Hughie Remonstrates with Davie – A dour Critic, pp.76-79.

[Horace in Homespun Contents]

Si me lyricis vatibus inseres!” – CAR. I., I. 

MAN, Davie, had I but the ert 

To pierce that stane ye ca’ your hert 

Wi’ the clear dart o’ poesie, 

A prooder man there wadna be. 

For weel it’s kent thro’ a’ the toun 

That nane can rise that ye ca’ doun; 

While him that by the haund ye tak’ – 

He’ll neither fame nor fortune lack; 

His ballants – thro’ the touns they’ll cry them 

An’ weaver bodies rin to buy them. 

– 

There’s twa-three praise me, tae, it’s true, 

But what are they when wantin’ you? 

There’s Johnny o’ the Windyknowe – 

A blessin’ on his auld beld pow! 

Wi’ kindly hail whene’er he meets me 

He grips me by the haund, an’ greets me. 

“Skakspere!” says Johnnie, “gie’s a swatch o’t! 

Weel dune, my bairn! ye hae the catch o’t – 

This dings the lave!” But that’s nae test, 

For aye wi’ him the last ‘s the best! 

– 

There’s Geordie, tae, my second cousin – 

His praise is waur to me than pousin; 

He kens a stirk, but for a sang 

He’s never richt but when he’s wrang! 

– 

There’s a few mair that I could name, 

There’s Tam the farrier, an’ Jame; 

But Jame’s my brither, an’ for Tam – 

Ye’ll but his judgment wi’ a dram. 

– 

Man, Davie! if ye wad but praise me, 

Ye wad’ as wi’ a windlas raise me 

Oot o’ the slough o’ doot I’m in, 

An’ set me on a road to rin! 

– 

Just cast your e’en abroad an’ see 

Hoo everybody’s pleased but me; 

They’ve a’ some hobby to amuse them, 

Folk to look on an’ frien’s to roose them, 

An’ weel contentit there they ride, 

An’ lauch, an’ let the warld slide. 

An’ I ana’ wad hae my treasure, 

An’ poetry wad be my pleasure, 

If ye wad only bend your ee 

An’ blink approval ance on me! 

– 

 To be a bandsman pleases some, 

To toot the horn or beat the drum; 

Even little Jock that ca’s the mangle – 

Saturday comes, an’ the triangle, 

An’ then sae manfu’ as he strides 

An’ tingles on its yetlan’ sides! 

An’ weel ye ken that Pate Macdougal 

Wad blaw his sowl into a bugle; 

That thrice thro’ jealousy the wife 

O’ Dempster kickit Dempster’s fife; 

An’ weel-a-wat the coonty kens 

When Sandie Brand ca’d oot the brains 

O’ his black fiddle at the fair, 

An’ swore he ne’er was fiddle mair – 

Altho’ he “d—d if he was carin’,” 

Sober he sabbit like a bairn! 

– 

Ithers again for weeks are chammber’d 

Glowerin’ wi hawks’ een on a damberd. 

– 

Some at gowfin’ spend their leisure. 

To some the rifle range gie’s pleasure. 

Quoits or the puttin’ stane has charms 

For steady een an’ sturdy arms. 

– 

O then to see oor noble smith 

Tak’ up the ball to prove his pith! 

Hark hoo it whizzes thro’ the air – 

He’s foremost by an ell or mair. 

The slater, tae, we maunna slicht, – 

He drave the pin clean oot o’ sicht, 

An’ when wi’ shools they howkit for ‘t, 

Darkness cam’ on, an’ spoiled the sport. 

Nane to this day can understand it – 

They howkit, but they never fand it! 

– 

For me – gin I had but the ert 

To pierce that whinstane o’ your hert 

An’ bring the sparkle to your ee – 

A happier man there wadna be! 

Noo, Davie. dinna crook your mou’ – 

A wird o’ praise is sweet fra you! 

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