Robert Burns: Poems


A Man's A Man For A' That

Tune—"For a' that."

Is there for honest Poverty

That hings his head, an' a' that;

The coward slave—we pass him by,

We dare be poor for a' that!

For a' that, an' a' that.

Our toils obscure an' a' that,

The rank is but the guinea's stamp,

The Man's the gowd for a' that.

What though on hamely fare we dine,

Wear hoddin grey, an' a that;

Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine;

A Man's a Man for a' that:

For a' that, and a' that,

Their tinsel show, an' a' that;

The honest man, tho' e'er sae poor,

Is king o' men for a' that.

Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,

Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;

Tho' hundreds worship at his word,

He's but a coof for a' that:

For a' that, an' a' that,

His ribband, star, an' a' that:

The man o' independent mind

He looks an' laughs at a' that.

A prince can mak a belted knight,

A marquis, duke, an' a' that;

But an honest man's abon his might,

Gude faith, he maunna fa' that!

For a' that, an' a' that,

Their dignities an' a' that;

The pith o' sense, an' pride o' worth,

Are higher rank than a' that.

Then let us pray that come it may,

(As come it will for a' that,)

That Sense and Worth, o'er a' the earth,

Shall bear the gree, an' a' that.

For a' that, an' a' that,

It's coming yet for a' that,

That Man to Man, the world o'er,

Shall brothers be for a' that.

Craigieburn Wood

Sweet fa's the eve on Craigieburn,

And blythe awakes the morrow;

But a' the pride o' Spring's return

Can yield me nocht but sorrow.

I see the flowers and spreading trees,

I hear the wild birds singing;

But what a weary wight can please,

And Care his bosom wringing!

Fain, fain would I my griefs impart,

Yet dare na for your anger;

But secret love will break my heart,

If I conceal it langer.

If thou refuse to pity me,

If thou shalt love another,

When yon green leaves fade frae the tree,

Around my grave they'll wither.

Versicles of 1795

The Solemn League And Covenant

The Solemn League and Covenant

Now brings a smile, now brings a tear;

But sacred Freedom, too, was theirs:

If thou'rt a slave, indulge thy sneer.

Compliments Of John Syme Of Ryedale

Lines sent with a Present of a Dozen of Porter.

O had the malt thy strength of mind,

Or hops the flavour of thy wit,

'Twere drink for first of human kind,

A gift that e'en for Syme were fit.

Jerusalem Tavern, Dumfries.

Inscription On A Goblet

There's Death in the cup, so beware!

Nay, more—there is danger in touching;

But who can avoid the fell snare,

The man and his wine's so bewitching!

Apology For Declining An Invitation To Dine

No more of your guests, be they titled or not,

And cookery the first in the nation;

Who is proof to thy personal converse and wit,

Is proof to all other temptation.

Epitaph For Mr. Gabriel Richardson

Here Brewer Gabriel's fire's extinct,

And empty all his barrels:

He's blest—if, as he brew'd, he drink,

In upright, honest morals.

Epigram On Mr. James Gracie

Gracie, thou art a man of worth,

O be thou Dean for ever!

May he be damned to hell henceforth,

Who fauts thy weight or measure!

Bonie Peg-a-Ramsay

Cauld is the e'enin blast,

O' Boreas o'er the pool,

An' dawin' it is dreary,

When birks are bare at Yule.

Cauld blaws the e'enin blast,

When bitter bites the frost,

And, in the mirk and dreary drift,

The hills and glens are lost:

Ne'er sae murky blew the night

That drifted o'er the hill,

But bonie Peg-a-Ramsay

Gat grist to her mill.

Inscription At Friars' Carse Hermitage

To the Memory of Robert Riddell.

To Riddell, much lamented man,

This ivied cot was dear;

Wandr'er, dost value matchless worth?

This ivied cot revere.

There Was A Bonie Lass

There was a bonie lass, and a bonie, bonie lass,

And she lo'ed her bonie laddie dear;

Till War's loud alarms tore her laddie frae her arms,

Wi' mony a sigh and tear.

Over sea, over shore, where the cannons loudly roar,

He still was a stranger to fear;

And nocht could him quail, or his bosom assail,

But the bonie lass he lo'ed sae dear.

Wee Willie Gray

Tune—"Wee Totum Fogg."

Wee Willie Gray, and his leather wallet,

Peel a willow wand to be him boots and jacket;

The rose upon the breir will be him trews an' doublet,

The rose upon the breir will be him trews an' doublet,

Wee Willie Gray, and his leather wallet,

Twice a lily-flower will be him sark and cravat;

Feathers of a flee wad feather up his bonnet,

Feathers of a flee wad feather up his bonnet.

O Aye My Wife She Dang Me

Chorus—O aye my wife she dang me,

An' aft my wife she bang'd me,

If ye gie a woman a' her will,

Gude faith! she'll soon o'er-gang ye.

On peace an' rest my mind was bent,

And, fool I was! I married;

But never honest man's intent

Sane cursedly miscarried.

O aye my wife, &c.

Some sairie comfort at the last,

When a' thir days are done, man,

My pains o' hell on earth is past,

I'm sure o' bliss aboon, man,

O aye my wife, &c.

