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Poem by Allan Ramsay

Elegy on John Cowper Kirk-Treasurer's Man, Anno 1714

I wairn ye a to greet and drone,
John Cowpers dead Ohon! Ohon!
To fill his Post alake theres none,
     That with sic Speed,
Coud far Sculdudry out like John,
     But now hes dead.

He was right nacky in his Way,
And eydent baith be Night and Day,
He wi the Lads his Part coud play,
     When right fair fleed,
He gart them good Bill siller pay,
     But now hes dead.

Of Whore-hunting he gat his Fill,
And made bet mony Pint and Gill;
Of his braw Post he thought nae Ill,
     Nor did na need,
Now they may mak a Kirk and Mill
     Ot, since hes dead.

Although he was nae Man of Weir,
Yet mony a ane, wi quaking Fear,
Durst scarce afore his Face appear,
     But hide their Head.
The wylie Carle he gatherd Geer,
     And yet hes dead.

Ay now to some Part far awa,
Alas! hes gane and left it a,
May be to some sad Whilliwha
     O fremit Blood.
Tis an ill Wind that dis nae blaw,
     Some Body good.

Fy upon Death, he was to blame,
To whirle John to his lang Hame:
But tho his Arse be cauld, yet Fame,
     Wi Tout of Trumpet,
Shall tell how Cowpers awfou Name
     Coud flie a Strumpet.

He kend the Bawds and Lowns fou weell,
And where they usd to rant and reell;
He pawkily on them coud steal,
     And spoil their Sport,
Aft did they wish the muckle Dell
     Might tak him fort.

But neer a ane of them he spard,
Een tho there was a drunken Laird
To draw his Sword, and make a Faird
     In their Defence,
John quietly put them in the Guard,
     To learn mair Sense.

There maun they ly till sober grown,
The Lad neist Day his Fault maun own;
And to keep a Things hush and lown,
     He minds the Poor,
Syne after a his Readys flown,
     He damns the Whore.

And she, poor Jade, withoutten Din,
Is sent to Leith-Wynd fit to spin,
With heavy Heart and Cleathing thin,
     And hungry Wame,
And ilka Month a well paid Skin
     To mak her tame.

But now they may score up and down,
And safely gang their Waks aroun,
Spreading the Clap throw a the Town,
     But Fear or Dread:
For that great Kow to Bawd and Lown,
     John Cowpers dead.

Shame faw yer Chandler Chafts, O Death,
For stapping of John Cowpers Breath;
The Loss of him is publick Skaith:
     I dare well say,
To quat the Grip he was right laith
     This mony a day.


Of Umquhile John to lie or bann,
Shaws but ill Will, and looks right shan,
But some tell odd Tales of the Man,
     For Fifty Head
Can gie their Aith theyve seen him gawn
     Since he was dead.

Keek but up throw the Stinking Style,
On Sunday Morning a wee While,
At the Kirk Door out frae an Isle,
     It will appear.
But tak good Tent ye dinna file
     Yer Breeks for Fear.

For well we wot it is his Ghaist,
Wow, wad some Fowk that can dot best
Speak tillt, and hear what it confest;
     Tis a good Deed
To send a wandering Saul to rest
     Amang the Dead.

Allan Ramsay

Allan Ramsay's other poems:
  1. Katy's Answer
  2. The Young Laird and Edinburgh Katy
  3. My Peggy Is a Young Thing
  4. Give Me a Lass with a Lump of Land
  5. Elegy on Maggie Johnston

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