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literature. The Scotch critics of the last century delighted in comparing Ramsay's masterpiece with the pastorals of the Italian masters, and giving him the palm over these competitors. But the kind of composition is so different that a fair basis of comparison can hardly be said to exist. The Gentle Shepherd must be judged on its merits as a picture of real rustic life. Its fidelity to nature is attested by the welcome it received from the people whose life it described, and who saw themselves reflected there as they wished that others should see them-the harshness of their struggle for existence forgotten, and all their simple joys gathered up in the poet's imagination.


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cheerful. bankrupt.

[From The Gentle Shepherd.]



But, poortith, Peggy is the warst of a',


Gif o'er your heads ill chance should beggary draw;
There little love or canty1 cheer can come
Frae duddy2 doublets and a pantry toom3.
Your nowt may die; the spate may bear away
Frae aff the howms your dainty rucks of hay;
The thick-blawn wreaths of snaw, or blashy thows,
May smoor your wethers and may rot your ewes ;
A dyvour buys your butter, woo, and cheese,
But or the day of payment breaks and flees.
With glooman brow the laird seeks in his rent,-
'Tis no to gie: your merchant's to the bent :
His honour maunna want, he poinds your gear;
Syne driven frae house and hold, where will ye steer?
Dear Meg, be wise, and lead a single life;

Troth, it's nae mows to be a married wife.

May sic ill luck befa' that silly she

Wha has sic fears, for that was never me.

Let fowk bode weel, and strive to do their best ;
Nae mair's requir'd-let heaven make out the rest.
I've heard my honest uncle often say

That lads should a' for wives that's virtuous pray;
For the maist thrifty man could never get
A well-stor❜d room unless his wife wad let.
Wherefore nocht shall be wanting on my part
To gather wealth to raise my shepherd's heart.
Whate'er he wins I'll guide my canny care,
And win the vogue at market, tron, or fair,
For halesome, clean, cheap and sufficient ware.
A flock of lambs, cheese, butter and some woo,
Shall first be sold to pay the laird his due ;
♦ cattle.





5 thaws


Syne a' behind's our ain. Thus without fear,
With love and rowth1 we thro' the warld will steer ;
And when my Pate in bairns and gear grow rise,
He'll bless the day he gat me for his wife.


But what if some young giglit on the green
With dimpled cheek and twa bewitching een,
Should gar your Patie think his half worn Meg
And her ken'd kisses, hardly worth a feg?



Nae mair of that. Dear Jenny, to be free,
There's some men constanter in love than we.
Nor is the ferly great, when nature kind
Has blest them with solidity of mind;
They'll reason calmly and with kindness smile,
When our short passions wad our peace beguile.
Sae, whensoe'er they slight their maiks3 at hame,
'Tis ten to ane their wives are maist to blame.
Then I'll employ with pleasure a' my art
To keep him cheerfu', and secure his heart.
At e'en, when he comes weary frae the hill,
I'll have a' things made ready to his will ;
In winter, when he toils thro' wind and rain,
A bleezing-ingle and a clean hearth-stane;
And soon as he flings by his plaid and staff,
The seething pots be ready to take aff;
Clean hagabag I'll spread upon his board,
And serve him with the best we can afford;
Good-humour and white bigonets shall be
Guards to my face, to keep his love for me.


A dish of married love right soon grows cauld,
And dosens down to nane, as fowk grow auld.



But we'll grow auld together, and ne'er find
The loss of youth, where love grows on the mind.
Bairns and their bairns make sure a firmer tie
Than aught in love the like of us can spy.
• linen caps.


-2 wonder. 9 mates.

5 dwindles.


See yon twa elms that grow up side by side,
Suppose them some years syne bridegroom and bride ;
Nearer and nearer ilka year they've prest,
Till wide their spreading branches are increas'd,
And in their mixture now are fully blest :
This shields the other frae the eastlin blast,
That in return defends it frae the wast.
Sic as stand single (a state sae liked by you),
Beneath ilk storm frae every airt1 maun bow.


I've done. I yield dear lassie, I maun yield;
Your better sense has fairly won the field,
With the assistance of a little fae

Lies dern'd' within my breast this mony a day.



By the delicious warmness of thy mouth


And rowing eye, which smiling tells the truth,


guess, my lassie, that, as well as I,

You're made for love, and why should ye deny?


But ken ye, lad, gin we confess o'er soon,
Ye think us cheap, and syne the wooing's done:
The maiden that o'er quickly tines her power,
Like unripe fruit will taste but hard and sour.


But when they hing o'er lang upon the tree,
Their sweetness they may tine, and sae may ye;
Red-cheeked you completely ripe appear,
And I have tholed and wooed a lang half-year.


Then dinna pu' me; gently thus I fa'
Into my Patie's arms for good and a'.

But stint your wishes to this kind embrace,

And mint 5 nae farther till we've got the grace.

5 aim.

quarter. ' hidden.

' rolling. ✦ suff. red.


O charming armfu'! Hence, ye cares away.
I'll kiss my treasure a' the livelang day:
A' night I'll dream my kisses o'er again,
Till that day come that ye'll be a' my ain.


Sun, gallop down the westling skies,
Gang soon to bed, and quickly rise;
O lash your steeds, post time away,
And haste about our bridal day;
And if ye're wearied, honest light,
Sleep, gin ye like, a week that night.

[From The Tea-Table Miscellany.]


O Sandy, why leaves thou thy Nelly to mourn ?

Thy presence would ease me

When naething could please me,

Now dowie I sigh on the bank of the burn,

Ere through the wood, laddie, until thou return.

Though woods now are bonny, and mornings are clear,
While lavrocks are singing

And primroses springing,

Yet nane of them pleases my eye or my ear,
When through the wood, laddie, ye dinna appear.

That I am forsaken some spare no to tell;
I'm fashed wi' their scorning
Baith evening and morning;

Their jeering aft gae; to my heart wi' a knell,
When through the wood, laddie, I wander mysel'.

Then stay, my dear Sandie, nae langer away,
But quick as an arrow,

Haste here to thy marrow,

Wha's living in languor till that happy day,

When through the wood, laddie, we'll dance, sing, and play.

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