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382 Works of Robert Burns

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O Thou whom Poetry abhors, Whom Prose has turned out of doors, Heard’st thou yon groan?–proceed no further, ‘Twas laurel’d Martial calling murther.

My blessings on ye, honest wife!I ne’er was here before;Ye’ve wealth o’ gear for spoon and knife–Heart could not wish for more.Heav’n keep you clear o’ sturt and strife,Till far ayont fourscore,And while I toddle on thro’ life,I’ll ne’er gae by your door! 1787

Dear _______, I’ll gie ye some advice,You’ll tak it no uncivil:You shouldna paint at angels mair,But try and paint the devil. To paint an Angel’s kittle wark,Wi’ Nick, there’s little danger:You’ll easy draw a lang-kent face,But no sae weel a stranger.–R. B. 1787

[The Nobleman is James, Fourteenth Earl of Glencairn.] Whose is that noble, dauntless brow?And whose that eye of fire?And whose that generous princely mien,E’en rooted foes admire? Stranger! to justly show that brow,And mark that eye of fire,Would take His hand, whose vernal tintsHis other works admire. Bright as a cloudless summer sun,With stately port […]

[Spoken by Mr. Woods on his benefit-night, Monday, 16th April, 1787.] When, by a generous Public’s kind acclaim,That dearest meed is granted–honest fame;Waen here your favour is the actor’s lot,Nor even the man in private life forgot;What breast so dead to heavenly Virtue’s glow,But heaves impassion’d with the grateful throe? Poor is the task to […]

The heather was blooming, the meadows were mawn,Our lads gaed a-hunting ae day at the dawn,O’er moors and o’er mosses and mony a glen,At length they discover’d a bonie moor-hen. Chorus.–I rede you, beware at the hunting, young men,I rede you, beware at the hunting, young men;Take some on the wing, and some as they […]

My Lord A-Hunting

Story type: Poetry

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Chorus.–My lady’s gown, there’s gairs upon’t,And gowden flowers sae rare upon’t;But Jenny’s jimps and jirkinet,My lord thinks meikle mair upon’t. My lord a-hunting he is gone,But hounds or hawks wi’ him are nane;By Colin’s cottage lies his game,If Colin’s Jenny be at hame.My lady’s gown, etc. My lady’s white, my lady’s red,And kith and kin […]

Gudewife of Wauchope–House, Roxburghshire. Gudewife, I Mind it weel in early date,When I was bardless, young, and blate,An’ first could thresh the barn,Or haud a yokin’ at the pleugh;An, tho’ forfoughten sair eneugh,Yet unco proud to learn:When first amang the yellow cornA man I reckon’d was,An’ wi’ the lave ilk merry mornCould rank my rig […]

Inscription for the Headstone of Fergusson the Poet [1] No sculptured marble here, nor pompous lay,“No storied urn nor animated bust;”This simple stone directs pale Scotia’s way,To pour her sorrows o’er the Poet’s dust. Additional Stanzas She mourns, sweet tuneful youth, thy hapless fate;Tho’ all the powers of song thy fancy fired,Yet Luxury and Wealth […]

Shrewd Willie Smellie to Crochallan came;The old cock’d hat, the grey surtout the same;His bristling beard just rising in its might,‘Twas four long nights and days to shaving night:His uncomb’d grizzly locks, wild staring, thatch’dA head for thought profound and clear, unmatch’d;Yet tho’ his caustic wit was biting-rude,His heart was warm, benevolent, and good. 1787

As I cam by Crochallan,I cannilie keekit ben;Rattlin’, roarin’ WillieWas sittin at yon boord-en’;Sittin at yon boord-en,And amang gude companie;Rattlin’, roarin’ Willie,You’re welcome hame to me! 1787

Tune–“Killiercrankie.” Lord Advocate He clenched his pamphlet in his fist,He quoted and he hinted,Till, in a declamation-mist,His argument he tint it:He gaped for’t, he graped for’t,He fand it was awa, man;But what his common sense came short,He eked out wi’ law, man. Mr. Erskine Collected, Harry stood awee,Then open’d out his arm, man;His Lordship sat […]

Again the silent wheels of timeTheir annual round have driven,And you, tho’ scarce in maiden prime,Are so much nearer Heaven. No gifts have I from Indian coastsThe infant year to hail;I send you more than India boasts,In Edwin’s simple tale. Our sex with guile, and faithless love,Is charg’d, perhaps too true;But may, dear maid, each […]

Bonie Dundee

Story type: Poetry

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My blessin’s upon thy sweet wee lippie!My blessin’s upon thy e’e-brie!Thy smiles are sae like my blythe sodger laddie,Thou’s aye the dearer, and dearer to me! But I’ll big a bow’r on yon bonie banks,Whare Tay rins wimplin’ by sae clear;An’ I’ll cleed thee in the tartan sae fine,And mak thee a man like thy […]

Edina! Scotia’s darling seat!All hail thy palaces and tow’rs,Where once, beneath a Monarch’s feet,Sat Legislation’s sov’reign pow’rs:From marking wildly scatt’red flow’rs,As on the banks of Ayr I stray’d,And singing, lone, the lingering hours,I shelter in they honour’d shade. Here Wealth still swells the golden tide,As busy Trade his labours plies;There Architecture’s noble prideBids elegance and […]

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,Great chieftain o’ the pudding-race!Aboon them a’ yet tak your place,Painch, tripe, or thairm:Weel are ye wordy o’a graceAs lang’s my arm. The groaning trencher there ye fill,Your hurdies like a distant hill,Your pin was help to mend a millIn time o’need,While thro’ your pores the dews distilLike amber bead. […]

A Winter Night

Story type: Poetry

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Poor naked wretches, wheresoe’er you are,That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm!How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides,Your loop’d and window’d raggedness, defend youFrom seasons such as these?–Shakespeare. When biting Boreas, fell and dour,Sharp shivers thro’ the leafless bow’r;When Phoebus gies a short-liv’d glow’r,Far south the lift,Dim-dark’ning thro’ the flaky show’r,Or whirling drift: […]

Yon wild mossy mountains sae lofty and wide,That nurse in their bosom the youth o’ the Clyde,Where the grouse lead their coveys thro’ the heather to feed,And the shepherd tends his flock as he pipes on his reed. Not Gowrie’s rich valley, nor Forth’s sunny shores,To me hae the charms o’yon wild, mossy moors;For there, […]

Rusticity’s ungainly formMay cloud the highest mind;But when the heart is nobly warm,The good excuse will find. Propriety’s cold, cautious rulesWarm fervour may o’erlook:But spare poor sensibilityTh’ ungentle, harsh rebuke. 1786

Hail, thairm-inspirin’, rattlin’ Willie!Tho’ fortune’s road be rough an’ hillyTo every fiddling, rhyming billie,We never heed,But take it like the unback’d filly,Proud o’ her speed. When, idly goavin’, whiles we saunter,Yirr! fancy barks, awa we canter,Up hill, down brae, till some mischanter,Some black bog-hole,Arrests us; then the scathe an’ banterWe’re forced to thole. Hale be […]

The Farewell

Story type: Poetry

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The valiant, in himself, what can he suffer?Or what does he regard his single woes?But when, alas! he multiplies himself,To dearer serves, to the lov’d tender fair,To those whose bliss, whose beings hang upon him,To helpless children,–then, Oh then, he feelsThe point of misery festering in his heart,And weakly weeps his fortunes like a coward:Such, […]

An honest man’s the noblest work of God–Pope. When this worthy old sportman went out, last muirfowl season, he supposed it was to be, in Ossian’s phrase, “the last of his fields,” and expressed an ardent wish to die and be buried in the muirs. On this hint the author composed his elegy and epitaph.–R.B., […]

Tam Samson’s weel-worn clay here liesYe canting zealots, spare him!If honest worth in Heaven rise,Ye’ll mend or ye win near him. 1786

Per Contra

Story type: Poetry

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Go, Fame, an’ canter like a fillyThro’ a’ the streets an’ neuks o’ Killie;Tell ev’ry social honest billieTo cease his grievin’;For, yet unskaithed by Death’s gleg gullie.Tam Samson’s leevin’! 1786

Lines On Meeting with Lord Daer[1] This wot ye all whom it concerns,I, Rhymer Robin, alias Burns,October twenty-third,A ne’er-to-be-forgotten day,Sae far I sprackl’d up the brae,I dinner’d wi’ a Lord. I’ve been at drucken writers’ feasts,Nay, been bitch-fou ‘mang godly priests–Wi’ rev’rence be it spoken!–I’ve even join’d the honour’d jorum,When mighty Squireships of the quorum,Their […]

Masonic Song

Story type: Poetry

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Tune–“Shawn-boy,” or “Over the water to Charlie.” Ye sons of old Killie, assembled by Willie,To follow the noble vocation;Your thrifty old mother has scarce such anotherTo sit in that honoured station.I’ve little to say, but only to pray,As praying’s the ton of your fashion;A prayer from thee Muse you well may excuse‘Tis seldom her favourite […]

Tune–“Roslin Castle.” “I composed this song as I conveyed my chest so far on my road to Greenock, where I was to embark in a few days for Jamaica. I meant it as my farewell dirge to my native land.”–R. B. The gloomy night is gath’ring fast,Loud roars the wild, inconstant blast,Yon murky cloud is […]

My curse upon your venom’d stang,That shoots my tortur’d gums alang,An’ thro’ my lug gies mony a twang,Wi’ gnawing vengeance,Tearing my nerves wi’ bitter pang,Like racking engines! When fevers burn, or argues freezes,Rheumatics gnaw, or colics squeezes,Our neibor’s sympathy can ease us,Wi’ pitying moan;But thee–thou hell o’ a’ diseases–Aye mocks our groan. Adown my beard […]

Fragment Of Song

Story type: Poetry

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The night was still, and o’er the hillThe moon shone on the castle wa’;The mavis sang, while dew-drops hangAround her on the castle wa’;Sae merrily they danced the ringFrae eenin’ till the cock did craw;And aye the o’erword o’ the springWas “Irvine’s bairns are bonie a’.” 1786

I’m now arrived–thanks to the gods!–Thro’ pathways rough and muddy,A certain sign that makin roadsIs no this people’s study:Altho’ Im not wi’ Scripture cram’d,I’m sure the Bible saysThat heedless sinners shall be damn’d,Unless they mend their ways. 1786

Lying at a reverend friend’s house one night, the author left the following verses in the room where he slept:– O Thou dread Power, who reign’st above,I know thou wilt me hear,When for this scene of peace and love,I make this prayer sincere. The hoary Sire–the mortal stroke,Long, long be pleas’d to spare;To bless this […]

What ails ye now, ye lousie bitchTo thresh my back at sic a pitch?Losh, man! hae mercy wi’ your natch,Your bodkin’s bauld;I didna suffer half sae muchFrae Daddie Auld. What tho’ at times, when I grow crouse,I gie their wames a random pouse,Is that enough for you to souseYour servant sae?Gae mind your seam, ye […]

The Brigs Of Ayr

Story type: Poetry

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Inscribed to John Ballantine, Esq., Ayr. The simple Bard, rough at the rustic plough,Learning his tuneful trade from ev’ry bough;The chanting linnet, or the mellow thrush,Hailing the setting sun, sweet, in the green thorn bush;The soaring lark, the perching red-breast shrill,Or deep-ton’d plovers grey, wild-whistling o’er the hill;Shall he–nurst in the peasant’s lowly shed,To hardy […]

Nature’s Law

Story type: Poetry

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Humbly inscribed to Gavin Hamilton, Esq. Great Nature spoke: observant man obey’d–Pope. Let other heroes boast their scars,The marks of sturt and strife:And other poets sing of wars,The plagues of human life: Shame fa’ the fun, wi’ sword and gunTo slap mankind like lumber!I sing his name, and nobler fame,Wha multiplies our number. Great Nature […]

Willie Chalmers

Story type: Poetry

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Mr. Chalmers, a gentleman in Ayrshire, a particular friend of mine, asked me to write a poetic epistle to a young lady, his Dulcinea. I had seen her, but was scarcely acquainted with her, and wrote as follows:– Wi’ braw new branks in mickle pride,And eke a braw new brechan,My Pegasus I’m got astride,And up […]

Farewell, old Scotia’s bleak domains,Far dearer than the torrid plains,Where rich ananas blow!Farewell, a mother’s blessing dear!A borther’s sigh! a sister’s tear!My Jean’s heart-rending throe!Farewell, my Bess! tho’ thou’rt bereftOf my paternal care.A faithful brother I have left,My part in him thou’lt share!Adieu, too, to you too,My Smith, my bosom frien’;When kindly you mind me,O […]

The Calf

Story type: Poetry

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To the Rev. James Steven, on his text, Malachi, ch. iv. vers. 2. “And yeshall go forth, and grow up, as Calves of the stall.” Right, sir! your text I’ll prove it true,Tho’ heretics may laugh;For instance, there’s yourself just now,God knows, an unco calf. And should some patron be so kind,As bless you wi’ […]

[Extempore Epistle to Gavin Hamilton, Esq.] To you, sir, this summons I’ve sent,Pray, whip till the pownie is freathing;But if you demand what I want,I honestly answer you–naething. Ne’er scorn a poor Poet like me,For idly just living and breathing,While people of every degreeAre busy employed about–naething. Poor Centum-per-centum may fast,And grumble his hurdies their […]

Once fondly lov’d, and still remember’d dear,Sweet early object of my youthful vows,Accept this mark of friendship, warm, sincere,Friendship! ’tis all cold duty now allows.And when you read the simple artless rhymes,One friendly sigh for him–he asks no more,Who, distant, burns in flaming torrid climes,Or haply lies beneath th’ Atlantic roar.

