“The Trial of the Muir-Cock”
Judges, of old, amongst the feather’d flock,
A diet held to try this mad muir-cock,
Who stood indicted by a learn’d gormaw,
The eagle’s advocate and flisk of law:
His crimes were very great and very gross, 5
Enough to sink the muir, and blast the moss,
Muir-Cock, you stand accus’d of being a cheat,
Using bad means to purchase drink and meat;
Though you was early consecrate a priest, 10
Sham’d godly birds, and turn’d a drunken beast.
Deny’d the eagle’s title to the crown;
And from two rich well feather’d nests pull’d down;
Was stigmatiz’d before the high sanhedrim,
But their correction made you grow more slim. 15
Of late you laid a most pernicious plot,
For liquor to your all devouring throat;
By hellish arts your purpose brought about,
Marry’d a simple bird to your suspected pout:
Though she were virtuous, still it would be said, 20
She had a pimping, though a preaching dad:
Which being prov’d by verdict of assize,
The pannel’s either banished or dies.
The jury gave a formidable stroke,
And sentence thus went out against the cock. 25
Muir-cock, for this high aggravated crime,
We banish you into a foreign clime.
Gled, take him to the peak of Teneriff,
There nail his foot; and to augment his grief, 30
Set drink at distance from him for a mock,
Till vultures wonder and devour the COCK.
2 diet “A day fixed for a particular meeting or assembly (Scottish)” (OED).
3 gormaw “The cormorant” (Dictionaries of the Scots Language).
22 assize “The jury (Scottish)” (OED).
23 pannel “The accused” (Dictionaries of the Scots Language).
29 Gled “The common kite” (Dictionaries of the Scots Language); the peak of Teneriff Mt. Teide, a volcano on Tenerife, the largest island of Spain’s Canary Islands.
SOURCE: A Collection of Scots Poems on Several Occasions (Edinburgh, 1769), pp. 48-49. [Google Books]
Edited by Daisy Downie