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'T wad be owre lang a tale to tell

How monie stories passed,
An' how they crouded to the yill,

When they were a' dismist;
How drink gaed round in cogs an' caups,

Amang the furms an' benches,
An' cheese an' bread, frae women's laps,
Was dealt about in lunches

An' dawds that day.



In comes a gausie, gash guidwife,

An' sits down by the fire,
Syne draws her kebbuck an' her knife;

The lasses they are shyer ;
The auld guidmen about the grace

Frae side to side they bother,
Till some ane by his bonnet lays
And gi'es them 't, like a tether,

Fu’ lang that day.



Waesucks for him that gets nae lass,

Or lasses that hae naething! Sma' need has he to say a grace,

Or melvie his braw claithing! O wives, be mindfu', ance yoursel

How bonie lads ye wanted, An' dinna for a kebbuck-heel Let lasses be affronted

On sic a day!


Now Clinkumbell, wi' rattlin tow,

Begins to jow an' croon;
Some swagger hame the best they dow,

Some wait the afternoon.
At slaps the billies halt a blink,

Till lasses strip their shoon;
Wi' faith an' hope, an' love an' drink,
They're a' in famous tune

For crack that day.

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How monie hearts this day converts

O'sinners and o' lasses !
Their hearts o stane, gin night, are gane

As saft as onie flesh is.
There's some are fou o' love divine,

There's some are fou o' brandy;
An' monie jobs that day begin,
May end in houghmagandie

Some ither day.




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'T was in that place o' Scotland's isle
That bears the name of auld King Coil,
Upon a bonie day in June,
When wearing thro' the afternoon,
Twa dogs, that were na thrang at hame,
Forgathered ance upon a time.

The first I'll name, they ca'd him Cæsar,
Was keepit for “his Honour's” pleasure;
His hair, his size, his mouth, his lugs,
Shewed he was nane o' Scotland's dogs,
But whalpit some place far abroad,
Whare sailors gang to fish for cod.
His locked, lettered, braw brass collar
Shewed him the gentleman an' scholar:
But tho' he was o' high degree,
The fient a pride, nae pride had he,
But wad hae spent an hour caressin
Ev'n wi' a tinkler-gipsy's messin;
At kirk or market, mill or smiddie,
Nae tawted tyke, tho' e'er sae duddie,
But he wad stan't, as glad to see him,
An' stroan't on stanes and hillocks wi' him.

The tither was a ploughman's collie,
A rhyming, ranting, raving billie,
Wha for his friend an' comrade had him,
And in his freaks had Luath ca'd him,
After some dog in Highland sang,
Was made lang syne-Lord knows how lang.



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He was a gash an' faithfu' tyke
As ever lap a sheugh or dyke.
His honest, sonsie, baws'nt face,
Ay gat him friends in ilka place;
His breast was white, his tousie back
Weel clad wi' coat o'glossy black;
His gawsie tail, wi' upward curl,
Hung owre his hurdies wi' a swirl.

Nae doubt but they were fain o'ither,
And unco pack an' thick thegither;
Wi' social nose whyles snuffed and snowkit;
Whyles mice an’ moudieworts they howkit;
Whyles scoured awa in lang excursion,
An' worried ither in diversion;
Until wi' daffin weary grown,
Upon a knowe they sat them down,
An' there began a lang digression
About the "lords o' the creation.”

Cæsar. I've aften wondered, honest Luath,
What sort o' life poor dogs like you have;
An' when the gentry's life I saw,
What way poor bodies lives ava.
Our laird gets in his racked rents,
His coals, his kain, an' a' his stents;
He rises when he likes himsel;
His flunkies answer at the bell;
He ca's his coach, he ca's his horse;
He draws a bonie silken purse
As lang 's my tail, whare, thro' the steeks,
The yellow lettered Geordie keeks.
Frae morn to e'en it's naught but toiling
At baking, roasting, frying, boiling;
An' though the gentry first are stechin,
Yet ev'n the ha' folk fill their pechan
Wi’ sauce, ragouts, an' sic like trashtrie,
That's little short o' downright wastrie.
Our whipper-in, wee, blastit wonner,
Poor worthless elf, it eats a dinner
Better than onie tenant man
His Honour has in a' the lan’;
An' what poor cot-folk pit their painch in,




65 85

I own it's past my comprehension.

70 Luath. Trowth, Cæsar, whyles they're fash't

A cotter howkin in a sheugh,
Wi' dirty stanes biggin a dyke,
Baring a quarry, an' sic like;
Hinisel, a wife, he thus sustains,

A smytrie o' wee duddie weans,
An' naught but his han’-darg to keep
Them right an' tight in thack an' rape.
An' when they meet wi' sair disasters,
Like loss o' health or want o' masters,

Ye maist wad think a wee touch langer
An' they maun starve o' cauld and hunger.
But how it comes, I never kend yet,
They're maistly wonderfu' contented;
An' buirdly chiels an' clever hizzies
Are bred in sic a way as this is.

Cæsar. But then to see how ye're negleckit,
How huffed, an' cuffed an' disrespeckit!
Lord, man! our gentry care as little
For delvers, ditchers, an' sic cattle;

They gang as saucy by poor folk
As I wad by a stinking brock.
I've noticed, on our laird's court-day,
An' monie a time my heart's been wae,
Poor tenant bodies, scant o' cash,

95 How they maun thole a factor's snash: He'll stamp an' threaten, curse an' swear; He'll apprehend them, poind their gear; While they maun staun' wi' aspect humble, An' hear it a', an' fear an' tremble ! I see how folk live that hae riches; But surely poor folk maun be wretches.

Luath. They're no sae wretched's ane wad think: Tho' constantly on poortith's brink, They're sae accustomed wi' the sight

105 The view o’t gies them little fright. Then chance an' fortune are sae guided They're ay in less or mair provided; An' tho' fatigued wi' close employment,

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A blink o rest's a sweet enjoyment.
The dearest comfort o' their lives,
Their grushie weans an' faithfu' wives;
The prattling things are just their pride,
That sweetens a' their fire-side.

An' whyles twalpennie worth o'nappy
Can mak the bodies unco happy;
They lay aside their private cares,
To mind the kirk and state affairs;
They'll talk o' patronage an' priests,
Wi' kindling fury i' their breasts,
Or tell what new taxation's comin,
An' ferlie at the folk in Lon'on.

As bleak-faced Hallowmass returns,
They get the jovial, ranting kirns,
When rural life, of ev'ry station,
Unite in common recreation;
Love blinks, Wit slaps, an' social Mirth
Forgets there's Care upo' the earth.

That merry day the year begins,
They bar the door on frosty win's;
The nappy reeks wi' mantling ream,
An' sheds a heart-inspiring steam;
The luntin pipe an' sneeshin mill
Are handed round wi' right guid will;
The cantie auld folks crackin crouse,
The young anes ranting thro’ the house-
My heart has been sae fain to see them
That I for joy hae barkit wi' them.

Still it's owre true that ye hae said,
Sic game is now owre aften played.
There's monie a creditable stock
O’ decent, honest, fawsont folk
Are riven out, baith root an' branch,
Some rascal's pridefu' greed to quench,
Wha thinks to knit himsel the faster
In favour wi' some gentle master,
Wha, aiblins, thrang a-parliamentin',
For Britain's guid his saul indentin'.

Cæsar. Haith, lad, ye little ken about it:
For Britain's guid! guid faith, I doubt it.






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