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Epistle to Major Logan

by Robert Burns, 1786

Hail, thairm-inspirin', rattlin' Willie!
Tho' fortune's road be rough an' hilly
To every fiddling, rhyming billie,
                  We never heed,
But take it like the unback'd filly,
                  Proud o' her speed.

When, idly goavin', whiles we saunter,
Yirr! fancy barks, awa we canter,
Up hill, down brae, till some mischanter,
                  Some black bog-hole,
Arrests us; then the scathe an' banter
                  We're forced to thole.

Hale be your heart! hale be your fiddle!
Lang may your elbuck jink and diddle,
To cheer you through the weary widdle
                  O' this wild warl'.
Until you on a crummock driddle,
                  A grey hair'd carl.

Come wealth, come poortith, late or soon,
Heaven send your heart-strings aye in tune,
And screw your temper-pins aboon
                  A fifth or mair
The melancholious, lazy croon
                  O' cankrie care.

May still your life from day to day,
Nae "lente largo" in the play,
But "allegretto forte" gay,
                  Harmonious flow,
A sweeping, kindling, bauld strathspey—
                  Encore! Bravo!

A blessing on the cheery gang
Wha dearly like a jig or sang,
An' never think o' right an' wrang
                  By square an' rule,
But, as the clegs o' feeling stang,
                  Are wise or fool.

My hand-waled curse keep hard in chase
The harpy, hoodock, purse-proud race,
Wha count on poortith as disgrace;
                  Their tuneless hearts,
May fireside discords jar a base
                  To a' their parts.

But come, your hand, my careless brither,
I' th' ither warl', if there's anither,
An' that there is, I've little swither
                  About the matter;
We, cheek for chow, shall jog thegither,
                  I'se ne'er bid better.

We've faults and failings—granted clearly,
We're frail backsliding mortals merely,
Eve's bonie squad, priests wyte them sheerly
                  For our grand fa';
But still, but still, I like them dearly—
                  God bless them a'!

Ochone for poor Castalian drinkers,
When they fa' foul o' earthly jinkers!
The witching, curs'd, delicious blinkers
                  Hae put me hyte,
And gart me weet my waukrife winkers,
                  Wi' girnin'spite.

By by yon moon!—and that's high swearin—
An' every star within my hearin!
An' by her een wha was a dear ane!
                  I'll ne'er forget;
I hope to gie the jads a clearin
                  In fair play yet.

My loss I mourn, but not repent it;
I'll seek my pursie whare I tint it;
Ance to the Indies I were wonted,
                  Some cantraip hour
By some sweet elf I'll yet be dinted;
                  Then vive l'amour!

Faites mes baissemains respectueuses,
To sentimental sister Susie,
And honest Lucky; no to roose you,
                  Ye may be proud,
That sic a couple Fate allows ye,
                  To grace your blood.

Nae mair at present can I measure,
An' trowth my rhymin ware's nae treasure;
But when in Ayr, some half-hour's leisure,
                  Be't light, be't dark,
Sir Bard will do himself the pleasure
                  To call at Park.


Mossgiel, 30th October, 1786.

Published in Poems and Songs of Robert Burns

Any corrections or public domain poems I should have here? Email me at poems (at) this domain.