Verse > Harvard Classics > Robert Burns > Poems and Songs
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Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
295. Epistle to Dr. Blacklock
 
 
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 jauntie
                Wad bring ye to:
Lord send you aye as weel’s I want ye!        5
                And then ye’ll do.
 
The ill-thief blaw the Heron south!
And never drink be near his drouth!
He tauld myself by word o’ mouth,
                He’d tak my letter;        10
I lippen’d to the chiel in trouth,
                And bade nae better.
 
But aiblins, honest Master Heron
Had, at the time, some dainty fair one
To ware this theologic care on,        15
                And holy study;
And tired o’ sauls to waste his lear on,
                E’en tried the body.
 
But what d’ye think, my trusty fere,
I’m turned a gauger—Peace be here!        20
Parnassian queans, I fear, I fear,
                Ye’ll now disdain me!
And then my fifty pounds a year
                Will little gain me.
 
Ye glaikit, gleesome, dainty damies,        25
Wha, by Castalia’s wimplin streamies,
Lowp, sing, and lave your pretty limbies,
                Ye ken, ye ken,
That strang necessity supreme is
                ’Mang sons o’ men.        30
 
I hae a wife and twa wee laddies;
They maun hae brose and brats o’ duddies;
Ye ken yoursels my heart right proud is—
                I need na vaunt
But I’ll sned besoms, thraw saugh woodies,        35
                Before they want.
 
Lord help me thro’ this warld o’ care!
I’m weary sick o’t late and air!
Not but I hae a richer share
                Than mony ithers;        40
But why should ae man better fare,
                And a’ men brithers?
 
Come, Firm Resolve, take thou the van,
Thou stalk o’ carl-hemp in man!
And let us mind, faint heart ne’er wan        45
                A lady fair:
Wha does the utmost that he can,
                Will whiles do mair.
 
But to conclude my silly rhyme
(I’m scant o’ verse and scant o’ time),        50
To make a happy fireside clime
                To weans and wife,
That’s the true pathos and sublime
                Of human life.
 
My compliments to sister Beckie,        55
And eke the same to honest Lucky;
I wat she is a daintie chuckie,
                As e’er tread clay;
And gratefully, my gude auld cockie,
                I’m yours for aye.
ROBERT BURNS.
        60
 

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