Josiah Burchett (1666?-1746), who had once clerked for Samuel Pepys, was secretary of the Admiralty for half a century. The eulogy to Burchett frames a Theocritean pastoral dialogue between Patie and Roger that afterwards became the first scene of Allan Ramsay's famous pastoral drama, The Gentle Shepherd, of which Patie is the hero. Roger, troubled by dreams, has doubts about his lover; Patie gives him the usual advice: "Dear Roger, when your Jo puts on her Gloom, | Do ye sae too, and never fash your Thumb: | Seem to forsake her, soon she'll change her Mood; | Gae woo anither, and she'll gang clean wood." The two exchange gifts and all ends happily. Patie and Roger was followed by a sequel, Jennie and Meggy (1723). The original publication was anonymous.
On 21 June 1720, James Anderson wrote to Richard Steele, "I enclose you a poem of Mr. Ramsay's whose performances I presume you are not a stranger to" Correspondence, ed. Blanchard (1941) 155.
George Chalmers: "Several copies of recommendatory verses which were prefixed [to Ramsay's Poems], necessarily tended to promote his profit and spread his praise. Among those panegyrists, the most prominent was Josiah Burchet, who died in October, 1746, after he had sat in six parliaments, and been Secretary of the Admiralty for almost half a century.... Burchet left behind him a History of the Navy, which is now nearly forgotten. This gentleman seems to have been greatly captivated by Ramsay's muse: 'Go on, fam'd bard, the wonder of our days, | And crown thy head with never-fading bays; | While grateful Britons do thy lines revere, | And value as they ought their Virgil here'" Life of Ramsay, in Poems (1800; 1877) 1:xviii.
William Anderson: "In 1721 he had published an eclogue, under the title of Patie and Roger, and in 1723 a sequel under that of Jenny and Maggie. The public approbation of these detached scenes encouraged him to make them the groundwork of the complete drama called The Gentle Shepherd, the success of which was instantaneous and unprecedented" Scottish Nation (1866) 324.
J. Logie Robertson: "Ramsay created his own audience, and it is wonderful how rapidly it grew and how widely it extended. There is scarcely any better proof of the accuracy and piquancy of his descriptions, and the thoroughly representative and national character of his sentiments and language, than is afforded by this undeniable fact. It is true there was a small reading public to welcome such a collection as Watson's, and to form such a nucleus as a new and original genius might successfully utilise. But it is just as true that he had no such audience as was waiting in Edinburgh for Fergusson, and in lowland Scotland for Burns. These later singers were indebted to him for several advantages, not the least of which was an audience already familiarised with that freedom of subject and sentiment in which both of them, though in unequal degrees, excelled" Life of Ramsay in Poems (1886) xxxiii.
Richard Foster Jones: "With the possible exception of Gay, the most successful exponent of the native eclogue was Allan Ramsay, who derived his inspiration from Gay" "Eclogue Types in English Poetry of the Eighteenth Century" JEGP 24 (1925) 50.
Joseph Mitchell's The Doleful Swains: a Pastoral Poem written originally in the Scotch Dialect, with an English Version (1720) would appear to be an early imitation of Ramsay.
The nipping Frosts and driving Snaw
Are o'er the Hills and far awa;
Bauld Boreas sleeps, the Zephyrs blaw,
And ilka Thing
Sae dainty, youthfu', gay and braw
Invites to sing.
Then let's begin by greek of Day,
Kind Muse skiff to the Bent away,
To try anes mair the Landart Lay,
With a thy Speed,
Since BURCHET awns that thou can play
Upon the Reed.
Anes, anes again beneath some Tree
Exert thy Skill and nat'ral Glee
To him wha has sae court'ously,
To weaker Sight,
Set these rude Sonnets sung by me
In truest Light.
In truest Light may a that's fine
In his fair Character still shine,
Sma need he has of Sangs like mine,
To beet his Name;
For frae the North to Southren Line,
Wide gangs his Fame.
His Fame, which ever shall abide,
While Hist'rys tell of Tyrants Pride,
Wha vainly strave upon the Tide
T' invade these Lands,
Where Briton's Royal Fleet doth ride,
Which still commands.
These doughty Actions frae his Pen,
Our Age, and these to come, shall ken,
How stubborn Navies did contend
Upon the Waves,
How free-born Britons faught like Men,
Their Faes like Slaves.
