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To a Louse
On Seeing One on a Lady's Bonnet at Church
HA! whaur ye gaun, ye crowlin' ferlie?
Your impudence protects you sairly;
I canna say but ye strunt rarely,
Owre gauze and lace;
Tho', faith! I fear ye dine but sparely
On sic a place.
Ye ugly, creepin', blastit wonner,
Detested, shunn'd by saunt an' sinner,
How daur ye set your fit upon her,
Sae fine a lady?
Gae somewhere else, and seek your dinner On some poor body.
Swith in some beggar's haffet squattle; There ye may creep, and sprawl, and sprattle Wi' ither kindred, jumping cattle,
In shoals and nations;
Whaur horn nor bane ne'er daur unsettle
Your thick plantations.
Now haud you there, ye're out o' sight,
Below the fatt'rels, snug and tight;
Na, faith ye yet! ye'll no be right,
Till ye've got on it—
The verra tapmost, tow'rin' height
O' Miss's bonnet.
My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out,
As plump an' grey as ony grozet:
Oh, for some rank, mercurial rozet,
Or fell, red smeddum,
I'd gie you sic a hearty dose o't,
Wad dress your droddum!
I wadna been surpris'd to spy
You on an auld wife's flainen toy;
Or aiblins some bit duddie boy,
But Miss's fine Lunardi! fy!
How daur ye do't?
Oh Jeany, dinna toss your head,
An' set your beauties a' abread!
Ye little ken what cursed speed
The blastie's makin':
Thae winks an' finger-ends, I dread,
Are notice takin'.
Oh wad some Power the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!
It wad frae mony a blunder free us,
An' foolish notion.
What airs in dress an' gait wad lea'e us,
An' ev'n devotion!
The Two Dogs
'Twas in that place o' Scotland's isle
That bears the name o' auld King Coil,
Upon a bonnie day in June,
When wearin' thro' the afternoon,
Twa dogs, that were na thrang at hame,
Forgather'd 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,
Show'd he was nane o' Scotland's dogs;
But whalpit some place far abroad,
Whare sailors gang to fish for cod.
His locked, letter'd, braw brass collar
Show'd him the gentleman an' scholar;
But though he was o' high degree,
The fient a pride, na pride had he;
But wad hae spent an hour caressin'
Ev'n wi' a tinkler-gypsy'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 an' 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.
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 touzie 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,
An' unco pack an' thick thegither;
Wi' social nose whiles snuff'd an' snowkit;
Whiles mice an' moudieworts they howkit;
Whiles scour'd awa' in lang excursion,
An' worry'd ither in diversion;
Till tir'd at last wi' all their play,
They set them down their minds to say.
An' there began a lang digression
About the "lords o' the creation."
I've aften wonder'd, honest Luath,
What sort o' life poor dogs like you have;
An' when the gentry's life I saw,
What way poor bodies liv'd ava.
Our laird gets in his rackéd rents,
His coals, his kane, 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 bonnie silken purse
As lang's my tail, where, thro' the steeks,
The yellow letter'd Geordie keeks.
Frae morn to e'en it's nought but toiling
At baking, roasting, frying, boiling;
An' tho' 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, blasted wonner,
Poor, worthless elf, it eats a dinner
Better than ony tenant-man
His Honour has in a' the lan';
An' what poor cot-folk pit their painch in,
I own it's past my comprehension.
Trowth, Cæsar, whiles they're fash't eneugh; A cottar howkin in a sheugh,
Wi' dirty stanes biggin' a dyke,
Baring a quarry, an' sic like;
Himsel', a wife, he thus sustains,
A smytrie o' wee duddie weans,
An' nought but his han'-daurk, 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 an' hunger:
But how it comes, I never kenn'd yet,
They're maistly wonderfu' contented;
An' buirdly chiels, an' clever hizzies,
Are bred in sic a way as this is.