Gude Ale Keeps The Heart Aboon

Chorus—O gude ale comes and gude ale goes;

Gude ale gars me sell my hose,

Sell my hose, and pawn my shoon—

Gude ale keeps my heart aboon!

I had sax owsen in a pleugh,

And they drew a' weel eneugh:

I sell'd them a' just ane by ane—

Gude ale keeps the heart aboon!

O gude ale comes, &c.

Gude ale hauds me bare and busy,

Gars me moop wi' the servant hizzie,

Stand i' the stool when I hae done—

Gude ale keeps the heart aboon!

O gude ale comes, &c.

O Steer Her Up An' Haud Her Gaun

O steer her up, an' haud her gaun,

Her mither's at the mill, jo;

An' gin she winna tak a man,

E'en let her tak her will, jo.

First shore her wi' a gentle kiss,

And ca' anither gill, jo;

An' gin she tak the thing amiss,

E'en let her flyte her fill, jo.

O steer her up, an' be na blate,

An' gin she tak it ill, jo,

Then leave the lassie till her fate,

And time nae langer spill, jo:

Ne'er break your heart for ae rebute,

But think upon it still, jo:

That gin the lassie winna do't,

Ye'll find anither will, jo.

The Lass O' Ecclefechan

Tune—"Jack o' Latin."

Gat ye me, O gat ye me,

O gat ye me wi' naething?

Rock an reel, and spinning wheel,

A mickle quarter basin:

Bye attour my Gutcher has

A heich house and a laich ane,

A' forbye my bonie sel,

The toss o' Ecclefechan.

O haud your tongue now, Lucky Lang,

O haud your tongue and jauner

I held the gate till you I met,

Syne I began to wander:

I tint my whistle and my sang,

I tint my peace and pleasure;

But your green graff, now Lucky Lang,

Wad airt me to my treasure.

O Let Me In Thes Ae Night

O Lassie, are ye sleepin yet,

Or are ye waukin, I wad wit?

For Love has bound me hand an' fit,

And I would fain be in, jo.

Chorus—O let me in this ae night,

This ae, ae, ae night;

O let me in this ae night,

I'll no come back again, jo!

O hear'st thou not the wind an' weet?

Nae star blinks thro' the driving sleet;

Tak pity on my weary feet,

And shield me frae the rain, jo.

O let me in, &c.

The bitter blast that round me blaws,

Unheeded howls, unheeded fa's;

The cauldness o' thy heart's the cause

Of a' my care and pine, jo.

O let me in, &c.

Her Answer

O tell na me o' wind an' rain,

Upbraid na me wi' cauld disdain,

Gae back the gate ye cam again,

I winna let ye in, jo.

Chorus—I tell you now this ae night,

This ae, ae, ae night;

And ance for a' this ae night,

I winna let ye in, jo.

The snellest blast, at mirkest hours,

That round the pathless wand'rer pours

Is nocht to what poor she endures,

That's trusted faithless man, jo.

I tell you now, &c.

The sweetest flower that deck'd the mead,

Now trodden like the vilest weed—

Let simple maid the lesson read

The weird may be her ain, jo.

I tell you now, &c.

The bird that charm'd his summer day,

Is now the cruel Fowler's prey;

Let witless, trusting, Woman say

How aft her fate's the same, jo!

I tell you now, &c.

I'll Aye Ca' In By Yon Town

Air—"I'll gang nae mair to yon toun."

Chorus—I'll aye ca' in by yon town,

And by yon garden-green again;

I'll aye ca' in by yon town,

And see my bonie Jean again.

There's nane sall ken, there's nane can guess

What brings me back the gate again,

But she, my fairest faithfu' lass,

And stownlins we sall meet again.

I'll aye ca' in, &c.

She'll wander by the aiken tree,

When trystin time draws near again;

And when her lovely form I see,

O haith! she's doubly dear again.

I'll aye ca' in, &c.

O Wat Ye Wha's In Yon Town

Tune—"I'll gang nae mair to yon toun."

Chorus—O wat ye wha's in yon town,

Ye see the e'enin sun upon,

The dearest maid's in yon town,

That e'ening sun is shining on.

Now haply down yon gay green shaw,

She wanders by yon spreading tree;

How blest ye flowers that round her blaw,

Ye catch the glances o' her e'e!

O wat ye wha's, &c.

How blest ye birds that round her sing,

And welcome in the blooming year;

And doubly welcome be the Spring,

The season to my Jeanie dear.

O wat ye wha's, &c.

The sun blinks blythe on yon town,

Among the broomy braes sae green;

But my delight in yon town,

And dearest pleasure, is my Jean.

O wat ye wha's, &c.

Without my Fair, not a' the charms

O' Paradise could yield me joy;

But give me Jeanie in my arms

And welcome Lapland's dreary sky!

O wat ye wha's, &c.

My cave wad be a lover's bower,

Tho' raging Winter rent the air;

And she a lovely little flower,

That I wad tent and shelter there.

O wat ye wha's, &c.

O sweet is she in yon town,

The sinkin, sun's gane down upon;

A fairer than's in yon town,

His setting beam ne'er shone upon.

O wat ye wha's, &c.

If angry Fate is sworn my foe,

And suff'ring I am doom'd to bear;

I careless quit aught else below,

But spare, O spare me Jeanie dear.

