Verse > Harvard Classics > Robert Burns > Poems and Songs
Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
131. Song—Willie Chalmers
  Mr. Chalmers, a gentleman in Ayrshire, a particular friend of mine, asked me to write a poetic epistle to a young lady, his Dulcinea. I had seen her, but was scarcely acquainted with her, and wrote as follows:—
WI’ braw new branks in mickle pride,
  And eke a braw new brechan,
My Pegasus I’m got astride,
  And up Parnassus pechin;
Whiles owre a bush wi’ donwward crush,        5
  The doited beastie stammers;
Then up he gets, and off he sets,
  For sake o’ Willie Chalmers.
I doubt na, lass, that weel ken’d name
  May cost a pair o’ blushes;        10
I am nae stranger to your fame,
  Nor his warm urged wishes.
Your bonie face sae mild and sweet,
  His honest heart enamours,
And faith ye’ll no be lost a whit,        15
  Tho’ wair’d on Willie Chalmers.
Auld Truth hersel’ might swear yer’e fair,
  And Honour safely back her;
And Modesty assume your air,
  And ne’er a ane mistak her:        20
And sic twa love-inspiring een
  Might fire even holy palmers;
Nae wonder then they’ve fatal been
  To honest Willie Chalmers.
I doubt na fortune may you shore        25
  Some mim-mou’d pouther’d priestie,
Fu’ lifted up wi’ Hebrew lore,
  And band upon his breastie:
But oh! what signifies to you
  His lexicons and grammars;        30
The feeling heart’s the royal blue,
  And that’s wi’ Willie Chalmers.
Some gapin’, glowrin’ countra laird
  May warsle for your favour;
May claw his lug, and straik his beard,        35
  And hoast up some palaver:
My bonie maid, before ye wed
  Sic clumsy-witted hammers,
Seek Heaven for help, and barefit skelp
  Awa wi’ Willie Chalmers.        40
Forgive the Bard! my fond regard
  For ane that shares my bosom,
Inspires my Muse to gie ’m his dues
  For deil a hair I roose him.
May powers aboon unite you soon,        45
  And fructify your amours,—
And every year come in mair dear
  To you and Willie Chalmers.


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