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Tam O'Shanter   By: (1759-1796)

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First Page:

[Illustration: She tauld thee well thou was a skellum.]

Tam O' Shanter.

Robert Burns.

Decorations by Harry L. Miller.

The Saalfield Publishing Company. Akron Ohio New York Chicago.


[Illustration: List of Decorations.]


"She tauld thee well thou was a skellum" Frontispiece

"The landlady and Tam grew gracious" 13

"Well mounted on his grey mare, Meg" 19

"The dancers quick and quicker flew" 27




Tam o' Shanter.

A Tale.

WHEN chapman billies leave the street, And drouthy neebors, neebors meet, As market days are wearing late, An' folk begin to tak the gate; While we sit bousing at the nappy, An' getting fou and unco happy, We think na on the lang Scots miles, The mosses, waters, slaps, and styles, That lie between us and our hame, Whar sits our sulky sullen dame, Gathering her brows like gathering storm, Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter, As he frae Ayr ae night did canter (Auld Ayr wham ne'er a town surpasses For honest men and bonny lasses).

O Tam! hadst thou but been sae wise, As ta'en thy ain wife Kate's advice! She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum, A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum; That frae November till October, Ae market day thou was nae sober; That lika melder, wi' the miller, Thou sat as lang as thou had siller; That ev'ry naig was ca'd a shoe on, The smith and thee gat roaring fou on; That at the L d's house, ev'n on Sunday, Thou drank wi' Kirton Jean till Monday. She prophesy'd that late or soon, Thou would be found deep drown'd in Doon; Or catch'd wi' warlocks in the mirk, By Alloway's auld haunted kirk.

[Illustration: The landlady and Tam grew gracious.]

Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet, To think how mony counsels sweet, How mony lengthen'd sage advices, The husband frae the wife despises!

But to our tale: Ae market night, Tam had got planted unco right; Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely, Wi' reaming swats, that drank divinely; And at his elbow, Souter Johnny, His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony; Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither; They had been fou for weeks thegither. The night drave on wi' sangs an' clatter; And ay the ale was growing better: The landlady and Tam grew gracious, Wi' favors, secret, sweet, and precious: The Souter tauld his queerest stories; The landlord's laugh was ready chorus: The storm without might rair and rustle, Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.

Care, mad to see a man sae happy, E'en drown'd himself amang the nappy, As bees flee hame wi' lades o' treasure, The minutes wing'd their way wi' pleasure: Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious, O'er a' the ills o' life victorious!

But pleasures are like poppies spread, You seize the flow'r, its bloom is shed; Or like the snow falls in the river, A moment white then melt forever; Or like the borealis race, That flit ere you can point their place; Or like the rainbow's lovely form Evanishing amid the storm. Nae man can tether time or tide; The hour approaches Tam maun ride; That hour, o' night's black arch the key stane, That dreary hour he mounts his beast in, And sic a night he taks the road in; As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in.

[Illustration: Well mounted on his grey mare, Meg... Continue reading book >>

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