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O Tam! had'st thou but been sae wise As taen thy ain wife Kate's advice! She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum, A bletherin, blusterin, drunken blellum; That frae November till October, Ae market-day thou was na sober; That ilka melder wi' the miller, Thou sat as lang as thou had siller; That ev'ry naig was ca'd a shoe on, The smith and thee gat roarin fou on; That at the Lord's house, ev'n on Sunday, Thou drank wi' Kirkton Jean till Monday. She prophesied, that, late or soon,

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Thou would be found deep drown'd in

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By this time he was cross the ford, Whare in the snaw the chapman smoor'd; And past the birks and meikle stane, Whare drucken Charlie brak's neck-bane; And thro' the whins, and by the cairn, Whare hunters fand the murder'd bairn; And near the thorn, aboon the well, Whare Mungo's mither hang'd hersel. Before him Doon pours all his floods; The doubling storm roars thro' the woods; The lightnings flash from pole to pole, Near and more near the thunders roll; When, glimmering thro' the groaning trees, Kirk-Alloway seemed in a bleeze: Thro' ilka bore the beams were glancing, And loud resounded mirth and dancing.

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn! What dangers thou can'st make us scorn! Wi' tippenny we fear nae evil;

Wi' usquebae we'll face the devil!

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Warlocks and witches in a dance; Nae cotillon brent-new frae France, But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels Put life and mettle in their heels: A winnock bunker in the east, There sat Auld Nick in shape o' beast; A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large, To gie them music was his charge; He screw'd the pipes and gart them skirl, Till roof and rafters a' did dirl.Coffins stood round like open presses, That shaw'd the dead in their last dresses; And by some devilish cantraip sleight Each in its cauld hand held a light,

By which heroic Tam was able

To note upon the haly table

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A murderer's banes in gibbet airns;
Twa span-lang, wee, unchristen'd bairns;
A thief, new-cutted frae the rape-
Wi' his last gasp his gab did gape;
Five tomahawks, wi' blude red-rusted; 135
Five scymitars, wi' murder crusted;

A garter, which a babe had strangled;
A knife, a father's throat had mangled;
Whom his ain son o' life bereft -
The grey hairs yet stack to the heft;
Wi' mair o' horrible and awfu',
Which ev'n to name wad be unlawfu'.

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As Tammie glowr'd, amaz'd and curious, The mirth and fun grew fast and furious:

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But Tam ken'd what was what fu' brawlie;

There was ae winsom wench and walie, 160
That night enlisted in the core
(Lang after ken'd on Carrick shore:
For mony a beast to dead she shot,
And perish'd mony a bonie boat,

And shook baith meikle corn and bear, 165

And kept the country-side in fear);

Her cutty sark o' Paisley harn,
That while a lassie she had worn,
In longitude tho' sorely scanty,
It was her best, and she was vauntie.
Ah! little kent thy reverend grannie,
That sark she coft for her wee Nannie,
Wi' twa pund Scots ('t was a' her riches),
Wad ever graced a dance o' witches!

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But here my Muse her wing maun cow'r, Sic flights are far beyond her pow'r; To sing how Nannie lap and flang, (A souple jad she was and strang,) And how Tam stood like ane bewitch'd, And thought his very een enrich'd; Even Satan glowr'd and fidg'd fu' fain, And hotch'd and blew wi' might and main: Till first ae caper, syne anither, Tam tint his reason a' thegither, And roars out, Weel done, Cutty-sark!' 185 And in an instant all was dark:

And scarcely had he Maggie rallied,

When out the hellish legion sallied.
As bees bizz out wi' angry fyke,
When plundering herds assail their byke;
As open pussie's mortal foes,

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When pop! she starts before their nose;
As eager runs the market-crowd,
WhenCatch the thief!' resounds aloud;
So Maggie runs, the witches follow, 195
Wi' mony an eldritch skriech and hollo.

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Ah, Tam! ah, Tam! thou 'll get thy fairin! In hell they'll roast thee like a herrin! In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin! Kate soon will be a woefu' woman! Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg, And win the key-stane of the brig: There at them thou thy tail may toss, A running stream they dare na cross. But ere the key-stane she could make, 205 The fient a tail she had to shake! For Nannie, far before the rest, Hard upon noble Maggie prest, And flew at Tam wi' furious ettle; But little wist she Maggie's mettleAe spring brought aff her master hale, But left behind her ain grey tail.

(1793)

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