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Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
258. Epistle to James Tennant of Glenconner
 
 
AULD comrade dear, and brither sinner,
How’s a’ the folk about Glenconner?
How do you this blae eastlin wind,
That’s like to blaw a body blind?
For me, my faculties are frozen,        5
My dearest member nearly dozen’d.
I’ve sent you here, by Johnie Simson,
Twa sage philosophers to glimpse on;
Smith, wi’ his sympathetic feeling,
An’ Reid, to common sense appealing.        10
Philosophers have fought and wrangled,
An’ meikle Greek an’ Latin mangled,
Till wi’ their logic-jargon tir’d,
And in the depth of science mir’d,
To common sense they now appeal,        15
What wives and wabsters see and feel.
But, hark ye, friend! I charge you strictly,
Peruse them, an’ return them quickly:
For now I’m grown sae cursed douce
I pray and ponder butt the house;        20
My shins, my lane, I there sit roastin’,
Perusing Bunyan, Brown, an’ Boston,
Till by an’ by, if I haud on,
I’ll grunt a real gospel-groan:
Already I begin to try it,        25
To cast my e’en up like a pyet,
When by the gun she tumbles o’er
Flutt’ring an’ gasping in her gore:
Sae shortly you shall see me bright,
A burning an’ a shining light.        30
 
  My heart-warm love to guid auld Glen,
The ace an’ wale of honest men:
When bending down wi’ auld grey hairs
Beneath the load of years and cares,
May He who made him still support him,        35
An’ views beyond the grave comfort him;
His worthy fam’ly far and near,
God bless them a’ wi’ grace and gear!
 
  My auld schoolfellow, Preacher Willie,
The manly tar, my mason-billie,        40
And Auchenbay, I wish him joy,
If he’s a parent, lass or boy,
May he be dad, and Meg the mither,
Just five-and-forty years thegither!
And no forgetting wabster Charlie,        45
I’m tauld he offers very fairly.
An’ Lord, remember singing Sannock,
Wi’ hale breeks, saxpence, an’ a bannock!
And next, my auld acquaintance, Nancy,
Since she is fitted to her fancy,        50
An’ her kind stars hae airted till her
gA guid chiel wi’ a pickle siller.
My kindest, best respects, I sen’ it,
To cousin Kate, an’ sister Janet:
Tell them, frae me, wi’ chiels be cautious,        55
For, faith, they’ll aiblins fin’ them fashious;
To grant a heart is fairly civil,
But to grant a maidenhead’s the devil.
An’ lastly, Jamie, for yoursel,
May guardian angels tak a spell,        60
An’ steer you seven miles south o’ hell:
But first, before you see heaven’s glory,
May ye get mony a merry story,
Mony a laugh, and mony a drink,
And aye eneugh o’ needfu’ clink.        65
 
  Now fare ye weel, an’ joy be wi’ you:
For my sake, this I beg it o’ you,
Assist poor Simson a’ ye can,
Ye’ll fin; him just an honest man;
Sae I conclude, and quat my chanter,        70
Your’s, saint or sinner,
ROB THE RANTER.
 

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