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B

They flourish like the morning flow'r,

In beauty's pride array'd;
But long ere night, cut down, it lies

All wither'd and decay'd.

IF

EPISTLE TO A YOUNG FRIEND.

I.

A

I LANG hae thought, my youthfu' friend,

A something to have sent you,
Tho' it should serve no other end

Than just a kind memento;
But how the subject-theme may gang,

Let time and chance determine;
Perhaps it may turn out a sang,

Perhaps turn out a sermon.

II.

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,

When ev'ry nerve is strained.

III.

I'll no say men are villains a';

The real, harden'd, wicked,
Wha 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 wav'ring balance shake,

It's rarely right adjusted !

IV.

Yet they wha fa’ in fortune's strife,

Their fate we should na censure, For still th' important end of life

They equally may answer ;
A man may hae an honest heart,

Tho'poortith hourly stare him;
A man may tak a neebor's part,

Yet hae na cash to spare him.

v.

Ay free, aff han', your story tell,

When wi' a bosom crony ; But still keep something to yoursel,

Ye'll 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.

VI.

The sacred lowe o' weel-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 o' concealing, But och! it hardens a' within,

And petrifies the feeling!

VII.

To catch dame Fortune's golden smilo,

Assiduous wait upon her; And gather gear by ev'ry wile

That's justified by honor Not for to hide it in a hedge,

Nor for a train-attendant, But for the glorious privilege

Of being independent !

VIII.

The fear o'hell's a hangman's whip,

To haud the wretch in order,
But where ye feel your honor grip,

Let that a' be your border ;
It's slightest touches, instant pause,

Debar a' side pretences ;
And resolutely keep its laws,

Uncaring consequences.

IX.

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's 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 sing,

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 nobler anchor !

XI.

Adieu, dear, amiable youth !

Your heart can ne'er be wanting ;
May prudence, fortitude, and truth,

Erect your brow undaunting!
In ploughman phrase, “Gad send you speed,"

Still daily to grow wiser ;
And may you better reck the rede

Than ever did th' adviser!
May, 1786

BOOK II.

PATHETIC, ELEGIAC, AND DESCRIPTIVE.

MAN WAS MADE TO MOURN.

A DIRGE.

I.

WHEN chill November's surly blast

Made fields and forests bare,
One ev'ning, as I wander'd forth

Along the banks of Ayr,
I spy'd a man, whose aged step

Seem'd weary, worn with care;
His face was furrow'd o'er with years,

And hoary was his hair.

II.

Young stranger, whither wand'rest thou ?

(Began the rev'rend sage ;)
Does thirst of wealth thy step constrain,

Or youthful pleasure's rage ?
Or haply, prest with cares and woes,

Too soon thou hast began
To wander forth, with me, to mourn

The miseries of man!

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