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Till ane Hornbook's* ta'en up the trade,
An' faith, he'll waur nie.
Ye ken Jock Hornbook i' the Clachan,
Deil mak his king's-hood in a spleuchan !
He's grown sae well acquaint wi? Buchant
An' ither chaps,
The weans haud out their fingers laughin
And pouk my hips.
“ See, here's a scythe, and there's a dart, They hae pierc'd mony a gallant heart; But doctor Hornbook, wi' his art
And cursed skill, Has made them baith no worth a f-t,
Damn'd haet they'll kill.
"'Twas but yestreen, nae farther gaen,
I threw a noble throw at ane;
Wi' less, I'm sure, I've hundreds slains
It just play'd dirl on the bane,
But did nae mair.
** Hornbook was by, wi' ready art, And had sae fortify'd the part, That when I looked to my dart,
It was sae blunt, Fient haet o't wad hae pierc’d the heart
Of a kail-runt.
“ I drew my scythe in sic a fury, I nearhand cowpit wi' my hurry, But yet the bauld apothecary
Withstood the shock; I might as weel hae try'd a quarry
O' hard whin rock.
This gentleman, Dr. Hornbook, is, professionally, a brother of the sovereign order of the Ferula ; but, by intuition and inspiration, is, at onde, an apothecary, surgeon, and physician.
+ Buchan's Domestic Medicine.
* Ev'n them he canna get attended, Altho’their face he ne'er had kend it, Just - in a kail-blade, and send it,
As soon as he smells't, Baith their disease, and what will mend it,
At once he tells't.
* And then a doctor's saws and whittles,
Of a' dimensions, shapes, an' mettles,
A' kinds o’ boxes, mugs, an' bottles,
He's sure to hae ;
Their Latin names as fast he rattles
As A B C
“ Calces o' fossils, earth, and trees;
True sal-marinum o' the seas;
The farina of beans and pease,
He has't in plenty ;
Aqua-fontis, what you please,
He can content ye.
“Forbye some new, uncommon weapons, Urinus spiritus of capons ; Or mite-horn shavings, filings, scrapings,
Distillid per se ; Sal-alkali o’ midge-tail-clippings,
And mony mae.
" Waes me for Johnny Ged's Hole* now," Quo' I, “if that the news be true! His braw calf-ward whare gowans grew,
Sae white and bonie, Nae doubt they'll rive it wi' the plew;
They'll ruin Johnie!"
The creature grain'd an eldritch laugh,
And says, “ Ye need na yoke the pleugh,
Kirkyards will soon be till’d eneugh,
Tak ye nae fear : They'll a' be trench'd wi' mony a sheugh
In twa-three year.
46 Whare I kill'd ane a fair strae death, By loss o' blood or want of breath, This night, I'm free to tak my aith,
That Hornbook's skill Has clad a score i' their last claith,
By drap an' pill.
“ An honest wabster to his trade,
Whase wife's twa nieves were scarce weel bred,
Gat tippence-worth to mend her head,
When it was sair;
The wife slade cannie to her bed,
But ne'er spak mair.
“A countra laird had ta'en the batts,
Or some curmurring in his guts,
His only son'for Hornbook sets,
An' pays him well.
The lad, for twa guid gimmer-pets,
Was laird himsel,
“ A bonie lass, ye kend her name,
Some ill-brewn drink had hov'd her wame;
She trusts hersel, to hide the shame,
In Hornbook's care ;
Horn sent her aff to her long bame,
To hide it there.
“ That's just a swatch o' Hornbook's way ;
Thus goes he on from day to day,
Thus does he poison, kill, an' slay,
An's weel paid for't ;
Yet stops me o' my lawfu' prey,
Wi' his d-mn'd dirt :
But, hark! I'll tell you of a plot,
Tho' dinna ye be speaking o't;
I'll nail the self-conceited sot,
As dead's a herrin:
Niest time we meet, I'll wad a groat,
He gets his fairin !"
But just as he began to tell,
The auld kirk-hammer strak the bell
Some wee short hour ayont the twal,
Which rais'd us baith :
I took the way that pleas'd mysel,
And sae did Death.
Inscribed to J. B*********, Esq. Ayr.
The simple bard, rough at the rustic plough,
Learning his tuneful trade from every bough ;
The chanting linnet, or the mellow thrush,
Hailing the setting sun, sweet, in the green thorn
The soaring lark, the perching red-breast shrill,
Or deep-ton'd plovers, grey, wild-whistling o'er the
Shall he, nurst in the peasant's lowly shed,
To hardy independence bravely bred,
By early poverty to hardship steeld,
And train'd to arms in stern Misfortune's fields
Shall he be guilty of their hireling crimes,
The servile, mercenary Swiss of rhymes ?
Or labour hard the panegyric close,
With all the venal soul of dedicating prose?
No! though his artless strains he rudely sings,
And throws his hand uneouthly o'er the strings,
He glows with all the spirit of the bard,
Fame, honest fame, his great, his dear reward.
Still, if some patron's gen'rous care he trace,
Skill'd in the secret to bestow with grace ;
When B********* befriends his humble name,
And bands the rustic stranger up to fame,
With heartfelt throes his grateful bosom swells,
The zodlike bliss, to give, alone excels.
"Twas when the stacks get on their winter-hap,
And thack and rape secure the toil-worn crap ;
Potatoe-bings are snugged up fra skaith
Of coming winter's biting, frosty breath ;
The bees, rejoicing o'er their summer toils,
Unnumber'd buds an' flow'rs' delicious spoils,
Seal'd up with frugal care in massive waxen
Are doom'd by man, that tyrant o'er the weak,
The death o' devils, smoord wi' brimstone reek :
The thundering guns are heard on ev'ry side,
The wounded coveys, reeling, scatter wide ;
The feather'd field-mates, bound by nature's tie,
Sires, mothers, children, in one carnage lie:
(What warm, poetic heart but inly bleeds,
And execrates man's savage, ruthless deeds !)
Nae mair the flow'r in field or meadow springs :
Nae mair the grove with airy concert rings,
Except perhaps the robin's whistling glee,
Proud o' the height of some bit half-lang tree :
The hoary morns precede the sunny days,
Mild, calm, serene, wide-spreads the noon-tide
While thick the gossamour waves wanton in
'Twas in that season, when a simple bard,
Unknown and poor, simplicity's reward,
Ae night, within the ancient brugh of Ayr.
By whom inspir'd, or haply prest wi' care,
He left his bed, and took his wayward rout,
And down by Simpson's* wheel'd the left about :
(Whether impell’d by all-directing fate,
To witness what I after shall narrate;
Or whether, rapt in meditation high,
He wander'd out he knew not where nor why.)
The drowsy Dungeon-clockt had number'd two,
And Wallace Tow'rt bad sworn the fact was true ;
* A noted tavern at the Auld Brig end. * The two steeples.