O wat ye wha's, &c.

For while life's dearest blood is warm,

Ae thought frae her shall ne'er depart,

And she, as fairest is her form,

She has the truest, kindest heart.

O wat ye wha's, &c.

Ballads on Mr. Heron's Election, 1795

Ballad First

Whom will you send to London town,

To Parliament and a' that?

Or wha in a' the country round

The best deserves to fa' that?

For a' that, and a' that,

Thro' Galloway and a' that,

Where is the Laird or belted Knight

The best deserves to fa' that?

Wha sees Kerroughtree's open yett,

(And wha is't never saw that?)

Wha ever wi' Kerroughtree met,

And has a doubt of a' that?

For a' that, and a' that,

Here's Heron yet for a' that!

The independent patriot,

The honest man, and a' that.

Tho' wit and worth, in either sex,

Saint Mary's Isle can shaw that,

Wi' Dukes and Lords let Selkirk mix,

And weel does Selkirk fa' that.

For a' that, and a' that,

Here's Heron yet for a' that!

The independent commoner

Shall be the man for a' that.

But why should we to Nobles jouk,

And is't against the law, that?

For why, a Lord may be a gowk,

Wi' ribband, star and a' that,

For a' that, and a' that,

Here's Heron yet for a' that!

A Lord may be a lousy loun,

Wi' ribband, star and a' that.

A beardless boy comes o'er the hills,

Wi' uncle's purse and a' that;

But we'll hae ane frae mang oursels,

A man we ken, and a' that.

For a' that, and a' that,

Here's Heron yet for a' that!

For we're not to be bought and sold,

Like naigs, and nowt, and a' that.

Then let us drink—The Stewartry,

Kerroughtree's laird, and a' that,

Our representative to be,

For weel he's worthy a' that.

For a' that, and a' that,

Here's Heron yet for a' that!

A House of Commons such as he,

They wad be blest that saw that.

Ballad Second—Election Day

Tune—"Fy, let us a' to the Bridal."

Fy, let us a' to Kirkcudbright,

For there will be bickerin' there;

For Murray's light horse are to muster,

And O how the heroes will swear!

And there will be Murray, Commander,

And Gordon, the battle to win;

Like brothers they'll stand by each other,

Sae knit in alliance and kin.

And there will be black-nebbit Johnie,

The tongue o' the trump to them a';

An he get na Hell for his haddin',

The Deil gets na justice ava.

And there will be Kempleton's birkie,

A boy no sae black at the bane;

But as to his fine Nabob fortune,

We'll e'en let the subject alane.

And there will be Wigton's new Sheriff;

Dame Justice fu' brawly has sped,

She's gotten the heart of a Bushby,

But, Lord! what's become o' the head?

And there will be Cardoness, Esquire,

Sae mighty in Cardoness' eyes;

A wight that will weather damnation,

The Devil the prey will despise.

And there will be Douglasses doughty,

New christening towns far and near;

Abjuring their democrat doings,

By kissin' the-o' a Peer:

And there will be folk frae Saint Mary's

A house o' great merit and note;

The deil ane but honours them highly—

The deil ane will gie them his vote!

And there will be Kenmure sae gen'rous,

Whose honour is proof to the storm,

To save them from stark reprobation,

He lent them his name in the Firm.

And there will be lads o' the gospel,

Muirhead wha's as gude as he's true;

And there will be Buittle's Apostle,

Wha's mair o' the black than the blue.

And there will be Logan M'Dowall,

Sculdudd'ry an' he will be there,

And also the Wild Scot o' Galloway,

Sogering, gunpowder Blair.

But we winna mention Redcastle,

The body, e'en let him escape!

He'd venture the gallows for siller,

An 'twere na the cost o' the rape.

But where is the Doggerbank hero,

That made "Hogan Mogan" to skulk?

Poor Keith's gane to hell to be fuel,

The auld rotten wreck of a Hulk.

And where is our King's Lord Lieutenant,

Sae fam'd for his gratefu' return?

The birkie is gettin' his Questions

To say in Saint Stephen's the morn.

But mark ye! there's trusty Kerroughtree,

Whose honor was ever his law;

If the Virtues were pack'd in a parcel,

His worth might be sample for a';

And strang an' respectfu's his backing,

The maist o' the lairds wi' him stand;

Nae gipsy-like nominal barons,

Wha's property's paper—not land.

And there, frae the Niddisdale borders,

The Maxwells will gather in droves,

Teugh Jockie, staunch Geordie, an' Wellwood,

That griens for the fishes and loaves;

And there will be Heron, the Major,

Wha'll ne'er be forgot in the Greys;

Our flatt'ry we'll keep for some other,

Him, only it's justice to praise.

And there will be maiden Kilkerran,

And also Barskimming's gude Knight,

And there will be roarin Birtwhistle,

Yet luckily roars i' the right.

And there'll be Stamp Office Johnie,

(Tak tent how ye purchase a dram!)

And there will be gay Cassencarry,

And there'll be gleg Colonel Tam.

And there'll be wealthy young Richard,

Dame Fortune should hing by the neck,

For prodigal, thriftless bestowing—

His merit had won him respect.

