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To the noble Duke of Athole.

My Lord, I know your noble ear
Woe ne'er assails in vain;
Embolden'd thus, I beg you'll hear
Your humble slave complain,
How saucy Phoebus' scorching beams,
In flaming summer-pride,
Dry-withering, waste my foamy streams,
And drink my crystal tide.

The lightly-jumping glowrin" trouts,
That thro' my waters play,
If, in their random, wanton spouts,
They near the margin stray;
If, hapless chance! they linger lang,
I'm scorching up so shallow,
They're left the whit'ning stanes amang,
In grasping death to wallow.

Last day I grat3 wi' spite and teen,*
As Poet Burns came by,

That, to a Bard, I should be seen
Wi' half my channel dry:
A panegyric rhyme, I ween,
E'en as I was he shor'd' me;
But had I in my glory been,

He, kneeling, wad adored me.

Here, foaming down the shelvy rocks,
In twisting strength I rin;

There, high my boiling torrent smokes,
Wild-roaring o'er a linn;"


Enjoying large each spring and well,
As Nature gave them me,

I am, altho' I say 't mysel,
Worth gaun' a mile to see.

1 Bruar Falls, in Athole, are exceedingly picturesque and beautiful; but

the effect is much impaired by the want of trees and shrubs.

2 Staring.-3 Wept.-4 Grief, sorrow.-5 Offered. fall.- Going.

A precipice, or water

Would then my noble master please
To grant my highest wishes,

He'll shade my banks wi' tow'ring trees,
And bonnie spreading bushes;
Delighted doubly then, my Lord,
You'll wander on my banks,
And listen monie a grateful bird
Return you tuneful thanks.

The sober lav'rock' warbling wild,
Shall to the skies aspire;

The gowdspink,2 music's gayest child,
Shall sweetly join the choir:

The blackbird strong, the lintwhite3 clear,
The mavis* mild and mellow;
The robin pensive autumn cheer,
In all her locks of yellow:

This, too, a covert shall insure,

To shield them from the storm;
And coward maukin sleep secure,
Low in her grassy form:

Here shall the shepherd make his seat,
To weave his crown of flowers;
Or find a shelt'ring, safe retreat,
From prone descending showers.

And here, by sweet, endearing stealth,
Shall meet the loving pair,

Despising worlds with all their wealth,
As empty, idle care.

The flowers shall vie in all their charms,
The hour of heaven to grace,
And birks extend their fragrant arms,
To screen the dear embrace.

Here haply too, at vernal dawn,
Some musing Bard may stray,
And eye the smoking dewy lawn,
And misty mountain, gray;
Or, by the reaper's nightly beam,
Mild-check'ring thro' the trees,

1 Lark.—2 Goldfinch.-3 Linnet.-4 Thrush.—5 The hare.- Birch-trees.

Rave to my darkly dashing stream,
Hoarse-swelling on the breeze.

Let lofty firs and ashes cool

My lowly banks o'erspread,
And view, deep-bending in the pool,
Their shadows' wat'ry bed:

Let fragrant birks,' in woodbines drest,
My craggy cliffs adorn;

And for the little songster's nest,
The close embow'ring thorn.

So may old Scotia's darling hope,
Your little angel band,

Spring, like their fathers, up to prop
Their honor'd native land!

So may, thro' Albion's farthest ken,
To social-flowing glasses,

The grace be-"Athole's honest men,
And Athole's bonnie lasses!"


Inscribed to J. Ballantyne, Esq., Ayr.

THE simple Bard, rough at the rustic plough,
Learning his tuneful trade from ev'ry bough;
The chanting linnet, or the mellow thrush,
Hailing the setting sun, sweet, in the green thorn-bush ;
The soaring lark, the perching red-breast shrill,
Or deep-toned plovers, gray, wild whistling o'er the hill;
Shall he, nursed in the peasant's lowly shed,

To hardy Independence bravely bred,

By early Poverty to hardship steel'd,

And train'd to arms in stern Misfortune's field;
Shall he be guilty of their hireling crimes,
The servile, mercenary Swiss of rhymes?
Or labor hard the panegyric close,

With all the venal soul of dedicating Prose?
No! though his artless strains he rudely sings,
And throws his hand uncouthly o'er the strings,

1 Birch-trees.-2 Bridges.

He glows with all the spirit of the Bard—
Fame, honest fame, his great, his dear reward!
Still, if some patron's generous care he trace,
Skill'd, in the secret, to bestow with grace;
When Ballantyne' befriends his humble name,
And hands the rustic stranger up to fame,
With heart-felt throes his grateful bosom swells,
The god-like bliss, to give, alone excels.

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'Twas when the stacks get on their winter-hap,”
And thack and rape secure the toil-won crap;
Potatoe-bings are snugged up frae skaith*
Of coming Winter's biting, frosty breath;
The bees, rejoicing o'er their summer toils,
Unnumber'd buds, an' flowers' delicious spoils,
Seal'd up with frugal care in massive waxen piles,
Are doom'd by man, that tyrant o'er the weak,
The death o' devils-smoor'd' wi' brimstone reck;"
The thundering guns are heard on ev'ry side,
The wounded coveys, reeling, scatter wide;
The feather'd field-mates, bound by Nature's tie,
Sires, mothers, children, in one carnage lie:
(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 noon-tide 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 burgh of Ayr,
By whim inspired, or haply press'd wi' care;
He left his bed, and took his wayward rout,
And down by Simpson's' wheel'd the left about:
(Whether impell'd by all-directing Fate,
To witness what I after shall narrate;

1 John Ballantyne, Esq., Banker, Ayr, one of our poet's earliest patrons. 2 Covering. 3 Thatch secured with ropes of straw, &c. - 4 Damage.5 Smothered.-6 Smoke.-7 A noted tavern at the Auld Brig end.

Or whether, rapt in meditation high,

He wander'd out, he knew not where nor why :)
The drowsy Dungeon-clock had numbered two,
And Wallace Tower1 had sworn the fact was true;
The tide-swoln Firth, with sullen-sounding roar,
Through the still night dash'd hoarse along the

All else was hush'd as Nature's closed e'e;

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 list'ning Bard,
The clanging sugh of whistling wings he heard;
Two dusky forms dart thro' the midnight air,
Swift as the Gos3 drives on the wheeling hare;
Ane on th' Auld Brig his hairy shape uprears,
The ither flutters o'er the rising piers;
Our warlock* Rhymer instantly descried
The Spirits that owre the Brigs of Ayr preside.
(That bards are second-sighted is nae joke,
And ken the lingo o' the sp'ritual folk;

Fays, spunkies, kelpies, a', they can explain them,
And even the vera deils they brawly ken them.)
Auld Brig appear'd of ancient Pictish race,
The vera wrinkles Gothic in his face:


He seem'd as he wi' Time had warstled' lang,
Yet teughly doure, he bade' an unco bang.3
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 neebor took his e'e,
And e'en a vex'd and angry heart had he!
Wi' thieveless12 sneer to see his modish mien,
He, down the water, gies him this guid-e'en :"

Dungeon-clock and Wallace Tower, the two steeples.-2 The continued rushing noise of wind.-3 The gos-hawk, or falcon.-4 Wizard.-5 Wrestled. -6 Toughly durable.-7 Did bide, sustain, or endure.-8 Sustained the repeated shocks of the floods and currents.-9 Dressed.-10 A ring which surrounds a column, &c.-11 Useless ornaments.-12 Cold, dry-spoken of a person's demeanor.-13 Salutation, or good evening.

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