Verse > Harvard Classics > Robert Burns > Poems and Songs
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD · GLOSSARY
Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
85. Scotch Drink
 
 
Gie him strong drink until he wink,
  That’s sinking in despair;
An’ liquor guid to fire his bluid,
  That’s prest wi’ grief and care:
There let him bouse, an’ deep carouse,
  Wi’ bumpers flowing o’er,
Till he forgets his loves or debts,
  An’ minds his griefs no more.
SOLOMON’S PROVERBS, xxxi. 6, 7.
 
 
LET other poets raise a fracas
“Bout vines, an’ wines, an’ drucken Bacchus,
An’ crabbit names an’stories wrack us,
                    An’ grate our lug:
I sing the juice Scotch bear can mak us,        5
                    In glass or jug.
 
O thou, my muse! guid auld Scotch drink!
Whether thro’ wimplin worms thou jink,
Or, richly brown, ream owre the brink,
                    In glorious faem,        10
Inspire me, till I lisp an’ wink,
                    To sing thy name!
 
Let husky wheat the haughs adorn,
An’ aits set up their awnie horn,
An’ pease and beans, at e’en or morn,        15
                    Perfume the plain:
Leeze me on thee, John Barleycorn,
                    Thou king o’ grain!
 
On thee aft Scotland chows her cood,
In souple scones, the wale o’food!        20
Or tumblin in the boiling flood
                    Wi’ kail an’ beef;
But when thou pours thy strong heart’s blood,
                    There thou shines chief.
 
Food fills the wame, an’ keeps us leevin;        25
Tho’ life’s a gift no worth receivin,
When heavy-dragg’d wi’ pine an’ grievin;
                    But, oil’d by thee,
The wheels o’ life gae down-hill, scrievin,
                    Wi’ rattlin glee.        30
 
Thou clears the head o’doited Lear;
Thou cheers ahe heart o’ drooping Care;
Thou strings the nerves o’ Labour sair,
                    At’s weary toil;
Though even brightens dark Despair        35
                    Wi’ gloomy smile.
 
Aft, clad in massy siller weed,
Wi’ gentles thou erects thy head;
Yet, humbly kind in time o’ need,
                    The poor man’s wine;        40
His weep drap parritch, or his bread,
                    Thou kitchens fine.
 
Thou art the life o’ public haunts;
But thee, what were our fairs and rants?
Ev’n godly meetings o’ the saunts,        45
                    By thee inspired,
When gaping they besiege the tents,
                    Are doubly fir’d.
 
That merry night we get the corn in,
O sweetly, then, thou reams the horn in!        50
Or reekin on a New-year mornin
                    In cog or bicker,
An’ just a wee drap sp’ritual burn in,
                    An’ gusty sucker!
 
When Vulcan gies his bellows breath,        55
An’ ploughmen gather wi’ their graith,
O rare! to see thee fizz an freath
                    I’ th’ luggit caup!
Then Burnewin comes on like death
                    At every chap.        60
 
Nae mercy then, for airn or steel;
The brawnie, banie, ploughman chiel,
Brings hard owrehip, wi’ sturdy wheel,
                    The strong forehammer,
Till block an’ studdie ring an reel,        65
                    Wi’ dinsome clamour.
 
When skirling weanies see the light,
Though maks the gossips clatter bright,
How fumblin’ cuiffs their dearies slight;
                    Wae worth the name!        70
Nae howdie gets a social night,
                    Or plack frae them.
 
When neibors anger at a plea,
An’ just as wud as wud can be,
How easy can the barley brie        75
                    Cement the quarrel!
It’s aye the cheapest lawyer’s fee,
                    To taste the barrel.
 
Alake! that e’er my muse has reason,
To wyte her countrymen wi’ treason!        80
But mony daily weet their weason
                    Wi’ liquors nice,
An’ hardly, in a winter season,
                    E’er Spier her price.
 
Wae worth that brandy, burnin trash!        85
Fell source o’ mony a pain an’ brash!
Twins mony a poor, doylt, drucken hash,
                    O’ half his days;
An’ sends, beside, auld Scotland’s cash
                    To her warst faes.        90
 
Ye Scots, wha wish auld Scotland well!
Ye chief, to you my tale I tell,
Poor, plackless devils like mysel’!
                    It sets you ill,
Wi’ bitter, dearthfu’ wines to mell,        95
                    Or foreign gill.
 
May gravels round his blather wrench,
An’ gouts torment him, inch by inch,
What twists his gruntle wi’ a glunch
                    O’ sour disdain,        100
Out owre a glass o’ whisky-punch
                    Wi’ honest men!
 
O Whisky! soul o’ plays and pranks!
Accept a bardie’s gratfu’ thanks!
When wanting thee, what tuneless cranks        105
                    Are my poor verses!
Thou comes—they rattle in their ranks,
                    At ither’s a—s!
 
Thee, Ferintosh! O sadly lost!
Scotland lament frae coast to coast!        110
Now colic grips, an’ barkin hoast
                    May kill us a’;
For loyal Forbes’ charter’d boast
                    Is ta’en awa?
 
Thae curst horse-leeches o’ the’ Excise,        115
Wha mak the whisky stells their prize!
Haud up thy han’, Deil! ance, twice, thrice!
                    There, seize the blinkers!
An’ bake them up in brunstane pies
                    For poor d—n’d drinkers.        120
 
Fortune! if thou’ll but gie me still
Hale breeks, a scone, an’ whisky gill,
An’ rowth o’ rhyme to rave at will,
                    Tak a’ the rest,
An’ deal’t about as thy blind skill        125
                    Directs thee best.
 

CONTENTS · BOOK CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD · GLOSSARY
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors