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An' when the gentry's life I saw,
What way poor bodies liv'd ava.

Our Laird gets in his racked rents,
His coals, his kain, and a' his stents :
He rises when he likes himsel;
His funkies answer at the bell:
He ca's his coach, he ca's his horse;
He draws a bonnie silken purse
As lang's my tail, whare, thro' the steeks,
The yellow letter'd Geordie keeks.

Frae morn to e'en it's nought but toiling,
At baking, roasting, frying, boiling;
And tho' the gentry first are stechin,
Yet ev'n the ha' folk fill their pechan
Wi' sauce, ragouts, and sic like trashtrie,
That's little short o’ downright wastrie.
Our Whipper-in, wee blastit wonner,
Poor worthless elf, it eats a dinner
Better than ony tenant man
His Honour has in a' the lan':
An' what poor cot-folk pit their painch in,
I own it's past my comprehension.

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,
An' they maun starve o' cauld and hunger ;
But, how it comes, I never kenn'd it,
They're maistly wonderfu' contented;
An’ buirdly chiels, an' clever hizzies
Are bred in sic a way as this is.

CÆSAR.
But then to see how ye're negleckit,
How huff'd, and cuff'd, and disrespeckit!
L-d, man, our gentry care as little
For delvers, ditchers, an' sic cattle;
They gang as saucy by poor fo’k,
As I wad by a stinking brock.

I've notic'd, on our Laird's court-day,
An' mony a time my heart's been wae,
Poor tenant bodies, scant o' cash,
How they marın thole a factor's snash:
He'll stamp an' threaten, curse an' swear,
He'll apprehend them, poind their gear;
While they maun stan', wi' aspect humble,
An' hear it a', an' fear and tremble?
I see how folk live that hae riches :
But surely poor folk maun be wretches !

LUATH.

They’re nae sae wretched's ane wad think;
Tho' constantly on poortith's brink:
They're sae accustom’d wi’ the sight,
The view o't gies them little fright.

Then chance an' fortune are sae guided,
They're aye in less or mair provided;
An' tho' fatigu'd wi' close employment,
A blink o' rest's a sweet enjoyment.

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
In favour wi' some gentle Master,
Wha, aiblins, thrang a parliamentin,
For Britain's guid his saul indentin-

CÆSAR.

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.

LUATH.

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,
An' please themsels wi' countra sports,
It wad for ev'ry ane be better,
The Laird, the Tenant, an' the Cotter!
For thae frank, rantin, ramblin billies,
Fient haet o' them's ill-hearted fellows!
Except for breakin o' their timmer,
Or speaking lightly o’their limmer,
Or shooting o’a hare or moor-cock,
The ne'er a bit they're ill to poor folk.

But will ye tell me, Master Cæsar,
Sure great folk's life's a life o' pleasure!
Nae cauld nor hunger e'er can steer them,
The vera thought o't needna fear them.

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,
Thro' winter's cauld, or simmer's heat;
They've nae sair wark to craze their banes,
An' fill auld age wi' grips an' granes:
But human bodies are sic fools,
For a' their colleges and schools,
That when nae real ills perplex them,
They mak enow themsels to vex them;
An'aye the less they hae to sturt them,
In like proportion less will hurt them.
A country fellow at the pleugh,
His acres tillid, he's right eneugh;
A country girl at her wheel,
Her dizzens done, she's unco weel:
But Gentlemen, an' Ladies warst,
Wi' ev’ndown want o'wark are curst.

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