Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. III. Addison to Blake
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. III. The Eighteenth Century: Addison to Blake
Braid Claith
By Robert Fergusson (1750–1774)
YE wha are fain to hae your name
Wrote in the bonny book of fame,
Let merit nae pretension claim
                To laurel’d wreath,
But hap 1 ye weel, baith back and wame,        5
                In gude Braid Claith.
He that some ells o’ this may fa’, 2
An’ slae-black 3 hat on pow 4 like snaw,
Bids bauld 5 to bear the gree 6 awa’,
                Wi’ a’ this graith, 7        10
Whan bienly 8 clad wi’ shell fu’ braw
                O’ gude Braid Claith.
Waesuck for him wha has nae fek 9 o ’t!
For he ’s a gowk 10 they ’re sure to geck 11 at,
A chield that ne’er will be respekit        15
                While he draws breath,
Till his four quarters are bedeckit
                Wi’ gude Braid Claith.
On Sabbath-days the barber spark,
Whan he has done wi’ scrapin wark,        20
Wi’ siller broachie in his sark, 12
                Gangs trigly, faith!
Or to the Meadow or the Park,
                In gude Braid Claith.
Weel might ye trow, to see them there,        25
That they to shave your haffits 13 bare,
Or curl an’ sleek a pickle 14 hair,
                Wud be right laith 15
When pacing wi’ a gawsy air 16
                In gude Braid Claith.        30
If ony mettled stirrah 17 grien 18
For favour frae a lady’s ein,
He mauna care for being seen
                Before he sheath
His body in a scabbard clean        35
                O’ gude Braid Claith.
For gin 19 he comes wi’ coat thread-bare,
A feg 20 for him she winna care,
But crook her bony mou’ fu’ sair,
                An’ scald him baith.        40
Wooers shou’d ay their travel 21 spare
                Without Braid Claith.
Braid Claith lends fouk 22 an unco heese 23
Makes mony kail-worms butter-flies,
Gies mony a doctor his degrees        45
                For little skaith: 24
In short, you may be what you please
                Wi’ gude Braid Claith.
For thof ye had as wise a snout on,
As Shakespeare or Sir Isaac Newton,        50
Your judgment fouk wud hae a doubt on,
                I ’ll tak’ my aith,
Till they cou’d see ye wi’ a suit on
                O’ gude Braid Claith.
Note 1. cover. [back]
Note 2. possess or deserve. [back]
Note 3. sloe-black. [back]
Note 4. poll. [back]
Note 5. bold. [back]
Note 6. pre-eminence. [back]
Note 7. accoutrements. [back]
Note 8. well. [back]
Note 9. quantity. [back]
Note 10. fool. [back]
Note 11. toss the head. [back]
Note 12. shirt. [back]
Note 13. cheeks. [back]
Note 14. little. [back]
Note 15. loath. [back]
Note 16. looking big. [back]
Note 17. young fellow. [back]
Note 18. long for. [back]
Note 19. if. [back]
Note 20. fig. [back]
Note 21. trouble. [back]
Note 22. folk. [back]
Note 23. lift. [back]
Note 24. harm. [back]

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