Tale of three bonnets in four cantos/Canto I

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WHen men of mettle thought it nonſenſe,
To heed that cleping thing ca'd conſcience,
And by free-thinking had the knack.
Of jeering every word it ſpake;
And, as a learned author ſpeaks.
Employ’d it as a pair o’ breeks,
To hide their lewd and naſty ſluices,
Whilk eith ſlipt down for baith theſe uſes,
Then Duniwhiſtle, worn with years,
And gawn the gate of his forbears,
Commanded his three ſons to come
And wait upon him in his room:
Bade Briſtle ſteek the door: and ſyne.
He thus began ———
Duniwhiſtle, ——— Dear bairns of mine,
I quickly maun ſubmit to Fate,
And leave you three a good eſtate,
Which has been honourably won,
And handed down from ſire to ſon,
But clag or claim for ages paſt;
Now that ye mayna prove the laſt,
Here's Three Permiſſion Bonnets for ye
Which our Grand Gutcher purchas'd for ye,
And if ye'd hae nae man betray ye,
Let naething ever wile them frae ye :
But keep the bonnets on your heads,
And hands frae ſigning fooliſh deeds,
And ye ſhall never want ſic things,
Shall gar you be made of by kings :
But if ye ever with them part,
Fou fair ye'll for your folly ſmart :
Bare-headed then ye'll look like ſnools,
And dwindle down to ſilly tools,
Haud up your hands, now ſwear and ſay,
As ye ſhall anſwer on a day,—
Ye'll faithfully obſerve my will,
And all its premiſſes fulfil.
Briſtle. My worthy Father, I ſhall ſtrive,
To keep your name and fame alive,
And never ſhaw a ſaul that's daſtard,
To gar fouk tak me for a baſtard :
If e'er by me ye're diſobey'd,
May witches nightly on me ride.
Jouk. Whae'er ſhall dare, by force or guile,
This Bonnet aff my head to wile,
For ſic a bauld attempt ſhall rue,
And ken I was begot by you,
Elſe, may I like a gypſie wander,
Or for my daily bread turn paunder.
Bawſy. May I be jy'b'd by great and ſma',
And kytch'd like ony tennis ba',
Be the diſgrace of a' my kin,
If e'er I with my bonnet twin.
Bard. Now ſoon as each had giv'n his aith,
The auld man yielded up his breath,
Was row'd in linen, white as ſnaw,
And to his fathers born awa'.
But ſcarcely he in mools was rotten,
Before his Teſt'ment was forgotten,
As ye ſhall hear frae future ſonnet,
How Joukum finder'd wi' his Bonnet,
And bought frae ſenſeleſs Billy Bawſy,
His to propine a giglet laſſy,
While worthy Briſtle, not ſae doner'd,
Preſerves his Bonnet, and is honour'd.
Thus Caractacus did behave,
Tho' by the fate of war a ſlave;
His body only, — for his mind,
No Roman power could break or bind,
With bonnet on he bauldly ſpake,
His greatneſs gart his fetters crack.
The victor did his friendſhip claim,
And ſent him with new glories' hame.
But leave we Birſs and ſimile,
And to our tale with ardor flee.
Beyond the hills where lang the billies,
Had bred up queys, and kids, and fillies,
And foughten mony a bloody battle,
With thieves that came to lift their cattle;
There liv'd a laſs kept rary-ſhows,
And fidlers ay about her houſe.
Wha at her table fed and ranted,
With the ſtout ale ſhe never wanted.
She was a winſome wench and waly,
And cou'd put on her claiths fu' brawly,
Ramble to ilka market-town,
And drink and fight like a dragoon:
Juſt ſic-like her wha far aff wander'd,
To get herſel weel Alexander'd.
Roſe had a word o' meikle filler,
Whilk brought a hantle o' wooers till her.