Sae far inscribing, Sir, to you,
This Country Sang my Fancy flew
Keen your just Merit to pursue;
But ah! I fear
In giving Praises that are due,
I grate your Ear.
Yet tent a Poet's zealous Pray'r;
May Powers aboon, with kindly Care,
Grant you a lang and miekle Skair
Of a that's Good,
'Till unto langest Life and mair
You've healthfu stood.
May never Cares your Blessings sowr,
And may the Muses ilka Hour
Improve your Mind, and Haunt your Bower,
I'm but a Callan:
Yet may I please you, while I'm your
Beneath the South-side of a Craigy Bield,
Where a clear Spring did halsome Water yield,
Twa youthfou Shepherds on the Gowans lay,
Tenting their Flocks ae bonny Morn of May:
Poor Roger gran'd till hollow Echoes rang,
While merry Patie humm'd himsell a Sang:
Then turning to his Friend in blythsome Mood,
Quoth he, how does this Sunshine chear my Blood?
How hartsome is't to see the rising Plants,
To hear the Birds chirm o'er their Morning Rants?
How tosie is't to snuff the cauller Air,
And a the Sweets it bears, when void of Care?
What ails thee, Roger, then what gars thee grane?
Tell me the Cause of thy ill-season'd Pain.
O, Patie, I'm born to unlucky Fate,
I'm born to strive with Hardships dire and great;
Tempests may cease to jaw the rowan Flood,
Corbies and Tods to grein for Lambkins Blood:
But I opprest with never ending Grief,
Maun ay dispair of lighting on Relief.
The Bees shall loath the Flower and quat the Hive,
The Saughs on boggie Ground shall cease to thrive,
E'er scornfou Queans, or Loss of warldly Gear,
Shall spill my Rest, or ever force a Tear.
Sae might I say, but its no easy done
By ane wha's Saul is sadly out o' Tune:
You have sae saft a Voice and slid a Tongue,
You are the Darling of baith auld and young:
If I but etle at a Sang, or speak,
They dit their Lugs, syn up their Leglens cleek,
And jeer me hameward frae the Loan or Bought,
While I'm confus'd with mony a vexing Thought:
Yet I am tall, and as well shap'd as thee,
Nor mair unlikely to a Lasse's Eye:
For ilka Sheep ye have I'll number ten,
And shou'd, as ane might think, come farrer ben.
But ablins, Nibour, ye have not a Heart,
Nor downa eithly wi' your Cunzie part:
If that be true, what signifies your Gear?
And mind that's scrimpit never wants some Care.
My Byar tumbled, Nine braw Nowt were smoor'd,
Three Elfshot were, yet I these Ills endur'd.
In Winter last my Cares were very sma,
Tho Scores of Wathers perish'd in the Snaw.
Were your been Rooms as thinly stock'd as mine,
Less you wad loss, and less you wad repine:
He wha has just enough can soundly sleep,
The O'ercome only fashes Fouk to keep.
May Plenty flow upon thee for a Cross,
That thou may'st thole the Pangs of frequent Loss;
O may'st thou dote on some fair paughty Wench,
Wha ne'er will lout thy lowan Drouth to quench,
Till, birs'd beneath the Burden, thou cry Dool,
And awn that ane may fret that is nae Fool.
Sax good fat Lambs, I sald them ilka Cloot
At the West-bow, and bought a winsome Flute,
Of Plumb-tree made, with Iv'ry Virles round,
A dainty Whistle with a pleasant Sound;
I'll be mair canty wi't, and ne'er cry Dool,
Than you with a your Gear, ye dowie Fool.
Na, Patie, na, I'm nae sic churlish Beast,
Some ither Things ly heavier at my Breast;
I dream'd a dreery Dream this hinder Night.
That gars my Flesh a creep yet wi' the Fright.
Now to your Friend how silly's this Pretence,
To ane wha you and a' your Secrets kens:
Daft are your Dreams, as daftly wad ye hide
Your well-seen Love, and dorty Jenny's Pride:
Take Courage, Roger, me your Sorrows tell,
And safely think nane kens them but your sell.
O Patie, ye have guest indeed o'er true,
And there is naithing I'll keep up frae you;
Me dorty Jenny looks upon asquint,
To speak but till her I dare hardly mint;
In ilky Place she jeers me air and late,
And gars me look bumbas'd and unco blate:
But yesterday I met her yont a Know,
She fled as frae a Shellycoat or Kow;
She Bauldy loo's, Bauldy that drives the Car,
But gecks at me, and says I smell o' Tar.
