On Glenriddell's Fox Breaking His Chain
THOU, Liberty, thou art my theme;
Not such as idle poets dream,
Who trick thee up a heathen goddess
That a fantastic cap and rod has;
Such stale conceits are poor and silly;
I paint thee out, a Highland filly,
A sturdy, stubborn, handsome dapple,
As sleek's a mouse, as round's an apple,
That when thou pleasest canst do wonders;
But when thy luckless rider blunders,
Or if thy fancy should demur there,
Wilt break thy neck ere thou go further.
These things premised, I sing a Fox,
Was caught among his native rocks,
And to a dirty kennel chained,
How he his liberty regained.
Glenriddell! Whig without a stain,
A Whig in principle and grain,
Could'st thou enslave a free-born creature,
A native denizen of Nature?
How could'st thou, with a heart so good,
(A better ne'er was sluiced with blood!)
Nail a poor devil to a tree,
That ne'er did harm to thine or thee?
The staunchest Whig Glenriddell was,
Quite frantic in his country's cause;
And oft was Reynard's prison passing,
And with his brother-Whigs canvassing
The Rights of Men, the Powers of Women,
With all the dignity of Freemen.
Sir Reynard daily heard debates
Of Princes', Kings', and Nations' fates,
With many rueful, bloody stories
Of Tyrants, Jacobites, and Tories:
From liberty how angels fell,
That now are galley-slaves in hell;
How Nimrod first the trade began
Of binding Slavery's chains on Man;
How fell Semiramis—G—d d-mn her!
Did first, with sacrilegious hammer,
(All ills till then were trivial matters)
For Man dethron'd forge hen-peck fetters;
How Xerxes, that abandoned Tory,
Thought cutting throats was reaping glory,
Until the stubborn Whigs of Sparta
Taught him great Nature's Magna Charta;
How mighty Rome her fiat hurl'd
Resistless o'er a bowing world,
And, kinder than they did desire,
Polish'd mankind with sword and fire;
With much, too tedious to relate,
Of ancient and of modern date,
But ending still, how Billy Pitt
(Unlucky boy!) with wicked wit,
Has gagg'd old Britain, drain'd her coffer,
As butchers bind and bleed a heifer,
Thus wily Reynard by degrees,
In kennel listening at his ease,
Suck'd in a mighty stock of knowledge,
As much as some folks at a College;
Knew Britain's rights and constitution,
Her aggrandisement, diminution,
How fortune wrought us good from evil;
Let no man, then, despise the Devil,
As who should say, ‘I never can need him,'
Since we to scoundrels owe our freedom.
Epistle To A Young Friend
I lang hae thought, my youthfu' friend,
A something to have sent you,
Tho' it should serve nae ither end
Than just a kind momento:
But how the subject-theme may gang,
Let time and change determine;
Perhaps it may turn out a sang:
Perhaps turn out a sermon.
Ye'll try the world soon my lad;
And, Andrew dear, believe me,
Ye'll find mankind an unco squad,
And muckle they may grieve ye.
For care and trouble set your thought,
Ev'n when your end's attained;
And a' your views may come to nought,
Where ev'ry nerve is strained.
I'll no say, men are villains a';
The real, harden'd wicked,
What hae nae check but human law,
Are to a few restricked;
But, och! mankind are unco weak,
An' little to be trusted;
If self the wavering balance shake,
It's rarely right adjusted!
Yet they wha fa' in fortune's strife,
Their fate we shouldna censure;
For still, th'important end of life
They equally may answer;
A man may hae in honest heart,
Tho' poortith hourly stare him;
A man may tak a neibor's part,
Yet hae nae cash to spare him.
Aye free, aff-han', your story tell,
When wi' a bosom crony;
But still keep something to yoursel',
Ye scarcely tell to ony:
Conceal yoursel' as weel's ye can
Frae critical dissection;
But keek thro' ev'ry other man,
Wi' sharpen'd, sly inspection.
The sacred lowe o' well-plac'd love,
Luxuriantly indulge it;
But never tempt th' illicit rove,
Tho' naething should divulge it:
I waive the quantum o' the sin,
The hazard of concealing;
But, och! it hardens a' within,
And petrifies the feeling!
To catch dame Fortune's golden smile,
Assiduous wait upon her;
And gather gear by ev'ry wile
That's justified by honour;
Not for to hide it in a hedge,
Nor for a train attendant;
But for the glorious privilege
Of being independent.
The fear o' hell's a hangman's whip,
To haud the wretch in order;
But where ye feel your honour grip,
Let that aye be your border;
Its slightest touches, instant pause-
Debar a' side-pretences;
And resolutely keep its laws,
The great Creator to revere,
Must sure become the creature;
But still the preaching cant forbear,
And ev'n the rigid feature:
Yet ne'er with wits profane to range,
Be complaisance extended;
An atheist-laugh's a poor exchange
For Deity offended!
When ranting round in pleasure's ring,
Religion may be blinded;
Or if she gie a random sting,
It may be little minded;
But when on life we're tempest-driv'n-
A conscience but a canker,
A correspondence fix'd wi' Heav'n,
Is sure a noble anchor!
Adieu, dear, amiable youth!
Your heart can ne'er be wanting!
May prudence, fortitude, and truth,
Erect your brow undaunting!
In ploughman phrase, ``God send you speed,''
Still daily to grow wiser;
And may ye better reck the rede,
Than ever did th' adviser!
