BOOK XIII - FRIENDLY BEASTS 165 - ROBIN REDBREAST'S TESTAMENT "GUDE day, now, bonnie Robin, =How lang hae ye been here?" "I've been a bird about this bush =This mair than twenty year. "But now I am the sickest bird =That ever sat on brier; And I wad mak' my testament, =Gudeman, if ye wad hear. "Gar tak' this bonnie neb o' mine, =That picks upon the corn; And gie't to the Duke o' Hamilton, =To be a hunting horn. "Gar tak' thae bonnie feathers o' mine, =The feathers o' my neb; And gie to the Lady Hamilton =To fill a feather bed. "Gar tak' this gude richt leg of mine, =And mend the brig o' Tay; It will be a post and pillar gude, =It will neither bow nor sway. "And tak' this other leg of mine, =And mend the brig o' Weir; It will be a post and pillar gude, =It will neither bow nor steer. "Gar tal' thae bonnie feathers o' mine, =The feathers o' my tail; And gie to the lads o' Hamilton =To be a barn-flail. "And tak' thae bonnie feathers o' mine, =The feathers o' my breast; And gie them to the bonnie lad =Will bring to me a priest." Now in there cam' my Lady Wren, =Wi' mony a sigh and groan: "O what care I for a' the lads, =If my ain lad be gone!" Then Robin turn'd him round about, =E'en like a little king; "Gae pack ye out at my chamber door, =Ye little cutty-qeuan." 166 - THE WATCHERS "O WHERE were ye, my milk-while steed, =That I hae coft sae dear, That wadna watch and waken me =When there was maiden here?" "I stamped wi' my foot, master, =And gar my bridle ring, But na kin thing wald waken ye, =Till she was past and gane." "And wae betide ye, my gay goss-hawk, =That I did love sae dear, That wadna watch and waken me =When there was maiden here." "I clapped wi' my wings, master, =And aye my bells I rang, And aye cry'd, Waken, waken, master, =Before the ladye gang." "But haste and haste, my gude white steed, =To come the maiden till, Or a' the birds of gude green wood =Of your flesh shall have their fill." "Ye need na burst your gude white steed =Wi' racing o'er the howm; Nae bird flies faster through the wood =Than she fled through the broom." 167 - THE HERRING LOVES THE MERRY MOONLIGHT THE herring loves the merry moonlight, =The mackerel loves the wind, But the oyster loves the dredging sang, =For they come of a gentle kind. =======_Sir Walter Scott_. 168 - THE TWA DOGS 'TWAS in that place o' Scotland's isle, That bears the name o' auld King Coil, Upon a bonnie day in June, When wearing 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 Caesar, Was keepit for "his Honour's" pleasure; His hair, his size, his mouth, his lugs, She'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 Shew'd him the gentleman and scholar; But tho' he was o' high degree, The fient a pride-nae pride had he; But wad hae spent an hour caressin', Even wi' a tinkler-gypsy's messan. 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, And 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, Aye gat him friends in ilka place. His breast was white, his tousie back Weel clad wi' coat o' glossy black; His gaucie tail, wi' upward curl, Hung owre his hurdlies wi' a swirl. Nae doubt but they were fain o' ither, An' unco pack an' thick thegither; Wi' social nose whyles snuff'd and snowkit; Whyles mice an' moudieworts they howkit; Whyles scour'd awa' in lang excursion, An' worry'd ither in diversion. =======_Robert Burns_. 169 - THE AULD MAN'S MEAR'S DEAD THE auld man's mear's dead; The puir body's mear's dead; The auld man's mear's dead, =A mile aboon Dundee. There was hay to ca', and lint to lead, A hunder hotts o' muck to spread, And peats and truffs and a' to lead- =And yet the haud to dee! She had the fiercie and the fleuk, The wheezloch and the wanton yeuk; On ilka knee she had a breuk- =What ail'd the beast to dee? She was lang-tooth'd and blench-lippit, Heam-hough'd and haggis-fittit, Lang-neckit, chandler-chaftit, =And yet the jaud to dee! 170 - THE AULD FARMER'S NEW YEAR MORNING SALUTATION TO HIS AULD MARE MAGGIE, ==== ON GIVING HER THE ACCUSTOMED RIPP OF CORN TO HANSEL IN THE NEW YEAR A GUID New Year I wish thee, Maggie! Hae, there's a ripp to thy auld baggie: Tho' thou's howe-backit, now, an' knaggie, =I've seen the day, Thou could hae gaen like ony staggie =Out-owre the lay. Tho' now thou's dowie, stiff, an' crazy, An' thy