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To Doctor John Brown

by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1885

(Whan the dear doctor, dear to a',
Was still amang us here belaw,
I set my pipes his praise to blaw
        Wi' a' my speerit;
But noo, Dear Doctor! he's awa',
        An' ne'er can hear it.)

By Lyne and Tyne, by Thames and Tees
By a' the various river-Dee's,
In Mars and Manors 'yont the seas
      Or here at hame,
Whaure'er there's kindly folk to please,
      They ken your name.

They ken your name, they ken your tyke,
They ken the honey from your byke;
But mebbe after a' your fyke,
      (The trüth to tell)
It's just your honest Rab they like,
      An' no yoursel'.

As at the gowff, some canny play'r
Should tee a common ba' wi' care—
Should flourish and deleever fair
      His souple shintie—
An' the ba' rise into the air,
      A leevin' lintie:

Sae in the game we writers play,
There comes to some a bonny day,
When a dear ferlie shall repay
      Their years o' strife,
An' like you Rab, their things o' clay
      Spreid wings o' life.

Ye scarce deserved it, I'm afraid—
You that had never learned the trade,
But just some idle mornin' strayed
      Into the schüle,
An' picked the fiddle up an' played
      Like Neil himsel'.

Your e'e was gleg, your fingers dink;
Ye didnae fash yoursel' to think,
But wove, as fast as puss can link,
      Your denty wab:—
Ye stapped your pen into the ink,
      An' there was Rab!

Sinsyne, whaure'er your fortune lay
By dowie den, by canty brae,
Simmer an' winter, nicht an' day,
      Rab was aye wi' ye;
An' a' the folk on a' the way
      Were blithe to see ye.

O sir, the gods are kind indeed,
An' hauld ye for an honoured heid,
That for a wee bit clarkit screed
      Sae weel reward ye,
An' lend—puir Rabbie bein' deid—
      His ghaist to guard ye.

For though, whaure'er yousel' may be,
We've just to turn an' glisk a wee,
An' Rab at heel we're shüre to see
      Wi' gladsome caper:
The bogle of a bogle, he—
      A ghaist o' paper!

And as the auld-farrand hero sees
In Hell a bogle Hercules,
Pit there the lessen deid to please,
      While he himsel'
Dwalls wi' the muckle gods at ease
      Far raised frae hell:

Sae the true Rabbie far has gane
On kindlier business o' his ain
Wi' aulder frien's; an' his breist-bane
      An' stumpie tailie,
He birstles at a new hearth stane
      By James and Ailie.

Published in A Child's Garden of Verses

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