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Gaunt, ghastly, ghaist-alluring edifices,
Hanging with threatning 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 craz'd 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 doited Monkish race,
Or frosty maids, forsworn the dear embrace,
Or Cuifs 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 resurrectica


O ye, my dear-remember'd, ancient yealings, Were ye but here to share my wounded feelings! Ye worthy Proveses, an' mony a Bailie, Wha in the paths of righteousness did toil ay ; 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 ye say or do? How would your spirits groan in deep vexation, To see each melancholy alteration;

And agonizing, curse the time and place
When ye begat the base, degen’rate race!
Nae langer Rev'rend Men, their country's glory,
In plain braid 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 wheel-hain'd gear on d-d new Briga

and Harbors !


Now haud 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 ; But under favor o' your langer beard, Abuse o magistrates might weel be spar'd; To liken them to your auld warld squad, I must needs say, comparisons are odd. In Ayr, wag-wits nae mair can hae 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 lib’ral views in Bonds and Seisins. If haply Knowledge, on a random tramp, Had shor'd them with a glimmer of his lamp, And would to Common-sense, for once betray'd them Plain, dull Stupidity stept kindly in to aid them.

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What farther clishmaclaver 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 glittering stream they featly danced ;
Bright to the moon their various dresses glanced ;
They footed o'er the watry 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'Laughlan,* thairm-inspiring sage,
Been there to hear this heavenly band engage,
When through his dear Strathspeys they bore with

Highland rage;
Or when they struck old Scotia’s melting airs,
The lover's raptur'd joys or bleeding cares ;
How would his Highland lug been nobler fir'd,
And ev'n his matchless hand with finer touch inspir'd
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 advanc'd 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 flow'ry hay, came Rural Joy And Summer, with his fervid-beaming eye; All-cheering Plenty, with her flowing horn, Led yellow Autumn, wreath'd with nodding corn; Then Winter's time-bleach'd locks did hoary show By Hospitality with cloudless brow.

* A well-known performer of Scottish music on the violin.

Next follow'd Courage with his martial stride,
From where the Feal wild-woody coverts hide;
Benevolence, with mild, benignant air,
A female form,* came from the towrs of Stair ;
Learning and Worth in equal measures trode
From simple Catrine, their long-lov'd abode;
Last, white-rob’d Peace, crown'd with a hazel wreath,
To rustic Agriculture did bequeath
The broken iron instruments of Death;
At sight of whom our Sprites forgat their kindling wrath,



The sun had clos'd the winter day,
The curlers quat their roaring play,
An' hunger'd maukin ta’en her way

To kail-yards green,
While faithless snaws ilk step betray

Where she has been.

The thrasher's weary flingin-tree
The lee-lang day had tired me;
And when the day had clos'd his c'e,

Far i’ the west,

* The poet here alludes to a Mrs. Stewart, who was then in posses. sion of Stair. She afterwards removed to Afton-lodge, on the banks of the Afton, a stream which he subsequently celebrated in a song entitled “ Afton Water." - ED.

† Duan, a term of Ossian's for the different divisions of a digressiva poem. See his Cath-Loda, vol. ii. of Macpherson's translation.

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Ben i' the spence, right pensivelie,

I gaed to rest.

There, lanely, by the ingle-cheek,
I sat and ey'd the spewing reek,
That fill'd, wi' hoast-provoking smeek,

The auld clay biggin;
An' heard the restless rattons squeak

About the riggin.

All in this mottie, misty clime,
I backward mus'd on wasted time,
How I had spent my youthfu' prime,

An' done nae-thing,
But stringin blethers up in rhyme,

For fools to sing.

Had I to guid advice but harkit,
I might, by this, hae led a market,
Or strutted in a bank an' clarkit

My cash account:
While here, half mad, half fed, half sarkit,

Is a' th' amount.

I started, mutt'ring, blockhead! coof!
And heav'd on high my waukit loof,
To swear by a' yon starry roof,

Or some rash aith,
That I henceforth would be a rhyme-proof

Till my last breath ;

When, click! the string the sneck did draw .
And, jee! the door gaed to the wa';
An' by my ingle-lowe I saw,

Now bleezin bright,

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