1719 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Allan Ramsay

William Hamilton of Gilbertfield, "Epistle I. To Allan Ramsay" 1719; Ramsay, Poems (1720) 173-76.



Gilbertfield June 26th, 1719.
O fam'd and celebrated ALLAN!
Renowned RAMSAY, canty Callan,
There's nowther Highlandman nor Lawlan,
In POETRIE,
But may as soon ding down Tamtallan
As match wi' thee.

For ten Times ten, and that's a hunder,
I ha'e been made to gaze and wonder,
When frae Parnassus thou didst thunder,
Wi' Wit and Skill,
Wherefore I'll soberly knock under,
And quat my Quill.

Of POETRY the hail Quintessence
Thou hast suck'd up, left nae Excrescence
To petty Poets, or sic Messens,
Tho round thy Stool,
They may pick Crumbs, and lear some Lessons
At RAMSAY'S School.

Tho BEN and DRYDEN of renown
Were yet alive, in London Town,
Like Kings contending for a Crown;
'Twad be a Pingle,
Whilk o' you three wad gar Words sound
And best to gingle.

Transform'd may I be to a Rat,
Wer't in my Pow'r but I'd create
Thee upo' sight the Laureat
Of this our Age,
Since thou may'st fairly claim to that
As thy just Wage.

Let modern POETS bear the Blame
Gin they respect not RAMSAY'S Name,
Wha soon can gar them greet for Shame,
To their great Loss;
And send them a' right sneaking hame
Be Weeping-Cross.

Wha bourds wi' thee had need be warry,
And lear wi' Skill thy Thrust to parry,
When thou consults thy Dictionary
Of ancient Words,
Which come from thy Poetick Quarry,
As sharp as Swords.

Now tho I should baith reel and rottle,
And be as light as ARISTOTLE,
At Ed'nburgh we sall ha'e a Bottle
Of reaming Claret,
Gin that my haff-pay Siller Shottle
Can safely spare it.

At Crambo then we'll rack our Brain,
Drown ilk dull Care and aiking Pain,
Whilk aften does our Spirits drain
Of true Content;
Wow, Wow! but we's be wonder fain,
When thus acquaint.

Wi' Wine we'll gargarize our Craig,
Then enter in a lasting League,
Free of Ill Aspect or Intrigue,
And gin you please it,
Like Princes when met at the Hague,
We'll solemnize it.

Accept of this and look upon it
With Favour, tho poor I have done it;
Sae I conclude and end my Sonnet,
Who am most fully,
While I do wear a Hat or Bonnet,
Yours — wanton WILLY.

POSTSCRIPT.
By this my Postscript I incline
To let you ken my hail Design
Of sic a lang imperfect Line,
Lyes in this Sentence,
To cultivate my dull Ingine
By your Acquaintance.

Your Answer therefore I expect,
And to your Friend you may direct,
At Gilbertfield do not neglect
When ye have Leisure,
Which I'll embrace with great Respect
And perfect Pleasure.