And there will be rich brother nabobs,

(Tho' Nabobs, yet men not the worst,)

And there will be Collieston's whiskers,

And Quintin—a lad o' the first.

Then hey! the chaste Interest o' Broughton

And hey! for the blessin's 'twill bring;

It may send Balmaghie to the Commons,

In Sodom 'twould make him a king;

And hey! for the sanctified Murray,

Our land wha wi' chapels has stor'd;

He founder'd his horse among harlots,

But gied the auld naig to the Lord.

Ballad Third

John Bushby's Lamentation.

Tune—"Babes in the Wood."

'Twas in the seventeen hunder year

O' grace, and ninety-five,

That year I was the wae'est man

Of ony man alive.

In March the three-an'-twentieth morn,

The sun raise clear an' bright;

But oh! I was a waefu' man,

Ere to-fa' o' the night.

Yerl Galloway lang did rule this land,

Wi' equal right and fame,

And thereto was his kinsmen join'd,

The Murray's noble name.

Yerl Galloway's man o' men was I,

And chief o' Broughton's host;

So twa blind beggars, on a string,

The faithfu' tyke will trust.

But now Yerl Galloway's sceptre's broke,

And Broughton's wi' the slain,

And I my ancient craft may try,

Sin' honesty is gane.

'Twas by the banks o' bonie Dee,

Beside Kirkcudbright's towers,

The Stewart and the Murray there,

Did muster a' their powers.

Then Murray on the auld grey yaud,

Wi' winged spurs did ride,

That auld grey yaud a' Nidsdale rade,

He staw upon Nidside.

And there had na been the Yerl himsel,

O there had been nae play;

But Garlies was to London gane,

And sae the kye might stray.

And there was Balmaghie, I ween,

In front rank he wad shine;

But Balmaghie had better been

Drinkin' Madeira wine.

And frae Glenkens cam to our aid

A chief o' doughty deed;

In case that worth should wanted be,

O' Kenmure we had need.

And by our banners march'd Muirhead,

And Buittle was na slack;

Whase haly priesthood nane could stain,

For wha could dye the black?

And there was grave squire Cardoness,

Look'd on till a' was done;

Sae in the tower o' Cardoness

A howlet sits at noon.

And there led I the Bushby clan,

My gamesome billie, Will,

And my son Maitland, wise as brave,

My footsteps follow'd still.

The Douglas and the Heron's name,

We set nought to their score;

The Douglas and the Heron's name,

Had felt our weight before.

But Douglasses o' weight had we,

The pair o' lusty lairds,

For building cot-houses sae fam'd,

And christenin' kail-yards.

And there Redcastle drew his sword,

That ne'er was stain'd wi' gore,

Save on a wand'rer lame and blind,

To drive him frae his door.

And last cam creepin' Collieston,

Was mair in fear than wrath;

Ae knave was constant in his mind—

To keep that knave frae scaith.

Inscription For An Altar Of Independence

At Kerroughtree, the Seat of Mr. Heron.

Thou of an independent mind,

With soul resolv'd, with soul resign'd;

Prepar'd Power's proudest frown to brave,

Who wilt not be, nor have a slave;

Virtue alone who dost revere,

Thy own reproach alone dost fear—

Approach this shrine, and worship here.

The Cardin O't, The Spinnin O't

I coft a stane o' haslock woo',

To mak a wab to Johnie o't;

For Johnie is my only jo,

I loe him best of onie yet.

Chorus—The cardin' o't, the spinnin' o't,

The warpin' o't, the winnin' o't;

When ilka ell cost me a groat,

The tailor staw the lynin' o't.

For tho' his locks be lyart grey,

And tho' his brow be beld aboon,

Yet I hae seen him on a day,

The pride of a' the parishen.

The cardin o't, &c.

The Cooper O' Cuddy

Tune—"Bab at the bowster."

Chorus—We'll hide the Cooper behint the door,

Behint the door, behint the door,

We'll hide the Cooper behint the door,

And cover him under a mawn, O.

The Cooper o' Cuddy came here awa,

He ca'd the girrs out o'er us a';

An' our gudewife has gotten a ca',

That's anger'd the silly gudeman O.

We'll hide the Cooper, &c.

He sought them out, he sought them in,

Wi' deil hae her! an', deil hae him!

But the body he was sae doited and blin',

He wist na where he was gaun O.

We'll hide the Cooper, &c.

They cooper'd at e'en, they cooper'd at morn,

Till our gudeman has gotten the scorn;

On ilka brow she's planted a horn,

And swears that there they sall stan' O.

We'll hide the Cooper, &c.

The Lass That Made The Bed To Me

When Januar' wind was blawing cauld,

As to the north I took my way,

The mirksome night did me enfauld,

I knew na where to lodge till day:

By my gude luck a maid I met,

Just in the middle o' my care,

And kindly she did me invite

To walk into a chamber fair.

I bow'd fu' low unto this maid,

And thank'd her for her courtesie;

I bow'd fu' low unto this maid,

An' bade her make a bed to me;

She made the bed baith large and wide,

Wi' twa white hands she spread it doun;

She put the cup to her rosy lips,

And drank—"Young man, now sleep ye soun'."

