“Aye follow your calling wi’ steady endeavour,
In firmness o’ purpose, that naething can waver;
And you’ll find in your youth, that your fortune is mending,
If you manage to mak’ daily mair than you’re spending;
And, believe me, the auld proverb’s true to the letter—
The less that you need, your friends like you the better,
And, the publican’s fireside’s the dearest, you’ll see,
Siclike were the sayings o’ Peter McD—.
O the worth o’ that parent, whose precepts he treasured,
And the love o’ that mither’s heart!—ne’er to be measured—
Wha morning and e’en, saft as simmer’s wind moanest,
Sang, “Bairnie, has pride, though you’re poor aye be honest,
Keep back frae the cheatrei, nor do to anither
What wad bring a tear to the e’e o’ your mither—
That the red flash o’ shame on her cheek ne’er may be,
By the sayings or doings o’ Peter McD—.”
So he grew up a man, wi’ a fortified heart
‘Gainst a’ kinds o’ roguery, in airt or in pairt;
Though he’s often been trick’d by the smooth-lipped knave,
And wrong’d by the ane he assisted to save—
He ne’er stoop’d to the meanness o’ fraud and deceit,
To mak’ up his losses, although they were great;
And Providence pour’d, like a spate o’er the lea,
Baith business and wealth upon Peter McD—.
As a master, though gleg—yet o’erlooking a faut
In the shape o’ a dram, nor lets on that he saw’t;
And the ne’er-do-weel loon, be it said to his shame,
When there’s nought but the bare wa’s to look on at hame,
Comes to him wi’ his plaint, a sma’ pittance to spare
To keep wife an’ weans frae the sheugh o’ despair—
Like the bite an’ the buffet a mither does gi’e,
Came the crown an’ the counsel, frae Peter McD—.
Though no a bred scholar, his judgment is such,
He staps to conclusions ere logic can touch;
At a twa-handed crack o’er some kittle laid plan,
Ye’ll find ye ha’e met wi’ a sensible man;
Wha the fop’ries o’ speech can afford to disdain,
And in guid hamely Scotch, a’ he thinks can explain;
Nae chains round his neck, nor glass stuck on his e’e,
Nor rings on his fingers, need Peter McD—.
Lang may you be spared! now the haffets are gray
I’ve seen black as the raven, in life’s early day;
Though hearty thy laugh, and thy joke cheerfu’ still
The e’enin’ will come, the sun sink o’er the hill.
While the sands o’ thy days are permitted to run,
May you hear your gear spoke o’ as gear honest won;
At lang an’-the-last then, when life tak’s the gee,
May we shake han’s, to meet again, Peter McD—.