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An' when the gentry's life I saw,
Our Laird gets in his racked rents,
Frae morn to e'en it's nought but toiling,
LUATH. Trowth, Cæsar, whyles they're fash't eneugh; A cottar howkin in a sheugh, Wi' dirty stanes biggin a dyke, Baring a quarry, and sic like, Himsel, a wife, he thus sustains, A smytrie o' wee duddie weans, An' nought but his han' darg, to keep Them right and tight in thack an' rape.
An' when they meet wi' sair disasters, Like loss o' health, or want o' masters,
Ye maist wad think, a wee touch langer,
I've notic'd, on our Laird's court-day,
They’re nae sae wretched's ane wad think;
Then chance an' fortune are sae guided,
The dearest comfort o' their lives, Their grushie weans an' faithfu' wives; The prattling things are just their pride, That sweetens a' their fire-side. An' whyles twalpennie worth o’ nappy Can mak the bodies unco happy; They lay aside their private cares, To mind the Kirk and State affairs : They'll talk o'patronage and priests, Wi’ kindling fury in their breasts, Or tell what new taxation's comin, An' ferlie at the folk in Lon'on.
As bleak-fac'd Hallowmass returns, They get the jovial, ranting kirns, When rural life, o’ev'ry station, Unite in common recreation; Love blinks, Wit slaps, an' social Mirth, Forgets there's Care upo' the earth.
That merry day the year begins, They bar the door on frosty winds; The nappy reeks wi' mantling ream, An’ sheds a heart-inspiring steam; The luntin pipe, and sneeshin mill, Are handed round wi' right guid will; The cantie auld folks crackin crouse, The young anes rantin thro’ the house, My heart has been sae fain to see them, That I for joy hae barkit wi’ them.
Still it's owre true that ye hae said, Sic game is now owre aften play'd. There's monie a creditable stock O’decent, honest, fawsont fo’k, Are riven out baith root and branch, Some rascal's pridefu' greed to quench,
Wha thinks to knit himsel the faster
Haith, lad, ye little ken about it; For Britain's guid! guid faith! I doubt it Say rather, gaun as Premiers lead him, An' saying ay or no's they bid him: At operas an' plays parading, Mortgaging, gambling, masquerading: Or maybe, in a frolic daft, To Hague or Calais takes a waft, To make a tour, an' tak a whirl, To learn bon ton an' see the worl.'
There, at Vienna or Versailles, He rives his father's auld entails; Or by Madrid he takes the route, To thrum guitars, and fecht wi' nowt; Or down Italian vista startles, Wh-re-hunting among groves o' myrtles: Then bouses drumly German water, To mak himsel look fair and fatter, An' clear the consequential sorrows, Love-gifts of Carnival signoras. For Britain's guid! for her destruction! Wi' dissipation, feud, an' faction.
Hech, man! dear sirs ! is that the gate They waste sae mony a braw estate! Are we sae foughten an' harass’d For gear to gang that gate at last?
O would they stay aback frae courts,
But will ye tell me, Master Cæsar,
L—d, man, were ye but whyles whare I am, The gentles ye wad ne'er envy 'em.
It's true, they needna starve or sweat,