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In longitude though sorely scanty,
It was her best, and she was vauntie.
Ah, little kenned thy reverend grannie, That sark she coft for her wee Nannie, Wi' twa pund Scots ('twas a' her riches), Wad ever graced a dance of witches!
But here my muse her wing maun cour; Sic flights are far beyond her power: To sing how Nannie lap and flang (A supple jade she was and strang), And how Tam stood, like ane bewitch'd, And thought his very e'en enrich'd, Even Satan glower'd, and fidged fu' fain, And hotched and blew wi' might and main, Till first ae caper, syne anither,
Tam tint his reason a' thegither,
And roars out, "Weel done, Cutty sark!" And in an instant all was dark;
And scarcely had he Maggie rallied,
When out the hellish legion sallied.
As bees bizz out wi' angry fyke, When plundering herds assail their byke; As open pussie's mortal foes,
When, pop! she starts before their nose;
As eager runs the market-crowd,
When "Catch the thief!" resounds aloud;
So Maggie runs, the witches follow,
Wi' mony an eldritch screech and hollow.
Ah, Tam! ah, Tam! thou'll get thy fairin'! In hell they'll roast thee like a herrin'! In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin'! Kate soon will be a wofu' woman! Now do thy speedy utmost, Meg, And win the key-stane o' the brig!
There at them thou thy tail may toss-
A running stream they darena cross.
But ere the key-stane she could make,
The fient a tail she had to shake!
For Nannie, far before the rest,
Hard upon noble Maggie prest,
And flew at Tam wi' furious ettle;
But little wist she Maggie's mettle.
Ae spring brought off her master hale,
But left behind her ain gray tail;
The carlin claught her by the rump,
And left poor Maggie scarce a stump.
Now, wha this tale o' truth shall read,
Ilk man and mother's son, take heed:
Whene'er to drink you are inclin'd,
Or cutty sarks run in your mind,
Think! ye may buy the joys o'er dear-
Remember Tam O'Shanter's mare.
'As Mailie, an' her lambs thegither,
Was ae day nibbling on the tether,
Upon her cloot she coost a hitch,
An' owre she warsl'd in the ditch;
There, groaning, dying, she did lie,
When Hughoc he cam doytin' by.
Wi' glowerin' een, and lifted han's,
Poor Hughoc like a statue stan's;
He saw her days were near-hand ended,
But, wae's my heart! he couldna mend it!
He gapéd wide, but naething spak;
At length poor Mailie silence brak:
"Oh, thou, whose lamentable face
'Appears to mourn my wofu' case,
My dying words attentive hear,
An' bear them to my master dear.
"Tell him, if e'er again he keep
As muckle gear as buy a sheep,
Oh, bid him never tie them mair,
Wi' wicked strings o' hemp or hair,
But ca' them out to park or hill,
An' let them wander at their will;
So may his flock increase, an' grow
To scores o' lambs, an' packs o' woo'.
"Tell him, he was a master kin',
An' ay was guid to me an' mine;
An' now my dying charge I gie him,
My helpless lambs, I trust them wi' him.
"Oh, bid him save their harmless lives
Frae dogs, an' tods, an' butchers' knives!
But gie them guid cow-milk their fill,
Till they be fit to fend themsel';
An' tent them duly, e'en an' morn,
Wi' teats o' hay an' ripps o' corn.
"An' may they never learn the gates
Of ither vile, wanrestfu' pets-
To slink thro' slaps, an' reave an' steal
At stacks o' pease, or stocks o' kail.
So may they, like their great forbears,
For mony a year come thro' the shears;
So wives will gie them bits o' bread,
An' bairns greet for them when they're dead.
"My poor toop-lamb, my son an' heir,
Oh, bid him breed him up wi' care;
An' if he live to be a beast,
To pit some havins in his breast.
An' warn him-what I winna name-
To stay content wi' yowes at hame;
An' no to rin an' wear his cloots,
Like ither menseless, graceless brutes.
"An' neist, my yowie, silly thing,
Gude keep thee frae a tether string!
Oh, may thou ne'er forgather up,
Wi' ony blastit, moorland toop;
But ay keep mind to moop an' mell,
Wi' sheep o' credit like thysel'!
"An' now, my bairns, wi' my last breath
I lea'e my blessin' wi' you baith:
An' when you think upo' your mither,
Mind to be kind to ane anither.
"Now, honest Hughoc, dinna fail
To tell my master a' my tale;
An' bid him burn this curséd tether,
An', for thy pains, thou'se get my blather."
This said, poor Mailie turn'd her head,
An' closed her een amang the dead!