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Robert Burns (1759–1796).  Poems and Songs.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
42. A Poet’s Welcome to his Love-Begotten Daughter
 
 
The First Instance That Entitled Him to the Venerable Appellation of Father
 
 
THOU’S 1 welcome, wean; mishanter fa’ me,
If thoughts o’ thee, or yet thy mamie,
Shall ever daunton me or awe me,
            My bonie lady,
Or if I blush when thou shalt ca’ me        5
            Tyta or daddie.
 
Tho’ now they ca’ me fornicator,
An’ tease my name in kintry clatter,
The mair they talk, I’m kent the better,
            E’en let them clash;        10
An auld wife’s tongue’s a feckless matter
            To gie ane fash.
 
Welcome! my bonie, sweet, wee dochter,
Tho’ ye come here a wee unsought for,
And tho’ your comin’ I hae fought for,        15
            Baith kirk and queir;
Yet, by my faith, ye’re no unwrought for,
            That I shall swear!
 
Wee image o’ my bonie Betty,
As fatherly I kiss and daut thee,        20
As dear, and near my heart I set thee
            Wi’ as gude will
As a’ the priests had seen me get thee
            That’s out o’ h—ll.
 
Sweet fruit o’ mony a merry dint,        25
My funny toil is now a’ tint,
Sin’ thou came to the warl’ asklent,
            Which fools may scoff at;
In my last plack thy part’s be in’t
            The better ha’f o’t.        30
 
Tho’ I should be the waur bestead,
Thou’s be as braw and bienly clad,
And thy young years as nicely bred
            Wi’ education,
As ony brat o’ wedlock’s bed,        35
            In a’ thy station.
 
Lord grant that thou may aye inherit
Thy mither’s person, grace, an’ merit,
An’ thy poor, worthless daddy’s spirit,
            Without his failins,        40
’Twill please me mair to see thee heir it,
            Than stockit mailens.
 
For if thou be what I wad hae thee,
And tak the counsel I shall gie thee,
I’ll never rue my trouble wi’ thee,        45
            The cost nor shame o’t,
But be a loving father to thee,
            And brag the name o’t.
 
Note 1. Burns never published this poem. [back]
 

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