The simple Bard, unbroke by rules of art,He pours the wild effusions of the heart;And if inspir’d ’tis Nature’s pow’rs inspire;Her’s all the melting thrill, and her’s the kindling fire. 1786

Farewell, dear friend! may guid luck hit you,And ‘mang her favourites admit you:If e’er Detraction shore to smit you,May nane believe him,And ony deil that thinks to get you,Good Lord, deceive him! 1786

Wae worth thy power, thou cursed leaf!Fell source o’ a’ my woe and grief!For lack o’ thee I’ve lost my lass!For lack o’ thee I scrimp my glass!I see the children of afflictionUnaided, through thy curst restriction:I’ve seen the oppressor’s cruel smileAmid his hapless victim’s spoil;And for thy potence vainly wished,To crush the villain in […]

Tune–“Ettrick Banks.” ‘Twas even–the dewy fields were green,On every blade the pearls hang;The zephyr wanton’d round the bean,And bore its fragrant sweets alang:In ev’ry glen the mavis sang,All nature list’ning seem’d the while,Except where greenwood echoes rang,Amang the braes o’ Ballochmyle. With careless step I onward stray’d,My heart rejoic’d in nature’s joy,When, musing in a […]

Is there a whim-inspired fool,Owre fast for thought, owre hot for rule,Owre blate to seek, owre proud to snool,Let him draw near;And owre this grassy heap sing dool,And drap a tear. Is there a bard of rustic song,Who, noteless, steals the crowds among,That weekly this area throng,O, pass not by!But, with a frater-feeling strong,Here, heave […]

Hic Jacet wee Johnie. Whoe’er thou art, O reader, knowThat Death has murder’d Johnie;An’ here his body lies fu’ low;For saul he ne’er had ony. 1786

Tune–“Guidnight, and joy be wi’ you a’.” Adieu! a heart-warm fond adieu;Dear brothers of the mystic tie!Ye favoured, enlighten’d few,Companions of my social joy;Tho’ I to foreign lands must hie,Pursuing Fortune’s slidd’ry ba’;With melting heart, and brimful eye,I’ll mind you still, tho’ far awa. Oft have I met your social band,And spent the cheerful, festive […]

A’ ye wha live by sowps o’ drink,A’ ye wha live by crambo-clink,A’ ye wha live and never think,Come, mourn wi’ me!Our billie ‘s gien us a’ a jink,An’ owre the sea! Lament him a’ ye rantin core,Wha dearly like a random splore;Nae mair he’ll join the merry roar;In social key;For now he’s taen anither […]

Farewell To Eliza

Story type: Poetry

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Tune–“Gilderoy.” From thee, Eliza, I must go,And from my native shore;The cruel fates between us throwA boundless ocean’s roar:But boundless oceans, roaring wide,Between my love and me,They never, never can divideMy heart and soul from thee. Farewell, farewell, Eliza dear,The maid that I adore!A boding voice is in mine ear,We part to meet no more!But […]

Friday first’s the day appointedBy the Right Worshipful anointed, To hold our grand procession;To get a blad o’ Johnie’s morals,And taste a swatch o’ Manson’s barrels I’ the way of our profession.The Master and the BrotherhoodWould a’ be glad to see you;For me I would be mair than proud To share the mercies wi’ you.If […]

Expect na, sir, in this narration,A fleechin, fleth’rin Dedication,To roose you up, an’ ca’ you guid,An’ sprung o’ great an’ noble bluid,Because ye’re surnam’d like His Grace–Perhaps related to the race:Then, when I’m tir’d–and sae are ye,Wi’ mony a fulsome, sinfu’ lie,Set up a face how I stop short,For fear your modesty be hurt. This […]

Tune–“The deuks dang o’er my daddy.” Nae gentle dames, tho’ e’er sae fair,Shall ever be my muse’s care:Their titles a’ arc empty show;Gie me my Highland lassie, O. Chorus.–Within the glen sae bushy, O,Aboon the plain sae rashy, O,I set me down wi’ right guid will,To sing my Highland lassie, O. O were yon hills […]

May , 1786. I Lang hae thought, my youthfu’ friend,A something to have sent you,Tho’ it should serve nae ither endThan just a kind memento:But how the subject-theme may gang,Let time and chance determine;Perhaps it may turn out a sang:Perhaps turn out a sermon. Ye’ll try the world soon, my lad;And, Andrew dear, believe me,Ye’ll […]

To the Right Honourable the Earl of Breadalbane, President of the Right Honourable and Honourable the Highland Society, which met on the 23rd of May last at the Shakespeare, Covent Garden, to concert ways and means to frustrate the designs of five hundred Highlanders, who, as the Society were informed by Mr. M’Kenzie of Applecross, […]

Sir, Yours this moment I unseal,And faith I’m gay and hearty!To tell the truth and shame the deil,I am as fou as Bartie:But Foorsday, sir, my promise leal,Expect me o’ your partie,If on a beastie I can speel,Or hurl in a cartie. Yours, Robert Burns.Mauchlin, Monday night, 10 o’clock. 1786

Tune–“Will ye go to the Ewe-Bughts, Marion.” Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary,And leave auld Scotia’s shore?Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary,Across th’ Atlantic roar? O sweet grows the lime and the orange,And the apple on the pine;But a’ the charms o’ the IndiesCan never equal thine. I hae sworn by […]

Oppress’d with grief, oppress’d with care,A burden more than I can bear,I set me down and sigh;O life! thou art a galling load,Along a rough, a weary road,To wretches such as I!Dim backward as I cast my view,What sick’ning scenes appear!What sorrows yet may pierce me through,Too justly I may fear!Still caring, despairing,Must be my […]

Mossgaville, May 3, 1786. I hold it, sir, my bounden dutyTo warn you how that Master Tootie,Alias, Laird M’Gaun,Was here to hire yon lad away‘Bout whom ye spak the tither day,An’ wad hae don’t aff han’; But lest he learn the callan tricks–An’ faith I muckle doubt him–Like scrapin out auld Crummie’s nicks,An’ tellin lies […]

The Lament

Story type: Poetry

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Occasioned by the unfortunate issue of a Friend’s Amour. Alas! how oft does goodness would itself,And sweet affection prove the spring of woe! Home. O thou pale orb that silent shinesWhile care-untroubled mortals sleep!Thou seest a wretch who inly pines.And wanders here to wail and weep!With woe I nightly vigils keep,Beneath thy wan, unwarming beam;And […]

[On turning down with the Plough, in April, 1786.] Wee, modest crimson-tipped flow’r,Thou’s met me in an evil hour;For I maun crush amang the stoureThy slender stem:To spare thee now is past my pow’r,Thou bonie gem. Alas! it’s no thy neibor sweet,The bonie lark, companion meet,Bending thee ‘mang the dewy weet,Wi’ spreckl’d breast!When upward-springing, blythe, […]

To Ruin

Story type: Poetry

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All hail! inexorable lord!At whose destruction-breathing word,The mightiest empires fall!Thy cruel, woe-delighted train,The ministers of grief and pain,A sullen welcome, all! With stern-resolv’d, despairing eye,I see each aimed dart;For one has cut my dearest tie,And quivers in my heart.Then low’ring, and pouring,The storm no more I dread;Tho’ thick’ning, and black’ning,Round my devoted head. And thou […]

In answer to an obliging Letter he sentin the commencement of my poetic career. Sir, o’er a gill I gat your card,I trow it made me proud;“See wha taks notice o’ the bard!”I lap and cried fu’ loud. Now deil-ma-care about their jaw,The senseless, gawky million;I’ll cock my nose abune them a’,I’m roos’d by Craigen-Gillan! […]

Ha! whaur ye gaun, ye crowlin ferlie?Your impudence protects you sairly;I canna say but ye strunt rarely,Owre gauze and lace;Tho’, faith! I fear ye dine but sparelyOn sic a place. Ye ugly, creepin, blastit wonner,Detested, shunn’d by saunt an’ sinner,How daur ye set your fit upon her–Sae fine a lady?Gae somewhere else and seek your […]

Tune–“Jockey’s Grey Breeks.” Again rejoicing Nature seesHer robe assume its vernal hues:Her leafy locks wave in the breeze,All freshly steep’d in morning dews. Chorus.–And maun I still on Menie doat,And bear the scorn that’s in her e’e?For it’s jet, jet black, an’ it’s like a hawk,An’ it winna let a body be. In vain to […]

The Inventory

Story type: Poetry

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[The Inventory[1] In answer to a mandate by the Surveyor of the Taxes] Sir, as your mandate did request,I send you here a faithfu’ list,O’ gudes an’ gear, an’ a’ my graith,To which I’m clear to gi’e my aith. Imprimis, then, for carriage cattle,I hae four brutes o’ gallant mettle,As ever drew afore a pettle.My […]

Now, Kennedy, if foot or horseE’er bring you in by Mauchlin corse,(Lord, man, there’s lasses there wad forceA hermit’s fancy;An’ down the gate in faith they’re worse,An’ mair unchancy). But as I’m sayin, please step to Dow’s,An’ taste sic gear as Johnie brews,Till some bit callan bring me newsThat ye are there;An’ if we dinna […]

My Son, these maxims make a rule,An’ lump them aye thegither;The Rigid Righteous is a fool,The Rigid Wise anither:The cleanest corn that ere was dightMay hae some pyles o’ caff in;So ne’er a fellow-creature slightFor random fits o’ daffin. (Solomon.–Eccles. ch. vii. verse 16.) O ye wha are sae guid yoursel’,Sae pious and sae holy,Ye’ve […]

Tune–“Whare’ll our guidman lie.” O wha my babie-clouts will buy?O wha will tent me when I cry?Wha will kiss me where I lie?The rantin’ dog, the daddie o’t. O wha will own he did the faut?O wha will buy the groanin maut?O wha will tell me how to ca’t?The rantin’ dog, the daddie o’t. When […]

After 18th stanza of the text (at “His native land”):– With secret throes I marked that earth,That cottage, witness of my birth;And near I saw, bold issuing forthIn youthful pride,A Lindsay race of noble worth,Famed far and wide. Where, hid behind a spreading wood,An ancient Pict-built mansion stood,I spied, among an angel brood,A female pair;Sweet […]

Tune–“The Job of Journey-work.” Altho’ my back be at the wa’,And tho’ he be the fautor;Altho’ my back be at the wa’,Yet, here’s his health in water.O wae gae by his wanton sides,Sae brawlie’s he could flatter;Till for his sake I’m slighted sair,And dree the kintra clatter:But tho’ my back be at the wa’,And tho’ […]

The Vision (1786)

Story type: Poetry

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Duan First [1] The sun had clos’d the winter day,The curless quat their roarin play,And hunger’d maukin taen her way,To kail-yards green,While faithless snaws ilk step betrayWhare she has been. The thresher’s weary flingin-tree,The lee-lang day had tired me;And when the day had clos’d his e’e,Far i’ the west,Ben i’ the spence, right pensivelie,I gaed […]

Presented to the Author by a Lady. Thou flatt’ring mark of friendship kind,Still may thy pages call to mindThe dear, the beauteous donor;Tho’ sweetly female ev’ry part,Yet such a head, and more the heartDoes both the sexes honour:She show’d her taste refin’d and just,When she selected thee;Yet deviating, own I must,For sae approving me:But kind […]

To the Right Honourable and Honourable ScotchRepresentatives in the House of Commons.[1] Dearest of distillation! last and best– –How art thou lost!– Parody on Milton. Ye Irish lords, ye knights an’ squires,Wha represent our brughs an’ shires,An’ doucely manage our affairsIn parliament,To you a simple poet’s pray’rsAre humbly sent. Alas! my roupit Muse is hearse!Your […]

The Ordination

Story type: Poetry

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For sense they little owe to frugal Heav’n–To please the mob, they hide the little giv’n. Kilmarnock wabsters, fidge an’ claw,An’ pour your creeshie nations;An’ ye wha leather rax an’ draw,Of a’ denominations;Swith to the Ligh Kirk, ane an’ a’An’ there tak up your stations;Then aff to Begbie’s in a raw,An’ pour divine libationsFor joy […]

Friendship, mysterious cement of the soul!Sweet’ner of Life, and solder of Society!I owe thee much–Blair. Dear Smith, the slee’st, pawkie thief,That e’er attempted stealth or rief!Ye surely hae some warlock-briefOwre human hearts;For ne’er a bosom yet was priefAgainst your arts. For me, I swear by sun an’ moon,An’ ev’ry star that blinks aboon,Ye’ve cost me […]

[The Auld Farmer’s New-year-morning Salutation to His Auld Mare, Maggie on giving her the accustomed ripp of corn to hansel in the New Year.] A Guid New-year I wish thee, Maggie!Hae, there’s a ripp to thy auld baggie:Tho’ thou’s howe-backit now, an’ knaggie,I’ve seen the dayThou could hae gaen like ony staggie,Out-owre the lay. Tho’ […]

The Twa Dogs [1] ‘Twas in that place o’ Scotland’s isle,That bears the name o’ auld King Coil,Upon a bonie day in June,When wearin’ thro’ the afternoon,Twa dogs, that were na thrang at hame,Forgather’d ance upon a time. The first I’ll name, they ca’d him Caesar,Was keepit for His Honor’s pleasure:His hair, his size, his […]

Scotch Drink

Story type: Poetry

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Gie him strong drink until he wink,That’s sinking in despair;An’ liquor guid to fire his bluid,That’s prest wi’ grief and care:There let him bouse, an’ deep carouse,Wi’ bumpers flowing o’er,Till he forgets his loves or debts,An’ minds his griefs no more. (Solomon’s Proverbs, xxxi. 6, 7.) Let other poets raise a fracas‘Bout vines, an’ wines, […]

O Prince! O chief of many throned Pow’rsThat led th’ embattl’d Seraphim to war–Milton. O Thou! whatever title suit thee–Auld Hornie, Satan, Nick, or Clootie,Wha in yon cavern grim an’ sootie,Clos’d under hatches,Spairges about the brunstane cootie,To scaud poor wretches! Hear me, auld Hangie, for a wee,An’ let poor damned bodies be;I’m sure sma’ pleasure […]

For A’ That

Story type: Poetry

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Song–for A’ That[1]Tune–“For a’ that.” Tho’ women’s minds, like winter winds,May shift, and turn, an’ a’ that,The noblest breast adores them maist–A consequence I draw that. Chorus For a’ that, an’ a’ that,And twice as meikle’s a’ that;The bonie lass that I loe bestShe’ll be my ain for a’ that. Great love I bear to […]

Tune–“The bob O’ Dumblane.” O Merry hae I been teethin’ a heckle,An’ merry hae I been shapin’ a spoon;O merry hae I been cloutin’ a kettle,An’ kissin’ my Katie when a’ was done.O a’ the lang day I ca’ at my hammer,An’ a’ the lang day I whistle and sing;O a’ the lang night I […]

Inscribed to R. Aiken, Esq., of Ayr. Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,Their homely joys, and destiny obscure;Nor Grandeur hear, with a disdainful smile,The short and simple annals of the Poor.Gray. My lov’d, my honour’d, much respected friend!No mercenary bard his homage pays;With honest pride, I scorn each selfish end,My dearest meed, a friend’s […]

Recitativo When lyart leaves bestrow the yird,Or wavering like the bauckie-bird,Bedim cauld Boreas’ blast;When hailstanes drive wi’ bitter skyte,And infant frosts begin to bite,In hoary cranreuch drest;Ae night at e’en a merry coreO’ randie, gangrel bodies,In Poosie-Nansie’s held the splore,To drink their orra duddies;Wi’ quaffing an’ laughing,They ranted an’ they sang,Wi’ jumping an’ thumping,The vera […]

Here lies Johnie Pigeon;What was his religion?Whae’er desires to ken,To some other warl’Maun follow the carl,For here Johnie Pigeon had nane! Strong ale was ablution,Small beer persecution,A dram was memento mori;But a full-flowing bowlWas the saving his soul,And port was celestial glory. 1785

Lament him, Mauchline husbands a’,He aften did assist ye;For had ye staid hale weeks awa,Your wives they ne’er had miss’d ye. Ye Mauchline bairns, as on ye pressTo school in bands thegither,O tread ye lightly on his grass,–Perhaps he was your father! 1785

Gude pity me, because I’m little!For though I am an elf o’ mettle,An’ can, like ony wabster’s shuttle,Jink there or here,Yet, scarce as lang’s a gude kail-whittle,I’m unco queer. An’ now Thou kens our waefu’ case;For Geordie’s jurr we’re in disgrace,Because we stang’d her through the place,An’ hurt her spleuchan;For whilk we daurna show our […]

To A Mouse

Story type: Poetry

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[To a Mouse, On Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough, November, 1785] Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie,O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!Thou need na start awa sae hasty,Wi’ bickering brattle!I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,Wi’ murd’ring pattle! I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,Has broken nature’s social union,An’ justifies that […]

Tune–“Miss Forbe’s farewell to Banff.” The Catrine woods were yellow seen,The flowers decay’d on Catrine lee,Nae lav’rock sang on hillock green,But nature sicken’d on the e’e.Thro’ faded groves Maria sang,Hersel’ in beauty’s bloom the while;And aye the wild-wood ehoes rang,Fareweel the braes o’ Ballochmyle! Low in your wintry beds, ye flowers,Again ye’ll flourish fresh and […]

Her flowing locks, the raven’s wing,Adown her neck and bosom hing;How sweet unto that breast to cling,And round that neck entwine her! Her lips are roses wat wi’ dew,O’ what a feast her bonie mou’!Her cheeks a mair celestial hue,A crimson still diviner! 1785

A Brother Poet Auld Neibour,I’m three times doubly o’er your debtor,For your auld-farrant, frien’ly letter;Tho’ I maun say’t I doubt ye flatter,Ye speak sae fair;For my puir, silly, rhymin clatterSome less maun sair. Hale be your heart, hale be your fiddle,Lang may your elbuck jink diddle,To cheer you thro’ the weary widdleO’ war’ly cares;Till barins’ […]

