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Poem by Robert Fergusson
To My Auld Breeks
Now gae your wa's — Tho' anes as gude As ever happit flesh and blude, Yet part we maun — The case sae hard is, Amang the writers and the bardies, That lang they'll brook the auld I trow, Or neighbours cry, "Weel brook the new." Still making tight wi' tither steek, The tither hole, the tither eik, To bang the birr o' winter's anger And had the hurdies out o' langer. Siclike some weary wight will fill His kyte wi' drogs frae doctor's bill, Thinking to tack the tither year To life, and look baith hail an fier, Till at the lang-run Death dirks in, To birze his saul ayont his skin. You needna wag your duds o' clouts, Nor fa' into your dorty pouts, To think that erst you've hain'd my tail Frae wind and weet, frae snaw and hail, And for reward, whan bauld and hummil, Frae garret high to dree a tumble. For you I car'd, as lang's ye dow'd Be lin'd wi' siller or wi' gowd: Now to befriend, it wad be folly, Your raggit hide and pouches holey; For wha but kens a poet's placks Get mony weary flaws an' cracks, And canna thole to hae them tint, As he sae seenil sees the mint? Yet round the warld keek and see, That ithers fare as ill as thee; For weel we loe the chiel we think Can get us tick, or gie us drink, Till o' his purse we've seen the bottom, Than we despise, and hae forgot him. Yet gratefu' hearts, to make amends, Will ay be sorry for their friends, And I for thee — As mony a time Wi' you I've speel'd the braes o' rhime, Whare for the time the Muse ne'er cares For siller, or sic guilefu' wares, Wi' whilk we drumly grow, and crabbit, Dour, capernoited, thrawin gabbit, And brither, sister, friend and fae, Without remeid o' kindred, slae. You've seen me round the bickers reel Wi' heart as hale as temper'd steel, And face sae apen, free and blyth, Nor thought that sorrow there cou'd kyth; But the neist moment this was lost, Like gowan in December's frost. Cou'd prick-the-louse but be sae handy As mak the breeks and claise to stand ay, Thro' thick and thin wi' you I'd dash on, Nor mind the folly o' the fashion: But, hegh! the times vicissitudo Gars ither breeks decay as you do. The macaronies, braw and windy, Maun fail — Sic transit gloria mundi! Now speed you to some maiden's chaumer, That butt an' ben rings dule an' clamour, Ask her, in kindness, if she seeks In hidling ways to wear the breeks? Safe you may dwall, tho' mould and motty, Beneath the veil o' under coatie, For this mair fauts nor your's can screen Frae lover's quickest sense, his ein. Or if some bard, in lucky times, Shou'd profit meikle by his rhimes, And pace awa', wi' smirky face, In siller or in gowden lace, Glowr in his face, like spectre gaunt, Remind him o' his former want, To cow his daffin and his pleasure, And gar him live within the measure. So, Philip, it is said, who wou'd ring O'er Macedon a just and gude king, Fearing that power might plume his feather, And bid him stretch beyond his tether, Ilk morning to his lug wad ca' A tiny servant o' his ha', To tell him to improve his span, For Philip was, like him, a Man.
Robert Fergusson's other poems:
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