1798 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

David Crawford, "An Answer to Will. M'Vitie" in Poems, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (1798) 111-13.



Warm-hearted Willy, I declare
A friend like you is unca rare,
I'm sure I henna miss'd my share
O' gude advices,
Forby a weel-far'd pithy pray'r,
That truly nice is.

Lad, I can eithly understand,
Wad some bra Lady grip my hand,
She coud help me out o'er a strand,
Or hill or dike;
For woman multitudes command,
Whane'er they like.

You ken as weel as I can tell,
What caus'd Rob Burns sae far excel,
A Lady first hang up his bell,
An' pour'd in oil;
Syne whae coud chime sae sweet an' snell
As th' Bard o' Kyle.

An' Fergusson was quite forgot
By Ladies o' superior note,
Sae he coud gae wi thread-bare coat,
An' elbows clutet,
An' to appearance sic a sot
As fools do flout at.

Bra fellow! he might justly claim
The foremaist page in beuk of fame,
Tho' few a-field, or yet at hame,
Did bid him speed,
Whilk shaw'd their hearts (O fy for shame!)
As cauld as lead.

But I'm as blyth as blyth can be,
That plowmen catch a Lady's ee;
I plow'd a farm years nine times three,
An' whae can say,
But ane may cast a bane at me,
Some lucky day.

An', for your kindness, Will. M'Vitie,
Wad you but come unto our city,
An' I the fortune hae to meet you,
We sanna part,
Without a wee soup Aquavitae,
To chear our heart.

Lang may you toddle but an' ben,
Wi health an' skill to load the pen,
An' ay hae flesh, or a fat hen,
Whereon to feed,
An' be kept frae the goblin's den,
When thou art dead.
Heriot's Hospital,
Nov. 9, 1797.