Chorus—The bonie lass made the bed to me,

The braw lass made the bed to me,

I'll ne'er forget till the day I die,

The lass that made the bed to me.

She snatch'd the candle in her hand,

And frae my chamber went wi' speed;

But I call'd her quickly back again,

To lay some mair below my head:

A cod she laid below my head,

And served me with due respect,

And, to salute her wi' a kiss,

I put my arms about her neck.

The bonie lass, &c.

"Haud aff your hands, young man!" she said,

"And dinna sae uncivil be;

Gif ye hae ony luve for me,

O wrang na my virginitie."

Her hair was like the links o' gowd,

Her teeth were like the ivorie,

Her cheeks like lilies dipt in wine,

The lass that made the bed to me:

The bonie lass, &c.

Her bosom was the driven snaw,

Twa drifted heaps sae fair to see;

Her limbs the polish'd marble stane,

The lass that made the bed to me.

I kiss'd her o'er and o'er again,

And aye she wist na what to say:

I laid her 'tween me and the wa';

The lassie thocht na lang till day.

The bonie lass, &c.

Upon the morrow when we raise,

I thank'd her for her courtesie;

But aye she blush'd and aye she sigh'd,

And said, "Alas, ye've ruin'd me."

I claps'd her waist, and kiss'd her syne,

While the tear stood twinkling in her e'e;

I said, my lassie, dinna cry.

For ye aye shall make the bed to me.

The bonie lass, &c.

She took her mither's holland sheets,

An' made them a' in sarks to me;

Blythe and merry may she be,

The lass that made the bed to me.

Chorus—The bonie lass made the bed to me,

The braw lass made the bed to me.

I'll ne'er forget till the day I die,

The lass that made the bed to me.

Had I The Wyte? She Bade Me

Had I the wyte, had I the wyte,

Had I the wyte? she bade me;

She watch'd me by the hie-gate side,

And up the loan she shaw'd me.

And when I wadna venture in,

A coward loon she ca'd me:

Had Kirk an' State been in the gate,

I'd lighted when she bade me.

Sae craftilie she took me ben,

And bade me mak nae clatter;

"For our ramgunshoch, glum gudeman

Is o'er ayont the water."

Whae'er shall say I wanted grace,

When I did kiss and dawte her,

Let him be planted in my place,

Syne say, I was the fautor.

Could I for shame, could I for shame,

Could I for shame refus'd her;

And wadna manhood been to blame,

Had I unkindly used her!

He claw'd her wi' the ripplin-kame,

And blae and bluidy bruis'd her;

When sic a husband was frae hame,

What wife but wad excus'd her!

I dighted aye her e'en sae blue,

An' bann'd the cruel randy,

And weel I wat, her willin' mou

Was sweet as sugar-candie.

At gloamin-shot, it was I wot,

I lighted on the Monday;

But I cam thro' the Tyseday's dew,

To wanton Willie's brandy.

Does Haughty Gaul Invasion Threat?

Tune—"Push about the Jorum."

Does haughty Gaul invasion threat?

Then let the louns beware, Sir;

There's wooden walls upon our seas,

And volunteers on shore, Sir:

The Nith shall run to Corsincon,

And Criffel sink in Solway,

Ere we permit a Foreign Foe

On British ground to rally!

We'll ne'er permit a Foreign Foe

On British ground to rally!

O let us not, like snarling curs,

In wrangling be divided,

Till, slap! come in an unco loun,

And wi' a rung decide it!

Be Britain still to Britain true,

Amang ourselves united;

For never but by British hands

Maun British wrangs be righted!

No! never but by British hands

Shall British wrangs be righted!

The Kettle o' the Kirk and State,

Perhaps a clout may fail in't;

But deil a foreign tinkler loun

Shall ever ca'a nail in't.

Our father's blude the Kettle bought,

And wha wad dare to spoil it;

By Heav'ns! the sacrilegious dog

Shall fuel be to boil it!

By Heav'ns! the sacrilegious dog

Shall fuel be to boil it!

The wretch that would a tyrant own,

And the wretch, his true-born brother,

Who would set the Mob aboon the Throne,

May they be damn'd together!

Who will not sing "God save the King,"

Shall hang as high's the steeple;

But while we sing "God save the King,"

We'll ne'er forget The People!

But while we sing "God save the King,"

We'll ne'er forget The People!

Address To The Woodlark

Tune—"Loch Erroch Side."

O stay, sweet warbling woodlark, stay,

Nor quit for me the trembling spray,

A hapless lover courts thy lay,

Thy soothing, fond complaining.

Again, again that tender part,

That I may catch thy melting art;

For surely that wad touch her heart

Wha kills me wi' disdaining.

Say, was thy little mate unkind,

And heard thee as the careless wind?

Oh, nocht but love and sorrow join'd,

Sic notes o' woe could wauken!

Thou tells o' never-ending care;

O'speechless grief, and dark despair:

For pity's sake, sweet bird, nae mair!

Or my poor heart is broken.

Song.—On Chloris Being Ill

Tune—"Aye wauken O."

Chorus—Long, long the night,

Heavy comes the morrow

While my soul's delight

Is on her bed of sorrow.

Can I cease to care?

Can I cease to languish,

While my darling Fair

Is on the couch of anguish?

