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From 'On seeing a butterfly in the street'

16th July 2009

DAFT gowk, in macaroni dress,
Are ye come here to shew your face,
Bowden wi' pride o' simmer gloss,
To cast a dash at Reikie's cross;
And glowr at mony twa-legg'd creature,
Flees braw by art, tho' worms by nature?

Like country laird in city cleeding,
Ye're come to town to lear' good breeding;
To bring ilk darling toast and fashion,
In vogue amang the flee creation,
That they, like buskit belles and beaus,
May crook their mou' fu' sour at those
Whase weird is still to creep, alas!
Unnotic'd 'mang the humble grass;
While you, wi' wings new buskit trim,
Can far frae yird an' reptiles skim;
Newfangle grown wi' new got form,
Your soar aboon your mither worm.

Kind nature lent but for a day
Her wings to mak ye sprush an' gay;
In her habuliments a while
Ye may your former sel’ beguile,
And ding awa' the vexing thought
O' hourly dwyning into nought,
By beenging to your foppish brithers,
Black corbies dress'd in peacocks' feathers;
Like thee they dander here an' there,
Whan simmer's blinks are warm an' fair,
An' loo to snuff the healthy balm
Whan' ev’nin’ spreads her wing sae calm;
But whan she grins an' glowrs sae dow'r,
Frae Borean houff in angry show'r,
Like thee they scoug frae street or field,
An' hap them in a lyther bield;
For they war never made to dree
The adverse gloom o' Fortune's eie,
Nor ever pried life's pining woes,
Nor pu'd the prickles wi' the rose…

Robert Fergusson (1750-1774)

Selected by the Scottish Poetry Library