auld hide's as white's a daisy, I've seen thee dappl't, sleek, and glaizie, =A bonny grey: He should been tight that daur't to raise thee, =Ance in a day. Thou ance was i' the foremost rank, A filly buirdly, steeve, an' swank, An' set weel down a shapely shank =As e'er tread yird; An' could hae flown out-owre a stank, =Like ony bird. It's now some nine-an'-twenty year, Sin' thou was my guid-father's meere; He gied me thee, o' tocher clear, =An' fifty mark; Tho' it was sma', 'twas weel-won gear, =An' thou was stark. When first I gaed to woo my Jenny, Ye then was trottin' wi' your minnie: Tho' ye was trickie, slee, an' funnie, =Ye ne'er was donsie! But hamely, tawie, quiet, an' cannie, =An' unco sonsie. That day, ye pranc'd wi' muckle pride, When we bure hame my bonnie bride: An' sweet and gracefu' she did ride, =Wi' maiden air! Kyle-Stewart I could hae bragget wide, =For sic a pair. Tho' now ye dow but hoyte and hobble, An' wintle like a saumont-coble, That day ye was a jinker noble, =For heels and' win'! An' ran them till they a' did wauble, =Far, far behin'! When thou an' I were young an' skeigh, An' stable-meals at fairs were dreigh, How thou wad prance an' snore, an' skreigh, =An' tak the road; Town's-bodies ran, an' stood abeigh, =An' ca't thee mad. When thou was corn't, an' I was mellow, We took the road aye like a swallow: At brooses thou had ne'er a fellow, =For pith an' speed; But ev'ry tail thou pay't them hollow, =Whare'er thou gaed. The sma' droop-rumpl't, hunter cattle, Might aiblins waur't thee for a brattle; But sax Scotch miles thou try't their mettle, =An' gar't them whaizle: Nae whip nor spur, but just a wattle =O' saugh or hazel. Thou was a noble fittie-lan', As e'er in tug or tow was drawn: Aft thee an' I, in aught hours gaun, =On guid March weather, Hae turn'd sax rood beside our han', =For days thegither. Thou never braing't, and fetch't, an' fliskit, But thy auld tail thou wad hae whiskit, An' spread abreed thy weel-filled brisket, =Wi' pith and pow'r, 'Till spritty knowes wad rair't and risket =An' slypet owre. When frosts lay lang, an' snaws were deep, An' threaten'd labour back to keep, I gied thy cog a wee-bit heap =Aboon the timmer; I kenn'd my Maggie wad na sleep =For that, or simmer. In cart or car thou never reesit; The steyest brae thou wad hae fac't it; Thou never lap, nor sten't, an' breastit, =Then stood to blaw; But just thy step a wee thing hastit, =Thou snoov't awa'. My pleugh is now thy bairn-time a'; Four gallant brutes as e'er did draw; Forbye sax mae, I've sell't awa'. =That thou hast nurst: They drew me thretteen pund an' twa, =The vera warst. Mony a sair darg we twa hae wrought, An' wi' the weary warl' fought! An' mony an anxious day, I thought =We wad be beat! Yet here to crazy age we're brought, =Wi' something yet. An' think na, my auld, trusty servan', That now perhaps thou's less deservin', An' thy auld days may end in starvin', =For my last fow, A heapit stimpart, I'll reserve ane =Laid by for you. We've worn to crazy years thegither; We'll toyte about wi' ane anither; Wi' tentie care I'll flit thy tether, =To some hain'd rig, Whare ye may nobly rax your leather, =Wi' sma fatigue. =======_Robert Burns_. 171 - THE EWIE WI' THE CROOKIT HORN OH, were I able to rehearse My ewie's praise in proper verse, I'd sound it out as loud and fierce =As ever piper's drone could blaw. ==My ewie wi' the crookit horn! ==A' that kend her would hae sworn ==Sic a ewie ne'er was born ===Hereabouts nor far awa'. I never needit tar nor keel To mark her upo' hip or heel; Her crookit hornie did as weel =To ken her by amang them a'. She never threaten'd scab nor rot, But keepit aye her ain jog-trot; Baith to the fauld and to the cot, =Was never sweir to lead nor ca'. A better nor a thriftier beast, Nae honest man need e'er hae wish'd; For, silly thing, she never miss'd =To hae ilk year a lamb or twa. The first she had I gae to Jock, To be to him a kind o' stock; And now the laddie has a flock =Of mair than thretty head and twa. The neist I gae to Jean; and now The bairn's sae braw, has faulds sae fu', That lads sae thick come her to woo, =They're fain to sleep on hay or straw. Cauld nor hunger never dang her, Wind or rain could never wrang her; Ance she lay an