PRESIDENT OF THE HIGHLAND SOCIETY.
[This Poem made its first appearance, as I was assured by my friend
the late Thomas Pringle, in the Scots Magazine, for February, 1818,
and was printed from the original in the handwriting of Burns. It was
headed thus, "To the Right honorable the Earl of Brendalbyne,
President of the Right Honourable and Honourable the Highland Society,
which met on the 23d of May last, at the Shakspeare, Covent Garden, to
concert ways and means to frustrate the designs of four hundred
Highlanders, who, as the Society were informed by Mr. M. ----, of A----s,
were so audacious as to attempt an escape from their lawful lairds
and masters, whose property they were, by emigrating from the lands of
Mr. Macdonald, of Glengarry, to the wilds of Canada, in search of that
fantastic thing--LIBERTY." The Poem was communicated by Burns
to his friend Rankine of Adam Hill, in Ayrshire.]
Long life, my Lord, an' health be yours,
Unskaith'd by hunger'd Highland boors;
Lord grant mae duddie desperate beggar,
Wi' dirk, claymore, or rusty trigger,
May twin auld Scotland o' a life
She likes--as lambkins like a knife.
Faith, you and A----s were right
To keep the Highland hounds in sight;
I doubt na! they wad bid nae better
Than let them ance out owre the water;
Then up among the lakes and seas
They'll mak' what rules and laws they please;
Some daring Hancock, or a Franklin';
May set their Highland bluid a ranklin';
Some Washington again may head them,
Or some Montgomery fearless lead them,
Till God knows what may be effected
When by such heads and hearts directed--
Poor dunghill sons of dirt and mire
May to Patrician rights aspire!
Nae sage North, now, nor sager Sackville,
To watch and premier o'er the pack vile,
An' whare will ye get Howes and Clintons
To bring them to a right repentance,
To cowe the rebel generation,
An' save the honour o' the nation?
They an' be d----d! what right hae they
To meat or sleep, or light o' day?
Far less to riches, pow'r, or freedom,
But what your lordship likes to gie them?
But hear, my lord! Glengarry, hear!
Your hand's owre light on them, I fear;
Your factors, grieves, trustees, and bailies,
I canna' say but they do gaylies;
They lay aside a' tender mercies,
An' tirl the hallions to the birses;
Yet while they're only poind't and herriet,
They'll keep their stubborn Highland spirit;
But smash them! crash them a' to spails!
An' rot the dyvors i' the jails!
The young dogs, swinge them to the labour;
Let wark an' hunger mak' them sober!
The hizzies, if they're aughtlins fawsont,
Let them in Drury-lane be lesson'd!
An' if the wives an' dirty brats
E'en thigger at your doors an' yetts,
Flaffan wi' duds an' grey wi' beas',
Frightin' awa your deuks an' geese,
Get out a horsewhip or a jowler,
The langest thong, the fiercest growler,
An' gar the tattered gypsies pack
Wi' a' their bastards on their back!
Go on, my Lord! I lang to meet you,
An' in my house at hame to greet you;
Wi' common lords ye shanna mingle,
The benmost neuk beside the ingle,
At my right han' assigned your seat
'Tween Herod's hip an Polycrate,--
Or if you on your station tarrow,
Between Almagro and Pizarro,
A seat I'm sure ye're weel deservin't;
An' till ye come--Your humble rervant,
_June 1st, Anno Mundi 5790._