Tune–“Loch Eroch-side.” Young Peggy blooms our boniest lass,Her blush is like the morning,The rosy dawn, the springing grass,With early gems adorning.Her eyes outshine the radiant beamsThat gild the passing shower,And glitter o’er the crystal streams,And cheer each fresh’ning flower. Her lips, more than the cherries bright,A richer dye has graced them;They charm th’ admiring gazer’s […]

Guid speed and furder to you, Johnie,Guid health, hale han’s, an’ weather bonie;Now, when ye’re nickin down fu’ cannieThe staff o’ bread,May ye ne’er want a stoup o’ bran’yTo clear your head. May Boreas never thresh your rigs,Nor kick your rickles aff their legs,Sendin the stuff o’er muirs an’ haggsLike drivin wrack;But may the tapmost […]

Sept. 13, 1785. Inclosing A Copy Of “Holy Willie’s Prayer,”Which He Had Requested, Sept. 17, 1785 While at the stook the shearers cow’rTo shun the bitter blaudin’ show’r,Or in gulravage rinnin scowrTo pass the time,To you I dedicate the hourIn idle rhyme. My musie, tir’d wi’ mony a sonnetOn gown, an’ ban’, an’ douse black […]

The Holy Fair

Story type: Poetry

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[1] A robe of seeming truth and trustHid crafty Observation;And secret hung, with poison’d crust,The dirk of Defamation: A mask that like the gorget show’d,Dye-varying on the pigeon;And for a mantle large and broad,He wrapt him in Religion.Hypocrisy A-La-Mode Upon a simmer Sunday mornWhen Nature’s face is fair,I walked forth to view the corn,An’ snuff […]

Tune–“Daintie Davie.” There was a lad was born in Kyle,But whatna day o’ whatna style,I doubt it’s hardly worth the whileTo be sae nice wi’ Robin. Chor.–Robin was a rovin’ boy,Rantin’, rovin’, rantin’, rovin’,Robin was a rovin’ boy,Rantin’, rovin’, Robin! Our monarch’s hindmost year but aneWas five-and-twenty days begun [1],‘Twas then a blast o’ Janwar’ […]

[Note: Ruisseaux is French for rivulets or “burns,” a translation of his name.] Now Robin lies in his last lair,He’ll gabble rhyme, nor sing nae mair;Cauld poverty, wi’ hungry stare,Nae mair shall fear him;Nor anxious fear, nor cankert care,E’er mair come near him. To tell the truth, they seldom fash’d him,Except the moment that they […]

Author Of The Gospel Recovered.–August, 1785 O Gowdie, terror o’ the whigs,Dread o’ blackcoats and rev’rend wigs!Sour Bigotry, on her last legs,Girns an’ looks back,Wishing the ten Egyptian plaguesMay seize you quick. Poor gapin’, glowrin’ Superstition!Wae’s me, she’s in a sad condition:Fye: bring Black Jock, [1] her state physician,To see her water;Alas, there’s ground for […]

Schoolmaster, Ochiltree.–May, 1785 I gat your letter, winsome Willie;Wi’ gratefu’ heart I thank you brawlie;Tho’ I maun say’t, I wad be silly,And unco vain,Should I believe, my coaxin billieYour flatterin strain. But I’se believe ye kindly meant it:I sud be laith to think ye hintedIronic satire, sidelins sklentedOn my poor Musie;Tho’ in sic phraisin terms […]

Tune–“John Anderson, my jo.” One night as I did wander,When corn begins to shoot,I sat me down to ponderUpon an auld tree root;Auld Ayr ran by before me,And bicker’d to the seas;A cushat crooded o’er me,That echoed through the braes. . . . . . . 1785

Tune–“The Northern Lass.” Tho’ cruel fate should bid us part,Far as the pole and line,Her dear idea round my heart,Should tenderly entwine.Tho’ mountains, rise, and deserts howl,And oceans roar between;Yet, dearer than my deathless soul,I still would love my Jean.. . . . . . . 1785

April 1, 1785 While briers an’ woodbines budding green,An’ paitricks scraichin loud at e’en,An’ morning poussie whiddin seen,Inspire my muse,This freedom, in an unknown frien’,I pray excuse. On Fasten–e’en we had a rockin,To ca’ the crack and weave our stockin;And there was muckle fun and jokin,Ye need na doubt;At length we had a hearty yokinAt […]

April 21, 1785 While new-ca’d kye rowte at the stakeAn’ pownies reek in pleugh or braik,This hour on e’enin’s edge I take,To own I’m debtorTo honest-hearted, auld Lapraik,For his kind letter. Forjesket sair, with weary legs,Rattlin the corn out-owre the rigs,Or dealing thro’ amang the naigsTheir ten-hours’ bite,My awkart Muse sair pleads and begsI would […]

Some books are lies frae end to end,And some great lies were never penn’d:Ev’n ministers they hae been kenn’d,In holy rapture,A rousing whid at times to vend,And nail’t wi’ Scripture. But this that I am gaun to tell,Which lately on a night befell,Is just as true’s the Deil’s in hellOr Dublin city:That e’er he nearer […]

“And send the godly in a pet to pray.”–Pope. Argument. Holy Willie was a rather oldish bachelor elder, in the parish of Mauchline, and much and justly famed for that polemical chattering, which ends in tippling orthodoxy, and for that spiritualized bawdry which refines to liquorish devotion. In a sessional process with a gentleman in […]

Here Holy Willie’s sair worn clayTaks up its last abode;His saul has ta’en some other way,I fear, the left-hand road. Stop! there he is, as sure’s a gun,Poor, silly body, see him;Nae wonder he’s as black’s the grun,Observe wha’s standing wi’ him. Your brunstane devilship, I see,Has got him there before ye;But haud your nine-tail […]

An Unco Mournfu’ Tale “Blockheads with reason wicked wits abhor,But fool with fool is barbarous civil war,”–Pope. O a’ ye pious godly flocks,Weel fed on pastures orthodox,Wha now will keep you frae the fox,Or worrying tykes?Or wha will tent the waifs an’ crocks,About the dykes? The twa best herds in a’ the wast,The e’er ga’e […]

January While winds frae aff Ben-Lomond blaw,An’ bar the doors wi’ driving snaw,An’ hing us owre the ingle,I set me down to pass the time,An’ spin a verse or twa o’ rhyme,In hamely, westlin jingle.While frosty winds blaw in the drift,Ben to the chimla lug,I grudge a wee the great-folk’s gift,That live sae bien an’ […]

[Written With The Supposed View Of Being Handed To Rankine After The Poet’s Interment] He who of Rankine sang, lies stiff and dead,And a green grassy hillock hides his head;Alas! alas! a devilish change indeed.

When chill November’s surly blastMade fields and forests bare,One ev’ning, as I wander’d forthAlong the banks of Ayr,I spied a man, whose aged stepSeem’d weary, worn with care;His face furrow’d o’er with years,And hoary was his hair. “Young stranger, whither wand’rest thou?”Began the rev’rend sage;“Does thirst of wealth thy step constrain,Or youthful pleasure’s rage?Or haply, […]

Ae day, as Death, that gruesome carl,Was driving to the tither warl’A mixtie–maxtie motley squad,And mony a guilt-bespotted lad–Black gowns of each denomination,And thieves of every rank and station,From him that wears the star and garter,To him that wintles in a halter:Ashamed himself to see the wretches,He mutters, glowrin at the bitches, “By God I’ll […]

As Tam the chapman on a day,Wi’Death forgather’d by the way,Weel pleas’d, he greets a wight so famous,And Death was nae less pleas’d wi’ Thomas,Wha cheerfully lays down his pack,And there blaws up a hearty crack:His social, friendly, honest heartSae tickled Death, they could na part;Sae, after viewing knives and garters,Death taks him hame to […]

One Queen Artemisia, as old stories tell,When deprived of her husband she loved so well,In respect for the love and affection he show’d her,She reduc’d him to dust and she drank up the powder.But Queen Netherplace, of a diff’rent complexion,When called on to order the fun’ral direction,Would have eat her dead lord, on a slender […]

O Death, had’st thou but spar’d his life,Whom we this day lament,We freely wad exchanged the wife,And a’ been weel content. Ev’n as he is, cauld in his graff,The swap we yet will do’t;Tak thou the carlin’s carcase aff,Thou’se get the saul o’boot.

As father Adam first was fool’d,(A case that’s still too common,)Here lies man a woman ruled,The devil ruled the woman.

In Mauchline there dwells six proper young belles,The pride of the place and its neighbourhood a’;Their carriage and dress, a stranger would guess,In Lon’on or Paris, they’d gotten it a’. Miss Miller is fine, Miss Markland’s divine,Miss Smith she has wit, and Miss Betty is braw:There’s beauty and fortune to get wi’ Miss Morton,But Armour’s […]

Below thir stanes lie Jamie’s banes;O Death, it’s my opinion,Thou ne’er took such a bleth’rin bitchInto thy dark dominion!

O Leave Novels

Story type: Poetry

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[Footnote 1: Burns never published this poem.] O leave novels, ye Mauchline belles,Ye’re safer at your spinning-wheel;Such witching books are baited hooksFor rakish rooks, like Rob Mossgiel;Your fine Tom Jones and Grandisons,They make your youthful fancies reel;They heat your brains, and fire your veins,And then you’re prey for Rob Mossgiel. Beware a tongue that’s smoothly […]

Tune–“I had a horse, I had nae mair.” When first I came to Stewart Kyle,My mind it was na steady;Where’er I gaed, where’er I rade,A mistress still I had aye. But when I came roun’ by Mauchline toun,Not dreadin anybody,My heart was caught, before I thought,And by a Mauchline lady.

Tune–“Black Jock.” My girl she’s airy, she’s buxom and gay;Her breath is as sweet as the blossoms in May;A touch of her lips it ravishes quite:She’s always good natur’d, good humour’d, and free;She dances, she glances, she smiles upon me;I never am happy when out of her sight.

Enclosing Some Poems O Rough, rude, ready-witted Rankine,The wale o’ cocks for fun an’ drinkin!There’s mony godly folks are thinkin,Your dreams and tricksWill send you, Korah-like, a-sinkinStraught to auld Nick’s. Ye hae saw mony cracks an’ cants,And in your wicked, drucken rants,Ye mak a devil o’ the saunts,An’ fill them fou;And then their failings, flaws, […]

[The First Instance That Entitled Him To The Venerable Appellation Of Father] Thou’s welcome, wean; mishanter fa’ me,If thoughts o’ thee, or yet thy mamie,Shall ever daunton me or awe me,My bonie lady,Or if I blush when thou shalt ca’ meTyta or daddie. Tho’ now they ca’ me fornicator,An’ tease my name in kintry clatter,The […]

[Reply to an Announcement By J. Rankine On His Writing to the Poet, That A Girl In That Part Of The Country Was With A Child To Him.] I am a keeper of the lawIn some sma’ points, altho’ not a’;Some people tell me gin I fa’,Ae way or ither,The breaking of ae point, tho’ […]

Tune–“Killiecrankie.” When Guilford good our pilot stoodAn’ did our hellim thraw, man,Ae night, at tea, began a plea,Within America, man:Then up they gat the maskin-pat,And in the sea did jaw, man;An’ did nae less, in full congress,Than quite refuse our law, man. Then thro’ the lakes Montgomery takes,I wat he was na slaw, man;Down Lowrie’s […]

An honest man here lies at restAs e’er God with his image blest;The friend of man, the friend of truth,The friend of age, and guide of youth:Few hearts like his, with virtue warm’d,Few heads with knowledge so informed:If there’s another world, he lives in bliss;If there is none, he made the best of this.

O ye whose cheek the tear of pity stains,Draw near with pious rev’rence, and attend!Here lie the loving husband’s dear remains,The tender father, and the gen’rous friend;The pitying heart that felt for human woe,The dauntless heart that fear’d no human pride;The friend of man–to vice alone a foe;For “ev’n his failings lean’d to virtue’s side.”[1] […]

Here Souter Hood in death does sleep;To hell if he’s gane thither,Satan, gie him thy gear to keep;He’ll haud it weel thegither.

Here lies Boghead amang the deadIn hopes to get salvation;But if such as he in Heav’n may be,Then welcome, hail! damnation.

Tune–“Lass, an I come near thee.” “Wha is that at my bower-door?”“O wha is it but Findlay!”“Then gae your gate, ye’se nae be here:”“Indeed maun I,” quo’ Findlay;“What mak’ ye, sae like a thief?”“O come and see,” quo’ Findlay;“Before the morn ye’ll work mischief:”“Indeed will I,” quo’ Findlay. “Gif I rise and let you in”–“Let […]

Of all the numerous ills that hurt our peace,That press the soul, or wring the mind with anguishBeyond comparison the worst are thoseBy our own folly, or our guilt brought on:In ev’ry other circumstance, the mindHas this to say, “It was no deed of mine:”But, when to all the evil of misfortuneThis sting is added, […]

A Fragment Chor.–Green grow the rashes, O;Green grow the rashes, O;The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,Are spent amang the lasses, O. There’s nought but care on ev’ry han’,In ev’ry hour that passes, O:What signifies the life o’ man,An’ ’twere na for the lasses, O.Green grow, etc. The war’ly race may riches chase,An’ riches still […]

My Nanie, O!

Story type: Poetry

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Tune–“My Nanie, O.” Behind yon hills where Lugar flows,‘Mang moors an’ mosses many, O,The wintry sun the day has clos’d,And I’ll awa to Nanie, O. The westlin wind blaws loud an’ shill;The night’s baith mirk and rainy, O;But I’ll get my plaid an’ out I’ll steal,An’ owre the hill to Nanie, O. My Nanie’s charming, […]

Tune–“Corn Rigs are bonie.” It was upon a Lammas night,When corn rigs are bonie,Beneath the moon’s unclouded light,I held awa to Annie;The time flew by, wi’ tentless heed,Till, ‘tween the late and early,Wi’ sma’ persuasion she agreedTo see me thro’ the barley. Corn rigs, an’ barley rigs,An’ corn rigs are bonie:I’ll ne’er forget that happy […]

Tune–“I had a horse, I had nae mair.” Now westlin winds and slaught’ring gunsBring Autumn’s pleasant weather;The moorcock springs on whirring wingsAmang the blooming heather:Now waving grain, wide o’er the plain,Delights the weary farmer;And the moon shines bright, when I rove at night,To muse upon my charmer. The partridge loves the fruitful fells,The plover loves […]

Lament in rhyme, lament in prose,Wi’ saut tears trickling down your nose;Our bardie’s fate is at a close,Past a’ remead!The last, sad cape-stane o’ his woes;Poor Mailie’s dead! It’s no the loss o’ warl’s gear,That could sae bitter draw the tear,Or mak our bardie, dowie, wearThe mourning weed:He’s lost a friend an’ neebor dearIn Mailie […]

An Unco Mournfu’ Tale As Mailie, an’ her lambs thegither,Was ae day nibbling on the tether,Upon her cloot she coost a hitch,An’ owre she warsl’d in the ditch:There, groaning, dying, she did lie,When Hughoc he cam doytin by. Wi’ glowrin een, and lifted han’sPoor Hughoc like a statue stan’s;He saw her days were near-hand ended,But, […]

There was three kings into the east,Three kings both great and high,And they hae sworn a solemn oathJohn Barleycorn should die. They took a plough and plough’d him down,Put clods upon his head,And they hae sworn a solemn oathJohn Barleycorn was dead. But the cheerful Spring came kindly on,And show’rs began to fall;John Barleycorn got […]

Then fill up a bumper and make it o’erflow,And honours masonic prepare for to throw;May ev’ry true Brother of the Compass and SquareHave a big-belly’d bottle when harass’d with care.

Tune–“The weaver and his shuttle, O.” My father was a farmer upon the Carrick border, O,And carefully he bred me in decency and order, O;He bade me act a manly part, though I had ne’er a farthing, O;For without an honest manly heart, no man was worth regarding, O. Then out into the world my […]

Tune–“Prepare, my dear Brethren, to the tavern let’s fly.” No churchman am I for to rail and to write,No statesman nor soldier to plot or to fight,No sly man of business contriving a snare,For a big-belly’d bottle’s the whole of my care. The peer I don’t envy, I give him his bow;I scorn not the […]

O why the deuce should I repine,And be an ill foreboder?I’m twenty-three, and five feet nine,I’ll go and be a sodger! I gat some gear wi’ mickle care,I held it weel thegither;But now it’s gane, and something mair–I’ll go and be a sodger!