But Bauldy loo's nae her right well I wat,
He sighs for Neps; — sae that may stand for that.
I wish I cou'd na loo her, — but in vain,
I still maun dote and thole her proud Disdain:
My Bauty is a Cur I dearly like,
Till he youl'd fair, she strake the poor dumb Tyke;
If I had fill'd a Nook within her Breast,
She wad hae shawn mair Kindness to my Beast.
When I begin to tune my Stock and Horn,
With a' her Face she shaws a cauldrife Scorn:
Last Time I play'd, ye never saw sic Spite,
O'er Bogie was the Spring, and her Delight,
Yet tauntingly she at her Nibour speer'd
Gin she cou'd tell what Tune I play'd, and sneer'd.
Flocks wander where ye like, I dinna care;
I'll break my Reed and never whistle mair.
E'en do sae, Roger, wha can help Misluck,
Saebeins she be sic a thrawngabet Chuck;
Yonder's a Craig, since ye have tint a Hope,
Gae till't ye'r ways, and take the Lover's Loup.
I need na make sic Speed my Blood to spill,
I'll warrand Death come soon enough a will.
Daft Gowk! Leave aff that silly whindging Way,
Seem careless, there's my Hand ye'll win the Day.
Last Morning I was unco airly out,
Upon a Dyke I lean'd and glowr'd about;
I saw my Meg come linkan o'er the Lee,
I saw my Meg, but Maggie saw na me:
For yet the Sun was wading throw the Mist,
And she was closs upon me e'er she wist.
Her Coats were kiltit, and did sweetly shaw
Her straight bare Legs, which whiter were than Snaw:
Her Cokernony snooded up fou sleek,
Her haffet Locks hung waving on her Cheek:
Her Cheek sae ruddy! and her Een sae clear!
And O! her Mouth's like ony hinny Pear.
Neat, neat she was in Bustine Wastcoat clean,
As she came skiffing o'er the dewy Green:
Blythsome I cry'd, My bonny Meg come here,
I ferly wherefore ye'er sae soon a steer:
But now I guess ye'er gawn to gather Dew.
She scour'd awa, and said, What's that to you?
Then fare ye well, Meg Dorts, and e'en 's ye like,
I careless cry'd, and lap in o'er the Dyke.
I trow, when that she saw, within a Crack
With a right thieveles Errand she came back;
Miscau'd me first, — then bade me hound my Dog
To weer up three waff Ews were on the Bog.
I leugh, and sae did she, then wi' great haste
I clasp'd my Arms about her Neck and Waist;
About her yielding Waist, and took a Fouth
Of sweetest Kisses frae her glowan Mouth:
While hard and fast I held her in my Grips,
My very Saul came louping to my Lips.
Sair, sair she flete wi' me 'tween ilka Smak,
But well I kend she mean'd na as she spak.
Dear Roger, when your Jo puts on her Gloom,
Do ye sae too, and never fash your Thumb:
Seem to forsake her, soon she'll change her Mood;
Gae woo anither, and she'll gang clean wood.
Kind Patie, now fair faw your honest Heart,
Ye'r ay sae cadgie and hae sic an Art
To hearten ane: — For now as clean's a Leek
Ye've cherisht me since ye began to speak;
Sae for your Pains I'll make you a Propine,
My Mither, honest Wife, has made it fine;
A Tartan Plaid, spun of good hauslock Woo,
Scarlet and green the Sets, the Borders Blue,
With Spraings like Gou'd and Siller cross'd wi' black,
I never had it yet upon my Back.
Well are ye wordy o't, wha ha'e sae kind
Redd up my ravel'd Doubts, and clear'd my Mind.
Well, hadd ye there, — and since ye've frankly made
A Present to me of your braw new Plaid,
My Flute's be yours, and she too that's sae nice,
Shall come a Will, if you'll take my Advice.
As ye advise I'll promise to observ't,
But ye maun keep the Flute, ye best deserv't;
Now take it out, and gies a bonny Spring,
For I'm in tift to hear you play or sing.
But first we'll take a Turn up to the Hight,
And see gin a our Flocks be feeding Right:
Be that Time Bannocks and a Shave of Cheese
Will make a Breakfast that a Laird might please;
Might please our Laird, gin he were but sae wise
To season Meat wi' Health instead of Spice:
When we ha'e ta'en the Grace-Drink at this Well,
I'll whistle fine, and sing t' ye like my sell.