Tam Samson’s Elegy

An honest man 's the noblest work of God----
POPE.

HAS auld Kilmarnock seen the Deil?
Or great Mackinlay thrawn his heel?
Or Robertson again grown weel,
To preach an' read?
"Na' waur than a'! cries ilka chiel,
Tam Samson's dead!"

Kilmarnock lang may grunt an' grane,
An' sigh an' sab, an' greet her lane,
An' cleed her bairns, man, wife, an' wean,
In mourning weed;
To Death she 's dearly pay'd the kane,
Tam Samson 's dead!

The Brethren o' the mystic level
May hing their head in wofu' bevel,
While by their nose the tears will revel,
Like ony bead;
Death 's gien the Lodge an unco devel;
Tam Samson 's dead!

When Winter muffles up his cloak,
And binds the mire like a rock;
When to the loughs the Curlers flock,
Wi' gleesome speed,
Wha will they station at the cock,
Tam Samson 's dead?

He was the king of a' the Core,
To guard, or draw, or wick a bore,
Or up the rink like Jehu roar,
In time o' need;
But now he lags on Death's hog-score,
Tam Samson 's dead!

Now safe the stately Sawmont sail,
And Trouts bedropp'd wi' crimson hail,
And Eels weel kend for souple tail,
And Geds for greed,
Since dark in Death's fish-creel we wail
Tam Samson dead!

Rejoice, ye birring Paitricks a';
Ye cootie Moorcocks, crousely craw;
Ye Maukins, cock your fud fu' braw
Withouten dread;
Your mortal Fae is now awa’,
Tam Samson 's dead!

That woefu' morn be ever mourn'd
Saw him in shooting graith adorn'd,
While pointers round impatient burn'd,
Frae couples freed;
But, Och! he gaed and ne'er return'd!
Tam Samson 's dead!

In vain Auld-age his body batters;
In vain the Gout his ancles fetters;
In vain the burns cam down like waters,
An acre-braid!
Now ev'ry auld wife, greetin, clatters
Tam Samson 's dead!

Owre mony a weary hag he limpit,
An' ay the tither shot he thumpit,
Till coward Death behind him jumpit,
Wi' deadly feide;
Now he proclaims, wi' tout o' trumpet,
Tam Samson 's dead!

When at his heart he felt the dagger,
He reel'd his wonted bottle-swagger,
But yet he drew the mortal trigger,
Wi' weel-aim’d heed;
"Lord, five!" he cry'd, an' owre did stagger;
Tam Samson 's dead!

Ilk hoary Hunter mourn'd a brither;
Ilk Sportsman-youth bemoan'd a father;
Yon auld gray stane, amang the heather,
Marks out his head,
Whare Burns has wrote, in rhyming blether,
Tam Samson 's dead!

There, low he lies, in lasting rest;
Perhaps upon his mould'ring breast
Some spitefu' muirfowl bigs her nest
To hatch an' breed:
Alas! nae mair he 'll them molest!
Tam Samson 's dead!

When August winds the heather wave,
And Sportsmen wander by yon grave,
Three vollies let his mem’ry crave,
O' pouther an' lead,
Till Echo answer frae her cave,
Tam Samson 's dead!

Heav'n rest his saul whare'er he be!
Is th' wish o' mony mae than me:
He had twa fauts, or maybe three,
Yet what remead?
Ae social, honest man want we:
Tam Samson 's dead!

THE EPITAPH
Tam Samson's weel-worn clay here lies,
Ye canting Zealots, spare him!
If Honest Worth in heaven rise,
Ye'll mend or ye win near him.

PER CONTRA
Go, Fame, an' canter like a filly
Thro' a' the streets an' neuks o' Killie,
Tell ev'ry social, honest billie
To cease his grievin',
For yet, unskaith’d by Death's gleg gullie,
Tam Samson 's livin!