Robert Burns

Dumfries Epigrams

written in 1794

Copeland faithful likeness, friend Painter, would'st seize? Keep out Worth, Wit and Wisdom: Put in what you please. Should he escape the slaughter of thine Eyes, Within thy strong Embrace he struggling dies. Pray, who are these Natives the Rabble so ven'rate? They're our true ancient Natives, and they breed undegen'rate The ignorant savage that weather'd the storm, When the man and the Brute differed but in the form. Dost hang thy head, Billy, asham'd that thou knowest me? 'Tis paying in kind a just debt that thou owest me. Dost blush, my dear Billy, asham'd of thyself, A Fool and a Cuckold together? The fault is not thine, insignificant elf, Thou wast not consulted in either. Friend Commissar, since we're met and are happy, Pray why should we part without having more nappy! Bring in t'other bottle, for faith I am dry Thy drink thou can't part with and neither can I. Oft I have wonder'd that on Irish ground No poisonous Reptile ever has been found: Revealed the secret stands of great Nature's work: She preserved her poison to create a Burke! Baillie Swan, Baillie Swan, Let you do what you can, God ha' mercy on honest Dumfries: But e'er the year's done, Good Lord! Provost John Will find that his Swans are but Geese.

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