1772 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Fergusson

J. S., "To Mr. Robert Fergusson" Weekly Magazine or Edinburgh Amusement 17 (3 September 1772) 305-06.



Is Allan risen frae the deid,
Wha aft has tun'd the aiten reed,
And by the muses was decreed
To grace the thistle?
Na; Fergusson's cum in his stead
To blaw the whistle.

In troth, my callant, I'm sae fain
To see your sonsy, canty strain,
You write sic easy stile and plain,
And words sae bonny,
Nae suth'ron lown dare you disdain,
Or cry fy on ye.

Whate'er has at Auld Reekie been,
And king's birth-days exploits has seen,
Maun own that ye hae gi'en a keen
And true description;
Nor say ye've at Parnassus been
To form a fiction.

Hale be your heart, ye canty chield!
May ye ne'er want a gude warm beild,
And sic gude cakes a Scotland yields,
And ilka dainty
That grows or feeds upon her fields,
And Whisky plenty.

But ye, perhaps, thirst mair for fame
Than a' the gude things I can name,
And then ye will be fain to blame
My gude intention:
For that ye needna gae frae hame,
Ye've sic pretension.

Sae fast and sweet your verses jingle,
And you auld words sae meetly mingle,
'Twill gar baith married fouk and single
To roose your lays;
When we forgether round the ingle,
We'll chaunt your praise.

When I again Auld Reekie see,
And can forgether, lad, with thee,
Then we wi' muckle mirth and glee
Shall tak a gill,
And of your caller oysters we
Shall eat our fill.

If sic a thing shou'd you betide,
To Berwick town to tak a ride,
Ile tak ye up Tweed's bonnie side
Before ye settle,
And shew your there the fisher's pride,
A Sa'mon-kettle.

There lads an' lasses do conveen
To feast an' dance upo' the green,
An' there sick brav'ry may be seen
As will confound ye,
An' gar ye glowr out baith your een
At a' around ye.

To see sae mony bosoms bare,
An' sic huge puddins i' their hair,
An' some of them wi' naithing mair
Upo' their tete;
Yea, some wi' mutches that might scar
Craws frae their meat.

I ne'er appear'd before in print,
But for your sake wou'd fain be in't,
E'en that I might my wishes hint
That you'd write mair;
For sure your head-piece is a mint
Whar wit's nae rare.

Sonse fa' me, gif I hadna 'lure
I cou'd command ilk muse as sure,
Than hae a charot at the door
To wait upon me;
Tho', poet-like, I'm but a poor
Mid-Louthian Johnnie.
Berwick, Aug. 31.