Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

The Poor and Honest Sodger

Air--"_The Mill, Mill, O._"

[Burns, it is said, composed this song, once very popular, on hearing
a maimed soldier relate his adventures, at Brownhill, in Nithsdale: it
was published by Thomson, after suggesting some alterations, which
were properly rejected.]


When wild war's deadly blast was blawn
And gentle peace returning,
Wi' mony a sweet babe fatherless,
And mony a widow mourning;
I left the lines and tented field,
Where lang I'd been a lodger,
My humble knapsack a' my wealth,
A poor and honest sodger.


A leal, light heart was in my breast,
My hand unstain'd wi' plunder;
And for fair Scotia, hame again,
I cheery on did wander.
I thought upon the banks o' Coil,
I thought upon my Nancy,
I thought upon the witching smile
That caught my youthful fancy.


At length I reach'd the bonny glen,
Where early life I sported;
I pass'd the mill, and trysting thorn,
Where Nancy aft I courted:
Wha spied I but my ain dear maid,
Down by her mother's dwelling!
And turn'd me round to hide the flood
That in my een was swelling.


Wi' alter'd voice, quoth I, sweet lass,
Sweet as yon hawthorn's blossom,
O! happy, happy, may he be
That's dearest to thy bosom!
My purse is light, I've far to gang,
And fain wud be thy lodger;
I've serv'd my king and country lang--
Take pity on a sodger.


Sae wistfully she gaz'd on me,
And lovelier was then ever;
Quo' she, a sodger ance I lo'd,
Forget him shall I never:
Our humble cot, and hamely fare,
Ye freely shall partake it,
That gallant badge--the dear cockade--
Ye're welcome for the sake o't.


She gaz'd--she redden'd like a rose--
Syne pale like onie lily;
She sank within my arms, and cried,
Art thou my ain dear Willie?
By him who made yon sun and sky--
By whom true love's regarded,
I am the man: and thus may still
True lovers be rewarded!


The wars are o'er, and I'm come hame,
And find thee still true-hearted;
Tho' poor in gear, we're rich in love,
And mair we'se ne'er be parted.
Quo' she, my grandsire left me gowd,
A mailen plenish'd fairly;
And come, my faithful sodger lad,
Thou'rt welcome to it dearly!


For gold the merchant ploughs the main,
The farmer ploughs the manor;
But glory is the sodger's prize,
The sodger's wealth is honour;
The brave poor sodger ne'er despise,
Nor count him as a stranger;
Remember he's his country's stay,
In day and hour of danger.

Robert Burns