ouk and langer =Forth aneath a wreath o' snaw. When other ewies lap the dyke, And ate the kale for a' the tyke, My ewie never play'd the like, =But teezed about the barn wa'. I lookit aye at even for her, Lest mishanter should come ower her, Or the foumart micht devour her, =Gin the beastie bade awa'. Yet, last ouk, for a' my keeping, (Wha can tell o't without greeting?) A villain cam', when I was sleeping, =Staw my ewie, horn and a'. I socht her sair upon the morn, And down aneath a bush o' thorn I got my ewie's crookit horn, =But my ewie was awa'. O gin I had the loon that did it, I hae sworn as weel as said it, Although the laird himsel' forbid it, =I sall gie his neck a thraw. I never met wi' sic a turn As this sin' ever I was born: My ewie wi' the crookit horn, =Silly ewie, stown awa'. O! had she died o' croup or cauld, As ewies do when they grow auld, It wad na been, by monyfauld, =Sae sair a heart to nane o's a'. For a' the claith that we hae worn, Frae her and hers sae aften shorn, The loss o her we could hae borne, =Had fair strae-death ta'en her awa'. But thus, poor thing, to lose her life Aneath a bluidy villain's knife, I'm really fleyt that our gudewife =Will never win aboon't ava. O! a' ye bards benorth Kinghorn, Call your muses up and mourn Our ewie wi' the crookit horn, =Stown frae's, and fell'd and a'! ==Our ewie wi' the crookit horn! ==Wha had kend her might hae sworn ==Sic a ewie ne'er was born ===Hereabouts nor far awa'. =======_John Skinner_. 172 - MY HOGGIE WHAT will I do gin my hoggie die? =My joy, my pride, my hoggie! My only beast, I had nae mae, And vow but I was vogie! The lee-lang night we watch'd the fauld, =Me and my faithfu' doggie; We heard nought but the roaring linn, =Amang the braes sae scroggie; But the houlet cry'd frae the castle wa', =The blitter frae the boggie, The tod reply'd upon the hill, =I trembl'd for my hoggie. When day did daw, and cocks did craw, =The morning it was foggie; An unco tyke lap o'er the dyke, =And maist has kill'd my hoggie. =======_Robert Burns_. 173 - THE DEATH AND DYING WORDS OF POOR MAILIE, ====THE AUTHOR'S ONLY PET YOWE As Mailie, an' her lambs thegither, Were ae day nibblin' on the tether, Upon her cloot she coost a hitch, An' owre she warsl'd in the ditch: There, groaning, dying, she did lie, While Hughoc he cam' doytin by. Wi' glowrin' een an' lifted han's, Poor Hughoc like a statue stan's; He saw her days were near-hand ended, But, wae's my heart! he could na mend it! He gaped wide, but naething spak— At length poor Mailie silence brak. ="O thou, whase lamentable face Appears to mourn my woefu' 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, O, 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, and grow To scores o' lambs, an' packs o' woo'! ="Tell him he was a master kin', An' aye was guid to me and mine; An' now my dying charge I gie him, My helpless lambs I trust them wi' him. ="O, 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 gaets 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. O, 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' niest, my yowie, silly thing, Gude keep thee frae a tether string! O, may thou ne'er forgather up Wi' ony blastit, moorland toop, But aye keep mind to moop an' mell Wi' sheep o' credit like thysel'! ="And now, my bairns, wi' my last breath I lea'e my blessin' wi' you bailh: An' when you think upo' your mither, Mind to be kin' to ane anither. ="Now, honest Hughoc, dinna fail To tell my master a' my tale; An' bid him burn this cursed tether, An', for thy pains, thou'se get my blether." =This said, poor Mailie turn'd her head, And clos'd her een amang the dead. =======_Robert Burns_. 