Though fickle Fortune has deceived me,She pormis’d fair and perform’d but ill;Of mistress, friends, and wealth bereav’d me,Yet I bear a heart shall support me still. I’ll act with prudence as far ‘s I’m able,But if success I must never find,Then come misfortune, I bid thee welcome,I’ll meet thee with an undaunted mind.

O raging Fortune’s withering blastHas laid my leaf full low, O!O raging Fortune’s withering blastHas laid my leaf full low, O! My stem was fair, my bud was green,My blossom sweet did blow, O!The dew fell fresh, the sun rose mild,And made my branches grow, O! But luckless Fortune’s northern stormsLaid a’ my blossoms low, […]

O Thou unknown, Almighty CauseOf all my hope and fear!In whose dread presence, ere an hour,Perhaps I must appear! If I have wander’d in those pathsOf life I ought to shun,As something, loudly, in my breast,Remonstrates I have done; Thou know’st that Thou hast formed meWith passions wild and strong;And list’ning to their witching voiceHas […]

Why am I loth to leave this earthly scene?Have I so found it full of pleasing charms?Some drops of joy with draughts of ill between–Some gleams of sunshine ‘mid renewing storms,Is it departing pangs my soul alarms?Or death’s unlovely, dreary, dark abode?For guilt, for guilt, my terrors are in arms:I tremble to approach an angry […]

The man, in life wherever plac’d,Hath happiness in store,Who walks not in the wicked’s way,Nor learns their guilty lore! Nor from the seat of scornful prideCasts forth his eyes abroad,But with humility and aweStill walks before his God. That man shall flourish like the trees,Which by the streamlets grow;The fruitful top is spread on high,And […]

O Thou, the first, the greatest friendOf all the human race!Whose strong right hand has ever beenTheir stay and dwelling place! Before the mountains heav’d their headsBeneath Thy forming hand,Before this ponderous globe itselfArose at Thy command; That Pow’r which rais’d and still upholdsThis universal frame,From countless, unbeginning timeWas ever still the same. Those mighty […]

Winter: A Dirge

Story type: Poetry

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The wintry west extends his blast,And hail and rain does blaw;Or the stormy north sends driving forthThe blinding sleet and snaw:While, tumbling brown, the burn comes down,And roars frae bank to brae;And bird and beast in covert rest,And pass the heartless day. “The sweeping blast, the sky o’ercast,”The joyless winter dayLet others fear, to me […]

O Thou Great Being! what Thou art,Surpasses me to know;Yet sure I am, that known to TheeAre all Thy works below. Thy creature here before Thee stands,All wretched and distrest;Yet sure those ills that wring my soulObey Thy high behest. Sure, Thou, Almighty, canst not actFrom cruelty or wrath!O, free my weary eyes from tears,Or […]

Tune–“Laggan Burn.” Here’s to thy health, my bonie lass,Gude nicht and joy be wi’ thee;I’ll come nae mair to thy bower-door,To tell thee that I lo’e thee.O dinna think, my pretty pink,But I can live without thee:I vow and swear I dinna care,How lang ye look about ye. Thou’rt aye sae free informing me,Thou hast […]

[The lass is identified as Ellison Begbie, a servant wench, daughter of a “Farmer Lang”.] A Song of Similes Tune–“If he be a Butcher neat and trim.” On Cessnock banks a lassie dwells;Could I describe her shape and mein;Our lasses a’ she far excels,An’ she has twa sparkling roguish een. She’s sweeter than the morning […]

Tune–“The Braes o’ Balquhidder.” Chor.–And I’ll kiss thee yet, yet,And I’ll kiss thee o’er again:And I’ll kiss thee yet, yet,My bonie Peggy Alison. Ilk care and fear, when thou art nearI evermair defy them, O!Young kings upon their hansel throneAre no sae blest as I am, O!And I’ll kiss thee yet, yet, etc. When in […]

Mary Morison

Story type: Poetry

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Tune–“Bide ye yet.” O Mary, at thy window be,It is the wish’d, the trysted hour!Those smiles and glances let me see,That make the miser’s treasure poor:How blythely was I bide the stour,A weary slave frae sun to sun,Could I the rich reward secure,The lovely Mary Morison. Yestreen, when to the trembling stringThe dance gaed thro’ […]

As I was a-wand’ring ae morning in spring,I heard a young ploughman sae sweetly to sing;And as he was singin’, thir words he did say,–There’s nae life like the ploughman’s in the month o’ sweet May. The lav’rock in the morning she’ll rise frae her nest,And mount i’ the air wi’ the dew on her […]

Paraphrase of Jeremiah, 15th Chap., 10th verse. Ah, woe is me, my mother dear!A man of strife ye’ve born me:For sair contention I maun bear;They hate, revile, and scorn me. I ne’er could lend on bill or band,That five per cent. might blest me;And borrowing, on the tither hand,The deil a ane wad trust me. […]

In Tarbolton, ye ken, there are proper young men,And proper young lasses and a’, man;But ken ye the Ronalds that live in the Bennals,They carry the gree frae them a’, man. Their father’s laird, and weel he can spare’t,Braid money to tocher them a’, man;To proper young men, he’ll clink in the handGowd guineas a […]

If ye gae up to yon hill-tap,Ye’ll there see bonie Peggy;She kens her father is a laird,And she forsooth’s a leddy. There Sophy tight, a lassie bright,Besides a handsome fortune:Wha canna win her in a night,Has little art in courtin’. Gae down by Faile, and taste the ale,And tak a look o’ Mysie;She’s dour and […]

Tune–“Galla Water.” Altho’ my bed were in yon muir,Amang the heather, in my plaidie;Yet happy, happy would I be,Had I my dear Montgomerie’s Peggy. When o’er the hill beat surly storms,And winter nights were dark and rainy;I’d seek some dell, and in my armsI’d shelter dear Montgomerie’s Peggy. Were I a baron proud and high,And […]

Tune–“Go from my window, Love, do.” The sun he is sunk in the west,All creatures retired to rest,While here I sit, all sore beset,With sorrow, grief, and woe:And it’s O, fickle Fortune, O! The prosperous man is asleep,Nor hears how the whirlwinds sweep;But Misery and I must watchThe surly tempest blow:And it’s O, fickle Fortune, […]

Tragic Fragment

Story type: Poetry

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All devil as I am–a damned wretch,A hardened, stubborn, unrepenting villain,Still my heart melts at human wretchedness;And with sincere but unavailing sighsI view the helpless children of distress:With tears indignant I behold the oppressorRejoicing in the honest man’s destruction,Whose unsubmitting heart was all his crime.–Ev’n you, ye hapless crew! I pity you;Ye, whom the seeming […]

Tune–“Invercauld’s Reel, or Strathspey.” Choir.–O Tibbie, I hae seen the day,Ye wadna been sae shy;For laik o’ gear ye lightly me,But, trowth, I care na by. Yestreen I met you on the moor,Ye spak na, but gaed by like stour;Ye geck at me because I’m poor,But fient a hair care I.O Tibbie, I hae seen […]

I Dream’d I Lay

Story type: Poetry

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I dream’d I lay where flowers were springingGaily in the sunny beam;List’ning to the wild birds singing,By a falling crystal stream:Straight the sky grew black and daring;Thro’ the woods the whirlwinds rave;Tress with aged arms were warring,O’er the swelling drumlie wave. Such was my life’s deceitful morning,Such the pleasures I enjoyed:But lang or noon, loud […]

Handsome Nell

Story type: Poetry

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Tune–“I am a man unmarried.” Once I lov’d a bonie lass,Ay, and I love her still;And whilst that virtue warms my breast,I’ll love my handsome Nell. As bonie lasses I hae seen,And mony full as braw;But, for a modest gracefu’ mein,The like I never saw. A bonie lass, I will confess,Is pleasant to the e’e;But, […]

[On Hearing It Asserted Falsehood is expressed in the Rev. Dr. Babington’s very looks.] That there is a falsehood in his looks,I must and will deny:They tell their Master is a knave,And sure they do not lie.

On A Suicide

Story type: Poetry

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Earth’d up, here lies an imp o’ hell,Planted by Satan’s dibble;Poor silly wretch, he’s damned himsel’,To save the Lord the trouble.

Here cursing, swearing Burton lies,A buck, a beau, or “Dem my eyes!”Who in his life did little good,And his last words were “Dem my blood!”

Kemble, thou cur’st my unbeliefFor Moses and his rod;At Yarico’s sweet nor of griefThe rock with tears had flow’d.

[Epigram On a Country Laird, not quite so wise as Solomon.] Bless Jesus Christ, O Cardonessp,With grateful, lifted eyes,Who taught that not the soul alone,But body too shall rise;For had He said “the soul aloneFrom death I will deliver,”Alas, alas! O Cardoness,Then hadst thou lain for ever.

Belonging to the same Laird. We grant they’re thine, those beauties all,So lovely in our eye;Keep them, thou eunuch, Cardoness,For others to enjoy!

On her Principles of Liberty and Equality. How, Liberty! girl, can it be by thee nam’d?Equality too! hussey, art not asham’d?Free and Equal indeed, while mankind thou enchainest,And over their hearts a proud Despot so reignest.

From the white-blossom’d sloe my dear Chloris requestedA sprig, her fair breast to adorn:No, by Heavens! I exclaim’d, let me perish, if everI plant in that bosom a thorn!

It was a’ for our rightfu’ KingWe left fair Scotland’s strand;It was a’ for our rightfu’ KingWe e’er saw Irish land, my dear,We e’er saw Irish land. Now a’ is done that men can do,And a’ is done in vain;My Love and Native Land fareweel,For I maun cross the main, my dear,For I maun cross […]

Chorus.–Ca’the yowes to the knowes,Ca’ them where the heather grows,Ca’ them where the burnie rowes,My bonie Dearie. Hark the mavis’ e’ening sang,Sounding Clouden’s woods amang;Then a-faulding let us gang,My bonie Dearie.Ca’ the yowes, etc. We’ll gae down by Clouden side,Thro’ the hazels, spreading wide,O’er the waves that sweetly glide,To the moon sae clearly.Ca’ the yowes, […]

To Dr. Maxwell

Story type: Poetry

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On Miss Jessy Staig’s recovery. Maxwell, if merit here you crave,That merit I deny;You save fair Jessie from the grave!–An Angel could not die!

When Lascelles thought fit from this world to depart,Some friends warmly thought of embalming his heart;A bystander whispers–“Pray don’t make so much o’t,The subject is poison, no reptile will touch it.”

“Stop thief!” dame Nature call’d to Death,As Willy drew his latest breath;How shall I make a fool again?My choicest model thou hast ta’en.

Here lies John Bushby–honest man,Cheat him, Devil–if you can!

Sic a reptile was Wat, sic a miscreant slave,That the worms ev’n damn’d him when laid in his grave;“In his flesh there’s a famine,” a starved reptile cries,“And his heart is rank poison!” another replies.

Capt. Wm. Roddirk, of Corbiston. Light lay the earth on Billy’s breast,His chicken heart so tender;But build a castle on his head,His scull will prop it under.

Up wi’ the carls o’ Dysart,And the lads o’ Buckhaven,And the kimmers o’ Largo,And the lasses o’ Leven. Chorus.–Hey, ca’ thro’, ca’ thro’,For we hae muckle ado.Hey, ca’ thro’, ca’ thro’,For we hae muckle ado; We hae tales to tell,An’ we hae sangs to sing;We hae pennies tae spend,An’ we hae pints to bring.Hey, ca’ […]

Here lies, now a prey to insulting neglect,What once was a butterfly, gay in life’s beam:Want only of wisdom denied her respect,Want only of goodness denied her esteem.

If you rattle along like your Mistress’ tongue,Your speed will outrival the dart;But a fly for your load, you’ll break down on the road,If your stuff be as rotten’s her heart.

Chorus.–O Whistle, an’ I’ll come to ye, my lad,O whistle, an’ I’ll come to ye, my lad,Tho’ father an’ mother an’ a’ should gae mad,O whistle, an’ I’ll come to ye, my lad. But warily tent when ye come to court me,And come nae unless the back-yett be a-jee;Syne up the back-stile, and let naebody […]

Tune–“The Muckin o’ Geordie’s Byre.” Adown winding Nith I did wander,To mark the sweet flowers as they spring;Adown winding Nith I did wander,Of Phillis to muse and to sing. Chorus.–Awa’ wi’ your belles and your beauties,They never wi’ her can compare,Whaever has met wi’ my Phillis,Has met wi’ the queen o’ the fair. The daisy […]

Come, let me take thee to my breast,And pledge we ne’er shall sunder;And I shall spurn as vilest dustThe world’s wealth and grandeur:And do I hear my Jeanie ownThat equal transports move her?I ask for dearest life alone,That I may live to love her. Thus, in my arms, wi’ a’ her charms,I clasp my countless […]

The Book-Worms

Story type: Poetry

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Through and through th’ inspir’d leaves,Ye maggots, make your windings;But O respect his lordship’s taste,And spare his golden bindings.

When Morine, deceas’d, to the Devil went down,‘Twas nothing would serve him but Satan’s own crown;“Thy fool’s head,” quoth Satan, “that crown shall wear never,I grant thou’rt as wicked, but not quite so clever.”

Phillis The Fair

Story type: Poetry

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Tune–“Robin Adair.” While larks, with little wing,Fann’d the pure air,Tasting the breathing Spring,Forth I did fare:Gay the sun’s golden eyePeep’d o’er the mountains high;Such thy morn! did I cry,Phillis the fair. In each bird’s careless song,Glad I did share;While yon wild-flowers among,Chance led me there!Sweet to the op’ning day,Rosebuds bent the dewy spray;Such thy bloom! […]

Had I A Cave

Story type: Poetry

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Tune–“Robin Adair.” Had I a cave on some wild distant shore,Where the winds howl to the wave’s dashing roar:There would I weep my woes,There seek my lost repose,Till grief my eyes should close,Ne’er to wake more! Falsest of womankind, can’st thou declareAll thy fond, plighted vows fleeting as air!To thy new lover hie,Laugh o’er thy […]

By Allan Stream

Story type: Poetry

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By Allan stream I chanc’d to rove,While Phoebus sank beyond Benledi;The winds are whispering thro’ the grove,The yellow corn was waving ready:I listen’d to a lover’s sang,An’ thought on youthfu’ pleasures mony;And aye the wild-wood echoes rang–“O, dearly do I love thee, Annie! “O, happy be the woodbine bower,Nae nightly bogle make it eerie;Nor ever […]

To its ain tune. There was a lass, and she was fair,At kirk or market to be seen;When a’ our fairest maids were met,The fairest maid was bonie Jean. And aye she wrought her mammie’s wark,And aye she sang sae merrilie;The blythest bird upon the bushHad ne’er a lighter heart than she. But hawks will […]

Blest be M’Murdo to his latest day!No envious cloud o’ercast his evening ray;No wrinkle, furrow’d by the hand of care,Nor ever sorrow add one silver hair!O may no son the father’s honour stain,Nor ever daughter give the mother pain!

Named Echo In wood and wild, ye warbling throng,Your heavy loss deplore;Now, half extinct your powers of song,Sweet Echo is no more. Ye jarring, screeching things around,Scream your discordant joys;Now, half your din of tuneless soundWith Echo silent lies.

