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PAGE 4

The Jolly Beggars: A Cantata
by [?]

[Footnote 2: Homer is allowed to be the
oldest ballad-singer on record.–R.B.]

I never drank the Muses’ stank,
Castalia’s burn, an’ a’ that;
But there it streams an’ richly reams,
My Helicon I ca’ that.
For a’ that, etc.

Great love Idbear to a’ the fair,
Their humble slave an’ a’ that;
But lordly will, I hold it still
A mortal sin to thraw that.
For a’ that, etc.

In raptures sweet, this hour we meet,
Wi’ mutual love an’ a’ that;
But for how lang the flie may stang,
Let inclination law that.
For a’ that, etc.

Their tricks an’ craft hae put me daft,
They’ve taen me in, an’ a’ that;
But clear your decks, and here’s–“The Sex!”
I like the jads for a’ that.

Chorus

For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
An’ twice as muckle’s a’ that;
My dearest bluid, to do them guid,
They’re welcome till’t for a’ that.

Recitativo

So sang the bard–and Nansie’s wa’s
Shook with a thunder of applause,
Re-echo’d from each mouth!
They toom’d their pocks, they pawn’d their duds,
They scarcely left to co’er their fuds,
To quench their lowin drouth:
Then owre again, the jovial thrang
The poet did request
To lowse his pack an’ wale a sang,
A ballad o’ the best;
He rising, rejoicing,
Between his twa Deborahs,
Looks round him, an’ found them
Impatient for the chorus.

Air

Tune–“Jolly Mortals, fill your Glasses.”

See the smoking bowl before us,
Mark our jovial ragged ring!
Round and round take up the chorus,
And in raptures let us sing–

Chorus

A fig for those by law protected!
Liberty’s a glorious feast!
Courts for cowards were erected,
Churches built to please the priest.

What is title, what is treasure,
What is reputation’s care?
If we lead a life of pleasure,
‘Tis no matter how or where!
A fig for, etc.

With the ready trick and fable,
Round we wander all the day;
And at night in barn or stable,
Hug our doxies on the hay.
A fig for, etc.

Does the train-attended carriage
Thro’ the country lighter rove?
Does the sober bed of marriage
Witness brighter scenes of love?
A fig for, etc.

Life is al a variorum,
We regard not how it goes;
Let them cant about decorum,
Who have character to lose.
A fig for, etc.

Here’s to budgets, bags and wallets!
Here’s to all the wandering train.
Here’s our ragged brats and callets,
One and all cry out, Amen!

Chorus

A fig for those by law protected!
Liberty’s a glorious feast!
Courts for cowards were erected,
Churches built to please the priest.

1785