its drukin' rabble!

There, blackguard! there ye'll had your reign,
Feeding wi' flame the fev'ring brain

O' thieves, and hell-fir'd fallows;
Till round and round the furies reel,
And rinning head-lang to the de'il,
Ye string a' on ae gallows.".

Scar'd at the speech, aff in a fright
Swith! whisky fled wi' a' his might,

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