What dost thou in that mansion fair?Flit, Galloway, and findSome narrow, dirty, dungeon cave,The picture of thy mind. No Stewart art thou, Galloway,The Stewarts ‘ll were brave;Besides, the Stewarts were but fools,Not one of them a knave. Bright ran thy line, O Galloway,Thro’ many a far-fam’d sire!So ran the far-famed Roman way,And ended in a […]

Air–“Hughie Graham.” O were my love yon Lilac fair,Wi’ purple blossoms to the Spring,And I, a bird to shelter there,When wearied on my little wing!How I wad mourn when it was tornBy Autumn wild, and Winter rude!But I wad sing on wanton wing,When youthfu’ May its bloom renew’d. O gin my love were yon red […]

You’re welcome to Despots, Dumourier;You’re welcome to Despots, Dumourier:How does Dampiere do?Ay, and Bournonville too?Why did they not come along with you, Dumourier? I will fight France with you, Dumourier;I will fight France with you, Dumourier;I will fight France with you,I will take my chance with you;By my soul, I’ll dance with you, Dumourier. Then […]

The last time I came o’er the moor,And left Maria’s dwelling,What throes, what tortures passing cure,Were in my bosom swelling:Condemn’d to see my rival’s reign,While I in secret languish;To feel a fire in every vein,Yet dare not speak my anguish. Love’s veriest wretch, despairing, IFain, fain, my crime would cover;Th’ unweeting groan, the bursting sigh,Betray […]

Logan Braes

Story type: Poetry

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Tune–“Logan Water.” O Logan, sweetly didst thou glide,That day I was my Willie’s bride,And years sin syne hae o’er us run,Like Logan to the simmer sun:But now thy flowery banks appearLike drumlie Winter, dark and drear,While my dear lad maun face his faes,Far, far frae me and Logan braes. Again the merry month of MayHas […]

Tune–“The Quaker’s Wife.” Blythe hae I been on yon hill,As the lambs before me;Careless ilka thought and free,As the breeze flew o’er me;Now nae langer sport and play,Mirth or sang can please me;Lesley is sae fair and coy,Care and anguish seize me. Heavy, heavy is the task,Hopeless love declaring;Trembling, I dow nocht but glow’r,Sighing, dumb […]

Ye men of wit and wealth, why all this sneering‘Gainst poor Excisemen? Give the cause a hearing:What are your Landlord’s rent-rolls? Taxing ledgers!What Premiers? What ev’n Monarchs? Mighty Gaugers!Nay, what are Priests? (those seeming godly wise-men,)What are they, pray, but Spiritual Excisemen!

The King’s most humble servant, ICan scarcely spare a minute;But I’ll be wi’ you by an’ by;Or else the Deil’s be in it.

Grace After Meat

Story type: Poetry

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Lord, we thank, and thee adore,For temporal gifts we little merit;At present we will ask no more–Let William Hislop give the spirit.

O Lord, when hunger pinches sore,Do thou stand us in stead,And send us, from thy bounteous store,A tup or wether head! Amen. O Lord, since we have feasted thus,Which we so little merit,Let Meg now take away the flesh,And Jock bring in the spirit! Amen.

Lord, to account who dares thee call,Or e’er dispute thy pleasure?Else why, within so thick a wall,Enclose so poor a treasure?

Grant me, indulgent Heaven, that I may live,To see the miscreants feel the pains they give;Deal Freedom’s sacred treasures free as air,Till Slave and Despot be but things that were.

Ye hypocrites! are these your pranks?To murder men and give God thanks!Desist, for shame!–proceed no further;God won’t accept your thanks for Murther!

Instead of a Song, boy’s, I’ll give you a Toast;Here’s to the memory of those on the twelfth that we lost!–That we lost, did I say?–nay, by Heav’n, that we found;For their fame it will last while the world goes round. The next in succession I’ll give you’s the King!Whoe’er would betray him, on high […]

Thou greybeard, old Wisdom! may boast of thy treasures;Give me with young Folly to live;I grant thee thy calm-blooded, time-settled pleasures,But Folly has raptures to give.

O ken ye what Meg o’ the Mill has gotten,An’ ken ye what Meg o’ the Mill has gotten?A braw new naig wi’ the tail o’ a rottan,And that’s what Meg o’ the Mill has gotten. O ken ye what Meg o’ the Mill lo’es dearly,An’ ken ye what Meg o’ the Mill lo’es dearly?A […]

Air–“The Mill, mill, O.” When wild war’s deadly blast was blawn,And gentle peace returning,Wi’ mony a sweet babe fatherless,And mony a widow mourning;I left the lines and tented field,Where lang I’d been a lodger,My humble knapsack a’ my wealth,A poor and honest sodger. A leal, light heart was in my breast,My hand unstain’d wi’ plunder;And […]

Ye true “Loyal Natives” attend to my songIn uproar and riot rejoice the night long;From Envy and Hatred your corps is exempt,But where is your shield from the darts of Contempt!

Meg O’ The Mill

Story type: Poetry

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O ken ye what Meg o’ the Mill has gotten,An’ ken ye what Meg o’ the Mill has gotten?She gotten a coof wi’ a claut o’ siller,And broken the heart o’ the barley Miller. The Miller was strappin, the Miller was ruddy;A heart like a lord, and a hue like a lady;The laird was a […]

Here awa, there awa, wandering Willie,Here awa, there awa, haud awa hame;Come to my bosom, my ain only dearie,Tell me thou bring’st me my Willie the same.Winter winds blew loud and cauld at our parting,Fears for my Willie brought tears in my e’e,Welcome now the Simmer, and welcome, my Willie,The Simmer to Nature, my Willie […]

Lord Gregory

Story type: Poetry

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O mirk, mirk is this midnight hour,And loud the tempest’s roar;A waefu’ wanderer seeks thy tower,Lord Gregory, ope thy door.An exile frae her father’s ha’,And a’ for loving thee;At least some pity on me shaw,If love it may na be. Lord Gregory, mind’st thou not the groveBy bonie Irwine side,Where first I own’d that virgin […]

Oh, open the door, some pity to shew,Oh, open the door to me, oh,Tho’ thou hast been false, I’ll ever prove true,Oh, open the door to me, oh. Cauld is the blast upon my pale cheek,But caulder thy love for me, oh:The frost that freezes the life at my heart,Is nought to my pains frae […]

True hearted was he, the sad swain o’ the Yarrow,And fair are the maids on the banks of the Ayr;But by the sweet side o’ the Nith’s winding river,Are lovers as faithful, and maidens as fair:To equal young Jessie seek Scotland all over;To equal young Jessie you seek it in vain,Grace, beauty, and elegance, fetter […]

On hearing a Thrush sing in his Morning Walk. Sing on, sweet thrush, upon the leafless bough,Sing on, sweet bird, I listen to thy strain,See aged Winter, ‘mid his surly reign,At thy blythe carol, clears his furrowed brow. So in lone Poverty’s dominion drear,Sits meek Content with light, unanxious heart;Welcomes the rapid moments, bids them […]

Here awa, there awa, wandering Willie,Now tired with wandering, haud awa hame;Come to my bosom, my ae only dearie,And tell me thou bring’st me my Willie the same.Loud blew the cauld winter winds at our parting;It was na the blast brought the tear in my e’e:Now welcome the Simmer, and welcome my Willie,The Simmer to […]

Braw, braw lads on Yarrow-braes,They rove amang the blooming heather;But Yarrow braes, nor Ettrick shawsCan match the lads o’ Galla Water. But there is ane, a secret ane,Aboon them a’ I loe him better;And I’ll be his, and he’ll be mine,The bonie lad o’ Galla Water. Altho’ his daddie was nae laird,And tho’ I hae […]

Duncan Gray

Story type: Poetry

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Duncan Gray cam’ here to woo,Ha, ha, the wooing o’t,On blythe Yule-night when we were fou,Ha, ha, the wooing o’t,Maggie coost her head fu’ heigh,Look’d asklent and unco skeigh,Gart poor Duncan stand abeigh;Ha, ha, the wooing o’t. Duncan fleech’d and Duncan pray’d;Ha, ha, the wooing o’t,Meg was deaf as Ailsa Craig,Ha, ha, the wooing o’t:Duncan […]

Here’s a health to them that’s awa,Here’s a health to them that’s awa;And wha winna wish gude luck to our cause,May never gude luck be their fa’!It’s gude to be merry and wise,It’s gude to be honest and true;It’s gude to support Caledonia’s cause,And bide by the buff and the blue. Here’s a health to […]

A Tippling Ballad

Story type: Poetry

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[On the Duke of Brunswick’s Breaking up his Camp, and the defeat of the Austrians, by Dumourier, November 1792.] When Princes and Prelates,And hot-headed zealots,A’Europe had set in a low, a low,The poor man lies down,Nor envies a crown,And comforts himself as he dow, as he dow,And comforts himself as he dow. The black-headed eagle,As […]

Tune–“Cauld Kail in Aberdeen.” O poortith cauld, and restless love,Ye wrack my peace between ye;Yet poortith a’ I could forgive,An ’twere na for my Jeanie. Chorus–O why should Fate sic pleasure have,Life’s dearest bands untwining?Or why sae sweet a flower as loveDepend on Fortune’s shining? The warld’s wealth, when I think on,It’s pride and a’ […]

Auld Rob Morris

Story type: Poetry

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There’s Auld Rob Morris that wons in yon glen,He’s the King o’ gude fellows, and wale o’ auld men;He has gowd in his coffers, he has owsen and kine,And ae bonie lass, his dautie and mine. She’s fresh as the morning, the fairest in May;She’s sweet as the ev’ning amang the new hay;As blythe and […]

[An Occasional Address. Spoken by Miss Fontenelle on her benefit night, November 26, 1792.] While Europe’s eye is fix’d on mighty things,The fate of Empires and the fall of Kings;While quacks of State must each produce his plan,And even children lisp the Rights of Man;Amid this mighty fuss just let me mention,The Rights of Woman […]

Sweet naivete of feature,Simple, wild, enchanting elf,Not to thee, but thanks to Nature,Thou art acting but thyself. Wert thou awkward, stiff, affected,Spurning Nature, torturing art;Loves and Graces all rejected,Then indeed thou’d’st act a part.

Dost thou not rise, indignant shade,And smile wi’ spurning scorn,When they wha wad hae starved thy life,Thy senseless turf adorn? Helpless, alane, thou clamb the brae,Wi’ meikle honest toil,And claught th’ unfading garland there–Thy sair-worn, rightful spoil. And wear it thou! and call aloudThis axiom undoubted–Would thou hae Nobles’ patronage?First learn to live without it! […]

Highland Mary

Story type: Poetry

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Tune–“Katherine Ogie.” Ye banks, and braes, and streams aroundThe castle o’ Montgomery!Green be your woods, and fair your flowers,Your waters never drumlie:There Simmer first unfauld her robes,And there the langest tarry;For there I took the last FarewellO’ my sweet Highland Mary. How sweetly bloom’d the gay, green birk,How rich the hawthorn’s blossom,As underneath their fragrant […]

When o’er the hill the eastern starTells bughtin time is near, my jo,And owsen frae the furrow’d fieldReturn sae dowf and weary O;Down by the burn, where birken budsWi’ dew are hangin clear, my jo,I’ll meet thee on the lea-rig,My ain kind Dearie O. At midnight hour, in mirkest glen,I’d rove, and ne’er be eerie, […]

Air–“My Wife’s a Wanton Wee Thing.” Chorus.–She is a winsome wee thing,She is a handsome wee thing,She is a lo’esome wee thing,This dear wee wife o’ mine. I never saw a fairer,I never lo’ed a dearer,And neist my heart I’ll wear her,For fear my jewel tine,She is a winsome, etc. The warld’s wrack we share […]

O Leeze me on my spinnin’ wheel,And leeze me on my rock and reel;Frae tap to tae that cleeds me bien,And haps me biel and warm at e’en;I’ll set me down and sing and spin,While laigh descends the simmer sun,Blest wi’ content, and milk and meal,O leeze me on my spinnin’ wheel. On ilka hand […]

Love For Love

Story type: Poetry

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Ithers seek they ken na what,Features, carriage, and a’ that;Gie me love in her I court,Love to love maks a’ the sport. Let love sparkle in her e’e;Let her lo’e nae man but me;That’s the tocher-gude I prize,There the luver’s treasure lies.

O saw ye bonie Lesley,As she gaed o’er the Border?She’s gane, like Alexander,To spread her conquests farther. To see her is to love her,And love but her for ever;For Nature made her what she is,And never made anither! Thou art a queen, fair Lesley,Thy subjects, we before thee;Thou art divine, fair Lesley,The hearts o’ men […]

The deil cam fiddlin’ thro’ the town,And danc’d awa wi’ th’ Exciseman,And ilka wife cries, “Auld Mahoun,I wish you luck o’ the prize, man.” Chorus–The deil’s awa, the deil’s awa,The deil’s awa wi’ the Exciseman,He’s danc’d awa, he’s danc’d awa,He’s danc’d awa wi’ the Exciseman. We’ll mak our maut, and we’ll brew our drink,We’ll laugh, […]

The Country Lass

Story type: Poetry

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In simmer, when the hay was mawn,And corn wav’d green in ilka field,While claver blooms white o’er the leaAnd roses blaw in ilka beild!Blythe Bessie in the milking shiel,Says–“I’ll be wed, come o’t what will”:Out spake a dame in wrinkled eild;“O’ gude advisement comes nae ill. “It’s ye hae wooers mony ane,And lassie, ye’re but […]

It was in sweet Senegal that my foes did me enthral,For the lands of Virginia,–ginia, O:Torn from that lovely shore, and must never see it more;And alas! I am weary, weary O:Torn from that lovely shore, and must never see it more;And alas! I am weary, weary O. All on that charming coast is no […]

Chorus–O can ye labour lea, young man,O can ye labour lea?It fee nor bountith shall us twineGin ye can labour lea. I fee’d a man at Michaelmas,Wi’ airle pennies three;But a’ the faut I had to him,He could na labour lea,O can ye labour lea, etc. O clappin’s gude in Febarwar,An’ kissin’s sweet in May;But […]

The bairns gat out wi’ an unco shout,The deuks dang o’er my daddie, O!The fien-ma-care, quo’ the feirrie auld wife,He was but a paidlin’ body, O!He paidles out, and he paidles in,rn’ he paidles late and early, O!This seven lang years I hae lien by his side,An’ he is but a fusionless carlie, O. O […]

Kellyburn Braes

Story type: Poetry

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There lived a carl in Kellyburn Braes,Hey, and the rue grows bonie wi’ thyme;And he had a wife was the plague of his days,And the thyme it is wither’d, and rue is in prime. Ae day as the carl gaed up the lang glen,Hey, and the rue grows bonie wi’ thyme;He met with the Devil, […]

Lady Mary Ann

Story type: Poetry

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O lady Mary Ann looks o’er the Castle wa’,She saw three bonie boys playing at the ba’,The youngest he was the flower amang them a’,My bonie laddie’s young, but he’s growin’ yet. O father, O father, an ye think it fit,We’ll send him a year to the college yet,We’ll sew a green ribbon round about […]

My Collier Laddie

Story type: Poetry

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“Whare live ye, my bonie lass?And tell me what they ca’ ye;”“My name,” she says, “is mistress Jean,And I follow the Collier laddie.”“My name, she says, etc. “See you not yon hills and dalesThe sun shines on sae brawlie;They a’ are mine, and they shall be thine,Gin ye’ll leave your Collier laddie.“They a’ are mine, […]

Willie Wastle dwalt on Tweed,The spot they ca’d it Linkumdoddie;Willie was a wabster gude,Could stown a clue wi’ ony body:He had a wife was dour and din,O Tinkler Maidgie was her mither;Sic a wife as Willie had,I wad na gie a button for her! She has an e’e, she has but ane,The cat has twa […]

O when she cam’ ben she bobbed fu’ law,O when she cam’ ben she bobbed fu’ law,And when she cam’ ben, she kiss’d Cockpen,And syne denied she did it at a’. And was na Cockpen right saucy witha’?And was na Cockpen right saucy witha’?In leaving the daughter of a lord,And kissin’ a collier lassie an’ […]

There was a wife wonn’d in Cockpen, Scroggam;She brew’d gude ale for gentlemen;Sing auld Cowl lay ye down by me,Scroggam, my dearie, ruffum. The gudewife’s dochter fell in a fever, Scroggam;The priest o’ the parish he fell in anither;Sing auld Cowl lay ye down by me,Scroggam, my dearie, ruffum. They laid the twa i’ the […]

Ill-fated genius! Heaven-taught Fergusson!What heart that feels and will not yield a tear,To think Life’s sun did set e’er well begunTo shed its influence on thy bright career. O why should truest Worth and Genius pineBeneath the iron grasp of Want and Woe,While titled knaves and idiot–Greatness shineIn all the splendour Fortune can bestow?