Amang the reſt young Maſter Jouk,
She conquer'd ae day wi' a look:
Frae that time forth he ne'er cou'd ſtay
At hame to mind his corn or hay,
But grew a beau, and did adorn
Himſelf with fifty bows o' corn,
Forby what he took on, to rigg
Him out with linen, ſhoon and wig,
Snuff-boxes, ſword-knots, canes and waſhes,
And ſweeties to beſtow on laſſes,
Cou'd neweſt aiths genteely ſwear,
And had a courſe of flaws perquire;
He drank, and danc'd, and ſigh'd to move,
Fair Roſie to accept his love.
After dumb ſigns he thus began,
And ſpake his mind to'er like a man.
Joukum. O tak me, Roſie, to your arms,
And let me revel o'er your charms;
If ye ſay na, I needna care,
For rapes or tethers made of hair,
Pen-knives nor pools I winna need,
That minute ye ſay na, I'm dead,
O let me lie within your breaſt:
And at your dainty table feaſt;
Well do I like your gowd to finger,
And fit to hear your — Singer;
While on this ſun-ſhine of the brae,
Belongs to you, my limbs I'll lay.
Rofie. I own, ſweet Sir, ye woo me frankly,
But a' your courtſhip fars fae rankly
Of ſelfiſh int'reſt, that I'm fleed,
My perſon leaſt employ's your head.
Jouk. What a diſtinction's this you're making,
When your poor lover's heart is breaking;
Wi' little logic I can ſhew,
That every thing you have is you:
Beſides the beauties of your perſon,
Theſe beds of flow'rs you ſet your a— on,
Your claiths, your land, your lying pelf,
Are ev'ry ane your very ſelf,
And add freſh luſtre to thoſe graces,
With which adorn'd your ſaul and face is.
Roſie. Ye ſeem to have a loving flame
For me, and hate your native hame,
That gars me ergh to truſt you meikle,
For fear you ſhou'd prove fauſe and fickle.
Jouk. In troth my rugged billy Briſtle,
About his gentry maks ſic fiſtle,
That, if a body contradict him,
He's ready wi' a durk to ſtick him;
That wearies me o' hame, I vow,
And fain wou'd live and die wi' you.
Bard. Obſerving Jouk a wee rate tipſy,
Smirking reply'd the pauky gipſy,
Roſie. I wad be very wae to ſee,
My lover tak the pet and die;
Therefore I am inclin'd to eaſe ye,
And do what in me lies to pleaſe ye:
But firſt, ere we conclude the paction,
Ye muſt perform ſome valiant action,
To prove the truth of what you've ſaid,
Elſe I, for you, ſhall die a maid.
Joukum. My deareſt jewel, gie't a name,
That I may win baith you and fame:
Shall I gae fight with foreſt bulls?
Or cleave down troops with thicker ſkulls?
Or ſhall I duck the deepeſt ſea,
And coral pou for beads to thee?
Penty the Pope upon the noſe,
Or p— upon a hundred beaus?
Rofie. In troth, dear lad, I wad be laith,
To riſk your life, or do you ſkaith;
Only employ your canny ſkill,
To gain and rive your Father's Will,
With the conſent of Birſs and Bawſy,
And I ſhall in my boſom hawſe ye,
Soon as the fatal Bonnets Three,
Are ta'en frae them and gi'en to me.
Jouk. Which to preſerve I gied my aith!
But now the cauſe is life and death,
I muſt, or with the Bonnet part,
Or twin with you and break my heart:
Sae, tho' the aith we took was awfu',
To keep it now appears unlawfu'.
Then, love, I'll anſwer your demands,
And fly to fetch them to your hands.
Bard. The famous jilt of Paleſtine,
Thus drew the hooks o'er Samſon's een,
And gart him tell where lay his ſtrength,
Of which ſhe twin'd him at the length,
Then gied him up in chains to rave,
And labour like a galley-ſlave:
But Roſie, mind, when growing hair,
His loſs of pith 'gan to repair,
He made of thouſands an example,
By cruſhing them beneath their temple.

This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.