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Poem by James Macaulay

To Mr. R***** B****, Ayrshire

Its Education maks the genius Bright.


Weel, Rab, thestreen I read your buik,
Frae end to end, an neer forsook
The canty rhimes, till I coud brook
		To pore nae mair;
For Sleep, the weary wight, oertook
		An vexd me fair.


I never like to mak a fraise,
Or yet be lovich o my praise,
But Id maist gie my duds o claes,
		Gin I coud spare them,
Coud I but warble furth sic lays,
		An like you skair them:


For rich an poor, an kirk an state,
By turns partake your love an hate;
An mony times you are no blate
		To curse an bann,
An speak obscene (ill miss your pate!)
		Thats no the plan.


But whan you crack about the Nine,
An, how to you theyve been sae kin,
By helping you the-day to shine
		Mang Scottish Worthies,
Than you work up a tale fu fine,
		Wi weel-wald wordies.


But still for a the blast thats made, 
I doubt you are some sleekit blade, 
That never handled shool1 or spade,
		Or yet the plough,
 Unless it were to hae it said 
		An thats eneugh:


For by the scraps o French an Latin, 
Thats flung athort your buik fu thick in, 
It's easy seen youve aft been flitting
		Frae school to school; 
An nae thanks to your head an wittin,
		Tho youre nae fool.


I'm no for riving aff your brow, 
The laurel folk may think you due; 
But, gin a while you left the pleu
		To tend the College,
What need you smoor2 the thing thats true, 
		Wi a your knowledge?


The prints - newspapers an reviews, 
Frae time to time may aft you rouse, 
An say youre Heaven-taught  your views
		Are clear an fair, 
An a your ain, gien by THE MUSE
		Oer the Banks O Ayr.

But, waesuck,3 that ill no gae down 
Wi ilka chiel about this town 
That struts in black, an eke a gown;
		Na, na, they canna 
Believe that poets fa aroun,
		Like flakes o manna!


In days o yore, folk aft were fleecd; 
But miracles lang syne hae ceasd 
Among the gentry here, at least.
		Wha neer can think 
A bard direct frae Heavn can feast,
		An write, an drink.


In a think thats in our possession, 
We may discern a due progression,
Whilk forces frae us this confession,
		Man didna fa, 
Down frae the lift4 without transgression
		Or yet a flaw.


Youve surely noticd this yoursell, 
Afore we read, we aye maun spell; 
An till the chucky5 leave the shell
		Whar it was hidden, 
It canna soun the morning bell
		Upo your midden.


The grain you tither day did saw 
Ayont the knowe, was smoord wi snaw, 
An summer suns maun gar it blaw,
		Ere it be ready 
For Autumns sonsy lassies braw
		To mak it teddy6  


Ilk think in Nature has a time, 
When ane may say, its in its prime, 
An disna in a hurry climb
		To real perfection. 
But maun gae thro its ilka clime,
		An ain direction.

Its just the same, (for ought I ken),
Among the folk that lifts the pen,
To write on kingdoms, brutes, or men;
		Anes brains sac stappit,7   
Mony a owk8 on lear9 we spen,
		To clear our caput.


This being than a settled case, 
Neer try to put things out o place; 
But own your intellects you brace
		Wi solid lore, 
As mony a ane, wi honest face,
		Has done afore.

1. shool: shovel.                     
2. smoor: smother.
3. waesuck: alas.
4. lift: sky. 
5. chucky: young chick.
6. teddy: ready for carting to the stock-yard.
7. stappit: steeped.
8. owk: week.
9. lear: learning.  

James Macaulay

Poem Theme: Robert Burns

James Macaulay's other poems:
  1. On the Warlike Preparations of 1787
  2. On the Expulsion of the Scots Language

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