Tune--"_Prepare, my dear brethren, to the tavern_ _let's fly._"
[Tarbolton Lodge, of which the poet was a member, was noted for its
socialities. Masonic lyrics are all of a dark and mystic order; and
those of Burns are scarcely an exception.]
No churchman am I for to rail and to write,
No statesman nor soldier to plot or to fight,
No sly man of business, contriving to snare--
For a big-bellied bottle's the whole of my care.
The peer I don't envy, I give him his bow;
I scorn not the peasant, tho' ever so low;
But a club of good fellows, like those that are here,
And a bottle like this, are my glory and care.
Here passes the squire on his brother--his horse;
There centum per centum, the cit with his purse;
But see you The Crown, how it waves in the air!
There a big-bellied bottle still eases my care.
The wife of my bosom, alas! she did die;
For sweet consolation to church I did fly;
I found that old Solomon proved it fair,
That a big-bellied bottle's a cure for all care.
I once was persuaded a venture to make;
A letter inform'd me that all was to wreck;--
But the pursy old landlord just waddled up stairs,
With a glorious bottle that ended my cares.
"Life's cares they are comforts,"--a maxim laid down
By the bard, what d'ye call him, that wore the black gown;
And faith I agree with th' old prig to a hair;
For a big-bellied bottle's a heav'n of care.
ADDED IN A MASON LODGE.
Then fill up a bumper and make it o'erflow.
The honours masonic prepare for to throw;
May every true brother of the compass and square
Have a big-bellied bottle when harass'd with care!
[Footnote 136: Young's Night Thoughts.]