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Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
230. The Fête Champêtre
 
 
Tune—“Killiecrankie.”
 
 
O WHA will to Saint Stephen’s House,
  To do our errands there, man?
O wha will to Saint Stephen’s House
  O’ th’ merry lads of Ayr, man?
Or will we send a man o’ law?        5
  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 score o’lairds, man?        10
For worth and honour pawn their word,
  Their vote shall be Glencaird’s, 2 man.
Ane gies them coin, ane gies them wine,
  Anither gies them clatter:
Annbank, 3 wha guessed the ladies’ taste,        15
  He gies a Fête Champêtre.
 
When Love and Beauty heard the news,
  The gay green woods amang, man;
Where, gathering flowers, and busking bowers,
  They heard the blackbird’s sang, man:        20
A vow, they sealed it with a kiss,
  Sir Politics to fetter;
As their’s alone, the patent bliss,
  To hold a Fête Champêtre.
 
Then mounted Mirth, on gleesome wing        25
  O’er hill and dale she flew, man;
Ilk wimpling burn, ilk crystal spring,
  Ilk glen and shaw she knew, man:
She summon’d every social sprite,
  That sports by wood or water,        30
On th’ bonie banks of Ayr to meet,
  And keep this Fête Champêtre.
 
Cauld Boreas, wi’ his boisterous crew,
  Were bound to stakes like kye, man,
And Cynthia’s car, o’ silver fu’,        35
  Clamb up the starry sky, man:
Reflected beams dwell in the streams,
  Or down the current shatter;
The western breeze steals thro’the trees,
  To view this Fête Champêtre.        40
 
How many a robe sae gaily floats!
  What sparkling jewels glance, man!
To Harmony’s enchanting notes,
  As moves the mazy dance, man.
The echoing wood, the winding flood,        45
  Like Paradise did glitter,
When angels met, at Adam’s yett,
  To hold their Fête Champêtre.
 
When Politics came there, to mix
  And make his ether-stane, man!        50
He circled round the magic ground,
  But entrance found he nane, man:
He blush’d for shame, he quat his name,
  Forswore it, every letter,
Wi’ humble prayer to join and share        55
  This festive Fête Champêtre.
 
Note 1. James Boswell, the biographer of Dr. Johnson. [back]
Note 2. Sir John Whitefoord, then residing at Cloncaird or “Glencaird.” [back]
Note 3. William Cunninghame, Esq., of Annbank and Enterkin. [back]
 

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