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Poetry by Robert Fergusson
The Daft Days

Now mirk December's dowie face
Glowers owre the rigs wi' sour grimace,
While, through his minimum o' space,
The bleer-ee'd sun
Wi' blinkin light and stealing pace,
His race doth run.

Frae naked groves nae birdie sings;
To shepherd's pipe nae hillock rings;
The breeze nae odorous flavour brings
Frae Borean cave;
And dwynin' Nature droops her wings,
Wi' visage grave.

Mankind but scanty pleasure glean
Frae snawy hill or barren plain,
Whan winter, 'midst his nippin' train,
Wi' frozen spear,
Sends drift owre a' his bleak domain,
And guides the weir.

Auld Reekie! thou'rt the canty hole,
A bield for mony cauldrife soul,
Wha snugly at thine ingle loll,
Baith warm and couth;
While round they gar the bicker roll,
To weet their mouth.

When merry Yule-day comes, I trow,
You'll scantlins find a hungry mou';
Sma' are our cares, our stamacks fu'
O' gusty gear,
And kickshaws, strangers to our view,
Sin' fernyear.

Ye browster wives ! now busk ye braw,
And fling your sorrows far awa';
Then, come and gie's the tither blaw
O' reaming ale,
Mair precious than the well o' Spa,
Our hearts to heal.

Then, though at odds wi' a' the warl',
Amang oursels we'll never quarrel;
Thoogh discord gie a canker'd snarl
To spoil our glee,
As lang's there's pith into the barrel,
We'll drink and gree.

Fiddlers! your pins in temper fix,
And rozet weel your fiddlesticks,
But banish vile Italian tricks
Frae out your quorum;
Nor fortes wi' pianos mix -
Gie's Tullochgorum.

For nought can cheer the heart sae weil
As can a canty Highland reel;
It even vivifies the heel
To skip and dance:
Lifeless is he wha canna feel
Its influence.

Let mirth abound; let social cheer
Invest the dawnin' o' the year;
Let blythesome innocence appear,
To crown our joy;
Nor envy, wi' sarcastic sneer,
Our bliss destroy.

And thou, great god of 'aqua vitŠ'!
Wha sway'st the empire o' this city,
When fou, we're sometimes capernoity,
Be thou prepar'd
To hedge us frae that black banditti,
The City Guard.

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