My memory's no worth a preen;
     I had amaist forgotten clean,
     Ye bade me write you what they mean
     By this "new-light,"
     'Bout which our herds sae aft hae been
     Maist like to fight.

     In days when mankind were but callans
     At grammar, logic, an' sic talents,
     They took nae pains their speech to balance,
     Or rules to gie;
     But spak their thoughts in plain, braid lallans,
     Like you or me.

     In thae auld times, they thought the moon,
     Just like a sark, or pair o' shoon,
     Wore by degrees, till her last roon
     Gaed past their viewin;
     An' shortly after she was done
     They gat a new ane.

     This passed for certain, undisputed;
     It ne'er cam i' their heads to doubt it,
     Till chiels gat up an' wad confute it,
     An' ca'd it wrang;
     An' muckle din there was about it,
     Baith loud an' lang.

     Some herds, weel learn'd upo' the beuk,
     Wad threap auld folk the thing misteuk;
     For 'twas the auld moon turn'd a neuk
     An' out of' sight,
     An' backlins-comin to the leuk
     She grew mair bright.

     This was deny'd, it was affirm'd;
     The herds and hissels were alarm'd
     The rev'rend gray-beards rav'd an' storm'd,
     That beardless laddies
     Should think they better wer inform'd,
     Than their auld daddies.

     Frae less to mair, it gaed to sticks;
     Frae words an' aiths to clours an' nicks;
     An monie a fallow gat his licks,
     Wi' hearty crunt;
     An' some, to learn them for their tricks,
     Were hang'd an' brunt.

     This game was play'd in mony lands,
     An' auld-light caddies bure sic hands,
     That faith, the youngsters took the sands
     Wi' nimble shanks;
     Till lairds forbad, by strict commands,
     Sic bluidy pranks.

     But new-light herds gat sic a cowe,
     Folk thought them ruin'd stick-an-stowe;
     Till now, amaist on ev'ry knowe
     Ye'll find ane plac'd;
     An' some their new-light fair avow,
     Just quite barefac'd.

     Nae doubt the auld-light flocks are bleatin;
     Their zealous herds are vex'd an' sweatin;
     Mysel', I've even seen them greetin
     Wi' girnin spite,
     To hear the moon sae sadly lied on
     By word an' write.

     But shortly they will cowe the louns!
     Some auld-light herds in neebor touns
     Are mind't, in things they ca' balloons,
     To tak a flight;
     An' stay ae month amang the moons
     An' see them right.

     Guid observation they will gie them;
     An' when the auld moon's gaun to lea'e them,
     The hindmaist shaird, they'll fetch it wi' them
     Just i' their pouch;
     An' when the new-light billies see them,
     I think they'll crouch!

     Sae, ye observe that a' this clatter
     Is naething but a "moonshine matter";
     But tho' dull prose-folk Latin splatter
     In logic tulyie,
     I hope we bardies ken some better
     Than mind sic brulyie.