Robert Burns: Poems



Ronalds Of The Bennals, The

In Tarbolton, ye ken, there are proper young men,

And proper young lasses and a', man;

But ken ye the Ronalds that live in the Bennals,

They carry the gree frae them a', man.

Their father's laird, and weel he can spare't,

Braid money to tocher them a', man;

To proper young men, he'll clink in the hand

Gowd guineas a hunder or twa, man.

There's ane they ca' Jean, I'll warrant ye've seen

As bonie a lass or as braw, man;

But for sense and guid taste she'll vie wi' the best,

And a conduct that beautifies a', man.

The charms o' the min', the langer they shine,

The mair admiration they draw, man;

While peaches and cherries, and roses and lilies,

They fade and they wither awa, man,

If ye be for Miss Jean, tak this frae a frien',

A hint o' a rival or twa, man;

The Laird o' Blackbyre wad gang through the fire,

If that wad entice her awa, man.

The Laird o' Braehead has been on his speed,

For mair than a towmond or twa, man;

The Laird o' the Ford will straught on a board,

If he canna get her at a', man.

Then Anna comes in, the pride o' her kin,

The boast of our bachelors a', man:

Sae sonsy and sweet, sae fully complete,

She steals our affections awa, man.

If I should detail the pick and the wale

O' lasses that live here awa, man,

The fau't wad be mine if they didna shine

The sweetest and best o' them a', man.

I lo'e her mysel, but darena weel tell,

My poverty keeps me in awe, man;

For making o' rhymes, and working at times,

Does little or naething at a', man.

Yet I wadna choose to let her refuse,

Nor hae't in her power to say na, man:

For though I be poor, unnoticed, obscure,

My stomach's as proud as them a', man.

Though I canna ride in weel-booted pride,

And flee o'er the hills like a craw, man,

I can haud up my head wi' the best o' the breed,

Though fluttering ever so braw, man.

My coat and my vest, they are Scotch o' the best,

O'pairs o' guid breeks I hae twa, man;

And stockings and pumps to put on my stumps,

And ne'er a wrang steek in them a', man.

My sarks they are few, but five o' them new,

Twal' hundred, as white as the snaw, man,

A ten-shillings hat, a Holland cravat;

There are no mony poets sae braw, man.

I never had frien's weel stockit in means,

To leave me a hundred or twa, man;

Nae weel-tocher'd aunts, to wait on their drants,

And wish them in hell for it a', man.

I never was cannie for hoarding o' money,

Or claughtin't together at a', man;

I've little to spend, and naething to lend,

But deevil a shilling I awe, man.

Song—Here's To Thy Health

Tune—"Laggan Burn."

Here's to thy health, my bonie lass,

Gude nicht and joy be wi' thee;

I'll come nae mair to thy bower-door,

To tell thee that I lo'e thee.

O dinna think, my pretty pink,

But I can live without thee:

I vow and swear I dinna care,

How lang ye look about ye.

Thou'rt aye sae free informing me,

Thou hast nae mind to marry;

I'll be as free informing thee,

Nae time hae I to tarry:

I ken thy frien's try ilka means

Frae wedlock to delay thee;

Depending on some higher chance,

But fortune may betray thee.

I ken they scorn my low estate,

But that does never grieve me;

For I'm as free as any he;

Sma' siller will relieve me.

I'll count my health my greatest wealth,

Sae lang as I'll enjoy it;

I'll fear nae scant, I'll bode nae want,

As lang's I get employment.

But far off fowls hae feathers fair,

And, aye until ye try them,

Tho' they seem fair, still have a care;

They may prove waur than I am.

But at twal' at night, when the moon shines bright,

My dear, I'll come and see thee;

For the man that loves his mistress weel,

Nae travel makes him weary.

Lass Of Cessnock Banks, The^1

[Footnote 1: The lass is identified as Ellison Begbie, a servant

wench, daughter of a "Farmer Lang".]

A Song of Similes

Tune—"If he be a Butcher neat and trim."

On Cessnock banks a lassie dwells;

Could I describe her shape and mein;

Our lasses a' she far excels,

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een.

She's sweeter than the morning dawn,

When rising Phoebus first is seen,

And dew-drops twinkle o'er the lawn;

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een.

She's stately like yon youthful ash,

That grows the cowslip braes between,

And drinks the stream with vigour fresh;

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een.

She's spotless like the flow'ring thorn,

With flow'rs so white and leaves so green,

When purest in the dewy morn;

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een.

Her looks are like the vernal May,

When ev'ning Phoebus shines serene,

While birds rejoice on every spray;

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een.

Her hair is like the curling mist,

That climbs the mountain-sides at e'en,

When flow'r-reviving rains are past;

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een.

Her forehead's like the show'ry bow,

When gleaming sunbeams intervene

And gild the distant mountain's brow;

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een.

Her cheeks are like yon crimson gem,

The pride of all the flowery scene,

Just opening on its thorny stem;

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een.

Her bosom's like the nightly snow,

When pale the morning rises keen,

While hid the murm'ring streamlets flow;

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een.

Her lips are like yon cherries ripe,

That sunny walls from Boreas screen;

They tempt the taste and charm the sight;

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een.

Her teeth are like a flock of sheep,

With fleeces newly washen clean,

That slowly mount the rising steep;

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een.

Her breath is like the fragrant breeze,

That gently stirs the blossom'd bean,

When Phoebus sinks behind the seas;

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een.

Her voice is like the ev'ning thrush,

That sings on Cessnock banks unseen,

While his mate sits nestling in the bush;

An' she has twa sparkling roguish een.

But it's not her air, her form, her face,

Tho' matching beauty's fabled queen;

'Tis the mind that shines in ev'ry grace,

An' chiefly in her roguish een.

Song—Bonie Peggy Alison

Tune—"The Braes o' Balquhidder."

Chor.—And I'll kiss thee yet, yet,

And I'll kiss thee o'er again:

And I'll kiss thee yet, yet,

My bonie Peggy Alison.

Ilk care and fear, when thou art near

I evermair defy them, O!

Young kings upon their hansel throne

Are no sae blest as I am, O!

And I'll kiss thee yet, yet, &c.

When in my arms, wi' a' thy charms,

I clasp my countless treasure, O!

I seek nae mair o' Heaven to share

Than sic a moment's pleasure, O!

And I'll kiss thee yet, yet, &c.

And by thy een sae bonie blue,

I swear I'm thine for ever, O!

And on thy lips I seal my vow,

And break it shall I never, O!

And I'll kiss thee yet, yet, &c.

Song—Mary Morison

Tune—"Bide ye yet."

O Mary, at thy window be,

It is the wish'd, the trysted hour!

Those smiles and glances let me see,

That make the miser's treasure poor:

How blythely was I bide the stour,

A weary slave frae sun to sun,

Could I the rich reward secure,

The lovely Mary Morison.

Yestreen, when to the trembling string

The dance gaed thro' the lighted ha',

To thee my fancy took its wing,

I sat, but neither heard nor saw:

Tho' this was fair, and that was braw,

And yon the toast of a' the town,

I sigh'd, and said among them a',

"Ye are na Mary Morison."

Oh, Mary, canst thou wreck his peace,

Wha for thy sake wad gladly die?

Or canst thou break that heart of his,

Whase only faut is loving thee?

If love for love thou wilt na gie,

At least be pity to me shown;

A thought ungentle canna be

The thought o' Mary Morison.