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Poem by David Sillar


Soon as the potion works their human countnance
Th express resemblance of the gods, is changd
Into some brutish form of Wolf or Bear;
And they, so perfect is their misery,
Not once perceive their foul disfigurement.
But boast themselves more comely than before;
And all their friends and native home forget,
To roll with pleasure in a sensual sty.

                                        MILTONS COMUS.

Poets, wi muckle wit an skill, 
Hae sung the virtues o Scots yill; 
An wi the worth o Highlan gill
	Our ears hae rung: 
The bad effects o Whisky still	
	Remains unsung.	

Im fair surprisd how whisky poison,
Frae men o sense, has got fie fraisin: 
They might hae sung, wi greater reason,
	Gude callor water, 
Which cheaper is in ony season,	
	An slockens better.

Hail! callor burn! chief o Scots drink! 
To purchase thee we need nae clink: 
Just lout out owre a burnys brink,
	An tak our fill; 
Twill neither mak us glowr nor wink,
	Like whisky gill.

But whisky, warst o Scotland curses, 
Than it I ken o nane that warse is; 
It maks poor bodies draw their purses,
	Tho hunger stare, 
An pawn their dudds fort aff their a  es,
	An rin thread bare.

The whisky trade  Deil cares wha had it: 
My curse on him at first wha made it;
Mayt doubly light on those wha spread it,
	An drinkin cherish;
Lord toom their pouch, an clip their credit,
	For fear we perish.

Whaever at their wark wad thrive, 
Sud a wi ane anither strive, 
To keep a sense o shame alive,	
	Within their sphere, 
An no let whisky-drinkin drive
	Them to despair.

Ive seen chiels aft-times, i their daffin, 
Sit down to tak a social chappin; 
But ere they raise, wi their gif-gaffin,
	Hae bred a brulzie, 
Was like to en their mirth an laughin
	In bitter tulzie.

When kintra fock gang till a roup,
Wee blastet ghaist! the whisky stoup,
Aft gars them claw a ragget doup 
	Their fear it buries,
Then gars them dance hap-stap-an-loup, 
	An bid like furies.

It maks men to their passions blin,
It maks young lasses unco kin:	
Fill ten o them, Ill wad theres nine	
	Their fame wad spatter, 
Whase characters wad catch nae stain
	Frae callor water.

It taks the best bits o the fiel; 
It robs our markets o gude meal; 
It aft-times maks the simple chiel
	Baith fa an swagger;
An turns him aft a neer-do-well,
	Or randy begger.

It mither is o much offence; 
It borders ay on some mischance; 
It leads poor mortals aft a dance,
	Shame to be seen!
Then leaes them in a drunken trance,
	Fyld to the een.

A wee drap whiskys unco gude;
It cheers the heart, an warms the blood,
An pits our spirits in gude mood;
	But tent niest verse: 
Owre muckle ot pits fock red wood,
	An sometimes warse.

I own a man brought frae the hill,
Clap in his cheek a Highlan gill;
Say, Such is royal Georges will,
	An theres the foe,
Hell hae nae thought, but how to kill
	Twa at a blow. 

But gie him whisky till hes fou, 
Then o his actions tak a view: 
Poor, doited deil! what can he do,
	In sic debauches, 
But curse, blaspheme, swear, bock an spue?
	The wretch o wretches!

Ive seen (an aft my hearts been wae)
Unthinkin mortals led astray;
By whisky made a certain prey,
	First to dejection,
Then led by B**ds the beaten way
	To their destruction.

O a ye Lords wha rule the nation. 
An Commoners o evry station, 
Yell sen the kintra to d-mn-tion,
	An that yell see, 
Wheneer ye grant the distillation
	O curst whisky.

But tak your chance, gif ye do grant it,
Ill lay my lugs yell be affrontet:
Yell maybe fair some day repent it,
	When past remead,
That ever whisky free was ventet
	On this fide Tweed.

By grantin it, yere maybe thinkin, 
Your rents at Beltan yell get clinkin; 
But, deil-ma-care! yell get a jinkin
	Will gar you glunch, 
When rents are spent by tenants drinkin
	Your whisky punch.

I speak na this like frantic fools, 
Or children o the prophets schools, 
Wha at this wark   are merely tools
	Without reflection; 
I point out facts, an Natures rules
	Gie me direction.

But no to mak mae words about it, 
Those wha believe it not may doubt it, 
An bouse till ance theyre fairly goutet,
	An then theyll ken, 
If they, or those wha live without it,
	Are wisest men.

David Sillar

David Sillar's other poems:
  1. Epistle to J**N G****E, a Famous Theologist and Astronomer
  2. Epistle to the Critics
  3. Verses, Occasioned by a Reply to Burns Calf by an Unco Calf
  4. Money Makes the Mare to Go
  5. Epistle to R. Burns

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • William MVitie Whisky ("O Whisky! Whisky! pest and nuisance")

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