174 - POOR MAILIE'S ELEGY LAMENT in rhyme, lament in prose, Wi' saut tears trickling down your nose; Our Bardie's fate is at a close, =Past a' remead; The last sad cape-stane o' his woes; =Poor Mailie's dead! It's no the loss o' warl's gear, That could sae bitter draw the tear, Or mak' our Bardie, dowie, wear =The mourning weed: He's lost a friend and neibour dean =In Mailie dead. Thro' a' the toun she trotted by him; A lang half-mile she could descry him; Wi' kindly bleat, when she did spy him, =She ran wi' speed: A friend mair faithfu' ne'er cam' nigh him, =Than Mailie dead. I wat she was a sheep o' sense, An' could behave herself wi' mense: I'll say't, she never brak a fence, =Thro' thievish greed. Our Bardie, lanely, keeps the spence =Sin' Mailie's dead. Or, if he wanders up the howe, Her living image in her yowe Comes bleating to him, owre the knowe, =For bits o' bread; An' down the briny pearls rowe =For Mailie dead. She was nae get o' moorland tips, Wi' tawted ket, an' hairy hips; For her forbears were brought in ships =Frae yont the Tweed: A bonnier fleesh ne'er cross'd the clips =Than Mailie dead. Wae worth the man wha first did shape That vile wanchancie thing—a rape! It mak's guid fellows girn and gape, =Wi chokin' dread; An' Robin's bonnet wave wi' crape, =For Mailie dead. O, a' ye bards on bonnie Doon! An' wha on Ayr your chanters tune! Come, join the melancholious croon =O' Robin's reed! His heart will never get aboon =His Mailie dead! =======_Robert Burns_. 175 - TO A LOUSE, ====ON SEEING ONE ON A LADY'S BONNET AT CHURCH HA! whare ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie! Your impudence protects you sairly: I carina 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 daze 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; Whare horn nor bane ne'er daur unsettle =Your thick plantations. Now haud you there! ye're out o' sight, Below the fatt'rels, snug an' tight; Na, Jaith ye yet! ye'll no be right =‘Till ye've got on it, The vera tapmost, tow'ring height =O' Miss's bonnet. My sooth! right bauld ye set your nose out, As plump and grey as ony grozet; O for some rank, mercurial rozet, =Or fell, red smeddum, I'd gie you sic a hearty doze o't, =Wad dress your droddum! I wad na been surpris'd to spy You on an auld wife's flannen toy; Or aiblins some bit duddie boy, =On's wyliecoat; But Miss's fine Lunardi! fie! =How daur ye do't? O Jenny, dinna toss your head, An' set your beauties a' abread! Ye little ken what cursed speed =The blastie's makin'! Thae winks and finger-ends, I dread, =Are notice takin'! O 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! =======_Robert Burns_. 176 - TO A MOUSE, ===ON TURNING HER UP IN HER NEST WITH THE PLOUGH, NOVEMBER 1785 WEE, sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie, Oh, what a panic's in thy breastie! Thou need na start awa' sae hasty, =Wi' bickering brattle! I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee, =Wi' murd'ring pattle! I'm truly sorry man's dominion Has broken nature's social union, An' justifies that ill opinion =Which makes thee startle At me, thy poor earth-born companion, =An' fellow-mortal! I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve; What then? poor beastie, thou maun live! A daimen icker in a thrave ='S a sma' request: I'll get a blessin' wi' the lave, =And never miss ‘t! Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin! Its silly wa's the win's are strewin'! An' naething, now, to big a new ane, =O' foggage green! An' bleak December's winds ensuin', =Baith snell and keen! Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste, An' weary winter comin' fast, An' cozie here, beneath the blast, =Thou thought to dwell, 'Till crash! the cruel coulter past =Out thro' thy cell. That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble Has cost thee mony a weary nibble! Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble, =But house or hald, To thole the winter's sleety dribble, =An' cranreuch cauld! But, Mousie, thou art no thy lane, In proving foresight may be vain: The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men, =Gang aft agley, An' lea's us nought but grief and pain =For promis'd joy! Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me! The present only toucheth thee: But, och! I backward cast my e'e, =On prospects drear! An' forward, tho' I canna see, =I guess an' fear! =======_Robert Burns_. 177 - THE MISANTHROPE =I WISH I was a Brute Beast! To live in some sequestered vale, =Frae friends and loves remote placed, An' ne'er see man, an' wag my tail! =To chow on a knowe A' the herbs, an' flowers, an' grassy blades, =An' tread on the head O' gowans never touched wi' spades: =I'd never see a friendly face, ==Sae nae friend wad prove fause to me; =I'd never ken the human race, ==Nor ever curse humanity! =======_George Outram_.