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Addressed to Mr. Mitchell





[The gentlemen to whom this very modest, and, under the circumstances,
most affecting application for his salary was made, filled the office
of Collector of Excise for the district, and was of a kind and
generous nature: but few were aware that the poet was suffering both
from ill-health and poverty.]

Friend of the Poet, tried and leal,
Wha, wanting thee, might beg or steal;
Alake, alake, the meikle deil
Wi' a' his witches
Are at it, skelpin' jig and reel,
In my poor pouches!

I modestly fu' fain wad hint it,
That one pound one, I sairly want it,
If wi' the hizzie down ye sent it,
It would be kind;
And while my heart wi' life-blood dunted
I'd bear't in mind.

So may the auld year gang out moaning
To see the new come laden, groaning,
Wi' double plenty o'er the loanin
To thee and thine;
Domestic peace and comforts crowning
The hale design.

* * * * *


Ye've heard this while how I've been licket,
And by felt death was nearly nicket;
Grim loon! he got me by the fecket,
And sair me sheuk;
But by guid luck I lap a wicket,
And turn'd a neuk.

But by that health, I've got a share o't,
And by that life, I'm promised mair o't,
My hale and weel I'll tak a care o't,
A tentier way:
Then farewell folly, hide and hair o't,
For ance and aye!

Robert Burns