1773 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Fergusson

Rabelais, "Written soon after the late ingenious Mr. Robert Fergusson made his Appearance in this Miscellany" Edinburgh Magazine or Literary Amusement 50 (20 October 1780) 16.



Lord! Printer, man! is Ramsay risen,
Tho' 'neath the turf sae lang has brisen?
And is he come to weet his wizzen,
An gie's a sang?
Nae ferly tho' his pipe be gizzen,
Wi' lyin sae lang.

But what can gar him change his name?
I wyte he never need think shame,
For aught he did 'ere he left hame,
For (endless term!)
Sure nane cou'd ever Ramsay blame
For working harm.

ROB. FERGUSSON he ca's himsel,
And can his tale as briskly tell
As when he on this earth did dwell:
It's something moving,
That maceration in a cell
Shou'd still improve him.

If Fife I live, perhaps recluse,
Tho' Magazines I always use;
Scots poetry I'll ne'er refuse,
I've loo'd it lang,
But Fergusson will gain the broos,
What way it gang.

Since Ally died, God rest his saul!
I've met wi' nane, or great or small,
Wha's fit his memory to mawl,
But this same callan:
Faith, he bodes weel; lang may he crawl,
To mimic Allan!

Dryden and Ben, in days of yore,
Deep into English verse did bore,
Yet tho' thae twa were to the fore,
They'd nae be fond
To row a stane at Robin's dore,
An sit upon't.

The first time I come o'er the water,
Be't foul or fair, (I dinna flatter,)
Tho' I shou'd a' my hose bespatter
In seeking's cloister,
Saul! Rob an' I shall hae a clatter,
An' caller oyster.

Hegh, man! he tells a bonny tale,
He'll be well kent o'er muir and dale,
O' words he has both rowth an' wale:
I wad be laith
If Robin be nae lang kept hail,
And free frae skaith.

Without his rhimes, the Magazine,
In poetry, looks very mean:
In Fife, troth, ilka body's keen
To see his verse;
Faith, you may greet wi' baith your een
Whan Rob grows hearse.

Now, honest Printer, fare ye weel,
Ilk blessing ay around you reel,
Until you harl an auld man's heel;
May thy grey head
Be keepit frae the muckle deil,
After thou'rt dead!
Fife, April 23, 1773.