[Page 185][Page 190]
A DEDICATION TO G**** H******* Esq;
1 EXPECT na, Sir, in this narration,
2 A fleechan, fleth'ran Dedication,
3 To roose you up, an' ca' you guid,
4 An' sprung o' great an' noble bluid;
5 Because ye're sirnam'd like His Grace,
6 Perhaps related to the race:
7 Then when I'm tir'd — and sae are ye,
8 Wi' monie a fulsome, sinfu' lie,[Page 186]
9 Set up a face, how I stop short,
10 For fear your modesty be hurt.
11 This may do — maun do, Sir, wi' them wha
12 Maun please the Great-folk for a wamefou;
13 For me! sae Iaigh I need na bow,
14 For, LORD be thanket, I can plough;
15 And when I downa yoke a naig,
16 Then, LORD be thanket, I can beg;
17 Sae I shall say, an' that's nae flatt'rin,
18 It's just sic Poet an' sic Patron.
19 The Poet, some guid Angel help him,
20 Or else, I fear, some ill ane skelp him!
21 He may do weel for a' he's done yet,
22 But only — he's no just begun yet.
23 The Patron, (Sir, ye maun forgie me,
24 I winna lie, come what will o' me)
25 On ev'ry hand it will allow'd be,
26 He's just — nae better than he should be.
27 I readily and freely grant,
28 He downa see a poor man want;
29 What's no his ain, he winna tak it;
30 What ance he says, he winna break it;[Page 187]
31 Ought he can lend he'll no refus't,
32 Till aft his guidness is abus'd;
33 And rascals whyles that do him wrang,
34 Ev'n that, he does na mind it lang:
35 As Master, Landlord, Husband, Father,
36 He does na fail his part in either.
37 But then, nae thanks to him for a' that;
38 Nae godly symptom ye can ca' that;
39 It's naething but a milder feature,
40 Of our poor, sinfu', corrupt Nature:
41 Ye'll get the best o' moral works,
42 'Mang black Gentoos, and Pagan Turks,
43 Or Hunters wild on Ponotaxi,
44 Wha never heard of Orth-d-xy.
45 That he's the poor man's friend in need,
46 The GENTLEMAN in word and deed,
47 It's no through terror of D-mn-t-n;
48 It's just a carnal inclination,
49 And Och! that's nae r-g-n-r-t-n!
50 Morality, thou deadly bane,
51 Thy tens o' thousands thou hast slain!
52 Vain is his hope, whase slay an' trust is,
53 In moral Mercy, Truth and Justice![Page 188]
54 No — stretch a point to catch a plack;
55 Abuse a Brother to his back;
56 Steal thro' the winnock frae a wh-re,
57 But point the Rake that taks the door;
58 Be to the Poor like onie whunstane,
59 And haud their noses to the grunstane;
60 Ply ev'ry art o' legal thieving;
61 No matter — stick to sound believing.
62 Learn three-mile pray'rs, an' half-mile graces,
63 Wi' weel spread looves, an' lang, wry faces;
64 Grunt up a solemn, lengthen'd groan,
65 And damn a' Parties but your own;
66 I'll warrant then, ye're nae Deceiver,
67 A steady, sturdy, staunch Believer.
68 O ye wha leave the springs o' C-lv-n,
69 For gumlie dubs of your ain delvin!
70 Ye sons of Heresy and Error,
71 Ye'll some day squeel in quaking terror!
72 When Vengeance draws the sword in wrath,
73 And in the fire throws the sheath;
74 When Ruin, with his sweeping besom,
75 Just frets till Heav'n commission gies him;[Page 189]
76 While o'er the Harp pale Misery moans,
77 And strikes the ever-deep'ning tones,
78 Still louder shrieks, and heavier groans!
79 Your pardon, Sir, for this digression,
80 I maist forgat my Dedication;
81 But when Divinity comes cross me,
82 My readers then are sure to lose me.
83 So Sir, you see 'twas nae daft vapour,
84 But I maturely thought it proper,
85 When a' my works I did review,
86 To dedicate them, Sir, to YOU:
87 Because (ye need na tak it ill)
88 I thought them something like yoursel.
89 Then patronize them wvi' your favor,
90 And your Petitioner shall ever —
91 I had amaist said, ever pray,
92 But that's a word I need na say:
93 For prayin I hae little skill o't;
94 I'm baith dead-sweer, an' wretched ill o't;
95 But I'se repeat each poor man's pray'r,
96 That kens or hears about you, Sir —
97 'May ne'er Misfortune's gowling bark,
98 ' Howl thro' the dwelling o' the CLERK!
99 'May ne'er his gen'rous, honest heart,
100 ' For that same gen'rous spirit smart!
101 'May K******'s far-honor'd name
102 ' Lang beet his hymeneal flame,
103 'Till H*******'s, at least a diz'n,
104 'Are frae their nuptial labors risen:
105 ' Five bonie Lasses round their table,
106 'And sev'n brave fellows, stout an' able,
107 'To serve their King an' Country weel,
108 ' By word, or pen, or pointed steel!
109 'May Health and Peace, with mutual rays,
110 ' Shine on the ev'ning o' his days;
111 'Till his wee, curlie John's ier-oe,
112 'When ebbing life nae mair shall flow,
113 ' The last, sad, mournful rites bestow! '
114 I will not wind a lang conclusion,
115 With complimentary effusion:
116 But whilst your wishes and endeavours,
117 Are blest with Fortune's smiles and favours,[Page 191]
118 I am, Dear Sir, with zeal most fervent,
119 Your much indebted, humble servant.
120 But if, which Pow'rs above prevent,
121 That iron-hearted Carl, Want,
122 Attended, in his grim advances,
123 By sad mistakes, and black mischances,
124 While hopes, and joys, and pleasures fly him;
125 Make you as poor a dog as I am,
126 Your humble servant then no more;
127 For who would humbly serve the Poor?
128 But by a poor man's hopes in Heav'n!
129 While recollection's pow'r is giv'n,
130 If, in the vale of humble life,
131 The victim sad of Fortune's strife,
132 I, through the tender-gushing tear,
133 Should recognise my Master dear,
134 If friendless, low, we meet together,
135 Then, Sir, your hand — my FRIEND and BROTHER.
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About this text
Author: Robert Burns
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Burns, Robert, 1759-1796. POEMS, CHIEFLY IN THE SCOTTISH DIALECT, BY ROBERT BURNS. Kilmarnock: printed by John Wilson, M,DCC,LXXXVI., 1786, pp. 185-191. 240p.; 8⁰. (ESTC T91548) (Page images digitized by National Library of Scotland.)
Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.
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