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Epistle to Major Logan


[Major Logan, of Camlarg, lived, when this hasty Poem was written,
with his mother and sister at Parkhouse, near Ayr. He was a good
musician, a joyous companion, and something of a wit. The Epistle was
printed, for the first time, in my edition of Burns, in 1834, and
since then no other edition has wanted it.]


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

When idly goavan whyles we saunter
Yirr, fancy barks, awa' we canter
Uphill, down brae, till some mishanter,
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 gray-hair'd carl.

Come wealth, come poortith, late or soon,
Heaven send your heart-strings ay 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 check 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 bonny squad, priests wyte them sheerly
For our grand fa';
But stilt, but still, I like them dearly--
God bless them a'!

Ochon! 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' girnan spite.

But 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 baisemains respectueuse_,
To sentimental sister Susie,
An' 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.

ROBERT BURNS.

_Mossgiel, 30th October_, 1786.


Robert Burns


Poetry