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ĠIBBIE GANE GYTE,
ON THE GREAT CAU
OF FAILURE IN TRADE.
Wherefore, because my manner is but rude,
Quoth Sir David LINDSAY of the Mount. *
Here wind a canty couple in the west, Ance in a day, of mickle means possesst ; But stern Misfortune, with a roaring jaw, Came like a spate, swept bairns and gear awa';
* In Sir David Lindsay's Prologue to the Complaint of the Papingo, the last line of the above quotation reads thus: “ To Landwart lasses that milk kine and ewes.” The author has taken the liberty of varying it, merely with the intention of making it more applicable to his subject.
And left them nought of a' the stock they had,
The sage-like sire perceived, with heartfelt joy, His footsteps follow'd by his thriving boy ; But the gudewife was bent, though a' should sour, To have him made a man of mickle power, That could in shop or banking-office clerk, And flash about with boots and ruffled sark. Although the auld man felt his body fail, Unfit to thrash or lag at the plough-tail ; And though he saw, if Gib would turn his back, The farm, and all he had, would gang to wreck; Yet bis auld doating dame to make content, Gib to the town academy was sent.
The well-won gear, which unremitting toil Drew from the surface of a barren soil, When taken all, each little score to pay, In town contracted during Gilbert's stay, The hindmost nag was sold to buy him claise, The hindmost cow the rector's fee to raise ; The stack-yard next, and full potatoe neuks, Were toom'd to pay his boarding and his books;
And last of all, the ground and growing crop
His young companions, on the market-day, Now often meet in clusters to survey Young Gilbert's name, in gowden letters grace The largest building in the market-place; To wonder at his window's varied store, Or view the bales and boxes at his door ; And if they have a trifle out to lay, To put it in a former neighbour's way, Who oft with them the Lammas tower would raise, Or on the mountain feed the Beltan blaze ; Who had with them for wedding bruises run, And from them oft the harvest maiden won; Expecting still their youthful friend to find As in the country, complaisant and kind. But soon they see his eye indignant glance, On ev'ry word in friendship they advance ; And soon they find, that people to them strange, Will use them much discreeter for their change.
No more the morning cock, with rousing craw, Awakens Gib to toil ere,daylight daw ; Though rest to him was sweeter, when he lay On crops of heather, or a wad of hay; As long as other gentry of the town He strives to slumber on his bed of down. Though breakfast over is, an hour must pass, Ere he by any can be seen in dress : The coffee-room he visits, then to see For late reports, if any gazettes be ; And if he chances other prigs to meet, Another hour he will parade the street. So usual thus, the shop-boys think it soon, If they their gentle master see at noon. Behind the counter, busy to appear, He always stands with pen behind his ear: Nor to his warehouse comes a lady, who Would speak as fine as Gilbert strives to do ; His highest aim, and eke his only care, Is now to gab and gossip with the fair. Few shine like him at either ball or rout, To which he nightly is invited out; And ere he is establish'd long in life, He finds himself entangled with a wife.
But what think ye of the poor simple hash,
The honey-moon ne'er pass'd so swift away, With any couple half so blest as they ; Both day and night they gossip up and down, Until they've dined and supp'd with half the town. At Gilbert's mansion next, with much parade, These great civilities must be repaid : The house, the plate, the cook’ry and the wine, To hear extoll'd still pleases Gilbert fine. But such is human weakness, human pride, We shew ourselves, that others may deride : These gaudy kimmers by themselves, unseen, Marking how short Gib had in business been, Much wonder'd whence this mighty grandeur came, And drew the blackest omens from the same.
But Gilbert's downfal was not quite so near