[Page 202]


1 WHILE new-ca'd kye rowte at the stake,
2 An' pownies reek in pleugh or braik,
3 This hour on e'enin's edge I take,
4 To own I'm debtor,
5 To honest-hearted, auld L*****K,
6 For his kind letter.
7 Forjesket sair, with weary legs,
8 Rattlin the corn out-owre the rigs,
9 Or dealing thro' amang the naigs
10 Their ten-hours bite,
[Page 203]
11 My awkart Muse sair pleads and begs,
12 I would na write.
13 The tapetless, ramfeezl'd hizzie,
14 She's saft at best an' something lazy,
15 Quo' she, 'Ye ken we've been sae busy
16 'This month an' mair,
17 ' That trouth, my head is grown right dizzie,
18 'An' something fair.'
19 Her dowf excuses pat me mad;
20 'Conscience,' says I, 'ye thowless jad!
21 ' I'll write, an' that a hearty blaud,
22 'This vera night;
23 ' So dinna ye affront your trade,
24 'But rhyme it right.
25 'Shall bauld L*****K, the king o' hearts,
26 ' Tho' mankind were a pack o' cartes,
27 'Roose you sae weel for your deserts,
28 ' In terms sae friendly,
29 'Yet ye'll neglect to shaw your parts
30 ' An' thank him kindly? '
[Page 204]
31 Sae I gat paper in a blink,
32 An, down gaed stumpie in the ink:
33 Quoth I, 'Before I sleep a wink,
34 ' I vow I'll close it;
35 'An' if ye winna mak it clink,
36 ' By Jove I'll prose it! '
37 Sae I've begun to scrawl, but whether
38 In rhyme, or prose, or baith thegither,
39 Or some hotch-potch that's rightly neither,
40 Let time mak proof;
41 But I shall scribble down some blether
42 Just clean aff-loof.
43 My worthy friend, ne'er grudge an' carp,
44 Tho' Fortune use you hard an' sharp;
45 Come, kittle up your moorlan harp
46 Wi' gleesome touch!
47 Ne'er mind how Fortune waft an' warp;
48 She's but a b-tch.
49 She's gien me monie a jirt an' fleg,
50 Sin I could striddle owre a rig;
[Page 205]
51 But by the L d, tho' I should beg
52 Wi' lyart pow,
53 I'll laugh, an' sing, an' shake my leg,
54 As lang's I dow!
55 Now comes the sax an' twentieth simmer,
56 I've seen the bud upo' the timmer,
57 Still persecuted by the limmer
58 Frae year to year;
59 But yet, despite the kittle kimmer,
60 I, Rob, am here,
61 Do ye envy the city-gent,
62 Behint a kist to lie an' sklent,
63 Or purse-proud, big wi' cent per cent,
64 An' muckle wame,
65 In some bit Brugh to represent
66 A Baillie's name?
67 Or is't the paughty, feudal Thane,
68 Wi' ruffl'd sark an' glancin cane,
69 Wha thinks himsel nae sheep-shank bane,
70 But lordly stalks,
[Page 206]
71 While caps an' bonnets aff are taen,
72 As by he walks?
73 'O Thou wha gies us each guid gift!
74 ' Gie me o' wit an' sense a lift,
75 'Then turn me, if Thou please, adrift,
76 ' Thro' Scotland wide;
77 'Wi' cits nor lairds I wadna shift,
78 ' In a' their pride! '
79 Were this the charter of our state,
80 'On pain o' hell be rich an' great,'
81 Damnation then would be our fate,
82 Beyond remead;
83 But, thanks to Heav'n, that's no the gate
84 We learn our creed.
85 For thus the royal Mandate ran,
86 When first the human race began,
87 'The social, friendly, honest man,
88 ' Whate'er he be,
89 ''Tis he fulfils great Nature's plan,
90 ' And none but he. '
[Page 207]
91 O Mandate, glorious and divine!
92 The followers o' the ragged Nine,
93 Poor, thoughtless devils! yet may shine
94 In glorious light,
95 While sordid sons o' Mammon's line
96 Are dark as night!
97 Tho' here they scrape, an' squeeze, an' growl,
98 Their worthless nievefu' of a soul,
99 May in some future carcase howl,
100 The forest's fright;
101 Or in some day-detesting owl
102 May shun the light.
103 Then may L*****K and B**** arise,
104 To reach their native, kindred skies,
105 And sing their pleasures, hopes an' joys,
106 In some mild sphere,
107 Still closer knit in friendship's ties
108 Each passing year!


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): TO THE SAME.
Author: Robert Burns
Genres: epistle

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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. 202-207. 240p.; 8⁰. (ESTC T91548) (Page images digitized by National Library of Scotland.)

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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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