Verse > Harvard Classics > Robert Burns > Poems and Songs
Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
350. Epistle to John Maxwell, Esq., of Terraughty
On His Birthday.
HEALTH to the Maxwell’s veteran Chief!
Health, aye unsour’d by care or grief:
Inspir’d, I turn’d Fate’s sibyl leaf,
                This natal morn,
I see thy life is stuff o’ prief,        5
                Scarce quite half-worn.
This day thou metes threescore eleven,
And I can tell that bounteous Heaven
(The second-sight, ye ken, is given
                To ilka Poet)        10
On thee a tack o’ seven times seven
                Will yet bestow it.
If envious buckies view wi’ sorrow
Thy lengthen’d days on this blest morrow,
May Desolation’s lang-teeth’d harrow,        15
                Nine miles an hour,
Rake them, like Sodom and Gomorrah,
                In brunstane stour.
But for thy friends, and they are mony,
Baith honest men, and lassies bonie,        20
May couthie Fortune, kind and cannie,
                In social glee,
Wi’ mornings blythe, and e’enings funny,
                Bless them and thee!
Fareweel, auld birkie! Lord be near ye,        25
And then the deil, he daurna steer ye:
Your friends aye love, your faes aye fear ye;
                For me, shame fa’ me,
If neist my heart I dinna wear ye,
                While Burns they ca’ me.        30


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