Chorus.–The weary pund, the weary pund,The weary pund o’ tow;I think my wife will end her life,Before she spin her tow. I bought my wife a stane o’ lint,As gude as e’er did grow,And a’ that she has made o’ thatIs ae puir pund o’ tow.The weary pund, etc. There sat a bottle in a […]

Alteration of an Old Poem. I Do confess thou art sae fair,I was been o’er the lugs in luve,Had I na found the slightest prayerThat lips could speak thy heart could muve. I do confess thee sweet, but findThou art so thriftless o’ thy sweets,Thy favours are the silly windThat kisses ilka thing it meets. […]

O sad and heavy, should I part,But for her sake, sae far awa;Unknowing what my way may thwart,My native land sae far awa. Thou that of a’ things Maker art,That formed this Fair sae far awa,Gie body strength, then I’ll ne’er startAt this my way sae far awa. How true is love to pure desert!Like […]

As down the burn they took their way,And thro’ the flowery dale;His cheek to hers he aft did lay,And love was aye the tale: With “Mary, when shall we return,Sic pleasure to renew?”Quoth Mary–“Love, I like the burn,And aye shall follow you.”

Ance mair I hail thee, thou gloomy December!Ance mair I hail thee wi’ sorrow and care;Sad was the parting thou makes me remember–Parting wi’ Nancy, oh, ne’er to meet mair! Fond lovers’ parting is sweet, painful pleasure,Hope beaming mild on the soft parting hour;But the dire feeling, O farewell for ever!Is anguish unmingled, and agony […]

Tune–“Rory Dall’s Port.” Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee.Who shall say that Fortune grieves him,While the star of hope she leaves him?Me, nae cheerful twinkle lights me;Dark despair around benights me. I’ll ne’er blame my partial fancy,Naething could […]

O thou who kindly dost provideFor every creature’s want!We bless Thee, God of Nature wide,For all Thy goodness lent:And if it please Thee, Heavenly Guide,May never worse be sent;But, whether granted, or denied,Lord, bless us with content. Amen!

O thou, in whom we live and move–Who made the sea and shore;Thy goodness constantly we prove,And grateful would adore;And, if it please Thee, Power above!Still grant us, with such store,The friend we trust, the fair we love–And we desire no more. Amen!

O May, Thy Morn

Story type: Poetry

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O may, thy morn was ne’er so sweetAs the mirk night o’ December!For sparkling was the rosy wine,And private was the chamber:And dear was she I dare na name,But I will aye remember:And dear was she I dare na name,But I will aye remember. And here’s to them that, like oursel,Can push about the jorum!And […]

How daur ye ca’ me howlet-face,Ye blear-e’ed, withered spectre?Ye only spied the keekin’-glass,An’ there ye saw your picture.

Sensibility, how charming,Dearest Nancy, thou canst tell;But distress, with horrors arming,Thou alas! hast known too well! Fairest flower, behold the lilyBlooming in the sunny ray:Let the blast sweep o’er the valley,See it prostrate in the clay. Hear the wood lark charm the forest,Telling o’er his little joys;But alas! a prey the surestTo each pirate of […]

The Toadeater

Story type: Poetry

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Of Lordly acquaintance you boast,And the Dukes that you dined wi’ yestreen,Yet an insect’s an insect at most,Tho’ it crawl on the curl of a Queen!

As cauld a wind as ever blew,A cauld kirk, an in’t but few:As cauld a minister’s e’er spak;Ye’se a’ be het e’er I come back.

The Song Of Death

Story type: Poetry

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Tune–“Oran an aoig.” Scene–A Field of Battle. Time of the day–evening. The wounded and dying of the victorious army are supposed to join in the following song. Farewell, thou fair day, thou green earth, and ye skies,Now gay with the broad setting sun;Farewell, loves and friendships, ye dear tender ties,Our race of existence is run!Thou […]

Health to the Maxwell’s veteran Chief!Health, aye unsour’d by care or grief:Inspir’d, I turn’d Fate’s sibyl leaf,This natal morn,I see thy life is stuff o’ prief,Scarce quite half-worn. This day thou metes threescore eleven,And I can tell that bounteous Heaven(The second-sight, ye ken, is givenTo ilka Poet)On thee a tack o’ seven times sevenWill yet […]

5th October 1791. Late crippl’d of an arm, and now a leg,About to beg a pass for leave to beg;Dull, listless, teas’d, dejected, and deprest(Nature is adverse to a cripple’s rest);Will generous Graham list to his Poet’s wail?(It soothes poor Misery, hearkening to her tale)And hear him curse the light he first survey’d,And doubly curse […]

O Kenmure’s on and awa, Willie,O Kenmure’s on and awa:An’ Kenmure’s lord’s the bravest lordThat ever Galloway saw. Success to Kenmure’s band, Willie!Success to Kenmure’s band!There’s no a heart that fears a Whig,That rides by kenmure’s hand. Here’s Kenmure’s health in wine, Willie!Here’s Kenmure’s health in wine!There’s ne’er a coward o’ Kenmure’s blude,Nor yet o’ […]

Ye Jacobites by name, give an ear, give an ear,Ye Jacobites by name, give an ear,Ye Jacobites by name,Your fautes I will proclaim,Your doctrines I maun blame, you shall hear. What is Right, and What is Wrang, by the law, by the law?What is Right and what is Wrang by the law?What is Right, and […]

I Hae been at Crookieden,My bonie laddie, Highland laddie,Viewing Willie and his men,My bonie laddie, Highland laddie.There our foes that burnt and slew,My bonie laddie, Highland laddie,There, at last, they gat their due,My bonie laddie, Highland laddie. Satan sits in his black neuk,My bonie laddie, Highland laddie,Breaking sticks to roast the Duke,My bonie laddie, Highland […]

Tune–“Carron Side.” Frae the friends and land I love,Driv’n by Fortune’s felly spite;Frae my best belov’d I rove,Never mair to taste delight:Never mair maun hope to findEase frae toil, relief frae care;When Remembrance wracks the mind,Pleasures but unveil despair. Brightest climes shall mirk appear,Desert ilka blooming shore,Till the Fates, nae mair severe,Friendship, love, and peace […]

Fareweel to a’ our Scottish fame,Fareweel our ancient glory;Fareweel ev’n to the Scottish name,Sae fam’d in martial story.Now Sark rins over Solway sands,An’ Tweed rins to the ocean,To mark where England’s province stands–Such a parcel of rogues in a nation! What force or guile could not subdue,Thro’ many warlike ages,Is wrought now by a coward […]

[Address to the Shade of Thomson on Crowning His Bust at Ednam, Roxburghshire, with a Wreath of Bays.] While virgin Spring by Eden’s flood,Unfolds her tender mantle green,Or pranks the sod in frolic mood,Or tunes Eolian strains between. While Summer, with a matron grace,Retreats to Dryburgh’s cooling shade,Yet oft, delighted, stops to traceThe progress of […]

The noble Maxwells and their powersAre coming o’er the border,And they’ll gae big Terreagles’ towersAnd set them a’ in order.And they declare Terreagles fair,For their abode they choose it;There’s no a heart in a’ the landBut’s lighter at the news o’t. Tho’ stars in skies may disappear,And angry tempests gather;The happy hour may soon be […]

Sweet Afton

Story type: Poetry

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Flow gently, sweet Afton! amang thy green braes,Flow gently, I’ll sing thee a song in thy praise;My Mary’s asleep by thy murmuring stream,Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream. Thou stockdove whose echo resounds thro’ the glen,Ye wild whistling blackbirds in yon thorny den,Thou green-crested lapwing thy screaming forbear,I charge you, disturb not my […]

My Bonie Bell

Story type: Poetry

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The smiling Spring comes in rejoicing,And surly Winter grimly flies;Now crystal clear are the falling waters,And bonie blue are the sunny skies.Fresh o’er the mountains breaks forth the morning,The ev’ning gilds the ocean’s swell;All creatures joy in the sun’s returning,And I rejoice in my bonie Bell. The flowery Spring leads sunny Summer,The yellow Autumn presses […]

Chorus.–An’ O for ane an’ twenty, Tam!And hey, sweet ane an’ twenty, Tam!I’ll learn my kin a rattlin’ sang,An’ I saw ane an’ twenty, Tam. They snool me sair, and haud me down,An’ gar me look like bluntie, Tam;But three short years will soon wheel roun’,An’ then comes ane an’ twenty, Tam.An’ O for, etc. […]

Thou Fair Eliza

Story type: Poetry

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Turn again, thou fair Eliza!Ae kind blink before we part;Rue on thy despairing lover,Can’st thou break his faithfu’ heart?Turn again, thou fair Eliza!If to love thy heart denies,Oh, in pity hide the sentenceUnder friendship’s kind disguise! Thee, sweet maid, hae I offended?My offence is loving thee;Can’st thou wreck his peace for ever,Wha for thine would […]

My Eppie Macnab

Story type: Poetry

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O saw ye my dearie, my Eppie Macnab?O saw ye my dearie, my Eppie Macnab?She’s down in the yard, she’s kissin the laird,She winna come hame to her ain Jock Rab. O come thy ways to me, my Eppie Macnab;O come thy ways to me, my Eppie Macnab;Whate’er thou hast dune, be it late, be […]

Altho’ he has left me for greed o’ the siller,I dinna envy him the gains he can win;I rather wad bear a’ the lade o’ my sorrow,Than ever hae acted sae faithless to him.

O Meikle thinks my luve o’ my beauty,And meikle thinks my luve o’ my kin;But little thinks my luve I ken brawlieMy tocher’s the jewel has charms for him.It’s a’ for the apple he’ll nourish the tree,It’s a’ for the hinny he’ll cherish the bee,My laddie’s sae meikle in luve wi’ the siller,He canna hae […]

When first my brave Johnie lad came to this town,He had a blue bonnet that wanted the crown;But now he has gotten a hat and a feather,Hey, brave Johnie lad, cock up your beaver! Cock up your beaver, and cock it fu’ sprush,We’ll over the border, and gie them a brush;There’s somebody there we’ll teach […]

Chorus.–You’re welcome, Willie Stewart,You’re welcome, Willie Stewart,There’s ne’er a flower that blooms in May,That’s half sae welcome’s thou art! Come, bumpers high, express your joy,The bowl we maun renew it,The tappet hen, gae bring her ben,To welcome Willie Stewart,You’re welcome, Willie Stewart, etc. May foes be strang, and friends be slackIlk action, may he rue […]

Chorus.–O lovely Polly Stewart,O charming Polly Stewart,There’s ne’er a flower that blooms in May,That’s half so fair as thou art! The flower it blaws, it fades, it fa’s,And art can ne’er renew it;But worth and truth, eternal youthWill gie to Polly Stewart,O lovely Polly Stewart, etc. May he whase arms shall fauld thy charmsPossess a […]

Tune–“The Tither Morn.” Yon wandering rill that marks the hill,And glances o’er the brae, Sir,Slides by a bower, where mony a flowerSheds fragrance on the day, Sir;There Damon lay, with Sylvia gay,To love they thought no crime, Sir,The wild birds sang, the echoes rang,While Damon’s heart beat time, Sir.

As on the banks o’ wandering Nith,Ae smiling simmer morn I stray’d,And traced its bonie howes and haughs,Where linties sang and lammies play’d,I sat me down upon a craig,And drank my fill o’ fancy’s dream,When from the eddying deep below,Up rose the genius of the stream. Dark, like the frowning rock, his brow,And troubled, like […]

Where Cart rins rowin’ to the sea,By mony a flower and spreading tree,There lives a lad, the lad for me,He is a gallant Weaver.O, I had wooers aught or nine,They gied me rings and ribbons fine;And I was fear’d my heart wad tine,And I gied it to the Weaver. My daddie sign’d my tocher-band,To gie […]

At Brownhill we always get dainty good cheer,And plenty of bacon each day in the year;We’ve a’ thing that’s nice, and mostly in season,But why always Bacon–come, tell me a reason?

A Fragment, 1791. Thou, Liberty, thou art my theme;Not such as idle poets dream,Who trick thee up a heathen goddessThat a fantastic cap and rod has;Such stale conceits are poor and silly;I paint thee out, a Highland filly,A sturdy, stubborn, handsome dapple,As sleek’s a mouse, as round’s an apple,That when thou pleasest canst do wonders;But […]

Hail, Poesie! thou Nymph reserv’d!In chase o’ thee, what crowds hae swerv’dFrae common sense, or sunk enerv’d‘Mang heaps o’ clavers:And och! o’er aft thy joes hae starv’d,‘Mid a’ thy favours! Say, Lassie, why, thy train amang,While loud the trump’s heroic clang,And sock or buskin skelp alangTo death or marriage;Scarce ane has tried the shepherd–sangBut wi’ […]

What can a young lassie, what shall a young lassie,What can a young lassie do wi’ an auld man?Bad luck on the penny that tempted my minnieTo sell her puir Jenny for siller an’ lan’.Bad luck on the penny that tempted my minnieTo sell her puir Jenny for siller an’ lan’! He’s always compleenin’ frae […]

The Posie

Story type: Poetry

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O luve will venture in where it daur na weel be seen,O luve will venture in where wisdom ance has been;But I will doun yon river rove, amang the wood sae green,And a’ to pu’ a Posie to my ain dear May. The primrose I will pu’, the firstling o’ the year,And I will pu’ […]

Tune–“Miss Muir.” O how shall I, unskilfu’, tryThe poet’s occupation?The tunefu’ powers, in happy hours,That whisper inspiration;Even they maun dare an effort mairThan aught they ever gave us,Ere they rehearse, in equal verse,The charms o’ lovely Davies. Each eye it cheers when she appears,Like Phoebus in the morning,When past the shower, and every flowerThe garden […]

Ye banks and braes o’ bonie Doon,How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair?How can ye chant, ye little birds,And I sae weary fu’ o’ care!Thou’ll break my heart, thou warbling bird,That wantons thro’ the flowering thorn:Thou minds me o’ departed joys,Departed never to return. Aft hae I rov’d by Bonie Doon,To see the rose […]

The wind blew hollow frae the hills,By fits the sun’s departing beamLook’d on the fading yellow woods,That wav’d o’er Lugar’s winding stream:Beneath a craigy steep, a Bard,Laden with years and meikle pain,In loud lament bewail’d his lord,Whom Death had all untimely ta’en. He lean’d him to an ancient aik,Whose trunk was mould’ring down with years;His […]

[Lines Sent to Sir John Whiteford, BartWith The Lament On The Death Of the Earl Of Glencairn] Thou, who thy honour as thy God rever’st,Who, save thy mind’s reproach, nought earthly fear’st,To thee this votive offering I impart,The tearful tribute of a broken heart.The Friend thou valued’st, I, the Patron lov’d;His worth, his honour, all […]

Chorus.–Bonie wee thing, cannie wee thing,Lovely wee thing, wert thou mine,I wad wear thee in my bosom,Lest my jewel it should tine. Wishfully I look and languishIn that bonie face o’ thine,And my heart it stounds wi’ anguish,Lest my wee thing be na mine.Bonie wee thing, etc. Wit, and Grace, and Love, and Beauty,In ae […]

[On being asked why she had been formed so little, and Mrs. A–so big.] Ask why God made the gem so small?And why so huge the granite?–Because God meant mankind should setThat higher value on it.

