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And hang his head, to think himself a man?
I would not have a slave to till my ground,
To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth
That sinews bought and sold have ever earned.
No: dear as freedom is, and in my heart's
Just estimation prized above all price,
I had much rather be myself the slave
And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him.
We have no slaves at home: then why abroad?
And they themselves once ferried o'er the wave
That parts us, are emancipate and loosed.
Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs
Receive our air, that moment they are free;
They touch our country, and their shackles fall.
That's noble, and bespeaks a nation proud
And jealous of the blessing. Spread it then,
And let it circulate through every vein
Of all your empire; that where Britain's power
Is felt, mankind may feel her mercy too.
Mary! I want a lyre with other strings,
Such aid from heaven as some have feigned they drew,
An eloquence scarce given to mortals, new, And undebased by praise of meaner things ! That, ere through age or woe I shed my wings,
I may record thy worth, with honor due,
In verse as musical as thou art true,
Verse that immortalizes whom it sings.
But thou hast little need. There is a book,
By seraphs writ with beams of heavenly light,
On which the eyes of God not rarely look;
A chronicle of actions just and bright;
There all thy deeds, my faithful Mary, shine,
And since thou ownest that praise, I spare thee mine.
ON TURNING UP HER NEST WITH THE PLOUGH, NOVEMBER, 1785
Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
Oh, what a panic's in thy breastie !
Thou need na start awa sae hasty
Wi' bickerin brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee
Wi' murd'rin pattle !
ON TURNING ONE DOWN WITH THE PLOUGH, IN APRIL, 1786
Wee, modest, crimson-tippèd flow'r,
Thou's met me in an evil hour;
For I maun crush amang the stoure
Thy slender stem :
To spare thee now is past my pow'r,
Thou bonie gem.
Alas! it's no thy neibor sweet,
The bonie lark, companion meet,
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet
Wi' spreckled breast,
When upward-springing, blythe, to greet
The purpling east.
Of Brownyis and of Bogillis full is this buke.
- GAWIN DOUGLAS.
When chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neibors neibors meet,
As market-days are wearing late,
An' folk begin to tak the gate;
While we sit bousing at the nappy,
An' gettin fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps, and stiles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Whare sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.
This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter :
(Auld Ayr, wham ne'er a town surpasses,
For honest men and bonie lasses.)