Long, long, &c.

Ev'ry hope is fled,

Ev'ry fear is terror,

Slumber ev'n I dread,

Ev'ry dream is horror.

Long, long, &c.

Hear me, Powers Divine!

Oh, in pity, hear me!

Take aught else of mine,

But my Chloris spare me!

Long, long, &c.

How Cruel Are The Parents

Altered from an old English song.

Tune—"John Anderson, my jo."

How cruel are the parents

Who riches only prize,

And to the wealthy booby

Poor Woman sacrifice!

Meanwhile, the hapless Daughter

Has but a choice of strife;

To shun a tyrant Father's hate—

Become a wretched Wife.

The ravening hawk pursuing,

The trembling dove thus flies,

To shun impelling ruin,

Awhile her pinions tries;

Till, of escape despairing,

No shelter or retreat,

She trusts the ruthless Falconer,

And drops beneath his feet.

Mark Yonder Pomp Of Costly Fashion

Air—"Deil tak the wars."

Mark yonder pomp of costly fashion

Round the wealthy, titled bride:

But when compar'd with real passion,

Poor is all that princely pride.

Mark yonder, &c. (four lines repeated).

What are the showy treasures,

What are the noisy pleasures?

The gay, gaudy glare of vanity and art:

The polish'd jewels' blaze

May draw the wond'ring gaze;

And courtly grandeur bright

The fancy may delight,

But never, never can come near the heart.

But did you see my dearest Chloris,

In simplicity's array;

Lovely as yonder sweet opening flower is,

Shrinking from the gaze of day,

But did you see, &c.

O then, the heart alarming,

And all resistless charming,

In Love's delightful fetters she chains the willing soul!

Ambition would disown

The world's imperial crown,

Ev'n Avarice would deny,

His worshipp'd deity,

And feel thro' every vein Love's raptures roll.

'Twas Na Her Bonie Blue E'e

Tune—"Laddie, lie near me."

'Twas na her bonie blue e'e was my ruin,

Fair tho' she be, that was ne'er my undoin';

'Twas the dear smile when nae body did mind us,

'Twas the bewitching, sweet, stown glance o' kindness:

'Twas the bewitching, sweet, stown glance o' kindness.

Sair do I fear that to hope is denied me,

Sair do I fear that despair maun abide me,

But tho' fell fortune should fate us to sever,

Queen shall she be in my bosom for ever:

Queen shall she be in my bosom for ever.

Chloris, I'm thine wi' a passion sincerest,

And thou hast plighted me love o' the dearest!

And thou'rt the angel that never can alter,

Sooner the sun in his motion would falter:

Sooner the sun in his motion would falter.

Their Groves O'Sweet Myrtle

Tune—"Humours of Glen."

Their groves o' sweet myrtle let Foreign Lands reckon,

Where bright-beaming summers exalt the perfume;

Far dearer to me yon lone glen o' green breckan,

Wi' the burn stealing under the lang, yellow broom.

Far dearer to me are yon humble broom bowers

Where the blue-bell and gowan lurk, lowly, unseen;

For there, lightly tripping, among the wild flowers,

A-list'ning the linnet, aft wanders my Jean.

Tho' rich is the breeze in their gay, sunny valleys,

And cauld Caledonia's blast on the wave;

Their sweet-scented woodlands that skirt the proud palace,

What are they?—the haunt of the Tyrant and Slave.

The Slave's spicy forests, and gold-bubbling fountains,

The brave Caledonian views wi' disdain;

He wanders as free as the winds of his mountains,

Save Love's willing fetters—the chains of his Jean.

Forlorn, My Love, No Comfort Near

Air—"Let me in this ae night."

Forlorn, my Love, no comfort near,

Far, far from thee, I wander here;

Far, far from thee, the fate severe,

At which I most repine, Love.

Chorus—O wert thou, Love, but near me!

But near, near, near me,

How kindly thou wouldst cheer me,

And mingle sighs with mine, Love.

Around me scowls a wintry sky,

Blasting each bud of hope and joy;

And shelter, shade, nor home have I;

Save in these arms of thine, Love.

O wert thou, &c.

Cold, alter'd friendship's cruel part,

To poison Fortune's ruthless dart—

Let me not break thy faithful heart,

And say that fate is mine, Love.

O wert thou, &c.

But, dreary tho' the moments fleet,

O let me think we yet shall meet;

That only ray of solace sweet,

Can on thy Chloris shine, Love!

O wert thou, &c.

Fragment,—Why, Why Tell The Lover

Tune—"Caledonian Hunt's delight."

Why, why tell thy lover

Bliss he never must enjoy"?

Why, why undeceive him,

And give all his hopes the lie?

O why, while fancy, raptur'd slumbers,

Chloris, Chloris all the theme,

Why, why would'st thou, cruel—

Wake thy lover from his dream?

The Braw Wooer

Tune—"The Lothian Lassie."

Last May, a braw wooer cam doun the lang glen,

And sair wi' his love he did deave me;

I said, there was naething I hated like men—

The deuce gae wi'm, to believe me, believe me;

The deuce gae wi'm to believe me.