Out over the Forth, I look to the North;But what is the north and its Highlands to me?The south nor the east gie ease to my breast,The far foreign land, or the wide rolling sea. But I look to the west when I gae to rest,That happy my dreams and my slumbers may be;For far […]

Sweet are the banks–the banks o’ Doon,The spreading flowers are fair,And everything is blythe and glad,But I am fu’ o’ care.Thou’ll break my heart, thou bonie bird,That sings upon the bough;Thou minds me o’ the happy daysWhen my fause Luve was true:Thou’ll break my heart, thou bonie bird,That sings beside thy mate;For sae I sat, […]

Ye flowery banks o’ bonie Doon,How can ye blume sae fair?How can ye chant, ye little birds,And I sae fu’ o care!Thou’ll break my heart, thou bonie bird,That sings upon the bough!Thou minds me o’ the happy daysWhen my fause Luve was true.Thou’ll break my heart, thou bonie bird,That sings beside thy mate;For sae I […]

[On the Birth of a Posthumous ChildBorn in peculiar circumstances of family distress.] Sweet flow’ret, pledge o’ meikle love,And ward o’ mony a prayer,What heart o’ stane wad thou na move,Sae helpless, sweet, and fair? November hirples o’er the lea,Chil, on thy lovely form:And gane, alas! the shelt’ring tree,Should shield thee frae the storm. May […]

Life ne’er exulted in so rich a prize,As Burnet, lovely from her native skies;Nor envious death so triumph’d in a blow,As that which laid th’ accomplish’d Burnet low. Thy form and mind, sweet maid, can I forget?In richest ore the brightest jewel set!In thee, high Heaven above was truest shown,As by His noblest work the […]

Now Nature hangs her mantle greenOn every blooming tree,And spreads her sheets o’ daisies whiteOut o’er the grassy lea;Now Phoebus cheers the crystal streams,And glads the azure skies;But nought can glad the weary wightThat fast in durance lies. Now laverocks wake the merry mornAloft on dewy wing;The merle, in his noontide bow’r,Makes woodland echoes ring;The […]

By yon Castle wa’, at the close of the day,I heard a man sing, tho’ his head it was grey:And as he was singing, the tears doon came,–There’ll never be peace till Jamie comes hame. The Church is in ruins, the State is in jars,Delusions, oppressions, and murderous wars,We dare na weel say’t, but we […]

“Of Brownyis and of Bogillis full is this Buke.” Gawin Douglas. When chapman billies leave the street,And drouthy neibors, neibors, meet;As market days are wearing late,And folk begin to tak the gate,While we sit bousing at the nappy,An’ getting fou and unco happy,We think na on the lang Scots miles,The mosses, waters, slaps and stiles,That […]

Stop, passenger! my story’s brief,And truth I shall relate, man;I tell nae common tale o’ grief,For Matthew was a great man. If thou uncommon merit hast,Yet spurn’d at Fortune’s door, man;A look of pity hither cast,For Matthew was a poor man. If thou a noble sodger art,That passest by this grave, man;There moulders here a […]

[Written on an Envelope, enclosing a Letter to Him.] Ken ye aught o’ Captain Grose?–Igo, and ago,If he’s amang his friends or foes?–Iram, coram, dago. Is he to Abra’m’s bosom gane?–Igo, and ago,Or haudin Sarah by the wame?–Iram, coram dago. Is he south or is he north?–Igo, and ago,Or drowned in the river Forth?–Iram, coram […]

[Elegy On Captain Matthew Henderson – A Gentleman who held the Patent for his Honours immediately from Almighty God.] Should the poor be flattered?–Shakespeare. O Death! thou tyrant fell and bloody!The meikle devil wi’ a woodieHaurl thee hame to his black smiddie,O’er hurcheon hides,And like stock-fish come o’er his studdieWi’ thy auld sides! He’s gane, […]

Peg Nicholson was a good bay mare,As ever trod on airn;But now she’s floating down the Nith,And past the mouth o’ Cairn. Peg Nicholson was a good bay mare,An’ rode thro’ thick and thin;But now she’s floating down the Nith,And wanting even the skin. Peg Nicholson was a good bay mare,And ance she bore a […]

Yestreen I had a pint o’ wine,A place where body saw na;Yestreen lay on this breast o’ mineThe gowden locks of Anna. The hungry Jew in wilderness,Rejoicing o’er his manna,Was naething to my hinny blissUpon the lips of Anna. Ye monarchs, take the East and WestFrae Indus to Savannah;Gie me, within my straining grasp,The melting […]

I Murder Hate

Story type: Poetry

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I murder hate by flood or field,Tho’ glory’s name may screen us;In wars at home I’ll spend my blood–Life-giving wars of Venus.The deities that I adoreAre social Peace and Plenty;I’m better pleas’d to make one more,Than be the death of twenty. I would not die like Socrates,For all the fuss of Plato;Nor would I with […]

Gane is the day, and mirk’s the night,But we’ll ne’er stray for faut o’ light;Gude ale and bratdy’s stars and moon,And blue-red wine’s the risin’ sun. Chorus.–Then gudewife, count the lawin,The lawin, the lawin,Then gudewife, count the lawin,And bring a coggie mair. There’s wealth and ease for gentlemen,And simple folk maun fecht and fen’;But here […]

Election Ballad

Story type: Poetry

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[At the close of the contest for representing the Dumfries Burghs, 1790.][Addressed to R. Graham, Esq. of Fintry.] Fintry, my stay in wordly strife,Friend o’ my muse, friend o’ my life,Are ye as idle’s I am?Come then, wi’ uncouth kintra fleg,O’er Pegasus I’ll fling my leg,And ye shall see me try him. But where shall […]

[Lines to a Gentleman, Who had sent the Poet a Newspaper, and offered to continue it free of Expense.] Kind Sir, I’ve read your paper through,And faith, to me, ’twas really new!How guessed ye, Sir, what maist I wanted?This mony a day I’ve grain’d and gaunted,To ken what French mischief was brewin;Or what the drumlie […]

[On New Year’s Day Evening, 1790.] No song nor dance I bring from yon great city,That queens it o’er our taste–the more’s the pity:Tho’ by the bye, abroad why will you roam?Good sense and taste are natives here at home:But not for panegyric I appear,I come to wish you all a good New Year!Old Father […]

To Mrs. Dunlop. This day, Time winds th’ exhausted chain;To run the twelvemonth’s length again:I see, the old bald-pated fellow,With ardent eyes, complexion sallow,Adjust the unimpair’d machine,To wheel the equal, dull routine. The absent lover, minor heir,In vain assail him with their prayer;Deaf as my friend, he sees them press,Nor makes the hour one moment […]

[At the Theatre, Dumfries] What needs this din about the town o’ Lon’on,How this new play an’ that new sang is comin?Why is outlandish stuff sae meikle courted?Does nonsense mend, like brandy, when imported?Is there nae poet, burning keen for fame,Will try to gie us sangs and plays at hame?For Comedy abroad he need to […]

Tune–“Up and waur them a’, Willie.” The Laddies by the banks o’ NithWad trust his Grace [1] wi a’, Jamie;But he’ll sair them, as he sair’d the King–Turn tail and rin awa’, Jamie. Chorus.–Up and waur them a’, Jamie,Up and waur them a’;The Johnstones hae the guidin o’t,Ye turncoat Whigs, awa’! The day he stude […]

Ellisland, 21st Oct., 1789. Wow, but your letter made me vauntie!And are ye hale, and weel and cantie?I ken’d it still, your wee bit jauntieWad bring ye to:Lord send you aye as weel’s I want ye!And then ye’ll do. The ill-thief blaw the Heron south!And never drink be near his drouth!He tauld myself by word […]

Tune–“Chevy Chase.” There was five Carlins in the South,They fell upon a scheme,To send a lad to London town,To bring them tidings hame. Nor only bring them tidings hame,But do their errands there,And aiblins gowd and honor baithMight be that laddie’s share. There was Maggy by the banks o’ Nith,A dame wi’ pride eneugh;And Marjory […]

A Waukrife Minnie

Story type: Poetry

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Whare are you gaun, my bonie lass,Whare are you gaun, my hinnie?She answered me right saucilie,“An errand for my minnie.” O whare live ye, my bonie lass,O whare live ye, my hinnie?“By yon burnside, gin ye maun ken,In a wee house wi’ my minnie.” But I foor up the glen at e’en.To see my bonie […]

Tune–“Robaidh dona gorach.” Dear Myra, the captive ribband’s mine,‘Twas all my faithful love could gain;And would you ask me to resignThe sole reward that crowns my pain? Go, bid the hero who has runThro’ fields of death to gather fame,Go, bid him lay his laurels down,And all his well-earn’d praise disclaim. The ribband shall its […]

Tune–“Failte na Miosg.” Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North,The birth-place of Valour, the country of Worth;Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,The hills of the Highlands for ever I love. Chorus.–My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,My heart’s […]

I sing of a Whistle, a Whistle of worth,I sing of a Whistle, the pride of the North.Was brought to the court of our good Scottish King,And long with this Whistle all Scotland shall ring. Old Loda, still rueing the arm of Fingal,The god of the bottle sends down from his hall–“The Whistle’s your challenge, […]

To Mary In Heaven

Story type: Poetry

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Thou ling’ring star, with lessening ray,That lov’st to greet the early morn,Again thou usher’st in the dayMy Mary from my soul was torn.O Mary! dear departed shade!Where is thy place of blissful rest?See’st thou thy lover lowly laid?Hear’st thou the groans that rend his breast? That sacred hour can I forget,Can I forget the hallow’d […]

Chorus.–Awa’ Whigs, awa’!Awa’ Whigs, awa’!Ye’re but a pack o’ traitor louns,Ye’ll do nae gude at a’. Our thrissles flourish’d fresh and fair,And bonie bloom’d our roses;But Whigs cam’ like a frost in June,An’ wither’d a’ our posies.Awa’ Whigs, etc. Our ancient crown’s fa’en in the dust–Deil blin’ them wi’ the stoure o’t!An’ write their names […]

Tune–“The Cameronian Rant.” “O cam ye here the fight to shun,Or herd the sheep wi’ me, man?Or were ye at the Sherra-moor,Or did the battle see, man?”I saw the battle, sair and teugh,And reekin-red ran mony a sheugh;My heart, for fear, gaed sough for sough,To hear the thuds, and see the cludsO’ clans frae woods, […]

Where hae ye been sae braw, lad?Whare hae ye been sae brankie, O?Whare hae ye been sae braw, lad?Cam ye by Killiecrankie, O? Chorus.–An ye had been whare I hae been,Ye wad na been sae cantie, O;An ye had seen what I hae seen,I’ the Braes o’ Killiecrankie, O. I faught at land, I faught […]

10 Aug., 1979. Addressed to Robert Graham, Esq. of Fintry. I call no Goddess to inspire my strains,A fabled Muse may suit a bard that feigns:Friend of my life! my ardent spirit burns,And all the tribute of my heart returns,For boons accorded, goodness ever new,The gifts still dearer, as the giver you.Thou orb of day! […]

On being appointed to an Excise division. Searching auld wives’ barrels,Ochon the day!That clarty barm should stain my laurels:But–what’ll ye say?These movin’ things ca’d wives an’ weans,Wad move the very hearts o’ stanes!

(Willie Brew’d a Peck O’ Maut [1]) O Willie brew’d a peck o’ maut,And Rob and Allen cam to see;Three blyther hearts, that lee-lang night,Ye wadna found in Christendie. Chorus.–We are na fou, we’re nae that fou,But just a drappie in our ee;The cock may craw, the day may dawAnd aye we’ll taste the barley […]

I gaed a waefu’ gate yestreen,A gate, I fear, I’ll dearly rue;I gat my death frae twa sweet een,Twa lovely een o’bonie blue. ‘Twas not her golden ringlets bright,Her lips like roses wat wi’ dew,Her heaving bosom, lily-white–It was her een sae bonie blue. She talk’d, she smil’d, my heart she wyl’d;She charm’d my soul […]

My Harry was a gallant gay,Fu’ stately strade he on the plain;But now he’s banish’d far away,I’ll never see him back again. Chorus.–O for him back again!O for him back again!I wad gie a’ Knockhaspie’s landFor Highland Harry back again. When a’ the lave gae to their bed,I wander dowie up the glen;I set me […]

The Devil got notice that Grose was a-dyingSo whip! at the summons, old Satan came flying;But when he approached where poor Francis lay moaning,And saw each bed-post with its burthen a-groaning,Astonish’d, confounded, cries Satan–“By God,I’ll want him, ere I take such a damnable load!”

Tune–“Come rouse, Brother Sportsman!” Orthodox! orthodox, who believe in John Knox,Let me sound an alarm to your conscience:A heretic blast has been blown in the West,“That what is no sense must be nonsense,”Orthodox! That what is no sense must be nonsense. Doctor Mac! Doctor Mac, you should streek on a rack,To strike evil-doers wi’ terror:To […]

Factor John! Factor John, whom the Lord made alone,And ne’er made anither, thy peer,Thy poor servant, the Bard, in respectful regard,He presents thee this token sincere,Factor John! He presents thee this token sincere. Afton’s Laird! Afton’s Laird, when your pen can be spared,A copy of this I bequeath,On the same sicker score as I mention’d […]

My Eppie Adair

Story type: Poetry

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Chorus.–An’ O my Eppie, my jewel, my Eppie,Wha wad na be happy wi’ Eppie Adair? By love, and by beauty, by law, and by duty,I swear to be true to my Eppie Adair!By love, and by beauty, by law, and by duty,I swear to be true to my Eppie Adair!And O my Eppie, etc. A’ […]

[Collecting The Antiquities Of That Kingdom] Hear, Land o’ Cakes, and brither Scots,Frae Maidenkirk to Johnie Groat’s;–If there’s a hole in a’ your coats,I rede you tent it:A chield’s amang you takin notes,And, faith, he’ll prent it: If in your bounds ye chance to lightUpon a fine, fat fodgel wight,O’ stature short, but genius bright,That’s […]

First when Maggie was my care,Heav’n, I thought, was in her air,Now we’re married–speir nae mair,But whistle o’er the lave o’t! Meg was meek, and Meg was mild,Sweet and harmless as a child–Wiser men than me’s beguil’d;Whistle o’er the lave o’t! How we live, my Meg and me,How we love, and how we gree,I care […]

John Anderson, my jo, John,When we were first acquent;Your locks were like the raven,Your bonie brow was brent;But now your brow is beld, John,Your locks are like the snaw;But blessings on your frosty pow,John Anderson, my jo. John Anderson, my jo, John,We clamb the hill thegither;And mony a cantie day, John,We’ve had wi’ ane anither:Now […]

My love, she’s but a lassie yet,My love, she’s but a lassie yet;We’ll let her stand a year or twa,She’ll no be half sae saucy yet;I rue the day I sought her, O!I rue the day I sought her, O!Wha gets her needs na say she’s woo’d,But he may say he’s bought her, O. Come, […]

Tam Glen

Story type: Poetry

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My heart is a-breaking, dear Tittie,Some counsel unto me come len’,To anger them a’ is a pity,But what will I do wi’ Tam Glen? I’m thinking, wi’ sic a braw fellow,In poortith I might mak a fen;What care I in riches to wallow,If I maunna marry Tam Glen! There’s Lowrie the Laird o’ Dumeller–“Gude day […]

Chorus.–Carle, an the King come,Carle, an the King come,Thou shalt dance and I will sing,Carle, an the King come. An somebody were come again,Then somebody maun cross the main,And every man shall hae his ain,Carle, an the King come.Carle, an the King come, etc. I trow we swapped for the worse,We gae the boot and […]

There’s a youth in this city, it were a great pityThat he from our lassies should wander awa’;For he’s bonie and braw, weel-favor’d witha’,An’ his hair has a natural buckle an’ a’. His coat is the hue o’ his bonnet sae blue,His fecket is white as the new-driven snaw;His hose they are blae, and his […]

