Hoots, toots, och aye!

by Richard on January 25, 2008

It’s Burns’ Night, so let’s have something from the old fella. Some of the words may not be immediately intelligible, but I reckon if you go with the flow of it you’ll grasp what he’s on about.

Address to the Unco Guid (or THE RIGIDLY RIGHTEOUS)

My Son, these maxims make a rule,
An’ lump them ay thegither :
The Rigid Righteous is a fool,
The Rigid Wise anither ;
The cleanest corn that e’er was dight
May hae some pyles o’ caff in ;
So ne’er a fellow-creature slight
For random fits o’ daffin

                SOLOMON (Eccles.vii. 16)

O ye, wha are sae guid yoursel,
Sae pious and sae holy,
Ye’ve nought to do but mark and tell
Your neebours’ fauts and folly ;
Whase life is like a weel-gaun mill,
Supplied wi’ store o’ water ;
The heapet happer’s ebbing still,
An’ still the clap plays clatter !

Hear me, ye venerable core,
As counsel for poor mortals
That frequent pass douce Wisdom’s door
For glaikit Folly’s portals :
I for their thoughtless, careless sakes
Would here propone defences -
Their donsie tricks, their black mistakes,
Their failings and mischances.

Ye see your state wi’ theirs compared,
And shudder at the niffer ;
But cast a moment’s fair regard,
What makes the mighty differ ?
Discount what scant occasion gave ;
That purity ye pride in ;
And (what’s aft mair than a’ the lave)
Your better art o’ hidin.

Think, when your castigated pulse
Gies now and then a wallop,
What ragings must his veins convulse,
That still eternal gallop !
Wi’ wind and tide fair i’ your tail,
Right on ye scud your sea-way ;
But in the teeth o’ baith to sail,
It makes an unco lee-way.

See Social-life and Glee sit down
All joyous and unthinking,
Till, quite transmugrify’d, they’re grown
Debauchery and Drinking :
O, would they stay to calculate,
Th’ eternal consequences,
Or -your more dreaded hell to state -
Damnation of expenses !

Ye high, exalted, virtuous dames,
Tied up in godly laces,
Before ye tie poor Frailty names,
Suppose a change o’ cases :
A dear-lov’d lad, convenience snug,
A treach’rous inclination-
But, let me whisper i’ your lug,
Ye’re ailblins nae temptation.

Then gently scan your brother man,
Still gentler sister woman ;
Tho’ they may gang a kennin wrang,
To step aside is human :
One point must still be greatly dark,
The moving why they do it ;
And just as lamely can ye mark
How far perhaps they rue it.

Who made the heart, ’tis He alone
Decidedly can try us :
He knows each chord, its various tone,
Each spring, its various bias :
Then at the balance let’s be mute,
We never can adjust it ;
What’s done we partly may compute,
But know not what’s resisted.

Robert Burns

More of Burns’ poetry here.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }


Patricia 01.25.08 at 9:35 pm

Lang mae yoor lim reek!

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>