The Kirk Of Scotland's Alarm: A Ballad
ORTHODOX! orthodox, who believe in John Knox,
Let me sound an alarm to your conscience:
A heretic blast has been blown in the West,
That what is no sense must be nonsense,
Orthodox! That what is no sense must be nonsense.
Doctor Mac! Doctor Mac, you should streek on a rack,
To strike evil-doers wi' terror:
To join Faith and Sense, upon any pretence,
Was heretic, damnable error,
Doctor Mac! 1 'Twas heretic, damnable error.
Town of Ayr! town of Ayr, it was mad, I declare,
To meddle wi' mischief a-brewing, 2
Provost John 3 is still deaf to the Church's relief,
And Orator Bob 4 is its ruin,
Town of Ayr! Yes, Orator Bob is its ruin.
D'rymple mild! D'rymple mild, tho' your heart's like a child,
And your life like the new-driven snaw,
Yet that winna save you, auld Satan must have you,
For preaching that three's ane an' twa,
D'rymple mild! 5 For preaching that three's ane an' twa.
Rumble John! rumble John, mount the steps with a groan,
Cry the book is with heresy cramm'd;
Then out wi' your ladle, deal brimstone like aidle,
And roar ev'ry note of the D—'d.
Rumble John! 6 And roar ev'ry note of the D—'d.
Simper James! simper James, leave your fair Killie dames,
There's a holier chase in your view:
I'll lay on your head, that the pack you'll soon lead,
For puppies like you there's but few,
Simper James! 7 For puppies like you there's but few.
Singet Sawnie! singet Sawnie, are ye huirdin the penny,
Unconscious what evils await?
With a jump, yell, and howl, alarm ev'ry soul,
For the foul thief is just at your gate.
Singet Sawnie! 8 For the foul thief is just at your gate.
Poet Willie! poet Willie, gie the Doctor a volley,
Wi' your "Liberty's Chain" and your wit;
O'er Pegasus' side ye ne'er laid a stride,
Ye but smelt, man, the place where he sh-t.
Poet Willie! 9 Ye but smelt man, the place where he sh-t.
Barr Steenie! Barr Steenie, what mean ye, what mean ye?
If ye meddle nae mair wi' the matter,
Ye may hae some pretence to havins and sense,
Wi' people that ken ye nae better,
Barr Steenie! 10 Wi'people that ken ye nae better.
Jamie Goose! Jamie Goose, ye made but toom roose,
In hunting the wicked Lieutenant;
But the Doctor's your mark, for the Lord's holy ark,
He has cooper'd an' ca'd a wrang pin in't,
Jamie Goose! 11 He has cooper'd an' ca'd a wrang pin in't.
Davie Bluster! Davie Bluster, for a saint ye do muster,
The core is no nice o' recruits;
Yet to worth let's be just, royal blood ye might boast,
If the Ass were the king o' the brutes,
Davie Bluster! 12 If the Ass were the king o' the brutes.
Cessnock-side! Cessnock-side, wi' your turkey-cock pride
Of manhood but sma' is your share:
Ye've the figure, 'tis true, ev'n your foes will allow,
And your friends they dare grant you nae mair,
Cessnock-side! 13 And your friends they dare grant you nae mair.
Muirland Jock! muirland Jock, when the L—d makes a rock,
To crush common-sense for her sins;
If ill-manners were wit, there's no mortal so fit
To confound the poor Doctor at ance,
Muirland Jock! 14 To confound the poor Doctor at ance.
Andro Gowk! Andro Gowk, ye may slander the Book,
An' the Book nought the waur, let me tell ye;
Tho' ye're rich, an' look big, yet, lay by hat an' wig,
An' ye'll hae a calf's-had o' sma' value,
Andro Gowk! 15 Ye'll hae a calf's head o' sma value.
Daddy Auld! daddy Auld, there'a a tod in the fauld,
A tod meikle waur than the clerk;
Tho' ye do little skaith, ye'll be in at the death,
For gif ye canna bite, ye may bark,
Daddy Auld! 16 Gif ye canna bite, ye may bark.
Holy Will! holy Will, there was wit in your skull,
When ye pilfer'd the alms o' the poor;
The timmer is scant when ye're taen for a saunt,
Wha should swing in a rape for an hour,
Holy Will! 17 Ye should swing in a rape for an hour.
Calvin's sons! Calvin's sons, seize your spiritual guns,
Ammunition you never can need;
Your hearts are the stuff will be powder enough,
And your skulls are a storehouse o' lead,
Calvin's sons! Your skulls are a storehouse o' lead.
Poet Burns! poet Burns, wi" your priest-skelpin turns,
Why desert ye your auld native shire?
Your muse is a gipsy, yet were she e'en tipsy,
She could ca'us nae waur than we are,
Poet Burns! She could ca'us nae waur than we are.
PRESENTATION STANZAS TO CORRESPONDENTSFactor John! Factor John, whom the Lord made alone,
And ne'er made anither, thy peer,
Thy poor servant, the Bard, in respectful regard,
He presents thee this token sincere,
Factor John! He presents thee this token sincere.
Afton's Laird! Afton's Laird, when your pen can be spared,
A copy of this I bequeath,
On the same sicker score as I mention'd before,
To that trusty auld worthy, Clackleith,
Afton's Laird! To that trusty auld worthy, Clackleith.