306. Election Ballad at close of Contest for representing the Dumfries Burghs, 1790 by Robert Burns
FINTRY, my stay in wordly strife, Friend oâ€™ my muse, friend oâ€™ my life, Are ye as idleâ€™s I am? Come then, wiâ€™ uncouth kintra fleg, Oâ€™er Pegasus Iâ€™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 manhoodâ€™s various paths and ways Thereâ€™s aye some doytinâ€™ body strays, And I ride like the devil.
Thus I break aff wiâ€™ aâ€™ my birr, And down yon dark, deep alley spur, Where Theologics daunder: Alas! curst wiâ€™ eternal fogs, And damnâ€™d in everlasting bogs, As sureâ€™s the creed Iâ€™ll blunder!
Iâ€™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 anâ€™ Deil wad haeâ€™t, I rade that road before.
Suppose I take a spurt, and mix Amang the wilds oâ€™ Politicsâ€” Electors and elected, Where dogs at Court (sad sons of bitches!) Septennially a madness touches, Till all the landâ€™s infected.
All hail! Drumlanrigâ€™s haughty Grace, Discarded remnant of a race Once godlike-great in story; Thy forbearsâ€™ 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 stainâ€™d the name, But, Queensberry, thine the virgin claim, From aught thatâ€™s good exempt!
Iâ€™ll sing the zeal Drumlanrig bears, Who left the all-important cares Of princes, and their darlings: And, bent on winning borough touns, Came shaking hands wiâ€™ wabster-loons, And kissing barefit carlins.
Combustion throâ€™ our boroughs rode, Whistling his roaring pack abroad Of mad unmuzzled lions; As Queensberry blue and buff unfurlâ€™d, And Westerhaâ€™ and Hopetoun hurled To every Whig defiance.
But cautious Queensberry left the war, Thâ€™ unmannerâ€™d dust might soil his star, Besides, he hated bleeding: But left behind him heroes bright, Heroes in C&Ã¦sarean fight, Or Ciceronian pleading.
O for a throat like huge Mons-Meg, To muster oâ€™er each ardent Whig Beneath Drumlanrigâ€™s banners; Heroes and heroines commix, All in the field of politics, To win immortal honours.
Mâ€™Murdo and his lovely spouse, (Thâ€™ enamourâ€™d laurels kiss her brows!) Led on the Loves and Graces: She won each gaping burgessâ€™ heart, While he, sub rosa, played his part Amang their wives and lasses.
Craigdarroch led a light-armâ€™d core, Tropes, metaphors, and figures pour, Like Hecla streaming thunder: Glenriddel, skillâ€™d in rusty coins, Blew up each Toryâ€™s dark designs, And bared the treason under.
In either wing two champions fought; Redoubted Staig, who set at nought The wildest savage Tory; And Welsh who neâ€™er yet flinchâ€™d his ground, High-wavâ€™d his magnum-bonum round With Cyclopeian fury.
Miller brought up thâ€™ artillery ranks, The many-pounders of the Banks, Resistless desolation! While Maxwelton, that baron bold, â€™Mid Lawsonâ€™s port entrenchâ€™d his hold, And threatenâ€™d worse damnation.
To these what Tory hosts opposâ€™d With these what Tory warriors closâ€™d Surpasses my descriving; Squadrons, extended long and large, With furious 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 tulyie! Grim Horror girnâ€™d, pale Terror roarâ€™d, As Murder at his thrapple shorâ€™d, And Hell mixâ€™d in the brulyie.
As Highland craigs by thunder cleft, When lightnings fire the stormy lift, Hurl down with crashing rattle; As flames among a hundred woods, As headlong foam from a hundred floods, Such is the rage of Battle.
The stubborn Tories dare to die; As soon the rooted oaks would fly Before thâ€™ approaching fellers: The Whigs come on like Oceanâ€™s roar, When all his wintry billows pour Against the Buchan Bullers.
Lo, from the shades of Deathâ€™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 shiverâ€” Forgive! forgive! much-wrongâ€™d Montrose! Now Death and Hell engulph thy foes, Thou livâ€™st on high for ever.
Still oâ€™er the field the combat burns, The Tories, Whigs, give way by turns; But Fate the word has spoken: For womanâ€™s wit and strength oâ€™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 cubsâ€™ 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 Pulteneyâ€™s wealth can Pulteney save; And Hopetoun falls, the generous, brave; And Stewart, bold as Hector.
Thou, Pitt, shalt rue this overthrow, And Thurlow growl a curse of woe, And Melville melt in wailing: Now Fox and Sheridan rejoice, And Burke shall sing, â€œO Prince, arise! Thy power is all-prevailing!â€
For your poor friend, the Bard, afar He only hears and sees the war, A cool spectator purely! So, when the storm the forest rends, The robin in the hedge descends, And sober chirps securely.
Now, for my friendsâ€™ and brethrenâ€™s sakes, And for my dear-lovâ€™d Land oâ€™ Cakes, I pray with holy fire: Lord, send a rough-shod troop oâ€™ Hell Oâ€™er aâ€™ wad Scotland buy or sell, To grind them in the mire!