He spak o' the darts in my bonie black e'en,

And vow'd for my love he was diein,

I said, he might die when he liked for Jean—

The Lord forgie me for liein, for liein;

The Lord forgie me for liein!

A weel-stocked mailen, himsel' for the laird,

And marriage aff-hand, were his proffers;

I never loot on that I kenn'd it, or car'd;

But thought I might hae waur offers, waur offers;

But thought I might hae waur offers.

But what wad ye think?—in a fortnight or less—

The deil tak his taste to gae near her!

He up the Gate-slack to my black cousin, Bess—

Guess ye how, the jad! I could bear her, could bear her;

Guess ye how, the jad! I could bear her.

But a' the niest week, as I petted wi' care,

I gaed to the tryst o' Dalgarnock;

But wha but my fine fickle wooer was there,

I glowr'd as I'd seen a warlock, a warlock,

I glowr'd as I'd seen a warlock.

But owre my left shouther I gae him a blink,

Lest neibours might say I was saucy;

My wooer he caper'd as he'd been in drink,

And vow'd I was his dear lassie, dear lassie,

And vow'd I was his dear lassie.

I spier'd for my cousin fu' couthy and sweet,

Gin she had recover'd her hearin',

And how her new shoon fit her auld schachl't feet,

But heavens! how he fell a swearin, a swearin,

But heavens! how he fell a swearin.

He begged, for gudesake, I wad be his wife,

Or else I wad kill him wi' sorrow;

So e'en to preserve the poor body in life,

I think I maun wed him to-morrow, to-morrow;

I think I maun wed him to-morrow.

This Is No My Ain Lassie

Tune—"This is no my house."

Chorus—This is no my ain lassie,

Fair tho, the lassie be;

Weel ken I my ain lassie,

Kind love is in her e're.

I see a form, I see a face,

Ye weel may wi' the fairest place;

It wants, to me, the witching grace,

The kind love that's in her e'e.

This is no my ain, &c.

She's bonie, blooming, straight, and tall,

And lang has had my heart in thrall;

And aye it charms my very saul,

The kind love that's in her e'e.

This is no my ain, &c.

A thief sae pawkie is my Jean,

To steal a blink, by a' unseen;

But gleg as light are lover's een,

When kind love is in her e'e.

This is no my ain, &c.

It may escape the courtly sparks,

It may escape the learned clerks;

But well the watching lover marks

The kind love that's in her eye.

This is no my ain, &c.

O Bonie Was Yon Rosy Brier

O bonie was yon rosy brier,

That blooms sae far frae haunt o' man;

And bonie she, and ah, how dear!

It shaded frae the e'enin sun.

Yon rosebuds in the morning dew,

How pure, amang the leaves sae green;

But purer was the lover's vow

They witness'd in their shade yestreen.

All in its rude and prickly bower,

That crimson rose, how sweet and fair;

But love is far a sweeter flower,

Amid life's thorny path o' care.

The pathless, wild and wimpling burn,

Wi' Chloris in my arms, be mine;

And I the warld nor wish nor scorn,

Its joys and griefs alike resign.

Song Inscribed To Alexander Cunningham

Now spring has clad the grove in green,

And strew'd the lea wi' flowers;

The furrow'd, waving corn is seen

Rejoice in fostering showers.

While ilka thing in nature join

Their sorrows to forego,

O why thus all alone are mine

The weary steps o' woe!

The trout in yonder wimpling burn

That glides, a silver dart,

And, safe beneath the shady thorn,

Defies the angler's art—

My life was ance that careless stream,

That wanton trout was I;

But Love, wi' unrelenting beam,

Has scorch'd my fountains dry.

That little floweret's peaceful lot,

In yonder cliff that grows,

Which, save the linnet's flight, I wot,

Nae ruder visit knows,

Was mine, till Love has o'er me past,

And blighted a' my bloom;

And now, beneath the withering blast,

My youth and joy consume.

The waken'd lav'rock warbling springs,

And climbs the early sky,

Winnowing blythe his dewy wings

In morning's rosy eye;

As little reck'd I sorrow's power,

Until the flowery snare

O'witching Love, in luckless hour,

Made me the thrall o' care.

O had my fate been Greenland snows,

Or Afric's burning zone,

Wi'man and nature leagued my foes,

So Peggy ne'er I'd known!

The wretch whose doom is "Hope nae mair"

What tongue his woes can tell;

Within whase bosom, save Despair,

Nae kinder spirits dwell.

O That's The Lassie O' My Heart


O wat ye wha that lo'es me

And has my heart a-keeping?

O sweet is she that lo'es me,

As dews o' summer weeping,

In tears the rosebuds steeping!

Chorus—O that's the lassie o' my heart,

My lassie ever dearer;

O she's the queen o' womankind,

And ne'er a ane to peer her.

If thou shalt meet a lassie,

In grace and beauty charming,

That e'en thy chosen lassie,

Erewhile thy breast sae warming,

Had ne'er sic powers alarming;

O that's the lassie, &c.

If thou hadst heard her talking,

And thy attention's plighted,

That ilka body talking,

But her, by thee is slighted,

And thou art all delighted;

O that's the lassie, &c.

If thou hast met this Fair One,

When frae her thou hast parted,

If every other Fair One

But her, thou hast deserted,

And thou art broken-hearted,

O that's the lassie o' my heart,

My lassie ever dearer;

O that's the queen o' womankind,

And ne'er a ane to peer her.