O wilt thou go wi’ me, sweet Tibbie Dunbar?O wilt thou go wi’ me, sweet Tibbie Dunbar?Wilt thou ride on a horse, or be drawn in a car,Or walk by my side, O sweet Tibbie Dunbar? I care na thy daddie, his lands and his money,I care na thy kin, sae high and sae lordly;But […]

Chorus.–O mount and go, mount and make you ready,O mount and go, and be the Captain’s lady. When the drums do beat, and the cannons rattle,Thou shalt sit in state, and see thy love in battle:When the drums do beat, and the cannons rattle,Thou shalt sit in state, and see thy love in battle.O mount […]

My Sandy gied to me a ring,Was a’ beset wi’ diamonds fine;But I gied him a far better thing,I gied my heart in pledge o’ his ring. Chorus.–My Sandy O, my Sandy O,My bonie, bonie Sandy O;Tho’ the love that I oweTo thee I dare na show,Yet I love my love in secret, my Sandy […]

Young Jockie was the blythest lad,In a’ our town or here awa;Fu’ blythe he whistled at the gaud,Fu’ lightly danc’d he in the ha’. He roos’d my een sae bonie blue,He roos’d my waist sae genty sma’;An’ aye my heart cam to my mou’,When ne’er a body heard or saw. My Jockie toils upon the […]

The Banks Of Nith

Story type: Poetry

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The Thames flows proudly to the sea,Where royal cities stately stand;But sweeter flows the Nith to me,Where Comyns ance had high command.When shall I see that honour’d land,That winding stream I love so dear!Must wayward Fortune’s adverse handFor ever, ever keep me here! How lovely, Nith, thy fruitful vales,Where bounding hawthorns gaily bloom;And sweetly spread […]

Chorus.–Jamie, come try me,Jamie, come try me,If thou would win my love,Jamie, come try me. If thou should ask my love,Could I deny thee?If thou would win my love,Jamie, come try me!Jamie, come try me, etc. If thou should kiss me, love,Wha could espy thee?If thou wad be my love,Jamie, come try me!Jamie, come try […]

The Wounded Hare

Story type: Poetry

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Inhuman man! curse on thy barb’rous art,And blasted be thy murder-aiming eye;May never pity soothe thee with a sigh,Nor ever pleasure glad thy cruel heart! Go live, poor wand’rer of the wood and field!The bitter little that of life remains:No more the thickening brakes and verdant plainsTo thee a home, or food, or pastime yield. […]

Delia, An Ode

Story type: Poetry

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“To the Editor of The Star.–Mr. Printer–If the productions of a simple ploughman can merit a place in the same paper with Sylvester Otway, and the other favourites of the Muses who illuminate the Star with the lustre of genius, your insertion of the enclosed trifle will be succeeded by future communications from–Yours, etc., R. […]

Tune–“The Gardener’s March.” When rosy May comes in wi’ flowers,To deck her gay, green-spreading bowers,Then busy, busy are his hours,The Gard’ner wi’ his paidle. The crystal waters gently fa’,The merry bards are lovers a’,The scented breezes round him blaw–The Gard’ner wi’ his paidle. When purple morning starts the hareTo steal upon her early fare;Then thro’ […]

On a bank of flowers, in a summer day,For summer lightly drest,The youthful, blooming Nelly lay,With love and sleep opprest;When Willie, wand’ring thro’ the wood,Who for her favour oft had sued;He gaz’d, he wish’dHe fear’d, he blush’d,And trembled where he stood. Her closed eyes, like weapons sheath’d,Were seal’d in soft repose;Her lip, still as she […]

[On the Thanksgiving-Day for His Majesty’s Recovery.] O sing a new song to the Lord,Make, all and every one,A joyful noise, even for the KingHis restoration. The sons of Belial in the landDid set their heads together;Come, let us sweep them off, said they,Like an o’erflowing river. They set their heads together, I say,They set […]

How wisdom and Folly meet, mix, and unite,How Virtue and Vice blend their black and their white,How Genius, th’ illustrious father of fiction,Confounds rule and law, reconciles contradiction,I sing: If these mortals, the critics, should bustle,I care not, not I–let the Critics go whistle! But now for a Patron whose name and whose glory,At once […]

Ye gallants bright, I rede you right,Beware o’ bonie Ann;Her comely face sae fu’ o’ grace,Your heart she will trepan:Her een sae bright, like stars by night,Her skin sae like the swan;Sae jimply lac’d her genty waist,That sweetly ye might span. Youth, Grace, and Love attendant move,And pleasure leads the van:In a’ their charms, and […]

(March, 1789) Daughter of Chaos’ doting years,Nurse of ten thousand hopes and fears,Whether thy airy, insubstantial shade(The rights of sepulture now duly paid)Spread abroad its hideous formOn the roaring civil storm,Deafening din and warring rageFactions wild with factions wage;Or under-ground, deep-sunk, profound,Among the demons of the earth,With groans that make the mountains shake,Thou mourn thy […]

Auld comrade dear, and brither sinner,How’s a’ the folk about Glenconner?How do you this blae eastlin wind,That’s like to blaw a body blind?For me, my faculties are frozen,My dearest member nearly dozen’d.I’ve sent you here, by Johnie Simson,Twa sage philosophers to glimpse on;Smith, wi’ his sympathetic feeling,An’ Reid, to common sense appealing.Philosophers have fought and […]

[Tune–“Caledonian Hunts’ Delight” of Mr. Gow.] There was once a day, but old Time wasythen young,That brave Caledonia, the chief of her line,From some of your northern deities sprung,(Who knows not that brave Caledonia’s divine?)From Tweed to the Orcades was her domain,To hunt, or to pasture, or do what she would:Her heav’nly relations there fixed […]

[To Miss Cruickshank, a very Young Lady] [Written on the Blank Leaf of a Book, presented to her by the Author.] Beauteous Rosebud, young and gay,Blooming in thy early May,Never may’st thou, lovely flower,Chilly shrink in sleety shower!Never Boreas’ hoary path,Never Eurus’ pois’nous breath,Never baleful stellar lights,Taint thee with untimely blights!Never, never reptile thiefRiot on […]

[Sent with some of the Author’s Poems.] O could I give thee India’s wealth,As I this trifle send;Because thy joy in both would beTo share them with a friend. But golden sands did never graceThe Heliconian stream;Then take what gold could never buy–An honest bard’s esteem.

Dear, Sir, at ony time or tide,I’d rather sit wi’ you than ride,Though ’twere wi’ royal Geordie:And trowth, your kindness, soon and late,Aft gars me to mysel’ look blate–The Lord in Heav’n reward ye! R. Burns.Ellisland.

She’s fair and fause that causes my smart,I lo’ed her meikle and lang;She’s broken her vow, she’s broken my heart,And I may e’en gae hang.A coof cam in wi’ routh o’ gear,And I hae tint my dearest dear;But Woman is but warld’s gear,Sae let the bonie lass gang. Whae’er ye be that woman love,To this […]

[On Returning a Newspaper.] Your News and Review, sir.I’ve read through and through, sir,With little admiring or blaming;The Papers are barrenOf home-news or foreign,No murders or rapes worth the naming. Our friends, the Reviewers,Those chippers and hewers,Are judges of mortar and stone, sir;But of meet or unmeet,In a fabric complete,I’ll boldly pronounce they are none, […]

With Pegasus upon a day,Apollo, weary flying,Through frosty hills the journey lay,On foot the way was plying. Poor slipshod giddy PegasusWas but a sorry walker;To Vulcan then Apollo goes,To get a frosty caulker. Obliging Vulcan fell to work,Threw by his coat and bonnet,And did Sol’s business in a crack;Sol paid him with a sonnet. Ye […]

By all I lov’d, neglected and forgot,No friendly face e’er lights my squalid cot;Shunn’d, hated, wrong’d, unpitied, unredrest,The mock’d quotation of the scorner’s jest!Ev’n the poor support of my wretched life,Snatched by the violence of legal strife.Oft grateful for my very daily breadTo those my family’s once large bounty fed;A welcome inmate at their homely […]

Curs’d be the man, the poorest wretch in life,The crouching vassal to a tyrant wife!Who has no will but by her high permission,Who has not sixpence but in her possession;Who must to he, his dear friend’s secrets tell,Who dreads a curtain lecture worse than hell.Were such the wife had fallen to my part,I’d break her […]

His face with smile eternal drest,Just like the Landlord’s to his Guest’s,High as they hang with creaking din,To index out the Country Inn.He looked just as your sign-post Lions do,With aspect fierce, and quite as harmless too. A head, pure, sinless quite of brain and soul,The very image of a barber’s Poll;It shews a human […]

Chorus.–Robin shure in hairst,I shure wi’ him.Fient a heuk had I,Yet I stack by him. I gaed up to Dunse,To warp a wab o’ plaiden,At his daddie’s yett,Wha met me but Robin:Robin shure, etc. Was na Robin bauld,Tho’ I was a cotter,Play’d me sic a trick,An’ me the El’er’s dochter!Robin shure, etc. Robin promis’d meA’ […]

Dweller in yon dungeon dark,Hangman of creation! mark,Who in widow-weeds appears,Laden with unhonour’d years,Noosing with care a bursting purse,Baited with many a deadly curse? Strophe View the wither’d Beldam’s face;Can thy keen inspection traceAught of Humanity’s sweet, melting grace?Note that eye, ’tis rheum o’erflows;Pity’s flood there never rose,See these hands ne’er stretched to save,Hands that […]

[A Poem In Embryo] Thou, Nature, partial Nature, I arraign;Of thy caprice maternal I complain. The peopled fold thy kindly care have found,The horned bull, tremendous, spurns the ground;The lordly lion has enough and more,The forest trembles at his very roar;Thou giv’st the ass his hide, the snail his shell,The puny wasp, victorious, guards his […]

For lords or kings I dinna mourn,E’en let them die–for that they’re born:But oh! prodigious to reflec’!A Towmont, sirs, is gane to wreck!O Eighty-eight, in thy sma’ space,What dire events hae taken place!Of what enjoyments thou hast reft us!In what a pickle thou has left us! The Spanish empire’s tint a head,And my auld teethless, […]

My Bonie Mary

Story type: Poetry

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Go, fetch to me a pint o’ wine,And fill it in a silver tassie;That I may drink before I go,A service to my bonie lassie.The boat rocks at the pier o’ Leith;Fu’ loud the wind blaws frae the Ferry;The ship rides by the Berwick-law,And I maun leave my bonie Mary. The trumpets sound, the banners […]

The Parting Kiss

Story type: Poetry

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Humid seal of soft affections,Tenderest pledge of future bliss,Dearest tie of young connections,Love’s first snowdrop, virgin kiss! Speaking silence, dumb confession,Passion’s birth, and infant’s play,Dove-like fondness, chaste concession,Glowing dawn of future day! Sorrowing joy, Adieu’s last action,(Lingering lips must now disjoin),What words can ever speak affectionSo thrilling and sincere as thine!

[On Nithside] Thou whom chance may hither lead,Be thou clad in russet weed,Be thou deckt in silken stole,Grave these counsels on thy soul. Life is but a day at most,Sprung from night,–in darkness lost;Hope not sunshine ev’ry hour,Fear not clouds will always lour. As Youth and Love with sprightly dance,Beneath thy morning star advance,Pleasure with […]

Louis, what reck I by thee,Or Geordie on his ocean?Dyvor, beggar louns to me,I reign in Jeanie’s bosom! Let her crown my love her law,And in her breast enthrone me,Kings and nations–swith awa’!Reif randies, I disown ye! It Is Na, Jean, Thy Bonie Face It is na, Jean, thy bonie face,Nor shape that I admire;Altho’ […]

Auld Lang Syne

Story type: Poetry

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Should auld acquaintance be forgot,And never brought to mind?Should auld acquaintance be forgot,And auld lang syne! Chorus.–For auld lang syne, my dear,For auld lang syne.We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,For auld lang syne. And surely ye’ll be your pint stowp!And surely I’ll be mine!And we’ll tak a cup o’kindness yet,For auld lang syne.For auld, […]

[For the Death of Her Son.] Fate gave the word, the arrow sped,And pierc’d my darling’s heart;And with him all the joys are fledLife can to me impart. By cruel hands the sapling drops,In dust dishonour’d laid;So fell the pride of all my hopes,My age’s future shade. The mother-linnet in the brakeBewails her ravish’d young;So […]

The Day Returns

Story type: Poetry

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Tune–“Seventh of November.” The day returns, my bosom burns,The blissful day we twa did meet:Tho’ winter wild in tempest toil’d,Ne’er summer-sun was half sae sweet.Than a’ the pride that loads the tide,And crosses o’er the sultry line;Than kingly robes, than crowns and globes,Heav’n gave me more–it made thee mine! While day and night can bring […]

Tune–“My love is lost to me.” O, were I on Parnassus hill,Or had o’ Helicon my fill,That I might catch poetic skill,To sing how dear I love thee!But Nith maun be my Muse’s well,My Muse maun be thy bonie sel’,On Corsincon I’ll glowr and spell,And write how dear I love thee. Then come, sweet Muse, […]

Anna, Thy Charms

Story type: Poetry

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Anna, thy charms my bosom fire,And waste my soul with care;But ah! how bootless to admire,When fated to despair! Yet in thy presence, lovely Fair,To hope may be forgiven;For sure ’twere impious to despairSo much in sight of heaven.

Tune–“Killiecrankie.” O Wha will to Saint Stephen’s House,To do our errands there, man?O wha will to Saint Stephen’s HouseO’ th’ merry lads of Ayr, man? Or will we send a man o’ law?Or will we send a sodger?Or him wha led o’er Scotland a’The meikle Ursa-Major?[1] Come, will ye court a noble lord,Or buy a […]

[Requesting a Favour] When Nature her great master-piece design’d,And fram’d her last, best work, the human mind,Her eye intent on all the mazy plan,She form’d of various parts the various Man. Then first she calls the useful many forth;Plain plodding Industry, and sober Worth:Thence peasants, farmers, native sons of earth,And merchandise’ whole genus take their […]

Glenriddel Hermitage, June 28th, 1788. Thou whom chance may hither lead,Be thou clad in russet weed,Be thou deckt in silken stole,Grave these maxims on thy soul. Life is but a day at most,Sprung from night, in darkness lost:Hope not sunshine every hour,Fear not clouds will always lour. Happiness is but a name,Make content and ease […]

Ellisland, Nithsdale, July 27th, 1788. My godlike friend–nay, do not stare,You think the phrase is odd-like;But God is love, the saints declare,Then surely thou art god-like. And is thy ardour still the same?And kindled still at Anna?Others may boast a partial flame,But thou art a volcano! Ev’n Wedlock asks not love beyondDeath’s tie-dissolving portal;But thou, […]

In this strange land, this uncouth clime,A land unknown to prose or rhyme;Where words ne’er cross’t the Muse’s heckles,Nor limpit in poetic shackles:A land that Prose did never view it,Except when drunk he stacher’t thro’ it;Here, ambush’d by the chimla cheek,Hid in an atmosphere of reek,I hear a wheel thrum i’ the neuk,I hear it–for […]

[Written during a separation from Mrs. Burns in their honeymoon. Burns was preparing a home at Ellisland; Mrs. Burns was at Mossgiel.–Lang.] [Tune–“Miss Admiral Gordon’s Strathspey.”] Of a’ the airts the wind can blaw,I dearly like the west,For there the bonie lassie lives,The lassie I lo’e best: There’s wild-woods grow, and rivers row,And mony a […]

I Hae a wife of my ain,I’ll partake wi’ naebody;I’ll take Cuckold frae nane,I’ll gie Cuckold to naebody. I hae a penny to spend,There–thanks to naebody!I hae naething to lend,I’ll borrow frae naebody. I am naebody’s lord,I’ll be slave to naebody;I hae a gude braid sword,I’ll tak dunts frae naebody. I’ll be merry and free,I’ll […]