Verse > Harvard Classics > Robert Burns > Poems and Songs
Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
106. To Gavin Hamilton, Esq., Mauchline, recommending a Boy
Recommending a Boy.
Mossgaville, May 3, 1786.
I HOLD it, sir, my bounden duty
To warn you how that Master Tootie,
    Alias, Laird M’Gaun,
Was here to hire yon lad away
’Bout whom ye spak the tither day,        5
    An’ wad hae don’t aff han’;
But lest he learn the callan tricks—
    An’ faith I muckle doubt him—
Like scrapin out auld Crummie’s nicks,
    An’ tellin lies about them;        10
      As lieve then, I’d have then
        Your clerkship he should sair,
    If sae be ye may be
      Not fitted otherwhere.
Altho’ I say’t, he’s gleg enough,        15
An’ ’bout a house that’s rude an’ rough,
    The boy might learn to swear;
But then, wi’ you, he’ll be sae taught,
An’ get sic fair example straught,
    I hae na ony fear.        20
Ye’ll catechise him, every quirk,
    An’ shore him weel wi’ hell;
An’ gar him follow to the kirk—
    Aye when ye gang yoursel.
      If ye then maun be then        25
        Frae hame this comin’ Friday,
      Then please, sir, to lea’e, sir,
        The orders wi’ your lady.
My word of honour I hae gi’en,
In Paisley John’s, that night at e’en,        30
    To meet the warld’s worm;
To try to get the twa to gree,
An’ name the airles an’ the fee,
    In legal mode an’ form:
I ken he weel a snick can draw,        35
    When simple bodies let him:
An’ if a Devil be at a’,
    In faith he’s sure to get him.
      To phrase you and praise you,.
        Ye ken your Laureat scorns:        40
      The pray’r still you share still
        Of grateful MINSTREL BURNS.


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