Written on the blank leaf of a copy of the last edition of my poems, presented to the Lady whom, in so many fictitious reveries of passion, but with the most ardent sentiments of real friendship, I have so often sung under the name of—"Chloris."^1

'Tis Friendship's pledge, my young, fair Friend,

Nor thou the gift refuse,

Nor with unwilling ear attend

The moralising Muse.

Since thou, in all thy youth and charms,

Must bid the world adieu,

(A world 'gainst Peace in constant arms)

To join the Friendly Few.

Since, thy gay morn of life o'ercast,

Chill came the tempest's lour;

(And ne'er Misfortune's eastern blast

Did nip a fairer flower.)

Since life's gay scenes must charm no more,

Still much is left behind,

Still nobler wealth hast thou in store—

The comforts of the mind!

Thine is the self-approving glow,

Of conscious Honour's part;

And (dearest gift of Heaven below)

Thine Friendship's truest heart.

The joys refin'd of Sense and Taste,

With every Muse to rove:

And doubly were the Poet blest,

These joys could he improve.


[Footnote 1: Miss Lorimer.]

Fragment.—Leezie Lindsay

Will ye go to the Hielands, Leezie Lindsay,

Will ye go to the Hielands wi' me?

Will ye go to the Hielands, Leezie Lindsay,

My pride and my darling to be.

Fragment.—The Wren's Nest

The Robin to the Wren's nest

Cam keekin' in, cam keekin' in;

O weel's me on your auld pow,

Wad ye be in, wad ye be in?

Thou's ne'er get leave to lie without,

And I within, and I within,

Sae lang's I hae an auld clout

To rowe ye in, to rowe ye in.

News, Lassies, News

There's news, lassies, news,

Gude news I've to tell!

There's a boatfu' o' lads

Come to our town to sell.

Chorus—The wean wants a cradle,

And the cradle wants a cod:

I'll no gang to my bed,

Until I get a nod.

Father, quo' she, Mither, quo she,

Do what you can,

I'll no gang to my bed,

Until I get a man.

The wean, &c.

I hae as gude a craft rig

As made o'yird and stane;

And waly fa' the ley-crap,

For I maun till'd again.

The wean, &c.

Crowdie Ever Mair

O that I had ne'er been married,

I wad never had nae care,

Now I've gotten wife an' weans,

An' they cry "Crowdie" evermair.

Chorus—Ance crowdie, twice crowdie,

Three times crowdie in a day

Gin ye crowdie ony mair,

Ye'll crowdie a' my meal away.

Waefu' Want and Hunger fley me,

Glowrin' by the hallan en';

Sair I fecht them at the door,

But aye I'm eerie they come ben.

Ance crowdie, &c.

Mally's Meek, Mally's Sweet

Chorus—Mally's meek, Mally's sweet,

Mally's modest and discreet;

Mally's rare, Mally's fair,

Mally's every way complete.

As I was walking up the street,

A barefit maid I chanc'd to meet;

But O the road was very hard

For that fair maiden's tender feet.

Mally's meek, &c.

It were mair meet that those fine feet

Were weel laced up in silken shoon;

An' 'twere more fit that she should sit

Within yon chariot gilt aboon,

Mally's meek, &c.

Her yellow hair, beyond compare,

Comes trinklin down her swan-like neck,

And her two eyes, like stars in skies,

Would keep a sinking ship frae wreck,

Mally's meek, &c.

Jockey's Taen The Parting Kiss

Air—"Bonie lass tak a man."

Jockey's taen the parting kiss,

O'er the mountains he is gane,

And with him is a' my bliss,

Nought but griefs with me remain,

Spare my Love, ye winds that blaw,

Plashy sleets and beating rain!

Spare my Love, thou feath'ry snaw,

Drifting o'er the frozen plain!

When the shades of evening creep

O'er the day's fair, gladsome e'e,

Sound and safely may he sleep,

Sweetly blythe his waukening be.

He will think on her he loves,

Fondly he'll repeat her name;

For where'er he distant roves,

Jockey's heart is still the same.

Verses To Collector Mitchell

Friend of the Poet, tried and leal,

Wha, wanting thee, might beg or steal;

Alake, alake, the meikle deil

Wi' a' his witches

Are at it skelpin jig and reel,

In my poor pouches?

I modestly fu' fain wad hint it,

That One—pound—one, I sairly want it;

If wi' the hizzie down ye sent it,

It would be kind;

And while my heart wi' life-blood dunted,

I'd bear't in mind.

So may the Auld year gang out moanin'

To see the New come laden, groanin',

Wi' double plenty o'er the loanin',

To thee and thine:

Domestic peace and comforts crownin'

The hale design.


Ye've heard this while how I've been lickit,

And by fell Death was nearly nickit;

Grim loon! he got me by the fecket,

And sair me sheuk;

But by gude luck I lap a wicket,

And turn'd a neuk.

But by that health, I've got a share o't,

But by that life, I'm promis'd mair o't,

My hale and wee, I'll tak a care o't,

A tentier way;

Then farewell folly, hide and hair o't,

For ance and aye!