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May, 1785. I GAT your letter, winsome Willie ; Wi' gratefu' heart I thank you brawlie; Tho' I maun say't, I wad be silly,

An' unco vain, Should I believe, my coaxin billie,

Your flatterin strain.

But I'se believe ye kindly meant it,
I sud be laith to think ye hinted
Ironic satire, sidelins sklented

On my poor Musie; Tho' in sic phraisin terms ye've penn'd it,

I scarce excuse ye.

My senses wad be in a creel,
Should I but dare a hope to speel,
Wi' Allan, or wi' Gilbertfield,

The braes o' fame;
Or Fergusson, the writer-chiel,

A deathless name!

(O Furgusson! thy glorious parts
Ill suited law's dry, musty arts !
My curse upon your whunstane hearts,

Ye Enbrugh Gentry!
The tythe o' what ye waste at cartes,

Wad stow'd his pantry!)

Yet when a tale comes i' my head,
Or lasses gie my heart a screed,
As whyles they're like to be my deed,

(0 sad disease!) I kittle up my rustic reed;

It gies me ease.

Auld Coila now may fidge fu' fain,
She's gotten Poets o' her ain,
Chiels wha their chanters winna hain,

But tune their lays,
Till echoes a' resound again

Her weel-sung praise.

Nae poet thought her worth his while
To set her name in measur'd style ;
She lay like some unkenn'd-of isle

Beside New Holland, Or whare wild-meeting oceans boil

Besouth Magellan.

Ramsay an' famous Fergusson
Gied Forth an' Tay a lift aboon;
Yarrow an' Tweed, to monie a tune,

Owre Scotland rings, While Irwin, Lugar, Ayr, an' Doon,

Nae body sings.

ThIlissus, Tiber, Thames, an' Seine, Glide sweet in monie a tunefu' line! But, Willie, set your fit to mine,

. An'cock your crest, We'll gar our streams an' burnies shine

Up wi' the best.

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We'll sing auld Coila's plains an' fells, i
Her moors red-brown wi' heather bells,"
Her banks an' braes, her dens and dells,

Where glorious Wallace
Aft bure the gree, as story tells,

Frae southron billies.

At Wallace' name what Scottish blood
But boils up in a spring-tide flood !
Oft have our fearless fathers strode

By Wallace' side,
Still pressing onward, red-wat-shod,

Or glorious dy'd.

0, sweet are Coila's haughs an’ woods, When lintwhites chant amang the buds, And jinkin hares, in amorous whids,

Their loves enjoy, While thro' the braes the cushat croods.

Wi’ wailfu' cry!

Ev'n winter bleak has charms to me
When winds rave thro’ the naked tree;
Or frosts on hills of Ochiltree

Are hoary gray;
Or blinding drifts wild furious flee,

Dark’ning the day!

O Nature! a' thy shews an’ forms
To feeling, pensive hearts hae charms":
Whether the simmer kindly warms

Wi' life an’ light,
Or winter howls, in gusty storms,

The lang dark night!

The Muse, nae poet ever fand her,
Till by himsel he learn’d to wander,
Adown some trotting burn's meander,

An' no think lang;
O sweet! to stray an' pensive ponder

A heart-felt sang !

The warly race may drudge an' drive,
Hog-shouther, jundie, stretch, an' strive,
Let me fair Nature's face descrive,

And I, wi' pleasure,
Shall let the busy grumbling hive

Bum owre their treasure.

Fareweel, 'my rhyme-composing brither!' We've been owre lang unkenn'd to ither: Now let us lay our heads thegither,

In love fraternal: May Ewy wallop in a tether,

Black fiend, infernal!

While highlandmen hate tolls an' taxes ;
While moorlan' herds like guid fat braxies;
While terra firma, on her axis

Diurnal turns,
Count on a friend, in faith an' practice,

In Robert Burns.


My memory's no worth a preen;
I had amaist forgotten clean,
Ye bade me write you what they mean

By this New-Light', 'Bout which our herds sae aft hae been

Maist like to fight.

In days when mankind were but callans
At grammar, logic, an' sic talents,
They took nae pains their speech to balance,

Or rules to gie,
But spak their thoughts in plain, braid Lallans,

Like you or me.

In thae auld times, they thought the moon,
Just like a sark, or pair o shoon,
Wore by degrees, till her last roon,

Gaed past their viewing,
An’ shortly after she was done,

They gat a new ane.

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