1789 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Robert Burns

Anonymous, "Verses, written in Broad Scotch, and addressed to Robert Burns, the Air Shire Poet" Literary Magazine and British Review 2 (May 1789) 297-98.



Fair fa' you, Robie, canty callan,
Wha rhym'st amaist as weel as Allan,
And pleasest Highland lads and lawlan,
Wi your auld gab,
May never wae come near your dwallin,
Nor skaith nor scab.

I've read your warks wie muckle glee,
Auld Lucky Nature there I see,
Has gi'en you genius like a bee,
To suck the flowers,
Where'er ye gang weel mat ye be,
Blythe be your hours.

Let college sumphs glib Horace praise,
Gie auld blin Homer still the bays,
And about Virgil mak a phrase,
A gude Scotch taste
Prefers your ain untutor'd lays,
To a' their best.

Let them like gouks auld Latin speak,
And blether out their brak-jaw Greek,
Tho' ye was born whare hills are bleak,
And cauld winds bla,
And tho' frae buiks nae helps ye seek,
Ye ding them a'.

May independence be your lot,
To gar your music frisk and trot,
And may ye never want a groat
To drown your care,
Whan ye put on your Sunday's coat,
To rant or fair.

When lavrocks tune their bonny throats,
And i' the lift pour forth their notes;
When bleating ewes first leave their cots,
And climb the braes,
While round her dam each lamie trots,
And frisks and plays.

O! Rob, its pleasant then to stray
Whare little burnies steal away,
And hazles shield frae Phoebus' ray,
And muse and think,
And while the breesies round ane play,
Mak versies clink.

Aft man — but, ah, these days are gane,
Have I thus stoited a' alane,
Or sat upon a foggy stane,
Beneath a brae,
Whar Philomel has made her mane
And sung her wae.

From rural scenes I've lang been torn,
And mony a skelp frae fortune borne,
Lamenting that of life's gay morn,
I'm now bereft,
I see nae rose, but find a thorn
Alane is left.

O! man when years hing o'er the back,
And bend us like a muckle pack,
Life then will scarce be worth a plack,
For mirth and glee,
To younger swankies in a crack,
Frae us will flee.

Auld Time, that jinking slippery chiel,
Ere lang will mak us end our reel,
And a' our fire and spirits queel,
And quench the low,
That now within our breasts we feel,
And bleach our pow.

Let us the present hour then seize,
And reckon gain what the niest gies,
Its vain for what nane o' us sees,
Our heads to fash,
Or yet to let the warld teize
Us wi' its trash.

Cou'd I, O! Rob, but brak my tether,
And ony whare wi' you forgather,
I'm sure we'd souple baith our leather,
I'd pawn my lugs,
We'd mak our hearts as light's a feather,
Wi' reaming jugs.