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I doubt na', frien', ye'll think ye're nae sheep-
Ance ye were streekit2 o'er frae bank to bank!
But gin ye be a brig as auld as me,
Tho' faith that day, I doubt, ye 'll never see;
There 'll be, if that date come, I'll wad a bodle,3
Some fewer whigmeleeries in your noddle.
Auld Vandal, ye but show your little mense,"
Just much about it wi' your scanty sense;
Will your poor, narrow foot-path of a street,
Where twa wheel-barrows tremble when they meet
Your ruin'd, formless bulk o' stane an' lime,
Compare wi' bonnie brigs o' modern time?
There's men o' taste would take the Duckat stream,
Tho' they should cast the very sark' and swim,
Ere they would grate their feelings wi' the view
Of sic an ugly Gothic hulk as you.
Conceited gowk! puff'd up wi' windy pride!
This monie a year I've stood the flood an' tide;
And tho' wi' crazy eild' I'm sair forfairn,io
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
Or stately Lugar's mossy fountains boil,
Or where the Greenock winds his moorland course,
Or haunted Garpal1 draws his feeble source,
No mean personage.-2 Stretched.-3 Bet a bodle; i. e. a small coin.4 Whims, fancies.-5 Good-breeding. A noted ford just above Auld Brig. - Shirt.-8 Cuckoo; applied as a term of contempt.- Old age.—10 Worn out.-11 A loose heap of stones.
12 The banks of Garpal Water is one of the few places in the west of Scotland, where those fancy-scaring beings, known by the name of Ghaists, still continue pertinaciously to inhabit.
Aroused by blustering winds an' spotting thowes,'
In monie a torrent down his snaw-broo rowes;2
While crashing ice, borne on the roaring speat,
Sweeps dams, an' mills, an' 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 't o't,
The L-d be thankit that we've tint the gate' o 't!
Gaunt, ghastly, ghaist-alluring edifices,
Hanging with threatening jut, like precipices;
O'er-arching, 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 doiteds monkish race,
Or frosty maids, forsworn the dear embrace;
Or cuifs9 of latter times, wha held the notion
That sullen gloom was sterling true devotion;
Fancies that our guid Burgh" denies protection,
And soon may they expire, unbless'd with resurrection!
O ye, my dear-remember'd ancient yealings,"
Were ye but here to share my wounded feelings!
Ye worthy Proveses, an' monie a Bailie,
Wha in the paths of righteousness did toil ay;
1 Thaws..-2 Snow-water rolls.—3 A sweeping torrent after a thaw.-4 The source of the river Ayr.-5 A small landing-place above the large quay.— • The muddy jerks of agitated water.-7 Lost the way of it.-8 Stupefied.• Blockheads.-10 Borough.-11 Coevals.
Ye dainty Deacons, and ye douce' Conveeners,
To whom our moderns are but causey-cleaners;
Ye godly Councils wha hae bless'd this town,
Ye godly Brethren of the sacred gown,
Wha meekly gae your hurdies' to the smiters;
And (what would now be strange) ye godly Writers:
A' ye douce folk I've borne aboon the broo,
Were ye but here, what would you say or do?
How would your spirits groan in deep vexation,
To see such melancholy alteration;
And, agonizing, curse the time and place,
When ye begat the base, degenerate race?
Nae langer reverend men, their country's glory,
In plain braid3 Scots hold forth a plain braid story!
Nae langer thrifty citizens an' 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 d-d new brigs
Now hauds you there! for faith ye 've said enough,
And muckle mair than ye can make to through."
As for your priesthood, I shall say but little,
Corbies and clergy are a shot right kittle:12
But under favor 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 hae13 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;
Men wha grew wise priggin' owre hops an' raisins,
Or gather'd liberal views in bonds and seisins.
If haply Knowledge, on a random tramp,
Had shor'd1 them with a glimmer of his lamp,
1 Wise.-2 The loins.-3 Broad.-4 Wise, prudent.-5 Half-witted.—® Plunderers.- Well-saved money.—8 Hold.—9 Much.-10 Make out, or prove.11 A species of crows.-12 Ticklish, difficult to come at.-13 To have.14 Cheapening.-15 Offered.
And would to Common-sense, for once betray'd them,
Plain, dull Stupidity stept kindly in to aid them.
What farther clishmaclaver1 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 glitt'ring stream they featly danced,
Bright to the moon their various dresses glanced;
They footed o'er the wat'ry 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.
O had M'Lauchlan, thairm3-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 e'en his matchless hand with finer touch inspired!
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,
1 Idle tale.—2 A well-known performer of Scottish music on the violin.— • Fiddle-string.-4 Ear.-5 Sea-weed.-6 Field, meadow.
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, crown'd with a hazel wreath,
To rustic Agriculture did bequeath
The broken iron instruments of Death;
At sight of whom our Sprites forgot their kindling wrath.
Written with a pencil, standing by the Fall of Fyers, near Loch-Ness.
AMONG the heathy hills and ragged woods
The roaring Fyers pours his mossy floods;
Till full he dashes on the rocky mounds,
Where, thro' a shapeless breach, his stream resounds.
As high in air the bursting torrents flow,
As deep recoiling surges foam below.
Prone down the rock the whitening sheet descends,
And viewless Echo's ear, astonish'd, rends.
Dim seen thro' rising mists and ceaseless showers,
The hoary cavern, wide-surrounding, lowers.
Still thro' the gap the struggling river toils,
An' still, below, the horrid cauldron boils
Written with a pencil, over the chimney-piece, in the parlor of an 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;
Th' outstretching lake, embosom'd 'mong the hills,
1 Mrs. Stewart.-2 See note 1, p. 134.