Robert Burns

Epistle to Robert Graham Esq: of Fintry on the Election

written in 1790

Fintry, my stay in worldly strife, Friend o' my Muse, Friend o' my Life, Are ye as idle's I am? Come then, wi' uncouth, kintra fleg, O'er Pegasus I'll fling my leg, And ye shall see me try him. But where shall I go rin a ride, That I may splatter nane beside? I wad na be uncivil: In manhood's various paths and ways There's aye some doytin' body strays, And I ride like the devil. Thus I break aff wi' a' my birr, And down yon dark, deep alley spur, Where Theologics daunder : Alas! curst wi' eternal fogs, And damn'd in everlasting bogs, As sure's the creed I'll blunder! I'll stain a band, or jaup a gown, Or rin my reckless, guilty crown Against the haly door: Sair do I rue my luckless fate, When, as the Muse an' Deil wad hae't, I rade that road before. Suppose I take a spurt, and mix Amang the wilds o' Politics Electors and elected, Where dogs at Court (sad sons of bitches!) Septennially a madness touches, Till all the land's infected. All hail! Drumlanrig's haughty Grace, Discarded remnant of a race Once godlike -- great in story; Thy forbears' virtues all contrasted, The very name of Douglas blasted, Thine that inverted glory! Hate, envy, oft the Douglas bore, But thou hast superadded more, And sunk them in contempt; Follies and crimes have stain'd the name, But, Queensberry, thine the virgin claim, From aught that's good exempt! I'll sing the zeal Drumlanrig bears, Who left the all-important cares Of fiddles, whores and hunters; And, bent on buying Borough-towns, Cam shaking hands wi' wabster-louns, And kissin barefit bunters. Confusion thro' our Boroughs rode, Whistling his roaring pack abroad Of mad, unmuzzled lions; As Queensberry Buff and Blue unfurled, And Westerha and Hopeton hurled To every whig defiance. But cautious Queensberry left the war, Th' unmanner'd dust might soil his star, Besides, he hated Bleeding: But left behind him heroes bright, Heroes in Cesarean fight, Or Ciceronian pleading. O, for a throat like huge Monsmeg, To muster o'er each ardent Whig, Beneath Drumlanrig's banner! Heroes and heroines commix, All in the field of politics, To win immortal honor. McMurdo and his lovely Spouse, (Th' enamour'd laurels kiss her brows) Led on the Loves and Graces: She won each gaping Burgess' heart, While he, sub rosa, played his part Among their wives and lasses. Craigdarroch led a light-arm'd Core, Tropes, metaphors and figures pour, Like Hecla streaming thunder: Glenriddel, skill'd in rusty coins, Blew up each Tory's dark designs, And bar'd the treason under. In either wing two champions fought; Redoubted Staig, who set at nought The wildest savage Tory: And Welsh, who ne'er yet flinch'd his ground, High-wav'd his magnum bonum round With Cyclopean fury. Miller brought up th' artillery ranks, The many-pounders of the banks, Resistless desolation! While Maxwelton, that baron bold, 'Mid Lawson's port entrench'd his hold, And threaten'd worse damnation. To these what Tory hosts oppos'd, With these what Tory warriors clos'd Surpasses my descriving: Squadrons, extended long and large, With headlong speed rush to the charge, Like furious devils driving. What Verse can sing, what Prose narrate, The butcher deeds of bloody Fate, Amid this mighty tulzie! Grim Horror girn'd, pale Terror roar'd, As Murder at his thrapple shor'd, And Hell mix'd in the brulzie. As Highland craigs by thunder cleft, When lightnings fire the stormy lift, Hurl down wi' crashing rattle; As flames among a hundred woods, As headlong foam a hundred floods, Such is the rage of battle. The stubborn Tories dare to die; As soon the rooted oaks would fly Before th' approaching fellers: The Whigs come on like ccean's roar, When all his wintry billows pour Against the Buchan bullers. Lo, from the shades of Death's deep night, Departed Whigs enjoy the fight, And think on former daring: The muffled Murtherer of Charles The Magna Charter flag unfurls, All deadly gules its bearing. Nor wanting ghosts of Tory fame; Bold Scrimgeour follows gallant Graham; Auld Covenanters shiver! (Forgive, forgive! much-wrong'd Montrose! Now, Death and Hell engulph thy foes, Thou liv'st on high for ever). Still o'er the field the combat burns, The Tories, Whigs, give way by turns, But Fate the word has spoken: For Woman's wit, and strength of Man, Alas! can do but what they can; The Tory ranks are broken. O that my een were flowing burns! My voice, a lioness that mourns Her darling cub's undoing! That I might greet, that I might cry, While Tories fall, while Tories fly And furious whigs pursuing. What Whig but melts for good Sir James, Dear to his Country, by the names, Friend, Patron, Benefactor! Not Pulteney's wealth can Pulteney save; And Hopetoun falls, the generous, brave; And Stewart, bold as Hector. Thou, Pit, shalt rue this overthrow, And Thurlow growl a curse of woe, And Melville melt in wailing: Now Fox and Sheridan rejoice! And Burke shall shout, O Prince, arise! Thy power is all-prevailing! For your poor friend, the Bard, afar He hears and sees the distant war, A cool Spectator purely: So, when the storm the forest rends, The Robin in the hedge descends, And patient chirps securely. Now, for my friends' and brethren's sakes, And for my native Land-o'-Cakes, I pray with holy fire; Lord, send a rough-shod troop o' hell, O'er a', wad Scotland buy, or sell, To grind them in the mire!!!

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